IMO, Getting a degree at a Game Development school is simply a bad idea. While you may think you are getting the broad education you need for game development, you're not. Even worse, when you come to the conclusion that game development MIGHT not be your cup of tea, you are just left with a degree that proves your commitment. Getting a degree in a scientific degree will open many more doors and will simply give you more options. I spent my first 2 years of college doing game development hardcore in my off time from classes. After those two years, I came to the conclusion that being in the games industry wasn't exactly for me. Luckily, I'm in a CIS degree so I have plenty of options on the table. Case in point... It's less about the degree, it's more about what you do in your off time. Companies want to see what you can do. At the end of your 4 years at a university, or 2ish years at a game development school, if you can code well and can prove it, your solid. My advice: Go for a Computer Sci or a Information Systems degree, and code/design/write in your off time. Keep as many doors as you can open, because there is no telling what you will feel like 2, 5, or 10 years from now.
EA's Head of European Recruitment says game-centric university courses are too vocational, but dismisses claims of a European recruitment crisis.
BRIGHTON, UK--While Electronic Arts projects like Spore, Crysis, and Burnout Paradise generate the most press coverage for the publisher, it's been in the limelight almost as much for its high-profile recruitment moves lately. First, there was the appointment of John Ricitello as EA's new CEO, and then the company picked up former Activision Publishing president Kathy Vrabeck for its casual division and Peter Moore, the corporate face of Microsoft's gaming division, to head up EA Sports.
One of the men in charge of recruitment at EA (in Europe at least) is Matthew Jeffery. Jeffery took a break from his duties overseeing over 350 hires in one of the world's biggest games companies to deliver a Develop Conference presentation titled "The Pitfalls of Game Development." In a lecture focusing on the industrywide issues of employee recruitment and retention, Jeffery dismissed any recruitment crisis as a complete myth, argued that the current crop of game-related degrees were like fashion accessories, and discussed the aftermath of the infamous "EA Spouse" incident.
Arguing against the existence of a recruitment crisis in the games industry, Jeffery claims that the UK and Europe possess the best creative talent in the world. He cited the Canadian team behind EA's own FIFA series and animation studios such as Pixar and Dreamworks as examples of companies actively recruiting from Europe to secure the talent that they need. Add this to the fact that workers are increasingly mobile and willing to move to another continent, he said, and the bigger issue for Europe is not in creating talent, but actually retaining it.
The solution, Jeffery claims, it to move away from hiring from within the industry in favour of talent straight out of university. He claims that graduates are confident, enthusiastic and ambitious, and create an internal culture of promotion.
However, Jeffery also stated that EA prefers graduates who have completed more traditional courses such as maths, physics and computer science over those with more specialised game-related degrees. He expressed concern these courses were creating too many graduates trying to break into the industry and the degrees themselves were not providing students with the skills that EA needs. Of the most concern to Jeffery were courses in game design--of the last 350 hires made at EA, only two were in entry-level game design, and neither of them had took a degree in that area.
Ending the discussion on the EA Spouse incident (where the disgruntled partner of an EA employee complained vocally and publicly about the unreasonable hours EA staff were forced to work), Jeffery claims that the company has learnt from it and is now promoting a more healthy work/life balance. This was of particular concern in an industry adapting to a maturing workforce--employees who have spent 20 years working in games are now likely to have families, he said.
Nevertheless, Jeffery reluctantly agreed that crunch time is still inevitable not just in game development but in many parts of life, and as many games developers are perfectionists, some of the extra hours at the end of a project can be self-inflicted. The solution, Jeffery claimed, is better planning at the beginning of the development cycle.
I'm glad i'm getting a Comp Sci degree. To do any actual game creation, you need to know your stuff. You can't get that kind of education through most of those video game degrees. I have a feeling most people who would be attracted to the "video game" degrees are they people who think "oh hey, i like playing video games, so i could probably make them." That's not how it works. If you want to get a job in an industry like that. You have to know your stuff plain and simple.
