Finishing Year 12 this year and needs help to finding the best course for me to study Games development

Hi

Im currently in year 12 and im studying Software Design And development, IPT and Mathematics
From year 11 I knew i wanted to do Games development but now that im finishing year 12 I have no idea where to study
money, location and course time-frame isn't an issue to me so im willing to study at college, TAFE or UNI ANYWHERE in NSW really
I would like to know from people in industry, doing a degree or just graduated there ideas on the best place to study or what they thought of there course
from what Ive read online my best 4 choices I believe are

Quantm

Aie

Illawara tafe Diploma of Information technology (games Development) Then carry on to UTS (B Comp Sc (Mltmdia & Game Dev))

Wollonging uni (B Comp Sc (Mltmdia & Game Dev))

Can people please give me there opinions on what they believe my best study option would be

Anonymous's picture

What area of game development do you want to get into? There are many ways into the games industry. ie:
Artist (creating in game assets)
Programmer
Game designer

Decide on this before you decide on the course. If you can tell the forum what area you want to focus on, then we can direct you much better.

souri's picture

There are a few threads about this already, and they're all in the same forum section you posted this in. Check these threads out, hopefully they may be of assistance:

http://www.tsumea.com/node/8511
http://www.tsumea.com/node/8407
http://www.tsumea.com/node/8113

darz007's picture

sorry should have mentioned that
games programmer
I wanna try and steer away from animation and graphics im a terrible drawer and its not really my thing

darz007's picture

thanks for the links mainly the first one helped me but most of the threads I have gone through including the ones you provided are to focused on the graphics and art side and all the discussions are about AIE and Qantm
I want to do game Programming eg(C++ type stuff)
I have heard mixed things about AIE and Qantm but I wanna compare them to UNI degrees and TAFE courses because I have no idea what the UNI degrees and TAFE courses are like in comparison to QANTM and AIE.
What do you personally suggest for someome wanting to become a games programmer

souri's picture

I can't personally really offer any suggestions or advise, but the links that I posted, particularly the first two, have some great discussions on programming courses. Wade through the stuff about the AIE and Qantm, and take special note of the posts by people like Lantree.

Anonymous's picture

Don't touch QANTM in Sydney, their programming teacher's background is in Java not C++, he's never used either OpenGL or DirectX prior to last year and his knoweldge of Software Engineering practices begin and end with Singletons. The course itself touches very little on maths [which is imperative if you want to do any programming, let alone game programming] and touches not at all on optimizations and hardware architecture.
There's also no coherent attempt at teaching game [software] architecture, scene management and anything really relating to game programming. You'll end up using high level tools and languages [VisualBasic] and simply copy/paste other people's code without the grounding for true understanding.

My advice, go to a good university and learn proper software engineering, choose electives which can be transfered to games and write as many games as you can muster. Start low-level, simple games and work yourself up to more complex ones; in the process you'll more than likely figure out which part of game programming you're most interested in [Graphics, AI, Tools, etc.] and specialize there.

darz007's picture

Hi thanks for being honest and mentioning to stay away from QANTM
I was steering more towards UNI anyway
Which course is the most relevant and best for Games Programing
Bachelor Of Computer Science
Bachelor Of Software Engineering
Bachelor Of Computer Engineering
Bachelor Of ICT
Bachelor Of Computer Science (Games Development) - Unsure about this one as I had heard negative things towards it in other forum topics
Im really unsure which course to do If I want to do programming there all very similar from what I have read on the university websites
thanks for your help

Anonymous's picture

Computer Science always lead discussions we've had at work about which degree juniors should ideally have. 90% of whats in a computer science degree is what your dealing with as a programmer, algorithms, computing theory etc. Consider the algorithms you need to know the complexity of a algorithm so you can optimise your code correctly, computing theory will teach you things like how a operating system handles virtual memory and file system deadlocks for you, which most games consoles don't offer, and if you know how it works in the first place you got a better chance of understanding how to work without those features.

Software Engineering is also a good choice.

Main thing is to also keep your grades up, do some personal projects related to games, and maybe do a couple gaming electives.

