10.7. Game SchoolsΒΆ

Because game development is a young and cross disciplinary field, it can be hard to figure out what kind of degree at a traditional university can best prepare someone to work in the game industry. The general advice is to get a solid foundation in either computer science (programming) or in art.

Oregon Options

While there are no Oregon state universities with noted game development programs, every school has a CS department. (Oregon State University does offer a Game and Simulation focused computer science degree.) Here at Chemeketa, we offer a CS Transfer program that allows you to take all or most of the CS courses you need for the first two years in one of these degrees.

In any traditional degree program, the challenge is to find the time to develop your game making skills - to put the general skills you are learning to practice developing games and produce some demos that might convince someone to hire you.

Lane Community College offers a two year degree in Computer Simulation and Game Development. The instructor from that program is very up front with students - their two year degree will probably not get you a job. But it is a way to do the basics of a CS degree while learning some of the game development tools that then you can use to build your demo projects while completing a four year degree.

Other Options

To get a 4-year degree completely focused on game design, you need to look somewhere other than the Oregon University System. The Princeton Review ranks top programs across the nation if you are willing and able to travel.

Gamasutra publishes an annual directory of Game Schools each year (check page 93).

Game Schools & For Profit Colleges

Because traditional schools have been slow to offer game focused degrees, many for-profit colleges have stepped in to offer them. The danger for students is exactly that - these schools are founded with a mission to make money. There are some good programs, but there are many, many poor ones that will sign you up for financial aid and not deliver much of an education. Just try a google news search for: ”for profit college financial aid”. Here is what Extra Credits has to say about picking the good programs from the ones that are just selling people fantasies: