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Game-Related Education On the Rise At Colleges

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the best-kind-of-homework dept.

Education 178

The LA Times has a story about the increased interest in learning how to make video games amongst college students, and the subsequent rise in game-related education as the schools respond to that demand. Some programs are gaining legitimacy, while others do perhaps more harm than good. Quoting: "The surge in interest has led schools to add games to their menu — but not always to the benefit of its students. Recruiters say they often see 'mills' that run around-the-clock sessions to quickly churn out as many students as possible. Other programs teach specific skills but not how games are pulled together. 'It's a very hot academic growth area,' said Colleen McCreary, who runs EA's university relations program. 'I'm very worried about the number of community colleges and for-profit institutions, as well as four-year programs, that are using game design as a lure for students who are not going to be prepared for the real entry-level positions that the game industry wants.'"

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Seems useful... (4, Funny)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522043)

The economy is in total meltdown, and the best our academic institutions have to offer is more video games. When are they going to follow the leads of Harvard and Yale and give us the fine leaders like George W Bush, John Kerry, Ben Bernanke, Barrack Obama, and the head of Lehman Brothers. Running the country into the ground, now that's a REAL degree!

Re:Seems useful... (2, Insightful)

ciaohound (118419) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522157)

I think it's the carbon economy and the institutions that support it, academic included, that are in serious crisis. The Sierra Club ranks colleges by their greenness, and, curiously, the Ivies aren't in the top ranks. Places like Middlebury and Oberlin are. These are small colleges that focus on the teaching of undergraduates. Maybe that's part of why they seem to be leading green thinking.

I am hopeful for a new generation of leaders that are more aware of humanity's impact on the planet. Of course, it would be hard to be any less aware than the current administration.

Re:Seems useful... (-1, Flamebait)

megamerican (1073936) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522229)

This is one of the most idiotic and brainwashed responses I've ever seen in the history of the internet. The sad thing is you probably believe what you wrote.

I hope you love the neo-fuedalistic state that is being created to "save" precious mother earth.

Re:Seems useful... (5, Funny)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522735)

This is one of the most idiotic and brainwashed responses I've ever seen in the history of the internet. The sad thing is you probably believe what you wrote.

Re:Seems useful... (2, Insightful)

dwarg (1352059) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523107)

ciaohound, take note of megamerican's response. You see, if you want to convince conservatives to do what's in their own best interest you need to phrase it in terms of how it will hurt other people.

For example when you say, "Excuse me Mr. Conservative, maybe we should try to develop alternative energy sources so we aren't dependent on a single source that is damaging to our environment."

Instead you should say, "Hey fellow conservative, we needs us some plant fuels, or some such shit, so that we ain't sendin' so much God damned money over to those towel-headed sand-niggers that keep blowin' everyone up."

Obviously it's repulsive to say it that way but otherwise your just wasting your breath talking to a really ignorant, angry and misinformed brick wall.

Re:Seems useful... (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522763)

I think it's the carbon economy and the institutions that support it, academic included, that are in serious crisis.

Well, the carbon economy really translates to wealth and not have carbon based fuels or not be able to use them means to not have wealth. Whenever you go from being wealthy to not being wealthy, the institutions in front of the lost wealth lose their credibility.

Re:Seems useful... (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522923)

Please. Teaching successful manipulation of the system for your own and others' gain is not limited to a single economy.

A harvard business grad would be just as adept in a green economy as a carbon one. Money, Power and Influence are aquired the same no matter the game.

Re:Seems useful... (1)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523467)

Unless the rules of the game say shoot the guy with the most. Just saying.

Re:Seems useful... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25522567)

And the derivatives. Don't forget about the derivatives. Only MIT and Harvard would produce graduates who would create those.

Re:Seems useful... (1)

theeddie55 (982783) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523159)

a good rant, it seems you've done your research most of the way through until you get to "and the head of Lehman Brothers" who is Richard Fuld, an NYU alma mater

Re:Seems useful... (1)

zebslash (1107957) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523921)

At the same moment, Sarah Palin wants to stop all research on Drosophila : http://thinkprogress.org/2008/10/24/palin-fruit-flies/ [thinkprogress.org]

With people like this, no need for science degrees anymore. After all, everything we need to know is written in their bible.

Ummm... (3, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522049)

Just look at the rise of "computer" classes in high schools that don't teach you more than Word and Excel. And even the highest level computer classes only might barely touch on HTML. This is no different.

Re:Ummm... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25522269)

I agree, I am a university student studying science, chem and biology 2 majors. I took the time to Do 100 level comp science, and got through a horrid year of C# initiative..

Where I am going is that, at the same time I was doing pograming, there were students in my Biology and Environmental classes pulling off modules for Word/Excel and PPT that were giving the same total number of credits as I was getting for busting my arse off learning how to write object-orientated programs.

I have no problem with learning how to use Excel/Word/PowerPoint to its fullest, but to achieve university points for demonstrating how to point and click is absurd.

Re:Ummm... (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522449)

I have no problem with learning how to use Excel/Word/PowerPoint to its fullest, but to achieve university points for demonstrating how to point and click is absurd.

I hate to break it to you, but Excel/Word/PowerPoint are exceedingly useful skills in a lot of workplaces and for a lot of careers. Much more so than programming for a lot of those careers.

(And I say this as a programmer with a computer science degree.)

I mean, if you want take the angle that universities should be teaching 'higher learning' and not attempting to prepare students for the workplace, I'd agree with that up to a point... but in terms of workplace usefulness, I'd bet you a lot of the people you went to school with and who got taught that Excel/Word/PowerPoint stuff use those skills in their career as much or more than anything else they learned as undergrads.

Re:Ummm... (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522741)

I hate to break it to you, but Excel/Word/PowerPoint are exceedingly useful skills in a lot of workplaces and for a lot of careers. Much more so than programming for a lot of those careers.

Excel, Word, and Powerpoint, or their open-source equivalents, are not "college" material. They're something that any semi-literate knuckle-dragging, mouth-breather should be able to learn themselves, either on their own, or with the help of a Dummies book.

If they can't even do that, they have already demonstrated a serious lack of any sort of initiative, and shouldn't be in college in the first place.

