Uni vs Game College.

Saw this thread over at the TrueVision3D forums, I found it rather interesting to see peoples thoughts on it.

http://www.truevision3d.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=9916

lorien's picture

Given the contents of the Quality of Life whitepaper I suggest that doing a game-specific course (be it at uni or college) as an undergrad is not the brightest of ideas.

Normally when this topic comes up Yusuf Pisan and myself like to point people at Chris Crawford's comments (he's the guy who founded the GDC, amongst many other things) http://www.erasmatazz.com/library/Game%20Design/The_Education_of_a_Game_...

mcdrewski's picture

I have to say that the biggest mistake of my uni career was *not* picking the computer graphics subject when I could. At the time I talked to people and heard how simplistic it was and thought I'd get better use out of something else.

I still kick myself. It's not about what you learn in the subject but the doors it opens in your knowledge of how things work.

lorien's picture

Not sure if you were replying to me mcdrewski, or just making a general comment. If the former I said "course", not subject.

the geeves's picture

I've always found that while Chris Crawford is certainly an game design genius, he is also an arrogant tosser who has an opinion on everything who lables his rantings as the "truth" rather than another considered opinion.

There are huge number of holes in his argument and if I get a spare couple of hours I would love to counter them one by one. However one statement really pisses me off:

quote:Get a real job at a real company and earn some money

I had several 'real' jobs before I got a job at a games company (suprise, suprise - even before uni) and now that I'm in the industry I still have a real job that pays real money. This is what I'm doing now and I love it, but I can't say I'll be doing it in 10 years. Not because of quality of life issues (which is not a factor at this or MOST other Oz games companies, IMO) but becase there are heaps of things I want to learn and do in my life.

My advice would be if you really want a job in games you would be stupid to go and study literature, history, psychology and linguistics as Chris advocates. Long term you will appreciate their value but short term you probably will not appreciate their value and not get the most out of them. We have been told for the last 10 years that we should expect to have 5-10 different careers in our lifetime (unlike the 1-2 careers of the babyboomers). Instead what you will end up with is a HECS debt of $30k and a degree that qualifies you to post meaningless things on forums such as this and not much else.

If you're into games- go for it! Go to the experts like AIE, Qantm, Murdoch and the others that have specialist education programs. I wasted alot of my time at uni on meaningless subjects that I had to do (to fulfill degree requirements) that were boring, out of date, have never used and will not work at a place that does.

Rahnem's picture

I don't use my degree at all, but try and get through US immigration without one.

Mdobele's picture

Doesn't matter if the college is a P.O.S and the course sucked.... ok it would but the point is the real benefit you gain from these courses is you get to dive into a pool of people that have exactly the same interests and ambitions as you.... to be a games developer.

These are the people you most learn from as you drive each other on. Its also these people who will be your primary source of contacts for the rest of your life as they secure employment inside. Its a proven fact that most jobs go unadvertised and go to friends of staff members.

The thing that most irks me is when people blame the uni for their lack of getting a job.( Oh i didnt get a job cause my uni never taught me bump mapping - BAH )... So by all means go to one of these places. If you find they dont offer something you want to know use their resources, team up with some other students and learn it yourself.

I can happily rattle off 10 things i hated about QANTM and what "I" thought they should have done better, but if I could go back would I do it again... Damn straight i would.

hmmm kinda gets off the point of the topic I know... heck doesnt matter if you go to a uni or a games college. Final result will still be decided by you.

Makk's picture

Everybody these days goes into game courses, whatever happened to the good old fashioned learn it your self technique...

palantir's picture

I spent over a year stressing about this question!

After I finished my games diploma I decided to work for a year before continuing on to uni ? to set myself up financially etc. Over this time I debated endlessly over whether to continue my studies in a games specific (animation) course, or to do a more general course. In the end I decided to go with creative industries at QUT as it offers a much broader spectrum of study for my various interests.

I decided that in the end, the most valuable skills for game development would be the ones I learn on my own regardless of what course I study. Since I?ll be teaching myself game art anyway (because I enjoy it so much), I figured I?d be better off spending my time at uni studying a variety of subjects as well as animation. By the time I finish studying, my animation skills should be at a professional level, but at the same time I will be qualified for a variety of professions.

Plus there?s the fact that if I did an animation degree, I would pretty much have to graduate at or near the top of the course to get a decent job at the end of it all. While I would love nothing more then to spend 2 years studying nothing but animation, I just feel I would be narrowing my prospects down far too much.

