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Should you enroll at Full Sail University?

A little more than two years ago, I decided I should attempt college before I get too old. At the time, I was 19 years old, living with my wife-to-be with one child and another on the way (Yeah, I know, grew up quickly), and was working as a CNA at a nursing home. I thought I wanted to get my nursing degree and go work in a mental hospital and see where that would take me later on in life, but anyone who works or knows what a CNA does knows it a very “dirty” job. So I thought back to what I really enjoyed doing when I was even younger. I’ve always had fond memories of playing games, so I looked for online schools that had any game based degrees, and lone and behold, I found Full Sail and enrolled in their Game Design course. Here I am two years later, with 6 months left tell graduation letting any want to be Game Designer a bit about my experience with Full Sail and game design in general.

The Good:

Launch Box:

This was an eye catcher from the very start: A MacBook Pro, with all the Microsoft unitizes, and an I-Pad Mini. Within a few months of being enrolled, you get your launch box with everything expect the I-Pad Mini. This was a major seller for me as the desktop I have now is not exactly the greatest.

Quick Graduation Time:

Within 32 months (29 months now), I get my Bachelors in Game Design. This is a very fast time for most Bachelors I know off and was another large seller for me.

Networking:

The online students I have had the pleasure of meeting are some of the most interesting and inspirational people I have ever meet. I have made countless connections, and many more friends then I thought I could ever make from online. When you get teamed up with a group of new people you never met before, it helps to know that you are in the same boat, which almost gives the group a unique sense unity to complete strangers.

Resources:

There is an online library that online students have access to, along with digital copies of textbooks available through Safari Online Books. You will also have access to a writing center, a link to Unity Lab where instructors meet at certain times to help with the development of any class related to Unity. Then my personal favorite resource, full access to Lynda.com. Within the Game Design Course, we use Unity to build our games, but I believe that they will be switching to Unreal, which is also what is taught within the Game Development course.

The Okay-ish:

Classes:

Each class is given 4 weeks to complete, with the only exception being holiday breaks. Most class work is organized within week locks, that are unlocked on specific dates. You are able to see when things are unlocked and due ahead of time, but of course, these are subject to change based on the instructor’s will. Four weeks for a class might seem to be the extremely small amount of time to absorb that much content, which in some cases it is, but for the most time, it’s fairly manageable. Some classes feel like fillers, while other classes feel like they should be broken into several different classes that build off of each other, but for the most part, it’s not to bad if you have decent time management skills.

Full Sail Staff (Not Instructors):

Ever time I speak with a staff member from either the Financial aid department or my Advisory, I feel like they are trying their hardest to help me. Sometimes they are unable to help me due to time, but at least they get back to me within 1-2 business days.

The Unfortunate:

Instructors:

I feel bad for putting the Instructors within this category mostly because I’ve had a handful of amazingly helpful professors. However, the few good ones don’t make up for the “unhelpful” ones. Getting in touch with instructors is probably the hardest part of the majority of the online students. I understand that the teacher has a lot on his/her plate, with teaching both online and campus students at the same time, but it feels like online students get the back burner when it comes to communications. We are also lucky to have a live lecture to ask questions, as most of the time we are given recordings of the previous lecture. For the most part, I feel like the instructors, give us the very minimum what we need to do the projects, and we have to go learn how to do it through Google.

The Class Schedule:

As a game designer, I never thought I would have to do much coding, but I did think that I would at least learn the basics of some kind of code. Well, you have a total of 2 programming based classes called Programming Fundamentals I and another Fundamentals II. You would think that these classes would be fairly close together, Right? Wrong, these classes are 4 months apart, with a total of 5 classes in between. We learn so much in one class, and then we don’t use it for so long you almost completely forget about what you did in that class. With such short classes, not much time is spent trying to absorb that information, and what you do learn is easily forgotten if not practiced regularly.

The Cost:

I’m going to leave this short because my cost was a bit different than most, as scholarships and course cost different, but this is an expensive school for such a hard career to get into without any experience.