Computing general Ed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25522829)

Excel/Word/PowerPoint are exceedingly useful skills in a lot of workplaces and for a lot of careers. Much more so than programming for a lot of those careers.

I think the important point is that "computer science" as a degree today isn't the same as what it was 15 years ago.

Not all CS majors strive to write software... and certainly not all CS majors hope to spend their lives writing java.

General computer literacy regarding using computers, typing, doing research on the internet, and creating office document/presentations/reports/spreadsheets is my opinion should all be PRE-REQUISITE work for colleges.

I suppose having classes that teach students how to use Maya or Max is probably at least as interesting/educational/useful as having a pottery class.

But, I do have a concern about how well US universities prepare students for a career that will not just pay off their student loans, but support them for the rest of their lives...

In other countries, universities only really teach classes that help people get jobs that will pay the bills.

Here in the US, we tend to think of colleges as a bastion of free thought and expression as opposed to training for 35 years of grind in the workforce.

So... maybe there is a place for teaching students how to work for a company that designs video games...

at least there are jobs... :)

Re:Ummm... (4, Insightful)

Greg_D (138979) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523255)

I hate to break it to you, but universities are not supposed to be places for vocational learning. Anyone with the intellectual capacity to be enrolled at a 4 year institution should be able to pick up the skills necessary to operate the aforementioned software on their own.

I don't have a problem with a class period or two being devoted to the basic operation of the software, but it should never be the basis for actual school credit in an accredited curriculum.

Re:Ummm... (4, Insightful)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523959)

sadly, that's what many American universities have degraded into--trade schools.

i have a friend attending UCSB who's trying to get into web design/development. but most all of the classes he's taken are more akin software training courses taught at junior colleges or technical colleges like Devry, ITT Tech, etc. skills like basic flash animation, HTML coding, and JavaScript are things that a web developer needs to teach himself. a University education should be focused on more academic knowledge that broaden a student's horizons, not giving vocational training that can be gleaned from a book or the web in just a few weeks.

personally, i majored in CS in college and i never even took a single class on web design/development, but i've already established a career for myself having built up a portfolio doing freelance work while in college and also as an in-house developer/designer. the vocational skills that i've developed cannot, and should not, be taught in a university classroom. they're skills you pick up and teach yourself either working on personal projects or doing an internship.

university courses need to teach students more abstract concepts that are more difficult to teach oneself or that students are more likely to miss in their self-study because they don't appear to have any obvious practical applications--things like programming theory & conceptual knowledge. my friend doesn't have any of that, and worse yet, he has picked up bad programming/design habits from his classes like using frames, mixing content and presentation, and sloppy/unorganized code.

but i guess we live in a capitalist society and education has become just another commercialized commodity. people treat colleges merely as a hoop to jump through in order to land a high paying job. they don't actually care about learning or intellectual pursuit. a well-rounded college education just isn't in as much demand, therefore the free market has driven our universities to become more like technical colleges and focus more on vocational training.

but i guess that's why a bachelor's degree is no longer enough for selective employers. now you need a graduate degree to truly be competitive. i don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

Re:Ummm... (1)

mollymoo (202721) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522945)

Where I am going is that, at the same time I was doing pograming, there were students in my Biology and Environmental classes pulling off modules for Word/Excel and PPT that were giving the same total number of credits as I was getting for busting my arse off learning how to write object-orientated programs.

I have no problem with learning how to use Excel/Word/PowerPoint to its fullest, but to achieve university points for demonstrating how to point and click is absurd.

Word and PowerPoint are of course simple enough for the basics, but you can use VBA to do some clever and difficult stuff with them. Excel spreadsheets can be monstrously complex and getting the best out of Excel for analysing scientific data or doing complex accounting involves a damn sight more than "point and click". Of course whether or not the courses you refer to cover that kind of material I don't know.

Re:Ummm... (4, Interesting)

LoRdTAW (99712) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523359)

Schools like this aren't going to land you a good job. My brother went to Full Sail for their game development degree. Even though its only 22 months he received an accredited bachelors degree. His final project was a 5 month grind where he and 4 others made a game from scratch. They made a networked real time strategy game with a 3D engine, 3D sound using Fmod, 4 player networking and multiple game play modes. All totally from scratch, no tools or anything. In fact they had to write their own tools to handle a few tasks. They must document everything and manage the game as if they were a company by having an asset list to keep them focused. They are required to come up with a studio name and that class gets a publisher name as well. Another good thing is since Full Sail is a media school, graphic arts students make the textures and models while sound students do the sound effects for the teams. They are also now offering a masters degree as well.

The result? When he attended his international game developers association meetings he was the most experienced person there. He was able to speak and present himself well thanks to his public speaking classes. His C++ knowledge along with C#, assembler and java got him allot of attention. He can also land a regular programming job if he wanted.

I must say even I am impressed by his knowledge. My favorite project was for his machine architecture class where he had to write a game boy demo from scratch (that is where his assembler knowledge comes from). So if anyone is interested in a game development school look into Full Sail. But be warned over 50% drop out before the first year, and about 25% make it to graduation. It is a very intense degree. Each class is from 9-5pm sometimes with labs 5-1am! You are definitely prepared for a grueling job as a programmer after that school.

Here was his classes publisher, Degenerate Triangles. He was part of the Code or Die team. http://degeneratetriangles.com/ [degeneratetriangles.com]

Re:Ummm... (1)

rdnetto (955205) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523787)

I am a senior (Yr 11) student in Victoria, Australia, and I agree. My school had IT in Yr 9, but that was basic stuff like Word. Yr 10 was an introduction to VB.NET. The depressing part is that there is only one class for both YR 11 and 12, and in terms of programming its at the same level as late Yr 10 - it just covers more theory regarding the waterfall model, systems design, etc. While the theory is important, it would be nice to see a few more advanced classes - Yr 10 was torturous for those who already a knew a language (I learn it within a week, already knowing C#), and I know that 5-10 of the people in my senior class could easily go beyond the course's scope - its a pity that we're limited by the VCE...

