Game Design degree

Windeos
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Post: #1
Hi im basically a lost soul looking for some helpful advice. Im 21 with nothing but gcse qualifications, im seriously considering going to uni to study computer game design. Ive always played and loved games but im totally interested in making a living off it.

Im in a crappy job at the minute and basically want a complete change. So here's what i was wondering, what sort of job opportunities is there in the game design genre and do any people no any top class course's that will actually push me basically into a job when i complete the course (of course only if i do well in the chosen course).

Ive been thinking for so long about doing this and then all of a sudden i found this site, i no im a complete noob but im really interested and im basically looking into at the minute so any information would be helpful, if anyone can help me out with any experience they can pass on to me please do.

ps im from N.ireland but willing to go anywhere in uk to study

Regards Windeos
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Post: #2
Try taking a look at Dundee, Scotland.

http://www.abertay.ac.uk/Courses/Courses...=1&Key=002
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Post: #3
Here's some of my babble on the video game making business:

- I don't know how much or even if a `game development' degree really helps. It seems like many universities are beginning to offer degrees related to video games nowadays. While I've heard from some that they are mostly worthless, I've heard that others have landed jobs with them. YMMV. However, it *does* make some sense that there are universities offering studies on it considering that the video game industry is supposedly on par with, if not larger than, the movie industry nowadays.
- I have a friend who studied computer science in college and she took a course on game programming and dropped it because it was too hard -- and she's a hard worker!
- As far as I know, there isn't any real way to just get a degree and drop into a game `design' position. That's what everybody wants to do. The only practical way to get there is to work in the trenches and prove your worth. I've heard of many people getting jobs in the industry by starting in the mod community and making great maps there, to later get noticed and subsequently hired.
- One thing that people who want to get into game development never ever understand is just how unbelievably hard making a decent game is.
- As in most professions, it is probably most realistic to think that it'll take you ten years of work in the field before you ever really make any serious money at it.
- As in most professions, there is more than one way to approach it.
- Don't give up.
- Did I mention that game development is hard?
- Read a bunch of articles about the industry at Gamasutra.
- If you're really serious then you'll have to know how to use Windows-based PC's. Perhaps get involved in XNA game development there for Windows and the Xbox 360, which is the new cool thing for indies to hit up.
- If you want to focus on graphics and content instead, then maybe get a copy of Maya Personal Learning Edition and soak up as many tutorials and books as you can on the subject. The Game Artist's Guide to Maya is a particularly great read on that subject, with lots of tips and info. It'll leave you feeling pretty charged up about it if that is the direction you want to take.

I guess I could go on for quite a while, but it would all start sounding the same I'm sure, so I'll stop here. Good luck! Smile
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Member
Posts: 715
Joined: 2003.04
Post: #4
I looked into Westwood, went for a bit, don't go, its a terrible school.
Out for your money, spending it on web spam, not a clear curriculum.

I went to University of Colorado, way to expensive to learn to model for games, buy a modeller and learn to model for a year before even considering if you want that route.

I looked into UAT-Online, that might be ok.

But decided a certification in eLearning is where to head, if I can learn
to teach all this babble I've been learning online, then I'll be far
more effective facilitating game design than having a degree in game design.

Or so I think...we'll see.

Go for some classes, it only hurts a little bit.

Start at a community college while you are figuring out your absolute path
you will have to do english composition no matter where you go.
It gets transferrable credits out of the way affordably and is useful in all things.

Check out whats local to you, and inexpensive.
Join the IGDA in your area and talk to some developers and students at meetings
and in their forums. You might find something awesome happening right under your nose.
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Joined: 2002.12
Post: #5
An important thing to note is that Windeos is looking for the UK. The way things happen over here with regards to the education system is different to the US.

The reason I mentioned Dundee is that they have lots of tie ups with the games industry. That part of the UK has had some big titles come out of it in recent years.

Later this month there is a games industry recruitment fair: http://www.interactivetayside.com/gameinscotland/
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Member
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Joined: 2003.04
Post: #6
Scotland seems hot for games education.

I don't have links at the moment, friend of mine has been throwing
them at me fast and furious. Can't keep up.
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Member
Posts: 104
Joined: 2007.01
Post: #7
AnotherJake had some really great advice, and I pretty much agree with all of it.

