Choosing the right path: Major 3D or Game Development

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  06 June 2009
Choosing the right path: Major 3D or Game Development

I kinda have a dilemma...maybe you guys can help.

I'm a student and I'm following an education of 3 years focussed on 'Interative 3D entertainment' (Digital Arts And Entertainment - Belgium)

Next year I have to choose between two majors...'3D' or 'game development'. (below you can find the main differences)
And I really don't know what to choose.

I draw since I was little and I'm fascinated by 3D models and highly motivated.

But the 'game development' brings me to the direction of '3d programming', which I'm also curious about. (I'm allready programming for 3 years in flash, php, ...), and I have skills for it.

Now I'm going to try to learn both aspects. So one in school and one I'm going to learn on myself.

Do you guys know what is more 'easier/realistically' to learn on your own?
Or do you guys have a good solution / opinion?

Please help me....


3D =
- High-poly character modelling
- Concept Art
- Animation
- Storyboarding
- Script programming (Phyton, maxscript)
- ZBrush

Game Development =
- Mainly focussed on 3D programming.
- DirectX
- C++
- Low Poly Character Modelling
- High Poly Technical Models
- Level Design
  06 June 2009
I don't know which is actually easier to teach yourself, but I think there are more resources online for teaching yourself the things in your school's "3D" curriculum. There's tons and tons of videos on zbrush and high poly character modeling and entire forums dedicated to concept art. However, I really don't see as many resources for level design or character models specifically for games (granted I have never looked for them.) I also think that programming is something that is harder to teach yourself because it can be very frustrating to not have a professor to help you if something goes wrong or you don't understand a concept. It's much more difficult to ask for help with C++ on the internet than with 3D modeling, just because of the wide range of backgrounds people doing C++ have (if you post the code on a forum you may very well get someone who is tech support at a big company answering you who won't be able to put it into terms you understand because he's never coded for games) and because of the huge variety in ways you can approach a problem in C++. Although both require similar amounts of time and dedication, I would say that a program is a lot easier to render completely useless (only takes forgetting one semi colon to keep a program from compiling) and thus harder to approach by yourself. You can have a 3D model with problems and still show it to someone, but a program with problems won't even run so you have less to show for your work due to tiny mistakes. It's also fairly hard to find a person who has 1. training in programming 2. artistic abilities and 3. people skills, so doing the "programming" cirriculum and supplementing it with things on the side in your free time may help set you out from those who did 3D and supplemented it with programming because your programming skills will be more solid.
  06 June 2009
Almaghest: Thanks for the response.

You got some points...but the thing is with the art direction, I'm allready 5 years training 3d on my own with online tutorials (not really that active) and I must say in the past 9 months I learned more than in those 5 years...and I'm curious what i can achieve in another 2 years.

I think can only advance my skills when I'm pushed with tasks and assignments and when I have good feedback. And It exhousting for me to ask for constant feedback online.

But yeah for programming it's the same problem -_- I talked with some of my docents of my school. And now I'm more leaning forward the 3D Arts direction.

In my vacation (3 months) I'm going to work as a 3D artist and during those three months I'm going to try to take a shot at directX and see how high the difficulty is.

Again thanks for responding. Doesn't happen to me often hehe
  06 June 2009
Is your gaming development track for the art side of gaming or just programming? And what do you want to do, art or programming? We've sent many students to gaming production houses and they never learned one line of code and just did 3D art in school. True story.
  06 June 2009
My docents said that the 'Game Development' track is about 30% art, 70% programming.
But I think that the difficulty of art is going to be too low to do something with it.
- There are no more drawing courses
- there is character modelling (but low-poly, so no next-gen)...but if you can't make concept art to get good stable idea's and you can't go next-gen... (I think that's a bit stupid).

in game development you get 'Level design', but it's really technical like 'setting difficulty for players in envirnments' and stuff.

What i want to do...I want to do both I want to be able to switch. I did an internship a few months ago as 'Rich Media Artist', that was a great job for me, I was developing Interactive Flash learning-tools, so I was in control for the graphical as technical.

Does jobs like this also exsits? In gaming, movie-industrie?

I talked with some of my docents, and I think I'm going to do the 'Art'-track,
I think that 100% programming is too much for me and I don't think it's something I want to do whole my life. I'm going to try to learn 3D-programming on my own, maybe less advanced but good enough so I can make my own little projects.

  06 June 2009
In my opinion it is much better to specialise on one area and then master that, than to strech yourself all over place, tryin to be jack of all trades.. doing everything and master of none. Each of those branches individualy requers a lot of dedication and time to work on and learn. Streching all over a place won't help at all.
That is at least my opinion. Others may or may not agree but...

Need some help with rendering an Redshift project?
  06 June 2009
Thanks for the opion,
I think you are right in some aspects. It is neccesairy to have proffesional-specialists in certain aspects.

But I think that persons having knowledge between both are also needed, they make excellent communication-towers between artists and programmers. They can adapt in more situations.

I have a problems when I get too specific and only know one aspect. I get bored, it gets all too similar :/

But you are right, there is too much information and knowledge out there for one person, which is too
  06 June 2009
Well there is 3rd option too, I guess.
Become master in one but add as much as possible from something else that is interesting to you. That seems to be win-win situation. You have mastered one area and also you are complementing that with another one, that maybe you don;t grasp 110% like first one but still enough to do some great work and complementing those two, or who knows maybe even three you can just gain more, can't loose with knowing too much

Need some help with rendering an Redshift project?
  06 June 2009
I work in games and have friends in tv and in film.
You also need to ask yourself what level of employment and work makes you happy.
Games tend to be great for longterm 'full' employment which means you have a steady income and you can live in the one city for a long time.

TV and film tend to be very contract oriented. This means you often don't know when you are going to get your next job or you will be travelling around alot. The advantage of Film in particular is that once you are up to being a Mid to Senior level at your chosen skill the money is a lot better than in games.

So the trade of is stability in games (although still with stressful deadlines) or great money and travel/contract work in Film and TV (again the hours can be crazy when you are working)... of course there are exceptions to this rule but it is more normal that it works as described above! TV and Film can be awesome if you don't have family to worry about but can get more tricky once a spouse or kids are in the equation.

I like money but I love knowing where I'm going to be living next month better which is why I'm in games (well that and its fun!)...

I have friends who prefer film. Some have no ties and love the travel. Some have traded off havning family stability for better money and have to travel home to see thier kids/family every weekend...

So I guess thats the non arty side of the picture!

Good luck deciding!
  06 June 2009
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