Likes Games != Automatic CS degree (4, Insightful)

ServerIrv (840609) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522077)

Most of the computer science dropouts I know started the degree because they like playing computer games. Later they realize that it's much more than playing games and they cannot program themselves out of a logical wet paper bag. At least this gives them an opportunity to get a degree

Re:Likes Games != Automatic CS degree (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522145)

Sometimes the curriculum's titles are misleading. For example, there may be a big difference between software engineering(the process: methodologies, lifecycle, iterations, etc.) as opposed to using programming to solve engineering problems.

Somebody who'd want to program for a real game company would be better off getting a math degree with emphasis on programming rather than a CompSci degree with emphasis in software engineering.

Re:Likes Games != Automatic CS degree (4, Informative)

Dutch Gun (899105) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522659)

Somebody who'd want to program for a real game company would be better off getting a math degree with emphasis on programming rather than a CompSci degree with emphasis in software engineering.

On what basis do you offer this advice? Game development is a very practical endeavor, with a large number of very specialized requirements:

* C/C++ fluency is almost universally required. Other languages such as C#/Lua/Python
* Understanding of efficient coding practices and optimization

And, of course, you can then split off into one of many specialized areas:
* 3D graphics programming
* Audio programming
* AI and pathfinding
* Animation systems
* Cinematics/Machinima systems
* Physics programming
* Internal tools development
* Gameplay programming
* Platform-specific specialists
* Server/network programming

A math degree is useful for some of these jobs, but not all. Most programming job listings ask for a CS degree or equivalent in industry experience. You could probably get in with a math degree, and it might help you find a specialized programming job such as a physics developer (extremely math-intensive), but I just don't see it being too practical in a general sense.

Honestly, I can think of very few times I've had to call on any of my higher math skills as a game programmer (I specialize in audio, cinematic, and AI programming). Most of the time, basic linear algebra suffices quite nicely.

Re:Likes Games != Automatic CS degree (2, Insightful)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522881)

it's probably more helpful to just actually do some game development.

if you really want to program games for a living, then you should be doing it in your free time. someone who enjoys coding doesn't need to be working at a software development firm to sit down and write some code. if it's really what you want to do then you should enjoy doing it whether you're being paid to do it or not.

if you go through college without ever writing a single game on your own or collaborating with a friend, then you're probably not cut out for a career in game develop. the real future professional game developers are already amateur game developers by the time they reach college. i knew i wanted to be a programmer not because of some dream or fantasy in my mind, but because i spent day and night coding my own personal projects for fun--and i enjoyed doing it.

if you're not motivated enough to write a game on your own, then what makes you think you're going to be a good game developer just because someone is paying you? game development is just like any other field. if you enjoy doing it you will succeed. if you go through college without ever trying to write a game on your own then it's your own fault, not the school's, that you can't get a job in game development.

higher education is what you make of it. for those privileged enough to have access to it, their future is in their own hands. either you immerse yourself in academic pursuit and achieve personal growth both in and out of the classroom, or you throw your tuition away treating college as a trade school, waiting to be given step-by-step instructions on how to get into a high-paying job while doing the bare minimum to graduate.

Re:Likes Games != Automatic CS degree (1)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522161)

That would be worth pointing out if it was just schools saying "You like playing games? Major in this!" TFA does not make it sound like that is going on many places. Furthermore, it doesn't sound like the emphasis is entirely on programming, citing games as a combination of many fields. Mentions something about pairing a CS major up with a drama major. (I would be worried about creating a black hole of pure ego and pretentiousness if I were setting up that team...)

Not that that is a good approach either. I'm assuming that good programmers are what is lacking, that there's no end of people with ideas but no technical skill in CS. I mean, I've come up with some ideas for games and I know nothing about programming aside from the snippets I glean here, so that tells me that "people with ideas but not programming skills" are pretty valueless to the game industry. The drama major interested in making games is STILL not going to have a job.

Re:Likes Games != Automatic CS degree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25522655)

In my (somewhat biased) experience, there is also (if not more so) a need for artists capable of making video-game usable art.

Re:Likes Games != Automatic CS degree (1)

ServerIrv (840609) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523317)

From TFA it sounds like USC is doing it correctly, but since it is still a new major and there isn't a "standard" curriculum, there are bound to be problems. I've seen Game Design advertised as a major at community colleges right along side criminal justice to be people's next career step and key to financial freedom. Wherever there is money, people are willing to separate it from the owners.

Improve your brain by playing a game (5, Interesting)

Dr_Banzai (111657) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522083)

Speaking of game related education, a 2008 study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that a particular memory task, called Dual N-Back, may actually improve working memory (short term memory) and fluid intelligence (gF). This is an important finding because fluid intelligence was previously thought to be unchangeable. The game involves remembering a sequence of spoken letters and a sequence of positions of a square at the same time.

Read the original experimental study here [iapsych.com] .

There's a free open source version of the Dual N-Back task called Brain Workshop [sourceforge.net] . Start practicing!

Stay away.... (2, Informative)

NFN_NLN (633283) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522085)

Stay far away from the Video Game industry if you value your 'personal' time. Of the few people I know working for BioWare and Ubisoft... that job will become your life.

I think it all boils down to what one boss said to one of the guys I know: "I've got 35 resumes sitting on my desk of people just as qualified as you who are willing to do your job. So no you can't have time off."

Re:Stay away.... (3, Interesting)

Dutch Gun (899105) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522377)

It's not all like that. I've been a programmer in the video game industry for 11+ years now. The simple fact of the matter is this: if you've got a proven track record as a developer, you'll command a good salary and be in very high demand. It's true that you may not make as much as those with equivalent skills outside the game development industry, but hey, you're making games for a living, which is a pretty cool way to spend your day.

Sure, some companies will think nothing of exploiting you as much as they can. This isn't exactly unique to the game development industry. If you find yourself in such a situation, try to at least finish up your current project (important for your resume), but get the hell out of that company. Once you actually get a few years under your belt and a few shipped titles, you become a highly sought-after commodity. Smart employers recognize this, and work to keep you happy and productive.

You don't hear about it as much, but there *are* companies that treat their employees well. I'm very happy with my current employer, as they understand that a healthy work-life balance is important to keeping employees happy over the long haul. I work 40-hour weeks, get five weeks of paid vacation, good health benefits, a fun and exciting working environment, and a good salary.