Also you got backup in case you don't get into the games industry straight away (if you were applying for a job right now you'd be struggling to get in for example, so you'd be better off getting a academic or graduate position waiting it out).

In terms of AIE/QANTM they tend to be more focused around being on a actual pretend games team. They don't necessarily teach you all the background information you need, since they are much shorter course and focus more on the practical. They could be good after uni to build up some portfolio work.

darz007's picture

Hi Thanks for the post
I will most likely do computer science I can also see myself doing that at UNI
I Really enjoyed Software Design at School and my teacher said Bachelor Of Computer Science Is similar to what we are doing in class
UTS and UWS look like my 2 best choices Ive heard they have the best computing campuses
also I have currently been using Gamemaker to create games I know It is nothing like industry standard but its a start
Im learning C++ at the moment but I dont think Im experienced in it enough to make a game yet
what software programs do you suggest I use to create games in the meantime to practice my skills and begin to build my folio

Anonymous's picture

I've completed the Adv Dip programming course at AIE and enjoyed it. Quatm's course has both art and programming where as the AIE course just focused on programming. Iv'e also completed a Bachelor in IT but found it fairly useless when it come to programming for games.

Anonymous's picture

Hi
after completing your degree at AIE are you now working in industry and if so did you find it easy to get a job

Anonymous's picture

Yep got a job fairly easy. Sent out a resume to every game company I could think of and got a few reply's. And one of those took me on. With that said, I did do alot of study while at the AIE. They certainly pointed me in the right direction. But without my extra work I think it would have been harder to find a job in the end (this tends to be true no matter where you study). Maybe I also hit the job market at the right time too?

darz007's picture

The Bachelor of IT did that help you at all or did they not even consider it
also did you have any previous expierience witg gamemakeing/programming before AIE eg: in UNI, School, Personal Projects
and did you show any of those projects / experience before you started at AIE when looking for jobs

Anonymous's picture

Remember Darz, that Bachelor of IT is a very generic course generally.

CompSci is a different beast.

Here's the opinion of a few studio heads btw http://www.tsumea.com/australasia/australia/news/170709/a-question-on-ed...

darz007's picture

thanks Heaps thats topic explained pretty much everything I needed to know and the comments by the Job recruiters where spot on to what I wanted to know about where to do programming

Anonymous's picture

I'm sure they took the bachelor into consideration when hiring.
I had programming experience from uni before AIE, so that helped. But I found that programming for games is an entirely different beast than the IT stuff you learn at uni.
I did include in my resume a few apps that I created during my time at the AIE.

Anonymous's picture

Just so your aware for the future.

job recruiters are outside organisations that try to match applicants to jobs. They approach companies with the applicants after they have reduced the number of Applications.
Job recruiters are very rare in the games industry. Games Studios get so many applications going direct to their email accounts, it's much cheaper just to pick people from that pool of people. Job Recruiters charge a fee based on a percentage of the applicants annual salary, and generally its cheaper for Games Studios just to pick their own staff. Also Job Recruiters traditionally haven't got a technical background and games being different to regular IT don't know what to look for.

So the people commenting in that other forum are the actual heads of studios, the CEOs the Directors. (The reason why I brought up this conversation).

A piece of advice when your finally ready to submit your resume after doing whichever course you decide todo, go to the companies website, and send your samples etc direct to the company.

Anonymous's picture

If you can, do a Software Engineering degree as it will give you more practical experience working in teams on real projects. You can learn games stuff in your spare time. Remember that a good university course will teach you HOW to program, HOW to learn, and HOW to solve problems, which is much different from simply being taught C++ and some common game algorithms.

Most Software Eng degrees are very similar to Comp Sci, but with a larger scale, practical focus, especially towards later years where it's often a year-long project. Consider it over a Comp Sci degree, or at least take some Software Eng classes.

Another aspect often overlooked is "everything else" - knowing some psychology, some cinema studies, some history, and fine arts will actually help. The industry needs more well-rounded people - it will even help your coding believe it or not. Heck, even travel is useful. Don't lock yourself in a box.

Anonymous's picture

Computer Science just focuses on the more "algorithmic/computing theory" side that is very common during games projects.

