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Bofra

Studying in Britain

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Greetings, I have plans to start a Bachelors Degree, probably continuing with Masters degree, in Computer Science and inclined to the game software development area. I wish to study in Great Britain (anywhere there) and I've seen there are several schools that offer Bachelors and Masters in Game development. So my questions are, do any of you have any suggestions on which schools are good/bad? Are Game Development courses worth it or is it better to go plain Computer Science? Do the game development industry in England look for school resumes when recruiting or is it mostly portfolio-based? I also should add that I'm not living in Britain but Sweden, although that shouldn't change much considering I'm in the EU. The schools/courses I've been looking at lately are: Sheffield Hallam University - http://prospectus.shu.ac.uk/op_uglookup1.cfm?id_num=800&status=TN City University London - http://www.city.ac.uk/study/courses/compscigames-bsc.html

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Some game development courses are not so great, but I can't comment on specific ones. With typical computer science/computing/software engineering degrees you usually get some scope for working on game-style projects anyway, but do check the list of classes and modules first, especially if looking at computer science specifically, which tends to be more based around theory and logic than around practical applications. (But there is almost always a fair degree of overlap.)

In particular, check that you will get the ability to spend some time with C++. Most universities teach Java as their primary language, which is fair enough, but C++ has enough intricacies that you will benefit significantly from tuition in that, and from being able to put that on your CV at the end.

Also, be wary of universities that offer many good optional courses, because you may only be able to take 1 or 2 out of the 6 or 7 listed. Try to ask about that sort of thing first.

The industry here in the UK tends to look at both education and a portfolio. Exceptions exist, but if you neglect either you'll rule yourself out of a lot of jobs.

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I would also recommend looking at Abertay's courses. (They're in Dundee, Scotland.) They have a good reputation. These courses are rare enough in the UK that it's worth looking for citations and references. Abertay students seem to do rather well in the industry.

Quite a few UK unis have jumped onto the "game degree" bandwagon. The UK's Further Education industry is exactly that: an industry. They make a ton of cash from students thanks to the stealth privatisation of the last few administrations. I wouldn't touch most English universities now with a ten-foot pole. (The Scottish system hasn't suffered as badly.)

I cannot emphasise enough that you MUST do your research first before choosing! Some of these courses really are a waste of time. Read up, ask and get opinions and recommendations before jumping in.

And I also second Kylotan's point about building a portfolio. This is crucial if you want a job in the industry afterwards. Make a special effort to find like-minded friends and get some projects, demos, etc. of your own done. Ensure they're finished, polished and complete too.

(Tom Sloper's website has quite a few FAQs on the subject. It's best to read through them now, so you can plan ahead.)

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I'm by no means an expert on this, but from what I've heard, you have to be careful. Some games courses will apparently teach you game engine architecture, modelling and animation, but not CS foundations such as data structures, computation theory or software engineering...

I can recommend City University's CS courses. The game-oriented course is actually 'Computer Science with Games Technology' - meaning that it covers the same ground as the standard CS course.

Good luck with whatever you choose to do.

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