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This topic contains 49 replies, has 18 voices, and was last updated by  Idora 10 years, 8 months ago.

  • Author
    Posts
  • #5675

    peter_b
    Participant

    Interesting article by Tony there. Contraversal some might say, but needed to be said and hit the nail on the head in a good few areas.

  • #34234

    Skyclad
    Participant

    Expected it might cause some debate :)

  • #34236

    aphra
    Keymaster

    thanks to those involved in getting the feature together.

    Just back from the IT&T conf in Carlow yesterday where tony did a keynote and then after lunch there was an industry panel discussing opportunities for graduates and to a small extent the topic of the current feature. This conf. was a good example of industry/academic cooperation but I think more could be done in terms of course delivery.

    Anyway, hope the Carlow students were not too depressed after the talks! Nice to meet Destructor and t2kprawn again..

    If any colleges or tutors want to respond to the feature drop me a PM.

    Aphra.

  • #34241

    peter_b
    Participant

    General consensus here was it needed to be said unfortunately. I forwarded it around to a few in the office.

  • #34245

    omen
    Participant

    Need to find some time to read it :(

  • #34246

    Darksaviour69
    Participant

    yeah its long (i’m half way, yeah!), I sent a email to my old course director with a link the article. A “games” module was added to my old course (Interactive multimedia design) basically it was making a game in director (and a smaller assignment writing a sort of review of a game).

  • #34249

    omen
    Participant

    Honestly, I think you’re being very diplomatic in that article (as is required for someone in your position I guess), I would have preferred if it was more opinionated…

  • #34250

    aphra
    Keymaster

    I think Tony is on the train back to Galway as we speak so maybe I can jump in…

    The idea behind the article was to start a constructive dialogue so that probably explains the tone of the piece. Everyone has an opinion on this but the challenge, as always, is how to do something about it.

    I think the IGDA committee members and Irish companies are up for engagement as it is in their best interests in terms of the quality of graduates they can expect out of the courses. The question is are lecturers and tutors up for engagement and cooperation or will we end up going the route of games education in the UK and have industry accreditation of courses?

    As an academic I know how difficult it is to set up new courses but on this debate I can hopefully just facilitate a dialogue as I do not teach on a games course and am not about to set one up.

    Aphra.

  • #34253

    mal
    Participant

    The article hits a lot of good points about rebadging existing courses as game design courses.

    On any good course, it’s always worth looking at what the trainers experience is – if you’re doing a sculpting class, and the trainers have never sculpted commercially, this could become a very visible issue later on down the line, where the students could suffer.

    Getting commercial companies involved is crucial if this might be the only contact the students would have with real-world experience – however there can’t be an expectation of having a commercial games company allocate a lot of their precious time to it also, for no or little financial return.

    I had a chat with someone from SkillSet recently regarding games course accreditation, it would have been interesting to hear comments on why none of the courses here in Ireland / Northern Ireland got a seal of approval from them, from both sides of the argument.

    From Tonys Bio…
    > Eventually he plans to leave the world of commercial games production behind and teach games development at third level.

    What’s that famous saying about teaching Tony? Can’t remember it off the top of my head… :P

    Mal

  • #34254

    aphra
    Keymaster

    Mal,

    Skillset only cover the UK so they wouldn’t/probably won’t accredit courses in the Republic.

    Not sure why or if they looked at the courses in the North. Maybe someone else knows..

    Aphra.

  • #34259

    omen
    Participant

    Everyone has an opinion on this but the challenge, as always, is how to do something about it. [/quote:3169327ea9]
    Thayts true, but I don’t think many people know what the real situation is. I think article lacked a bit of that, there were some examples of where things were lacking, but it was a bit lacking in specifics.
    An honest, cut to the bone approach might be better to show the reality of the situation. The article only told me what I expected to be the case, but I don’t really know the extent of whats lacking.