@JimRune: After reading the "Disgruntled Spouce" description (and all that ansued) I'm inclined to agree with your statement anyways. But I still hope that you or a relative, or a friend, or a friend of a friend (etc.) is an EA employee, because if not, then you're just all talk talk talk. I dont know if they really learned something (after losing millions they must've learned something for whatever's sake) but there's a chance they did. So...the wait begins until the next anonymus wife starts another rally. -Ghost
I wouldn't listen to EA. Working as a software engineer at EA is not glamorous; it does not pay well, the working conditions are tantamount to civil rights violations, and their corporate atmosphere is akin to that of a cult. Degrees in game design are slowly becoming mainstream, it seems like EA doesn't want to give them a chance for a reason.
FraserAlexander very good point...that still doesn't explain the "had took" grammatical problem that I pointed out, but I'm glad somebody actually did check that out and tell me I'm an idiot. Subrosian Couldn't agree with you more and I have thought of other jobs that I would possibly be able to get after acquiring my degree. I know that architects have gotten into using computer models, as well as some medical fields. So I'm not just focusing on one thing, but thanks for the advice it is helpful to step back and look at it from that perspective.
Woohoo, let's all write an essay! :P I used to do Game Design BA, but changed to Computer Animation instead cos i didn't think GD would get me anywhere. I reckon i'm right
subrosian - I have already graduated from UCF some years ago. I had the chance to take Game Design at UCF, among other diverse courses (French Literature I, Comp. Sci. 1, Spanish BA, etc.). So, yes, I did get to meet and take classes with UCF Digital Media professors. I was studying Comp Sci until the Digital Media program arrived to UCF back in 2001. Also, a BS in Computer Science or BA/BS in Digital Media is NOT a sole requirement to be able to get into FIEA. Actually anyone who has a degree that somehow relates to games can get in (of course, that is if you complete other requirements such as GRE, etc.). You can see profiles of students at FIEA and see that they have majors such as Psychology, Math, Digital Media (of course), among others. I contacted someone at FIEA, and I was told that my Spanish BA also counts. I was actually thinking about going back to school to get a BA or BS in Digital Media, until someone from FIEA told I can actually get into that program. I guess I could say FIEA wants people with diverse minds and skills. FIEA has 3 specialties: Programming, Graphics and Production. I'd love to take Production. I do think that to be a Game Designer, one has to know much more than just programming or just making graphics. Studying foreign languages, learning about other cultures, story writing, as well as other topics such as Art, General Psychology, World History (Dynasty Warriors & God of War, anyone?), and skills that relate to real teaching are essentials to be a leader. I am also doing my best to save $$$ to attend FIEA. Yeah, getting into the industry is hard to do, but you can start somewhere else. I do agree with you that getting a BA/BS at a university is an excellent step. Actually, I do recommend it to my students. It's extremely important to get those 2 years of general education courses. Yes, I've become a Web Design and Spanish teacher hoping to teach Game Design at an Orange or Lake County School soon. I've also become a Freelance Tech Columnist for a local Spanish-language newspaper. I've been to E3 2005 and 2006. At E3 2005, I was invited by "The Education Arcade." At E3 2006, I went there representing the newspaper. Of course, I used my own money to get there and stay in LA for 9 days... 9 days I can never forget. I will go back to LA this year to attend "E for All" and "Video Games Live". Some years ago (when I was studying at UCF), I also went to San Francisco to attend the Game Developers Conference, and even spoke with people who mean a lot to the gaming industry. I have yet to meet Shigeru Miyamoto and others. I guess a degree won't count as much if you also don't show how much devoted you are to gaming in many other ways. Now, I wish I could do a weekly Tech news section for a local Spanish-language TV channel (either Orlando's Univision or Telemundo). There are more things I can tell you about myself... having worked as a substitute teacher and talking to students about anime and manga, attending their clubs, being a chaperon for students to go to OTRONICON twice. I don't know if I could be chosen to work as an entry-level Game Design, but I do my best having overcomed a disability, among other things, and I won't give up on getting into the gaming industry. Like Naruto would say: "Believe it!" Tech institutes just concentrate on one thing: programming. The Art Institute (there are many around the country) offers a BA or a BS in Game Design. You may want to check out their programs. Well, it's already another day for me.... falling asleep. I do thank you for your comments. Au revoir. ????? Adiós. Bye. P.S. Do you know anything about Mr. Stapleton?
i actually went to westwood for a year in game design and decided to switch majors because programming is hard. whitey3221 fyi they do teach more than just classes for your major. most of which are transferable. Matter of fact i have an earth science project and some network admin stuff due this sunday. also the reason your in and out so quick is because you go to school all year round. i get 1 week off in between semesters and 2 weeks off for xmas and thats it. also did i mention that programming is stupid. designers and developers are different. devos program and stuff designers make the items so to speak (very broad and general way of explaining it).
