Being a part of the first class of Game Dev students meant that not only was the group small (about 12) but also that there were some growing pains with the classes and teachers as well. The Game Degree was placed in basic classrooms in an unused area of the school which was sufficient, but not really geared for the degree. The good news is that everyone there truly cared about giving a top quality education and provided all the effort and tools they could to make it happen.
campus has more than tripled in size and they have created areas like the new Blackmoor Studios that is tailored to how Game Dev groups work together.
My first three months at Full Sail were in what they called Mini School and was a requirement for my degree to be accredited. You may not know that Full Sail has many degree programs: Audio Engineering, Film, Show Production, Animation, Digital Media...etc. Mini School was designed as an introductory program for EVERY student to get that accreditation. So, I learned to mix audio, do Foley recording, operate film cameras, etc. While the experience was interesting...it wasn't geared to Game Dev in any way and it was hard not to feel like I was wasting time. Luckily for recent Full Sail students that process has changed and they have figured out a way to let them focus entirely on making games from the beginning.
Dave Arneson since his passing, he was a fantastic teacher and playing a D&D session with him as Dungeon Master was a highlight of my life.
The final projects are now FIVE months and they are much larger groups of students from the various degree programs working together. There are Master's Degree students that work as the producers, Game Dev Bachelor students that handle the gameplay programming, as well as Game Art students that provide art for the games. I believe they also get animation support from that degree program, but i'm not certain about that. This is a fantastic way to handle final projects and gives a true Game Development experience for everyone involved. Not only that, but the games that come out of these final projects are pretty amazing. Check out some of them HERE.
Yeah, things have changed a lot during the last 10 years. I felt like I came out of Full Sail with a great set of knowledge and some great projects to show employers. The level of education has taken a huge leap forward and they students that I hire now are incredibly capable and show great promise. The Gaming Industry has changed a lot in how it views potential entry level employees as well...but I'll get into that in another post.
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