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Flyverse

Should I take game-development-related classes?

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Hi! 

The question in the title probably sounds very broad, so here are a few more informations about myself. I will be starting my undergraduate program in a few days. The program I am doing is a dual degree in business (B.S. of Economics, focused on entrepreneurship) and technology (B.S. of Engineering, focused on Networked Systems / Cloud Computing). If my scholarship somehow happens to cover a 5th year (which isnt the case right now), I'll be doing an accelerated M.S. as well. 

If I were to list the types of projects I'd be interested in doing, the list could get quite long, albeit it does get shortened by the irrationality of some of these ideas. The point of both of these informations:

1. I have quite a few "elective" classes at my University. These can be filled by a wide variety of interesting classes - Including a few classes about game design and development. 

2. One major interest of mine would still be to get into the industry and develop a game (More as an indie studio than a developer at a big company, however. As I said previously though, it isn't my only interest: which is why I'm unsure of what to do. 

Basically, my question is whether I should fill the majority of these electives with the game development related classes, or classes of a completely different nature. 

I know that I read somewhere that one doesn't have to study something related to games in order to break into the industry, but the descriptions of the classes do sound very interesting, so I am truly unsure of what to do. 

Another factor that may play a role is how I've "acted" the previous years; one may see from my previous posts that I've been interested in game making for a long time, but ALWAYS, without exception, fail at finishing a project of mine. At one point I just start heavily procrastinating until I get an idea for an entirely different project and drop the old one. I know that this is a habit that I will have to somehow drop regardless of the industry I will be getting myself into, but I thought that I'd just out it out here for more information. 

 

So, yeah - That's it. I'd really appreciate some advice :)! 

 

Thank you very much, and have a nice day. 

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If you're interested in studying something, that is enough reason to study it.

You mention your scholarship. Having the money to pay for the classes is important.  In that case you need to prioritize.  You write you are focusing on a business degree, so those should be highest priority.  If you can get all your business courses completed and have room for classes outside your major, take the classes, but be careful that it doesn't harm your primary study. It will take time, so if you aren't getting A's in all your other central courses then you probably should spend your time on those, first.

Before you take classes outside what the degree requires, talk to your department's academic adviser. You might be better off by doing something called "auditing" the other classes. That can mean taking the class on a pass/fail basis, or where you attend but don't get a grade that affects your transcript.  This presents less risk to your GPA and the things that are more central to your academic progress.  Some schools charge different rates when auditing a class, which can also be a boon.

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4 hours ago, Flyverse said:

Basically, my question is whether I should fill the majority of these electives with the game development related classes, or classes of a completely different nature. 

Like frob said, if you want to, then follow your interests. Does it have to be a majority of your electives? Maybe a smattering of game-related classes, and a sprinkling of other topics that interest you.

4 hours ago, Flyverse said:

I know that I read somewhere that one doesn't have to study something related to games in order to break into the industry, but the descriptions of the classes do sound very interesting, so I am truly unsure of what to do. 

Just because somebody said you don't have to do something doesn't mean you shouldn't. Do what you want to do.

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My experience as a Game Designer is that if you want to get into indie, there is a good chance you will need to start your own company, as (at least from what I've seen so far), indie companies are usually created by game designers, and therefore are rarely looking to hire other game designers. If that's the case, some game design classes are indeed useful, but classes on how to  run a business are crucial. 

So if you are up for the challenge of creating your own games as an indie, I'd suggest focusing on mastering the business side of things, and with the spare time, improving the game design side, either through some additional classes as you mention, or by reading game design books, or by designing games.

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Don't underestimate the value of a business degree in games. 

In order to start and maintain any project, 3 pillars are needed, Art, Code, and administration. A project can operate at a reduced capacity without solid leadership in art or code, but not administration.

Getting a background in gamedev classes could be a good way to diversify your education, and may set you up to be a producer later on.

Cross reference the lists of required classes, and see which ones fit the sections for pedigree and school requirements. 

I know EA requires a business degree for many of their positions. 

The other thing is, if you just want to do indie, just do it. You don't need a degree for that.

If you find yourself procrastinating too much, maybe join a team, so you have more social reinforcement.

Classes don;t need to be labeled game dev to be of use to a game developer. Inspiration comes from life, and the more diverse a life study you do, the more potential three is to draw upon. 

 

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Keep in mind also that you can 'take classes' on the internet, watching or reading tutorials. This way, you can learn at a faster pace, and not that of the class. I learn better by doing, so I learned to program by making a game in Game Maker, learning from Youtube tutorials and message boards. If you want to learn a skill, this is good. If you want to do something in game dev where a degree is more important, then I'd recommed school classes.

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