    One of the main things thats obviously lacking is the monitoring of companies of course content and mentoring/lecturing from industry individuals. No offence to those companies mentioned in the article as example of companies that could be consulted, but apart from Microsoft and Vivendi (which don’t actually develop in Ireland) none of them have released a current / next gen game and so would probably be lacking expertise in these areas. Havok are in the grey area as they’ll have worked on lots of games but aren’t a game company…

    I think this giant venture into games courses is somewhat premature, because they are ultimately preparing people to emmigrate, the work just doesn’t exist in Ireland yet…

  • #34261

    Kentaree
    Participant

    Omen, I agree with you, but it’s a bit of a catch 22 situation anyway. True that there are very little games companies in Ireland, however, games companies aren’t going to come here, or have much chance even starting up here, if there isn’t an available educated workforce. Quite a few game developers I know are not Irish nationals, which I think says quite a bit aswell. So the question is, do we wait for companies to come here before we start teaching game-related courses, or do we encourage them to come in by having qualified and capable people welcoming them in with open arms? ;)

  • #34264

    peter_b
    Participant

    Omen, I agree with you, but it’s a bit of a catch 22 situation anyway. True that there are very little games companies in Ireland, however, games companies aren’t going to come here, or have much chance even starting up here, if there isn’t an available educated workforce. [/quote:7c5feefb66]

    Dont belive that. We churn out a huge number of engineers and i.t. folks. With a high level of skill. Most of the industry is comprised of these types of ppl not games degree folk. And alot of us irish have no problem getting jobs over here, check out the board. So proves we can churn out the talent.

  • #34269

    omen
    Participant

    Every company where I know somebody in the UK, there are several Irish working there. There is a sizeable number of us now, but we’ve been forced to work abroad. Saying we don’t have qualified people is naive. As its been shown, as lot of people and companies prefer and the soft eng route and then specialising. Ireland is (or was, numbering going down now) full of qualified software engineers. Wasn’t software engineering one of our largest exports recently, huge companies coming in and setting up bases in Ireland to handle a lot of their database solutions.
    As much as people like to profess the uniqueness of working in games, a programmer is a programmer, an artist is an artist. If you’re good at either of those professions, I’d bet you’d be willingly embraced by a games company once you can show some understanding of how the industry works, and that requires just a little bit of research.

    There was talk over the past few years of the irish government sending people abroad to sup with the big-wig games companies in a bid to entice them to set up, but for whatever reason, they seem to have failed thus far. DC studios was one that might have started a trend, but that wasn’t to be. When they first announced their intention to move there was a huge interest from both people in Ireland and those working abroad.

    If this is going to be taken seriously, someone needs to make the first move. Realisticaly, I reckon its got to be an established company setting up a new base, and its up to the government to entice them. I think this bid of new games courses is their way of doing that, and in truth, I think its a little naive. Tony says there are now 15 or so courses in Ireland…is there even that many in the UK? When its mentioned over here there are a handful that get mentioned, if others exist, they’re not recognised as being good as they lack many of the things that Tony mentions. It would be much more useful (in my opinion) if one or 2 post grad courses had been set up, strengthened and fortified and from them, degree courses could develop with course content thats already been proven.

    (sorry that turned into a bit of a long one)

  • #34271

    GizmoDX
    Participant

    I had heard recently that the course up at Causeway Institute is being verified by skillset or some similar body. They also have close ties with eidos, i think even as far as last years students got to do some real case studies as their group projects.

  • #34273

    omen
    Participant

    Causeway would be entitled to Skillset as they’re in the North, but I’m pretty sure they weren’t on the very short list of courses that were accredited. Remember Eidos, or SCi as they should be called now, are a publisher and not a developer.

