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Education

Want To Make Video Games? 307

Posted by timothy
from the admission-via-deathmatch dept.
Invader Zim writes "Looks like Levelord, of Ritual fame, and some folks at id, and Ensemble Studios have teamed together with Southern Methodist University to create a new school for people that want to work in the video games industry. It's called the Guildhall. Also a story about it at GameTutorials."
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Want To Make Video Games?

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  • Thank God! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SoVi3t (633947) on Monday January 06, 2003 @04:13PM (#5027980)
    Hopefully, this will be a blessing for overcrowded Computer Sciences classes. I remember when I was a kid, all I wanted to do was make video games. Alas, most of university/college courses cover other things, such as business utilities, or math problems. While this does help programming skills, it isn't hands on experience in the field of choice for most students.
    • Re:Thank God! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by _anomaly_ (127254) <{moc.stibkeeg} {ta} {ylamona}> on Monday January 06, 2003 @04:24PM (#5028096) Homepage
      IMHO, this sounds like a good place to go *after* getting that CS degree.
      If they either don't teach or don't require some or most of those "other things", this would turn out to be the MCSE of the game programming world, if it survived at all...
      anyone who's even slightly familiar with programming knows that game programming involves math very heavily...
    • Re:Thank God! (Score:2, Interesting)

      by phyrestang (638793)
      I think that the computer classes in general are overcrowded with students trying to "hit it big" in the computer industry. Unfortunately a lot of them are just going to end up clogging the job market because although they may have the degree, they lack the experience and more imporantly the innate computer aptitude that "real" computer geeks have. Like the parent said, hopefully this should act to relieve some of the mad rush to get a CS degree. (Although it still won't resolve the problem with all the "paper tigers" running around)
    • the easiest way to get a job at a games company is to be a *physicist.*

      Here's your course work for your first sememster as a games programing major:

      *English* 101
      Physics 101
      Calc 101
      Intro to Computer Science - which will consist mostly of theory, but don't worry, you'll get to write "Hello World!" in four different languages.

      KFG
  • Does that mean they get to do only "clean" games with no gore and no naked chicks?

    Just wandering about the curious choice of school, given the problems we've seen lately with WalMart not carrying theose "ultra violent" games. Free speech and so on.

  • SMU (Score:5, Funny)

    by Alien54 (180860) on Monday January 06, 2003 @04:16PM (#5028005) Journal
    Founded in 1911, SMU is a private, comprehensive university located in Dallas, Texas.

    Had me worried for a second. But a school in Texas would probably be an okay place to learn how to code first person shooters.

    I had nightmares about what kind of video games a truly christian university would focus on.

    • Re:SMU (Score:3, Funny)

      by crawdaddy (344241)
      Probably something along the lines of Rise of the Triad, except the only weapons besides the Hand of God would be a bible and a cross, each having several different forms of attack. For example, the crucifix could be used like a boomerang, a stabbing weapon, or be used to call down the wrath of god. The speed enhancement would be bicycles and the armor would be a black suit and tie. It be some kind of AD&D mod, instead of ROTT, though. That way there's less work involved in adding Pray and Bless spells.
    • by sulli (195030)
      Either that, or they will teach programmers how to include cheat [go.com] keys! (read down to item 3.)
      • by giel (554962)

        Ehm, rather messy scenes come to my mind associating 'Death Penalty' and football...

        I guess it would become a rather 'bloody' kind of game. Well perhaps more mess in the arena means less mess in the stadium and on the streets, who will say? I'm not sure yet however, thinking of our Roman ancestors...

    • Re:SMU (Score:3, Funny)

      by BRSQUIRRL (69271)
      I had nightmares about what kind of video games a truly christian university would focus on.

      Yeah, the possibility of games where your character is rewarded for something other than stealing, killing, or picking up prostitutes...that terrifies me too...
    • by macrom (537566)
      I had nightmares about what kind of video games a truly christian university would focus on.