Like many games professionals have said, at the end of the day it?s your skills that matter, not your qualification. So if your going to develop the skills in your own time anyway, why not get a qualification that can open more doors then a single industry?

At least that?s the conclusion I eventually came to. Plus I?ve already got a diploma in games development. Of course different study paths work differently for each individual. I just think, why put all your eggs in one basket?

Having said all that, right now I wish I were doing ?Intro to character rigging? instead of ?Management, People and Organisations? [:P] - Can?t wait for the animation units next year!

lorien's picture

quote:Originally posted by the_geeves

There are huge number of holes in his argument and if I get a spare couple of hours I would love to counter them one by one.

I think there are also a number of good points. I certainly don't agree with all of it though.

quote:
Instead what you will end up with is a HECS debt of $30k and a degree that qualifies you to post meaningless things on forums such as this and not much else.

[:)] I seem to have hit a bit of a nerve. Nothing personal. I do a lot more than post btw.

quote:
If you're into games- go for it! Go to the experts like AIE, Qantm, Murdoch and the others that have specialist education programs.

Should point out I'm an grad of one of these places, amongst other things [:)]

quote:
I wasted alot of my time at uni on meaningless subjects that I had to do (to fulfill degree requirements) that were boring, out of date, have never used and will not work at a place that does.

I now wish I'd paid more attention to things I didn't think would be important at the time.

Rahnem's picture

Don't knock "Management, People and Organisation", that one will help you out... ever considered being a producer... ;)

Outsmart's picture

I read what you say but I thought my self most what I know
But I will say this it has it advantages and disadvantages

I wanted to design a game , I went from ideas to mapping and 3dsmax
Im very good in doom3ed and uted 3,but ppl don?t realy seem interested in that fact

They all want a peace of paper
Or experience
1 is easy to get but I dislike maya and apple mac
apple has crap interface and maya is crapist 3d application iv ever used.
but in some fields you get what you could not get any ware else

experience you have to know some 1 as is only way in the door really

so 1 can look at it like this 1 has to be proactive and make opportunities
even if that means doing what you dislike to get what you like

personally I can draw up a map as good as any id soft mapper in doom3 ed
so for my self I will draw up levels for my own game as I can
and then approach id soft??.but it be nice if some 1 at id soft took me now
and helped me mature in a guided environment rather than some thing wild
so I can reach my full potential faster ..but then im a dreamer

Makk's picture

That was hard to read...

Why dont you show us your stuff?
It will give you good exposure, thats if you are as good as you say you are.

Outsmart's picture

quote:Originally posted by Makk

That was hard to read...

Why dont you show us your stuff?
It will give you good exposure, thats if you are as good as you say you are.

ok but what to show i cant show you mutch
but i do have some junk you can look at i post links here
all doom3 ed .brb
edit
ok i just had a quick flick to many files to look threw
here are a few snap shots i took...and if you know any thing about mapping you will be imprest with my brush and patch work
also in the making my skill has matured some what
http://www.villagephotos.com/viewpubimage.asp?id_=13802980&selected=
http://www.villagephotos.com/viewpubimage.asp?id_=13802800&selected=
http://www.villagephotos.com/viewpubimage.asp?id_=13802799&selected=
http://www.villagephotos.com/viewpubimage.asp?id_=13802798&selected=
http://www.villagephotos.com/viewpubimage.asp?id_=13802797&selected=
http://www.villagephotos.com/viewpubimage.asp?id_=13802796&selected=

Outsmart's picture

quote:Originally posted by Marty

Dude, don't hide behind external wireframe shots etc.

Show me 1 shot, in game, from the players perspective. The closest we saw was an unlit staircase floating in space.

Waiting.. [:)]

Marty

ok..ye steps were just in jig map no walls floor but still looked good :P brb

edit ok
http://www.villagephotos.com/viewpubimage.asp?id_=13805502&selected=

http://www.villagephotos.com/viewpubimage.asp?id_=13805501&selected=

still working on above

this is off some thing id like to film still working on this as well
but wow just used sword off shot gun all the way and ye wow
http://www.villagephotos.com/viewpubimage.asp?id_=13805501&selected=
[:0][;)]
http://www.villagephotos.com/viewpubimage.asp?id_=13805589&selected=

unknownuser2's picture

Im getting A red X on all of these shots, is anyone else?

palantir's picture

Yeah, I'm just getting ye red X on each 1.

1 has to 1der wat thay wil look like...

