[Archives] Things I wish I learned in Game Design School

Archives, Game Development

In 2014, I received a degree in Game Development from Savannah College of Art and Design.  Here are some of the things I wish we learned.

A screenshot of Five Suns, my senior project from SCAD.

Version Control

This is hard for me to admit:  I still don’t know how to effectively use version control.  I took a free online Git course a few months back, and while I understand it, I don’t use it.  It’s not such a bad problem for me since I work on my own, but every one of my classmates who used version control had self-taught it.  Why we weren’t encouraged or taught it for group projects is beyond me.

Business Management

My game development degree was largely geared towards finding a specialized role in a larger game company.  While we went over the business side of the industry a few times, it was more focused on learning industry terms and history.
My school had (as far as I remember) one general business course.  There may have been more, but I think they were meant for fashion business majors.  Anyway, the class kind of sucked, and when I began developing games independently as a business I had no idea what I was doing.
I ended up learning much more just this past year while participating in CoreLabs Game Accelerator – a six-month accelerator program for independent games developers looking to kickstart their business.  I’m extremely grateful to the program and its community of mentors.

Not freaking UDK

This one only barely counts.  When I started college, UDK (Unreal Development Kit, based on Unreal 3) was already starting to become outdated.  While engines change all the time, and the engine (or language) you learn matters much less than the principles and problem solving behind development or programming, it would’ve been super nice to not be forced in many classes to use an outdated and clunky engine.
We were encouraged later on, after we had learned the fundamentals, to develop games using whichever engine and language we felt comfortable in, so a lot of us ended up teaching ourselves Unity or another engine.  So this is definitely the most minimal of “complaints.”