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vorayako

Go do a 4 year university course dedicated to game development in london or learn and do game development at home?

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I was wondering if it is worth dedicating time and a loan to a 4 year university course or live as a neet and learn from online resources and using Unity or something? What are the pros and cons of both? I want to be a game developer like Notch, Toby Fox etc. and be self-employed and have a game studio.

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Logically speaking you would be hard pressed to convince any sound minded person that there are more upsides to a route that doesn't involve some University... 

I however am more of an artist than a logical thinker, I never went to college, I found all the work I needed doing something I mostly taught myself(not game dev fwiw)..  Every person is different, you have to find the path that feels like you can and WANT to succeed at and follow it. 

And if nothing feels that way to you, go to school. ;)

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1 minute ago, Septopus said:

Logically speaking you would be hard pressed to convince any sound minded person that there are more upsides to a route that doesn't involve some University... 

I however am more of an artist than a logical thinker, I never went to college, I found all the work I needed doing something I mostly taught myself(not game dev fwiw)..  Every person is different, you have to find the path that feels like you can and WANT to succeed at and follow it. 

And if nothing feels that way to you, go to school. ;)

I know every person is different but it would be nice to hear from those who were successful about how they learned and what they did to get to where they are today. I just don't want to make that mistake of wasting my time by either going on this course or trying to go at it alone and self-teach when I don't know much about self-teaching.

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Did a BSc. and MSc. in software (computer graphics & image processing). I'd say it was worth it - at least pushed me also to other areas I didn't care that much about (compilers, operating systems, AI, etc.). I did publish few papers then and since. I kind of miss it a bit since I've finished few years back.

I have learned majority of things myself - university does not automatically teach you everything. You need to dedicate yourself - as in everything.

During that time I already started my own company in software development, which I'm still running. So I had a nice blend between university and work (sleep was sacrificed though). Had no time for actual university life, which I don't really regret.

 

My advantage is I didn't have to take any loan - my living expenses in town were covered by my parents - and as I live in Czech Republic - university is free (paid through tax payer's money - so I'll technically be paying for it through my whole life).

I'd advise you to not get loan early (if possible, as I don't know where you live), as it will make your life hard - especially when you will start a family (life is not just work!).

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8 minutes ago, Vilem Otte said:

Did a BSc. and MSc. in software (computer graphics & image processing). I'd say it was worth it - at least pushed me also to other areas I didn't care that much about (compilers, operating systems, AI, etc.). I did publish few papers then and since. I kind of miss it a bit since I've finished few years back.

I have learned majority of things myself - university does not automatically teach you everything. You need to dedicate yourself - as in everything.

During that time I already started my own company in software development, which I'm still running. So I had a nice blend between university and work (sleep was sacrificed though). Had no time for actual university life, which I don't really regret.

 

My advantage is I didn't have to take any loan - my living expenses in town were covered by my parents - and as I live in Czech Republic - university is free (paid through tax payer's money - so I'll technically be paying for it through my whole life).

I'd advise you to not get loan early (if possible, as I don't know where you live), as it will make your life hard - especially when you will start a family (life is not just work!).

Is a computer science in games course or going to university any good or would you benefit more from learning at home if you do not need to work to survive and learn since as you said university just tells you to self learn anyway? How old were you when you started that business and got into education? I'm 25 years old at the moment, I want to be a game developer and self-employed. I live in the UK and in London, the main game studio hub.

I just don't know where to start really, I'm on a computing access course at the moment which I keep on getting distinctions left right and center and I don't know if university would benefit me as much as I think it would apart from connections to the game industry but surely university isn't the only way to obtain this?

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10 minutes ago, vorayako said:

Is a computer science in games course or going to university any good or would you benefit more from learning at home if you do not need to work to survive and learn since as you said university just tells you to self learn anyway?

No, you can pretty much learn same information from other public sources (in Czech there is even legal requirement that all university papers have to be public, except ones that could threaten state security).

University will result in a degree - which is a proof that you've managed to finish university. Some companies give it more weight, some less. If you want to join them - just degree itself is most likely not enough.

 

Now if I would stay home and learn I might have been in same place, might not (this is quite hard to tell!). It terms of self-learning on university it is expected (and even supported) - especially for your Bachelor's and Master's degree works. But not just for them - for most subjects you will have lectures and trainings (some will also have laboratories).

Lectures - are giving you information on the subject. Professor literally talks about items you need to know, he also often mentions other source that are giving further information on topic. If you don't understand something from lecture - you will need to self learn it. In case you're not visiting some lectures (they're often voluntary) - you will need to self learn it all. It will generally take more time than going for lecture.

Trainings - you will often try items from lecture here. In math - theory is explained in lecture, actual things to solve or prove here on trainings.