I have to say that the industry in general is in a sorry state. Long gone are the days people were taken in for their Fresh ideas and now are the days when people are taken simply because they may be able to produce on command. I used to have aspirations of designing games but not in the sense of just being part of a "department" as it is now but more so to join them at the table and fire off ideas for creative input for game mechanics, environments, spells, weapons, and anything else i could think up. The only thing i really want to do for the industry is supply people with ideas and concepts or take in their ideas and give my opinion of improvements or something else that may supplement the idea. I don't want to do this because i want to "make" games but rather i want to be able to share creative ideas and make use of myself doing something i enjoy. Thinking. Hell you could give me a trial run at the table and see what happens. i wouldn't even ask for pay. i simply want to create and share. I have asked on many forums about if there were a chance i could talk to a member of their company on the phone for maybe an hour and just bounce ideas around but so far all i have gotten is no response from any of the staff members and just a general remark from somebody on the forum generally saying "they don't just share their time because your not important enough so just give up" which is rather sad if that is the usual opinion of most people. So far i have only been told that you cant just make ideas but also have to be able to code them paint them and animate them, but if all somebody has to do is think and share wouldn't they be able to create far more and of higher quaility? As of the beginning of this year i've decided just to pursue a career in networking and network administration and maybe computer repair. but i will not give up my dream of sharing my ideas to help create the thing i love. Games.
This remind me of something my prof said at school "A common misconception about the way employers perceive newly graduated students. Although on graduation you may perceive yourself as a finished product, molded to a precise shape and stamped with a descriptive label, the typical employer perceives you as an amorphous lump, slightly modified from the condition of total ignorance, perhaps capable of being turned into a useful employee after one or two probationary years. " I think EA saying that they like student with a broader ranger of knowledge rather then someone who only know how to do one thing. This is because it would be easier to train a jack of all trade to do something new then someone that can only do one thing.
Well,it's nice to see so many people who know about the industry.I myself have an interest in the gaming industry,but also want to have a degree that can help with other possible career choices,because I know that limiting to one area will rob me of business opportunities and will cause some problems if I so happen to not break into the industry.A lot of you know what you're talking about,and I plan to attend college next year.I live in NY but would be willing to travel to other states in hopes of finding the best place to study many different areas.If any of you experienced people have some suggestions on what universities/colleges to check up on,please post them here or send me a private message,as I would greatly appreciate some advice from some of the wiser,more experienced posters on here.
I've sadly met Matt Jeffery several times during my time in the industry and each time hurts me more than the last!!!! His comments are quite bizarre considering just the other week EA Canada handed out scholarships for a 1 year Game Design course at Vancouver Film School. ONE YEAR GAME DESIGN COURSE!!!! Thankfully, the lucky inexperienced recipient will be blogging his year in Game Design while each entry makes us all die a little inside. Glad to see there's an overall coherency in EA. www.vfs.com/blog/2007/07/17/ea-game-design-scholarship -winner
Pick me! Pick up! I like genre like rpg, fps, online, offline, story-driven, mmorpg, 2d, 3d, games that break new grounds... I can also power it down and go take a nap or go outside.
705H1R0 - You are right. He isn't talking about schools like SCAD (which is a fantastic school). He is talking about schools that don't have a foundation in art or computer science. I know plenty of people who work at EA who went to SCAD.
for those complaining about 'learnt' and commenting 'learn how to write': Frequently Asked Questions Spelling What is the difference between 'learnt' and 'learned'? These are alternative forms of the past tense and past participle of the verb learn. Learnt is more common in British English, and learned in American English. There are a number of verbs of this type (burn, dream, kneel, lean, leap, spell, spill, spoil etc.). They are all irregular verbs, and this is a part of their irregularity. ***So in this case, since the subject was British it may have been used deliberately, which is quite witty. So many some of you won't assume you know everything anymore insulting people when the ignorance belongs to you.
