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I am interested in studying game design, not because I want a job in the games industry, but because I am interested in the subject itself. I read the following questions, but they mostly deal with the effects on your career in game industry.

First I thought a game development degree could be beneficial. But from the websites of colleges that offer such degrees, I feel like its more about basic programming with examples from games.

This college offers game design degrees, for example.

My question is, can I benefit from such a degree when I already have a degree in Computer Science, I already know programming, I'm already developing a game and finally, I have this site to help me when I get stuck?

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"I have this site to help me when I get stuck" How could you need anything more? –  Byte56 Jun 28 '13 at 4:10
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I'm skeptical about the suitability of this question for this site. But you do have too many different questions in one here; I've removed the ones that are not game development related or don't have objective single answers of any note. –  Josh Petrie Jun 28 '13 at 4:11
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The answers to the questions I removed are generally "it depends." I'd be happy to discuss the topic with you in Game Development Chat if you'd like. –  Josh Petrie Jun 28 '13 at 4:14
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"What do they teach?" It depends. There are many different degree programs and many of them are wildly different. Contrary to popular belief, there are no generally-enforced standards for the structure of a degree program for game design or similar. Many schools will talk about "accreditation," but that almost certainly doesn't mean they want you to think it means. –  Josh Petrie Jun 28 '13 at 4:17
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I would also consider myself a hobbyist, and have been taking a game dev degree part time while undertaking full time work as a software developer. I'm now 18 months into my course and feel like I could count the useful skills I have learnt on one hand. Meanwhile During semester I have had zero free hours for personal projects. In comparison if I had taken the time I have spent studying (20 hrs x 45 wks = 900 hrs) and invested it in personal projects I would have a lot more to show for it. In my case I am sure focused personal endeavour would have had a greater payoff. –  Kelly Thomas Jun 29 '13 at 2:31

2 Answers 2

I think that you can absolutely benefit from expanding your knowledge base and experience, especially as concerns other disciplines within the industry you work in (as a professional or a hobbyist).

However, if you are talking about spending years of your life and tens of thousands of dollars to do so, and you're not really expecting to take that investment and capitalize on it to achieve a return (which is to say: get a job as a game designer), it's probably a waste of that time and money(*).

You'd be better offer perusing the curriculum of any interesting-looking programs and investigating the relevant topics on your own, in this case.

(*) True, some people spend a lot of time and money on hobbies, but that doesn't mean you should spend that money unwisely. "Game design" and "game development" degrees can be an unwise expenditure even for somebody who wants a career in the field; they are often very poor or have very poor reputations within the industry.

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"several thousands of dollars" - haha. :) –  Sean Middleditch Jun 28 '13 at 5:52
    
Pretty sure degrees are measured in tens of thousands nowadays. –  kurtzbot Jun 28 '13 at 20:47
    
I'm an optimistic fellow, what can I say. Edited. –  Josh Petrie Jun 29 '13 at 0:18
    
@kurtzbot, is that also true in Malaysia? It's always worth checking OP's profile before assuming they're in the same country as you. –  Peter Taylor Jun 29 '13 at 14:25
    
@PeterTaylor, my comment was more a joke than actual commentary. –  kurtzbot Jul 18 '13 at 18:54

Some thoughts to consider:

Doing a full time study includes probably a lot of stuff that you are already familiar with as a programmer, or that will not help you at all since the study will probably include some subjects that are not related to game programming at all.

You only get relevant information from people that are at least working part of their time in the game industry. A teacher working full time at school, and not having any hobby game projects, is not really a person I would want to learn from. Except mathematics or physics, which is theoretical stuff that doesn't change suddenly.

If you not need the degree, you could eventually only sit in some courses. (Nobody would have noticed someone who wasn't registered, at the place where I used to study ;-) ) Pick the topics that interest you, and maybe make some contacts with some student's so they can let you know which subjects are interesting.

Studying in the web and joining some groups and working on Mods, could probably be even more helpful. Working in a good group will let you recognize some commonly used technics and such.

A good point to get common knowledge about game design would be Books I guess.

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