Laboratories - I did like these the most. You're often given task (not just for single lab, but sometimes for whole semester) to do something. You will need to self-learn background for it yourself - but you can consult. Sometimes these required you to write a short academic paper (often for the sake of teaching you - how to write an academic paper).

University have one huge advantage - when you don't understand something there will be someone with experiences whom you can always ask. Yes, you can try that on forums online - but experienced people may or may not give you correct answer and explain. They're not obliged to, the professor on university you're studying is.

 

I did after all release some publications while on university, which most likely have helped me to get some of the contracts - so in professional field, it helped me.

Also university pushed me a lot into always understanding theoretical background behind everything I do (not just software related) - it pushed me a lot into reading (again not just game related papers, but also research I do and hobbies I care about). It did play major part in shaping me as a person.

37 minutes ago, vorayako said:

How old were you when you started that business and got into education?

I have started my business before university when making web pages and server side software on Linux (I was like 16 at that time). I went to university right after high school (when I was 19). I did 2 years BSc. (due to credit system - I was able to gain enough credits in 4 semesters, instead of standard 6 ... also during 1st year on BSc. I made my business literally my full time job), and 2 years MSc. I have never considered PhD. (In my opinion, it really isn't worth it unless you're going for career in academics) ... yet sometimes I'm thinking about whether to pursue it or not (especially when playing Half Life).

I'm currently 27 years old.

49 minutes ago, vorayako said:

I'm 25 years old at the moment, I want to be a game developer and self-employed. I live in the UK and in London, the main game studio hub.

I just don't know where to start really, I'm on a computing access course at the moment which I keep on getting distinctions left right and center and I don't know if university would benefit me as much as I think it would apart from connections to the game industry but surely university isn't the only way to obtain this?

Being self-employed isn't easy (running your company is even harder - because of additional bureaucracy around it) - for small business it literally means you spend few days a month unpaid, doing accounting. Be sure to consider that, I couldn't afford accountant at start - so I went the hard way, where you need to learn it & do it yourself.

It is not impossible - yet it is additional distraction keeping you from doing what you like.

University won't give you any connections, at least it didn't do that to me directly (some people did get a job with help of university - but they could do it without it too). I obtained most of my connections through the internet. I do still have some connections from University, but they're friends - not business partners.

If you want to get into industry, the easiest way is to write into game companies that are hiring. My friend did that - they have responded that they're hiring and he can go through their hiring process. So he did.

Creating your own game product is hard (or literally any product), but once you're finished you still need to sell it. That is a major problem and everyone in every business is trying to sell his. Competition on every market is huge (maybe except space rocket and aviation industry where entry costs are too high, and electric car industry where manufacturers don't understand their customers at all), this especially count for software and games. I'm not trying to prevent you from trying it - but it is sure by far more stressful than just doing normal day-to-day job.

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1 hour ago, Vilem Otte said:

No, you can pretty much learn same information from other public sources (in Czech there is even legal requirement that all university papers have to be public, except ones that could threaten state security).

University will result in a degree - which is a proof that you've managed to finish university. Some companies give it more weight, some less. If you want to join them - just degree itself is most likely not enough.

 

Now if I would stay home and learn I might have been in same place, might not (this is quite hard to tell!). It terms of self-learning on university it is expected (and even supported) - especially for your Bachelor's and Master's degree works. But not just for them - for most subjects you will have lectures and trainings (some will also have laboratories).

Lectures - are giving you information on the subject. Professor literally talks about items you need to know, he also often mentions other source that are giving further information on topic. If you don't understand something from lecture - you will need to self learn it. In case you're not visiting some lectures (they're often voluntary) - you will need to self learn it all. It will generally take more time than going for lecture.

Trainings - you will often try items from lecture here. In math - theory is explained in lecture, actual things to solve or prove here on trainings.

Laboratories - I did like these the most. You're often given task (not just for single lab, but sometimes for whole semester) to do something. You will need to self-learn background for it yourself - but you can consult. Sometimes these required you to write a short academic paper (often for the sake of teaching you - how to write an academic paper).

University have one huge advantage - when you don't understand something there will be someone with experiences whom you can always ask. Yes, you can try that on forums online - but experienced people may or may not give you correct answer and explain. They're not obliged to, the professor on university you're studying is.

 

I did after all release some publications while on university, which most likely have helped me to get some of the contracts - so in professional field, it helped me.

Also university pushed me a lot into always understanding theoretical background behind everything I do (not just software related) - it pushed me a lot into reading (again not just game related papers, but also research I do and hobbies I care about). It did play major part in shaping me as a person.

