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Durakken

What should I get/do?

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I know that there is a for beginners guide on this site, but it really doesn't quite answer my question and while I'm not sure this is the exact right place for this it looks as good as any. First let me explain my situation... (warning the next 7 paragraphs explain about myself but may or may not be useful for answering the below questions. I just feel that knowing my situation may help answer the questions better) I am 23, almost 24. I'm in college till I'm 26 at least due to insurance needs. I'm at a community college currently and from what I see there is no way I'm going to a game dev school. I've gone to the Art Institute of Pitsburgh which I have been kicked out of, not for lack of being good, but because I became sick and quite frankly they put me in the animation program and I am just that that type of person and that burned out a lot of my will to draw at all. Every so often I do pick up a pencil and draw but it is rare and my skill has declined since then. Also due to this I paid nearly $25,000 (somehow even though I went for only a year of a 3 year 50k program v.v). I'm not paying for my tuition, but it is not the type of thing I want to put myself or another person into debt over when there is great risk that most of the college I have open to me for such a thing are not going to provide me with what I want. Also, going to any of these college would make me move which isn't really an option for me just yet. So, I've resigned to the idea that I'm going to get a degree that is either related or just get any degree and hop on in to waters of trying to get into a game dev career. My experience in Art is as I have said I've been in an animation course. All 2D, and all my self trials with 3D have ended with utter failure, though there aren't many. I intend to self study 2D art, which has always been the best course, for me at least. I also have a pretty large vocabulary in programming, but only text based and mainly older languages. QBASIC, COBOL, RPG, et, but I also have limited experience with C++ and Visual Basic, but nothing to extent of making games. HTML, CSS, I've learned...javascript I use but not to any large degree but it is more than enough to do a game in...though that's a bit insane. PHP, CGI, MySQL I've looked up and read up on. I know enough to know that if I ever decided to use them seriously they wouldn't be that hard for me to use. My writing has been locally published, and without effort I have won 2nd place in a few competitions. My "audio" background...I did study the piano for about 3 years and won a state championship...I've study the piano briefly. I've also done a very small amount of voice acting, at amateur level, obviously. as far as my educational level. After this semester i will have enough credits to have an Associate in General Sciences, without having transferred credits from other sources...those credits would put me at enough for a bachelors, but in nothing in particular. I've studied philosophy, psychology, business, astronomy, mythology, and law at community college, art, like i said, at an art college, and much of my programming was taught by a college professor making us work harder than his college students at a career prep place which would equate to quite a few credits in some programming colleges around here...and self educated. Now that we're through with that...the actual questions... Should I try to get a bachelors degree in something when as far as I know it really doesn't matter in any profession that I am looking at outside of just having any sort of degree, which I should have, the Associates in General Sciences, soon? I listed what I have studied above, i am also taking C++ 2 this semester, a intro to game dev course, and I plan on taking the next game design class, as well as Java classes. Are there any other areas I might rake since I have to take classes and I am running out of things that I see as useful. Are there any books that you can recommend reading? On Games or otherwise that may help in creation all together? I'm think about getting and reading shakespeare which I've not read ever, the harry potter series, and the diskworld series. The more important questions though...these are somewhat related to each other but not necessarily... I need to get a place to work away from all the media I have and the ability to search the web or play a game. In other words a way to get away from distractions...And I have thought that the best way to do that is to get a Lap top that I can go out side or whatever with and work on without interference. I want to be able to install game dev software on it while being fairly cheap, I don't have much money to spend and I only plan to develop stuff on it, not play stuff on it. So should A) just get a laptop that is very basic that allows for typing stuff up, or B) is there a laptop that i can load with dev software that will work efficiently but not cost too much. What software should I focus on getting? All the suggestions I've read don't seem to really be for me as I am experienced, but not at the same time. I also don't want to waste time or money on software that ends up not being useful for me. Thank you reading and answerin g my questions.

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Original post by Durakken
*snip*


Sounds kinda sucky, but mildly reasonable.

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Also, going to any of these college would make me move which isn't really an option for me just yet.


If you can afford the debt to educate yourself you can certainly afford the moving van. Seriously. Locality is a great limiter.

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So, I've resigned to the idea that I'm going to get a degree that is either related or just get any degree and hop on in to waters of trying to get into a game dev career.