      If you want the Christian hang-ups, you'll have to travel a few hours south to Baylor [baylor.edu]. One of the worst Nintendo games of all time [seanbaby.com] was probably conceived by some righteous Baptist from Waco, Texas.
  • Don't do it! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gpinzone (531794) on Monday January 06, 2003 @04:17PM (#5028018) Homepage Journal
    The video game industry is already cut-throat. It's already hard enough to make a living using your programming skills. Imagine how difficult it's going to be like to get a job with "Video Game College" on your resume.

    Besides, do you really think a Methodist church is going to teach you how to create First Person Shooters?!
    • "Besides, do you really think a Methodist church is going to teach you how to create First Person Shooters?!"

      in Texas? yes.

      joking aside, I know Priests that play FPS, and DnD for that matter.
    • what do you think the difference between a "First God Smiter" and a "First Person Shooter" is?

      None that I can see.

      There's a way around nearly every idiotic bias,at least for those with the intelligence to be game designers in the first place.

      KFG
    • "It's already hard enough to make a living using your programming skills. Imagine how difficult it's going to be like to get a job with "Video Game College" on your resume."

      Why would that make it more difficult?

      I *almost* went into programming but decided to go into 3D art instead. Boy am I glad I did. As an artist your calling card is the animation/artwork you do. I have no idea how I'd distinguish myself as a programmer.
    • Re:Don't do it! (Score:2, Insightful)

      by bongoras (632709)
      Please, read the website and expand your horizons just a little. Calling SMU a "Christian Church" is like saying "Oh, those nice boys who play football for Notre Dame must be such good Catholics..."
  • my school (Score:3, Interesting)

    by zephc (225327) on Monday January 06, 2003 @04:18PM (#5028029)
    has added game development (BS degree), though I am doing the straight SE track.

    cogswell.edu [cogswell.edu] for those interested
  • by tps12 (105590) on Monday January 06, 2003 @04:18PM (#5028034) Homepage Journal
    Isn't that a little, well, nerdy? Do they forego grades in favor of experience points, and require new students to choose an Alignment and Class instead of a major?

    Seriously, they should probably be going out of their way to appeal to creative non-geeks, artists and writers who can come up with new ideas and revitalize the stagnant game market. Sure, you can always eke out a few dollars from the latest boring iteration of a proven formula, Grand Theft Auto 7 or Warcraft VI. What the industry needs is fresh ideas from different sorts of people.

    The very problem with the foundering game industry is that it's run by, well, let's just say the people who were picked last in kickball. Games appeal to the most antisocial element of society, because that's all their creators know. I guess it's too optimistic of me to ask this of the founders of this school...they're probably geeks themselves, with not a creative bone in their bodies.
    • The name apeals to gamers, regardless of there profession.

      really don't want people in the game industry if they don't understand the industry, or clients.

      the problems you point out are not the the people who do the work, but with the producers who want to churn out 'proven hits'.

    • Where did you get this idea that geeks are not creative? I'm confused.

    • The very problem with the foundering game industry is that it's run by, well, let's just say the people who were picked last in kickball.

      You need to be a motivational speaker. I was feeling all down because I only have my HS diploma, and what I've taught myself. But I'm unfortunately not a programmer like I would like to be. :(

      And you come along and remind me that I can do so many MORE things better than most of the people in the gaming industry. Hell, I can run down the block with my nine year old and not keel over with cramps! (Oh, and I've actually had sex to produce my 3.3 children :P)

      THANKS! :)

    • The very problem with the foundering game industry is that it's run by, well, let's just say the people who were picked last in kickball.

      At least they're not going by goofy nicknames...oh, wait...
    • Re:The Guildhall? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ChaosDiscord (4913) on Monday January 06, 2003 @05:24PM (#5028572) Homepage Journal
      Seriously, they should probably be going out of their way to appeal to creative non-geeks, artists and writers who can come up with new ideas and revitalize the stagnant game market. Sure, you can always eke out a few dollars from the latest boring iteration of a proven formula, Grand Theft Auto 7 or Warcraft VI. What the industry needs is fresh ideas from different sorts of people.

