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What is the best university for game development undergraduate course

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    This is three questions so if possible please answer all three.

    Is the game development industry in the UK good employment wise?

    Is a game development undergraduate course worth it for the 4 years or is it a worthless education?

    Which universities offers the best game development undergraduate course?

    Thank you in advance.
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    I won't be able to answer all the questions, since whilst I've touched in the gaming industry, I've not really delved into the academic side of it, like you're looking to do, but here's my 2 cents.

    Game dev industry is very hard to break into. It is an extremely market driven environment if you're part of a small game production house, like an indie dev, and it even runs up to the biggest of gaming companies like Activision, EA etc. Not saying that you can't, but I always feel that in a field like this, what you have developed and learnt on your own and your projects are what gets you far, not your degree. The degree will help you get a base understanding but if you're really passionate about game dev then you should be working on it by yourself too and not rely on uni.
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    (Original post by Unrequited)
    I won't be able to answer all the questions, since whilst I've touched in the gaming industry, I've not really delved into the academic side of it, like you're looking to do, but here's my 2 cents.

    Game dev industry is very hard to break into. It is an extremely market driven environment if you're part of a small game production house, like an indie dev, and it even runs up to the biggest of gaming companies like Activision, EA etc. Not saying that you can't, but I always feel that in a field like this, what you have developed and learnt on your own and your projects are what gets you far, not your degree. The degree will help you get a base understanding but if you're really passionate about game dev then you should be working on it by yourself too and not rely on uni.
    I'm not interested in the degree itself but rather the education and connections that can be made through it if that is possible.
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    (Original post by ineedanswersplz)
    I'm not interested in the degree itself but rather the education and connections that can be made through it if that is possible.
    Connections you can make outside the degree. Just sign up to meetup exhibits where game devs are showing off their work and you're sorted. It's an ongoing process.

    Education - yes you'll be taught in a very structured way of game development, like the fundamental principles so if you have no idea where to start then getting a degree will be beneficial.
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    (Original post by Unrequited)
    Connections you can make outside the degree. Just sign up to meetup exhibits where game devs are showing off their work and you're sorted. It's an ongoing process.

    Education - yes you'll be taught in a very structured way of game development, like the fundamental principles so if you have no idea where to start then getting a degree will be beneficial.
    Sounds like it would education wise, learning how to learn. I do need more concrete answers if possible from you or anyone to do with my three questions since this would take away 4 years of my life if I commit.
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    It'd be worth considering what field of game development you want to go into. An environment artist, technical artist, prop artist, concept artist, animator, FX, audio producer, ai programmer, gameplay designer, designer, QA tester, network engineer and sandbox designer all have very different roles from each other, and that's before considering that most AAA studios employ hundreds of people with dozens more job roles than what I just listed.

    I can only speak for myself here, but my aim is to go into a games art role (Particularly in regards to weapons art) and I was told my pre-existing knowledge of 3D software (I have some moderate experience with Blender) and the Adobe Suite was good to see, as I already had some of the basic skills I'd need to be otherwise taught. If you aim to go into an art role, get drawing, painting or modelling (depending on your preference) and get the practice in. If you're more interested in code, start teaching yourself a code language - Python is a good one for beginners (I can't help otherwise, I'm not too big on code).

    Personally, I've seen a lot of advice to stay away from a Designer role and try and specialise in a certain area. Find what you enjoy and interests you about games development and double down and make that as good as you can.

    Also look at areas similar to your field of study. the portfolio and experience you develop doing a games art course could also be very useful if you decided you wanted to instead work on visual FX or animation for films/ TV.

    So yeah. Decide what aspect of development you're interested in. Research it and see if it's right for you before jumping in. As the previous poster said, it's a difficult industry to get into so you want to get as much practice in as you can in whatever field you choose to go into.

