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an A.A.S. vs 4 year degree in game and simulation

This is a discussion on an A.A.S. vs 4 year degree in game and simulation within the Game Programming forums, part of the General Programming Boards category; I recently discovered a local tech college has put out a 2-year A.A.S. program in Computer simulation and gaming I ...

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    an A.A.S. vs 4 year degree in game and simulation

    I recently discovered a local tech college has put out a 2-year A.A.S. program in Computer simulation and gaming

    I know corps like to see a 4-year degree, but I don't have the finances to finish a 4-year. Having had my dept outsourced at the height (or depth as it were) of the recession, I've resigned myself to starting over at almost 50 years old, but working in the game industry and possible having my own game dev company has been my dream since 1982.

    How viable would something like this be? Do any of you have experience with a 2-year, focused program?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cynic View Post
    Do any of you have experience with a 2-year, focused program?
    Yes, I have had bad experience with a 2-year, focused program.

    Step 1. Is the school accredited. If not, I would avoid it.
    Step 2. Does any of the classes taught able to have transfer credit to a regular 4 year college? If not, I would avoid it.

    Note: My experience was with an 2 year Electrical engineering technology (EET) degree, that was many years ago.

    NOTE: Your age might make it a better decision than it was for me at a young age.
    Do you have the communication/Writing skills that a real college would teach you? If yes, it might be a good option for you.
    I did not have good communication as a young adult and that may have been why the two year tech school degree did not work.

    Tim S.
    "Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the Universe is winning." Rick Cook

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    Quote Originally Posted by stahta01 View Post
    Yes, I have had bad experience with a 2-year, focused program.

    Step 1. Is the school accredited. If not, I would avoid it.
    Yeah, this school has been around for since before I was born. They used to have a close relationship with a now defunct company called Allis-Chalmers to train people for that industry. MATC is pretty well regarded and I have past experience with college level courses with them. By far, the best calculus classes and teacher I had was at MATC.

    Step 2. Does any of the classes taught able to have transfer credit to a regular 4 year college? If not, I would avoid it.
    Not these. They are < 200 level courses. Only level 200 classes are considered college equivs.


    NOTE: Your age might make it a better decision than it was for me at a young age.
    Do you have the communication/Writing skills that a real college would teach you? If yes, it might be a good option for you.
    I did not have good communication as a young adult and that may have been why the two year tech school degree did not work.
    I do. I've had lit and comm classes at a local U and have always tested out of basic classes (algebra, basic English comp, etc). While I don't have advanced detailed knowledge of the fields, I have enough to get me started off running.

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    Master Apprentice phantomotap's Avatar
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    O_o

    I don't want to be harsh but unless you just go "I'm going to start and indie development company money be damned!" it probably isn't going to happen for you. The reality is, skill isn't as much an issue as luck for that sort thing. Even with great skill you may never get to work on the fun bits of game programming. Without the experience of working on core direction programming you will likely never be given a director credit. Without a director credit you'll never enough "weight" to pull other developers to you so that you might form a company.

    *shrug*

    Sometimes people get lucky. Sometimes a great developer will have enough "weight" with his fellows that he or she can get a development team going. Even then, that usually entails offering huge rewards should a game ever go anywhere.

    You might get lucky. You will probably waste your time.

    Besides that grim reality, I've heard this in real life from a manager: "Gwahahaha. He has a game programming degree.". Yes, you could here that "gwah" bit. It was a very robust laugh.

    My papers are so worthless that I never claim them on job applications. I'm actually viewed as more employable on average by only referencing my real world experiences at other places.

    As Tim said, if the college isn't regionally accredited, avoid it. (It is harder for universities to get regional accreditation than national accreditation.) If it is regionally accredited, look for a two year program that has a similar class structure without the focus on games. (I don't know any real game studios that consider a "game programming degree" as more valuable than similar degrees without that focus.) Of course, you may do better by approaching other universities. I know of several universities with programs designed to be tackled first as a two year program awarding an associates and later developed into a full degree. If you can go that route you will know that your credits and likely future enrollment will be guaranteed.

    Soma

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    Quote Originally Posted by phantomotap View Post
    Besides that grim reality
    Yeah, grim alright. Starting over at nearly 50 is as about as grim as I've seen. Well, you know what they say, "life's a .......... and then you die."

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    Master Apprentice phantomotap's Avatar
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    *shrug*

    I take solace in knowing that I'm not the only one who failed to find an awesome job in the game programming field.

    Soma

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    There are plenty of jobs available in the game industry. However it is a very rough industry and tends to chew up and spit out programmers yearly. I opted not to take the game route this go around because of that. If you have the right experience and love games it probably would not be all that land a game development position. Now you might not be working on their latest and greatest engine but eventually if you want to...you probably could.