      Ideas are cheap. Go to any game developer, be they an artist, programmer, level designer, or whatever, and you'll find dozens of interesting ideas for games.

      There are two problems. 1) Creative doesn't mean good. An idea may just be stupid. A creative idea might even be interesting and exciting, but not actually produce something fun to play (like the inspired but unplayable Black and White). 2) The business types are cowards. Generic Fighting Game XXVII is seen as safe. It doesn't matter that there are (even after filtering out the bad ideas), many, many creative ideas available to them, they're only interested in low risk projects. It's harsh, but it's also their money.

      All that said, while yes the industry is awash in clones and knock-offs, there is always some genuine innovation going on. In the last year for the PS/2 we've seen imaginative titles like Sly Cooper [techtv.com], Kingdom Hearts [techtv.com], and Rez [techtv.com] . On other systems we saw Animal Crossing [techtv.com], Freedom Force [techtv.com], Morrowind [techtv.com], and Mafia [techtv.com] . Head back a little further and you have brilliant titles like Ico [techtv.com], Jet Grind Radio [ign.com], or Pikmin [nintendo.com] . Yes, Grant Theft Auto: Vice City and Warcraft III are both derivative, but they're sequels to cutting edge games that changed expectations. Grand Theft Auto III redefined open ended game play and believable worlds. Warcraft effectively popularized real-time strategy games. Perhaps they're derivative, but they're fundamentally good games which have been continually refined and improved. Why pick on them if they shipping games that are genuinely fun? Instead, complain about Generic Real-Time Strategy II, Racing Game Number 8576, or Street Soul Mortal Ultimate Fighter Extreme Blade Combat IV.

  • by karmawarrior (311177) on Monday January 06, 2003 @04:19PM (#5028038) Journal
    It remains a key feature of IT that the skills involved allow entry to such a wide range of differing industries that there's practically no reason for someone to feel they're at a dead end. The video game industry, is in many ways, a case in point: although not wonderful - the salaries are generally so bad it makes analyst programming look positively well paid - it's a great entry point for any programmer with imagination who wants to use programming skills that are normally cut off at other levels. Database management is well known, dynamic web page building is understood and there are limits to what you can do: but video game development is different - algorithms are always being bettered, and the very good can end up pushing video game development into another sphere, creating types of application previously unenvisagable.

    It's ironic that this happens and yet it's considered a poor-man's profession. Programmers in this field are generally poorly treated, with poor contracts, little chance of advancement, and little cross-skillification that would allow a programmer to move into a more respected arena. This is, in part, because it's an entertainment area, and in part because for every superskilled programmer who is able to push the arena into a new paradigm, there must be a hundred who can barely put together a bunch of assembler instructions to copy memory from one place to another without it taking five times as long as it ought to, and containing bugs.

    This quagmire of the more innovative area of programming being hampered by a low perception of the people involved and the skills they bring to the table will not disappear by itself. Unless people are prepared to actually act, not just talk about it on Slashdot, nothing will ever get done. Apathy is not an option.

    You can help by getting off your rear and writing to your congressman [house.gov] or senator [senate.gov]. Tell them you value programmers who have the imagination and skills to create entirely new technologies for the manipulation of complex graphics, and who have the cut needed to understand the essentials of good game play. Tell them that you appreciate the work being done to create wonderful new games but that if good programmers are put off by poor working conditions and salaries, you will be forced to use less and less secure and intelligently designed alternatives. Let them know that SMP may make or break whether you can efficiently deploy OpenBSD on your workstations and servers. Explain the concerns you have about freedom, openness, and choice, and how poor working conditions detering the best of the best harms all three. Let them know that this is an issue that effects YOU directly, that YOU vote, and that your vote will be influenced, indeed dependent, on their policies on elite computer game programmers.

    You CAN make a difference. Don't treat voting as a right, treat it as a duty. Keep informed, keep your political representatives informed on how you feel. And, most importantly of all, vote.

    • by Neck_of_the_Woods (305788) on Monday January 06, 2003 @04:57PM (#5028350) Journal

      That is because most of the word still hears when you say "game programer" is really "I play games for a living".

