Jump to content

recommended schools for programming


Recommended Posts

Looking for advice or suggestions. Here's the scoop...

 

I've always wanted a career involving creating toys or games. I think it started and when I played with Lego and grew as I built tree houses, tinkered with bikes, orchestrated mass-scale action figures wars, made RPG characters or DMed campaigns, played & traded MtG, and played plenty of video games. Having recently discovered that I enjoy writing code, the idea of game development is very exciting. Admittedly, the Aurora toolset definately played a role in encouraging my initial interest.

 

A college here in Toronto, Canada offers a Video Game Design & Development program. I went there for an admissions interview yesterday and everything went very well. Seems like a pretty good school. I think I'd do great academically, but the tuition fee looks a bit beyond my current budget.

 

This past year I completed the first of a three year program, Computer Programmer / Analyst, at another college. It's a bit wider of a programming base, but far less focus on any kind of artistic/graphical design and nothing whatsoever on storytelling or animation. The courses focus on programming for business or e-commerce applications. I've been happy with learning programming fundamentals, but there's a lot of extra baggage that seems unnecessary, such as a compulsory gen-ed course that involves cursory overviews of world history, world religions & history, and art history. Nevertheless, the program is affordable with student loans.

 

Before that I've focused on studying things like graphic design, math, physics, martial arts, english, psychology, interpersonal communication/motivation/management, and behaviour science. Surprisingly, all of these really help with studying and writing code, even teaching the same to others using plain english. I also now use objected-oriented techniques when teaching math or english. All of these connections reinforced my enjoyment for programming, so I know I'm on the right track.

 

Back to the point, I've been thinking about switching schools to get more experience with specifically game development. I'd have to work part-time while taking full-time classes, which I've seen lead to intense burnout and academic failure. It might be helpful in some ways, but I'm not sure if I need to make this kind of change if I want to work in the game industry.

 

I find outside perspectives to be very helpful, so any suggestions/comments would be greatly appreciated.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Wanna be a programmer? Come to the University of Michigan. We have an unbelievable nightlife of C++ frat parties from the programming fraternity Alpha Kappa Pi. You bring the laptop and we'll supply the coffee, and we'll have a night's worth of fun programming the latest homework for Engin 280

Word economics

To express my vast wisdom

I speak in haiku's.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Wanted to throw in a plug for USC for game programming and design. The school's ramped up their programs in both areas considerably in the past year, with significant help from the local game houses (esp. a large grant from EA). We've now got a full minor in each area, and game "production" (which will have some programming built in) should be a major soon.

 

I've taken a couple of the programming classes: they're not easy, but they teach a lot, and are a great addition to what's already a solid compsci curriculum. Because the school covers a lot of ground, you can switch tracks fairly easily to get a broader understanding of games (I've taken design courses and 3D-art courses, which is a nice change from engine programming). Plus, in part due to our proximity, we do have inroads with a lot of the local devs and producers, which comprise a nontrivial persentage of the American game industry. In the interest of full disclosure, though: our math department is NOT GOOD, so if you don't have a strong foundation in calculus, you're probably in for an uphill battle.

 

I think you'll find the following true of any 4-year compsci program: it's hard, the classes aren't much fun, and fairly few of the classes you take have anything to do with gaming. However, a solid curriculum in computer science will teach you a lot of stuff (such as math, algorithms, design fundamentals, discrete mathematics, assembly-level programming and electrical engineering) that a games-only curriculum is likely to gloss over. I can't yet say with any authority that games programmers find this useful, but they keep demanding that they do.

 

PS: Because I haven't seen it mentioned yet, anyone here in the Guildhall program at SMU? I've heard nothing but good things from out of there.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Another program that I have yet to see mentioned under this topic is Carnegie Mellon's Entertainment Technology Center. The ETC offers a two year, professional Masters degree that is jointly conferred by the School of Computer Science and the School of Fine arts. The program is interdisciplinary in nature in that it takes roughly half of its students from the art-side and the other half from the computer science/tech side.

 

The curriculum at the ETC is project-based; however, traditional elective courses are also allowed during the semester. The main idea behind the program is to put artists and technologists together in order to foster better communication between students of differing backgrounds. In addition, the program focuses on giving students project experience related to the industry they wish to enter after graduation. For example, two projects, one of which was funded by Microsoft, were geared specifically towards game prototypes using the Unreal 2003 engine.

