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Haldiron

Game Institute

11 posts in this topic

Hello All, I'm new here. Just a little background about myself. I have a 4 year B.S. degree in an unrelated field. I have spent the last 7 years in the Financial/Banking industry. I've decided that now is the time for a career change. I'm an aspiring developer looking for a few answers. This isn't just a whim. I've been thinking about this for a very long time. I've done a little research and have had numerous opinions on where to begin, depending on who I've asked. My first goal is to learn the necessary skills needed to break into the industry. Some have recommended going back to a well known University for another degree, while others have recommended a degree at a game school. Of course there is also the self teach approach. Another idea I had was looking at Game Institute. It's not a traditional school to be sure, but it is affordable and looks to have some interesting information. I'm just looking for a little advise. Thanks for listening, -Haldiron
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Original post by Hodgman
You haven't told us what field you want to go into ;)

"Developer" is an umbrella term for all of the dozen professions that may work on a game.


Yes, it is. :) I'd like to learn a little bit of everything, from a technical perspective: programming, level design, game design, etc.
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Original post by Haldiron
I'd like to learn a little bit of everything, from a technical perspective: programming, level design, game design, etc.

Unfortunately that will make you the least qualified applicant for a much wider range of jobs. The industry has progressed to a stage where it wants specialists so you need to make sure you are really good at one thing. Yes, by all means learn about other roles but when breaking in you need to be really good at one thing.
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Original post by Obscure
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Original post by Haldiron
I'd like to learn a little bit of everything, from a technical perspective: programming, level design, game design, etc.

Unfortunately that will make you the least qualified applicant for a much wider range of jobs. The industry has progressed to a stage where it wants specialists so you need to make sure you are really good at one thing. Yes, by all means learn about other roles but when breaking in you need to be really good at one thing.


I know what you are are saying and I agree; focus in one area. I would like to have a background on the whole process as well. No one has said anything about Game Institute. Does anyone have experience with their courses? Is it a worthwhile investment of my time?
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...btw level design is what I'm most interested in.
In that case, you should have already created level mods for quite a few games --- just like artists make drawings in their free time and programmers will write code on their own.

If that is what you are interested in, then you should have several real examples that demonstrate how well you do it. Turn them in to a portfolio. Then apply at various companies and send in your portfolio.


Be aware that there is very little demand for level designers. There are few of them on most projects, and they are generally promoted from within. In order to get a job from the outside you will need to apply during the very rare window when a studio needs one, AND when they have no other talent in studio to fill it, AND when you are the best qualified, better than the thousands of currently laid-off games workers.

Be prepared with a Plan B, and Plan C, and Plan D, if you don't get your dream job through Plan A.

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Original post by Haldiron
...btw level design is what I'm most interested in.
In that case, you should have already created level mods for quite a few games --- just like artists make drawings in their free time and programmers will write code on their own.

If that is what you are interested in, then you should have several real examples that demonstrate how well you do it. Turn them in to a portfolio. Then apply at various companies and send in your portfolio.


Be aware that there is very little demand for level designers. There are few of them on most projects, and they are generally promoted from within. In order to get a job from the outside you will need to apply during the very rare window when a studio needs one, AND when they have no other talent in studio to fill it, AND when you are the best qualified, better than the thousands of currently laid-off games workers.

Be prepared with a Plan B, and Plan C, and Plan D, if you don't get your dream job through Plan A.


I know exactly what you mean. My plan is to just get a job, any job, in the industry, and then show them what I am capable of. Before applying, I plan to get the training I need and put together a professional looking portfolio/DVD. Educaion/training was my main reason for this thread. Any ideas? I mentioned Game Institute in an earlier post.
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Well, I haven't gotten many responses, so maybe I should simplify my question. I already have a degree in a non-related field. I have 10 years of experience in business, but have never held a technology related job. Knowing this, what would be the best approach to get the training I need? What would you do in my situation?
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First off, I agree with the previous posts... if you want to make a career out of game development, then you'll need to specialize. If you want to know a little of everything, that's okay, but in this economy, if you want a job, then you'll need to be good at one thing. That one thing can be level design, programming, art, game design, project management, etc. Do you have experience in any of those areas?