      At some point in time this will change but not in the near future.

      I wish them good luck, and I would love to "play games for living".

    • This is not my perception of the gaming industry. I think there are far more programmers who want to work in game programming than there are jobs available. Especially the big names (Blizzard, id, etc.) can afford to be extremely selective, taking the cream of the crop of programmers. I seriously doubt that the insurance industry inspires the same response.

      Also consider that of all programmers, probably 0.001% work on video games, and the rest work in run-of-the-mill transaction-based business systems, embedded systems, etc.

      Any game programmers out there who can back me up on the relative difficulty of finding work in this area?

    • by ChaosDiscord (4913) on Monday January 06, 2003 @05:32PM (#5028632) Homepage Journal
      I'm sorry, I'm confused. Perhaps I didn't smoke enough of whatever crack it is that you're enjoying. What exactly am I writing my representative about? To complain that because there is a glut of programmers who want to write games, many of them skilled, that there is a fall in the salaries of game programmers? What's my representative going to do? Pass the "Programmers Deserve Higher Minimum Wages Law of 2004?" I almost suspect that you're trying for Funny, but confused a few people into Interesting. Programmers chose to be game programmers. They're drawn by the glamor and glitz. By and large they financially do well, not exceptionally, but well. If they wanted better conditions and salaries, they can jump to the far larger non-game software industry. I myself entered the industry desiring to write software. When I discovered that it primarily ran the blood of new programmers just out of college, paid them (relatively) poorly and treated them like crap, I decided it wasn't for me. Another friend chose to stick with it, he valued the job enough that the pay and the conditions were acceptable. (In fact, he stuck with it long enough that he now makes quite reasonable pay and has acceptable working conditions.) The industry is full of people who want to be there and almost universally can move to jobs with less work and more money. Why mess with the system?
      • Why should your Senator or Congressman (or woman) choose any of those solutions? Low wages and poor working conditions make recruitment for good programmers difficult and this in turn ensures invention in the computing and algorithmic fields is stifled. Clearly this is a bad thing.

        What's the alternative to letting your legislators know what concerns you? Letter bomb attack? Going postal? Clearly, ensuring your democratically elected representatives are aware of your concerns is the more reasonable and peaceful of the available solutions. We support a democracy for a reason, because it is right that peaceful solutions be found for all solvable problems, and that people obey the rigid rules of society for the sake of one another. Peaceful co-existance can only be achieved through reason, through peaceful liberation and open debate.

        At the end of the day, what your senator or representative chooses to do to resolve this particular issue will be based on the facts, based on hearing all points of view and based on the essential values of fairness and decency. It may be that legislation is required, it may be that existing regulations can solve the issue. It may be that deals can be struck, or that the industry can be made more attractive so that more companies want to join in. It may even be that the best solution is for an elected representative of the people to meet and sit down with the managers of the computer game industry, and, in the civilized atmosphere of the tea room or coffee shop, reason with them.

        Surely that's better than resorting to terrorist solutions?

  • No chance of a GTA4 coming out of that place. Hey, that was a joke. They only pick 100 per year anyway, so if you can learn it on your own you'll be ahead. I'm glad to see a diversification on the so-called 'university' education.

    Man Gets 70mpg in Homemade Car-Made from a Mainframe Computer [xnewswire.com]

  • by Dr. Blue (63477) on Monday January 06, 2003 @04:20PM (#5028048)
    With so many good game companies in the area, there's already another place you can study computer game development: the University of North Texas.

    It's called the "LARC", for "Laboratory for Recreational Computing", and was started in 1993. Check it out here [unt.edu].

    The lab is run by a professor (Ian Parberry) who has published a few books on game programming.

  • by mustangdavis (583344) on Monday January 06, 2003 @04:20PM (#5028052) Homepage Journal
    NO ONE IS HIRING!!!!!


    < Venting >

    Thats great that they're going to share some of their "trade secrets", but it won't do anyone any good if they can't land a job!!

