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This topic contains 22 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  jediboy 9 years, 9 months ago.

  • Author
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  • #6349

    omen
    Participant

    This topic is actually currently being touched on in several current threads but in a invasive way on what those thread were actually about, so I’m posting this here.

    David Braben, boss of UK developer Frontier, believes that games courses in the UK are failing students and the industry because they are teaching skills that are between five and ten years out of date.[/quote:7b1f8c6952]

    <continued…>
    http://www.gamesindustry.biz/content_page.php?aid=30008

    And some realism at the end:

    "I don’t want to write off all courses because that’s not necessarily the case, but some of the ones that I’ve had sight off are very worrying because they are inducing people to go to the courses on the basis that they’ll automatically get a job in the games industry, but I believe the figure is that only 25 per cent of people do," he said.[/quote:7b1f8c6952]

  • #39057

    aphra
    Keymaster

    I wonder are Irish courses a bit more up to date since they have mainly been developed in the last two-three years? You would hope so.

    Aphra.

  • #39058

    omen
    Participant

    So have a lot of the UK courses. I reckon they’re in the same position.

    What development environments do Irish courses teach in?
    PC / 360 / PS3 / Wii / PS2 / XBox / PSP / DS / GBA ?

    I’d actually really love to know the answer to that.

  • #39059

    Matthew
    Participant

    I have noticed from a few uni web sites a lot of them are still working with PS2 and DS Dev kits. Not that there is anything wrong with DS but PS2….

  • #39060

    omen
    Participant

    Lots of studios are still developing for PS2 and there is argueable a lot more money still in the PS2 market, so its still very relevant.
    However, with an industry continually progressing to next gen, its a tough issue. Next gen dev kits can’t be cheap for a uni to obtain, but without them just how relevant is the taught course to todays market?

  • #39061

    Heliosvector
    Participant

    they should be completely up to date. Sure there is still a PS2 market, but once your done the course, say in 3-4 years, i dont see the Ps2 in circulation. if it is nat at much.

  • #39063

    Matthew
    Participant

    yea i dont see there being a PS2 market in 3-4 years.

  • #39069

    jediboy
    Participant

    I think console programming is something educational bodies need to adopt, and fast. PS2, DS, etc.

    It should get students aware of working with fixed requirements, fixed hardware, fixed memory, and eliminate the "Just-Add-More-RAM" mantra that exists on Windows development environment.

    Also, PS2 and PSP development isn’t worlds apart, and the PSP should have 2-3 years left in it.

    B.

  • #39067

    SocksUp
    Participant

    Colleges typically cannot access ( at least not legally ) development console kits because of licencing restrictions. Anyone that is offering console development courses may have found work around or are operating without the appropriate licences in place..I’m not a legal eagle so am open to correction on this one. Microsoft has developed XNA Game Studio Express to bridge this issue. Homebrewers and students can work at a managed code level and become familiar with game development concepts. For handhelds the only option I’m aware of is GP2X, otherwise get the legal team on board. :wink:

  • #39075

    jediboy
    Participant

    Sony offer development kits to universities, as do Nintendo.

    Going through the process now, and haven’t run into any hassle.

    Microsoft seem difficult to get kits out of, as they are trying to get the world on-board the XNA band-wagon. Nothing against XNA, I think its a great rapid prototyping tool for gameplay concepts, but thats about it.

    Anything that would remove the requirement for students to figure out memory management and efficient usage thereof, is doing students (and possibly the industry) a disservice.

    B.

  • #39241

    omen
    Participant

    And another comment on this in agreement:

    http://www.gamesindustry.biz/content_page.php?aid=30715

  • #39242

    peter_b
    Participant

    Sony offer development kits to universities, as do Nintendo.
    [/quote:5faf2fd1f1]

    And another comment on this in agreement:

    http://www.gamesindustry.biz/content_page.php?aid=30715

    sony only give out ps2 kits, cause nobody wants them anymore. similar for nintendo its gamecubes right? but sure better than nothing i guess.

    Also what does a dude in marketing really know, ive never known one to be active on the ground in development. they usually only show up round release time looking for stills\videos etc. ive never seen them ask, so you guys getting people with the skills you need?

