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Old 10-08-2007, 01:51 AM   #1
jillduffy
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Comment here on the article "I Am a Game School Dropout": http://gamecareerguide.com/features/...me_school_.php
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Old 10-08-2007, 08:33 AM   #2
BretWardle
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I am a game school graduate...

There is one major argument I have to bring up with this feature. The author brings up, on multiple occasions, the fact that game development schools are "grooming" students to the needs of big studios. There is also mention of forsaking creative freedom in this method. In any degree, at any school, in any location this is always the case. A schools purpose is not to unleash your creative freedom. It is to teach you the skills needed to better your expression of this freedom. It is, and always will be, the designer’s job to explore the limits of their creativity. And designers that possess that unbridled creativity will always have a place in the industry in my opinion (degree or not).

Many of the greatest writers of our time lack a collegiate education. Yet others have degrees from the most prestigious universities in the world. Game development is no different. With the independent and casual markets in the state that they are (booming) there is always a need for people with a passion for making games.

If you have that passion, and the technical skills to show it, then get out there and prove it. If an education from a game development school is not your cup of tea then I applaud your independence. Personally, the time I spent in school talking intelligently about games with professionals in the industry was priceless. The teambuilding and networking with fellow students is the same. The constraints placed on projects by the professors helped me learn what true creativity is in this industry.

Everyone’s needs, circumstances, and financial well being are obviously different. But I would not trade the lessons learned throughout my education for anything.
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Old 10-08-2007, 01:04 PM   #3
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I just want to comment on your "Military Mentality" experience. To me it doesn't sound much like 'boot camp', or anything close to it. Most job specific schools are like that. They want to prepare you for the 'fleet' or real world. Just ask friends or family members that went to med and law school. Long hours, studying under doctors/lawyers, reports to write, and hours of homework/studying should be expected.

No one said school was going to be easy. This is when you're suppose to learn time management. Adjusting your time around your education is not easy, especially if you have a family, and work full time. Hell, even with a part-time job on the side! I should know. I'm in the military (Marines if you care to know), have a family, work part-time (Gamestop, really helpful), and have time to do my reports/exams/research for my classes that I take at none other than... a game school. Should it matter if is on campus or online? I think not, because the campus students gets the same assignments and are treated the same. At least where I attend anyway.

It is inevitable that you'll see crunch time working on some title and you have to adapt to the madness. You fight or die in the trenches. If you can't hack it, you're in the wrong business. In order to survive you must have a strong passion for games, period. I'm not saying that burnout will not occur, but everyone is different.

Keep truckin, "I am a Game School Dropout" and good luck in your future endeavors.

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Old 10-08-2007, 11:51 PM   #4
Ninjetta
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I too am a game school dropout. I was going for a B.S. in Game Software Design. When I started I had all the drive in the world. Stayed up late nights to get my projects done, would some days go without sleep, and still managed to somehow get through the job I had at the time and get to most of my kids activities. I was a Cardio Kickboxing trainer and my husband tried to be as supportive as he could but things just didn't work.

Intro classes were easy since I had already gotten my A.A. and minoring in Computer Programming and there was one other girl there to keep me company (for 2 terms until she dropped out). When the advanced classes started coming up, I would ask questions and the teachers would be unable to answer them (especially about pointers, encapsulation, and polymorphism). I got frustrated. I would spend less time getting my programs done and more time trying to figure out what the teacher was trying to teach. That resulted in more sleepless nights and less energy for work and my family. Then things just snowballed. My family was suffering, my finances were suffering, and most importantly, I was suffering. My dream was to become a game programmer and I learn a lot better when I have someone explaing "WHY" things work which is why I chose to go to school instead of being self-taught. I had to quit school because of the huge chunk of time and energy it was taking from my life. Now I just take game testing jobs that work with my schedule both with and without pay so I can keep one toe in the industry. School isn't an option anymore because of the financial burden of the time I tried.

I agree with the fact that in the actual programming job there will be weeks and months where the office is where I will live, that is not the deterrant. What is the deterrant is when the school treats you as if you are already an employee of the industry and demand more time and energy than you can spare and you are the one that is paying them.