    Creating your own game company is not easy to do but with all the tools available now and with Steam allowing 2 person dev companies to put their games right up their with the AAA titles the opportunity is definitely there. In the past it was impossible to land a publisher (and to some extent now) and sell your game unless you were a decent size studio. However the aforementioned Steam has changed the face of development for PC games and the situation is not nearly as grim as it used to be. Sadly console dev is still mainly for the big companies and I doubt that is going to change anytime soon.

    Another area that you could focus on is games for mobile devices or perhaps Facebook games. Even though I consider this the fringes of what gaming is...I'm forced to admit that there is still a place for it.

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    Master Apprentice phantomotap's Avatar
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    I think that games for mobile devices make an excellent starting point. They aren't expected to be as sophisticated in terms of graphics and like so have a much lower entry point.

    Soma
    Salem likes this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by phantomotap View Post
    I think that games for mobile devices make an excellent starting point. They aren't expected to be as sophisticated in terms of graphics and like so have a much lower entry point.

    Soma
    I'll look into this. I don't really have access to such devices or APIs as of now, just my computer and VC++ 10 and what APIs are looking most promising (the bullet impulse physics engine for one and still looking into a higher level graphics API).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cynic View Post
    I'll look into this. I don't really have access to such devices or APIs as of now, just my computer and VC++ 10 and what APIs are looking most promising (the bullet impulse physics engine for one and still looking into a higher level graphics API).
    The Android SDK is free to download as an Eclipse plugin, and comes with a complete Android-emulator to test your creations. What's the catch? Java.
    How I need a drink, alcoholic in nature, after the heavy lectures involving quantum mechanics.

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    Hmmm, don't really know Java, only seen some snippets. I did find that Ogre3D support iOS, so I may start there. It should hopefully prove to be a good starting graphics lib for my other projects.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cynic View Post
    Hmmm, don't really know Java, only seen some snippets. I did find that Ogre3D support iOS, so I may start there. It should hopefully prove to be a good starting graphics lib for my other projects.
    Good choice, I think.
    One problem may be that it is quite complicated and you are often on your own if something goes wrong.
    (Their forums are good, but nobody (in my experience) bothers to answer unless the question is very interesting or concerns them).
    Manasij Mukherjee | gcc-4.8.2 @Arch Linux
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    1.None of the other participants are fast and steady.
    2.The fast and unsteady suddenly falls asleep while running !



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    Quote Originally Posted by manasij7479 View Post
    Good choice, I think.
    It's proving problematic. It took a couple days to work out the build system, not terrible in and of itself, but I'm finding there is a great number of render and API usage problems with the samples causing it to crash or be barely viewable under DirectX10 and 11 (haven't tested 9 yet). I have an nVidia 470 and the Cg subsystem is crashing samples with an exception. Go figure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cynic View Post
    It's proving problematic. It took a couple days to work out the build system, not terrible in and of itself, but I'm finding there is a great number of render and API usage problems with the samples causing it to crash or be barely viewable under DirectX10 and 11 (haven't tested 9 yet). I have an nVidia 470 and the Cg subsystem is crashing samples with an exception. Go figure.
    I have a much older card (9600 GSO ) and everything in the samples works fine, with OpenGL(but that should not be much difference).
    (A few tutorials' examples crash on me, though... can't determine the accurate cause yet)
    Maybe you have messed the building process up ? Or just have outdated drivers ?
    Manasij Mukherjee | gcc-4.8.2 @Arch Linux
    Slow and Steady wins the race... if and only if :
    1.None of the other participants are fast and steady.
    2.The fast and unsteady suddenly falls asleep while running !



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    Quote Originally Posted by manasij7479 View Post
    I have a much older card (9600 GSO ) and everything in the samples works fine, with OpenGL(but that should not be much difference).
    (A few tutorials' examples crash on me, though... can't determine the accurate cause yet)
    Maybe you have messed the building process up ? Or just have outdated drivers ?
    Possibly, maybe. Here is one issue I am having:

    I can't run full screen at native resolution (1600 x 1050). The depth stencil view is 1600 x 1024 while the render target view is 1600 x 1050. This causes an exception.

    I can run full screen at 800 x 600, but the colors are all wrong. It looks like it's inverted, like a negative.

    I can run at 800 x 600 windowed, but some things just aren't working right.

    I wanted to capture a screen shot of the exception, but for some reason, it pastes to PSP as all black.

    I'll see if updated drivers are available and improves anything.
    Last edited by Cynic; 04-22-2012 at 06:09 PM. Reason: corrected spelling and phrasing

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