 

Perhaps the largest perks is the number of connections that the ETC has gained over the years. EA has signed an agreement to take 10 interns every summer for the next three years (this does not include co-op offers in the fall and spring). Walt Disney Imagineering and the Walt Disney VR Studio have also agreed to taking three interns per summer.

 

Another consideration is that the ETC is very flexible with the needs of its students. I'm currently entering my second year of the program, but I have accepted a co-op for the fall. I'm able to replace the project I would have taken in the fall with industry experience. Anyway, I don't mean to blather on and on. I just figured I'd toss out the program for those interested. If there are any questions, I'm on the boards and will continue to look over this thread.

Link to post
Share on other sites

A friend of mine will be going to Digipen in the future, so I'm sure it's a good enough school. However, I think too many people these days think that all they will ever have to do is go to a school and learn the right skills.

 

The fact is, that the first steps are made in your free time. And it does not matter what school you go to if your work is top notch.

 

The good thing about learning how to program, is that you can start today without having to attend a specialized school yet. Just searching through the internet for several minutes will make this evident.

 

On a side note, it would be nice to hear about some good schools in Japan.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll vouch for the USC video game program. Though some of the classes (such as the gateway "Video Game Production" class) are not useful, the programming track is at least pretty solid. The classes (Intro to Game Programming, Game AI, Game Graphics, and Game Engine Design) are all taught by people in the industry working at EALA.

 

Suffice it to say, without the Game Programming class I took, I definitely would not have gotten into the industry. A large part of getting a job is all about who you know...and USC is definitely big on networking and the "Trojan Family."

Link to post
Share on other sites
A friend of mine will be going to Digipen in the future, so I'm sure it's a good enough school. However, I think too many people these days think that all they will ever have to do is go to a school and learn the right skills.

 

The fact is, that the first steps are made in your free time. And it does not matter what school you go to if your work is top notch.

 

The good thing about learning how to program, is that you can start today without having to attend a specialized school yet. Just searching through the internet for several minutes will make this evident.

 

This pretty much sums it up. No matter which school you go to, you're likely to (or SHOULD) learn the basics. Anything beyond that is likely to come from your own personal efforts.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Not everybody enjoys sitting down with the latest OpenGL Programming Guide or Physics for Game Developers, etc., but it's the kind of stuff ya have to love to curl up with for a good read. Sure I've learned a lot about basic practices from professors, but they give you the guidelines. Everything else comes from self-study in my experience, which means often that there's lots of extracurricular-techbook-reading involved. But how else do you learn how to do the fun stuff :wacko:

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

Ahh this thread made me sad :( i'm so behind.... I was planning on a life like this then my brother killed himself and i've been doing nothing after HS.

(i dont wanna blame it on him... its just been hard)

 

I'm 21 and not really doing anything... do I still have a hope if I can get my act together? or have I waited and wasted to much time?

 

 

I'm still waiting for a reason to keep going... I have no goals... This makes me wish I did

Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm 21 and not really doing anything... do I still have a hope if I can get my act together? or have I waited and wasted to much time?

I get the feeling that the game industry really doesn't care how old you are as long as you can meet and exceed their expectations. So yeah if you wish, pick a goal and get your act together. It's not too late :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

KainiaK,

 

one of the biggest reasons for not getting something done is by thinking that it is too late. i, possibly the worst (or best) procrastinator in the history of mankind, thought about doing some computer "stuff" in highschool, but that's about it. i watched as many of my close friends took Cisco classes and became extremely computer literate, while i did nothing. i didn't even know what i was going to go into in college, in fact, didn't even decide to register for college until 2 weeks before the start of the semester. why? because besides not knowing what college would hold for me, i didn't want school to get into the way of me playing Dark Alliance 2. i am still officially undeclared while taking programming classes. also, i am 20 years old.

the difference between you and i is that you have a plan that's been waiting for you, but put on hold because of a tragedy. believe me when i say that the best time to do something about it is now, because there is always tomorrow to do something, and a tomorrow after that. do something today, or the only thing you'll keep with you through the years is the knowledge that "i shoud've and i could've done something before, but it's too late now". think about it. i hope this helps.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Kainiak... Don't give up on it. Fortunately programming/game design is a task you don't have to start on at a supremely young age. Think about it, what is there exactly that would require it so? There is no physical effort involved, so you don't have to be young/fit. It is something that you can learn in a few years, so even if you started now you'd be 25 upon completion. Besides, being slightly older and having real world experience, as well as a little maturity, you will be more likely to take classes seriously, and learn more from them than the average 18yo fresh out of high school kid. One of the best programmers I know didn't start school until she was 26 and she far outprograms those she went to school with who started at 18-19.