    In terms of studios, Traveller's Tales (LEGO Games), Rockstar Edinburgh/ North (Leeds) who do GTA and Red Dead Redemption, Creative Assembly (Total War, Halo Wars 2, Alien: Isolation) and Frontier Developments (Elite: Dangerous) are all fairly big name studios in this country, and that's just the ones making games I actively keep an eye out for and can remember at 00:30. There's a bunch of UK-based studios out there.

    Apologies for the half-ramble. Hopefully you'll find something that helps you.
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    (Original post by IAmCalledJacob)
    It'd be worth considering what field of game development you want to go into. An environment artist, technical artist, prop artist, concept artist, animator, FX, audio producer, ai programmer, gameplay designer, designer, QA tester, network engineer and sandbox designer all have very different roles from each other, and that's before considering that most AAA studios employ hundreds of people with dozens more job roles than what I just listed.

    I can only speak for myself here, but my aim is to go into a games art role (Particularly in regards to weapons art) and I was told my pre-existing knowledge of 3D software (I have some moderate experience with Blender) and the Adobe Suite was good to see, as I already had some of the basic skills I'd need to be otherwise taught. If you aim to go into an art role, get drawing, painting or modelling (depending on your preference) and get the practice in. If you're more interested in code, start teaching yourself a code language - Python is a good one for beginners (I can't help otherwise, I'm not too big on code).

    Personally, I've seen a lot of advice to stay away from a Designer role and try and specialise in a certain area. Find what you enjoy and interests you about games development and double down and make that as good as you can.

    Also look at areas similar to your field of study. the portfolio and experience you develop doing a games art course could also be very useful if you decided you wanted to instead work on visual FX or animation for films/ TV.

    So yeah. Decide what aspect of development you're interested in. Research it and see if it's right for you before jumping in. As the previous poster said, it's a difficult industry to get into so you want to get as much practice in as you can in whatever field you choose to go into.

    In terms of studios, Traveller's Tales (LEGO Games), Rockstar Edinburgh/ North (Leeds) who do GTA and Red Dead Redemption, Creative Assembly (Total War, Halo Wars 2, Alien: Isolation) and Frontier Developments (Elite: Dangerous) are all fairly big name studios in this country, and that's just the ones making games I actively keep an eye out for and can remember at 00:30. There's a bunch of UK-based studios out there.

    Apologies for the half-ramble. Hopefully you'll find something that helps you.
    I understand, well the most beneficial would be coding so I think specialising in that is a good idea since like you said everyone wants to be a designer. Honestly though I love all aspects of it the coding, designs, art etc. so just being able to learn about all of it would be a huge benefit for me hell I'd even take up the business side of the course (some from what I have seen do a business type course as well) in my spare time since the education is what matters here.

    From what I understand you'll be building good portfolios at these courses which doesn't include spare time outside you can use to further improve your portfolio with you and other students.

    Personally I've tried going at it alone for a year and although frustrating (coding wise) I wanted to carry on doing it, I loved the coding when I knew what I was doing and loved designing, drawing, writing up documents etc. however I feel I would best benefit from a teacher for the base knowledge, how to learn etc. especially since I am autistic.
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    The question which I would like answered is which universities is best for this?
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    PLEASE STOP THE GAME DEVELOPMENT MEME.
    If you have a braincell in your body, don't go for a game development degree.
    If you want to do comuter science, do computer science. But no employer is gonna look at a game development degree more than they look at a BTEC level 2.
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    Dear INeedAnswersPlz,

    (Original post by ineedanswersplz)
    Is the game development industry in the UK good employment wise?
    There are more than 2.9 million jobs in the creative industries, a large chunk of which come from IT, Software, and Games. It is also among the fastest growing industries, with GVA increasing in the 2010-2015 period by 34% compared to the UK sector average of 17.4%. (Source: DCMA)

    Here are some resources here that you may wish to review:

    http://www.thecreativeindustries.co.... s/infographics
    http://www.thecreativeindustries.co.uk/industries/games

    If you enjoy computing and software development, then it is a worthwhile discipline to pursue. As others have noted, securing a role at the game development company it is very challenging because of the competition for such roles. It is a glamorous industry, after-all. So, you must be very dedicated. However, even if you don't end up in games industry, there is a vast range of opportunities in IT and Software, so you may very well end up in a graduate role doing something that you enjoy.

