|College advice for a high school graduate?||Locked|
|Jun 22 2013, 12:36am Anchor|
None of these companies have an "advice" button from their development team, so I just came here lol.
I am Canadian, remember that.
I am serious about working to be a part of a game development company for quite a while, but the one thing holding me back is to find a place to study. Thing is, I live in Nova Scotia. There is no industry here. The only commercial games being developed in the Atlantic are EA Sports games.
But anyway, seeing that there are little to no companies around the area, there are no schools that offer game design diplomas and degrees. Where did Ubisoft employees go to college? I have no idea, wish you could ask them. There are colleges in Ontario that offer an education, but every review says that they are garbage of getting into the industry. There is no luck with Quebec, because you can't surf through their sites without running into French pages.
Where can I go? All my family members live in areas that are not involved with the industry, so you can expect me to be not afford the education and residence, not to mention the schools in Ontario apparently do nothing for me.
At first I relied on grabbing essential skills from my local university, such as C++ courses, presentation skills, and writing skills. Just a few days ago, though when I was in academic advising, I found out that half the courses I planned to take are no longer available. Last week my Co-op Education teacher said that university is going to be a huge mistake, and I can totally see that. Now I need to find an alternative. That means giving up the scholarship I earned, and enter a new school with nothing but a student loan.
Where can I go (again)? One thing is that I really do care about the quality of my education, because I only have one shot and my marks are 90+, so nothing can go to waste. I can't go out west or to the US, because I have no hopes for residence, and I don't have the time for transferring countries.
I already take part to help build my career, for a few years now. I would just write down ideas in my binder, or document real ideas and proposals on the forums of certain games, including Halo - especially now (gaining a reputation for it). A list of ideas I've made since the beginning of 2012 can be found here. They are not in chronological order, and they do not include my most recent and more serious works (such as formulas).
Here is my latest big Halo 5 thread. Go ahead and read it, you will enjoy it. Another thread I've made is actually pinned right now on Halo Follower's forums, which details vehicle colours for Separatists.
So anyways, my strengths are making things like those and creating stories. Numerous times I have considered writing novels, but I want to turn those into games. How would you suggest I effectively enter the gaming industry? Any experts on these forums?
Is there anyone from the East Coast who knows of an authentic college I can attend? This is very hard.
|Jun 22 2013, 9:50am Anchor|
Well, Ontario has UOIT (a university), with a video game program. When I asked them about it at the university fair, they told me that some companies try to hire their students in the second year (take that with a bit of salt, however). In addition, they have an internship program, IIRC.
Otherwise, a computer science degree would be safe, as you learn programming and there tend to be lots of jobs, though not nessesarily game-related ones (I was reading a Maclean's magazine, when I saw a University of Ottawa ad saying that 100% if their graduates found CS jobs)
Also, check out game company websites, and see who they are hiring. They often say what degrees they want.
There isn't really a magic degree however. You just gotta break into the industry in whatever way you can.
Other than that, maybe just start making games. Self-teach yourself programming and/or modeling. Who knows? You might make the next minecraft eventually.
Also (and I'm certainly not trying to be offensive here; sorry if I come off that way), but your ideas seem more to be ideas than designs. It's real easy to say:
16 maps (launch and DLC):
It is not easy to actually design, sketch, and lay out that many levels. You would be better off sketching or learning to model those things.
As a designer, it's your job to find a way. What would you suggest?
Take a look at this:
That's what a designer does; they don't just throw out ideas.
Edited by: Squared55
|Jun 22 2013, 3:33pm Anchor|
Lol I know that, those two topics were not much of designs but of suggestions. The other things on the list with details are more useful, such as the Ops cutscenes where I challenged the player being called a name and given a personality, so I had to consider everything a voice actor would have to do during production.
But yes, they are merely just ideas. I know they do me little to nothing with getting a job, but I have something to reference to when getting the experience. It helps with the documenting experience, anyway.
