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zachprinz

Game Design 210 course in college, worth it?

12 posts in this topic

I'm interested with the technical part of game design like the actual coding much more than the artsy stuff like graphics, story and what not.

 

Has anyone taken a similar course? I don't want to spend 4 hours a week sitting in a circle talking about stuff that is blatantly obvious like progression of difficulty.

 

If the course was going to actually teach me new concepts that are not obvious to anyone who has ever played a video game I would take it, but I'm not sure what it's going to be.

 

Here's a course overview for what it's worth (it doesn't yield much information.)

 

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&ved=0CC8QFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.masongamedesign.org%2Fsyllabi12_13%2FGAME210-002BasicDesignSpring2013Nolan.doc&ei=NpoSUuTaMaukyAHa7oFQ&usg=AFQjCNG7C2UCKNjCHLIbtUZZjIO0raQP8A&sig2=LfOq010uCu-rtMFOD7MduA&bvm=bv.50768961,d.aWc

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I personally feel like college is a waste of time and money. Everything you could ever want to learn can be found online and I actually learn much more from youtube tutorials than my lectures. I'm just about to finish my degree in software engineering, but if I could go back I wouldn't have even bothered enrolling for university. If you're just in it for the credential then by all means go for it, otherwise I would just find a free course outline and teach yourself the interesting stuff.

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I'm interested with the technical part of game design like the actual coding

 

So, you aren't talking about "game design" at all -- you're talking about the technical part of game development (the whole process, not just the design part of that process), is that right?  Because design itself is mostly non-technical.

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Wow.  It looks like REALLY IS a game design class that covers some aspects of design.  Usually they are programming classes that get called design. Reading it over, it the course looks like it is about 1/3 design, 1/2 programming, and a little bit of other business tasks for the rest... but that's better than normal.

 

If you are interested in the course, take it.  Take courses because they expand your knowledge and expose you to new ideas, or take the course because it makes you a better human being.

 

Their courses are an interesting mix. A bit of industry history, a bit of animation exposure, a bit of programming exposure, a bit of music, a bit of film, for an arts degree. While much better than most "game design" courses, I'm still not entirely sure what major studio would hire such a graduate as an entry-level designer.

 

Tom has an excellent collection of articles focused on designers that I suggest you read if you haven't already. Note something that his advice frequently repeats: Game designer is not an entry level position.  You need to get into the industry doing something else.  The most reliable entry methods to the game industry are as a programmer, modeler, animator, or artist. Less reliable are QA and business support roles. Almost completely unreliable paths are production, audio, and design: you can try to break in with them, and a small number of people have done it, but your odds are better choosing things like being a career gambler.

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Game design?

 

Cool!

 

Who's teaching it?

 

Sid Meier?

 

Will Wright?

 

or some guy we've never heard of?

 

think about it....

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BTW, you'd be so jealous....

 

i got to attend Abrash's lecture on building the Quake engine at CGDC 96.

 

now THAT'S the kind of lecture you want to attend.

 

 

[edit]

 

you know the old saying:

 

"them that can, do.  them that can't, teach.  them that can't teach, administrate."

Edited by Norman Barrows
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"Design" in anything software related isn't about coding at all from my experience. Much like what architecture is to laying bricks (except that laying "code" bricks its actually pretty entertaining). My 2 cents.

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Game design? 
Cool! 
Who's teaching it? 
Sid Meier? 
Will Wright? 
or some guy we've never heard of?
 
think about it....
I don't agree with that kind of philosophy. It depends on who is that guy you've never heard of.

 

You 'know' they are talented because of their fame; that does not mean people that didn't make the news aren't.

As much as we can learn valuable things from these 'special cases' people, so can we learn from active game designers currently working for a living under studios like Naughty Dog, Bethesda, etc.

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Game design?

 

Cool!

 

Who's teaching it?

 

Sid Meier?

 

Will Wright?

 

or some guy we've never heard of?

 

think about it....

And? One of my most worthwhile classes was Intro to Computer Graphics, which was taught by someone who, in your eyes, probably wasn't "qualified" because he was neither famous nor a seasoned professional. And yet, it was in that class that I finally understood the shader pipeline and the basics of modern graphics programming. Before that class, shaders (and everything that went with them) confused the crap out of me, largely because of so many outdated and defunct OpenGL tutorials that made finding proper tutorials difficult for me.