  • #34276

    omen
    Participant

    Couple more questions about this:

    1) Does anyone actually have any figures on students doing these games courses??
    2) What are the expected figures of qualified graduates in 2/3/4/5 years from now and what are the expected numbers of jobs in Ireland for jobs in a related field that those graduates can expect to find work in?
    3) Do courses attempt to do placement as part of the curriculum and if so, is there any chance of them being successful with this?
    4) Are these courses aimed at general games, tending towards mobile phone games as that’s where most game jobs in Ireland are?
    5) Are courses teaching generalised software engineer so that if the jobs don’t exist when they graduate, they can migrate into different computing fields?

  • #34280

    aphra
    Keymaster

    Carlow IT course will have its first grads this year – there are about 11 in the class but that has ramped up in their second and first year. Third years are expected to go on work experience as far as I know.

    Not sure about other courses..Carlow was one of the first degree courses to get going.

    Aphra.

  • #34286

    peter_b
    Participant

    how many will get jobs though working in games?

  • #34288

    r_mc_gowan
    Participant

    In my opinion, portfolios / project samples / industry experience / good track record / etc are what will get somebody a job in the games industry. From my experience in dare and the incubation centre, iv come to learn it will be very difficult for anyone to jump out of a degree and straight into working full time in a games studio, unless they have previous experience OR adequate course projects similar to entry tests. Im currently in 2nd year of the LYIT games course, and the main reason why is that some day i want to teach game dev. at uni level, although when going for a job interview the games degree will help in someway and also has job opportunities in other areas.

  • #34303

    y2kprawn
    Participant

    Carlow IT course will have its first grads this year – there are about 11 in the class but that has ramped up in their second and first year.
    Aphra.[/quote:69b9f825ae]

    Actually this year is our 3rd year and work placement will be this academic year, in 2007.
    We graduate in 2008, so we have a little bit of time left here. There are 11 of us as you said, 2 of those are only joining us for this year. so really there will be only 9 of us in 4th year.

    I think we have got over the little hit of depression over the weekend. The talks last week were a cold harsh dose of wake up and smell the coffee. I can only speak for us 3rd years who are going to be the first graduates, but it put things into perspective.

    I really feel sorry for any of the second years who were in the hall that afternoon !!!

    Praise the gods for Firefox 2’s built in spell check, now , if it could only do fix my grammar good.

  • #34304

    omen
    Participant

    I think we have got over the little hit of depression over the weekend. The talks last week were a cold harsh dose of wake up and smell the coffee. I can only speak for us 3rd years who are going to be the first graduates, but it put things into perspective.

    I really feel sorry for any of the second years who were in the hall that afternoon !!! [/quote:c1fbdb2502]

    ??
    You got the “this is the real situation in the games industry” talk ?

  • #34305

    y2kprawn
    Participant

    Yes, we did. The keynote speech was excellent, giving figures and statistics on game types, how many turn a profit etc.
    The thing that frightened people the most was that there are no large development studios. However the good news is that there are areas where Ireland can become leaders, but some of those areas we are going to have to find and get involved in, but we love a challenge.
    But yea, it was a “here are the facts” speech. Many of us in this course had a different view of what we would be getting into.

    Personally I was not surprised that Ireland was more into middle ware and “casual” gaming solutions, I always personally thought it was a more interesting area that being programming stuff on a large “get it out by xmas” project anyway.
    I mean, look at the stuff that game development houses have this year for the xmas rush. Anyway, wont rant off topic here.

  • #34311

    peter_b
    Participant

    I think we have got over the little hit of depression over the weekend. The talks last week were a cold harsh dose of wake up and smell the coffee. I can only speak for us 3rd years who are going to be the first graduates, but it put things into perspective.

    I really feel sorry for any of the second years who were in the hall that afternoon !!! [/quote:d69821a60b]

    ??
    You got the “this is the real situation in the games industry” talk ?[/quote:d69821a60b]

    ah the talk. as for the studio which has the rush it out for xmas policy. dont brand them all as that, only a few studios\development houses jump to mind.