I am considering self-teaching. I wrote down a list of curriculum I can follow (Googling tuts and sources now). I can't qualify for a CS degree because I bothered to take Comm. Tech and Video Production instead of Physics and Pre-Calculus in high school lol. My math skills are good though, so that I can self-teach, as well. And transferring from a BACS to BCS in two months isn't going to be an easy task.
After researching self-teaching and formal education, I've realized that as long as I can discipline myself well to be self-educated, then college is of no worry to me. Taking a year off to study is like going to skill, and I can go to a college after that.
That being said, I have it covered, right? Correct me if I'm wrong.
Oh and btw, I have never bothered to balance Halo games. But the complexity of that thread I can see how it fits as a design. Definitely beats those guys saying, "balance the sniper!" The author seems to have brought out some tips too.
|Jun 22 2013, 4:27pm Anchor|
Oh yeah, probably should have asked about that. What courses did you take; that would make it far easier to help find a program? Is there any chance you could take Pre-Calc in summer school (this summer) or something?
If it intrests you, here's a couple links to some job postings at Bioware; they'll tell you more than I ever can.
And the coveted "lead designer" & "lead writer" roles.
And Ubisoft Toronto; who speak English
Just gonna warn you though: the odds of your first game-related job being with a AAA company are incredibly slim.
Edited by: Squared55
|Jun 22 2013, 9:21pm Anchor|
Courses for university or high school?
I don't expect to work with AAA companies for a while (if ever), that's how it works, right?
I whipped this up in an hour; Forums.halofollower.com
|Jun 22 2013, 9:29pm Anchor|
Highschool. That would make it easier to find courses for post-secondary stuff.
Yeah, the odds of you getting into an AAA job are slim at best. There's just so few of them.
Hoping to be impressed in a matter of moments (but, you don't have to impress me!).
If you want to get serious about game design, might I recommend filling one of these? Then if it seems feasible... make it!
Edited by: Squared55
|Jun 22 2013, 9:52pm Anchor|
Thanks for the advice. But before I even move forward with the story I've got to back it up first. For example, how did they come to be involved in the first place, and how did the elites find the weapon. I am very interested in Saywell, though, and I plan to expand on him further on with my Halo 5 collaborations.
Here are my high school courses: (in order of schedule and semester)
Grade 12: (Had conflicts, so there were two off classes, came in handy though)
I feel it's best to document the game in my own way before turning it into a GDD.
Edited by: Firellight
|Jun 22 2013, 10:12pm Anchor|
Math, as in, Advanced Functions? Data? A C/M course I'm unaware of?(whoops, just remembered; you're not in Ontario )
Also, what did you learn in Oceans?
Generally, you'll want to become proficient in one area; there are position for pro programmers or pro modelling, but no hybrids. Pick one and become good at it. Really good. Know a bit of the other, so you can do it if you have to, but focus on one field, and apply for a job in it. Keep in mind though, you better have an awesome portoflio, as it sound like you won't have a relevant degree.
If you want to do design, then go with programming; that way you'll have full control over the gameplay and can tweak it to your liking (the software licenses are also cheaper and/or free). As for writing... you'd probably have better chance writing a bestselling novel than becoming a lead writer. Still, as displayed by those job ads, your best bet is a degree.
Also, another site you may be interested in:
(I just pasted the first link I found; but there's a ton of info on that site.)
Edited by: Squared55
|Jun 22 2013, 10:27pm Anchor|
Remember that most game companies don't care very much about your educational background. They care about what you've already done. If you rely solely on post-secondary marks you are never going to get a decent job. You need to study on your own time and create your own projects.
Generally people who go to post-secondary, only do the coursework with no personal extra-curricular projects tend to be very bad programmers. It's essentially showing that they lack the ability to teach themselves and must always be guided.
Use post-secondary as a supplement, not a primary means of education.
EDIT: Also take advantage of the coop job placements at post-secondary.
