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VonBrauser

Self Taught & School Taught

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I wanted to make this thread not as a 'which is better there can only be one' but as a source of feedback

 

on the advantages of going to a university or institute (online as well) for Game Design/Art/Animation. I am

 

interested in possibly enrolling in a nearby university (Oklahoma Christian University) whose, for what its

 

worth, Game Design school received an honorable mention from the Princeton Review link here:

 

http://www.princetonreview.com/top-undergraduate-schools-for-video-game-design.aspx I have my basics

 

finished while attending Oklahoma State University and 2 years of an architecture degree(decided wasn't

 

for me). I would really appreciate feedback from anyone who attended some sort of school for anything

 

game related. Talk about your experience/where you attended/what you liked, didn't like. I would also like

 

comments from anyone who learned it on their own and how they did so or anything related.

 

Thanks smile.png

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I've been a Civil Engineer for the last 3 years after graduating from University. I feel the same way as you in the way that it's not for me. i.e. I hate it with a passion. I picked up game development 2.5 years ago and studied at the Universtiy of "Google Search" biggrin.png . I have looked into going to University but I've come so far in that 2.5 years that there really isn't much point anymore. I have some friends that went to Game Schools and they don't have any more to show for it than myself..

 

That's not to say there is anything wrong with going to University for Game Development but it's not the be all and end all. Ultimately you will only be as good as your shear will and determination allows you to.

 

One word of warning.. Do Not enroll in a "Game Design" course... These are money making courses filled with "idea" people that will get you no where. If you go to University, Major in either Game Programming or Game Art. I have a friend who has finished his Game Design course a few years ago.. He cannot do anything with it and his idea's are still terrible.

 

The reason for this is that a Game Design position is a senior position. In bigger companies you usually start as a programmer, tester, or artists... then you might go higher and eventually become level designer.. then maybe after 5-10 years + you'll be a game designer IF you are cut out for it..

 

On the other hand if you are an indie developer making your own game... Game Design ain't gonna do nothing for you if you can't code and do art. Game Design is not black or white and is subject to people's opinions.. best go with the sure fire programming or art where everything is defined.

 

The other problem I find with University is that you are often held up doing things you don't actually enjoy. This can lead to demotivation and get you caught up in wasting a lot of time... If I think about it... 4 years in a game Development course... What could you achieve in that time on your own? Everyone is different and I learn best on my own... so maybe your answer would be different.. that's for you to figure out.

 

Anyway hope that helped.

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Very insightful! Thank you Scarlet smile.png and I should clear up that I am not interested in the Design element, debating on either art or programming (maybe both?). Keep the posts coming!

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I learned programing when home computers first came available and at that point all you COULD do with a pc is learn to program it. There was no internet so I bought books.

 

Learning at college or university will give you a more organized and disiplined aproach than self teaching.

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I learned how to program on my own, but then went to school for the paper so I could get interviews. However this is all in a non game related field (boring business). In business you need this paper to even get an interview. Most people won't even look at you if you don't have this.

 

From what I've heard others say, in the game field it's more impressive to have games/demo's showing your skills than a piece of paper that said you went to school. So finish games or demos to build up your portfolio if you want to get a job in the game field.

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I started with programming when I found FPS creator blocking my creative process and wanting to have more freedom. This lead me to Leadwerks and Torque which had nice and basic engine and weren't cluttered with functionality that looks nice in the beginning but is useless in the end.

 

I enrolled in to Game development with the Direction of Game Technology. Scarlet pretty much already said it: Being a good game designer is something that you learn on making games or editing mods. This is not something you learn from education. Same thing goes for programming. Although you will learn disciplines and mechanisms, the real learning is done at own projects or trainee ships. Game design sounds fun and there are some really good people out there, but it is a naive industry that makes young people think they can have the dream job they want as long as they follow that education.

 

Only with determination, trial and error and a lot of trying yourself is the best way of making it in the game industry. Ideas are not hard to create, It is executing them and finishing them that is the hardest about it.

 

Art or programming.

The choice can be really difficult but follow your heart. Both are really cool and both will require a lot of learning.

