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Old 03-21-2011, 12:01 PM   #1
KorJax
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Red face Deciding where to head next?

Bit of background: I've got dead set goals to become a level designer as my profession, potentially trying other things or growing beyond that in my future. I've done some level design work for Mechwarrior: Living Legends but have taken a temporary hiatus from the project due to schooling.

Currently am studying Visual Communication (basically graphic design) at my local community college and graduate with an associates in the spring, with the only two classes left I have to take being a portfolio development class and a capstone.


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Now that that is out of the way I'm rather uncertain of where to head next after I earn my Associates, and am looking for insights from people who ran into a similar issue and what they decided to do.

The dead-set minded self really wants to to actively persue modding work, level design work, and personal game design work after I graduate to help build my portfolio directly in the manner I want, instead of continuing with schooling (which has nothing to do with game design). I currently have an enjoyable job as a pizza delivery guy part-time that pays well enough to make me financially stable during this period.

The more over-arching minded self really wants to continue with my education and get a Bachelors in Visual Communications at the local university. Cost isn't an issue - my dad works there so I get 80% off (which makes it about the same price I pay now at community college). I also really want to experience a real college enviornment, get out and personally develop myself through social and professional connections via this way.

There are problems in my head with both sides of the coin though.

If I take route one, I only have an Associates to my name which immediately disqualifies myself from employment with some places and makes it hard to get through HR on others. I also miss out on experiencing the social connections with a wide variety of people, and a great once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to develop myself personally through clubs of interest, being involved in school related things, etc. My idea isn't to go to drunk parties - I'm talking about actually interesting things like joining an outdoors club (I'm a huge fan of outdoor recreation but since I graduated HS I know literally NO ONE who does too!). Or becoming apart of a game design club I know they have.

If I take route two, I pursue my bachelors and get involved with the school. However, my focus of study is in graphic design. Which while interests me, doesn't get me where I ultimately want to go. This wasn't a big deal early on in college when my coursework wasn't anything crazy, because it allowed me to easily balance in some game design a level design with my coursework. But this past year has really kicked my butt with workload - I simply have had no real time to invest in doing any level design work and I imagine it'll get worse with the latter years in college. It's also an issue of more money I'll have to spend, etc.

Basically, I'm primarily concerned with my portfolio development if I go for route two - It simply won't be a strong portfolio for level design or game design in two years as it would be if I did route one. This is because I would have to spend most of my resources on building a graphic design portfolio and getting that Bachelors.


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So any advice from anyone who might have "been there?"

Do you reccomend I take route one where I focus on doing level design and game design work that interests me to start building my portfolio NOW, but sacrifice the batchelors and valuble life experiences?

Or do you reccomend I continue with my education where I focus on getting my visual communication degree while getting the college experience I wish to have, but continue sacrifice the progress of my portfolio development and focus I wish to have in the end?

Last edited by KorJax : 03-21-2011 at 12:04 PM.
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Old 03-21-2011, 01:19 PM   #2
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How long would it take from now to finish your degree?
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Old 03-21-2011, 01:28 PM   #3
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About 2-3 years not counting the spring quarter I'll be attending in a week to get my bachelors.

I will have my associates at the end of this spring term.
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Old 03-21-2011, 03:51 PM   #4
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Quote:
1. Do you reccomend I take route one where I focus on doing level design and game design work that interests me to start building my portfolio NOW, but sacrifice the batchelors and valuble life experiences?

2. Or do you reccomend I continue with my education where I focus on getting my visual communication degree while getting the college experience I wish to have, but continue sacrifice the progress of my portfolio development and focus I wish to have in the end?
1. Absolutely not.
2. Get the B.A. That has to be job #1.
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Old 03-21-2011, 04:29 PM   #5
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Id say stick to getting your Bachelors, it shows... persistence, for lack of a better word.

Also why not slowly work on your portfolio while your getting your B.A. ? You can always work on work on pieces such as level design and character modeling with blender (open source 3d modeling program in case you didn't already know) as well as concept art in-parallel to your college work, there's nothing stopping you from progressing your portfolio in your free time or on spring break or holidays

Also, even with graphic design as your focus, even it shows some strengths you could contribute to level design, a strong knowledge of color theory could really stand out.

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Old 03-22-2011, 02:03 PM   #6
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Thanks for the advices people, that's what I'll probably do

I'd like to do game design stuff on the side, and I have been but this past year has been such a huge time investment in graphic design that it's drained the time and will to work on game design while I had my major projects going on. I have a feeling it'll be like that in the future too when I continue with my bachellors...
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Old 04-09-2011, 07:13 PM   #7
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Bit of an update: Today I learned that said university that I am available to going to (dad works there and therefore I can pay my way through it easily), does not offer any kind of media/graphic design/etc majors - they only offer minors in those subjects. Which means my current major wouldn't transfer.

I'm not sure I can afford to to go to another distant college where my design classes would transfer. Do you think I should suck it up and take out a small fortune of a loan to continue my major to a distant school or some other option?
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Old 04-09-2011, 10:30 PM   #8
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I think you should make a decision grid. And talk to your parents.
http://www.sloperama.com/advice/m70.htm
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Old 05-28-2011, 02:31 PM   #9
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Honestly, I would focus on your portfolio. Todays world seems to be heading in a direction away from checking college degree and more towards showing what you have already done. You already have some college, which is a great thing, but even if you do continue college, you will still have to work on your portfolio before even getting looked at. If you are happy delivering pizzas, and have a dead set dream in game design, then I know you can make it!

Not trying to say that college is a bad thing, just from experience in programming, I have never been asked "What is your highest education level", but always being asked "Can I see something you have done before?"
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Old 05-28-2011, 09:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristianModas View Post
Honestly, I would focus on your portfolio. Todays world seems to be heading in a direction away from checking college degree and more towards showing what you have already done...
Not trying to say that college is a bad thing, just from experience in programming, I have never been asked "What is your highest education level", but always being asked "Can I see something you have done before?"
There's a big difference between the questions you get asked when your resume successfully passed through the filtering phase, and getting your resume past the filtering phase.
The degree is essential for those who do not have work experience.
http://www.igda.org/games-game-march-2010
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