 

Anyway, never give up on a dream.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Ahh this thread made me sad ;) i'm so behind.... I was planning on a life like this then my brother killed himself and i've been doing nothing after HS.

(i dont wanna blame it on him... its just been hard)

 

I'm 21 and not really doing anything... do I still have a hope if I can get my act together? or have I waited and wasted to much time?

 

 

I'm still waiting for a reason to keep going... I have no goals...  This makes me wish I did

 

I'm 22 and I just started a degree in computer games programming. It's never too late lad.

RS_Silvestri_01.jpg

 

"I'm a programmer at a games company... REET GOOD!" - Me

Link to post
Share on other sites
Ahh this thread made me sad :) i'm so behind.... I was planning on a life like this then my brother killed himself and i've been doing nothing after HS.

(i dont wanna blame it on him... its just been hard)

 

I'm 21 and not really doing anything... do I still have a hope if I can get my act together? or have I waited and wasted to much time?

 

 

I'm still waiting for a reason to keep going... I have no goals...  This makes me wish I did

 

OK, so for the past few eyars, you've sort of done ntohing. That's a mistake. But sometimes, YOU have to make mistakes in life to learn things. The only time mistakes are bad is when you don't learn anything from them.

 

So learn, "get your act together", and get into a degree! :)

Anyone perfect must be lying, anything easy has its cost

Anyone plain can be lovely, anyone loved can be lost

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi everyone, I'm new to the site. I'm currently an HS student and I've always hoped to eventually become a game programmer. Anyway, I had some (rather basic) questions:

 

1. What programming languages are normally used? (Ex. C/C++, Java, C#, ...)

 

2. Which is more important to learn: OpenGL or DirectX/Direct3D (or both?)

 

Thanks in advance for your time.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi everyone, I'm new to the site. I'm currently an HS student and I've always hoped to eventually become a game programmer. Anyway, I had some (rather basic) questions:

 

1. What programming languages are normally used? (Ex. C/C++, Java, C#, ...)

 

2. Which is more important to learn: OpenGL or DirectX/Direct3D (or both?)

 

Thanks in advance for your time.

 

1. C++ is the industry standard.

 

2. Both is good, depends on your goal.

RS_Silvestri_01.jpg

 

"I'm a programmer at a games company... REET GOOD!" - Me

Link to post
Share on other sites

Regarding Digipen - what sort of classes and grades are they looking for in their applicants?

 

Balanced people with a full spectrum of classes under their belt? People with maximum knowledge of computers and the game industry as a whole? People who can show off a mini-demo made in one's free time?

 

I'm taking and succeeding in various classes (including Calculus, C++, Database/web programming, and non-computer related classes) and would very much like to attend Digipen, but I'm not sure exactly what they're looking for.

Feel free to steal this sig.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm taking and succeeding in various classes (including Calculus, C++, Database/web programming, and non-computer related classes) and would very much like to attend Digipen, but I'm not sure exactly what they're looking for.

 

This is from their website:

Minimum Application Requirements for the R.T.I.S. Programs

Completed Grade 12 or the equivalent with a minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA.

Earned a "B" average or 3.0 GPA in mathematics courses including Algebra, Geometry, Algebra II/Trigonometry, Pre-Calculus (at a minimum), plus Calculus/AP Calculus if possible. Other courses that will be considered include Physics, Chemistry, and Computer Science.

As long as you meet and hopefully exceed the GPA requirements, you probably shouldn't have too hard of a time getting in. I got in having taken some Calculus, high school physics, a JAVA course, and some high school computer applications classes. I also took a Logic course (usually offered by the Philosophy department), although I'm not sure how much of a factor that was.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...