In terms of Software Engineering also a good course you can choose, if you did Software Engineering not going to harm your chances at all.

In terms of being well balanced, your doing the course to learn your task for the next 10-15 years. I like Australia's approach to courses, teach you what you bloody well need for your job not alot of extra stuff that isn't related in the hopes of making you a better person.

Anonymous's picture

I have seen this question asked a lot so I'm going to post this reply in various sections, so sorry if its a bit spam like, but I want to share my views with as many newbies as possible as this is a critical decision.

As a industry person who is involved in the hiring process I can probably shed some light on this topic especially when it comes to hiring, I focus on taking a look at an applicant's demo. If you are a programmer, you better have made some small games either as a team project or on your own. I am more focused on this than where you obtained your degree or diploma. I'm after what is in your head and not what is on a piece of paper.

Its not about the graphics per se but about the game itself and what you coded in it. Its not important that you have developed all the systems yourself, rather, you need to be able to explain the systems you developed and any engines you may have used such as AI, Physics etc. Clean code, with good documentation is a must. In most team environments you will most probably have to deal with other people's code, not just your own. So good code writing and documentation is a must if you want to make it into an elite code team. Specialisation comes later, especially if you are just starting off and trying to get your first programming job, although strong interest in certain areas i.e. like I have developed a demo on a PS3 or Xbox 360 usually helps if the company is looking for junior programmers for console dev. Even more exotic, if you have particular expertise in, say, in network code and they are looking for someone to handle client/server issues, then this will help. So if you are able to specialise it helps, but having a broad education is probably more important when you are starting off. Specialisation actually occurs in your project, as you will be assigned various tasks on the project probably working under a senior dev and by and large this will in the end build up your specialist area - the code work you end up working on.

So getting to the point, it probably best that you focus getting a degree in a games school and not a university. The problem with degrees from a traditional university is that while they may be games focused, they simply do not have a culture as an organisation that focuses on games. This means that they will have a limited set of teachers/tutors that are games focused, and it generally is too academic. For example, large lecture rooms and limited lab time is a big problem with these courses. This is something that I'm sure the academics will disagree, but its just a fact when it comes to hiring as under grads from universities simply have not spent enough time coding, and they have coded in too many languages, so they are not specialists in , say, C++.

Game schools are very focused on limiting lectures and focusing on learning structured programming usually on a particular language like C++ or C# and an industry relevant engine (you have no idea how many students we see who have done their uni course using a 'free' engine provided by their uni which is not used by mainstream development houses like ours), producing game demos and entering competitions, which in my opinion are very important. Working on game projects while at a game school is by far the best way to gain an education as you are emulating a team environment and learning the dynamics of organisational behaviour. So without getting into the argument which game school is better, you need to think about what experience you want to have and what you want to take away with you once you have finished your course. I would argue that you want to go to a school that is very strong on project based learning, one that may have industry people working in their courses and perhaps working on small industry projects (I've used this as a hiring platform as I get to 'try before I buy' and get to see both the programming and art talent work together - sometimes great individual talent simply does not work well in a team environment so I pass).

When it comes to doing very complex code, we do look for university graduates *only*, mainly focusing on students who have gone on to to a PhD and have completed a particular project that involved strong programming and research skills. For example, if we are looking to develop a new AIE system we may look for PhD graduates who have developed a particular thesis in this area or related area. In this case we are looking for individuals who have demonstrable abilities to do some deep research and thinking. We dont hire many of these type of developers as by and large we are looking for programmers who can churn out code in particular areas and we dont have a huge budget for research types. We also look for students who may have won a university medal or graduated with honours first class. Again, we hire vey few of these students, partly because they are very hard to find (try competing with google's base hiring salary offers and you will understand) and its too competitive.

In the end, whatever decision you make, remember - its what you put in it that counts. So if you find yourself in a university course, dont despair ! Focus on developing a mini game on the side, and not just going to lectures! Develop your mini game on engines that are used by industry. If the uni is not focused on competitions, just enter your team on your own. You need the milestone razor sharp focus that a deadline competition provides to harness your teams energy towards a goal, much like we do internally, but its usually motivated in making sure our company gets paid so we get paid !

Best of luck