A good artist is always in demand.

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Should I try to get a bachelors degree in something when as far as I know it really doesn't matter in any profession that I am looking at outside of just having any sort of degree, which I should have, the Associates in General Sciences, soon?


A degree always helps, even if it's in something useless from some podunk college. These days HR people tend to screen resumes quickly (sometimes automatically) and no degree is a quick trip to the trashcan.

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I listed what I have studied above, i am also taking C++ 2 this semester, a intro to game dev course, and I plan on taking the next game design class, as well as Java classes. Are there any other areas I might rake since I have to take classes and I am running out of things that I see as useful.


Looking at your areas of study, you might want to consider that you may not the best judge of what may or may not be useful... That said, if you're going into programming you should learn computer science topics, not just languages. Though I think with your (wide) artistic background, that might be something you focus upon.

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Are there any books that you can recommend reading? On Games or otherwise that may help in creation all together? I'm think about getting and reading shakespeare which I've not read ever, the harry potter series, and the diskworld series.


By all accounts the discworld books are great. Going through Neal Stephenson myself at the moment, quite good. There are a variety of technical books that are recommended depending on your depth and interest and needs. Design Patterns by Gamma et al, Code Complete...

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I need to get a place to work away from all the media I have and the ability to search the web or play a game. In other words a way to get away from distractions...And I have thought that the best way to do that is to get a Lap top that I can go out side or whatever with and work on without interference.


I think that is a poor idea. One of the key elements to college is to learn yourself. Learn how you work, learn your good points, learn your weaknesses. Learn how to motivate yourself to get things that need done, done. It seems like you identified one of your weak points, but it will be infrequent where you can dictate your environs. I don't want to say suck it up and get some discipline, because not many people have that discipline or keep it for long.

So that's something perhaps for you to work at; finding a workflow (or other accommodation) that keeps you motivated, interested and undistracted while not having unreasonable requirements for your employers.

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What software should I focus on getting? All the suggestions I've read don't seem to really be for me as I am experienced, but not at the same time.


Eh? 'Not at the same time?'

You should pick something. 2d animation, still image, icons, textures, fonts, splash screens, soundtracks, sound effects, UI elements, general programming... something. Then research and find what's good. Then find what's best for you.

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Also, going to any of these college would make me move which isn't really an option for me just yet.


If you can afford the debt to educate yourself you can certainly afford the moving van. Seriously. Locality is a great limiter.


I can move, but with dropping economy and home life, as well as my physical back problems and not having a drivers license creates quite a bit of problems... There isn't much point in attending a class or a college for that matter if whenever your there you are going to be in too pain or have too little energy to pay attention. So if I don't have an easy way to get around, which is not the case most place I've looked, there doesn't seem to be much I can do.



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So, I've resigned to the idea that I'm going to get a degree that is either related or just get any degree and hop on in to waters of trying to get into a game dev career.


A good artist is always in demand.


I'm not really an artist, and I know they are always in demand. I have drawing ability, and while i plan to improve it...I don't want that to be my job. I'm artistic and creative, but I prefer to create worlds, as in writing than I do drawing.


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Should I try to get a bachelors degree in something when as far as I know it really doesn't matter in any profession that I am looking at outside of just having any sort of degree, which I should have, the Associates in General Sciences, soon?


A degree always helps, even if it's in something useless from some podunk college. These days HR people tend to screen resumes quickly (sometimes automatically) and no degree is a quick trip to the trashcan.


But does Bachelors in a specific area give me a leg up over an associates in general if my portfolio is better?


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I listed what I have studied above, i am also taking C++ 2 this semester, a intro to game dev course, and I plan on taking the next game design class, as well as Java classes. Are there any other areas I might rake since I have to take classes and I am running out of things that I see as useful.


Looking at your areas of study, you might want to consider that you may not the best judge of what may or may not be useful...


The reason I have taken such a wide range such as that is #1. It interests me. #2. They are important in creating worlds and stories, which is what a Game designer does. What's the point of making a game or a movie or whatever else if you have no depth and your world isn't worth exploring? #3. Psych, Philosophy, and business is useful in every career I know of. That may not be directly apparent but i have no doubt that they help in any situation.