I have started my business before university when making web pages and server side software on Linux (I was like 16 at that time). I went to university right after high school (when I was 19). I did 2 years BSc. (due to credit system - I was able to gain enough credits in 4 semesters, instead of standard 6 ... also during 1st year on BSc. I made my business literally my full time job), and 2 years MSc. I have never considered PhD. (In my opinion, it really isn't worth it unless you're going for career in academics) ... yet sometimes I'm thinking about whether to pursue it or not (especially when playing Half Life).

I'm currently 27 years old.

Being self-employed isn't easy (running your company is even harder - because of additional bureaucracy around it) - for small business it literally means you spend few days a month unpaid, doing accounting. Be sure to consider that, I couldn't afford accountant at start - so I went the hard way, where you need to learn it & do it yourself.

It is not impossible - yet it is additional distraction keeping you from doing what you like.

University won't give you any connections, at least it didn't do that to me directly (some people did get a job with help of university - but they could do it without it too). I obtained most of my connections through the internet. I do still have some connections from University, but they're friends - not business partners.

If you want to get into industry, the easiest way is to write into game companies that are hiring. My friend did that - they have responded that they're hiring and he can go through their hiring process. So he did.

Creating your own game product is hard (or literally any product), but once you're finished you still need to sell it. That is a major problem and everyone in every business is trying to sell his. Competition on every market is huge (maybe except space rocket and aviation industry where entry costs are too high, and electric car industry where manufacturers don't understand their customers at all), this especially count for software and games. I'm not trying to prevent you from trying it - but it is sure by far more stressful than just doing normal day-to-day job.

I see so it is pretty much pointless to go on a university course in an industry where you can self-teach at home and your portfolio holds a lot more weight than a degree.

Where did you get your connections through the internet? Well I'm a neet and autistic, I can't function in a day to day job so self-employment and dedicating my time to game development and making connections/marketing is all I can do, I just want to learn how you know?

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24 minutes ago, vorayako said:

I see so it is pretty much pointless to go on a university course in an industry where you can self-teach at home and your portfolio holds a lot more weight than a degree.

Where did you get your connections through the internet? Well I'm a neet and autistic, I can't function in a day to day job so self-employment and dedicating my time to game development and making connections/marketing is all I can do, I just want to learn how you know?

I have no idea what field you want to do in "Game Development", but assuming a programmer II would strongly suggest going to school and get a Computer Science degree. Life comes with all sorts of changes, and you have a lot of external factors to consider. If you're unable to get a job in the Game Industry, at least you have your degree to fall back on for general programming work, or something related. Always have a back up plan.

You also stated "Game Developer" which is very vague... Figure out a realistic path and where you want to go.

I personally have been programming for over 18 years, and doing 3D work in recent years, but never walked a foot in a post-secondary institution (I did take a post-secondary course online, but dumped it. :D ). I'm running my own companies now, but it wouldn't be possible to fund my development unless I had all the cash flow coming in from my other income sources. Game development can be very expensive if you're looking at going at it commercially with your own company. There are a lot of people that don't have post-secondary, but again because we got away with it doesn't mean you should discount it.

My advice is go to school, figure out what you want to do, then make a back up plan. Starting your own company in the Game Industry requires a lot of business knowledge, and experience in the field you're involved in. You also need a good amount of cash flow to sustain your company, and your personal expenses.

In my experience, degrees are less relevant once you have industry experience, but again, there is no guarantee you will get a job in the game industry right away. This is just based on North America of course... Other countries place a very high expectation on education regardless.

Good luck.

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4 minutes ago, Rutin said:

I have no idea what field you want to do in "Game Development", but assuming a programmer II would strongly suggest going to school and get a Computer Science degree. Life comes with all sorts of changes, and you have a lot of external factors to consider. If you're unable to get a job in the Game Industry, at least you have your degree to fall back on for general programming work, or something related. Always have a back up plan.

You also stated "Game Developer" which is very vague... Figure out a realistic path and where you want to go.

I personally have been programming for over 18 years, and doing 3D work in recent years, but never walked a foot in a post-secondary institution (I did take a post-secondary course online, but dumped it. :D ). I'm running my own companies now, but it wouldn't be possible to fund my development unless I had all the cash flow coming in from my other income sources. Game development can be very expensive if you're looking at going at it commercially with your own company. There are a lot of people that don't have post-secondary, but again because we got away with it doesn't mean you should discount it.

My advice is go to school, figure out what you want to do, then make a back up plan. Starting your own company in the Game Industry requires a lot of business knowledge, and experience in the field you're involved in. You also need a good amount of cash flow to sustain your company, and your personal expenses.

In my experience, degrees are less relevant once you have industry experience, but again, there is no guarantee you will get a job in the game industry right away. This is just based on North America of course... Other countries place a very high expectation on education regardless.

Good luck.

Well programming and game design are my main ones, an indie game developer is a jack of all trades right?  How do I acquire business knowledge? Surely there are unpaid internships I can undertake?

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