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..if you want success in either one, game design or programmer in game dev work, im afraid you have to let go, most of your social life, and spend some really lonely time, figuring out tons of the things, looking so simple and fun, on the first sight..thats the hardest part..once you walk trough that, things could eventually turn to be very nice and fun to work, if you and your team, survive by then, in such harsh business environment such as game dev..

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I really appreciate all of the posts guys, thank you all for sharing your story/thoughts. I realize (even more now smile.png ) success in the Game Industry is isn't a walk in the park and I do not plan to treat it like one. I really don't see myself as one of the many who think they can make a game and then quit at the fist or second wall hit, I am well accustomed to the loss of social life in place of work (I basically lived in the architecture studio tongue.png ). However, i feel like I am behind on my knowledge of programming and general game design, which is why I am considering a University. I think I would learn much faster with structured instruction. For now the plan is to learn as much as I can before enrolling possibly this fall or next spring.

 

Thanks again for all the input, feel free to continue posting comments (or school recommendations although I think I have on chosen)

 

Cheers

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..if you want success in either one, game design or programmer in game dev work, im afraid you have to let go, most of your social life, and spend some really lonely time, figuring out tons of the things, looking so simple and fun, on the first sight..thats the hardest part..once you walk trough that, things could eventually turn to be very nice and fun to work, if you and your team, survive by then, in such harsh business environment such as game dev..

 

nod.. nod... totally the feeling of sacrifice is so true. I've had to sacrifice so much for this stuff I sometimes wonder if its worth it. Of course it is! haha.

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Alien said it great.

 

Basically you can go to uni which is all well & good, but at the end of it your maybe 2years into "indie living".

If you opt not to go, then you start of blank, learn specifically the things you need for each task so its more targetted.

 

If you need someone to keep kicking your butt to do things go to Uni, if your able to self motivate then you won't need to.

 

Regardless of which you go for you have several things you can look forward to.

- Your an idiot, your a noob, you have no idea < Yes you will get this v.regular on forums to begin with and you'll get it later on when your new somewhere.

- Omg I'm an idiot < Yes your work will break, you will feel like an idiot and bang your head against a wall - it happens.

- FFS this is a piece of **** < Yes you will occasionally resent what your working on (usually during the breaking period).

- You just spend all day playing on games < People don't quite grasp the complexities of it until they do it so assume its all fun & games all the time.

- When are you gonna grow up and get a real job < Ok this is a hit or miss, some have support around them, some don't. Usually there is atleast 1 person saying it to you or behind you back, meh screw em :P

 

The bright side is, steps 1, 2 & 3 are obstacles you can overcome, steps 4 & 5 are obstacles you can beat with a big stick :)

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Oh another slight addition.

 

Programmers are general paid more (never understood that :P) I'll explain why though. Programmers are great and a good back-bone to any game requires a heck of alot of coding. I have a webprogramming background and got paid pretty damn good for it. The reason I never quite understood why they got paid more is this (more relevant on the indie market).

 

If you have a project on LE3 you need to know either C++ or LUA, if you use UDK you need UnrealScript (similar to c) other engines use other languages and there usually similar but take "adjustment time". However, if your a 3d modeller who know's how to sculpt, unwrap & skin in photoshop - Who care's what engine your using? Your more flexible and can even begin production before an engine is arranged. You can work on projects over 5-6engines without ever purchasing a engine yourself...lucky git's. Unfortunately they do tend to be paid less by about $10k i think it was last I checked.

 

Last I saw it was basically common for a 1st year programmer to earn what a 3-5year artist does, an a 3-5year programmer to earn the max the designers were earning.

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If you have a project on LE3 you need to know either C++ or LUA, if you use UDK you need UnrealScript (similar to c) other engines use other languages and there usually similar but take "adjustment time". However, if your a 3d modeller who know's how to sculpt, unwrap & skin in photoshop - Who care's what engine your using? Your more flexible and can even begin production before an engine is arranged. You can work on projects over 5-6 engines without ever purchasing a engine yourself...lucky git's. Unfortunately they do tend to be paid less by about $10k i think it was last I checked.