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I need to get a place to work away from all the media I have and the ability to search the web or play a game. In other words a way to get away from distractions...And I have thought that the best way to do that is to get a Lap top that I can go out side or whatever with and work on without interference.


I think that is a poor idea. One of the key elements to college is to learn yourself. Learn how you work, learn your good points, learn your weaknesses. Learn how to motivate yourself to get things that need done, done. It seems like you identified one of your weak points, but it will be infrequent where you can dictate your environs. I don't want to say suck it up and get some discipline, because not many people have that discipline or keep it for long.

So that's something perhaps for you to work at; finding a workflow (or other accommodation) that keeps you motivated, interested and undistracted while not having unreasonable requirements for your employers.


I know how to keep myself undistracted (which noone believes me and even I think it seems a bit odd), but the way I am being forced to work requires that another solution be available. Plus I want to have a way to write down or work any time I want as well as a place to keep all my work without mixing it up or having it contract viruses...so it's a solution to several problems I have.

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What software should I focus on getting? All the suggestions I've read don't seem to really be for me as I am experienced, but not at the same time.


Eh? 'Not at the same time?'

You should pick something. 2d animation, still image, icons, textures, fonts, splash screens, soundtracks, sound effects, UI elements, general programming... something. Then research and find what's good. Then find what's best for you.


What I mean is.... I am at step 1.8 and everything is geared to you being at step 0, step 2, or step 3... if that makes sense.

If I were to rank my abilities that relate to game design I'd place Creating ideas as the top. Writing and programming at about equal, but programming be a tiny bit better and art as my lowest ability.

I don't have a problem focusing on programming if that would lead me to creating games at the level of a game designer, but that's not what I see when I read up on the subject and I programming, while from my experienced I can tell I am good at it, it is not something that I would want to spend my life doing, nor is animating or writing. It is the Creating that I love, not the skills that going into it.

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Original post by Durakken
I can move, but with dropping economy and home life, as well as my physical back problems and not having a drivers license creates quite a bit of problems... There isn't much point in attending a class or a college for that matter if whenever your there you are going to be in too pain or have too little energy to pay attention. So if I don't have an easy way to get around, which is not the case most place I've looked, there doesn't seem to be much I can do.


Quite true.

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I'm not really an artist, and I know they are always in demand. I have drawing ability, and while i plan to improve it...I don't want that to be my job. I'm artistic and creative, but I prefer to create worlds, as in writing than I do drawing.


I'd still consider that an artist in the general delineation of things. Depending on the position it'll still involve scripting, but tends to be more creative than technical


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But does Bachelors in a specific area give me a leg up over an associates in general if my portfolio is better?


In general.


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The reason I have taken such a wide range such as that is #1. It interests me. #2. They are important in creating worlds and stories, which is what a Game designer does. What's the point of making a game or a movie or whatever else if you have no depth and your world isn't worth exploring? #3. Psych, Philosophy, and business is useful in every career I know of. That may not be directly apparent but i have no doubt that they help in any situation.


Heh, quite true. A welcome view these days when so many come here and see college as job training. Still, a focus is useful.

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What I mean is.... I am at step 1.8 and everything is geared to you being at step 0, step 2, or step 3... if that makes sense.


Hrmm, sure.

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I don't have a problem focusing on programming if that would lead me to creating games at the level of a game designer, but that's not what I see when I read up on the subject and I programming, while from my experienced I can tell I am good at it, it is not something that I would want to spend my life doing, nor is animating or writing. It is the Creating that I love, not the skills that going into it.


Sure, that makes sense. I unfortunately don't know too much of that area of the industry and cannot offer great advice in that regard.

Best of luck.

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Well thank you for the help anyways.

My big concern right this moment is what should I look for in a laptop still so I can come to the person that would pay for it with what it will cost and why.

The rest is more of a might as well ask all at once ^.^

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From "Durakken" in Roseville, MI, United States

>I know that there is a for beginners guide on this site, but it really doesn't quite answer my question
>First let me explain my situation... (warning the next 7 paragraphs explain about myself but may or may not be useful for answering the below questions.)

Since they "may or may not be useful," I didn't read them. I prefer not to work any harder than is necessary to answer someone's question.

>Should I try to get a bachelors degree in something when as far as I know it really doesn't matter in any profession that I am looking at outside of just having any sort of degree, which I should have, the Associates in General Sciences, soon?