Oni’s Opinion:

I can simply say that Full Sail is a good way to get your foot in the door of games and any other media/entertainment production. Would I say that I think you should enroll in full sail for Game Design? If you know how to code and create awesome art for video games, but have a horrible sense of how to combine those two, I would say yes, this course will help you tons. However, if you if you feel like you have a strong idea of how to create a good balance/thought out game but don’t know how to actually create it, you may want to try their Game Development Course instead of the design course, or even better, get yourself a Lynda account and save yourself some money, then buy a computer to make it happen.

I’m not upset with myself for enrolling in Full Sail simply due to the fact that it helps me start my life a game designer. Which I wouldn’t have done without having due dates and a tuition to pay off to keep me focused on my career path.

If you’re interested in learning more about Full Sail’s Game Design Course, I put a couple of links down at the bottom, and if you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment down below. If you’ve attended or still at Full Sail, I want to hear some of your experiences as well.

Full Sail: Game Design

Game Design Classes List

 

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5 thoughts on “Should you enroll at Full Sail University?

  1. I don’t know that I would discourage others from exploring the design degree if they don’t know how to code or do game art. Having prior knowledge of either subject is extremely useful in the program, for sure, but not necessary at all. However, I would definitely recommend talking to Full Sail’s advisors to learn about the difference between each of the game degrees.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree that this course needs to research a lot before anyone should decide to enroll. If I would have looked more into the program before I enrolled, I probably still would have. Having any knowledge of game development would be a major asset while taking this course, however, it can be extremely hard to get a job in this industry only knowing how to design a video game. Being able to create a game is going to be much more beneficial in the long run, and those classes are few and far between within this game design course.

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  2. Coming atcha sideways as another Full Sailor with less than 4 months to go as of right now.
    I’m in the Computer Animation program online with a 2 year old (started when he was 4 months -shot-). I think the instructors for the animation part of it are a bit better than the Game Design possibly from what I’ve heard of em, the only instructors I had the most trouble with were the Project and Portfolio ones as they just told us to do the things. (Felt like I was bothering the teachers with the constant ‘What do?’ emails)

    I think at least the CA program is good for the fast pace of it all. ’cause if I was to do something like this at a normal 4 year college, I’d of been bored most of the time.

    Yes, I woulda loved to have two month long classes at times, or have known that the CA program was almost all 3D animation as I was wanting to do 2D ones, but I have a idea of how to start, and just need to kick myself into gear to help finish and improve it even more.

    And my only thing I’ve been complaining about in the course evaluation for what the school itself could do outside of the class, is put the damn Composition classes before Project and Portfolio 4 for online classes!!! Ugh the fury I had when I found out campus students had it before P&P4 over online students made me upset. (For those of you who don’t know and read through the comments, you choose what you get to animate/3D model/composite/(forgot what else) for the next three P&P classes near the end of the year).

    Besides that, I would say to anyone who wants to animate, Full Sail is pretty good about it and would recommend it! (Totally up for networking anytime, I suck at making the first move to do so unless it’s dire -antisocialinasocialdegree-)

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    1. I never thought about how boring this course would have become if it was a full 4-year course. It would be very boring unless they kept the pressure high for the students. I actually heard a lot of good things about the Computer Animation course taught at full sail from the majority of the facebook group I am apart of. The biggest difference would have to be between the GD and CA courses would have to be the focus towards what you learn. I haven’t had a chance to look at CA class schedule, but I’m sure you have some “filler” classes just like any other courses, correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m assuming they focus with animation/modeling.
      Within the GD course, you focus on designing a game (big surprise there), with some side classes touching on other aspects of creating a video game. This is great of course, but then they have you make the game, usually without any idea on how to do it except some vague references to some resources that could help. I am all for knowing how to create a game, and that’s the best thing to put in your portfolio if you want a career in this industry, but we brush over these topics. Plus, Game Designers are supposed to move around once the game is designed, such as to help develop some art or some assets, but we have little formal teaching on how to do such things.

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      1. Yeah, I’ve heard plenty good about CA over GD too. I feel it’s less stressful too without the coding for it? But that’s just me from what I hear since I haven’t done it.
        And, I don’t know what would be considered as filler classes besides the core classes (math, science, english, history, blah blah blah), but yes, most of the focus is on animation (character animation and rigging them) and modeling. Nearly every class I’ve had dealt with modeling or animation in some way shape or form. And the vague references sounds exactly like my P&P classes ;^;

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