Edited by: ShinobiNFC
|Jun 22 2013, 10:44pm Anchor|
Althouhg, it depends on the company. An Indie company won't care as much as a AAA company.
But yes, you need a portfolio in addition to a degree. But the degree will make it easier.
Edited by: Squared55
|Jun 22 2013, 10:48pm Anchor|
They say that but you'll find they will waive it for someone with a superior portfolio or history. I've had quite a few jobs that required a degree that I got without one.
EDIT: In fact when I think about it every programmer I know who works at a AAA doesn't have a bachelors, they left 1-2 years into their program to go to work and never returned.
Edited by: ShinobiNFC
|Jun 22 2013, 10:51pm Anchor|
Fair enough. Care to show your portfolio/history? I'd be quite interested in seeing what got you a job.
Also, when they left to go work, where were they hired?
Edited by: Squared55
|Jun 22 2013, 10:52pm Anchor|
Most of it is in my sig, I have a couple of programming related things I think I can't put up until september this year when the contract is complete.
The companies of the people I was referring to were Rockstar, Radical, Capcom and EA.
Edited by: ShinobiNFC
|Jun 22 2013, 10:53pm Anchor|
D'oh! Should have looked there first. Very nice work. Any education at all? Or all self-taught? Did they hop right into Rockstar/Capcom/EA?
Edited by: Squared55
|Jun 22 2013, 10:58pm Anchor|
Both. I studied programming for a number of years on my own. I'm currently finishing up a 2 year program but it's taken me about 4 years because I keep going to work (via coop or contracts I get). I finish the 2 year portion in 2014 jan and can continue for another 2 to get my bachelors but pretty much all the jobs I've interviewed for have discouraged me from doing so.
EDIT: As for my friends, some of them had a couple years in school then dropped out. One of them dropped out in the first 3 months. School was kind of an affirmation for him that he was a really good coder.
Edited by: ShinobiNFC
|Jun 22 2013, 11:00pm Anchor|
How useful was the education; as in, what bearing did it have on getting a career (if anything)? Did you do anything beforehand?
Edited by: Squared55
|Jun 22 2013, 11:01pm Anchor|
I actually worked as a computer artist for about 4-5 years before taking programming seriously. I got more and more into technical art which involved light programming. I essentially was doing light programming. After studying for a while on my own I decided to go to school to fill in the blanks of what I might be missing from being self taught.
I also worked on a lot of Halflife and Source engine mods. Learning the engine involved learning a lot of the theory behind game programming even if I wasn't much of a coder at the time. Knowing the concepts helps immensely.
Also I worked with a lot of really awesome programmers when I did modding. They answered my questions and helped a ton. They were awesome teachers.
Anyways I'm not saying dont go to post-secondary. What I'm saying is don't solely rely on it. Consider it a supplement to your education.
When it comes to programming there's so much that's constantly changing. If you teach yourself to easily adapt and be able to learn new technologies and techniques on your own as well as keep an open mind to new ways to do things you will be a very effective coder.
Edited by: ShinobiNFC
|Jun 23 2013, 9:29am Anchor|
I've had Flash experience since I was 12. Got involved with sprite animation for an MMO called Maplestory. You can check it out here: Youtube.com
When I was 13 I thought it would be nice to get involved with Actionscript and make some games. I made my first flash game which was a dancing game of a Maplestory character. A short cutscene would happen, and then the player is on the grass. Pressing 1-4 would use certain looped movements which I called dance moves. Pressing space bar will jump, but it turned into flying away lol. I think you had to press it again to come back down. When of my internet friends at the time said he got addicted to it, so he posted a video on youtube... but unfortunately his account is long gone. I gave up Actionscript because it was too much unnecessary work. Back then I wasn't into game design.
I remember in grade 8 in Tech. class, I decided to go to the animation module. Lol it was so easy I knew the stuff from day 1.