Honestly, I can't imagine doing anything else.

Re:Stay away.... (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522543)

It's not all like that. I've been a programmer in the video game industry for 11+ years now. The simple fact of the matter is this: if you've got a proven track record as a developer, you'll command a good salary and be in very high demand.

If the people I know in the industry are any indication, you're both right.

A developer with several solid shipped titles on his resume and good references absolutely can make a high salary and be in very high demand.

However, that's not the experience of an entry level developer, or someone relatively new to the industry, because they are seen (somewhat correctly) as very replaceable.

Re:Stay away.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25523825)

any spare jobs over there?...

Re:Stay away.... (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522611)

I would say stay away from games if you retain some type of romantic notion and WAFFY feelings from your childhood/teenage years playing them. Because it's not like that.

OTOH, it can be rewarding but it's work. Although personally, if you're really smart, there could be more valuable work you could be doing and could feel unfulfilled not doing it...

(Although games may lead into simulations which are important).

School don't do a good job of keeping up... (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522089)

... if there is one thing I have noticed is that because of the internet, and the industry as aw hole. Most schools and universities simply cannot keep up, and many schools are outright bad, even the "major leagues". I think it's time to consolidate the best talent for subjects that can be taught online and have community edited courses + wiki's, etc. It would go along way to being able to improve courses in real time.

There's been tonnes of times I've wanted to leave comments on some professors problems, or notes under paragraph of a textbook/books he's ascribed to read, and change the wording to make it more clear. I think the whole "top down" approach to education is obsolete since there is just too much stuff that current teachers and professors are clueless about that has been learned about how we learn from cognitive science.

In fact if the internet teaches you anything, it teaches you how horrible teachers and professors and their classes really are. Many classes are so over-crowded and are taught by mere TA's (teaching assistents, etc), it's a wonder anything gets learned in modern university mills.

IMHO, if the game industry wants skills it should be funding it's own school and should be staffed with people FROM the industry, i.e. software and gaming, etc. It shouldn't be staffed by academics who have NEVER worked in the industry. This is one of my biggest pet peeves about universities, is that the people that frequently teach are out of touch or have never really done any serious work in the industry. A select few teachers can get by with that, but most can't. Most are busy doing other stuff.

Next is the fact that how we learn is just starting to be uncovered, there has been a lot of development in the cognitive sciences over the last 30 years that will have an enormous effect on pedagogy and teaching, right now much teaching is really in the dark ages, since it's not based on any science, it's based on "throw it against the wall, drill, practice, and hope it sticks" method.

Re:School don't do a good job of keeping up... (1)

Neon Aardvark (967388) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522211)

Surely the actual numbers of game programmer positions is relatively small, and it's a very lucrative and "cool" industry, hence games companies should be having no problems finding sufficient numbers of sufficiently talented programmers?

Ergo, no need for them to start funding their own universities, and no needy for shitty games degrees from shitty colleges (other than making a profit for those colleges).

Re:School don't do a good job of keeping up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25522241)

A bachelor's in CS is not meant to be a trade school degree. CS has not changed -- only the tools.

Re:School don't do a good job of keeping up... (2, Insightful)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522315)

Well, sorry to burst your bubble, but a four-year degree today is, in a lot of ways, the high school diploma of forty years ago. A bachelor's in CS had better come out with the ability to immediately practice his trade or he won't get a job. And my university, among others, is absolutely woeful at actually preparing students for such. I came in knowing more than all but a few students in my class will leave knowing.

Re:School don't do a good job of keeping up... (1)

VoltageX (845249) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523503)

And sometimes, the institution doesn't even realise that they're woeful.

Re:School don't do a good job of keeping up... (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522665)

I think MIT's opencourseware is a major step in the right direction.

Re:School don't do a good job of keeping up... (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523167)

It is but the software isn't up to scratch yet, I checked out MIT open courseware and the new one at Stanford.

Things like

1) editable textbooks, being able to comment on each pargraph in a book would be an enormous boon to textbook authors by taking student feedback/suggestions, as well as the suggestions of other teachers from other institutions.

2) Comments on problems, etc... one thing I notice is that a lot of problems are structured in obtuse ways that could be expressed a lot better if one was able to simply edit the problem (via wiki), and then "fork" a copy off the main one that the teacher uses, and "may the best one win", this would allow bright students to reshape the curriculum from within without stepping on the professors toes, i.e. the professor can still post his problems in his own words, but other students can take them, reword them, etc, to get rid of the obscurantism.

And that's just the start of the many ideas I have in my head, the user interface and software usability over the web just isn't there yet in many respects. Though I certainly do appreciate the effort these institutions are making.

Game-related programs can be good (5, Insightful)

DigitAl56K (805623) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522127)

A good game-related course may cover things like:

* C & C++
* DirectX & OpenGL, Pixel shader programming
* Physics, Matrix transformations, quaternions
* Collision detection for various types of primitives and response
* Audio programming
* Game level design, storyboarding
* 3D object design and animation
* Performance optimization techniques including spatial partitioning, level of detail objects, fast motion blur, fast shadow mapping, and more
* World auto-generation, map editors and scripting
* Using game engine SDKs
* Writing for portability
* Developing for constrained systems (consoles) incl. fixed point maths .. and more.

"Game-related" courses can be very involved and just as valid as any other CS degree teaching many of the same concepts and APIs. It's a shame that some people hear the word "game" and become dismissive.

Re:Game-related programs can be good (1)

phanboy_iv (1006659) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522303)

Certainly, that's a course lineup anybody could respect. But whenever I peek in my school's "open gaming lab", all I see are college students staring openmouthed at Guitar Hero. Good game design courses, sure. Advertising tool to lure slackers and people with unrealistic expectations, no.

Re:Game-related programs can be good (3, Interesting)

asg1 (1180423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522343)

I'm enrolled in my university's first 3d Game Development course in our Computer Science department. Most of the topics you listed are being covered.