    So basically, they're going to help flood the programming world with young, ambitious "game" programmers that won't know how to or want to do anything but make video games ...

    This will lead to flooding the market (even worse than it already is) with badly designed games that have a couple of pieces of eye candy ...

    Actually, I wonder how many apps Blizzard just got for their Unix sysadmin position ...

    ... I think that would clearly illustrate just how flooded the market is with "computer people" that want to work in the video game market ...


    The biggest problem will be the number of lives a school like this will ruin ... these people will TRY to get a job with an established video game company ... then TRY to start up their own video game company after 6+ months of unemployment ... then they'll rush a crappy product to market so that they don't starve to death ...

    Trust me ... I have a company like this ... and one our programmers did this!!!!

    (btw: our games don't make money ... it is our web hosting and web design that makes money and allows us to keep making games .... so how are unemployed people going to make games if you have to pay to keep games running?????)


    < /Venting >

    • 1. Program game. 2. Release as shareware. 3. $$$ PROFIT $$$ Easy as pie. Unless you're completely untalented, in which case you probably shouldn't be creating games, neh?
    • NO ONE IS HIRING!!!!!

      This is especially true in the games programming industry in Dallas ironically enough. I know a guy (not well) who after looking for over a year for a job has settled with volunteering his time on a project to at least keep the resume up and running. He even sounds competent. Icky, icky icky....
    • NO ONE IS HIRING!!!!!
      Exactly. These poor fellows can't find a steady job, so they're forced to teach. ;)
  • SMU has some of the hottest women on campus in the entire southern USA.

    I guess that isn't important to the typical geek however since the closest most have come to a girl is chatting on AOL with some guy pretending to be a 13 year old girl.
  • Over-rated (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 06, 2003 @04:21PM (#5028065)
    Making video games is over-rated. If you enjoy very tight deadlines and having to cut corners due to time and budget restrictions then that's all well and good.

    The pay is crap too.
  • Fine Print (Score:5, Funny)

    by Dave_B93 (528595) on Monday January 06, 2003 @04:21PM (#5028066)
    *** Actual courses availible When They're Done

    With Romero on the staff you might see admissions by 2007 ;-)

  • 18 months... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DaytonCIM (100144)
    and $37,000 tutition, there had better be job placement!
    • Or else what? You'll sue? You'll cry? You'll write a letter to the local newspaper?

      When did a degree, let alone something like this 18 month "expanded seminar" ever come with a job?

      If you're looking for that kind of hand-out, may I suggest that call the phone number that bald dude gives in the late-night ads for the school that trains air conditioning repairmen. I believe he guarantees you can keep the tool belt they give you.

      It's the only education of which I am aware that comes with any guarantee, beyond you're getting out of it some measure of what you put in.

      geez... kids today...
  • by chrisseaton (573490) on Monday January 06, 2003 @04:23PM (#5028085) Homepage

    I have just applied to universities here in the UK, and I looked at the few computer game design courses available.

    Most of them are very poor, they have low enterance requirements (someone at my college got in without even a maths A level!), and aren't run by any of the good universities (imagine Oxford doing a BA in computer game design - hardly).

    I've opted to do a generic as possible degree, a masters in computer science, at a good, respected university (either Oriel college Oxford, Durham or Bristol).

    I can't imagine why anyone would want to do one of these fashionable degrees like "wireless computing", "internet technology" or the computer games ones. People who want to do game design should study maths, physics or pure computer science.

    Think of it like this, how many really good directors or actors went to one of these film schools one sees advertised in the back of film mags? Probably not many.

    • by bwalling (195998)
      I've opted to do a generic as possible degree, a masters in computer science, at a good, respected university (either Oriel college Oxford, Durham or Bristol).

      Do yourself a favor and major in Mathematics. It will help you tremendously.
    • There's partly an advertising issue - unless you run a degree titled "Computer Game Design" or "Wireless Computing", people may not realise that that sort of topic is offered as an option in the "Computer Science" degree. They'll think it just covers the 'dull' subjects (from their point of view) and won't want to go to your university.

