Getting into the business

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Getting into the business // Business

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Post by Weevil // Jul 5, 2008, 12:35am

Total Posts: 534
I can't really find anywhere else to put this so if this is in the wrong place, please move it

To cut a long story short, I went to the college I applied for on a 'taster' day. And for some reason something felt wrong. The journey is annoyingly long, it's a chavy college and the people I'm in the course with are right numpties. Also The course all of a sudden doesn't seem as good as it did on paper, and doesn't sound like it's going to offer what it said it was.

So I'm having reconsiderations, but if I have to go to a college it's going to have to be that one. But I don't think college, heck even uni life wouldn't be right for me. So I have some questions regarding the business

Should I find a studio, I have a portfolio, both on PC and printed off.
Do I come qualifications bearing or portfolio bearing, or both?
Do I use the program they set or can I use my own (which would be truespace and maya)
It's obvious I need to go to the studio everyday, are the hours good, will I have free time (on average)

Or freelance animation
Same questions as the above, plus
Stupidly, if you're freelance do you have to go in to the studio
Do you contact them, or visa versa.

Now, if I decide to 'drop out' of college should I find a studio or whatever, would it be a mistake? Will it be a 'fun' job that I would enjoy doing and will it open up opportunities or will I regret it? I'm sort of confident enough that I could present a half decent portfolio to allow me to start off small.


Post by Emmanuel // Jul 5, 2008, 5:51am

Total Posts: 439
I would say that school/college/university :

1. teaches methods and rigourous work and 2. is a place to make friends.

You will learn the essential (informations and experience) to make good artworks by working in a company ; not at school.

Of course things are different if you plan to become a doctor or scientist :p

This being said, I think I was not a good studient when at school because I don't know what chavy nor numpties means.

Oh, I don't even find these words in my Robert&Collins dictionnary. What a shame, if books don't even help :(

Post by spacekdet // Jul 5, 2008, 6:45am

Total Posts: 1360
I don't know what chavy nor numpties means.
Oh, I don't even find these words in my Robert&Collins dictionnary. What a shame, if books don't even help :(

You just looked in the wrong dictionary!
Numpty (
Chav (

Post by Emmanuel // Jul 5, 2008, 8:16am

Total Posts: 439
Woohoo! Great! Thanks Spacekdet.

Now the question is : how will I use all that brand new vocabulary ?


Post by spacekdet // Jul 5, 2008, 11:35am

Total Posts: 1360
Oh yes, to the gist of the topic:
My advice is always: Stay in school!
Maybe not that particular school, (and I'd give it more than one class to decide) but gaining the degree is generally more advantageous than not.

Post by splinters // Jul 5, 2008, 1:54pm

Total Posts: 4148
Must be a locality thing. While it has the same meaning the word numpty up here in my town was an abbreviation of the full title which still makes me smile to this day:


I have no idea where that word came from but I love it...:D

Post by Tiles // Jul 5, 2008, 11:05pm

Total Posts: 1037
One's for sure, working as a graphics artist is hard earned money, working as a freelancer even more. Just the fittest and very best survives. And you better prepare for looots of extra hours ;)

Post by Weevil // Jul 6, 2008, 2:31am

Total Posts: 534
@spacekdet. The problem is, the next class I'm in will be in September and by then it'll be too late to do anything about it, so unfortunately, I have to decide on that class.

(Also, believe me, I won't make any friends in that class, it's terrible!)

The main reason I also feel I could start 3D work is that it's the main thing I spend my time doing, and working in school and college just doesn't give me the drive to go do it. Not that I'm saying I DON'T do it, I can get going quicker when there's a real end product to achieve. For example, take this. I was approached by a guy called Blinkstale and he asked me if I can do some texturing, and by the end of it, I had modelled the main ship, and some enemies as well and in all honesty, I didn't see the final final end product until it was released. (here's the link by the way).
Granted the organic boss isn't too good (but that *ahem* is set to change *nudge nudge wink wink*).
That's the sort of stuff that gets me fired up. If this was a project in school or college I would think it's cool, but wouldn't produce as well as I would. (I'm also happy that I've had the experience and this also explains my constant Starfox postings)

Either way I go, there's going to be a catch but, I really am undecided about college, regardless about the working hours and whatnot.

Here's actually the message I put in another place (actually the forum that produced ToC)

Well. That was interesting.

Went out on a college 'introduction day' (note the quotation marks) today. I'm not so sure about the college I've enlisted in anymore

I signed up for a media/games development course that covered things like learning dark basic pro and even some 3DS Max which is the one program I have been avoiding for some reason.

