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A Day In The Life At The GuildHall 37

Posted by Zonk
from the busy-workday-is-an-understatement dept.
Gamasutra has a great feature up, looking at a day in the life of Tony Basch. Tony is one of the folks currently attending The GuildHall, a directed course in game development at Southern Methodist University. Several big-name talents are associated with the place, and his writeup is an interesting look into one of these very new programs. From the article: "Kyle and I remain in the classroom to work on our individual class assignments. While programmers have their Minesweeper clone, the level designers (or LDs as everyone calls them) have 90 textures to do in seven days on top of their normal reading assignments, daily quizzes, and work from other classes. Personally, I wouldn't be able to survive such an assignment, so I give my respect."
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A Day In The Life At The GuildHall

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    A Day In The Life At The Guild HELL?!

    Sorry, it's early and I haven't had my caffeine yet.

  • EA Sponsored? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mwvdlee (775178) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @10:01AM (#14668972) Homepage
    Given the hours this guy has to put into school, is it per chance sponsored by EA?
    • I thought EA underpaid people fresh out of college, if they will overwork and underpay the people making their games, somehow I can't seem them paying for people who arn't even employee's yet to be educated and learn the skills they need (and proably don't already have) to make their products....
    • Re:EA Sponsored? (Score:2, Informative)

      by bigred9678 (782559)
      No its not afilliated with EA. I believe the one in Southern California is however. The Guildhall is owned and run by SMU and has a panel of "Guildmasters" made up local industry developers in the Dallas area that serve as consultants for curriculum and advisors to the faculty and staff. Also, every faculty member has some sort of industry experience.
    • it's funny because it's sad, and it's sad because it's true.

      EA probably does sponsor alot of these programs, so as to ensure a nice "puppy mill" of programmers ready to be taken advantage of to replace the ones that are being burnt out and discarded.

      eudas
  • I wonder... (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by sm.arson (559130)
    ... just how much Gamasutra gets paid for these little advertisements: "This program is really, really hard, but I'm glad I convinced my parents to pay the $24k/year tuition! You should get your parents to send you too!"
    • Re:I wonder... (Score:3, Informative)

      Well, to be fair SMU is a respectable institution academically, and 24k/yr is their normal tuition rate (give or take; I'm not a student there but my significant other is). I imagine these folks are getting a good education for their money.

      (SMU has a bit of a reputation as being a warehouse for the rich-and-dumb set of Dallas/TX society, and there are a high number of Greek-letter wearing, BMW-or-spanking-new-Mustang driving, 19 year old idiots on campus, but there are a lot of very serious scholars as w

  • Wusses... (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by xxxJonBoyxxx (565205)
    "While programmers have their Minesweeper clone, the level designers (or LDs as everyone calls them) have 90 textures to do in seven days on top of their normal reading assignments, daily quizzes, and work from other classes."

    How's the new order of things go? If you can't hack engineering, go comp sci. If you can't hack comp sci, go LD.

    Wusses...

    • While I wouldn't be as, shall we say, "harsh" as you, I do agree with your overall sentiment. This doesn't sound like anything that much more difficult/time consuming than anything I faced as a computer engineering undergrad at Penn State. It's college, it's not supposed to be a cakewalk(unless your major is business of course :P)
  • I had three different classes in game development at MSU [msu.edu] through their Digital Media Art & Technology [msu.edu] program, and they were definitely the most difficult classes I had in school. Many a late night was spent creating models in 3DS Max and programming Director 8. I still dabble in game development, but those guys are definitely a different breed. I'd be interested in seeing the drop-out rate of these schools.
    • The droprate is actually pretty low. I know of only 1-5 dropouts per class and many of those left early to get jobs in the industry. They didn't just fail out.
    • Obviously you must aim really low.

      Think about the teams of engineers and computer scientists who design and write for example 3DSMax and Director. I hardly think the effort required to write specialized commercial software even compares with the effort required to create something with it. Irregardless of how intuitive it is.
  • We used to hang out all the time before he went in. Now I never even see him or hardly hear from him. It is as rough as it sounds.
    • That's how the video game industry is. Sometimes it's endless days of darkness when you go in before the sun rises and leave after the sun sets. The only opportunity you have to see that mysterious light against the blue screen is during lunch -- if you leave the building to eat. Before I left Atari, I worked 12-hour days for 28 days straight. Had I stayed another day, I would've turned into a fast-moving, brain-eating zombie.
  • ...port the thing over to the PS3 platform in time for the system launch.
  • as a teenager.

    And my tool was DPaint IV, not some fancy Photoshop.

    Per-pixel 'texture' editing, bitch. Dozens an hour. Sure, they were smaller (16x16 pixels) but I imagine they take the same amount of time in the end given the tool superiority and colour range available today. Why? because I wanted to, and then I'd stick them in the game I'd be writing at the same time. I'd only have a few hours to do it in. Level design would be done in a primitive editor, or by hand entering data.

    In the end it seems like a
  • by The-Bus (138060) on Wednesday February 08, 2006 @11:51AM (#14669742)
    I just use all the bitmap files that came with Windows 95. Ahh, yes, nothing like a level made up of blue marble and fall leaves.
  • While programmers have their Minesweeper clone, the level designers (or LDs as everyone calls them) have 90 textures to do in seven days on top of their normal reading assignments, daily quizzes, and work from other classes. Personally, I wouldn't be able to survive such an assignment, so I give my respect.

    It's nice to see a school program that gives a taste of what it's really like to work in the video game industry. I had the opposite problem when I working at Atari as a lead QA tester: working 80 hour
  • This is quite obviously a press release to coincide with the recent magazine based ad campaign Guildhall has going on right now. Nothing more, move along.

    Besides...do game companies actually hire from these places? Anybody can make a game...but it takes a good programmer to develop one.

    • Re:PR (Score:2, Interesting)

      by arjantis (952986)
      "Besides...do game companies actually hire from these places?"

      Who knows about the press release, but they have hard stats on their placement that kill all the other schools. It's over 90% placement at the hardcore game companies. Check out where all their grads have gone to: http://www.guildhall.smu.edu/placement/index.htm [smu.edu]

      Blizzard, NCsoft, EA, Bethesda, Raven, Factor 5, Ensemble, Gearbox... It's safe to say that the school is legit.

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