You answered your own question.... of course you would get payed more if you had to adjust all the time to each engine..

Also good 3D Art doesn't make a game.. it makes a game look good.... That's not to say it's not very important because it is. However, without the code all you have is 3D art. Also, Generally more boring jobs get payed better because there are less people doing it as well. Luckily if you don't consider it boring there's no problems ;)

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On 6/10/2013 at 7:20 AM, VonBrauser said:

I wanted to make this thread not as a 'which is better there can only be one' but as a source of feedback

 

on the advantages of going to a university or institute (online as well) for Game Design/Art/Animation. I am

 

interested in possibly enrolling in a nearby university (Oklahoma Christian University) whose, for what its

 

worth, Game Design school received an honorable mention from the Princeton Review link here:

 

http://www.princetonreview.com/top-undergraduate-schools-for-video-game-design.aspx I have my basics

 

finished while attending Oklahoma State University and 2 years of an architecture degree(decided wasn't

 

for me). I would really appreciate feedback from anyone who attended some sort of school for anything

 

game related. Talk about your experience/where you attended/what you liked, didn't like. I would also like

 

comments from anyone who learned it on their own and how they did so or anything related.

 

Thanks smile.png

I fully agree with you, this university provides many opportunities for development and for your future career. But you will have to work a lot. One of the most difficult tasks at the university is probably writing an essay, I, as a teacher, can help you with this, you can buy essay at www.paperial.com, this service will save you time and you can spend it on practical work. Good luck to you.

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I left school aged 14 and got a job in a butchers shop , but it hasn't stopped me from writing games in both c++ and lua.Not commercialy but just a hobby.

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Now that I think about it, it would have been great to go to college, but it's too late and I seem to have survived without going. Now I don't want to go, I want my daughter to go to college, but I guess I don't have the means for her to do it. 

Eventually we painfully accept the story of our lives.  

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16 hours ago, cassius said:

I left school aged 14 and got a job in a butchers shop , but it hasn't stopped me from writing games in both c++ and lua.Not commercialy but just a hobby.

Wow, you're a great fellow.

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if you can draw, paint, sculpt, and what you produce is realistic, and is easily recognizable as the original object, then you have an artistic gift, and you could become a modeler.

if you don't have these skills you can create "programmer models" , which are only good for testing game ideas, once its considered worth pursuing, you might decide to invest in purchasing models or a modeler.

Even without the artistic skill, you may be able to create a good quality model, but it will take such a long time, that you wont be able to hold a modeler position, as no one will want to pay you to produce a model, when other modelers can produce several, to a good standard.

I'm artistic more by trial and error, so producing something takes ages, and it looks ••••.

Programmers can have a variety of skills, Most programmers will break a problem down into smaller steps that can be put back together to solve the problem. Two main schools procedural and object orientated. Once you learn one its hard to switch to the other, as you think about the problem in different ways.

There are different programmer roles too. Application programmer, Systems programmer, software engineer, web developer.

Different platforms , mobile, pc, console, mainframe, cloud.

Different languages, compilers , shaders, assemblers, instruction sets, operating systems, databases, encoding eg, ascii, ebcedic. Big/little endian. 32/64 addressing. Reentrant programming, services, supervisor, device drivers.

Games programming, where you are wondering around a 3D world, requires some special features, the main one is the main loop of the game needs to be able to complete a cycle in a limited amount of time, if your code takes 0.033 seconds you can only run at 30 frames per second. You need to keep the frame rate smooth, once the game is running, you can't have code suddenly taking longer, as it will appear jerky.

All these things may seem daunting to someone starting out. But a new programmer will normally start on simple tasks, on one platform, no speed requirement. Learning to use standard routines, learning structured programming, or object orientated programming. Code reading with colleagues. After a couple of years, you may have covered files, relational databases, sql, sorts, standard utilities, debugging, tuning.

So now you should know if programming suits you. If you are still eager to start game programming, you could try using a game engine like leadwerks, you need to decide if you want to study c++ or jump in with lua. If you already covered c++ and liked it chose it.

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