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February 16, 2006 at 4:32 pm #5077
It really annoys me when people talk about game development related degrees being easy, but there’s sadly a lot of truth in it when it comes to the UK. I still think there’s too many universities hopping on the bandwagon without hiring capable professors or putting together a decent specification for the course.
A few people I know on these courses only do 14 hours a week in university and don’t even have to study outside of class! They don’t even face those brutal three-hour exams, though I guess that’s down to its vocational nature. Some of my best friends are going to be leaving university with no ability to work 40 (never mind 60/70) hours a week or understand the difficulty that working in the industry involves.
I doubt many of them will learn the skills to be good enough to get a job in the industry. Then the problem with a degree like this is that they’ll find a hard time getting a job anywhere else.
February 16, 2006 at 4:58 pm #29678
Good article. Reckon the best way to get into the industry is a general degree then apply, thats what the majority of people in the industry did and they’ve no problems. also if the industry goes tits up you can jump back to normal i.t. !
February 16, 2006 at 6:14 pm #29684
I reckon games is one of the most, if not the most difficult thing you can do in computers. It incorporates everything from programming, to system design and memory management etc. If I was a lecturer and saw a website and a game as final year projects I’d know straight away which one required more work. Saying it is a mickey mouse degree just isn’t fair. We can’t all be mindless Arts or moronic Commerce students. Eh… no offence to anyone intended.
February 17, 2006 at 9:38 am #29700
In fairness Ronny, I’ve done a BSc in Computer Applications in DCU and a PgDip in Computer Games Technology in Abertay, and I’ve never been burdened with lots of hours in lectures nor lots of studying. However, if you want to make the most of the degree, you will spend a lot of time practicing the course work doing projects You could take it easy and do the minimum, but you’re not going to get a job doing what you want then.
February 17, 2006 at 10:37 am #29702
I reckon games is one of the most, if not the most difficult thing you can do in computers. It incorporates everything from programming, to system design and memory management etc. If I was a lecturer and saw a website and a game as final year projects I’d know straight away which one required more work. Saying it is a mickey mouse degree just isn’t fair. We can’t all be mindless Arts or moronic Commerce students. Eh… no offence to anyone intended.[/quote:5181882ede]
Are you differentiating between the amount of work a course asks for and the amount of work required to have a good understanding of games development? They seem to me to be quite different things.
Most courses in most colleges (not ITs) have about 15-20 hours per week, which is far from the amount of time you are expected to put into them.
February 17, 2006 at 1:45 pm #29709
i only had about 10-15 hours a week in college for my 4 year degree in cs in u.c.c.
February 17, 2006 at 1:50 pm #29710
I guess the slogan “To be this good takes Ages” doesn’t apply then ;)
February 17, 2006 at 3:32 pm #29713
You could take it easy and do the minimum, but you’re not going to get a job doing what you want then.[/quote:a4ea4d5ad3]
Yeah, that’s the point I was trying to get at. The people I speak to are on their way to getting great grades by putting in the minimal amount of work. Students should really have to work for their 1.1 or 2.1.
As Skyclad wrote, you’re expected to put a lot more work in on your own time. I’m just not seeing them in some universities. Of course it doesn’t just specifically apply for game degrees, but a lot of new vocational courses in general.
February 17, 2006 at 3:50 pm #29715
In fairness, when this happens, people get hired, they then can’t do the job, they’ll get laid off and the uni will get a bad rep and people won’t be hired from there anymore so people won’t go there.
February 18, 2006 at 4:51 pm #29717
In fairness, when this happens, people get hired, they then can’t do the job, they’ll get laid off and the uni will get a bad rep and people won’t be hired from there anymore so people won’t go there.[/quote:14ce13977f]
You’ve had more university experience than me, so you could very well be right from experience. I still think that those students who work in their own time should be getting the better grades. Then those who don’t work will fall into second place. There’s not many ways in which you can judge the difference in skill levels. This is one way though.
February 18, 2006 at 11:18 pm #29719
I dont know how much i can offer on this being im only a first year but here goes. Being its my first year in college studying games most people expected it to be a really easy course but believe me its not. Sure ya can get through the year without doing too much work urself(i can kinda vouch for that) but ur not learning as well as ya think. Being my summer tests are almost upon me i wish i had done more outside of class and if i do make it into second year i plan on working just as hard outside of class as i do in class. But i also have to point out its a first year course and there has been mistakes on both sides not just with the students. I guess that i agree if ya put enough work in ull be fine. SO i guess thats my 2 cents worth probably no help at all lol
February 20, 2006 at 9:34 am #29736
Ronny, there’s not a lot you can do about courses that allow slackers to get good grades except to wait for the workplace to realise the course isn’t up to scratch unfortunatelly. It’ll hurt those that work on the course, but what they learned on the course should sine through and get them the job they deserve…
February 20, 2006 at 7:23 pm #29754
The slackers who slip through the cracks of academia won’t last pissing time when it comes to getting/holding down a job.
February 20, 2006 at 9:00 pm #29756
Ronny, there’s not a lot you can do about courses that allow slackers to get good grades except to wait for the workplace to realise the course isn’t up to scratch unfortunatelly. It’ll hurt those that work on the course, but what they learned on the course should sine through and get them the job they deserve…[/quote:6f1e299c1f]
I don’t think that’s good enough. Most subject areas are held under the spotlight in some way. Most of them get ranked by The Times and The Guardian. Then you have QAA reviews. It just seems that game degrees don’t undergo the same level of scrutiny.
