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Theonekiller

Video Game College or Normal College

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Hi im currently in Grade11 and im looking for colleges to enroll in, to further continue my education in video game development. I was wondering if i should take a normal college first and then after i earn my degree go to a specialized video game development and design college. Or right after high school take the Specialized Video game and development course. I am not to sure about what to do at this point. Any help would be grateful thanks. Also on a side note im not very good in math, But i do excel in my computer science class and my computer art/animation courses. This is why im searching for a college

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I think the general consensus is normal college and get a BS in computer science (assuming you want to be a programmer). The "problem" with video game specific is that it pigeon holes you un-necessarily into games. i.e. you're just as likely to get hired with a standard BS (arguably more likely) but with a standard BS you also have the flexibility to move to any industry and be a programmer in the event you decide you hate working in games (which happens often)

-me

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Original post by Wavinator
I'm going to move this over to our new Breaking into the Games Industry forum where I think you'll get better help.


oooh ok thanks

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Oh and about that math, my experience may help you a bit:

I'm one of those folks that's fine with logic but pretty lousy at math, and that made for a lot of missed opportunities when I worked in games. If I could give any advice to someone in a similar boat I'd say do everything you can to learn it-- get tutors, play math-oriented computer games, give yourself little projects that teach a concept, even seek out books that might teach it in an unconventional style-- anything you can do to get past this barrier. I'm not sure if it's the same for you as it is for me but I can't seem to retain math when it's taught in a dry, abstract fashion (which seems to be the traditional method). You may find math easier to take in if you can find a way to make it relevant to the things you care about or want to do.

FWIW

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Original post by Wavinator
Oh and about that math, my experience may help you a bit:

I'm one of those folks that's fine with logic but pretty lousy at math, and that made for a lot of missed opportunities when I worked in games. If I could give any advice to someone in a similar boat I'd say do everything you can to learn it-- get tutors, play math-oriented computer games, give yourself little projects that teach a concept, even seek out books that might teach it in an unconventional style-- anything you can do to get past this barrier. I'm not sure if it's the same for you as it is for me but I can't seem to retain math when it's taught in a dry, abstract fashion (which seems to be the traditional method). You may find math easier to take in if you can find a way to make it relevant to the things you care about or want to do.

FWIW


Yea i think that is my problem exactly i just cant learn math in a traditional way, just something about it that makes me forget and make mistakes. If you dont mind may i ask what you missed out on because you weren't to good at math? im just interested to know if im headed in the same direction as you.

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I've been to a regular college(s) and I'm currently in a game specific college (Full Sail). Having a strong regular computer science background makes learning the game development stuff much easier IMHO. Plus schools like this really skimp on the math, so you'll come out of a regular college much more well rounded. That said if you want to learn how to program and get your feet wet right away then a school like Full Sail might be more your style. Getting a degree in less than two years is a huge plus, but you're not going to get the depth you'd get at other schools.

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Original post by Dwiff
I've been to a regular college(s) and I'm currently in a game specific college (Full Sail). Having a strong regular computer science background makes learning the game development stuff much easier IMHO. Plus schools like this really skimp on the math, so you'll come out of a regular college much more well rounded. That said if you want to learn how to program and get your feet wet right away then a school like Full Sail might be more your style. Getting a degree in less than two years is a huge plus, but you're not going to get the depth you'd get at other schools.


So what would you recommend? i really feel that i will stick with game industry so being well rounded isent really a big worry for me. And like you said is it better if i get my " Feet wet ", and go right away to game design and development school and getting my degree in less than two years, does it increase my chances of getting employed?. Rather than just going to a normal college and getting a degree there?

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Original post by Theonekiller
So what would you recommend? i really feel that i will stick with game industry so being well rounded isent really a big worry for me. And like you said is it better if i get my " Feet wet ", and go right away to game design and development school and getting my degree in less than two years, does it increase my chances of getting employed?. Rather than just going to a normal college and getting a degree there?


Playing around at home on your own time making games is one thing. Wait until you get a couple of weeks of 12 hour days doing uninteresting things for crunch time. You can very quickly loose your desire to make games professionaly. Also being well rounded with things like history and economics transfers over to the game design process. And its certainly not going to put you above all the unemployed people who have regular four year degrees and published games to their credit. Given past experience with people from "game schools" many places will just trash a resume if thats where you went to school. Nearly no place is going to trash a resume with a four year college on it.



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I'm going to throw in my reply to another thread with an identical question, as I did go through the same process and have landed on the University end for what I feel is the better.

From: http://www.gamedev.net/community/forums/topic.asp?topic_id=566038

I'm going to put my vote in for a University on this one. I spent a good month or two on the fence when it came to Full Sail/Digipen or going to a University (Such as UW Seattle, UM Twin Cities, or Iowa State, all of which have great CS programs). I thought it would be great going to a game specific school, fast track my way into the industry, do what I THINK I want to do. In the end I (with talk on here, my school advisor, and parents) decided to head towards University lane, Iowa State to be specific, why? Because I'll have more security in my choices.

Right now I'm realizing how much work a game or simple mod can truly be, and can see how quickly I could have burned out at Full Sail or Digipen. Along with that, I would have completely missed the opportunity to further myself in math (as most Univ's will require you to head into/past calculus) and even find a minor that interests me and gives me even more options after college if game design/programming doesn't work out (Meteorology).

Overall I think you will be MUCH more pleased with yourself in choosing a University over such a specific school. What if you burn out or even lose a job later on? You're skill set is going to be significantly limited relative to the guy in the same situation who graduated at a University, and even more so if they double majored or minored. Hope this helps mate, but remember that its just an opinion! I've heard people who have loved every minute at Digipen (no one I know when to Full Sail) and wouldn't regret it.