I have learned more about software development in this course then most courses in my curriculum. These topics all lend themselves to team projects, problem solving, and maths... all of which are relevant to a CSE undergrad. I don't see how this course isn't useful for someone considering game development, especially when its an industry that is exploding.

This is the only Computer science course that has made use of all of the calculus and physics we have to take.

</endramblings>

Re:Game-related programs can be good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25522441)

As someone who went to a video game school years back (Digipen in Bellevue, WA), this is exactly what's covered.

The problem is that the school tends to put you through the wringer before the actual industry does. Which has it's downsides and benefits. OTOH, it graduation rate was like 8% of the student that originally entered. Perhaps less. This was back in 2000ish.

If I had a second chance, I probably would have gone for a math degree and taken up programming as a summer study/intern. But that's more due to the school implementation and crappy teachers (90% of the time, we were teaching each other what the hell the Profs were talking about. No, it was not a good learning experience. Just bad teachers).

But the good thing was you didn't have to go through the BS colleges offer (English, History, etc.) that has nothing to do with your field. The bad thing is that you have no college BS at these schools (girls, classes) where you can just relax. Steve Jobs was a drop out and one of his major influences with Fonts on the macintosh was a calligraphy class he attended after he stopped caring about rigidly following his program of study.

I would say if a major university offers it, make sure it has a little fluff (not too much or too little, 1 class a semester) on the side. Make sure it's big enough that you can select your professors (ratemyprofessors.com).

It's nice to come out of college half-way competent to do a job and not have partied the entire time, but these mills go too far in the opposite direction.

that's the goal (2, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522447)

The ideal is that games are partly used as a lure to trick more 18-year-olds into finding a degree in computer science interesting---rather than a class on asm programming on the SPARC or something, you teach them similar concepts with a class that makes them program asm on the Gameboy Advance or Atari 2600, making the low-level architecture/asm class seem more interesting. Of course, programs vary in how exactly they integrate games into the curriculum.

Re:Game-related programs can be good (1)

Umuri (897961) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522451)

I'd fight that.
Not because i have something against game degrees, it's just i have something seriously against the utter shitty programming i see turned out by a lot of people who claim they are "CS" majors.

Sorry, but when i think of CS, i think of someone who has a CLUE about why something would be inefficient, why efficiency matters, or even the basic structure of what they're working with.

Unfortunately it seems i'm in the minority, and a lot of professors(not most, but not a minority, also i use the term professor loosely) seem to have less understanding of some of the systems of basic efficienty than some right-minded and motivated freshmen.

So yeah, can a person taught with a game degree be a great programmer? Yes, but that's not due to the degree. That's mostly due to them wanting the knowledge.

The degree, when put to most people, puts out mediocre programmers who produce bad code. Which is ok when you think of it as something you put the artists through so they have some clue about how the programmers work, and let them incorporate that into their artistic designs. But when you give it to an artist and expect them to put out the entire game themselves..... it falls apart. badly.

Re:Game-related programs can be good (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522513)

What about Geometry?

Re:Game-related programs can be good (2, Insightful)

Keill (920526) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522555)

A friend of mine did a degree course like that at Lincoln Uni over here in the UK...

Unfortunately such a course has one major downside:

It's TOO generalist. My friend new exactly what it is he wants to do - (game/level design) - and he only spent two months or so on each subject out of two years, which simply wasn't enough.

After talking to him for a while, it became obvious that the course he took would actually have been better if split into two - one for the game system(s) and one for the content - and then have both courses work together on the same project(s).

Re:Game-related programs can be good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25522649)

Agreed on all points. In fact, the course of study that you outlined almost matches that of the course that I took: http://www.cs.tufts.edu/comp/50GD/lectures/index.php [tufts.edu] .

Re:Game-related programs can be good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25522791)

But far too many game related curricula cover things like:
  • The user interface to 3d studio max
  • The user interface to a motion capture system
  • The user interface to building flash animations (but without any of the deep background)
  • Photoshop
  • and so on

Physics, the serious mathematics behind animation, AI, network support and the like are far too tough for most of the students who want to do such things.

Re:Game-related programs can be good (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522815)

Game level design, storyboarding

The rest is really technical stuff, this one could easily be separated out as its own field of study though game developers certainly should know some of it. What makes a game compelling is not a technical feature, it's much more about psychology, flow, risk/reward, effort/gain, achievements, teamplay, immersion, challenge, (lack of) repetitiveness, balance and so on. Exactly the same engine can be used to make two games that are visuallly and techincally equal but one is horrible and the other brilliant. Those people also need some technical skill though, but quite probably not the finer details of pixel shader programming.

Re:Game-related programs can be good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25522853)

But this is much more in the realm of storytelling and writing, and is far from technical and requires a very different way of thinking. Though understanding the technical possibilities and limitations is still essential for someone who wants to actually implement a good game. For these technical people - who are just as important to make a game actually run - a fairly deep understanding of physics, networking, graphics, operating systems and the like are even more important.

Re:Game-related programs can be good (1)

vdgmr1213 (1234018) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522967)

As a student at Full Sail University's Game Development program I can tell you that we cover all of these topics. Just because many schools don't do it well, doesn't mean they all don't. Full Sail bases their curriculum off of what employers at studios want in an employee.

Re:Game-related programs can be good (1)

cbhacking (979169) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523191)

I'm actually taking a course generally described as "Games" at my university (University of Washington in Seattle, one of the top CS schools in the US). Technically, it's a "Capstone Software Engineering" course - that just happens to combine the need for 3D graphics, networking, real-time interactivity, etc. in a student-designed software project. Guess what kinds of programs a group of 6 - 8 students will turn out given those requirements and 10 weeks?

In other words, games are actually good projects for students. They span a wide range of programming skills, as well as some more theoretical CS stuff (performance matters so know your algorithms, a good enemy AI is desirable, etc.), artistic elements (graphics, audio), and user interface. Game development is good practice with software development methodologies (although limited somewhat by being only a 1-quarter class), including the need to integrate various pieces of separately-developed code, the skills needed to work in a team, and the experience of having other people test your code, find bugs and defects, and expect you to correct them.

