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