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Game Programming Certificate

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I currently hold a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Kansas, however at KU I was never really introduced into the 'game programming' side of software engineering. I am planning on taking a game programming certificate course at Johnson County Community College, it is a 30 hour program that concentrates on game programming skills. I wanted to know what all your thoughts were on this as a good/bad idea. I have a strong understanding of OOP and mainly been exposed to C++. Thanks for your replies.

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My personal opinion is that it's probably a waste of time and money.

Objectively, you may gain some useful bits of knowledge from it, depending on the quality of the program (do you have a link to the material it covers), but this knowledge is probably not anything you couldn't acquire on your own. The certificate itself will hardly be worthwhile as the game industry doesn't place a whole lot of emphasis on certification of most kind, in general. Your BS will be worth far more than this certificate will. While I doubt it will hurt you, other than in money lost paying for it, I don't think it will help all that much either.

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Here is the link to the general page of game programming:
http://www.jccc.edu/home/depts.php/1287

Here is the 'certificate' page:
http://www.jccc.edu/home/catalog.php/current/careerprograms/VC-GAMEPROG

I was thinking this program would give me a formal portfolio for game programming positions.

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Quote:

Here is the link to the general page of game programming:
http://www.jccc.edu/home/depts.php/1287

Here is the 'certificate' page:
http://www.jccc.edu/home/catalog.php/current/careerprograms/VC-GAMEPROG

The course descriptions don't seem all that compelling; I'll stick with my assertion that it's nothing you couldn't learn on your own.

Quote:

I was thinking this program would give me a formal portfolio for game programming positions.

It won't. It looks like it will give you, at best, four really small games created as a result of coursework. But that, on its own, will not be a very powerful portfolio, especially since they were done as coursework and not of your own volition.

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toogreat4u,

I both agree and disagree with Josh.

I agree that the certificate will not be worth much as evidence of your education, and that employers are far more likely to look at your general Computer Science Degree for that. However, certificates are as much about learning new things as they are about proving your understanding.

If you're simply looking to acquire new skills in areas you feel you're lacking such as math, physics, AI, and 2D/3D rendering, than taking a 30 hour course such as this could provide you with a chance at developing those skills.

As Josh also pointed out, you may be able to develop these skills on your own, which just depends on how motivated of a learner you are. For example, since this is a community college you should be able to walk right into the bookstore and purchase the textbooks being used by the classes. If you go that route you can read the books, absorb the material, ask questions here on GameDev.net, and then make some demo programs of your own using the material learned from the books.

However, not all people are that self-motivated. Some people need classes to attend, peers to interact with, and teachers to answer questions on a more formal basis. If that sounds more like you, then there's no harm in taking the course in order to develop those missing skills.

Cheers and Good Luck!

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toogreat4u,

I'm not sure which textbooks your college is using, but I thought I'd post some books on Amazon which I've heard good things about, or have read myself.

Microsoft XNA Game Studio 3.0 Unleashed
Chad Carter
ISBN10: 0672330229

Great overall book on 2D/3D Game Programming. It uses C#/XNA, which makes it easy to absorb, and easier to use. This is a good starting book for anyone looking to get into 2D/3D Game programming

XNA Game Studio Express: Developing Games for Windows and the Xbox 360
Joseph B. Hall
ISBN10: 1598633686

This book is a bit dated and focuses entirely on 2D game development with XNA, however it does go through the process of creating a few small games including a Pong clone, Breakout, a Board game, a Top-Down shooter, Solitaire, a Board Game. If you're looking for some hands on experience with something not overly complicated, this is a good start.

RPG Programming with XNA Game Studio 3.0
James E. Perry
1598220659

A complete XNA course on making a 2D RPG game. If you're looking for hands-on experience making a "deeper" game than is contained in Hall's book, this is the one to get.

Math For 3D Game Programming & Computer Graphics
Eric Lengyel
ISBN10: 1584502770

One of the best books on 3D math for game programming.

Artificial Intelligence for Games, Second Edition
Ian Millington
ISBN10: 0123747317

A great introduction to game AI, including the relevant areas, different algorithms, etc... Definitely get this if you're interested at all in AI.

Introduction to 3D Game Programming with Direct X 9.0c: A Shader Approach
Frank Luna
ISBN10: 1598220160

Implemented in C++/DirectX 9c with HLSL, this book covers different rendering techniques, working with the device, etc...This is a great recipe book for HLSL as well.

Introduction to 3D Game Programming with DirectX 10
Frank Luna
ISBN10: 1598220535

The latest version of the previous book, this one focuses on DirectX 10, the next generation of DirectX for people with Vista and Windows 7.

If you pick up these books, read through them, learn the material, and work on 2-3 small games of your own using the information contained in these books you'll have learned everything you'll be taught in the Game Programming Certification Program likely at a fraction of the price. However you won't have the clasroom community, nor a live teacher to ask questions of in person. But... you have us.

Cheers and Good Luck!

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Thanks JWalsh! I appreciate you taking the time to post links to all those books that I would find beneficial. That will be very helpful.

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Since toog already has a degree, and wants to learn about making games, I think the certificate is a great idea. For the learning. Not that it'll make a resume-reader go wow ('cuz it won't, not by itself). Once you've gotten some basics down, you can then start practicing on your own and learning more on your own.

[Edited by - Tom Sloper on January 7, 2010 12:47:27 PM]

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Quote:
Original post by JWalsh
List of books


Nice, I just picked up some of these books myself. Still waiting on some, but the ones I have been reading have been very useful.

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To expand on what JWalsh almost got to...

It may also be a great place to meet local people that are interested in this topic. You may very well find another programmer such as yourself... Bam, wonder team powers unite [grin]

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