Funny how off topic this has gone :)

Makk's picture

Your stuff is ok, if a little underdetialed.
But if you really think you got the skills to get a job then you need to work harder and selling yourself.
Posting your work on various forums is a good way of getting yourself out there for starters.

Rahnem's picture

...er, yeah, no offence, but you have a long way to go before you can start spouting that your work is id quality...

Outsmart's picture

quote:Originally posted by Rahnem

...er, yeah, no offence, but you have a long way to go before you can start spouting that your work is id quality...

I think if you read those were all under construction?
Iv moved on from them most maps are old
But ye it takes a long time to achieve the end result
Skill wise im already there im a gifted level designer
But im no good at code so my let down
But hy what programmers for
Just a pity all my floors could not be ironed out with
The right training by the right person im sic of the paddle pool that will drowned any talent if left in to long

Caroo's picture

<.< hate to simplify it down.. But really captain Tylor's quote suits this best.

"DO WHAT YOU WANT, THE WAY YOU WANT TO "

Chances are if your a smart and creative guy you'll evensially get in.. At what speed you get in is a different matter?

Take my example:

I wanna be a game designer... Do I currently have skills good enough to get in? I'd love to think so, but really.. No!

I'd love to attend the AIE just to meet some guys who love games and that are creative.. I know quite well my folio is good enough to get in to that at least. but do I have $20,000 to give to an organization over two years? .. nope.

Is there a magical course that exists for a game designer that *chuckles* guaranties to show you the skills needed to get into the industry... no!

So what will I do.. I have two options as I see it.

I could take a bath and then spend a year whinging that the world around me isn't fair and that the industry is working against me... that I?m the Monolith of all novice designers and that the other 200 around Australia are below me..

That?s the easy way.

OR!!!
I could finish my year 12.
Spend 6 months at home teaching myself.. I own unreal 2004 therefore I have access to level building software.. Why not make a transformer FPS mod based around the Cybertron wars?
Why not make a few flash cartoons integrating 2D with 3D methods of animation.. i have a big ass light table.. I?ll teach myself.. i have the internet, biggest learning resource on the planet.
Why not write up a 100-page game design document? (That I?ve already done ^^ )
Why not draw up some storyboards?

That?s the hard way.. Hard because I?m not paying someone to feed info into me.(not that that?s a bad thing.. its just costly) Therefore I?m flying blindly. HOWEVER!

I?m doing what I want to do.. and I?m doing it by my choice..

I strongly erge everyone to do what you want to. wether it be AIE.. UNI.. Or Self teaching.

Not all these things are totally relevant to game design.. But they are "cool" and i think that?s something we should all work towards. The "cool" and "fun" factor.

BTW.. I got a reply back from pandemic.. This is what they said.

<>

And there damm right. From this I?ve learned something new. NOT WHINGED!! ..

.. Time to pull out Unreal ED and really put my money where my maw is!! WOOYA!

unknownuser2's picture

Caroo: Three cheers mate [:)] Nail on the ****** head! Realising and understanding that your works not all as good as you think it is is pretty much 90 % of the way to getting to the point where it actually is [;)]

Outsmart's picture

quote:Originally posted by Marty

ohhhh, i get it. It's all a joke. You're not serious are.. you..u-die?

erm.. did a search on amateur level designers doing Doom 3 stuff, clicked on this first random link.

http://francoiscogne.free.fr/site_map-factory/mf.php?Page=doom3&Map=9&To...

I think your goal is to probably start with being half as good as this guy? *shrug*

Marty

Please if that pic is any of his work ye is not even 2% as good as I am . i do like lighting...This little bit of screen is more complex than that screen shot
http://uk.msnusers.com/acidDrean/shoebox.msnw?action=ShowPhoto&PhotoID=723

Most those pics you saw were from my first doom 3 map
I think you do not realize ill put 1 more pic up and its in wire frame
Realize the complexity that map no offence to mapper is to insult me

Oh I did uted3 as well some pics 2
d3 http://uk.msnusers.com/acidDrean/shoebox.msnw?action=ShowPhoto&PhotoID=690

uted3
http://uk.msnusers.com/acidDrean/shoebox.msnw?action=ShowPhoto&PhotoID=720
http://uk.msnusers.com/acidDrean/shoebox.msnw?action=ShowPhoto&PhotoID=721
It sounds like im trying to brag im not I need to get threw door even if I have t go threw key hole as I have matured as a maper and im just a wais when I could be an important
Factor in a company

just for fun
time is 10.18 pm i will make coffee and re do that dudes pic and post pic here just as it will not take long but ill add railings witch can take some time

i think this is how it go's any way 10.54
http://www.villagephotos.com/viewpubimage.asp?id_=13818982&selected=

11.13
http://www.villagephotos.com/viewpubimage.asp?id_=13819037&selected=

12.37 realy dislike roe lost at least 20 min with bs!
http://www.villagephotos.com/viewpubimage.asp?id_=13819416&selected=

Makk's picture

I actually gave up reading your post u-die, simply becuase your grammer and spelling is so bad it hurt to read it.
You dont have to be perfect, but at least make an effort to communicate properly.

