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Old 01-10-2012, 01:34 PM   #1
iSmartMan
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Default Good to know besides programming?

I'm currently a college student majoring in Computer Science with the hope of becoming a game programmer, but in order to graduate, my university requires students to take four high-level courses OUTSIDE their chosen major. I've heard that pretty much any field of study could be drawn upon by a game designer, but I haven't been able to find much on what programmers would find useful to learn about other than programming. Any suggestions? For now, lets keep things generic and pretend that the courses my university offers are irrelevant.
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Old 01-10-2012, 01:56 PM   #2
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Default Re: Good to know besides programming?

Hmm, how about these:
Art appreciation
Music appreciation
Mythology
Geography
Any martial art, like fencing for instance
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Old 01-10-2012, 02:11 PM   #3
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Hmm, how about these:
Art appreciation
Music appreciation
Mythology
Geography
Any martial art, like fencing for instance
You sure those are helpful to game programmers? They seem more appropriate for game designers or game artists/modelers/animators. I was sort of expecting to see Physics (for working with physics engines) or Psychology (for AI behavior) get recommended, and their absence seems to imply a misunderstanding, either on my part or yours. Would you mind elaborating on how the subjects you listed could be used in game programming?
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Old 01-10-2012, 05:19 PM   #4
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I was sort of expecting to see Physics (for working with physics engines) or Psychology (for AI behavior) get recommended, and their absence seems to imply a misunderstanding, either on my part or yours.
I did not misunderstand you. If you are not interested in the things I listed, that's fine. Yes to physics and psychology, absolutely. What else do you want me to recommend to you besides those 2 courses?
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Old 01-10-2012, 08:24 PM   #5
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I did not misunderstand you. If you are not interested in the things I listed, that's fine. Yes to physics and psychology, absolutely. What else do you want me to recommend to you besides those 2 courses?
Well, if I knew what I wanted you to recommend to me, then I wouldn't need you to recommend it, now would I?

For now, I would just like for you to clarify how the courses you initially suggested could be utilized by a computer programmer, as opposed to a designer or artist, because I fail to see how they would be relevant. I am assuming that this is because I am being incredibly dense and that there is a simple explanation, which I was hoping you could provide to me.
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Old 01-10-2012, 08:25 PM   #6
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Default Re: Good to know besides programming?

One important skill for game programmers is having the ability and patience to explain why the build could be acting up to people who know nothing about computers and have serious mathphobia.

Try to take classes with small class sizes and are discussion based instead of lecture based.

For example, an acting class would help a lot more than you may think.
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Old 01-10-2012, 09:35 PM   #7
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Default Re: Good to know besides programming?

Quote:
Originally Posted by iSmartMan View Post
1. Well, if I knew what I wanted you to recommend to me, then I wouldn't need you to recommend it, now would I?
2. For now, I would just like for you to clarify how the courses you initially suggested could be utilized by a computer programmer, as opposed to a designer or artist, because I fail to see how they would be relevant.
1. But you knew you ought to study physics and psychology. Those are excellent choices -- your own instincts are better than you seem to think.

2. a. You will be working on a team, whose ultimate goal is to create games. If you're just going to be a silent team member with no opinions on how the game should be designed, then you don't need to study things relevant to game design. Everybody else on the team will have such opinions, and they are likely to expect you to chime in.

2. b. Being able to appreciate art and music would make you a well-rounded person. If you were just about bits and bytes, you'd be a boring person. Taking some sort of martial art will boost your self-confidence. And moving your body is a good thing. I agree with the previous post that acting is an excellent thing for any member of a game team to know. If you don't want to study any martial arts or acting, then how about dance? It'll make you a well-rounded person, and better able to enjoy activities with partners of the opposite sex (or the same sex, if so inclined).

3. You could also take a course in business, a course in management, marketing. Such subjects will better prepare you for working in the game industry, no matter what role you play.
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Old 01-11-2012, 04:17 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsloper View Post
1. But you knew you ought to study physics and psychology. Those are excellent choices -- your own instincts are better than you seem to think.

2. a. You will be working on a team, whose ultimate goal is to create games. If you're just going to be a silent team member with no opinions on how the game should be designed, then you don't need to study things relevant to game design. Everybody else on the team will have such opinions, and they are likely to expect you to chime in.

2. b. Being able to appreciate art and music would make you a well-rounded person. If you were just about bits and bytes, you'd be a boring person. Taking some sort of martial art will boost your self-confidence. And moving your body is a good thing. I agree with the previous post that acting is an excellent thing for any member of a game team to know. If you don't want to study any martial arts or acting, then how about dance? It'll make you a well-rounded person, and better able to enjoy activities with partners of the opposite sex (or the same sex, if so inclined).

3. You could also take a course in business, a course in management, marketing. Such subjects will better prepare you for working in the game industry, no matter what role you play.
Okay, I'm pretty sure the misunderstanding was on my part, so...
1. Those were just the two most obvious to me. When I started this thread, my hope was to get ideas beyond those two and really see what my options were, especially since it would take quite a few courses to be eligible for high-level Psych courses, and the high-level Physics courses tend to be oriented towards quantum and nuclear physics.

2a. THIS is where I think the misunderstanding was. I was under the impression that there tended to be 3 main groups working on a game's content (artists, programmers, and designers), and each group tended to not directly influence the others. If a programmer could give suggestions to the designers without them resenting it as someone else "telling them how to do their job", then that opens up some options.

2b & 3. I've actually been taking martial arts lessons for 15 years, and am currently one rank below black belt in my class. As for the other suggestions, I'll take them under advisement (which I hadn't been doing before I started this thread, see 2a)

Thanks for the help! Whenever I ask for help on something like this, it always seems like there's some misconception I have that ends up being the root of my problem.
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Old 01-13-2012, 10:01 AM   #9
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Default Re: Good to know besides programming?

Quote:
Originally Posted by iSmartMan View Post
I was under the impression that there tended to be 3 main groups working on a game's content (artists, programmers, and designers), and each group tended to not directly influence the others.
Look up the term "collaboration." If there are impenetrable walls between the various disciplines as you suggest, then there is no collaboration.

Also, there are potentially 4 more groups (depending on the scope of the game):
Production (project management)
Audio
Writing
QA

Yes, 2 of those don't "work on a game's content," but it could be argued that programmers don't work on content -- they work on the game's functionality, not the game's content/ assets.
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Old 01-13-2012, 11:28 AM   #10
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Look up the term "collaboration." If there are impenetrable walls between the various disciplines as you suggest, then there is no collaboration.
Well, I was basing that assumption on my interpretation of what a game producer does, which was that he acted as the facilitator between other groups, gathering information from all the other groups and making management decisions based on that big picture. I wrongly assumed that the need for such an individual meant that communication between the other groups tended to be, shall we say, less than ideal.

However, now I realize that the producer provides communication from a business and productivity perspective, but not from a creative perspective. Thank you for clarifying that for me, that would have caused me some MAJOR problems in the future.
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