Game Design Academy Scam?

Is it one big scam against gamers?

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#1 Delta_Echo  Icon User is offline

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Game Design Academy Scam?

Posted 17 March 2008 - 06:10 PM

I have, for as long as i can remember wanted to code. Code games to be exact.
We have all seen the commercials about "learn to be a game designers and get rich!!!!!".
They say that by learning at their schools you will learn all the skills you will need, and you will be respected for learning
with them. Sounds good....but,

I have read in both emails and forums that these schools won't really teach you the basics or foundation fundamentals
to make good, solid games. That its really a scam targeting gamers that want to either make games or "get rich quick.

So, my question is, to guys in the gaming industry or development field, will you get the skills you need at these places.
And will you be respected after graduation from these academies? And if it is a scam, what kind of education should I get
so I will have all I need in the world of game development.

All and all, it will be a while before i really need to think too much about it. ( im 15 )

Thanks guys for all your information. :)

Live long and code strong.

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#2 no2pencil  Icon User is offline

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Re: Game Design Academy Scam?

Posted 17 March 2008 - 06:35 PM

I never recall one of them actually offering the ability to get rich, just that you'll get experience coding for video games. My biggest hang up on these schools is that they can teach all you care to learn, but just how many gaming studios are out there? I think the ratio is like 10 schools for every place to get a job.

I don't know anyone that has actually gone to these schools. So I don't know what their turn out is like.
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#3 Nykc  Icon User is offline

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Re: Game Design Academy Scam?

Posted 17 March 2008 - 06:36 PM

DeVry is pretty well known and respected. As for the rest... Good Luck

DigiPen is the other exception.
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#4 Steven Smith  Icon User is offline

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Re: Game Design Academy Scam?

Posted 17 March 2008 - 06:48 PM

General Comments

Gaming Degree
All of your eggs in one basket. If you can't land a job out of college, you might be screwed. But you might have a slightly better chance than someone with a computer science degree.

Computer Science Degree
Gives you more flexibility. If you can't land a gaming job out of college, you can probably find work doing application development, etc for a company. You can work on other projects on the side to develop your portfolio throughout college and in your early non-gaming career.

Summary...
The most important thing any hiring manager wants to see is experience. Maybe a gaming degree provides more in the curriculum than a CS degree, but you will have to do independant work either way to convince someone to hire you out of college instead of the other more experienced programmers who are still trying to get their foot in the door.

This post has been edited by Steven Smith: 17 March 2008 - 06:49 PM

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#5 girasquid  Icon User is offline

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Re: Game Design Academy Scam?

Posted 17 March 2008 - 07:15 PM

My advice? Go indie.

Either teach yourself programming, or take something like CompSci - and then build your own games(or form your own team to build them). Once you've actually created a game or two that's out there (and hopefully good), people at bigger game companies will be interested in hiring you. I haven't heard any stories about people coming from "Game Design Academies" and getting hired, but I have heard of people releasing successful indie games and having job offers suddenly appear on their doorstep.
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#6 KYA  Icon User is offline

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Re: Game Design Academy Scam?

Posted 18 March 2008 - 01:16 AM

digipen has a near 100% job placement right after grad, so ive heard
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#7 Delta_Echo  Icon User is offline

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Re: Game Design Academy Scam?

Posted 18 March 2008 - 05:20 AM

View Postgirasquid, on 17 Mar, 2008 - 07:15 PM, said:

My advice? Go indie.

Either teach yourself programming, or take something like CompSci - and then build your own games(or form your own team to build them). Once you've actually created a game or two that's out there (and hopefully good), people at bigger game companies will be interested in hiring you. I haven't heard any stories about people coming from "Game Design Academies" and getting hired, but I have heard of people releasing successful indie games and having job offers suddenly appear on their doorstep.


Do it like those who founded the inustry :)
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#8 KYA  Icon User is offline

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Re: Game Design Academy Scam?

Posted 18 March 2008 - 05:24 AM

View PostDelta_Echo, on 18 Mar, 2008 - 06:20 AM, said:

View Postgirasquid, on 17 Mar, 2008 - 07:15 PM, said:

My advice? Go indie.

Either teach yourself programming, or take something like CompSci - and then build your own games(or form your own team to build them). Once you've actually created a game or two that's out there (and hopefully good), people at bigger game companies will be interested in hiring you. I haven't heard any stories about people coming from "Game Design Academies" and getting hired, but I have heard of people releasing successful indie games and having job offers suddenly appear on their doorstep.


Do it like those who founded the inustry :)


Unfortunately nowadays you need a degree to get your foot in the door, in the early nineties you could join since it was your passion/hobby--us college students need more then that in today's market
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#9 Delta_Echo  Icon User is offline

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Re: Game Design Academy Scam?

