A few people have already make reference to colleges and the games related course that are on offer in Ireland but if I’m completely blunt most of these course are a waste of students time, if their main focus is to get into games development. There are about 3 institutes in the country who have made a decent attempt to put together a syllabus of relevant content for students who want to get into the games industry, the rest have just taken their Computer Science degree and maybe added one games related module to it. This is a complete con and it just created graduates who aren’t qualified to do the job that they think they are. The main reason that I can see for this is that the lecturers in most college lack interest in games development and the course only exist to get students in through the door.
This is relevant to gd.ie for two reasons:
1. The Course sections should have testimonials from past students where the course that aren’t up to scratch should be easily identifiable (this would obviously need to be extremely well regulated). Metrics on the number of graduates from each course who actually get a job in the industry (and what country they’re in) should also be available here
2. The lectures from the courses that get good reviews should be invited to contribute to the site on a regular basis. This could be in the form of articles, Q&A sessions on the forums or even assisting with game dev workshops if they have the time.
Very interesting, and yes I agree a large number of universities and colleges are failing perhaps even conning prospective students. However getting students to review their course is just not going to work.
1) Current students are not going to voice their opinion for fear of insulting/upsetting or will just suck up to their lecturers.
2) Students will use it as a platform for airing grievances and quiet likely unfairly. Look at the abuse of sites like ratemyteacher.ie etc. I remember one particular interesting review that said a past teacher of mine ate babies.
3) Students and many graduates will not give honest opinions on their course. You want to get into the industry, you’re banking on your degree to get you in. Are you really going to say the course you did was bad? Nope. You’re going to say it was a great course that really prepared you for the industry.
4) Universities/colleges will NOT be happy about it. They won’t participate.
I would really like to see people being more open and honest about their college experiences but I just don’t see it happening.
Net effect you wouldn’t be able to trust either positive or negative feedback on courses. I’ve seen a lot of advice on here to the effect of "do research on your course before you do it" which IS good advice. However many students will probably significantly underestimate how deep they really need to dig.
As for contributing more to the site, yeah it would be great but many indies would be really nervous about doing it too soon. So you’ll get lots of silence and then gluts of content . For collaborative projects there are bigger and better equipped sites and communities to support them (moddb.com and indiedb.com). I would be very interested in getting involved and supporting a "hackspace" for games if it were possible though.
In the end I think Gamedevelopers.ie is going to continue as it is until we get more indies going in Ireland, then it will become more meaningful I think. Still it’s current role is very handy, allowing us to make contact with each other when we need.
It might be interesting if we get a series of articles going, kinda like the featured blogs on gamasutra from people with industry experience. Or even if a few of us started posting code/design/art discussions on a more indepth level.