Full Sail

This is a discussion on Full Sail within the Game Programming forums, part of the General Programming Boards category; I am a current student at Full Sail, a school that teaches people "Game Design and Development", and thought that ...

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    Full Sail

    I am a current student at Full Sail, a school that teaches people "Game Design and Development", and thought that I might be able to give a little insight to those that are interested.

    I started my "Game Design and Development" education a little over a year ago. Feb. 1st 2003 I started here. At first I was a little discouraged at the way the school was leading me. The first few classes were general education classes and really sucked, really bad. But when I finally got to the programming classes, the fun began.

    The first class I had to take was a C++ class and literally taught you the entire syntax practically in 2 months and everything you needed to start programming. All our applications were in a console window and were a bit tedious, but the point was to teach you basics. It was a tough class, but exciting nonetheless.

    The next month after that was a data structures class. This is where I was able to expound my abilities for design. We learned all sorts of data structures (Linked Lists, Hash Tables, BST's, Recursion, STL) and was still to me probably one of the best and most important classes in the curriculum.

    The next few months were basic windows and MFC coding, the DirectX API (no D3D), and all sorts of API's and coding stuff. We also got to learn the Criterion Renderware API, OpenGL inside and out, networked programming, and all sorts of cool stuff. If anyone wants me to explain class for class, it may be a good article basis, but I dont want to bore anyone right now.

    As of right now, I am in my last few weeks of school and felt like I shoudl give something back to the school by at least for right now posting a review of the education. I loved this education more then anything I have ever done. I didn't even want to develop games when I came here, but just wanted to learn how to code and now I am managing a team of 4 others and creating an entire 3D game in itself. I could never trade the friendships I have made here and the experiences I have had along with the knowledge conveyed from the teachers for the world. Unfortunately, the 14 month program has come to a close with my class being one of the last ones to be in it (Associate Degree) and they have transitioned the program to a now better 23 month program (Bachelors Degree).

    I know I sound like a salesman up on here posting about the school, but I can assure that I am just a programmer with a really great education. I wouldnt pass up MIT or Carnegie Mellon for this place, but if schools like that are beyond your reach at this time, or you JUST want to make games or learn how to program REALLY FAST, this is probably the best place in the world.

    I recommend this place to anyone willing to put the effort in to learn how to program and make games.

    By the way, the program is REALLY intense, and if you do not want to put forth the effort to make it through here, then this school is a waste of your money. We go to school for over 40 hours a week and have only two 1-week vacations a year. So if you are interested, understand this isnt a free ride. I couldnt imagine making it through the first month not putting all of my energy into wanting this. Just a fair warning.

    I would love questions about my experiences or if someone wants me to write an article on the classes explicitly, I can write about all of them. Just let me know. Thanx

    -Alex-

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    Even death may die... Dante Shamest's Avatar
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    I've heard of Full Sail and it sounds cool. How about writing some tutorials, and teach some of the beginners out there what you've learnt?

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    i was just at full sail about 2 weeks ago or so and toured the campus there. It's a pretty nice school, I might be going to that school, or i might be checking out digipen also, (except digipen takes a bit longer......)

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    Yeah, from what I understand digi-pen is 4 years and a bachelors, while full sail is now a BS in 24 months or so.

    Im biased to Full sail just because ive been there for the last year and im about to graduate from there in about 3 weeks or so, but from what I understand, Digi-pen is a lot slower paced then Full Sail.

    Plus we just got a teacher for one of our classes that was an EA producer for 12 years. He produced all the road rashes and all sorts of cool stuff. So we definately have a lot of industry experienced people teaching the school. Another one of our teachers worked at EA for a few years and worked on like 3 Madden's. Three of our other teachers do work for Sun and have a book being published right now. And all the other teachers also have a lot of experience as well.

    If you were there two weeks ago and took a tour, you probably saw our class, haha. In final project. Thats cool though. Full Sail is definately worth it. Lemme know where you decide to go.

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    I was going to apply to Digipen, but I decided against schools like that because I've taught myself a lot, if not most, of what you'd be taught there anyway. so I'm going into engineering but I'm going to be continuing game programming as a hobby.

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    Digipen slower paced? That's funny....

    Out of curiosity what kind of accreditation does Full-Sail have?
    "...the results are undefined, and we all know what "undefined" means: it means it works during development, it works during testing, and it blows up in your most important customers' faces." --Scott Meyers

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    State of Florida accredidation I believe. All I know is that digi-pen gives you a certificate of completion and Full Sail gives you a real Bachelors of Science.

    And compared to Full Sail, digi-pen is a LOT slower I hear. Our classes are a month long each which is friggin hardcore compared to semester long classes. I dont know much about digipen, but I know all about Full Sail, haha, hardcore dood.

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    Just so you know, Wizard goes there, or maybe he already graduated I can't remember.