I think people are looking too much into the college comments. I think all he is trying to say is that getting a more generalized degree will give you a better shot at getting a job with EA because a general degree would allow you to fill almost any post and not limit you to just 1 or 2 specific jobs. There is a lot more to game design than just making a level and applying an engine. Someone has to create interfaces, compliance, accessibility, and all sorts of other things. He said that only 2 of 350 opening were entry level game design so if you get degree in only that, you will be somewhat screwed unless you have serious inside connections or you have a portfolio that will bring established devs to their knees.
whitney3221 said it pretty well. The "game design" schools many people refer to are the crappy ones you see on T.V. You know, the ones that show two guys "designing" a game with nothing but PS2 controllers, or that one that uses animated Poser models that the school bought to use in the commercial. I'm a senior at SCAD, and let me tell you, these boys are serious. There are projects that I've spent 20, sometimes 24 hours on in a row. I think the vast majority of the game development students here understand it's more about connections, experience, and a mind-blowing portfolio than a degree. The degree looks nice on a resume, but this is one of those industries where your work really has to speak for itself. Now, I'm not big on physics or computer science, but not a lot of students here are. Most of us are in it for the artistic side of game design, (character artists, modeling, level/environment design, texture artists, sound designers, etc). It is apparent to many of us that in our field, actually knowing physics isn't as important as understanding it. For instance, I might be working with a team with something like the Source engine. Our goal could be to create some sort of physics-based puzzle, like what you might see in Half-Life 2 or Portal. Now since the physics are already handled by the engine (thanks to the wonderful programmers ;)), we're free to create our levels, add in our own textures and models fairly easily. It's just necessary to know the limits and capabilities of the engine. But obviously, having a mind for physics/programming is always a plus. It always scares me when I see people saying "don't go to game design school!" but then I remember SCAD has a good reputation in the industry for turning out talent. I know several companies recruit directly from here, and EA is one of them.
whitey3221 - the broad generalizations hurt, but there is a lot of truth in them. Many, many major universities have film programs, yet getting a job in the film industry is amazingly difficult, and requires a great deal of personal effort, experience, and networking - and even then you still are only getting that 1% chance of breaking in. No education is useless - and the atmosphere of a real four-year university is better than a game design school, but you need the gen eds, you need the business classes, you need that "tech writing class with that professor everyone hates" because it teaches you stuff you don't even realize you're learning. Tech Writing didn't teach me how to write a resume or edit a report, I knew that in high school, but what I did learn was how to manage a group full of computer scientists, many of whom basically thought the end user was an idiot, and had no interest in making things accessible to them. Managerial Accounting wasn't about balancing the books, it was about getting advice from a professor with a distinguished career, it was about the stories of working your way up in the industry, and the experience of working with many talented business students. Pure gaming degrees are not just limiting because they have so many required courses, they're also limiting because of what you're not being exposed to in your youth, and because they require you to make a career decision incredibly early in life. If people knew what they wanted at 18 we wouldn't have so many people going back to grad school. Heck, even at 30, people still want changes - why do you think divorce, career changes, and moving to another country are all things that are pretty common these days? I'm not saying your major is useless, simply that, well, take a good look around, talk to recent grads, and talk to grads from five, ten years down the road and see how it goes. For example, I know with my MIS degree, the only people not in the industry were people who wound up being highly compensated in fields like logistics. Judging from the average graduate, entry-level jobs in product development, tech support, and in banking jobs are pretty readily available, which all offer health benefits and pay a pretty decent wage. Just, really look into what you're getting for your time, and see what jobs your degree gives you outside of your industry. I know if I don't make it in MIS, I can work in banking, administration or tech support - what do people who graduate with your degree who *don't* wind up working for a gaming company do? Find out!