It's also fun, which helps with motivation. While real-world projects will not generally allow the same degree of doing whatever you enjoy, fun projects encourage us to do our best, push our limits, and try things. It's like hobby programming, but with a team so larger projects can be tackled and different people can contribute to the areas they are strongest in.

Re:Game-related programs can be good (1)

Cathoderoytube (1088737) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523605)

I think the reason people are dismissive is because by and large these game courses are a scam. The school I studied animation at also offered a 'games' program, which was heralded as the most expensive in the country, at a whopping $60 000 for the one year course. In that one year they tried to cram everything on your list into the curriculum. That's sensory overload for anybody. Needless to say the graduates of the program were pretty much awful at every aspect of their studies, and a lot poorer for their efforts.

From my experience there isn't much point in trying to cram that much into a gaming program. Especially the artistic side of things. Looking at most job boards, companies are primarily looking for either programmers or artists. As a programmer being able to animate, or model is an asset, but when they get into a studio they'll very likely be hired on for one specific position.

Experiencing it already (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25522175)

I've had to fire three programmers already. None were looking for real work they wanted to be paid to play. They talked well and seemed to have the skills but all had poor attitudes and didn't display even rudimentary professional behavior. I wasted a lot of time and money trying to give each a chance to perform but in the end I fired all of them. Our company has had to rethink doing any game related work due to the generally poor quality of applicants. It's very hard to find decent programmers no matter what we are willing to pay. I'm probably going to have to resort to headhunters and if that fails we'll have to drop the idea entirely. We have backing to produce games but unless I can find competent programmers we simply can't take on the projects.

Re:Experiencing it already (3, Insightful)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522325)

They talked well and seemed to have the skills but all had poor attitudes and didn't display even rudimentary professional behavior.

Yeah, I'm sure a game written by you guys would be a blast. It's impossible to write a fun game in an environment devoid of it. You have to know what fun is first before you can manufacture it.

And I've got more bad news for you, AC. Programmers are all oddballs. And the more talented the programmer tends to be, the more of an oddball they'll tend to be.

If you're looking for something that wears a suit and says "Yes, sir" and "No, sir" on cue, then you're looking in the wrong place. I think the problem is more likely your hiring practices. Again, if you're looking for someone with impeccable office manners and who looks sharp in a suit - well, that isn't us. All of the time you spend in your early years acquiring social graces, we spent learning assembly.

Change your hiring practices, change your expectations, and lighten up, and I'll bet you start having successes.

Re:Experiencing it already (4, Insightful)

ROBOKATZ (211768) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523081)

There's a difference between being eccentric and needing to grow the fuck up.

Re:Experiencing it already (1)

indiechild (541156) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523127)

Mod parent up.

Re:Experiencing it already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25523149)

There's a difference between being eccentric and needing to grow the fuck up.

Indeed; grownups use more casual swearing in their day-to-day conversation.

Remember that, kids.

Re:Experiencing it already (1)

ub3r n3u7r4l1st (1388939) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523301)

sorry, but some of the people who won the regional ACM ICPC have ADD's, displinary records in grade school, some even go as far as showing penises in hallways.

Games are like guitars... (2, Insightful)

sleeponthemic (1253494) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522181)

They're the equivalent rock n roll geek dream (though slightly less glamorous in reality). Most of us own a guitar, most of us have programmed "a game".

Re:Games are like guitars... (2, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522405)

Except that kids who have a life time dream of being a games programmer typically have more productive alternatives to fall back on than kids who wanna be rock stars.

Re:Games are like guitars... (2, Informative)

sleeponthemic (1253494) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522739)

Except that kids who have a life time dream of being a games programmer typically have more productive alternatives to fall back on than kids who wanna be rock stars.

Yet the wannabe rock star still gets more pussy.

There is no justice :-)

Re:Games are like guitars... (2, Funny)

mevets (322601) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523109)

but I dream of programming a guitar game....

ATEC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25522193)

Art's and technology is what they call it at my school. I love it because I'm a CS Major and every time I hear someone say they are a ATEC Major I laugh a little. It seems like a psuedo-CS Degree. I'm sure that 1 in 100 are really good programmers who will be dedicated to the field, but other then that, it seems like Bull

Universities prioritise money over educating.. (1)

Scott Kevill (1080991) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522197)

News at 11.

Game of life (1)

moteyalpha (1228680) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522219)

It is the game of life and this has been done since the beginning of computers and I took a course once in BAL, RPG, COBOL, and JCL. They were teaching punch cards too. I think it is just a way for an institution to make money and even the university I attend is offering courses that will never be an advantage to the student and the price of education is a disadvantage for those who are mislead to believe that what they are learning will pay off well enough to get them out from under $100,000 of student loans. I know several students at the university I attend that graduate and then realize that the degree they have will never pay for the education cost they incurred. A person who was interested in game development has many free and open source packages that will teach you the basics of game development and leave you without a hole in your pocket.

TV Scams (4, Interesting)

martinw89 (1229324) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522221)

The first thing I thought of in regards to the EA quote was those ITT Tech and other TV commercials who advertise making games after 2 years. That's bullshit, in my humble opinion. I've been programming as a hobby for a while and am in the middle of a 4 year university CS program and, at the moment, would have absolutely nothing worthwhile to add to a game programming team. Or modeling team. Or anything. I could be a beta tester, that's about it. And I have a feeling those aren't in demand. Now granted, I probably have less experience than a person leaving a 2 year game design program because that's so targeted and CS is so general. But I at least have a feeling for how much you can learn in a year.

Point is, games these days are incredibly complex. We're talking multi million dollar budgets, with blockbuster titles reaching the hundred millions. 100+ person programming teams. Kids coming out of a quickie game design degree are going to be poorly prepared, if at all, for this complexity. And it's not fair, because designing games is a process that strengthens programming and general logic abilities.

At least, that's my very opinionated two cents.

Re:TV Scams (3, Funny)

nubsac (1329063) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522609)

...those ITT Tech and other TV commercials who advertise making games after 2 years. That's bullshit...

So true, I know a buddy who attended one of these institutions and couldn't even write a simple "Sprite" Class.

Upon inquiring further, when asked what a Sprite was with respect to game programming, he replied "Uh..it's something that moves!"