The degree you should get depends on what your passions are -- what you're good at, and which job specialty you aspire to. Surely the beginners guide says that?

>Are there any other areas I might rake since I have to take classes and I am running out of things that I see as useful.

That "leaves" plenty of other courses you could "rake" (sorry, couldn't resist) but which ones you should take depend on what your passions are -- what you're good at -- which job specialty you aspire to. If you mentioned that in the 7 paragraphs, then you could've given that info in a shorter form, without a warning that it might not be pertinent.

>Are there any books that you can recommend reading? On Games or otherwise that may help in creation all together? I'm think about getting and reading shakespeare which I've not read ever, the harry potter series, and the diskworld series.

Those are all recommended. Also the books I listed in article 8 on my website. Like Ender's Game, Dream Park, and Pattern Recognition. And I have lots of other articles that you might find useful too.

>I need to get a place to work away... from distractions...

The library.

>What software should I focus on getting? All the suggestions I've read don't seem to really be for me as I am experienced, but not at the same time.

The common advice "it doesn't matter what tools you start with" doesn't apply to you? The software you should get depends on what you want to do with it. What are your passions -- what are you good at -- which job specialty do you aspire to -- what do you want the software to do.

>I also don't want to waste time or money on software that ends up not being useful for me.

That's the wrong attitude. Not much that you try will be a waste of your oh so precious time. The money part I understand, but learning involves exploration. I don't believe in the "waste of time" concept. It's all good.

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Tom, I guess a better formulation of my question is this.

I am about to try to create a game by myself...If I am going to do so on a single laptop, what minimum specs on a laptop and software should I buy and install on this laptop so as to not waste resources on the laptop or the money to figure out what I should be working with?



The articles on this site say as far as the software goes. If you are here do this, if you are here do that. The problem is that I'm in between and I really don't want to spend the money if those programs are not right.

If I were to say what is best for me is a drag and drop ability for components but with the ability to start from scratch for any piece at any level of that component.

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Nice succinct rephrasing of the question, Dura. Surely someone with more knowledge of programming than I will be able to give a nice succinct answer now. Good luck, and have fun making your first game on a laptop at the library.

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The question seems to be shifting somewhat. Be aware that game designers do not create games from concept through to finish. A game is developed by
designers, programmers, and artists. Typically you can only really do one of these at a time if you want to be any good.

Game design involves coming up with game ideas, but also involves some implementation by building the levels, typically in a tool provided by programmers, and using art resources provided by artists. Often some programming is needed to script events (eg you walk past a certain point in the level and some enemies appear).

If your goal is design then I'd recommend picking up a copy of a recent 3d game with a good level editor (Oblivion's is highly regarded, and Neverwinter Nights, although old, also has some very well received level editing tools). Knock up a few levels.

If you'd rather be a programmer then you'll need programming software to do this. I'd recommend reading into whatever language you're interested in before starting.

Similarly, as an artist you'll want to get a copy of 3d modelling software. 3D Studio Max and Maya are popular (and industry standard), but expensive. You might be able to get them for discount or even for free if you're a student. You will also need a good image editing application. There may be other things (I'm not an artist), but those two would be a must for 3d art.

At this juncture it's most important that you pick a discipline. You sound like you just want to make games and you don't really care what you do, but it's important to find what part of making games it is that you're drawn to, otherwise you'll find it very hard to be interested in whatever it is you do.

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>3D Studio Max and Maya are popular...

They are also really expensive and hard to learn. I at one time had pirated versions of these and a book...I had nothing but bad experiences working with them. They also suck up a lot of PC resources.



As far as the rest I want to be a designer...as mentioned. I want to create the worlds and stories. That is if I understand correctly is the job of the Game Designer. I am also good at programming at the level I'm at currently.

I've had RPG maker(PS1 version) and I wanted to create on that but then the more i got into it the more it was off putting as I had to work within game play mechanics that i couldn't alter which just got more and more frustrating.

So considering that would getting say NWN be good to get? Oblivion I think is out of question based on sys requirements...

But now that I think of it, I'm pretty sure my main problem is the scope of my thinking. I want to create on the scale of reality. I want to create a galaxy the size of the real galaxy and a planet the size of a planet. But that's not a bad thing...just a problem with where I am and working on things.

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