    Also, I researched this, and I think that Digipen gives you a 'real degree', so just be really careful what you say before this entire thread goes sour.

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    Originally posted by AKrampovitis
    State of Florida accredidation I believe. All I know is that digi-pen gives you a certificate of completion and Full Sail gives you a real Bachelors of Science.
    "All you know" is wrong then. Digipen gives you a Bachelor of Science as well. So do a little research before you throw out wild accusations.

    I'm not saying that either one is more intense because I didn't go to Full-Sail. I can say that we usually take 21 credit hours of classes per semester and that's pretty hardcore. Where is the latest game you made? I'd love to play it. You can download mine from the following site if you want:

    http://lpskanuts.hostica.com/bz_setup.exe
    "...the results are undefined, and we all know what "undefined" means: it means it works during development, it works during testing, and it blows up in your most important customers' faces." --Scott Meyers

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    Just how much thought goes into game design at these colleges? As one might think, game designers are almost the core of a game, as everything in the game is based upone what they have set up, and a good game designer is alot rarer than a good coder, this is why there are plenty of games with great graphics/lighting/physics but a crappy story and these get put on the shelf pretty quick. I know a former game designer from Origin(when it was good, he got out of the business before alot of the garbage came out), and maintains ties to the gaming industry with big companies like Interplay and smaller niche market companies like Troika. He has been un-enthused with alot of the game designers he has seen coming out of game education schools, as alot of them have a to-the-textbook kind of design process, with very little creativity(He has no problems with the coders though produced by these institutions). I was wondering what those of you who have been at these institutions thinks of the game design courses and whether they foster creativity or present a too scientific method of approach?

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    Hey man, im not knocking digipen at all. What I meant to say was I believe that they give you a certificate and all i know is that full sail gives you a degree. My bad for the miscommunication. Didnt mean to mix that up.

    And about the game design aspect of the school, they dont shoot for design so much at full sail, but more towards the technical side and programming side. Then again, the program is really young (about 5 years or so i think) and they just migrated to a BS degree so who knows what the future holds.

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    Hey Man, pretty cool game btw. How long was production on it and were you in a team?? or by yourself?? Was that OGL or D3D?? Use an API?? Or write your own engine?? Im definately curious what digipen's schooling is like. I always have been. Id be more then interested to hear more about it. Lemme know. Thanx wiz

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    What's goin on MrWizard... Just another Full Sail student. Played your game...

    I loved a lot of the technical aspects of the game. You had a lot of alpha blended goodness all over the place, and I am a huge fan of alpha blending wherever possible. : )

    The gameplay was a little buggy, and really awkward. My main concern was with the AI. I was wondering what kind of AI you implemented into the game. Did you do any pathplanning? Did you use a node mesh to get your bots to travel around in game? There was a point where I saw a bot running into a wall, and if I didn't kill him, who knows if he'd ever stop.

    Some of the sounds came a little delayed. If I was getting hit, I didn't actually hear me getting hit until 1-2 seconds later.

    Other than that it was pretty solid. I liked the fact that you could purchase new combos and what not. And the menus were sexy.


    So you guys take on 21 credits per semester? That's definately a load. I don't know if I could say that full sail is a more intense program, but I can certainly tell you that a normal month for us, would be between 40-48 hours of class a week and at least 10-30 hours of programming work at home.

    I can tell you that I have easily have had months where I have had to work 110 hours a week to get things done. Last october I implemented a menu that was defined in an XML script, wrote my own tokenizer, and had a data suppier to change the values of the menus at run time.

    I'm in final project at the moment so I can't direct you to a site that has a project that I've worked on, but I can direct you to a site that some really good friends of mine have been maintining. I hope to join them in the coming months on their project, so I guess I could show you what I will be working on in the future(fingers crossed).

    Take a look at fatesforgiven.com

    Let's keep this conversation going... but please, no need to get hostile on any accounts.

    fernando de la cruz

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    MrWizard- your game won't even run on my puter from what i read above, it sounds like an FPS or something...

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    Wizard, I'm another Full Sail student in final project class along with the other two guys who posted on here so far. I'm the System Architect for Fates Forgiven -- www.fatesforgiven.com & www.fatesforgiven.com/screenshots. I downloaded your game, I noticed you had IGF in the description. Did you submit it to the IGF? How'd it do? It looks very cool. Unfortunately the particles and the alpha blended quads (or whatever you used to get the cool curvy plane effect) causes the game to chug chug on my computer.

    I really like the whole "purchase moves and do combos" idea. Very very cool. Was the animation system homebrew or middleware? It seems to run pretty damn well.

    Anywho, check out those screenshots of Fates Forgiven. We have Alpha on Tuesday, so hopefully we'll get a tech-complete demo up within a few days from that.

    Comments welcome!

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