hannon33 at October 1st, 2012 10:39 — #1
just registered here, looking to learn all I can and become fimilar with the ways... I have pretty indepth computer knowledge and I am looking to get into video game development as a career. I live in Canada Ontario and I am looking to start some schooling for this career. I would like to get some input from you guys what courses you think should be taken.
I believe that if I go hard at it I can probably get a good grasp of the applications myself although with a degree below your belt its a lot easier in the real world!
thanks guys : D
hannon33 at October 1st, 2012 10:51 — #2
also just for starters im thinking of a book like this:
reedbeta at October 1st, 2012 13:11 — #3
Do you have any programming experience already? If not, I'd recommend starting with Python (see longer dicussion of that in this thread).
hannon33 at October 1st, 2012 14:11 — #4
I don't not have any programming experience but I am very good with computers.
Was thinking of going to school for this because it will be a lot easier to get a job in this field with a diploma or degree rather then just saying I know to program. Only problem is I have mortgage etc so kinda hard to go without a job.
hannon33 at October 1st, 2012 16:16 — #5
I'm guessing there are no online courses? it's more the 2-3 year college deal
reedbeta at October 1st, 2012 16:34 — #6
Getting a degree is certainly a worthy goal, but more important is that you actually are good at writing code. I can't tell you how many programmers I've seen interview here who, despite their degrees and their years of experience, can't write high-quality code to solve a problem we give them. If you do choose to pursue a degree I would go for a general computer science degree rather than a gamedev-specific one, as that is both likely to educate you better, and will make you more employable for other software jobs in case your aspirations of working in gamedev don't work out right away. (And it certainly won't hurt you when applying to game studios, either.) Regardless of your degree plans, though, be sure you're practicing and learning on your own and not just doing school assignments. Once you've learned a bit of coding, you can start doing simple 2D games like Asteroids, Breakout, Tetris, etc. That'll give you a chance to practice the gamedev side of it as well.
As for online courses / night school type of things, I'm sure they exist. I don't personally know off the top of my head which ones are good, or how they stack up compared to traditional full-time school.
hannon33 at October 1st, 2012 16:42 — #7
what exactly would a computer science course consist of? And length wise I'm guessing around 4 years
reedbeta at October 1st, 2012 17:34 — #8
To get an idea of the kinds of topics covered, just look up any college with a computer science department and look at their course list. For example, Stanford's is here.
In general, you'll have a couple of intro courses on basic programming, then you'll probably have courses covering: recursion and functional programming, data structures, algorithm analysis, graph theory, Turing machines and computability/complexity theory, computer architecture (how CPUs, OSes, memory/caches, disks, networks etc. work in detail), programming language design, and software engineering. For electives you might study some subset of: AI, neural networks and machine learning, compiler design, graphics, high-performance computing, user interfaces, databases, robotics, computer vision, natural language processing, and data mining.
thenut at October 1st, 2012 18:57 — #9
You can also attend classes for free if you want to get a sample of what it's like. One thing to keep in mind is that universities focus on theory whereas colleges focus on the application of theory. You'll get more hands-on experience going to college whereas in university you'll focus more on the science aspect. After all, you are obtaining a baccalaureate in applied science! A university will teach you the basics to program, but it's mostly expected you will do a lot of the leg work on your own. Expect to learn more about algorithms, efficiency, and engineering. Some of the time this will be done on paper and not in source code. The most interesting courses are offered only in post grad, although this is more theoretical and research related work, often done in parallel with your PhD.
There's a lot of courses that Reed didn't mention that comes with the baggage. Chemistry, physics, mathematics, and compulsory courses that must be unrelated to your degree. I remember taking geology and psychology, and let me tell you I use psychology more than anything in the work force . These are interesting courses, but they do draw a lot of time away from honing your programming skills. It's 4 years to obtain your undergraduate, which could be reduced to 2 years without the unrelated fluff.
Anyway, just make sure to practice a lot. Write clean, succinct, human readable code. Rework and fine-tune your algorithms until you think you've nailed the theory. Never take shortcuts and always plan your code and code your plan.
fireside at October 1st, 2012 19:19 — #10
There are two year programming degrees in some state schools also. It can bring your costs down quite a bit but probably wouldn't look as good on the resume. Schooling has gotten crazy expensive of late.
hannon33 at October 1st, 2012 19:25 — #11
I'm in Canada Ontario and I need to have a job or ei or something in order to pay my bills. Is there no online school?
thenut at October 1st, 2012 19:59 — #12
None that I would ever personally recommend to someone. If time and money are a factor you cannot ignore, then I would suggest you invest in your books and read online tutorials to help you through it. There's nothing wrong with being self taught, it won't be different anywhere else. If you have the motivation to see it through to the end, then you can focus more on your portfolio instead of your academic background. There are some junior roles you could squeeze into once you build a couple games and become quite familiar with programming. I can't recommend any books, but \\$20 here or there won't break the bank (I would hope) and it will serve as a starting point for you.
As Reed suggested, try the python route to start out. The only cost is your time. Read the tutorials, try it out and see if you can dig it.
fireside at October 1st, 2012 20:53 — #13
Find out what public schools offer in your area because they are generally quite a bit cheaper. If there aren't any, then keep track of what you do in a portfolio. Write a lot of programs of all kinds you can think of and try to learn some languages and do some web programming. You may also be able to take some developer certification tests for Microsoft.
hannon33 at October 2nd, 2012 10:06 — #14
I have found courses for graphic design and graphic web design although from what I understand the salary isn't nearly as good doing that
jbadams at October 3rd, 2012 05:58 — #15
To be honest, if you're most interested in a good salary the games industry probably isn't the place for you. Game developers generally earn less (and sometimes have poorer conditions and job security -- although this is improving all the time) than other fields. Get into the games industry if it's what you really want to do, not for the money.