      But yes, a generic degree in Maths or Comp. Sci. will certainly make you more employable, and will in many cases be more useful.

    • by gibster (206528)
      As someone who has also just filled in his UCAS form and got 6 offers from universities, i'd have to say i disagree with this.
      Most of the courses are at Ex-polytechnics, with the low requirements that go with them, however on the most part the are excellent courses that do well to teach generic work as well straight games applications.
      Case in point being my current favourite: Hull
      An old style university doing Computer Science With Games Development
      Entry requirement being BCC
      Don't confuse low entry with bad courses, they dont' always go together, I have been to Oxford on the open days (i'm predicted AABA for A level) I'd have to say their courses are great theoretical courses, but seem to be incredibly low on practical applications.
      Just my views though YMMV
    • I've opted to do a generic as possible degree, a masters in computer science, at a good, respected university (either Oriel college Oxford, Durham or Bristol).

      You are completely right. For example, the broad-based education that I received at ITT Technical Institute has given me the confidence necessary to become the director of MIS at a Fortune 500 firm.

      (Sorry, that won't be funny to foreigners.)
    • by macrom (537566)
      I can't imagine why anyone would want to do one of these fashionable degrees like "wireless computing", "internet technology" or the computer games ones. People who want to do game design should study maths, physics or pure computer science.

      I think the assumption that many have made here, that this is a degree program, is false. It's a certification and a set of courses for learning and professional development. The tracks all require that you submit prior art and samples before being admitted. I would say that this is more for people with time and money to burn that also want a good structured program for game development/design. These students will also need some sort of background in their respective fields (if not a little game programming as well) in order to get in and succeed. Definitely not for your average high school/college dropout that plays Everquest 23 hours a day and thinks that he could make a better game by taking some classes from John Romero and Tom Hall.
  • The tuition rates are rounded to the nearest thousand, and the first semester fee's include:
    " Tuition for the first term includes a fully loaded computer specially configured for digital game development."

    http://guildhall.smu.edu/Admissions/tuition.htm

    After further review, it appears that this is _quarterly_ rates. (6 term, 18 month program.)
  • wow (Score:3, Funny)

    by pummer (637413) <spam@pum m . org> on Monday January 06, 2003 @04:28PM (#5028128) Homepage Journal
    this is nuts. in a few years, we'll have
    H ollywood
    I s
    O ut
    O f
    I deas
    S o
    W e
    N eed
    A
    U niversity.


    Yeah, I got nothin'.
  • Cogswell (Score:5, Informative)

    by azerak (535905) on Monday January 06, 2003 @04:37PM (#5028194)
    There's another college in northern California that has a game design program. It's called Cogswell Polytechnical College (http://www.cogswell.edu). They're fully acredited and have a Bachelor's degree program for Computer Video Imaging and Computer Science with majors in game design, 2D animation, 3D character animation, video editing, etc. I'm in the game design program there, and I'm having the time of my life and am set to get a job at EA Games this summer.

    The school also has a Game Development Club where many students get together and develop games each semester in the same process that most game companies do. Check out their website: http://www.fuzzywoto.org/
    (it'll soon be changing to www.gameclubworldwide.com)
  • The problem is... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kakos (610660) on Monday January 06, 2003 @04:57PM (#5028341)
    That these schools produce no-talent programmers who know how to slap down a template for a 3D engine, but don't know much else. Most students I've met that have come out of these schools know little of basic algorithms and data structures, such as binary trees, let alone more complex computing topics such as encryption, compression, etc. I mourn the loss of the gaming industry if these things start becoming popular.
  • As someone who comes from a traditional academic background and now working in the game industry, I would like to say a few words.

    Video games are becoming more "academic" as they become more complex, and games these days are a catalyst for continued innovation in areas such as graphics, AI, and physics simulation. Therefore, the intersection between video games and academia in general is growing all the more.

    A traditional computer science/fine arts/film/music/etc. education to get the foundations of your chosen trade, be it programmer, artist, musician, etc. will serve you well compared to schools that just inject you with the latest "buzzwords" and techniques which will soon become obsolete as soon as the next big programming language/3D package/etc come out -- those schools to game industry what certifications like "MSCE" or "CNE" is to the IT industry: you can use your skills but don't expect them to last without additional training.