I think it's funny to see how some of the people in here are so ignorant about what a gaming school is...Yeah there are those 2 year vocational schools such as devry and westwood that teach(as far as I know) only video game related material. However, I am enrolled in a four year university that does not specialize in gaming degrees. However the expansion of the degree has been dramatic as surrounding [community college type] schools have adopted a very similar curriculum to the university I'm at. The point is I'm not only doing to gaming curriculum, but being forced(not that I don't enjoy it...philosophy was one of my favorite classes, even ahead of a few of my gaming courses.) because it is a four year university to fill other requirements such as philosophy, art, math, science, and a number of other courses. Experiential learning is required and it often means students getting an internship at some nearby company...I know for some of the smaller schools(such as the previously mentioned Neumont) that this is not possible because they are not in an area of the country where they can easily get into an intership between school years or for that matter during the school year. Internships, I would hope, would show what is really necessary to jump right into the industry. Perhaps not though and perhaps I am screwed when I am finished with school, but I really don't like it when people make broad generalizations about how my future will probably be...just like politicians.
acs001 - I happen to go to the University of Central Florida, so I know some people in our digital media program, and the graduate program with EA. After two years in Digital Media, if you pass a portfolio review, they send you downtown to learn all the skills to be in digital graphics. Once you graduate, you can then apply to the FIEA - however those classes are absolutely tiny, and don't actually pull from digital media much of the time, my girlfriend's friend Gabe is graduating the program soon, and his degree was in Computer Science. If you don't get into the more competitive "Visual Language" track of the digital media program, you're left in the less desirable track on the main campus, where, unfortunately, you're studying skills that put you in competition on both ends of the spectrum. More "business side" and you face CS, MIS, and IT students, go towards DM and you face the Advertising, Graphics Design, and DM: Visual Language students. It's kind of a rough run-around, if you don't make it to Visual Language, you're better off changing majors simply because the Digital Media's "cop out" track doesn't offer enough flexibility to take classes for an alternative career path. Also, keep in mind the FIEA is a graduate program. Many top game designers recommend getting a traditional four-year degree, and then, if you want, doing a game design school as a graduate program - which is exactly what the FIEA is. But again, this thread, and frankly a simple Google search, should tell you the problem with these online degrees. The gaming industry is hard to break into. Now, any industry is hard to break into, but a young accountant, IT / MIS grad, or whatnot can at least get a low-level job at a company, even if it's just answering phones, and then work their way up. The problem with game design school degree is they don't guarantee you that paper shuffler job you need to gain experience. An English major might not have the same early career prospects as an Electrical Engineer, but they can usually get a job with a bank, university, et cetera in an administrative position, and within a few years have the work experience to make a decent living. On top of that, there's the expense. Four years in a state school is reasonable, and scholarships are readily available. Spending two years at community college and transferring is an option, so the reward for school (those $25 ~ $35k entry-level jobs) far outweigh the costs, and the long-run pay off is great. Game design colleges don't offer that payoff - $50k+ spent for a four year degree, and that degree does not offer you easy entry-level jobs, nor career advancement, unless you make it into one of the rare openings in the industry.
BTW, I am 31 now and I know what the industry is about. I know about the hours put in and all the rest. I have done my research. I am just an artist that wants to make a living doing art and getting paid for it. For people like me who just want to do art for a living there are too little options. The video games industry offers a way into making money off of your art. You just have to be willing to bust your ass for it.
I am about to graduate from the Portland Art Institute with a Bachelors of Science in Game Art and Design. It is a full 4 year degree. The main 3D modeling program we learned is Maya. Photoshop (which I all ready knew) for texturing and ZBrush for normal maps and such were also taught. I specialize in Environmental and Object Modeling and Texturing. I like creating what I consider the playground of the game and then to fill it with stuff. It is fun. Other people specialize in character modeling and rigging. Some went with just rigging and Scripting. For application of our skills we worked on Half-Life 2/Source Engine Mods. We imported assets, scripted, programmed, and wrote our own levels. We only did a few levels as making a whole game takes to long for students. I can say that from the level of work I am producing at school vs what I see in graphics of the today's games that my school has prepared me. I feel that with the skills I learned I can get a junior level job in the industry. Maya and ZBrush are my weapons and Photoshop is my ammo. I am ready to rock and roll. Oh and BTW, no matter how good the school is and how much they might know, you only get from it what you put into it.
