Slashdot has another link to the perennial “Are kids getting Computer Science degrees so they can make video games?” article, this time talking about how colleges are trying to make CS curricula more gaming-friendly.

A few points, in no particular order:

  • My decision to go to school for CS was partially based on good grades and fun times in high school computer science, and partially based on liking video games. Now in my Junior year, I know that I won’t be making video games when I graduate and that’s okay with me. That disillusionment is key. If my college kept stringing me along and making me think that all programming was video games. . .
  • The video games industry is one of the most taxing careers out there. It has all of the “there are 100 people lined up outside my door who want your job” of Hollywood added to the “I’m gonna need you to come in on Saturday” of the corporate world. Making games isn’t just work. It’s long, hard work.
  • There’s a video game development club at NC State. The first meeting had about 50-60 people, 80% of whom “liked video games and wanted to see how they were made”. Everyone else had serious programming experience and were interested in actually making the games themselves. Subsequent meetings have been smaller-scale.
  • Every time this question comes up, I think back to when the question came up back in 2006, specifically the comment left by John Carmack, co-founder of id Games and experienced game-making boot-strapper:

    Game programs have been somewhat useful for finding employees, but we don’t actually think that the students are learning particularly valuable skills in the programs.

    A CS or EE degree will almost certainly serve you better throughout your life than a game/media degree, but if getting into the industry immediately is your overriding concern, a game program will help with contacts and opportunities.

    Exceptional merit will eventually be noticed (perhaps not as quickly as you would like, though), and a degree of any sort is not required if you can conclusively demonstrate that you will contribute great value to a company. However, many entry level positions are filled based on people’s opinions about potential, and honest assessments from faculty that work with lots of students does carry some weight.

    The best advice is “be amazing”, but “diligent and experienced” counts for quite a bit.

Pretty much.

Reflecting on the whole business, the best thing to do would probably have a game development course at the high school level. Let kids see how much work it is to make games (much less fun games) and then see if they still want to spend their tuition money.

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