    I am not criticizing gaming school as I am indeed aware that some of them do indeed have highly regarded programs that focus on the development of general technical and thinking skills, but do not think you MUST go to a "gaming" school to work in this industry, and if you choose to go that route, evaluate what they teach you very carefully.
  • by brsmith4 (567390)
    Sounds like id and other game companies are looking to recruit well-trained pee-ons to make their maps and color their textures. A true game programmer would have to have good working knowledge of mathematics and physics, not to mention the extensive computer science back ground. I wonder if this "major" will have that?
    • Re:Hmmm (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sebastopol (189276)
      not to mention the extensive computer science back ground

      Robin and Rand Miller (Myst) didn't have a comp-sci background. Nor did Roberta Williams (King's Quest). And Moru Iwatani (Pac-Man) was a graphic designer! Some of the best computer games in history came from non Comp-sci, non-engineers.

      Linear algebra only become hot in computer games in the past decade, with the 3D glut. Q3 is fancy, but boring and one dimensional, same with Wolfenstein to some extent

      A good game starts with a vision, not physics and math. Most of these computer games classes are teaching design skills so that game content gets better.

      Just because you have a PhD in physics and compsci doesn't mean you will make the world's best game.

      It's like classical musicians: they master their instrument, but hardly any of them [can] actually compose!

  • Since this is essentially a repeat story (albeit from a while back), I feel no compunction about merely posting a link to my previous commentary [slashdot.org].

  • by rootmonkey (457887) on Monday January 06, 2003 @05:23PM (#5028559)
    is digipen [digipen.edu]
  • by Shamanin (561998) on Monday January 06, 2003 @05:38PM (#5028675)
    "Tuition for the first term includes a fully loaded computer specially configured for digital game development. The student will use this computer through the six terms at The Guildhall. Ownership of the computer will pass to the student at the end of the fourth term"

    Hmmm... that would make the computer worth about $2.00 by the time you graduate (which you can tack onto the $1.00 your degree will be worth).

    What ever happened to the old way of learning how to code (be it for gaming or any other software centric industry)? Go to a normal university and study CS.
  • I'm sorry, but if you are trying to sell a programming course, or curriculum, or whatever, it would be nice if the web-site worked...properly...with standards...since they are trying to teach Standards in Game Programming.

    Anyway, there is no DOCTYPE in the page, sending the browser (Phoenix/Moz/Gecko based) into quirks mode, and the navigation is just a pain in the ass. It's a challenge of can I move my mouse fast enough over the other layers before the disappear or if I can move to the 2nd/3rd links before the sub-nav layer appears on top of the primary nav.

    I'm glad they have this, and I think it is good, especially when being driven by these companies, but they should be able to present themselves too. After all, will you send your kid to a school that can't even present themselves? You are paying a lot of money...
  • by UrGeek (577204)
    "Twice a year, 100 are chosen for The Guildhall...This is an opportunity to test your mettle with the best in the business...It isn't easy, but The Guildhall can get you there. Do you accept the challenge?"

    Weed out the weak, fight to the death, king of the mountain, competitive CRAP!! While this is the world of many games, this is totally inappropriate in education. Education should never be a boot camp. Damn competition! Let it be about teaching and nurturing, guiding, and learning for Christ's sake! And this is supposely a Christian college????
  • Did anyone else happen to take notice of the fact that this course(s) are going to be held at SMU - a private college that has a STRONG christian influence....I can see it now....

    SMU: So what is the name of your project you are working on?

    Student: Well I'm thinking of making an add-on to "Omnikron"

    SMU: Oh and what do you do in this game?

    Student: Well the game originally dealt with you transfering your soul into a character in another world through your game but you end up losing it to this demon and....

    SMU: Excuse me but I don't think that would be a suitable game for our viewers!

