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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.