February 21, 2006 at 9:36 am #29768
But in Ireland….
February 21, 2006 at 10:43 am #29772
Benchmarking on a course is an ongoing process, so if courses are new then often the benchmarks are immature – i.e. not litmus tested by putting graduates into the marketplace.
Everybody has an opinion on what should be the requisite standard of education from a course…but the year-on-year policy for overall standards in benchmarking tests and coursework evaluation comes from…the government!
If they want 50% of the school-leavers population to go into college, which they do, standards of second level education must come down – which they have. If the colleges then want to stay in business, they have to pass a majority of these suddenly-less-qualified new entrants.
Its all politics, and not a damn thing anyone short of the ministerial level political body can do about it, not quickly anyway…
So Ronny is shit out of luck. If the upsurge in game dev courses really is a bandwagon reflecting a national-level desire to attract more university candidates, then simply don’t do one.
I personally don’t see the point. Anyone can find out what skills game developers are in need of, and then all you have to do is teach yourself. Thats what the internet is for. So its a little extra work…thats gonna be your whole career in games.
If you wanna be a computer scientist, study computer science. I’ve never yet applied the Pi calculus, but at least I know I can…
February 21, 2006 at 11:11 am #29773
i think pete sumed it up in a sentence. i see it being very doughtful for anyone to go into a games degree with no previous game development experience or programming experience, and come out to get a job straight away. from looking through most of the degrees available in ireland, they are very little work placement modules. about 80% of my knowledge of game development has been learned in my own time or experiences working with professionals.
February 21, 2006 at 2:40 pm #29789
So Ronny is shit out of luck. If the upsurge in game dev courses really is a bandwagon reflecting a national-level desire to attract more university candidates, then simply don’t do one.[/quote:cb72be8667]
There’s nothing in your post that makes me feel “shit out of luck”. Effective scrutiny will come from outside of the government – such as the media. Also, there are measures and rules to prevent universities passing students unfairly.
But in Ireland….[/quote:cb72be8667]
The Irish education is still somewhat of a mystery to me. Maybe it’s time that they do have a body to scrutinise the courses and colleges. I found very little info when I was looking into the possibility of doing a course in the Republic.
February 21, 2006 at 4:01 pm #29794
Effective scrutiny will come from outside of the government – such as the media. Also, there are measures and rules to prevent universities passing students unfairly. [/quote:afd6256e4d]
Observe the “not quickly” in my post. Perhaps public opinion can alter a governmental policy trend, but not in time for you, when fast approaching your third level. The basic point was that these courses are (probably) substandard, and the reason for that reflects higher and broader concerns than those of any one institution. Therefore, you cannot expect standardisation oversight bodies to ensure the level of quality of graduate expected by the game dev companies, since it is the standards that are failing, not any one uni or college. Tony Kelly made the point that most game dev’s consider Irish & UK grads to be sub-standard to American or East Asian – and some have relocated to the US for this reason.
My other point, which again I think others are making here, was that you get just as much or more from pursuing a normal CS degree and learning game dev skills on the side. Its what everyone who went before did…
February 21, 2006 at 4:18 pm #29795
Also, there are measures and rules to prevent universities passing students unfairly. [/quote:2ac463121c]
I once got about 115% in my written paper because the lecturer bumped up everyone’s marks because he was leaving the uni and didn’t want to set a repeat paper.
February 21, 2006 at 4:27 pm #29797
you know it is worth making the point that not all courses are the same and while it is a little early in the Republic to start accrediting courses in my opinion, given that most have just been established, word of mouth will soon sort out the good ones from the not so good.
Every uni and IT in the South will have their own standards but these are all externed by people from other colleges and abroad. Also there are clear differences between the orientation and goals of a uni and an IT, the ITs are more equivalent to what the polytechnics were in the UK and that is an important distinction to make. Interestingly it is the ITs who in the main have been establishing game degrees and courses while the universities have been adding on modules to core computer science courses.
February 21, 2006 at 5:05 pm #29800
Never trust the man :D
February 21, 2006 at 5:05 pm #29801
…Or woman :)
February 22, 2006 at 9:40 am #29807
I’d have to agree with Aphra that it may be a little too early to start accrediting/assessing the quality of the various 3rd level games and games related courses. But having said that I still think we should be preparing to do so now, taking into account, as Aphra pointed out, the different focus of Unis vs. ITs vs. FHEC.
I’m hopeful that once we get the long awaited Education brochure initiative sorted out later this year that will get the ball rolling, and then hopefully next year we can take ramp it up a gear and actually start assessing the usefulness and quality of these courses. I will say thought that most of the colleges offering these courses do seem keen to liaise with industry and to take on our feedback. I’d particulalry single out Letterkenny and Carlow in that respect
IGDA Ireland is also a member of the industry steering group for the Skillset initiative set up last year to assess 3rd level games-related courses in NI and the UK. Will post more info on this as it becomes available
April 1, 2006 at 10:49 pm #30470
i haven’t read this thread so i’ll just comment on the article. i do games programming at teesside where that fella teaches, some of it is shit-hard, it one module i had to learn OpenGL, graphical programming and c++ all at once, that was a debugging nightmare, you get thrown in at the deep-end sometimes but you come out better for it. when i did my placement and went through crunch time i was ok for it cos i worked the same hours in my 2nd and 3rd year of uni here outside of lectures – pro plus is programming fuel, IM A CAFFEINE-POWERED PROGRAMMING MONSTER!
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