    Student: But i'm going to make it so Jesus saves you from hell

    SMU: Oh, well in that case you get an A

    *on a side note - the site wouldn't work on my Mac (as in I kept getting errors when trying to click on the links) - but on my PC it worked fine - nice going SMU!
  • Uhhhh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Erwos (553607)
    As a CS major (junior-level) at one of the top CS schools in the US (#11, last I checked), I honestly have to wonder what they're going to teach at that course that I couldn't get from a few books and a generalized CS degree. The coursework itself will be useful, but the question is, do the benefits outweigh the costs?

    And, moving on, I teach myself lots of things in the programming field. I resent the idea that people somehow think I'm "dumb and don't understand the real world" because I'm smart enough to realize that guidance in learning is a good thing. It seems to be a fairly common opinion on Slashdot that kids in college are mechanical robots who can only do what teacher's taught them. I don't confuse this with knowing everything - but I have confidence that I'm smart enough to learn.

    -Erwos
  • by WindowsTroll (243509) on Monday January 06, 2003 @08:51PM (#5029931) Homepage
    Let me preface my comments by stating that I worked in the computer gaming industry for several years. During my years in the gaming industry, I have worked on titles for PSX and Windows, and also worked on what was probably the earliest commercially available full 3D game engine for massive multiplayer online games - and this was back in 95 before such things became commonplace. So while you may not agree with my comments, they are not without foundation and experience.

    Look at the cost.
    For a time commitment of 18 months, you will find yourself $37,000 in the debt. After which time you will hold a 'certificate' that only qualifies you to work in a single industry. Since this is not a degree, but merely a certificate (what is a MSCE certificate worth?), you won't have much to fall back on if the game career doesn't work out.

    Look at what you get.
    You get a 'fully loaded computer' for an extra fee of $5000. A great deal of the cost is probably software, but you can build a phenominal computer for less that $2000, and since they are probably getting the software at educational discounts, even if they are installing SoftImage, Maya, 3DSMax, Photoshop, and Lightwave for artists. The software required for programmers is probably less. A copy of Visual Studio for Windows since they will probably teach game programming for DirectX. As a student at about any university, you could get the stuff for less.

    Who is doing the teaching?
    It is not really clear, but from the endorsements of the industry leaders who say such things as " I can't wait to teach at The Guildhall", it seems to infer that the people listed on the sight might be doing the teaching. If this is the case, then consider

    John Romero - did level design at id and thought he was God. Part of the braintrust at ION Storm (along with Todd Porter and Tom Hall ) that blew through over $30 million of Eidos' money with only Daikatana and Anachronox to show for it. Not the model of success that you want to emulate.

    Kill Creek - aka Stevie Case. Claim to fame was beating John Romero in Quake, getting the opportunity to yell "Suck it down, bitch" back to John Romero, posing nude for Playboy, and marrying John Romero.

    Tom Hall - okay, Tom has a decent rap sheet with Anachronox, Rise of the Triad, Terminal Velocity and a lot of earlier stuff that was very pretty good at the time.

    What does this certificate qualify you for?
    Working in the game industry, which by the way, pays very poorly. Game companies staff the production teams with one or two senior members who actually earn a real salary, and then staff the rest with kids fresh out of school who will work the typical 70 hour weeks for peanuts and not complain because the job is cool. While this is exceptional fun while you are young, if you ever decide to settle down, get married, have kids or buy a house, you will find yourself looking in a different industry for work. However, game programming skills, if you have a rock solid education and phenominal math and programming skills, can get you hired writing simulators for military contractors. Trust me, though, you won't be learning what you need for these types of jobs in 18 months.

    If you decide to leave the gaming industry, you won't be qualified to work in any other field. This game programming certificate is probably even worse than the Devry/ITT schools that convince people that they will make lots of money with a two year tech degree.

    My personal experience is that most of the programmers who do well in the gaming industry have degrees in Computer Science with a strong math and physics background, or a physics degree with a strong programming and math background. You can't really try to shortcut the process down to 18 months and expect to have the qualifications that employers are looking for.

    My own $0.02 so you don't waste $37,000.

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