In grade 11 I got to have my first Technology courses; Design 11 and Comm. Tech. 11. In Design we did Photoshop for half the semester, HTML (got 100 on my project), and Flash in the end. Since I already knew Flash extensively, while every one else did their projects in 12 fps, I used 24 fps. I did not get 100 on this because it was a rushed project, but it was a fun project nonetheless. In Comm. Tech. 11, we started with Word and Excel. Then we moved on to some basics about the course, like colour and stuff over a projector. Then we went back to projects with Photoshop. In Design we learned how to create images. In Comm. Tech. we learned how to edit images. Then we moved on to HTML. In Design we used Dreamweaver, in Comm. Tech. we did it manually through notepad. The last unit was Telecommunications. I'm glad there wasn't a test because I couldn't understand half the words on our question sheets.
Luckily our Design teacher was an actual website designer, so it was education well deserved. We went as far as CSS and using Photoshop to aid our designs.
Grade 12 brought Video Production 12 and Comm. Tech. 12. Video Production was a course where we had the whole semester to make three projects. Two 3-5 minute movies and one 7-10 minute movie. I did the first one with a group of 5, and I wrote the rough script and did the editing. Second I worked with more closer friends, but since we are all experienced in the area, I didn't have a chance to edit because the others wanted to learn some more XP. The third project I directed an independent movie, using three actors, two cameramen, and sometimes a guest. This time I worked on the script, the storyboard, and the editing (which I learned a lot of how storyboards and scripts work together to make editing easier).
Communications Technology 12 is largely different from grade 11. The course is more based on making ideas happen. Our focus was logo and package design, with the occasional photography homework assignment. I'm glad we were introduced to Illustrator, because I know I will be using it in the future. It turned out that after following the tutorial in class I instantly got better in Illustrator than Photoshop. I consider my knack for using math to edit (Maplestory) pictures with Fireworks payed off when I could apply it to Illustrator. After figuring out how to place and edit things mathematically, everything became easier.
Just academic math. We did, let's see, we started the first day in grade 12 with some quadratics, and moved into exponential functions for the first unit. Then logs, probability, sequences, and some others. I always got 100s on Math tests throughout grade 11 and 12. The class would be going "OOOH!" when I got a 99 or a 98. Our teacher gives us frequent tests, so that allows him to easily drop the lowest test in each term. The first report card I received a 100 for "redeeming" myself, but after that I consecutively got 90s, with a 98 on the provincial.
I guess Co-operative Education and Sociology helped, and maybe Global History as well.
So here's the problem; if I were to get an education, where would I go? If I don't meet the requirements for a CS degree.
Edited by: Firellight
|Jun 23 2013, 4:05pm Anchor|
Thanks for the info. Really informative & hopefully useful to everyone who sees this thread.
Jeez, wish I had as easy a time as you getting 100's.
Anyways, I was wondering: Given your grade 12 course choices, what was your Post-Secondary original plan?
Also, take a look at this:
|Jun 23 2013, 6:03pm Anchor|
Oh, I blame the teacher. He gave us frequent math tests, and he is really good at what he does. I am one of those guys who believe the lesson plan is more important than the teacher's skill, but it is the teacher's skill that brings the best of it. And I think math is a thing that runs in the family. My brother works for the navy with a high security check. If something were to happen like another country were to invade, he'd be the first to know.
I've read Sloperama this morning. So much to it, but I looked at the important bits.
Hmm. My career choices fluctuated over the years. Prepare for a life story.
Slowly turning towards movie production, by grade 9 I've decided that maybe a screenwriter would be a good idea. After all, by then I knew that it is stories that my motivation runs around. I am very interested in building lore and characters, bringing adventures to the reader/watcher/player. I did not consider novels because I was not a writer at the time. So I thought that screenwriting would be nice. I can still follow that path right now, but I'd rather go freelance if I'd ever decide to make a movie.