When I went to the open evening we came in. Waited a bit. And then saw the guy actually running the course, and the conversation sort of went like this.

Dad - Hi to you
Teacher - Hello have a seat
Dad - Right we've signed up with that games developmen course
Teacher - Right
Dad - How much of it is actually games development? Because as I understand it, some places use it as like the icing on the cake.
Teacher - A lot of it is mainly media, such as learning sound equipment, 2D and 3D animation but they can all be applied into games
Dad - Right, it's the one thing we want to check really because we were wondering if it was media...but with some games development, or if it was games development but using some media skills.
Teacher - Well it's the first one really, this course has seen a few drop outs from a full class before because people didn't really know what they were signing up to.
Dad - Right, we just came here to make sure. I know I'm really supposed to say you should enroll steven because he's the next developer of grand theft auto and things like that.

And then somehow the conversation skipped to, We've got a portfolio of some of my work. And it was a good sign that he guy said "yeah! I'll look at that" instead of "well we haven't got the time really" and we plugged in my pen drive to his PC and showed him some of the images, from StarFox, and we threw in some shots of ToC for good measure, but we said I made the models only. And then some shots of other random carp I've been doing.

And the guy kept turning around for some reason so I did...He had it up on the flaming projector! So I talked just that little bit quieter.

So from that evening I got a really good impression of this college and signed up.

Went to the taster day, and first off I was in a class of game nerds, there was only about 3 people in a class of 15 that had a sense of humour that didn't involve something to do with games. And 1 girl (which now makes 16 (she was late))

I thought, okay, the male/female ratio is a little off, and I can't see myself becoming friends with many of these chaps but it was to be expected.

And when we came to do this taster lesson. They were really focusing on the games, it felt to me as if they were trying to keep the not so well informed hooked. And unfortunately for me. It was one of those lessons where I followed the group I was put in and just shut up.

The main activity was to go to some marked place (with clipboards and sticky labels with your name on (which I removed)) and discuss how each of these areas would be used in a chose game genre. We got third person shooter.

First up. Car park

Matey 1 - Vehicle depot
Everyone else agreed, I thought, well it stands to reason doesn't it? But what else is there y'know? And said nothing

Main reception
Matey 2 - Gathering point, your mission centre
Okay, that one I had to conceed it worked...if the places were relevant to things like menus and stuff like that.

Welfare office
May 2 again - Medic station
I started to get bored then

They said stuff it and returned to our 'classroom'. But, oh. There were a couple more things.

Sound lab
Technology, decoding, upgrades centre and things like that. guess who said it. Matey 2

It was at that point I stopped listening and for a brief moment I got irritated. But luckily only for a brief moment, it's very unbecoming. But regardless my train of thought was

"You dunce! Those sort of areas are only really relevant if the entire game is based around the college and/or the room names are important! They want to look at the environments!

Take the car park for example.

It's a wide open space. A big area. Good for a fight with lots of enemies because there are cars there so you can run in and out of cover. This car park goes up a hill. Are you trying to get up it or stop someone else from getting up it? What would happen if the cars suddenly disappeared? Would we leave a sniper rifle in the little path leading from the car park so you pick it up as you get to the area? So we would have a snipe fest because there is now no car cover. What would happen if there was enough space for a helicopter, gun turret. Y'know? There are Roofs for pete's sake!

Moving on to the reception
It's a splitway, right? So if you had a team, you could split them up. You could get an one hell of a storming firefight coming from all directions. It could act as the main hub/save station thinking along the lines of crash bandicoot. They sort of touched no that concept I'll give them but it was, quote "where the sergeant gives you your orders and things like that"

The sound lab.
We didn't go into it but by the sounds of things it seems to me like those office rooms you get in some games like counter strike and SWAT or whatever, the rooms with rows of really long desks with computers spaced evenly along them. Except with keyboards. This is a close quarter environment, so perfect for zombie attacks, places where the lights go out, hostage situations where the environment restricts your movement but it doesn't protect you.

I'm not going to go on all day about that so moving on

We then had to make up a concept for a game in our game genre. And matey 1 was banging on about full customisability like your character, a 100% active storyline and things like that and I said nothing purely because I knew that this was a fantasy concept, but I still couldn't help but keep thinking about the reality concept. Simply put. You're going to pull it off how?

But matey 1 is the sort of chap I've marked to avoid simply because I don't know what his game (EDIT: Ho ho) is. He seems a little uninformed of anything to know fully about stuff but he knows just enough to get by, so his conversations are vague but they appear really serious. Like talking to a ten year old how to work a jet aircraft. He waffles on about how he wants to start making his game but he either A wants to do it on his own or B wants people helping him to just go with the concepts he has.