Needless to say, you wont be seeing his name in any game credits anytime soon.

Re:TV Scams (2, Funny)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523563)

Here's what you tell your friend: First you write your Lemon class and your Lime class. Then after you add the carbonated water, you have your Sprite class. Or if you want to cheat, you can just use inheritance and rip off your 7-Up class. I made the Dean's List easily.

Re:TV Scams (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522629)

The way you become a programmer is by programming.

Do it for fun, have a problem to solve, etcetera.

You don't learn it in the classroom. Classroom theory is nice, but that experience is akin to pouring water into a leaky glass.

Re:TV Scams (1)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522705)

This hits the nail right on the head. Schools like these prey on people who think that a well-paying job is just a few cheesy cram courses away. Back in the dot-bomb era, these same places were trumpeting MSCE/A+ courses as if those alone were going to guarantee a good job.

Re:TV Scams (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25522875)

You'd be surprised where a few certs will get your foot in the door. i know everyone at slashdot is an expert at everything and i know that microsoft anything isn't worth shit to you people but as someone in the field who sees these people first hand i know a very stable multi-billion dollar company that will hire people with a+ and mcp starting in the mid 30s.

not too bad for something that anyone who has the ability to get a high school diploma and a couple hundred dollars can get. certainly better than the working stiffs i see from here who talk about 6 years of school and banging their heads off a wall who barely break 40k. and just like your first degree, certs mean less and less as your performance on your first job means more and more. unless you really want to be in real cs than college is nearly a joke to anyone who is willing to work things out for themselves.

Re:TV Scams (2, Insightful)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522995)

I went to a 4 year game/film college. The people who came into the program without any prior self education almost universally failed. I would say of my class of 80 about 6-7 at most actually were employable. Of those 7 or so I can only think of 2 who came in without any previous 3D experience and one of them had extensive traditional art training before hand so really only one I can think of who had no experience.

It's a myth that you can learn this stuff in 4 years. The only people who I have seen succeed without coming in with an extensive self-taught background have put in enough time for 6+ years through online courses and other extracurricular training.

If you're an artist you have to be a real artist. You have to have an eye. You should probably have a background in your field. Lots of people graduate. Very few people are actually sufficiently qualified. Teachers need to be more honest with their students about their real abilities and employability. It would save a lot of people a lot of money.

Re:TV Scams (1)

EnsilZah (575600) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523383)

Nothing to contribute to a game programming team?
Sure, if by that you mean you won't be the lead programmer on Blizzard's next project.

I did a year of CS (switched to graphic design), in the first semester I did a basic console-based RPG type game with a map editor (think LORD 2 or Nethack only much smaller in scope).
In the second semester I picked up a little DirectX and upgraded the graphics, then a little later I made it into an isometric engine and added animation, lighting and stuff like that (Screenshot [googlepages.com] ).
Sure, it might not look like much and it might not be Far Cry 2 but I think a small independent developer might still find some use for me, and that's only a semester's worth of OOP, intro to C, some data structures and some DirectX tutorials.

Re:TV Scams (1)

servognome (738846) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523539)

Point is, games these days are incredibly complex. We're talking multi million dollar budgets, with blockbuster titles reaching the hundred millions. 100+ person programming teams. Kids coming out of a quickie game design degree are going to be poorly prepared, if at all, for this complexity. And it's not fair, because designing games is a process that strengthens programming and general logic abilities.

You're looking at games from a completely ground-up approach. A 2 year curriculum could teach enough skills and background to create commercial-level game mods.

Wasteoftime tag is not appropriate (4, Insightful)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522239)

My first real programming was done for gaming purposes. I wrote a zork-like thing in Apple Pascal on an Apple IIe in high school (yes I know, get off my lawn). And tried to write Cosmic Encounter for the C64. Running out of room is what moved me to buy an Amiga and my first real C compiler, Aztec C. And my first hard drive once I got sick of programming off of floppies. Which I hardware hacked onto the 86 pin expansion port to make it a full 100 pin ZorroII port.

Anything that gets your butt in the chair and writing code is good. I had no idea what I was getting into when I stared down this path, but it was gaming that was the beginning. And now it's put a roof over my head.

YMMV of course, but for me it's hardly been a waste of time.

It's all going according to plan (1)

unassimilatible (225662) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522281)

This is a great trend, but I've been predicting it for years. This growth in specialized software and hardware is making entertainment better and better. Eventually, computer gaming will extend into the physical world, and the user will be able to actively participate. In these "holosuites," you'll be able to virtually live out any fantasy, whether it be a battle, sex, mountain climbing, exploring strange new worlds, historical adventure, you name it.

Someday, the more advanced ones will be room-sized and appear in businesses. Then my long-predicted plan will come into fruition. I'll open a bar-casino with these "holosuites,"and rent them out by the hour, specializing in the more salacious variety of "holoprogram." I'm not sure of a name for my bar-casino yet, but I am thinking something modern and cutting edge, maybe named after a sub-atomic particle.

Re:It's all going according to plan (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25522533)

Quark is a Jew. The real pimps are '70's-era blacks. FAIL.

Maybe a dream (2, Informative)

Statecraftsman (718862) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522307)

but this dream at least has fall-back potential. Upon first reading the headline, I thought, "Yeah, game programming is like trying to become a professional sports player. Glamorous and lucrative, yes, but highly unlikely given the # of spots and interested individuals."

But this is different. In programming, if you can't work on games, you can work on websites or accounting systems, or make pie charts. Not necessarily sexy but they'll pay the bills. A lot more than being a high school coach. The common thread whatever your endeavour is hard work. So sit down and code. If you're lucky, Blizzard'll come calling.

Re:Maybe a dream (1)

perlchild (582235) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522401)

The fine article also mentions specifically "game related courses" not generic programming classes. The comments from the industry about "entry level positions" makes me think that these are NOT game programming classes at all, since game developer is not an entry level position except if you own the company yourself...

My College does this (1, Interesting)

areusche (1297613) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522385)

Ithaca College's Park School of Communications is now offering a video game design major. Now personally I immediately thought, "Oh boy, a com school is offering a class for video games completely separate of the CS program. I'm worried that what they're doing is just scratching the surface of video game development by giving a broad look at video game design.

