View Full Version : AAU's game design program

11 November 2010, 04:58 AM
Hey guys, I'm currently looking at aau for game design. I can't seem to find any information or opinions about the program outside of their website. I would love to know what the classes are like and how valuable they are.

11 November 2010, 12:29 PM
From what I've heard AAU isn't amazing but it isn't bad. Pretty sure the cost was around 80k. If you are able to spend the money there may be a better alternative. What in game design interests you?

Edit Note: if you search AAU here it will turn up some posts.

11 November 2010, 06:50 PM
The reason you haven't heard much about their game design program is that it was only started last year. They broke off from the animation department last year so the classes could be more focused on either games or film.

11 November 2010, 01:48 AM
Ya I've read a lot of bad things about aau. I'm not really considering it anymore.

I really want to do the 3d character or environment design aspect of games. I've been looking at gnomon quite a bit and I really like what I see. Is it very common for people to go to gnomon directly out of high school? I don't really have any formal training besides a couple useless high school classes. If either of those thing are a problem I will probably just go to some classes at a local community college to build up a better portfolio.

11 November 2010, 04:41 PM
Keep in mind when looking at schools that a lot of kids go to schools and expect all you gotta do is go to class and u will come out with a job at ILM or some thing. Also a lot of kids don't fully understand what it takes to make a film/game. So they drop out or get kicked out and go and wright how the school is horrible. Not saying that all reviews are this, but a lot are. Just try to remember that there are always two sides to a story.

When you say design are you talking concept or modeling? I can't find the original images so this one I made will have to do lol. On the right is the image a concept artist made, this was then given to the modeler to make the model on the left.

Generally a modeler doesn't get too much wiggle room when it comes to their model. Most places will give you some concept drawings and you basically need to translate it onto the computer. (do note the words "generally" and "most". All studios do things different.)

You can see in that image other than the hair and armor color it isn't that different.

Gnomon is definitely the place to be for a modeler. Although do note they are expecting you to work MUCH more than most other schools. When they say full time, they mean it literally (60+ hr/week). From the people I have talked too, most of the students do not go right out of high school. Most of the students are between late 20s to mid 30s. This is mostly because of the cost of the school, the time commitment, and the skill level required.

I don't advise going to Gnomon right after high school. There is an exception to that though. If you are mature beyond your years then it may be acceptable. Gnomon requires a level of commitment that is difficult for most young adults. Most students say it is the most difficult thing they have ever done. I just realized I'm rambling, so I'll cut it here. Gist is, don't take this choice lightly, if you are more mature than most your age and can see this opportunity as it is, then go for it.

11 November 2010, 05:11 PM
Ya I see what you mean. I definitely want to go to gnomon eventually but I don't think my skills are quite up to par just yet. Do you know anything abou full sail? Would something like that be more appropriate? I definitely want to do modeling.

11 November 2010, 05:42 PM
When in doubt wait. The more you know going in, the better you will be coming out :p.

Long story short Full Sail is not worth the risk. It can take you where you need to go, but it isn't likely. They prey on young adult's dreams and fill them with false hope. There are a few successful Full Sail students but most either went to another school after or before and where exceptionally talented. For 70k (some where around that) you my as well go to Gnomon. The quality of education at Gnomon is so superior it's hard to even compare the two. I can go into more detail if you like but don't want to bore you with a wall of text lol.

Edit: And as far as the question about designing, I just wanted to ensure I was pointing you in the right direction :p.

11 November 2010, 06:53 PM
Ya that's what's what I was thinking. I'm really weary of the whole "Do you like playing games!?!? Then come to our college!!!" thing. What do you recommend I do? I've researched alot and I'm still really lost about what to do. I don't really want to go to a traditional college. I've read that their art programs are usually not up to par. I don't want a fine arts degree anyways. I want to do 3d modeling, but I need some instruction for the basics first. I need to fond out the level of the fundamental classes at gnomon.

Don't worry about the length of your answers lol. I need as much info as possible

11 November 2010, 07:54 PM
Don't worry you are not alone, I've been researching this for 2 years lol (current plan is to save up for Gnomon). That's the only reason I know as much as I do :p. Yeah that "if you like games" thing is a really really big red flag.

If you like, post some of your work and I can let you know if you are just self conscious or actually do need some extra work.

I'd suggest finding either some tradition drawing courses or a tutor. While you are doing that, work on Digital Tutors ( It's $45 a month but well worth every cent. They can take you from a complete newbie and bring you to at least an intermediate level. Being that most other DVDs cost at least $50 a pop and are only a few hours long, you are really getting a lot of bang for your buck. Their intro to Maya 2011 is some thing like 12 or 13 hours long lol. If you look at my "CGPortfolio" the car and blue tooth are both lessons. The room with The Lord of The Rings on the tv is also a lesson but I spent significant extra time on that, so I don't really count that one :p.

Also by doing Digital Tutors, you can ensure, yes Modeling is what I want to do. When I first started all this I wanted to learn animation, now that I've done it, I know I'd rather jump off a cliff. Say you go in wanting to do modeling and you find out you just love animation. Well then going to Gnomon wouldn't be a great idea, you should go to Ringling.

One rule I try to follow when doing the lessons is after the lesson, make it my own. Example the car, I made this video. . The room I added all kinds of electronics, wires, a patio, DVDs with real movie textures. This way you know if you actually learned some thing lol.

Take your time choosing your school. Spending this kind of money is up there with getting married or having a kid. Mess this up and it could serriously **** up your life. Also be sure to read the post in my sig, it has a lot of important information.

11 November 2010, 08:53 PM
This is my sketchbook on

I dont think that im just being self concious lol. Ive been told that i have some amount of natural talent though. I can make things pretty accurate with a reference, my work from imagination is really lacking though.

Im definitely going to do that digital tutor thing.

11 November 2010, 01:31 AM
You could use a bit more work but you are definitely on the right track.

11 November 2010, 03:13 AM
I actually came in here more to defend AAU as a school. I attend AAU now and it's really no where near as bad as what you have probably heard. Remember, the most vocal are those that are unhappy. When people are satisfied, you are not likely to hear them blabbing about how much they enjoy it.

AAU is actually a very good school from what I've experienced over the years. Like any other school, it has its negatives and some of the staff (administrative, or teachers) are a bit iffy but you're not going to find a school that doesn't have those kinds of negatives. Like any school, you're going to have to put in extra work to get the best out of your education. AAU actually encourages you by offering students free, unrestricted access to computer labs that are always equipped with the latest software. The teachers are always open to you asking questions, sending emails, calling them. Some teachers even go so far as to give their work emails to students. When it comes to judging schools, you really have to take some opinions with a grain of salt. There's always going to be those that have left the school bitter or angry about something and they will do all they can to discourage others from attending. Again, as a current student, I can say that I (and even all of my friends) am satisfied with the education we're getting, despite some of the negative points.

As for the Game Design major, I can't speak too much on that as I'm not part of that major. I'm in the VFX/Animation major though. Game Design split from the Animation major about a year ago. From what I've heard from friends, it's pretty good. I don't hear much though. One person I know switched from Game Design back into Animation/VFX because he felt it was more focused for him. So it depends on what part of game production you want to do, I guess.

If you're going for modeling, there's quite a few good classes focusing on hard-surface and organic modeling. Mudbox, Zbrush classes, etc. Walking around the computer labs, you can see a lot of amazing Zbrush and Mudbox work from the students.

Good luck on finding a school to attend! I know it can be hard with so many choices. I'm sure you'll make the right choice.

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