    (Original post by ineedanswersplz)
    Is a game development undergraduate course worth it for the 4 years or is it a worthless education?
    It is a little more complex than just a name and/or subject area. The institution running the course, the nature of course, and the specific learning objectives are all key factors to consider. This makes some courses offer considerable value, while others offer little, even if they share the same course name. As the UK Universities & Science Minister, Jo Johnson, pointed out a few years ago: "standards of teaching are 'lamentable' at some leading institutions and too much is variable or patchy".

    (Original post by BobBobson)
    ...don't go for a game development degree. If you want to do computer science, do computer science. But no employer is gonna look at a game development degree...
    As stated above, the world is more complex. If you have the opportunity to study Computer Science at Oxbridge and/or Imperial, then sure. Employers rate graduates from such courses very highly, and the skills that students on such courses develop are applicable to a broad range of industries. However, outside of these elite institutions, things become uncertain. You will likely be surprised by the employability statistics regarding traditional computer science degrees. If you read the recent Wakeham review and the recent Shadbolt review, you will discover that traditional Computer Science courses have the lowest rate of employment of any STEM discipline (see http://blog.hefce.ac.uk/2015/07/08/u...-the-data-say/ for a brief overview). At some institutions it is dire.

    Yet, at the same time, the games industry is crying out that it can't find the right people! Indeed, the 2011 Livingstone-Hope report highlights a skills gap, and it was a prominent topic of discussion at last year's TIGA Education Summit (TIGA is the trade body for the games industry). I suspect the problem is two-fold:

    (i) There is a brain-drain to other industries, in part due to better prospects elsewhere (e.g., £££) and quality-of-life issues;
    (ii) There is a misalignment between graduate outcomes and entry-level job requirements.

    Therefore, it makes sense that courses designed in partnership with a particular industry with employers on their advisory boards, such as computing for games courses, would not only improve this alignment but also foster a reputation for producing graduates with the right skills, who will stick around, and may perhaps even bring with them ideas that will help solve some of the challenges facing the industry.

    It will also be worth examining the trends in employability statistics (from the Higher Education Statistics Agency) contrasting those courses with JACS code I6 (games programming) and G4 (mathematical sciences - computing). Though, public release is slow and the available data is a bit old, you may be pleasantly surprised at the trend.

    (Original post by ineedanswersplz)
    Which universities offers the best game development undergraduate course?
    Whether of not a course is the "best" entirely depends on your own goals and your own position, and is therefore subjective. You need to match what a course offers to what you want to get out of it. Games industry veteran Tom Sloper suggests the use of a decision grid in these circumstances to aid your decision making (http://www.sloperama.com/advice/m70.htm). However, a good place to start would be to examine courses with triple-accreditation (BCS, Skillset, TIGA) in computing and/or programming for games:

    You may also be interested in researching Falmouth University's Games Academy, which launched in 2014. We have a focus on practical game development and studio-based practice. You make games in multi-disciplinary teams throughout the degree as if you were running your own indie game development studio. We offer a technical course that may be of interest:

    BSc(Hons) Computing for Games - https://www.falmouth.ac.uk/computing-for-games

    Employers and investors alike are impressed with what our students are achieving. Because they are in the studio nearly 9-5 making games, our students are developing strong programming and teamworking skills. Furthermore, our LaunchPad incubation scheme is already winning prizes in entrepreneurship (see https://www.falmouth.ac.uk/content/w...uardian-awards) and my current second-year students are publishing their games on Itch.io (see https://d-tail-entertainment.itch.io/monq). However, as it is a new course in a new department, we don't yet have any graduates and so are not eligible for accreditation.

