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Full Sail?

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Hi there. I'm interested in going into game development, and I've been looking at Full Sail University. http://www.fullsail.edu/ I was wondering if anyone knew if it was good or not. Thanks

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I've heard mixed things about full sail. When I went to visit a while back it felt more like a factory than a school. Like everything they showed was more about looking impressive than being impressive. One of my teachers when I went to Digipen used to say "full sail, but sinking".

Digipen seems to be less about show and more about results. There's also a bunch of state schools picking up game programming and design programs that emphasize general education a little more.

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Quote:
Original post by Wewt
I was wondering if anyone knew if it was good or not.

Good in what way?

They both provide educational courses, yes.

Hard-working students who complete their programs are able to find jobs, yes.

But the same is true of all other significant schools.


Like many other people on the forum, I discourage a game-specific education. I believe it is too limiting. You are not in the career or industry. You are simply assuming, with an outsiders view, that you want to spend the next 40+ years of your life doing those jobs.

I believe it a wiser course to go to a traditional school and get a traditional Computer Science degree. Neither school actually offers a Computer Science degree, they offer "special trade" degrees in computers.

If you decide that the games industry isn't for you, or if you decide to take a break from the industry, or if you have difficulty finding a job, then a game-specific non CS degree will hurt you.


I believe the most financially sound path is to get an associates degree from a community college or state university, and then finish the bachelors degree at a state school or better known university if you prefer.


But do as you will.

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I went to Full Sail for the Game Development Degree and personally I liked it, I did originally have my eyes fixed on Digipen but ultimately decided ( for my own reasons ) that Full Sail was right for me, the teachers are knowledgeable and they're up to date on the technology. They may be focused as a "Game Development" degree, but I'm actually doing network programming for military simulations after doing the game scene for 3 years. So don't just think that you have to do games with this degree, I don't have a traditional Computer Science degree either. A word of caution though...I blame Full Sail for fueling the fire of not being able to take more than 3 years of the game industry doing class 8 hours a day ( no, joke class is 4 hours with a 4 hour lab ) for 5 days of the week. They do you a favor of showing you exactly how the industry functions ( crunches, lots of overtime especially when it comes to your final project ), but on the upside you get a bachelors in 22 months. Here is what I would recommend; get a traditional computer science degree then attend full sail. In the end if you decide that games is not for you ( as it wasn't for me with a wife and 2 kids ) you have something tangible on your resume...I believe my resume was looked over alot despite have 5 years of Cpp experience, etc... because the education section on my resume said "Bachelors of Science in Game Development". There's my 2 cents. If you want more info on Full Sail from first hand experience just shoot me a PM

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Like the person above me, whom if I am not mistaken I was classmates with at Full Sail, I seriously enjoyed the education I received. I'd like to point out that I had my eyes set on Digipen, and that would have been my first school of choice but it was not financially possible, and Full Sail was.

Pros:
-> Accelerated Program: A 4-year degree in only 22-months.
-> I can go back and brush up on any class again, for free, pending availability. This might not sound important, but if I was to find a low cost living situation for 2 months, I would go refresh a few courses so I could have more immediate knowledge.
-> Fitting. All classes are aimed at Game Development in one way or another. The 'english' of a typical college is fit into making a Game Design or Technical Documents. Same with most of the math classes, although some of those could be improved.
-> Shows what crunch time is all about, as well as working in team environments.

Cons:
-> The grueling pace means you need to study on your own. Topics are briefly touched at times; and you need to take your own initiative to follow it.
-> I can agree with some of the "looking impressive" comment above, but they do throw a lot of useful information at you as well.
-> Grueling Schedule, don't plan on working while attending.
-> Changing Schedule, 9am to 5pm one day, 5pm to 1am the next. Schedules change each month, not much notice. Planning vacations back and forth was challenging with this changing schedule.
-> Cost.


I was told, before going to Full Sail, to look into state universities or community colleges to get a simple software engineering degree. I can't say whether or not that would have been the better choice, but it would have been cheaper. Nothing can replace the experiences I've had, but I will be paying loans off for a long time to come.

Full Sail worked for me because I was motivated to keep learning outside of school, ask about anyone that knew me. If I wasn't doing school work, I was reinforcing that knowledge with personal projects, constantly. This type of initiative is important to this school / program, and without it I would recommend a different school. Getting in and out had it's benefits, before my highschool 'friends' thought about what they wanted their degree to be, I had already graduated.

Also, feel free to PM/E-mail for more experiences.