 

Just because subject X may not be taught by God of Subject X doesn't necessarily mean that a class isn't worth taking.

 

@OP: I would suggest just contacting the professor. I've done this several times when considering what courses to take, and the additional insights of the professors has been very useful to me. You can tell him where you're at, what you're looking for, and ask for more details about what the class will offer (sure, there's a basic description, but by talking to him a little you can learn if it's going to be too basic or slow for you).

 

Another thing you can do is sign up for the class and then sign up for another back up class. If the game design class seems like it's going to be good after the first few days, drop your back up class. If the game design class doesn't seem like something you'd enjoy after a few days, drop it and just take your back up class. Of course, different universities have different policies on dropping classes, but at my university we have a week or two grace period, so this method works out decently enough.

Edited by Cornstalks
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Wow.  It looks like REALLY IS a game design class that covers some aspects of design.  Usually they are programming classes that get called design. Reading it over, it the course looks like it is about 1/3 design, 1/2 programming, and a little bit of other business tasks for the rest... but that's better than normal.

 

If you are interested in the course, take it.  Take courses because they expand your knowledge and expose you to new ideas, or take the course because it makes you a better human being.

 

Their courses are an interesting mix. A bit of industry history, a bit of animation exposure, a bit of programming exposure, a bit of music, a bit of film, for an arts degree. While much better than most "game design" courses, I'm still not entirely sure what major studio would hire such a graduate as an entry-level designer.

 

Tom has an excellent collection of articles focused on designers that I suggest you read if you haven't already. Note something that his advice frequently repeats: Game designer is not an entry level position.  You need to get into the industry doing something else.  The most reliable entry methods to the game industry are as a programmer, modeler, animator, or artist. Less reliable are QA and business support roles. Almost completely unreliable paths are production, audio, and design: you can try to break in with them, and a small number of people have done it, but your odds are better choosing things like being a career gambler.

 

Yeah, I'm majoring in computer science. I'm taking this course because I would like to work making games. My courses will be literally 100% computer science (+ some animation.) If I chose that path.  However I appreciate you're comment pertaining to what you got from the syllabus, that made me feel more confident that I will get something out of this. 

 

Game design?

 

Cool!

 

Who's teaching it?

 

Sid Meier?

 

Will Wright?

 

or some guy we've never heard of?

 

think about it....

 

BTW, you'd be so jealous....

 

i got to attend Abrash's lecture on building the Quake engine at CGDC 96.

 

now THAT'S the kind of lecture you want to attend.

 

[edit]

 

you know the old saying:

 

"them that can, do.  them that can't, teach.  them that can't teach, administrate."

 

I respect that opinion and I find myself thinking that these people are just trying to teach me how to emulate what other, innovative people have done. But the education can't hurt if for nothing else than to broaden my view of games.

 

@newVoxel, (I can't add another multiquote and it's like 4 so I am not going to try) I've always heard software engineering is more of a business side to computer science. I love teaching myself stuff. I've literally taught myself everything I know, and I'd like to think I'm a fairly capable programmer. But I really hope you're incorrect on the points you make. As nerdy as it sounds I'm actually looking forward to learning in college.

 

I think I'm going to add the course. Like cornstalks pointed out I could always drop it after I see what it's like.

Edited by zachprinz
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Why do you ask is it worth it?

 

What makes you think that it might not be worth it?

 

What makes you doubt that education of any kind could be a wrong decision?

 

 

 


I think I'm going to add the course. Like cornstalks pointed out I could always drop it after I see what it's like.

 

Are you tuition fee then not wasted?

Edited by Dwarf King
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I think I'm going to add the course. Like cornstalks pointed out I could always drop it after I see what it's like.

Are you tuition fee then not wasted?

Many schools won't charge you for classes that you drop during their grace period.

Edited by Cornstalks
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I think I'm going to add the course. Like cornstalks pointed out I could always drop it after I see what it's like.

Are you tuition fee then not wasted?

Many schools won't charge you for classes that you drop during their grace period.

 

Well then I guess this is a no brainer, the OP should check it out :)

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As to avoid losing focus, don't just drop the course 'because it's bad'. Drop it because 'you're moving to something better'.

There's a slight difference in that you already know the next step.

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