I know in my case I am planning on going to school for game design this semester and there is pretty much nothing that is going to deter me. Having been in the Army for 7 years and almost 10 when I graduate, I don't have any problem with whatever hardships that people talk about relating to the industry because no matter what anyone says, as long as the job does not entail putting your life on the line it will never be as bad as how some people in the comments section write about. And although the article was informative, this information IS coming from EA, a company that has been for years notorious with their reputation of being stagnant with ideas and innovation. I would like to hear what some indie companies are saying about this situation. I live close to RTP in North Carolina which has several indie game companies like Vicious Cycle and some major ones like Epic games and from where I live we have quite a few companies actively looking for graduates of game design so I only take what this Matthew Jeffrey says with a grain of salt.
Previously I was thinking I would Major in CS and minor in business, but now i can't decide which to do and since I start college in 08, it looms on my horizons. A double major seems a bit much, but I fear it might be what's necessary for a business oriented, OCD mind as myself. Great article to read through as I was actually considering Neumont (Utah games school) as one of my top 3 schools to consider. Good read, good info. Great points by Subrosian.
Subrosian has had some of the best advice i have ever read on any forum EVER! You sir are indeed an extremly intelligent person who has walked the road of life. Those schools who offer game degrees arnt usally up to par. I should know, i went to one and saw in the first semester how much of a joke it was. All the students perfered to party and smoke pot instead of really doing anything constructive. The teacher for introduction to game design was a designer of furniture and set design. The whole 4 year degree cost about...65 thousand bucks. Im glad i got out when i did.
Wow....this is some valuable info. that i can use later as a young individual trying to break into the industry of gaming!!!
I wonder if he knows about FIEA (Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy)? People who have worked at EA are now working at FIEA. It was created by the University of Central Florida's School of Film and Digital Media and Electronic Arts, and offers a Master of Science in Interactive Entertainment. More info at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida_Interactive_Entertainment_Academy and at http://www.fiea.ucf.edu/.
I would never hire a kid with just a game degree unless he or she also finished at least 4 very high quality indie projects. Go to a real university instead and do a 4-year art or computer science where you can make games as school projects. It will help you more in game design than any vocational game design school anyway, and also give you skills that are valuable outside the games industry.
It would be nice if EA would hire a few more quality control types. About 3/4 of the games I buy WERE from EA last year. About 90% of those are full of bugs of some sort or another. Maybe not the "unplayable" type but of the type you would not expect from titles from EA.
Heh actually, whitey3221, a background in English or your major language is a good idea. At least to get a decent grasp of grammar and writing ability. You wouldn't believe how many people don't know how to write - technically or otherwise.
I would like to say that the codejockey is as right as I can see things...I myself am in school as a games development major and can see that the job opportunities will be there for those people that have worked hard and are willing to work hard. Sometimes the people that are in these schools skate by on what they can, because that's the way most american students look at school...Hopefully these kind of students are weeded out in the recruitment process. I understand looking for creative students in other fields because it is good to have buildings in a game that have been designed by somebody that has a degree in architecture, but on the other hand you can't just grab an architect and tell him to get into maya and build something without instructing them in any way. I would guess that these people recruited from other fields take more time to get into the type of work that is games development. I'm not saying that people straight out of gaming schools should be lead designers, because they simply are not ready for that in most cases but they are willing to work hard and do what they know how to do from the schooling that they received. To Gamespot or Jeffery: Learn how to edit. The company has learnt. Give me a break here guys it is learned not learnt. And another one I don't know whether this was a gamespot error or part of "Jeffery's" quote: "Of the most concern to Jeffery were courses in game design--of the last 350 hires made at EA, only two were in entry-level game design, and neither of them had took a degree in that area." neither of them had took? Seriously it is had taken. If this second one was gamespot error then I have nothing to say except again learn how to edit, but if it was a direct quote from Jeffery and he's over here talking about how they should hire people with a more general area of study such as...oh let's say english...then he needs to be slapped around because that is just sad. Hey guys we're not gonna hire people with game development degrees because they haven't learnt enough, but if they had took an English degree they could correct my speech so that I don't look retarded giving it. How much can I believe a person that is this straight up stupid.
