What do they teach you?

My today’s entry is unusual, because I want to tell you about bad habit of game design students. Taking the opportunity, I will show a bit of my dissatisfaction.

Courses in making games are not as popular in Poland as they are in United States of America (or Great Britain).  In fact, every bigger college offers this specialization and, what’s more, there are special “courses” that will teach you how to make “awesome games” in few years.

From time to time I browse deviantart.com and search for stuff related to the newest available SDKs (like Unreal Development Kit or CryEngine). I usually comment what I find and give some good advice to even poor work which show extremely large ambitions and engagement of a person who created them. But the main problem are projects made by “specialists”, second- or third-year students of game design course.

Imagine a scene in UDK: a few trees (the same model, sometimes turned around by random angle), placed on flat terrain with grass texture of 512×512 pixels resolution, add some standards “God Rays” going through the leaves, showing our “creative power” and, of course, don’t forget about those majestic hills in the background with the same texture as the ground.

In such (this) case, description of the picture looks like “Practicing UDK for my class. I’m so proud of it!” If we check a profile of the author, we can spot a line informing us that this person has been learning to make games (sometimes it is more precise, e.g: level design) for two or three years.

So here is my question: what the hell they teaching you there? Really, I can’t imagine. I saw some works of people who just started their journey with game design and they can make something very creative and nice but not complicated. I’m talking about it because I know that it’s possible to make an interesting scene with just a few 3d models. I don’t want to brag but below, you can see my very first piece made in UDK without any scene design know-how.

I want to add here a note: usually, when I find such bad works, they usually come from USA or UK. I don’t want to blame everybody from there because I know some great artists who live there but here’s some advice: If you don’t want to make games, don’t study how to make games. Because it is something more than just a job. It is a satisfaction from doing something that satisfies you. But if someone does it only for money… On the other hand, it’s sometimes hard to tell at the beginning if the course is bad and we find out about it after some time. And if I see that this person has ambitions, I will probably help. Because I want to inspire other people.

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