  • #39243

    omen
    Participant

    Also what does a dude in marketing really know, ive never known one to be active on the ground in development. [/quote:c8dd35e87a]
    What?? Because someone is in marketing you disregard everything they say? Didn’t you read the article and his comments? He markets the university course, therefore probably knows what he’s talking about. He’s not a games marketeer.

    Pretty sure Trinity are getting 360 / PS3 deve kits. Is that right?

  • #39244

    peter_b
    Participant

    Also what does a dude in marketing really know, ive never known one to be active on the ground in development. [/quote:17bf68bffb]
    What?? Because someone is in marketing you disregard everything they say? Didn’t you read the article and his comments? He markets the university course, therefore probably knows what he’s talking about. He’s not a games marketeer.

    Pretty sure Trinity are getting 360 / PS3 deve kits. Is that right?[/quote:17bf68bffb]

    As for marketing, ya i do, when you say something stupid like

    "If a university can take over a year to introduce a new module to the degree, then how is it at all possible to keep up to date with an industry that has changed major technologies several times in the last 12 months and is only now just beginning to get to grips with the power of PS3 and X360?"

    (what the fuck? try teaching ps3 spu shit to games degree ppl it will mind fuck them up big time)

    "Oliver explained that he had spoken at the event to a number of computer science degree students who had all been turned down by developers, due to a lack of maths and C++ programming experience"

    C++ and maths arent new (no excuse, kids know its required, if they dont, dont come looking for a job, its a given)…. ask any developer, we dont require ppl knowing 360 or ps3, c++ and maths would be great, so if they learned that and fucked all the rest, we’ll teach them it on the job.

    I’m really getting sick of all this game degree good\bad bs, fact is its gone on too long, the clear straight to the bone fact is you dont need one in games you need good frickin computer science and thats a struggle to find because ppl are dodging the fact that this shit is hard and their padding up degrees with art\sound blah to hide this fact and make it more accessible to ppl.

    Sorry sound like a rant, but this debate is getting really bloody old, and there only so many ways to say games degrees arent a necessity.

    trinity have 360 kits and i’d say thats rare. ps3 dev kits are rare, you’d want to be working on a good AAA game to get them. I know this for a fact! think they might have some cell processor stuf also, not sure if its ps3 devkits

  • #39245

    aphra
    Keymaster

    peter.. I think you need a drink! Aphra :)

  • #39246

    peter_b
    Participant

    peter.. I think you need a drink! Aphra :)[/quote:b853f97b76]

    Perhaps, but I stand by what I say.

  • #39250

    mal
    Participant

    Here are my few sups of Guinness on the topic of games courses…

    – For a student, begin able to work with like-minded fellow students on games related projects and technologies is an invaluable opportunity – even if their games course sucks / their lecturers aren’t up to scratch. If they were on a generic IT course, and wanted to gain experience programming / designing a game as one of their projects, it would practically be impossible if it was a non-gaming course.

    – The fact that there even are games courses show that games are being taken seriously ( finally ) in academic circles

    ( although some would say that computing courses aren’t getting the numbers they once were, so institutions are slapping a games module or three onto an existing non-games IT course, and calling it a games course ).

    So, even if the courses aren’t great, good students should be able to build up a portfolio which should stand them in good stead for getting a job when they finish.

    How students get a job in the industry is another story – In Scotland / England, you go to a nearby games company. In Ireland, you currently jump on a plane to Scotland / England / further afield before the local games students take all of the available jobs.

    Therefore, even a totally crap games course will give a student ( or group of students ) an opportunity to spend a substantial amount of time developing their own games ideas, and trying to implement them ( a great games course will facilitate greatly with this of course ).

    Therefore all games courses are inherintly good for the industry.

    *finishes off the pint*
    Mal

  • #39252

    feral
    Participant

    If they were on a generic IT course, and wanted to gain experience programming / designing a game as one of their projects, it would practically be impossible if it was a non-gaming course. [/quote:5ffd0e6353]

    I did CS in TCD.
    I did loads of games related projects.
    I include details, because it seems necessary to counter the very strong opinion often found on these forums that ‘traditional’ CS degrees provide no opportunity to work on games related technology.

    * In my second year all students undertook a group programming project as one of their courses. (groups of 6, approx 3 month dev cycle, worth a whole course). In my year 2 groups did games. The group I was in produced a 3d space combat game engine, using OpenGL for the graphics, and ODE for the physics. We made (programmer) art assets in milkshape3d, and wrote a loader, game logic etc.