    All the best,
    Michael
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    (Original post by Falmouth Uni Games Academy (Computing))
    Dear INeedAnswersPlz,



    There are more than 2.9 million jobs in the creative industries, a large chunk of which come from IT, Software, and Games. It is also among the fastest growing industries, with GVA increasing in the 2010-2015 period by 34% compared to the UK sector average of 17.4%. (Source: DCMA)

    Here are some resources here that you may wish to review:

    http://www.thecreativeindustries.co.... s/infographics
    http://www.thecreativeindustries.co.uk/industries/games

    If you enjoy computing and software development, then it is a worthwhile discipline to pursue. As others have noted, securing a role at the game development company it is very challenging because of the competition for such roles. It is a glamorous industry, after-all. So, you must be very dedicated. However, even if you don't end up in games industry, there is a vast range of opportunities in IT and Software, so you may very well end up in a graduate role doing something that you enjoy.



    It is a little more complex than just a name and/or subject area. The institution running the course, the nature of course, and the specific learning objectives are all key factors to consider. This makes some courses offer considerable value, while others offer little, even if they share the same course name. As the UK Universities & Science Minister, Jo Johnson, pointed out a few years ago: "standards of teaching are 'lamentable' at some leading institutions and too much is variable or patchy".



    As stated above, the world is more complex. If you have the opportunity to study Computer Science at Oxbridge and/or Imperial, then sure. Employers rate graduates from such courses very highly, and the skills that students on such courses develop are applicable to a broad range of industries. However, outside of these elite institutions, things become uncertain. You will likely be surprised by the employability statistics regarding traditional computer science degrees. If you read the recent Wakeham review and the recent Shadbolt review, you will discover that traditional Computer Science courses have the lowest rate of employment of any STEM discipline (see http://blog.hefce.ac.uk/2015/07/08/u...-the-data-say/ for a brief overview). At some institutions it is dire.

    Yet, at the same time, the games industry is crying out that it can't find the right people! Indeed, the 2011 Livingstone-Hope report highlights a skills gap, and it was a prominent topic of discussion at last year's TIGA Education Summit (TIGA is the trade body for the games industry). I suspect the problem is two-fold:

    (i) There is a brain-drain to other industries, in part due to better prospects elsewhere (e.g., £££) and quality-of-life issues;
    (ii) There is a misalignment between graduate outcomes and entry-level job requirements.

    Therefore, it makes sense that courses designed in partnership with a particular industry with employers on their advisory boards, such as computing for games courses, would not only improve this alignment but also foster a reputation for producing graduates with the right skills, who will stick around, and may perhaps even bring with them ideas that will help solve some of the challenges facing the industry.

    It will also be worth examining the trends in employability statistics (from the Higher Education Statistics Agency) contrasting those courses with JACS code I6 (games programming) and G4 (mathematical sciences - computing). Though, public release is slow and the available data is a bit old, you may be pleasantly surprised at the trend.



    Whether of not a course is the "best" entirely depends on your own goals and your own position, and is therefore subjective. You need to match what a course offers to what you want to get out of it. Games industry veteran Tom Sloper suggests the use of a decision grid in these circumstances to aid your decision making (http://www.sloperama.com/advice/m70.htm). However, a good place to start would be to examine courses with triple-accreditation (BCS, Skillset, TIGA) in computing and/or programming for games:

    You may also be interested in researching Falmouth University's Games Academy, which launched in 2014. We have a focus on practical game development and studio-based practice. You make games in multi-disciplinary teams throughout the degree as if you were running your own indie game development studio. We offer a technical course that may be of interest:

    BSc(Hons) Computing for Games - https://www.falmouth.ac.uk/computing-for-games

    Employers and investors alike are impressed with what our students are achieving. Because they are in the studio nearly 9-5 making games, our students are developing strong programming and teamworking skills. Furthermore, our LaunchPad incubation scheme is already winning prizes in entrepreneurship (see https://www.falmouth.ac.uk/content/w...uardian-awards) and my current second-year students are publishing their games on Itch.io (see https://d-tail-entertainment.itch.io/monq). However, as it is a new course in a new department, we don't yet have any graduates and so are not eligible for accreditation.