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[quote]Original post by blackbird04217
cut for length[quote]

curious, but do you think that Full Sail accurately prepared you for work in the industry? Not counting your side projects and learning, was there anything lacking in their education?

@OP: One thing often overlooked when people go into "game schools" is that you miss out on a lot of general education. They're usually required to have "general education" classes, but they are usually very specific to the degree rather than truly being general. While this might prepare you better for work, you may miss out on a better world conciousness.

Just something to note. I went to Digipen for a semester, and left because I felt like I was being pigeon holed into a very specific skillset, which wouldn't really help much if I moved up in whatever organization I worked in.

One good thing about Digipen/Full Sail/etc is that you can get a lot of great connections pretty quickly. when you consider the cost of developing those connections outside one of those schools(especially if you aren't in a game development hub city) it becomes something to consider. Spend a couple thousand dollars a year going to GDC or other conferences.

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My very best friend whom I went to high school with is staying back in our home town attending community college, and I feel like he's just drowning in all the general education requirements. His problem is that he doesn't really have a passion. He doesn't know what he wants to do. So in the meantime he's pursuing an associate's degree, which is more or less just general education. He feels like he's wasting his time studying subjects he has no interest in and will never use, and I've come to agree with him (for reasons that would require you to know him in person).

I've put a lot of thought into what sort of educational environment would be good for him, and I don't know the answer. I suspect that a school like Full Sail would be a good fit: the pace would force him to get work done, and the focus would keep him interested. [He's not actually interested in game development, so this example is more hypothetical than anything.] But Full Sail is too expensive for him.

The point of this is that some people are not well-suited for the traditional college experience. Or perhaps that sentence should be flipped around: the traditional college experience is not well-suited for some people. And for these people I think a place like Full Sail, despite what may be said about it, could be a great place for them to find friends, passion, focus, and productivity.

For people who can provide themselves with sufficient focus and who will actually benefit from general education, I'd recommend a general computer science degree. For the rest, I think it's unwise to discount places like Full Sail so quickly. Not everybody will fit the "mold" of traditional higher education, and I think it's oppressive if anything to expect them to.

The above anecdote is just one of many. I started college at an average public state university, and I would wager 90% of my peers could not provide themselves with sufficient focus and did not benefit from the general education classes. This is because the traditional educational environment is extremely poorly suited for most people, even though society indoctrinates people into thinking it's perfect for them.

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My advice: go with the more comprehensive education; not the one that will get you out the door faster.

Depending on which section in game development you're interested in (Programming, Art, Design, Audio?), you'll have different options for schools; and likewise different factors to consider. For programming though, I suggest going with something that gives you a degree (not a certificate).

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Hello, the following that I will post is completely true. I am an ex student of one of Full Sail's online programs. I don't know the quality of on campus education, but as far as the quality of the online education goes, I can sincerely say that it is way below the average. Don't get me wrong for a second, I have been a very successful student my whole life, and I put much effort into each assignment, as I believe that being self taught besides your regular education is very, very important.

At my online courses, the feedback that I received from instructors from full sail was close to nothing. Full sail boasts how their instructors are people in the industry, but what they don't tell you is that the people that are actually grading your homework and giving you feedback are assistant instructors, not the instructor himself. I repeat, this is for the online programs. I dont know about the on campus ones.

Also, there are this virtual classrooms that are called WIMBA sessions. They are designed for the purpose of the students receiving feedback from instructors, as well as having a one on one chat about the subject at hand. Well, I was in several wimba sessions that lasted less than 3 minutes because "students didn't have questions." You won't receive any inside opinions, networking, or even advice from their instructors. Please don't expect it.

Also, the education is based on podcasts (videos) that are not done by the instructor of the course, but rather by an assistant instructor or even a student worker (yes, that really happened). Several times I was watching podcasts for an art class done in photoshop, while the actual assignment had to be done traditionally. This happened the other way around too.

Feedback is done through the chat client ichat. You can expect to have a feedback for an art assignment be as extended as "That looks very good, I would just correct X thing." Later on (2 weeks on average) you will have your grade posted with no feedback at all, or an explanation of why you didn't get an 100 because of something not even mentioned in the critique. I averaged perhaps a 93-95 on assignments, but on high scores, there's no feedback given.

I could really go on and on, but coming to think of it, posting here won't really make much of a difference. All I have left to say is, that if you plan on taking their online course, DO NOT TAKE IT, you will just be throwing away your money. If you want to go on campus, well do your research and make sure that their education is good. Take advice only from people that have actually gone through the complete program.