    * My final year project was part of a real time graphics engine – that’s pretty games related.

    * I took computer graphics as an option in final year. Our project for graphics was first creating a concept movie in 3ds, and then creating a real time game implementation of our concept, using art assets developed in 3ds. Good exposure to implementing a simple game content pipeline.

    * My final year course in AI project was writing a robot for Robocode, which used Bayesian stats and pattern recognition stuff to try and predict where enemy robots would go, and lead targets. We weren’t making a game there, but we were making AI for robots in a game.

    Never had any problem grading well in these projects because they were games related.

    So when people start talking about how it’s ‘practically impossible’ to gain experience programming a game as a project, I am always *really confused*, because that really wasn’t my experience.

    I was interested in games in university, found game dev fun and thus took the initiative to try and get games related projects. I was not the only one in my course who did this, and am always meeting people from other courses with similar experience…
    I found that if you were willing to work hard on your projects, achieving the core aims of the course but using games as a medium, you could do a lot of games related projects, and grade just fine.

    begin able to work with like-minded fellow students on games related projects and technologies is an invaluable opportunity[/quote:5ffd0e6353]

    I also did video games did for fun with classmates during university, not to mention things like programing competitions etc that involved games.

    This idea that you can’t do games projects in a hardcore CS degree keeps on coming up again and again, and really, you are there to learn CS, but if you willing to do games with hardcore CS angles as projects, and do a good job on them, you do get loads of encouragement.

    Have to agree with most of what Peter said too.

  • #39265

    jediboy
    Participant

    Hi all,

    Just a few follow-ups.

    Sony give PSP kits to Universities, not just PS2’s.

    Does Trinity have Xbox360 and PS3 Devkits? I don’t mean XNA / Xbox Live / C#, but the actual official devkits?

    B.

    B.

  • #39267

    omen
    Participant

    Yup, have to agree with feral, doing games related projects in a CS degree isn’t an issue. There’s ample oppurtunity.

    The fact that there even are games courses show that games are being taken seriously ( finally ) in academic circles

    So, even if the courses aren’t great, good students should be able to build up a portfolio which should stand them in good stead for getting a job when they finish. [/quote:50b7de23cd]
    Portfolio or not…if they don’t know the basics of programming, something that CS degrees teach, they won’t get a job. You wouldn’t believe how many grads we’ve turned away for that reason.

  • #39284

    david4482
    Participant

    Dev kits came up in this thread.
    PS3"Reference Tool" (developer kit) now cost $10,250 (EUR 7500), and Sony’s promising more price cuts as more developers sign on board. A Wii dev kit is ballpark of $2k.

    As for Trinity all IET students (The Game Masters) have an XNA creators account. But I have not inquired about a full dev kit yet. Don’t think it’s a one for everyone in the audience kinda deal. Seeing as Microsoft kindly sponsored the lab a kit or two may be available to researchers, and perhaps if a postgrad can justify the use in their dissertation.

    I will find out for definite if anyone here is really interested. Similarly there is research going on using the cell processor so a ps3 kit or two is probably knocking around.

  • #39287

    peter_b
    Participant

    So sounds like from omen and ferl’s comment i didnt need a pint at all. Turns out people just needed a good strong glass of reality.. lol :D

  • #39321

    jediboy
    Participant

    Hi David,

    Thanks for the info on the PS3 Reference Tool. That’s quite a price cut.

    As for the complete specs of Trinity’s MSc in game, it would be great if you could check it out, and post the findings here.

    I don’t know about the rest of the guys (and gals) on here, but "real" development hardware access would certainly swing my vote to go back and do any further post-graduate study.

    I don’t mean to look down on the "XNA" gang, I’ve just been marketed so many "console development" courses, which sadly turn out to be XNA-based.

    What I am looking for is (or was, rather) a C++ compiler, (codewarrior, proDG, whatever), a console box (gamecube, psp, ps2, ps3, wii, xbox, xbox360), and some tutors who can point me in the right direction.

    Again, before the whole world jumps on my back, and says to lean off on XNA, I do think it is a good rapid-prototyping tool, to experiment with a style of gameplay. But big picture is that people should be starting with memory management from day 01.

    B.

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