Want to know a HUGE problem with getting a job in games as an artist? Nobody is willing to train you and expects you to have experience graduating art school. Its RETARDED and a huge wall since a few years ago, students did recieve on the job training but now thats an afterthought and wishful thinking.
Talk about the pot calling the kettle black, EA is in the process of introducing a 'certificate' program for its Tiburon Studios in Orlando FL through the University of Central Florida. They're creating a huge building for it as well, and then you have Matthew Jefferey here (although he's from Europe so I'll give him credit there) talking about how he'd rather take a CS degree over a specialty program. Lets be a bit more critical about this though. There are some specialty schools, and more to the point, some students who benefit from these types of schools that get into the industry just as well as someone who goes through a 'traditional' school. It's more about the student's drive than the curriculum's mettle. Additionally, lets not ignore the prowess of some of these 'specialty' institutions like DigiPen or Full Sail when they have students who've help design products such as "Portal" or "Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter", or the Madden Series, which have so many people drooling over.
To say that all "gaming schools" don't provide graduates with the skills they need is a gross generalization. All gaming schools are not the same, just like all traditional colleges are not the same. Its also important to keep in mind that gaming schools offer various educational programs - art, animation, programming, and design. So somebody who has a game design degree probably shouldn't go out and apply for a software engineering position. If Jeffrey is saying that EA is looking for candidates that take Physics, Math, and Computer science it sounds like they're looking for programmers. I know plenty of people with degrees (in Art or Programming) from a gaming school that have jobs in the industry - at both large and small companies. And that even includes EA. Jeffrey's statement leads me to ask many questions. He says that of the last 350 hires they made, only 2 were for entry-level designer positions and neither of the two people hired for those positions had degrees from a gaming school. Were those 350 hires for EA UK only? How many gaming schools are in the UK? How many candidates that applied for positions had degrees from gaming schools? For those of you who have degrees from gaming schools and think that you didn't learn anything or felt it was a waste of money... that's a real shame. That is not the case for everyone - so I think its important to keep our perspective with articles like this.
Jeez... someone has thier panties in a bunch. I feel bad for the new guys breaking into the video game business... it is "Who you know" ... believe it or not... like any business. for those that are in school hoping someday to be hired... there are jobs out there, but the big pay and excitement a company has of hiring you? well.. those days are sorta over. 7 or so years ago... was fairly tricky to find a good 3D guy. Now.. well they are all over the place.. every Tom, Dick and Harry wants to be a designer... and on top of that.. these kids coming from Korea and China, that are willing to work for peanuts.. ... well... they... Are the future. Do I like it? Hell no... I love my Job.. and I plan to keep it.. but we are outsourcing MORE and MORE... ask anyone actually IN the industry... all you nutsacks SPECULATING that hard work and whatnot will pay off... well it does.. but it will pay off MUCH less as the days go by. Good luck to you kids, I hope it works out... but I am nearing 33 years old... and that is an OLD timer in this biz. Dunno how much longer I will last.
excellent comments guys! wow. I wonder if people in the business side have working knowledge of programming though? I certainly don't. I was living in montreal for about 5 years and went into the ubisoft office and it seemed really cool, and everyone seemed happy. The made me interested in the industry for the future, but my ideas would have to at least have the potential to have a real impact on the company.
"tenorio_rotc" is SPOT ON. I am a gamer and Community College Career Counselor and the students I talk to who want to get into the field I encourage to look at the Computer Science degrees at the 4yr schools. I suggest for them to plan to take any additional art/multimedia type classes as a supplement to the CS degree. Fortunately, there is a 4 yr school up the road that has added a gaming emphasis to their Computer Science degree that incorparates digital media/art, music/soundtrack, theater lighting/directing, and other non-math/science type courses. It's in its 2nd year but I believe it to be a great way to go. Feel free to message me for more info.