I think what colleges need to do is point kids in a specialized path. Unlike Ithaca's program I think that it would be better to point oneself in a path specifically in programming, graphic design, or even writing. That way instead of doing a ton of things marginally well you can do the programming, graphics, story writing, etc.

Then again I'm just a lowly undergrad student. They could care less about my input. Just as long as they get my 42,000$ a year. I mentioned this to one of the advisers for the major and she assured me it was doing just that. I'm still a bit skeptical however.

Re:My College does this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25522459)

God I love subsidized education.... So glad I pay a little over 1/7th of your ed costs, from an institution with as good a reputation.

Re:My College does this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25523181)

HOPE (in GA) pays for 120 hours of tuition so long as you keep a B average. It's funded in part by those who cannot do math, ie, the lotto.

In other news... (3, Interesting)

SupremoMan (912191) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522505)

Education-Unrelated Gaming continues steadily at Colleges.

In (non-soviet) Brazil... (1)

acoster (812556) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522547)

In the last years we've seen lots of new courses like this in Brazil, although we have no real demand for so many "game professionals". And most game professionals hold BSc in computer science for programming and BA for the art part.

And as the EA exec said, most of people with such degrees are not suitable for entry-level jobs. I'm myself a game programmer, and I can safely say that the programming skills of most guys that come from these schools is sub-par with the average CS Joe. The lack of theoretical education on computer science creates some problems to understand the larger picture sometimes.

And don't get me started on game designers (there are courses focusing on that), as 99.999% of companies don't hire "game designers". Which don't stop us from getting 3, 4 resumés each week asking for a position as game designer.

DigiPen -- www.digipen.edu (5, Interesting)

dukeluke (712001) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522615)

As a game developer myself, Drawn to Life (2007) Lock's Quest (2008), and a student from a 'video game college', I can offer perspective to interested parties.

Any prospective student should know that it is very difficult to break into the gaming industry. Further, they need to ask themselves why they are attending generic college XYZ for video games. Specifically, what does this college offer and what are their job placement statistics? DigiPen regularly has job placement percentages in the high 90s within 6 months of graduation. Might I add that many of our professors have worked in the industry extensively? Who better to lecture on game networking, audio, physics, etc. than someone who has developed on triple A titles on all of the major consoles? I could spend ample time explaining how the first 2 years at DigiPen covers more than most Master's programs elsewhere in the country, but I digress.

The sad fact of the matter is that most collegiate programs do not have the expertise on the bench to be able to ACTUALLY help students get ready for the real world of video game programming. DigiPen graduates are more-often-than-not able to hit the ground running on most any platform or console.

To compound matters worse, real-time interactive simulations (aka video games or other simulators) are some of the most advanced computing that a developer can strive to code. Everything from memory management to networking has to be properly written for games. You are, in a sense, writing an entire OS on top of the underlying console dashboards. Quite a daunting task.

And to add just a bit more, what is it with Computer Science students who believe they can leave a typical college and hit the ground running with that perfect development job? I've spent a decade of internships, part-time jobs, multiple college degrees, etc. to get to the point where I can competently compete for a development job 'fresh out of college'. And yes, that means I was interning back in high school in development-type jobs.

Real video game colleges spend more time on advanced math (the stuff beyond calculus) and physics than discussing the best attack combo for the latest fighting game. Don't get me wrong, we play video games, but that is typically after an 80-120 hour work week writing code until we actually dream out our coding assignments to only wake up at 4 am to rewrite a memory manager, network engine, sound engine, shader, 3d model file format, etc.

Re:DigiPen -- www.digipen.edu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25522867)

The problem with the colleges focused on games is that they're very expensive, and the credits don't transfer anywhere. If you don't finish, you're screwed. I'd much rather go to a state college for an accredited computer science degree.

get ready to pay more (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25522779)

when obama takes office not are you only going to have to pay for your education, honky, but you're also going to have to pay for a niggers too.

Curriculee curricula (1)

sakonofie (979872) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522793)

For those crazy people out there who would like to discuss "rationally" from "facts" these seem to be the curricula for the various programs cited in the article: http://gamepipe.usc.edu/USC_GamePipe_Laboratory/Ed.html [usc.edu] http://www.expression.edu/game_art_design/curriculum/ [expression.edu] http://www.etc.cmu.edu/curriculum/index.html [cmu.edu]

And remember kids because of vidaa games

[c]omputer science can be fun.

Two words. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25522897)

Full Sail.

Three words. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25523133)

Waste of money.

Ugh... (2, Insightful)

kitsunewarlock (971818) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522903)

As a tabletop designer, I wish someone could change the title of this to "Video Game-Related..." simply so people like myself won't get encouraged by the misleading name. This will probably teach modelling, programming and even marketting...but I doubt game theory will be explored nearly enough...

The era of game programming being cool is over. (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522953)

I have to ask why anyone good would really want to go into game programming at this point. The era when you could get rich that way is more or less over. The fundamental problems of graphics, game physics, organizing a big world, making the NPCs act reasonably smart, and cramming all this into a painful machine like a PS3 have mostly been solved. Now it's mostly a grunt job. The hours are awful and the pay is low for the skill level required.

It was kind of cool back when we were first figuring out how to make a physics engine that actually worked right. Now that's a solved problem.

However, there's an ongoing demand for low-level programmers to work on the details of big worlds. The lower-tier schools can provide the cannon fodder for those jobs.

Re:The era of game programming being cool is over. (1)

guyminuslife (1349809) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523279)

It's like they used to say a century ago---everything that can be invented already has been. ;-)

(And before anyone comes along and corrects me, yes, I know the original quote is just an urban legend.)

This is not true in the Midwest... (1)

ub3r n3u7r4l1st (1388939) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523403)

apparently, EA just closed its Chicago studio. One less prospective employer.

I see this in first person... (1)

motang (1266566) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523425)

The college I am attending is one of them, and right now making video game seems to be the most popular concentration in Computer Science department.

Easy Solution (1)

AlgorithMan (937244) | more than 5 years ago | (#25523899)

Teach them Game-Theory
hehehe...
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