Posted 18 March 2008 - 01:06 PM

Yes, turn down someone who could bring the next halo because they don't have a piece of paper. And take someone who has very little experience but does have a degree.
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#10 PsychoCoder  Icon User is offline

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Re: Game Design Academy Scam?

Posted 18 March 2008 - 01:10 PM

Unfortunately Delta thats the way it is today. it's very hard to get past the HR screener if you don't have a degree on your resume
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#11 spearfish  Icon User is offline

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Re: Game Design Academy Scam?

Posted 18 March 2008 - 01:47 PM

#2 said:

My biggest hang up on these schools is that they can teach all you care to learn, but just how many gaming studios are out there? I think the ratio is like 10 schools for every place to get a job.


Exactly. Even if you know what it takes, there's not a big enough market for games out there. They target gamers who think that they can make a cool game too! Well maybe they can.... but it's not the best out there. And if you aren't the best in the crowded industry of game making (simply because too many people are just like you), you won't get a job, and you won't be able to sell anything you make yourself because it'll be a POS. You'll then find yourself working for Kasamba making $12 / hour, but only when some sap sees your face on the side ad of DIC and decides to hire you to help with their homework.

Delta said:

Yes, turn down someone who could bring the next halo because they don't have a piece of paper. And take someone who has very little experience but does have a degree.


The problem is that Halo was nothing innovative. You may think so, but it wasn't the first FPS out there. It was a success because of the marketing, and the people who made it. A degree may just be a piece of paper --- but it represents a whole lot more. It says that you have mastery in that topic.

And the guys building the teams to make games like Halo go for the ones who have a certificate of mastery, also known as a degree. Building your own game might be nice experience, but there's no guarantee you know how to work in a team environment, no guarantee you have good coding practices (do you comment on your code? do you comment too much? do you beautify your code, or just make it so slapjack that you can't understand which "if" statement goes where?), no guarantee you didn't hire the dude from Kasamba to do it for you!

A respected university's degree will win out every time.
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#12 Martyr2  Icon User is offline

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Re: Game Design Academy Scam?

Posted 18 March 2008 - 01:56 PM

I am going to hit this topic from a different angle, as a developer in Vancouver (aka Digital North because of the number of game companies... Radical, Electronic Arts etc). Evaluate the school not only on what they teach, but who is teaching it and what their background is.

I will give you an example... there is a small computer game academy here called Think Tank that takes a handful of students that show promise in gaming. The instructors there are active, in the industry, gaming professionals that not only teach but work for big game companies still. If you want to know if they are good, look at the people who are involved. Go visit the school and talk to some of the staff. Find out if they know people in the industry and who they work for. Then check up on what they tell you.

I mean, if one of your professors is someone who works for blizzard the last 20 years, they might be a pretty legit school since someone who has that amount of experience wouldn't be working for some scam school. Not only that, you are taught by someone who has been out in the industry even today. Lastly, they also forge connections and such into the industry... that teacher from blizzard may notice you and recommend you to a friend inside blizzard that may hire you straight out of school.

Just be smart... this goes for anyone evaluating a school of any kind. Evaluate who the people are involved and where they come from. Scam artists are not going to spend 20 years in an industry just to scam you... especially if they have a respected reputation.

:)
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#13 no2pencil  Icon User is offline

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Re: Game Design Academy Scam?

Posted 18 March 2008 - 01:58 PM

View PostDelta_Echo, on 18 Mar, 2008 - 01:06 PM, said:

Yes, turn down someone who could bring the next halo because they don't have a piece of paper. And take someone who has very little experience but does have a degree.

There are 2 ways to look at it.

1.) Someone with a degree shows that they have time management, (at least) a little experience, & the ability to pay their school bill long enough to stay in school to get the degree.

2.) If the hiring decision maker brings in someone without a degree, & they don't work out, it's his ass because he made the decision, & took a risk brining on an employee with little experience, & no schooling. However, if they had a degree, well... they were qualified, so it isn't his fault because they looked good on paper!
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#14 spearfish  Icon User is offline

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Re: Game Design Academy Scam?

Posted 18 March 2008 - 02:02 PM

Excellent point Martyr. If I could learn PHP from Rasmus Lerdorf, chances are I'd have a decent shot at getting a job as a PHP developer, even if it was a small name school.

Sadly, he's employed by Yahoo.
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#15 KYA  Icon User is offline

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Re: Game Design Academy Scam?

Posted 19 March 2008 - 04:59 AM

I've always heard that a degree shows you are trainable, nothing more. Which is what headhunters (in general) are looking for.
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