As for me, I got out of there after a few months of coursing and got into another online school. This other school's quality of instructor feedback and instruction videos are so much better than full sails. I am very glad I got out of the whole supposedly real world education from full sail.

I would really wish I could talk one on one with anyone reading this and give them the necessary info that would prove my credibility, but I can't put any contact info as maybe this would get back to me in some way.

Good luck to anyone who is reading this out there, if you want GOOD education for this industry, try the following schools: Vancouver film school, Gnomon school of visual effects, Academy of Arts, Digipen, amongst others. Please, avoid Full Sail's online program, do your research.

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I am a current student at full sail.
I do not actually know how the industry will actually be after school, but i find that this school works perfectly for me.

Its more of a mind thing than anything else. Everything they teach you (even in English classes and math classes) is geared specifically for game development. There aren't any fluff classes that when i went to normal college i couldn't stand to even sit in.

For me i had decided game development was something i really wanted to do after a lot of research and full sail allows my mind to stay interested and the school forces you to actually attend every class at a very fast pace.

In my opinion I'd say its something you have to really research and decide which experience is better for you.

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Personally I'm dubious of the implication that everything has to be "geared towards game development". I feel that the people who take that course are fundamentally locking themselves into a path of repeating what came before. Yes there are exceptions (the Portal group seems like the best example), but the simple truth is that those are people who would excel anywhere.

But it always struck me as incredibly pompous to proclaim some part of your education not relevant to your career that you know nothing about.

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Here is my 2 cents, you may goto a gaming school, but what if you don't get a chance to work for a gaming company, you don't have a well rounded degree and hence your degree isn't going to help you much since you are probably not going to take any kind of business classes and speech, things that jobs will want you to have if you were to want to take the step up into management or something that isn't about game development. I myself find that I am almost done with college with my major geared towards programming, but now I am moving where I might not have the chance to get a programming job due to limited opportunities... well I can tell you this it was a good thing my school is accredited and I have taken speech, math, writing, research, etc... You get the point I am sure! But then again I just might get the job I want there, if they are taking on newly graduated programmers.

Things I would think you would want to find out about these schools,
Accredited: ?
Well-Rounded degree: ? //Always need a contingency plan!

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Full sail is now an accredited university and gives you a bachelors degree instead of an associates degree. which of course was my main reason to even consider attending.

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I used to feel pretty strongly that Full Sail was a second-rate citizen to University. With that said, I think the perception in general is changing. I've met people who attended Full Sail and now work in the industry so I know you can get a job that way.

The biggest benefit I see is that Full Sail offers a course that pretty much guarantees you have a portfolio worth showcasing at the end of your schooling. Traditional University really doesn't encourage this explicitly as I find most courses allow you to focus on smaller projects which may not be showcase-able outside of your studies, and many of the courses I took frowned on doing game related tasks.

At the end of the day you have to make a decision based on your actual career goals. Personally I figure university doesn't really matter, it's what you can do (and demonstrate that you can do) that counts. A strong portfolio, good networking ability, and industry experience is worth more than a degree when applying for work.

Are you getting a degree to help you get a job, or because you want to learn something and achieve self-actualization? This is a trick question because university will achieve neither of these things (at least not directly because of the courses you take.) University for me was a time during which I didn't have to be held accountable for moving on with my life. This was very valuable in allowing me to build personal relationships, become a better programmer, learn that the world is a bigger place than my parents basement, take advantage of the co-op program to wrangle a job at Black Box, and to realize how little I really know about anything and how little other people know as well. It's really an opportunity to see adults as people instead of authority figures, and a chance to grow up.

Overall, university isn't about the classes, it's really what you make it out to be. The goal shouldn't be the degree, and it shouldn't be to get a job, or to really get a lot out of your classes. It should be to get a lot out of yourself. This isn't how I went into it, this is really a retrospective feeling.

[Edited by - M2tM on May 2, 2010 3:26:10 AM]

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Quote:
Original post by ultihero
Full sail is now an accredited university and gives you a bachelors degree instead of an associates degree. which of course was my main reason to even consider attending.


You're right, it is accredited. But it's not regionally accredited so any classes you take there won't transfer to a traditional community or 4-year college.


I'm attending full sail for the online Game Design Bachelors. I would recommend that you do your own projects out of class as well. If you want a good job once you're done, you NEED experience.

Start learning to model, program, design levels, texturing, etc.. All this will pay off in the long run. There is plenty of free software out there to get you some pretty good experience.

Take this time to get yourself under control, work hard and get creative. You will learn alot on your own. And most importantly Have Fun man!!! You're making video games bro!!!!

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