Entering high school and having English in second semester, I started taking English more seriously. Luckily my teacher was the kind who gets your class to participate in a lot of creative writing. It was time to take advantage of that. The first project he read mine to the class, along with others'. He was surprised with the stories we'd come up with, and he read mine last. I came up with this super long eight-page revelation moment of a character on a boat with his best friend who'd just been corrupted by being victim'd to a false prophecy. This was a very magical tale that I was surprised to have come up with in just three hours. I came up with it as I wrote, so I decided to make a flashback moment to the beginning to back everything up in the end. It was like one of those climactic moments when everything makes sense, but hasn't been resolved. The thing was, the false prophecy was a good one that apparently its roles were switched, and thus can never be fulfilled. The main character had no idea what to do then, and that's where it ended.
Lol talked too much about that. That day I realized my potential for stories. Not that I'd be the next JK Rowling, but a successful career, definitely.
Between grade 10 and 11 I thought, if I were to come up with a story I'd have to write it. I can't be the one who suggests the idea, because then a production team would be meddling with the story. I wanted to be the one who can get a good story going all on his own... so I considered writing novels. Surely it must be easier, provided I build on my literacy skills.
In grade 11 I had Co-op for the first semester. You are required to have three main career paths for Co-op, as back ups for alternates, and in case your placement can not be done in this area, there is at least another. I had writer as my main. As secondaries I chose photography and teaching. Idk, just areas in case the whole industry doesn't work for me I can go somewhere else.
Winter came around, and I was well into documenting ideas for Maplestory... and I never got bored of it. I could be coming up with a class' skills all day, and even build on their story. Here's their main attacking skill and it will do 300% damage, then at level 30 you will get this one and do 150% three times, and eventually I can be descriptive with the visuals. Although I could edit sprites, I couldn't make actual visuals for everything I made. (Now I go as far as UI edits). Animation was something I got bored with.
So for the past few months I've been looking at jobs in the gaming industry. The industry is fresh and its outlook is good, the wages are above average (sometimes amazing), and I loved playing video games. To be able to turn a story into an interactive one was much better than just turning it into a novel. I still considered novel writing, but that turned into freelance, on top of Maplestory videos.
It was hard to Google all the positions and jobs in game development. There was one that stood out to me though, and that was "Content Designer", which eventually molded to just Game Designer.
I brought up the topic with my co-op teacher. He knew nothing about the industry, but he said as long as I knew that was what I wanted, then so be it. This guy is very wise, hint hint.
Ever since, I've been getting more and more into game designing, while still considering the freelance jobs. As you can see under my profile picture it says Video and Writer. I am well enough to be successful in those areas. Not college-trained, but at an acceptable level.
Btw, my co-op placement turned out to be a mentoring program that would benefit myself as well, and counts as a teaching placement. There wouldn't have been any luck for a game design placement, based on the area. Our population is only 50 thousand. Everyone goes out West to work. The only industries here are education and trades.
Getitng 100s in math kinda makes me regret not going into Pre-Cal.
Cryrid 3D Artist
|Jun 23 2013, 6:21pm Anchor|
Given what the Maritimes are like, there's actually a surprising amount of commercial game studios around here (I can think of a handful in each province). The bigger focus is on mobile and web games of course, but I think that's to be expected (it's a growing market, and its cheaper than the millions required to make the typical AAA game). Even if you're setting your sights on a big company like Ubisoft, these local companies can still be a good path in that direction (you'll get experience and contacts, while chipping away at any student debt you might have incurred). There's also quite a few schools around here that offer game-related courses as well (I can think of at least three in NB alone). Granted that depends on what skill set you're looking to gain, as some are more focused on art. If you're aiming more for the programming side of things, university would serve just as well if not better. If you didn't take the courses required in highschool to qualify for the degree you want, talk to your administration about a 'victory lap' (going back to highschool even after graduation and taking just those courses that you need), or look around for a similar courses at a community college that can help you with those prerequisites.