Hey Caroo, well said :)
THough I dont think self teaching is all that hard, though I can only speak for the art side of things. You just gotta be focused and dedicated to sticking it out (same with most things in life, eh!). Hanging around art forums, getting your work critiqued and sucking up all the knownlodge you can from things like tutorials, articles, other people artwork etc you and you can really, really far.

Outsmart's picture

hmm i draw i don?t care if my words mean nothing
2.15
http://www.villagephotos.com/viewpubimage.asp?id_=13819940&selected=
any way at 32 i find it stupid if i cant progress past all the little geeks who worry about spelling and grammar ..

edit ..is still lots to do but as they say don?t touch another mampers maps
http://www.villagephotos.com/viewpubimage.asp?id_=13820888&selected=
[;)]

unknownuser2's picture

U-die: Youve got to be kidding - like marty said 'this is a joke'. And If your serious, I have to be blunt (this judgement is based on what I see) but your level design work is borderline junior level. I think its important you realise this.

If not well what else can we say - post away your masterpieces in all their glory. But refrain from personal attacks. I happen to like geeks, they are my friends.

Outsmart's picture

what ever if you in a new Zealand or oz company i cant take you seriously,
i can construct most complex levels and yes what you can see ,i will not put my better work up on the web as peoples eyes steal

to blunt with you i do believe my levels are not up to scratch and that?s why i say i need some 1 there to show me the way as i can excel at incredible speed.
drawing out my head might be my pit fall but i see it as a strength.
you seem to think im show boating but i was looking for the next level
and the person that realizes that and shows me the way can only benefit

at end of day my levels will always be just unperfected as i miss polish only a polisher could give me ..this is my point and always has been

and no i want post my picks here i never will in gallery
and it was never my intention any way
i don?t need people to think im good i know i am

palantir's picture

I don?t think u-die is joking, I think u-die is trolling.

Don?t feed the trolls, especially 32-year-old ones that claim they don?t need to communicate better then primary school level because they know how to draw.

I think it?s really unfortunate that some illiterate and egotistical troll has destroyed an interesting thread that had the potential to help people with a common and important life decision.

Outsmart's picture

quote:Originally posted by palantir

I don?t think u-die is joking, I think u-die is trolling.

Don?t feed the trolls, especially 32-year-old ones that claim they don?t need to communicate better then primary school level because they know how to draw.

I think it?s really unfortunate that some illiterate and egotistical troll has destroyed an interesting thread that had the potential to help people with a common and important life decision.

It shows how week you are
Get a back bone

Any thx to mapper who made the original I enjoyed making this

http://www.villagephotos.com/viewpubimage.asp?id_=13825818&selected=

mcdrewski's picture

quote:
i can construct most complex levels and yes what you can see ,i will not put my better work up on the web as peoples eyes steal

at end of day my levels will always be just unperfected as i miss polish only a polisher could give me ..this is my point and always has been

From what I've seen from the level designers I've worked with, it's (relatively) easy to throw together a complicated level that's unpolished. It's hard to make the level flow well and to be evenly balanced for multi-play, and to be exploit-proof. It's then even harder to polish it to production quality. However once it's there, there's normally a jaw-dropping "wow" factor.

If you're serious about being as good as pro level designers in id/epic/valve/"cool-company-of-the-week" then focus on details and polish.

And in Hazard's defence - do some research. What makes you think his "new Zealand or oz company" is not responsible for big chunks of the levels or art in id/epic/valve/"cool-company-of-the-week"'s next game? Did you realise you were insulting a potential employer with AAA experience as a geek that you can't take seriously?

Kalescent does outsourcing. That means they could be working for ANY company ANYWHERE in the world right now. And they probably are.

Outsmart's picture

http://www.villagephotos.com/viewpubimage.asp?id_=13826606&selected=
this was looking good but I found a week point in my lighting skills and
I think I should spend more time in this area

well if a blew a bridge up :O
won?t be the first