One other recommendation I will add is this: instead of getting a game-specific degree, get a more general computer engineering or computer science degree. Breaking into the game industry is hard, and it will take a long time to work your way up into a game designer role. Not only that, but the hours are long and it is easy to get burned out. Before you travel too far down that path (in a gaming career), you might end up discovering that games are not what you want to do. In that event, you will have wasted your time getting a game-specific degree that you can't use anywhere else.

However, with a more general computer science or computer engineering degree, you will be able to get a quality job with decent pay nearly anywhere (including the gaming industry). If you eventually decide games aren't your thing, there are a lot of other great computer jobs available where you can work with graphics algorithms, artificial intelligence, user interface design, etc. But you won't get into those positions with a game design degree. If you're going to invest 2-4 years getting a degree, then I recommend you get one that opens as many doors for you as possible.
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Post: #8
Here's a link to a relevant article.

[added] That's a good point GolfHacker, and the article I just linked to appears to agree.

Quote:EA encourages students "to pursue more traditional academic degrees that allow for an emphasis on game development."
[/added]
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Windeos
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Post: #9
Thanks for all the replies, a friend of mine said that computer science was the way to go but im just so interested in the game design in general weather it be 3d modeling or whatever part of it. Abertay seems a highly respected course and i like the fact throughout your in touch with games companies who could potentially take you on board.

All in all alot of fuel for thought but keep any more information coming thanks for all the replies really helping
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Post: #10
Hmm, is a software engineering degree any good? They aren't 'worthless', are they? I think I would do software engineering and commerce double degree when I leave high school.
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Post: #11
I'm not too familiar with software engineering degrees. Such a degree didn't exist when I went to college.

I have a computer engineering degree, which included software engineering courses as well as hardware-related courses (like electrical and circuit/logic design courses) and the core engineering courses (like thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, etc). The reasons I went with computer engineering instead of computer science was 1) it covered both software and hardware, and 2) it covered the entire software development life cycle (requirements, design, code, test, and maintenance), whereas computer science focused primarily on coding. I wanted to be involved in all aspects of the software lifecycle, especially design.

Another benefit of the computer engineering degree that I discovered later on was that the core engineering classes really helped to hone my problem-solving skills. I hated these classes at the time, because they were so hard and seemed completely unrelated to what I was studying. But those classes provided me with a tremendous advantage over my peers in the software design phase. Unlike many of my peers, I don't have much difficulty working with the more difficult/complex parts of a software design. In fact, in my full time job my area of expertise is designing, coding, and maintaining the architectural framework for our huge commercial application.
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Rushyo
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Post: #12
I am undertaking a Games Programming Degree at Huddersfield University, where there is also a Games Design course. The course itself has been developed in tandem with many major players in the industry as is widely respected in light of this and the difficulty of the course. Only a quarter or so of successful applicants make it to the end of the course and it is widely considered the most difficult software engineering degree.

The degree is a BSc (Hons) and as such also contains many aspects of scientific and logical theory essential to problem solving. Practically, it is everything you need to find work. It has a year in industry, which is essential to finding work (practical experience is almost always a requirement, but rarely of more than two years).

Quote:In that event, you will have wasted your time getting a game-specific degree that you can't use anywhere else.

A good games degree is a computer science degree + games. It HAS to be a BSc to be worth anything and should teach you good software design theory and methodology. The BSc (Hons) suffix is sufficient to turn the heads of even an ignorant employer.

In my case, the nature of my course has seen me awarded not with an internship but with a leadership position of a professional team for my placement year. I doubt many people can claim that.

Quote:Im 21 with nothing but gcse qualifications, im seriously considering going to uni to study computer game design. Ive always played and loved games but im totally interested in making a living off it.

You need a set of A-level or equivalent qualifications. There are plenty of generic computer courses at this level and it is basically a prerequisite to getting a place at a university.
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neadie
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Post: #13
to windeos,
here's a website for u to check.http://www.findyourartschool.com/programs/game-design/
it provide information of education resources of all kinds art related, including game design. i donk know much about game industry so have no ideas whether a professional degree matters much. but hope it helps .
good luck
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