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Game Design Course Reviews.

Posted by sho nuff on Fri, 09/05/03 - 10:09 PM

This may have been done before, but i felt that there was a need for prospective students to know what really happens in these courses.

If you are or were a student at any school, uni, tafe, tech that taught a course in gaming, could you be so kind as to inform the uninitiated on what the deal is with these places?

Just fill us in on whether or not its as good as they say it is, and if u did learn everything they said they would. I suppose i am asking for a quick review from the students perspective. This is no way intended to bash courses, but instead, to inform people as to where they should be focussing there energy towards.

When u post, just name the school and course, then dribble away.


Submitted by Pantmonger on Sat, 10/05/03 - 1:14 AM Permalink

Only problem is that courses change from year to year due to structure change and staff turn over. Qantm for instance, I think that no student from the last 3 years would have had the same experience there. Hell the entire stucture changed from 2001/2002 to 2002 intakes.


Submitted by Sorceror Bob on Sat, 10/05/03 - 1:38 AM Permalink

Academy of Interactive Entertainment diploma 2.

Mmk, You spend a year working on a game demo.. Tutorials were mostly based around areas like rigging your character, and using the exporter.

So in terms of tutes in regard to modelling/texturing/animating, we didn't receive any, though this wasn't a problem as getting 1 on 1 time with the tutor is an easy thing to do.

Lack of tutorials in these areas was a bit dissapointing, it meant we were left to expand our skills on our own.. Texturing was an area that suffered in general I believe.. As the expected norm (accurate lighting, good balance of colours etc) was pretty much ignored in favour of copy+paste textures.. I think this was because we didn't know better :P

This isn't a major thing, as the tutors were always on hand to provide excellent assistance.

Working in a team environment was prehaps the biggest learning experience.. There were many disagreements in some areas of game development, and occasionally, constructive criticism was opened up into broad sledging.

The positives were much better though.. We managed to bounce around alot of good ideas, and despite occasional arguements, just about everyone put their heads down and got into it.
Everyone would share what they've learned, in regards to the art side of things (can't really speak for programmers) which meant that everyone had improved much more than they would have on their own.

Another positive was the chance for students to win a $10k sony scholarship.. You had to put a lot of work in for it, but its a good prize. (2 weeks in london working with sony)

Lastly!! The course gives you a chance to show your game off at the AGDC. We showed our game (hail) off alot, and we ended up getting ripped off for the best unsigned game!! (word on the street is that hail was disallowed for the number of consecutive votes we received :P). Honestly though, I think melody mars deserved it more, theres was a better concept.

If you do this course, I highly recommend on focussing on texturing in your own time. Modelling and animating are fairly well covered.

*edit* I can't say for certain, but I have a feeling the course may have been downscaled a bit now that there is two courses instead of the one.


Submitted by Blitz on Sun, 11/05/03 - 12:19 PM Permalink

I'm just gonna put in a short word for the dip2 game dev course at AIE this year.

This is mainly from a programming perspective btw.
In the second year their isn't really any formal learning, but what you do learn, is team-work, working any a medium sized group (6 programmers, 13 artists), and working on a reasonably large project (large compared to what most of the students have done before). So most of the "learning" in 2nd year is really the experience you are getting in a work environment, which is really invaluable. You also learn a lot about various tools etc. that you have to work with as a by-product of working in this environement. For instance, i've learned a lot about the auran JET engine, which is an obvious one, but there are also aspects of C++ i've learned, or reinforced, i've learned use of CVS, and some other technical things. I've even learned a few things about 3dsmax, and before the course i'd never even opened the program :)
I can't really compare to last years dip2 group (since i wasn't there :) ), but from what i've seen, the artists do get some level of direct teaching from the graphics tutor, usually on small things/tricks of using 3dsmax, or refreshers on how to do certain things. Also we have a very competent lead artist, and i think his work has raised the bar of what is expected from the artists, especially in the area of texture art this year.
I can't say anything about the 1st year of the diploma because i didn't do it, but if you have experience programming, but are finding it difficult to get into the industry due to lack of experience, i think the 2nd year of the AIE diploma is definately a good way to get that experience, and hell, i'm having a lot of fun doing it :).
CYer, Blitz

Submitted by Poison the Well on Mon, 12/05/03 - 4:43 AM Permalink

I'm a student at QANTM doing a diploma of screen. I've heard alot of bad thing about QANTM by students that were studying there in the previous years. I think QANTM is getting better every year and will keep on improving. In my opinion it's a good course and you can get alot out of it, but it's all up to the student willing to put in the effort. It's enjoyable and the tutors are helpful.

Submitted by Malus on Mon, 12/05/03 - 7:09 AM Permalink

Poison_the_Well: Thanks for thinking wer're helpful tutors, its great when students like yourself are enthusiastic, keep it up man.[:)]

Submitted by sho nuff on Wed, 21/05/03 - 8:53 PM Permalink

come on! theres gotta b more tings to say bout de aussie game skools.

Submitted by Major Clod on Sun, 25/05/03 - 12:20 AM Permalink

Well I can't say that I'm in a specific game dev course, I'm just doing a straight Bachelor of IT at QUT in Brisbane. If you are looking to do game programming I'd still think that a normal IT course majoring in Software Dev would be the best way to go, unless you were absolutely certain you would get a spot in the industry.

On top of your normal Software Dev subjects, there are a few new electives up here. Graphics, which focuses on 3d engines, and Software Dev for Game Design, which I think advances on the graphics and also covers AI.

There is a double degree here at QUT which crosses IT with Multimedia, and is apparently made to focus on game design. It contains all your core programming subjects, as well as the Graphics and Game Design ones, plus covers Web Design, 3D Animation, Music and Sound, Media Design, etc... Plus there is a major project in the last year and work experience too.

It sounds like a pretty good course if you want to cover all those aspects of electronic media. I'm going to try and get into it at the end of the year.

If you were looking to do coding I'd reccommend an IT course over a games course, simply because you would be focussing on a broad area of Software Development, not just specialising in game design. This would help you to be more employable in areas outside of game dev. Its not exactly the easiest industry to get into, and you want to have a backup plan :)