He 'aint getting either.

And then the next second he's saying about how he does weights and how he's getting a new bike and things. A cool geek (I'm sorry, all those attending the course are, I'm not exempt from that and I accept that) is just like lord buzz killington off family guy. It's just...terrible.

All right. I'm sorry, they are here to learn about this stuff and I have every faith that they will know the biz by the end and I have been modelling/animating/making videos for a decent 5 years now and now recently blagged a spot in ToC. But I'm not good at this. And if these chaps are as 'hardcore' gamer 'nerds' as they think/show themselves to be. They should know at least half the above too.

But also it's the journey every day.

About 15/20 minutes to the train station. Same again on the train and then another 10/15 minutes to get to the college (which quite frankly doesn't feel...right) And also it's chav central I've discovered.

Theres another college. Queen Mary's College. It's still in the same area but, it is apparently a nicer building, and also a couple of my friends and some more people from my old school are going there, and if I would be doing a course that doesn't touch on games, but instead does photography, art, whatever, but still does IT, maybe animation I wouldn't mind. Because, A BTEC or diploma from there might actually look nicer, I would have covered a broader area if things go guitar shaped and although I'd be getting roughly the same journey, it would be a nicer place, and a nicer journey plus I'd be with people I know. But this college only does one BTEC in IT, and it's not the one I want

But it may be too late to change my mind

I'm seriously reconsidering

Post by mrbones // Jul 6, 2008, 11:15pm

Total Posts: 1280
We dont need no thought control...No dark sarcasm in the classroom,

Hey Teacher, Leave those kids alone..


Find what inspires you, follow your heart and dreams...

Dont believe in anything except yourself, Get your mind right...

Learn all you can by yourself, Its not the end goal, its the journey,

Whats better than making it? getting there!

Strive for perfection, Be the best,

Shoot for the stars and you will land on the moon.


P.S. Never take advice to stay in school from high school dropouts...

Post by TomG // Jul 7, 2008, 1:29am

Total Posts: 3397
I have never experienced or researched game related courses, but I have read many articles where people say that they are no good. Most of them are basically there as fluff to add catchment, and offer little actual useful training to the people attending.

I'd do a web search on the subject of game courses at universities and colleges and do some reading. There were apparently two or three that were thought to be good, and a lot thought to be no good.

School is probably still recommended, but perhaps different subjects. Going to be a designer? Some programming would probably be good. Going to be a 3D artist? Something for general graphic design would be good (or some 3D courses are probably better than game courses).

The main problem with game courses, from what I have read remember so do research this yourself, is they don't teach actual design.

So perhaps your doubts have foundation, they do sound like doubts I've heard expressed in articles and write ups. I would research and read more though, don't take my limited word for it, since this is a big decision.

Try to find which courses were actually useful, and then sign up for those, even if those schools are a long way away or hard to get into. Also, if you are after game design and not 3D modeling for games, then I would recommend practicing that area :) Make a few simple games, or proof of concept demos, or storyboard a game. That would be more useful than making 3D models, which is a bit specialist for learning / showcasing game design. It all depends on what role you ultimately would like in the game development process.



Post by Matski007 // Jul 7, 2008, 1:04pm

Total Posts: 539
ok, here is the truth. I am currently starting my final year at the University of Bradford doing a course in Computer Animation and I am also the student representative of my course (meaning I know what goes on and all the problems students have). Basically what you are realising, as I did, is that these courses are nothing but cash for degree, they are useless, simply doing a course will not give you the skills you need to progress into a career you want. However, what is good, is that you WILL make friends, maybe not at college (which is always full of idiots, infact it sounds a lot like the bradford college what you describe), I have made a number of incredibly good friends, who have helped me get better at what I do, I am hoping to set up a small company with a few of them after our course.

College/University helps you make connections, with friends and with the industry and best of all they give you access to fantastic resources (bradford offers a motion capture studio) which you can use whenever.

Plus nothing beats the student life. embrace this oppertunity to be lazy but also use the time and facilities to teach yourself 3D modelling and animation and create your own showreel. There are literally hundreds of people on my course and Im pretty sure they will all pass at the end, however I think that maybe the 5% who did work outside of the course are likely to get a career in the industry, whereas the others will not.

If none of this makes sense, please PM me and Ill try and help you, you are best staying where you are and gritting your teeth, believe me

Post by Weevil // Jul 8, 2008, 12:51am

Total Posts: 534
As much as I would like to start straight off, you are 100% right. My brother has got some people doing the same uni course and he's said that he'll sort out little modelling jobs, who knows what might happen (although I find it a little strange that uni students on a 3D games development /modelling course would need my help)

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