There is only one way into the industry - and that is strength of character. Argue all you like - it takes a combination of passion and hard work to make it happen. The overly-obsessed gamer, the lazy student, and the witless are unwelcome. If you cannot manage your personal finances, if you procrastinate, and if you cannot finish what you start, you will never be a game designer. The best advice I have received from designers, in seeking their position, was to go to a traditional four-year school and receive a broad liberal arts education with a strong business backing. The path of a gamer designer is something that must be reached by experience, and though you may never walk that path, if you walk with passion and integrity, you will find yourself in wonderful places nonetheless. If you just want a job within the industry, go to a four-year school, study digital art, and absolutely bust your ass outside of classes to take advantage of any resource you have available to build a portfolio. You had better have designed graphics, characters, 3D models, games, and have learned the industry standards by the time you graduate - and even then you have a 1% chance of ever working in gaming. You will spend the rest of your life in school, learning, seeking, forced to understand new engines, tools, and designs every day for the rest of your career, and you will never design a game. I have received many words of wisdom from the best, and the truest advice I have ever received is this - walk with integrity. When you are young you do not honestly know your passions, no one does - but walk ever with integrity. Whatever you are, be honest in it - and educate yourself broadly. Discarding a broad education to walk a narrow path towards a career with few jobs is a sacrifice. Are you willing to work sixty to eighty hours a week? Are you willing to accept that by the time you are in your forties you will be in a field that does not value the wisdom of your age - that you will likely be fired unless you have become a legendary game designer like only a dozen do every generation? Are you willing to watch your creative dreams ignored? Work on someone else's trite, shoddy vision? Give up on a family, kids, a loving wife or husband? Are you willing to sacrifice *everything* that has any meaning to you simply for a career? Then, by all means, work in the shallow money trench. Otherwise, I suggest walking the path of integrity, and being honest about what you want. It is a very different person that designs games than plays them - a person with a broad education, experience, and a passion for *life*. But yes. The worst advice anyone can give you is to go to game design school, or to skip a four year degree. I don't care how talented you are - unless you have a huge sum of money to explore the world, and years to talk to the most talented people in the world, you cannot replicate the experience of college. Very few people ever reach true self-actualization, and no one at the young age of 17 ~ 18 should decide their career. Go to a real university, get a business, engineering, or art degree, and then go out in the world and seek something other than a career - seek a passion that you're not getting paid for. You will not get it when you're young, but when you're older you will be grateful that you have escaped the demons of seeking wealth, fame, and admiration. Very few people find true happiness down that path. If you are, however, one of the rare people who can be happy in that field, you will be there. EA has, for once, given excellent advice. I personally believe the best place to be in a gaming company - the best place to start - if you want to be a designer, is not the art / engineering side - but the business side. You will learn how publishers choose games, how ideas are picked, how the industry works, and you will have a much more secure position than any graphics artist. Plus, you will get paid your $15 an hour to file papers and answer phones, while only expected to be there 40 hours a week. In short, you will have a life - because, as the best designers have said, without understanding life, you can never design a world full of it. To those who walk the other paths - of the artist - of the programmer, I can only say, you must have a passion far greater - and an understanding of the sacrifice required - and a wisdom far beyond your years. You will not understand the sacrifices you are making until you are much older, but I suggest highly you talk to someone in their thirties in the industry, ask them what they have given up, and really think if that is the life you want. Game design has become the new law degree - so many people walking towards a career that will take everything from them - while being people who - without knowing it - sought other things from life besides a career.
GrimBee: "Its going to be a "who you know" business. Like the movie industry." It already is like that. I talked to some devs from RedStorm a few years back about what was the best way to prepare for a job in the industry (back when I was interested in doing that). They told me to stay away from game development schools ("though after you finish college you can if you want" one said) and take as much math as possible in college. From what I remember they didn't even mention a degree, just freebasing on math classes. However, they unanimously agreed that inside-connections were the most important thing. Reason for that being two-fold: firstly, because the industry is swamped with applicants to the point its like breaking into the movie industry you're going to need the name of at least someone currently working at that company to vouch for you in person. The other reason is that most job openings get leaked to employees' friends by said employees before the company begins advertising for openings. The result, they said, is that in many cases the job has already been filled or at least applied for by the time the ad for it gets published.
I have been saying that for some time now about those kinds of schools. Me my self being one of those who went to that kinda of school. I took my degree in anaimation it self it had nothing to do with games. the game degree i felt was a big waste of money to blow 60 80 grand to learn unreal. stupid you need a good art foundation the rest will follow.
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