Justin

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Original post by Tom Sloper
Theo,
I repeat my recommendation that you View Forum FAQ (above).


I have Tom, im just getting more than one persons opinion :)

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Original post by Theonekiller
I have Tom

Glad to hear it.


quick question Tom, What level of Math do you think i should study towards?

For example
i could take Advanced Functions in Gr12
or i can take Gr12 Advanced Functions and then Calculus and Vectors

But then again im not to good at math , but im not bad at Com Sci

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Original post by Theo Nekiller
What level of Math do you think i should study towards?

Don't stop taking higher levels of math until you reach your level of incompetence. In other words, challenge yourself and take math as far as you can.

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Quote:
Original post by Theo Nekiller
What level of Math do you think i should study towards?

Don't stop taking higher levels of math until you reach your level of incompetence. In other words, challenge yourself and take math as far as you can.


Yea i see what your saying but my level of math is pretty low sadly im not to sure if im just not trying. But at this point im pretty sure i have reached my limit, and its making me very worried about what im going to do with my math knowledge

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Original post by Theonekiller
Yea i see what your saying but my level of math is pretty low sadly im not to sure if im just not trying.

Find out.
Quote:
But at this point im pretty sure i have reached my limit,

You can only do that which is possible for you to do.
Quote:
and its making me very worried about what im going to do with my math knowledge

Worrying about something you can't control is pretty pointless.

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Original post by Tom Sloper
Quote:
Original post by Theonekiller
Yea i see what your saying but my level of math is pretty low sadly im not to sure if im just not trying.

Find out.
Quote:
But at this point im pretty sure i have reached my limit,

You can only do that which is possible for you to do.
Quote:
and its making me very worried about what im going to do with my math knowledge

Worrying about something you can't control is pretty pointless.


Its true i cant really control my math knowledge, but if need to learn something special thats math related in game design/development i might be able to give that extra push and learn. Would you please be able to tell me what those things are?

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I go to DigiPen, and I think the only advantage over normal colleges are the graphics courses and the forced game teams.

Here you take two classes on 2D and 3D software rasterization, a class on shaders (Phong lighting, shadows, reflection, refraction, bump mapping, etc.), and a class on graphical optimizations (BSP, octree, kd-tree, occlusion, ray casting, etc.). Those are required. Then there is a more open class on advanced graphical techniques with shaders. There's an character animation class that includes IK and rigid-body physics. The next animation class goes over particle systems, fluid simulations, flocking, and more. Also a class on ray tracing. Of course, there's a pretty large amount of math classes to support all of that.

The forced game teams are nice. It helps everyone get used to working on small teams and experience working on a game with help from the instructors. We also get pretty good access to the artists (at junior/senior level) in the art program at DigiPen. At a normal college, setting up a team and working on a game would most likely have to be arranged outside of class. It also helps when the other instructors know when a milestone is coming up for game class, and they can ease their homework load for a week.

Other than that, you could probably get a good enough experience elsewhere, but I do think DigiPen's graphics courses are pretty good. If that's what you're interested in, this may be a good route.

But there are a lot of classes that suck. Except for AI with the magnificently-bearded Steve Rabin.

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Original post by Theo Neckkiller
Its true i cant really control my math knowledge, but if need to learn something special thats math related in game design/development i might be able to give that extra push and learn.

I never said otherwise.
Quote:
Would you please be able to tell me what those things are?

No. Give that extra push to everything.

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Theo, when it comes to math, just don't stop. Start with trig and analytic geometry, then move on to calculus (a MUST), and after that, don't just assume you're "set", pursue statistics/probability, differential equations, linear algebra, etc.

Personally I'm not a huge fan, and I actually struggle quite a bit with it and always have, but even though I'm not that whiz kid acing the tests, I'm already finding myself passing the general collection of my peers, and I know that will come in handy. With Computer Science courses, a lot of examples are based off calculus or statistics (at least here at Iowa State) and they have all said that we better get comfortably with our math.

It bites, it really does, but don't think of it in terms of learning X, Y, and Z bits of math and bingo, you know everything you need to know. The more you learn the better. Unfortunately there isn't a cookie cutter answer to this question mate, so there's only so much anyone can suggest besides keep advancing as far as you can. Hope this helps!

Justin

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I thank evreyone for there opinion and i understand what evreyone is trying to say. To go as far as you can, but the furthest i have gone isent even really useful. I havent even got to Calculus and im struggling alot in math. So i cant really even see myself even futher like statistics/probability, differential equations, linear algebra.

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If you are going to follow a computer science (programming) path, I would definitely recommend going to a regular college/university. Noticing you're from Richmond Hill, University of Waterloo and University of Toronto both have computer science programs and their fairly close to where you live. Most of the programmers at my studio are Waterloo graduates.

While it is possible to get into the industry with a college degree (I went to Seneca College in Toronto), I've seen more University grads in the industry. I believe passion and creating a good portfolio will speak for itself though, so if your committed don't let anyone stop you. Interesting note, I think there's one other programmer besides myself of the 16-20 we have that went to college.

Good Luck with everything.

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Original post by Theonekiller
I thank evreyone for there opinion and i understand what evreyone is trying to say. To go as far as you can, but the furthest i have gone isent even really useful. I havent even got to Calculus and im struggling alot in math. So i cant really even see myself even futher...

You didn't hear a word any of us have said to you. It's pointless to tell you anything, because you just argue against it and say none of the answers apply to you.
Although I'm wasting the effort, I repeat:
You can only do that which is possible for you to do.
Work as hard as you are able, and nobody can fault you if you reach your limits, because your limits are your limits.
Worrying about something you can't control (like your limitations) is pretty pointless.
Play the game of life the best you can with the cards you have been dealt. That's what all of us do, including the best players.

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