  • #34313

    y2kprawn
    Participant

    ah the talk. as for the studio which has the rush it out for xmas policy. dont brand them all as that, only a few studios\development houses jump to mind.[/quote:2ca1243ce0]

    I know man, came across a little harsh there myself actually :)
    Its just that xmas is a kinda landmark for a lot of companies. Sadly I cant really see anything there I would like to get this xmas in the release list, must be first year ever.

    I feel excited that there is scope here to work on different projects that can make a difference in gaming.
    Tony is right in his article, there are a lot of games courses out there at the moment, when I decided to come back to college I could have gone back and done a few years to finish my degree but i thought that a games related degree might be better than a standard software engineering degree. It seems that the emphasis is on good computer science graduates. I actually feel lucky I came into a college with a strong curriculum, as there was industry input and I have learned things here that would not be on the list of usual CS college fare.
    I only hope that other academic institutions get in line with industry requirements, and that our college keeps in with industry or our degrees might seem tarnished by “Video Games” being in the title.

  • #34316

    omen
    Participant

    Also, you really shouldn’t brand studios as rushing things for xmas. Xmas is a thing fro publishers, they’re the ones who set the dates. Developers rush things to meet deadlines, they rarely have much say when these are.

  • #34334

    peter_b
    Participant

    why is this site getting spammed alot recently.
    Reckon Dave you need to set up some sort of authentication on creation of accounts. Something like one of those water mark generation gif’s. Might help to cut down on these spammers “shakira porn etc”.

  • #34335

    lk_
    Participant

    It’s been suggested before, even those systems aren’t perfect but at least it might cut down on some of the bots getting through.

  • #34329

    aphra
    Keymaster

    yeah, damn annoying….hope some more technical heads than I can suggest solutions we can try.

    Aphra.

  • #34333

    Kentaree
    Participant

    The authentication image would help a lot, assuming all the spammers are bots

  • #34328

    Skyclad
    Participant

    Ill have home broadband again in a week or two…after 8 months of hellish offline-ness. And I still dont even have the heating working in the place! If all goes well, Ill have some time to look at some changes then

    Dave

  • #34343

    feral
    Participant
  • #34342

    peter_b
    Participant

    Does the industry actually want people to do games specific courses?[/quote:469cc2458a]

    No :shock:

  • #34345

    omen
    Participant

    Who does this actually benefit, apart from institutions trying to fill course places? [/quote:fb32d38afe]
    I can only assume this is a big from the government to show commitment to the gaming sector to try encourage established companies to set up in Ireland, or else its universities jumping on the band-wagon and looking for an easy way to get more students into uni without really thinking about industry and student needs.

  • #34398

    aphra
    Keymaster

    some very thoughtful responses here.

    I have invited lecturers and tutors on the various courses to respond and depending on the number we receive I hope to have a follow up feature from an academic perspective.

    Also this topic will be discussed at an industry panel at CGames in a couple of weeks.

    Aphra.

  • #34475

    stevec_havok
    Participant

    some very thoughtful responses here.

    I have invited lecturers and tutors on the various courses to respond and depending on the number we receive I hope to have a follow up feature from an academic perspective.

    Also this topic will be discussed at an industry panel at CGames in a couple of weeks.

    Aphra.[/quote:52d4570286]

    I attended an EA academic summit in Chertsey last week. EA corporate’s stance on game courses is that they do not recommend game undergraduate degrees but endorse game postgraduate courses. It is their opinion that game developers need a full grounding in Computer Science first and then need to specialise in specific game topics.

    In 2005 out of 55 engineers that EA UK hired, 1 was from a games course. Also interestingly, of all hires in EA global last year, of those that came straight from College, 60% had batchelor’s degrees, 30% had MScs and 10% had PhDs. Graduates in general account for 30% of EA’s hires annually (230 last year), but they have a goal to increase this to 50% p.a. by next year. And finally, of all hires last year, 75% were in engineering, 15% were in art and 10% were in game design.