    All the best,
    Michael
    Are game development """"degrees"""" just a scam to take the money of less-able students who want to play games for a living and think that a game-development degree would interest them, despite not at all being interested in computing?
    Do you not feel that game design skills are best not taught at university - where students pay upwards of 9000 a year, for skills that can be self-taught.
    Do you not feel that students, especially undergraduate students, who have just finished A Levels or BTEC are better off having a broad computer science degree which are marketable in a variety of sectors, and also are much more respected by employers for how rigorous they are and the fact they also nurture soft-skills.
    They don't have to go to Oxbridge or imperial, there are many lower-level universities for them. And if they are struggling to get into a lower level university, they should question whether university is the right path for them, considering (much much cheaper) vocational courses.
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    Dear BobBobson,

    (Original post by BobBobson)
    Are game development """"degrees"""" just a scam to take the money of less-able students who want to play games for a living and think that a game-development degree would interest them, despite not at all being interested in computing?
    Not at all. According to UniStats, 80% of those students enrolling on BSc(Hons) Computer Game Applications Development at Abertay Dundee University achieved 144 or more UCAS points (or, AAA at A-Level). See: https://unistats.direct.gov.uk/subje...eturnTo/Search

    I am not convinced that someone who wanted to just "play games for a living" without an interest in computing would be able to successfully graduate a computing degree course---game-flavored or otherwise. At least, not an accredited course. It requires a great level of dedication to engage in deliberate practice to acquire proficiency in abstract problem solving and computer programming. Anyone who doesn't develop the requisite skills to actually build software will be a bit stuffed.

    (Original post by BobBobson)
    Do you not feel that game design skills are best not taught at university - where students pay upwards of 9000 a year, for skills that can be self-taught.
    I am only addressing computing/programming courses. Design is a completely different discipline.

    (Original post by BobBobson)
    Do you not feel that students, especially undergraduate students, who have just finished A Levels or BTEC are better off having a broad computer science degree which are marketable in a variety of sectors, [...] they also nurture soft-skills.
    Anecdotally, having taught modules on a traditional computer science degree and having taught modules on a computing for games degree, the underlying learning objectives and skills being acquired are not substantially different. Both courses I have taught on drew upon the same curriculum framework that was co-developed by the ACM and the IEEE. Many are accredited by the same professional body: the British Computer Society. The skills themselves are broadly transferable. If you can develop entertainment software, then you can develop enterprise software, and vice-versa.

    I am curious to know, however, whether there exists a traditional computer science degree course that facilitates enough hands-on practical programming practice for its first-year students to produce something like this: https://basiliskstudios.itch.io/nebula-knights. The last general CS course I examined on assessed its first year students through their ability to implement tic-tac-toe!

    On this note, games courses can be far more transparent about their level of 'rigor' because of the nature of their output. There is a culture of developing playable games for portfolios, and sometimes graduates publish their small indie games commercially. During interviews, it's a bit more impressive than only being able to implement a sorting algorithm on a white-board or recite the Big-O value for an operation on a data structure (though many games graduates I've met can also do this).

    (Original post by BobBobson)
    ...and also are much more respected by employers for how rigorous they are and the fact
    ...They don't have to go to Oxbridge or imperial, there are many lower-level universities for them.
    The empirical evidence available does not support your assertion. The Shadbolt Review of Computer Sciences Degree Accreditation and Graduate Employability was commissioned by the government precisely because, compared to graduates of other STEM disciplines, graduates of computer science have poor levels of employment. Yet, several industries, most prominently the games and visual effects industries, claim that there is a skills gap! That, there aren't enough skilled graduates!

    Shadbolt explains:

    The evidence suggests a complex picture of the interrelationship between the supply of graduates (and their individual characteristics) from HE, the varying nature of the demand for skills from employers [emphasis added], and the role played by the professional bodies in helping to bridge two sets of interests. The story is not straightforward, and there is no single headline figure or data set that comprehensively conveys the graduate employment situation.
    This suggests to me that one size doesn't fit all.

    All the best,
    Michael
 
 
 
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