Hi, I'm TJ. I'm guessing about 90% of you reading this already know that. But for the newcomers, hey. How's it goin'? Over the next 21 months I’ll be attending Full Sail University for a B.S.in Game Development. I'm writing this so those of you out there that are interested, mildly curious, or just plain bored, can get kind of an inside look at what it's like to go to school for game development. Now I'm still pretty new at it - I've only been in class for 2 days - so like I said, this is more of an intro post. But I'll share what I've gone through so far.
First let me just say that I'm very excited. I haven't had this kind of energy for something for years. Back when I was first in tech school, learning to program in VB. It's how you feel when you're on the verge of doing something amazing. Maybe like how you feel at the start of a marathon, or standing at the edge of a plane door getting ready to sky dive. That kind of energy. It's a nice feeling, and it gets me pumped to be in class. Even the boring stuff, like intros, or filling out paperwork, I'm just really excited to do it. I'm sure some of you have no idea as to what I'm talking about, but you've either been there or will be someday. Then you'll recall this.
Anyway, on to class. This month I'm taking English Comp and Design Fundamentals. English Comp is pretty self explanatory. Mostly just a refresher in writing and all that. The goal of the class is to teach us to write professionally, be it on a résumé, executive summary, or any sort of game documentation in general. I’m not really going to touch on that, because I find English classes to be boring, and I find talking about them to be even more so. If you’re really super curious though, feel free to ask and I’ll indulge. So on to the fun stuff.
Design Fundamentals. Goodstuff. Obviously I’m not going to be too in depth on day 1, but it was neat to get a glimpse of the process of starting with an idea and moving on to a fully developed game. Full Sail doesn’t mess around either. After maybe 20 minutes of quick, “Hi my name is…” intros, we went to work. The exercise was to take a bag full of just completely random things, and using these ideas as a springboard, come up with a game concept. At this point we were broken down into groups, and brainstorming. My group specifically had an eraser, busted mirror thing, and a sink strainer. We were told to make an RPG. I think we started with a 2D kind of game where the characters were animated, and had to fight an evil drawing for control of the eraser. About 15 minutes later we had fine tuned this somehow into a very epic sounding sci-fi RPG dealing with interdimensional monsters attacking a secret government lab. Then about 15 minutes after that we stuck with the story, and instead of going all God of War serious about it, we started coming up with hilarious Duke Nukem kind of scenarios.
Our end product was nothing short of hilarious. Our theoretical box boasted key features such as 5000+ lines of recorded one-liners, and a star-studded cast being headed by Bruce Willis.
The whole experience was just really cool. Being able to work with people from different walks of life, pitch out ideas; see how they come to life, die, and get reborn as something new and absurd was just really neat. We honestly went from 2D to 3D to FPS to third person in the span of 20 minutes. Keeping up with 4 other guys and trying to keep a coherent story was challenging to say the least. And this is just day 1. Suffice it to say, I can’t wait to start day 2.
I will say this as a quick aside about the faculty and students. I won’t lie; before I started I had just a horrible image of my classmates. I pictured kids that didn’t shower, and lived in the darkness of their mother’s basement gaming to the wee hours of the morning. I pictured that guy from the South Park Wow episode cloning himself, and surrounding me daily on campus. I figured my teachers would be the classic nerds with glasses and long scraggly hair. And so far, I couldn’t have been farther off. The student body is just like any other college, it doesn’t fit any particular stereotype. Honestly, everyone is pretty normal. The faculty really steals the show. Everyone I’ve met on the staff has just had this great energy to them, really funny, and they are obviously passionate about what they do. Overall this has just been way above what I thought it would be. Bravo Full Sail, bravo!
Well, I’ll wrap this up. Please feel free to comment or anything, I’ll do my very best to respond. I’m going to try and update this once or twice a week, maybe more if I really feel super cool has happened that doesn’t fit the schedule. I’m really looking forward to this experience. And if nothing else, I figure I’ll give you guys something to kill 20 minutes with.