RoTeNdO, for some it is not the fact of not being able to "hack it" in the industry. I have seen people that can't hack it and they are usually the ones to leave or crack quickly. I applaud the ones that are able to be self-taught and can jump right in and it is great for you to be able to take online classes I wish you the best in that, but as was mentioned earlier by BretWardle, "Everyone’s needs, circumstances, and financial well being are obviously different." My reason for quitting was financial and the fact the school instructors were frustrating me with their ignorance of the game industry. I still support the game industry by testing games but it may be another 10 years before I will be able to try again for school and by that time I will be close to my 40's and my youngest daughter will be in college.
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Old 10-09-2007, 05:38 AM   #5
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I think I'm gonna wait till after the 16th to answer this.
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Old 10-09-2007, 01:34 PM   #6
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I'm currently in my second year of college pursuing an Associates in Game Development. The degree is more weighted towards programming but I'm going to transfer into a Visual Communications degree. I can definitely see a ton of students dropping out of a Game Programming degree. Following the tutorials at first was fun but once you have to start figuring it out on your own it gets tricky. I originally wanted to get into programming but it just didn't click for me so I'm going to do 3D modeling/Animation.

I'm under the assumption that programmers work the most during crunch time because of all the bugs in code. The art should already be mostly complete by that time so I'm wondering if the hours are as crazy for the artists.
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Old 10-10-2007, 04:20 AM   #7
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I agree with you Lisa. It seems most of the schools out there should change their name from Educational Institutes to Cheap Labor Institutes.
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Old 10-11-2007, 08:04 AM   #8
BretWardle
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oramaman View Post
I'm under the assumption that programmers work the most during crunch time because of all the bugs in code. The art should already be mostly complete by that time so I'm wondering if the hours are as crazy for the artists.
Although you are correct in assuming the programmers probably put in the most "crunch" time, artists are by no means let off the hook. It will obviously depend on the studio you are employeed by, but many times arists are pulled to a new project as soon as the art for one is complete. They often turn into "visual" QA engineers as well. Looking for bugs with rendering/framerate/lighting issues.
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Old 10-11-2007, 12:55 PM   #9
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I'll have to agree that school isn't there to help unleash creativity, but to ready you for the career you want to pursue. It's like that in every other school. Schools aren't there to be your friends and hold your hand through college, they're suppose to ready you for what's to come. As an honors and advance placement student in high school, I've had my share of late nights and complaints about how the class should lighten up, but in all truth, I'm glad they didn't.

I truly think that we cannot evolve without pushing ourselves to that limit, and that's how schools should be. It's hard to really put into words. But if you can jump 4 feet high, and someone puts a cookie up 4 feet and 5 inches higher, as horrible as it might sound, it's needed. It's that extra 5 inches that gets us to jump higher, to evolve and unlock that potential in us to succeed. Colleges are suppose to drive you to your limit, so you can push it further; I think that if you truly want it, then you have to focus and try your best. I'm not saying going in blindfolded, planning beforehand is just as important. Find out what you need beforehand and plan for it so you don't get surprised by it later down the line.

And that's about it for Arvon's ranting. Thanks for listening! Sorry if you got bored. Haha
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Old 10-11-2007, 05:40 PM   #10
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You guys are being a bit hard on her. She does bring up a good point that game develpers themselves have raised:
Quote:
Another drawback to attending game-specific school is that it could limit the kinds of game development studios where you might work. I've heard from a few smaller game development companies that say they simply do not hire game school graduates. Their stance is that game school graduates churn out the same work as all their peers; for example, 15 students from the same program could very well have nearly identical demo reels. Small companies often prefer to hire people who have casts their nets wider than video games and have a variety of interests and skills. And while going to game school doesn't necessarily mean you lack a wide and varied knowledge base, it's certainly less interesting on paper than having a bachelor's in sociology, a master's in interactive media, and six months studying abroad in Costa Rica.

What I mean is this: If the only thing you've done is gone to game school, chances are small game developers will see your experience as being too limited for their line of work. Small game development studios need employees who can do a little bit of everything and whose experiences will bring new information and ideas to the table. They fear that game graduates -- especially those who went directly from high school to game school -- have little to no life experience and work experience, and are in essence a bit parochial.
http://www.gamecareerguide.com/featu...dvantages_.php
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