Moving on to your original question, I've purchased a couple of courses at GameInstitute. They have programming courses most of all, and a few 3DS Max courses for artists. Do you have programming experience or art experience? If you're getting started with programming and want to learn by doing game programming, I don't recommend GameInstitute (not yet anyways). If you're really interested in programming, then write some code on your own or follow free online tutorials. Next step: make a game. Start with something simple like tic tac toe if you want. Just make sure you finish what you started. Then keep going with asteroids or other games with more rules.

I can't talk about GameInstitute's 3ds max courses because I haven't taken them, but I would also suggest downloading free 3d modeling software and trying it out beforehand to see if it's something you're interested in. It's nice that you've done research, but you also need to know if you're passionate about making games. That's why I suggest trying out with free tools before spending any money on it.

Like frob said, Level Design is a difficult area to get into. GameInstitute doesn't offer level design courses AFAIK, but there are many tools to practice level design. You can try making mods for games like Unreal or Half-Life 2. You can try tools like Unity or Torque. Also, this sounds obvious, but tailor your portfolio to the company and job you want. If you want to work in 3D level design, make good 3d levels. If you want to work in 2D level design, make 2D levels.

Hope I've helped...

EDIT: my personal experience with GameInstitute was good for the most part. I think their courses are good, but you need to be ready for them. The first course I took was way over my head at the time. The next one I did better. So if you want to purchase courses, go over the table of contents for their books and other materials, and research the topics to see if you're at that level.
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Original post by Haldiron
Well, I haven't gotten many responses, so maybe I should simplify my question. I already have a degree in a non-related field. I have 10 years of experience in business, but have never held a technology related job. Knowing this, what would be the best approach to get the training I need? What would you do in my situation?

Ah. FAQ 41: http://sloperama.com/advice/lesson41.htm
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Original post by gsamour
First off, I agree with the previous posts... if you want to make a career out of game development, then you'll need to specialize. If you want to know a little of everything, that's okay, but in this economy, if you want a job, then you'll need to be good at one thing. That one thing can be level design, programming, art, game design, project management, etc. Do you have experience in any of those areas?

Moving on to your original question, I've purchased a couple of courses at GameInstitute. They have programming courses most of all, and a few 3DS Max courses for artists. Do you have programming experience or art experience? If you're getting started with programming and want to learn by doing game programming, I don't recommend GameInstitute (not yet anyways). If you're really interested in programming, then write some code on your own or follow free online tutorials. Next step: make a game. Start with something simple like tic tac toe if you want. Just make sure you finish what you started. Then keep going with asteroids or other games with more rules.

I can't talk about GameInstitute's 3ds max courses because I haven't taken them, but I would also suggest downloading free 3d modeling software and trying it out beforehand to see if it's something you're interested in. It's nice that you've done research, but you also need to know if you're passionate about making games. That's why I suggest trying out with free tools before spending any money on it.

Like frob said, Level Design is a difficult area to get into. GameInstitute doesn't offer level design courses AFAIK, but there are many tools to practice level design. You can try making mods for games like Unreal or Half-Life 2. You can try tools like Unity or Torque. Also, this sounds obvious, but tailor your portfolio to the company and job you want. If you want to work in 3D level design, make good 3d levels. If you want to work in 2D level design, make 2D levels.

Hope I've helped...

EDIT: my personal experience with GameInstitute was good for the most part. I think their courses are good, but you need to be ready for them. The first course I took was way over my head at the time. The next one I did better. So if you want to purchase courses, go over the table of contents for their books and other materials, and research the topics to see if you're at that level.


Thanks for the info. Your suggestions sound like a good starting point. My strengths probably lie more on the technical side then the artistic side. However, I'm williing to try just about anything, if it will help me get where I want to be. I know there are many programming tutorials out there. Do you know of some good ones to look at? Any free programs like 3DS? I have done some modding. That's how I got interested in level design. But as you mentioned, it is unlikely I would be hired for that. Learning to program could be a way in the door. I would also need to build a strong portfolio, but it is at least a starting point.
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