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TheeCakee 01-31-2012 02:18 PM

Bad at math and science, should I still major in comp science?
I wasn't really sure where this would go, since it is more of a mix between programming and I suppose this would be a good section. Though, I know the general basic concepts of the industry..been looking into this for years now.

I'll try to make this short...but is going to end up being a tl;dr, so my high goal is to become a game designer "specifically a content designer or writer"...and I have this idea to work up in the ranks by starting as a programmer since nobody walks into a studio and says "I'M GOING TO CREATE THE NEXT FALLOUT !"

I have been working on my programming skills for a year or two now with C++/C# as advice from you guys. So far, I find it to be not that hard. I do these weekly programming challenges on another forum and make basic text story games...more for myself just for practice I suppose. I figure it is better than doing nothing but dreaming.

Even though the programming side is easy for me, my actual math and science skills are not good. Ironically, I am really good at Social Studies and English being in all the AP stuff for those...which is more useless with a Computer Science major. I fear this will not help me at all with majoring in computer Science and I don't see myself having a revolution and suddenly being a math master.

I fear that if I have troubles with just high school Algebra and Physics, then I am just waiting for a boat-load of problems in college majoring in Computer Science. I am not sure if I really want to do one of those Game Development majors as I hear bad things, but what do you guys think?

yaustar 02-01-2012 06:04 AM

Re: Bad at math and science, should I still major in comp science?
Do you see yourself working as a programmer as a job?

jwalters 02-01-2012 09:22 PM

Re: Bad at math and science, should I still major in comp science?
No, you should not major in Computer Science. All I read in your message is a fear of CS, not a passion for it, and if you don't truly want to be a programmer then you should not become one.

If you want to get into game design, you can supposedly do that with ANY degree (, so why not pursue English or Social Studies if they interest you? Anything you learn, as long as you prove you can finish strong, can be used to benefit you as you work on your game design skills.

And FYI there are tools out there (e.g. GameMaker) for folks who want to dabble in design without learning programming.

Good luck!

tigertheory 02-02-2012 07:47 AM

Re: Bad at math and science, should I still major in comp science?
I'm finishing up a Computer Science degree this semester. While I'm sure it's completely dependent on the school, mine doesn't stress advanced math. Calc I is the highest required.

If you like programming but don't like math, you could certainly program games - to a degree. The part that really separates programmers from computer scientists is the math, the understanding of the underlying logic and the desire to change the logic for optimization. With that said, if you don't have a firm grasp of algebra you will struggle with algorithm analysis. In other words, you can program, but you can't advance into an engineer.

I was talking to a friend of mine who currently works for SOE about this very thing. I was worried that I screwed myself by only taking Calc I, worried that I didn't know as much math as I should've. He reassured me that most of the advanced math classes don't talk about math as a game programmer would. The relevant advanced math that he has is self-taught - specifically 3d math.

My advice would be to assess your other areas of interest/proficiency and build on those. See if there's something else you are good at, that you enjoy, that can be useful to game development. If you like programming but hate math, then I would stop looking at programming as a career entry point and instead just look at it as a hobby. Build your career and specialization around something you genuinely enjoy rather than trying to become good at something you don't enjoy just because it might get your foot in the door, because your forced expertise will show.

Also, should you decide not to go into programming, don't look at your last 1-2 years of learning programming as a waste of time. The rudimentary programming knowledge that you've gained through that 1-2 years will also show - in a positive way. Being able to communicate with programmers, even if you aren't one, is a valuable asset.

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