Haha, that's the reason I went towards art instead of programming even though that can be a terrible financial choice. I figured I'd likely be sitting in front of a computer in my future anyway, and if that was the case I'd rather be tackling art than looking at code or numbers all day.
Edited by: Cryrid
|Jun 23 2013, 7:01pm Anchor|
In terms of education, it seems to me it's really going to come down to taking a victory lap for pre-calc, or picking a degree with what you've got, and studying game creation on the side.
Also, another (kinda unrelated) question. Why are you worried about the movie production crew messing with your vision, when a video game's artists and programmers pretty much have all the power when it comes to creating the gameworld?
Edited by: Squared55
|Jul 4 2013, 2:32am Anchor|
The idea behind these Business Solutions is for North Steel to partner with our customers to ultimately offer ways for our customers to reduce costs, reduce lead times, and receive quality products.
|Jul 4 2013, 4:40am Anchor|
Nova Scotia eh? I'm emigrating to Halifax.
I come from a different time in video game development, so I can only assume that it's drastically changed ( easier ) for people to access and grasp the fundamentals of video game development. If you have passion for it, then I would like to welcome you to the statement of "You don't need education to be a games developer". I quit University because of it's very, very poor understanding of video games and the reason I knew more was down to self education and experience.
Everything you want to learn about video games development, can be found on the internet now - you don't need to be sat in a class room and be subject to age-old concepts, tutorials & wallet penetrating schemes like "student loans". All-be-it that it's a gamble and College might be a good cover story for you to learn a lot better in your spare time, I would argue to ask yourself - 'What do I really want to do? Make games? Or be told how to make games'.
Because the fact of the matter is, it is very, very rare for any industry veteran company to hire someone straight out of College/University unless you're the dogs bollocks. I have also found it very rare to come across any college/university to be of any use - in fact the only one I would suggest is Full Sail University.
My point is that if you want to be a games developer and make games, then do it.
|Jul 6 2013, 1:22am Anchor|
I am continuing to attend Cape Breton University. What the hey, I'll be learning C++ here, anyway. A BACS degree would be good, because I am only taking it for three years, possibly four if I switch to four. If the economy suggests that experience into self-direction with your career matters more than getting the education to start out, then that is my path. If getting an education is the entry pass to the party, then I will do so, as well. Just going to get education in things I want to learn and build knowledge around to help with life skills, and the rest I can handle on my own.
That was why I took the BACS in the first place. For the time being, me and my friends are interested in youtube videos. We could get a whole company going if we had the equipment and time to do it. I also want to be prepared for novel writing, in case I have a story to tell through my own words. Then there's community work, I like that, and getting involved with suggesting ideas for game companies. That stuff takes up my spare time, but helping a game be better is good. Then there comes game design.
A BACS can cover all that. All I need to know is how to be involved well in each of the industries, and the rest is my own.
Yesterday I signed up for my courses and got my semestered schedules. The fall will be a harsh one, but the second semester is lighter and even easier on my time.
Here are my courses for this year:
Community Studies -
As you can tell, I will major in English. Communications and Math will be my career-related field, and then there come 18 credits of electives. They can be anything. I plan on 6 of them being in recreation, and the rest might be in sociology or culture-related areas.
I believe I am justified.
As for getting started with the game design business, I have a a folder of all the engines, animation software (No, I have not actually downloaded any of the software), and programming languages, with links and wordpad notes of links to places on the internet where I can learn from each of these places. As many as I could think of. Should I find a place to start, I can refer to here. Pre-Calc, Calculus, and Physics are there, as well as Creative Writing. Some places are tutorials and some places are on youtube. The rest are on random sites from Google.
Now that it is the summer, I doubt my sister will be using her TV a lot, since she is barely home now. I can connect an HDMI cable and follow these tutorials and lessons as I learn. Everything is more convenient with a second screen.
I may go as far as creating my own summer schedule for myself lol.
Edited by: Firellight
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