    Interesting stats.
    Steve

  • #34476

    parrotbait
    Participant

    cool, nice to know that this MSc I’m doing is actually worth something in the end………

  • #34477

    gus
    Participant

    Graduates in general account for 30% of EA’s hires annually (230 last year), but they have a goal to increase this to 50% p.a. by next year.[/quote:0f4e8f8050]They want to hire graduates, or their reputation precedes them when it comes to people with experience? They have an atrocious reputation…

  • #34478

    stevec_havok
    Participant

    Graduates in general account for 30% of EA’s hires annually (230 last year), but they have a goal to increase this to 50% p.a. by next year.[/quote:178b7ef657]They want to hire graduates, or their reputation precedes them when it comes to people with experience? They have an atrocious reputation…[/quote:178b7ef657]

    I wouldn’t be inclined to believe everything you hear in the press etc. EA are an amazing success in the game industry and are at the top for some very good reasons. The game industry is a demanding place but my experience is that it’s more demanding in the smaller companies, whereas larger companies have better conditions, benefits etc. For every EA-spouse there are 1000’s of pretty happy employees.

    The main problem for companies like EA is that the market for people with experience in the game industry is drying up. There are just not enough of them, so EA, as the biggest game publisher, needs to look outside the existing industry for growth.

    Steve

    Steve

  • #34482

    peter_b
    Participant

    Criterion excluded i presume, ive never heard a good story about them, except the bonus scheme on burnout!

  • #34483

    omen
    Participant

    I don’t base my EA opinions on what I read. I based them on what past employees have to say, and in general, its not good.

  • #34512

    gus
    Participant

    I’ve a very talented and capable close friend who’s been through the Burnout machine and apparently nearly left the industry because of it, and recently heard of a graduate (very highly regarded by a workmate I trust) who was utterly dumped on at EA.

  • #34517

    omen
    Participant

    Lets not get into the EA thing again, or at least not on this thread.

  • #34519

    kyotokid
    Keymaster

    Lets not get into the EA thing again, or at least not on this thread.[/quote:2f130d0ddc]

    Why, do you not like EA?

    (teehee)

  • #34520

    Skyclad
    Participant

    Seriously, cant we just accept that we have to work long hard hours in the games industry? :)

  • #34521

    omen
    Participant

    No.

  • #34522

    Skyclad
    Participant

    Ah gowan!

  • #34541

    P.J.
    Participant

    Remember the scene in Jerry Maguire when he walks into the building after writing his mission statement and everyone applauds him but they are actually thinking this guy won’t last a week without getting fired :D Take note Tony!

    Bob Sugar: “Finally somebody said it!!”

    No. Good article. Some very good points raised there.

  • #34726

    Idora
    Participant

    Interesting development today:-

    “The Leitch Review, commissioned by Gordon Brown to investigate the changes necessary to meet the skills challenges of the UK economy in 2020, has concluded that industry should be the driving force behind devising and implementing solutions to skills and education problems via its Sector Skills Council…

    Skillset, the Sector Skills Council for the audio visual industries in the UK, is an independent organisation which works with the industry to address skills and training needs within the workforce, and includes senior execs from Eidos and Illumina Digital among its members…

    Today’s backing for Skillset and for the central role industry has to play in setting the skills agenda is a very welcome development,” said Andrew Chitty, managing director of Illumina Digital.

    Full report here:- http://www.gamesindustry.biz/content_page.php?aid=21552

  • #34727

    Idora
    Participant

    Heard recently that Skillset are planning to start reviewing the shorter ( 1 -2 yr) courses next year with a view to accreditation, same as they did this year with the degree and post-grad courses. Seems the Skillset members themselves are pretty split on the issue – in that some feel strongly that the shorter courses shouldn’t be accredited at all. This second round of reviews was a compromise. Interested to see how it turns out and how many make it through the review process

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