Liz Canicari — Full Sail Game Development Student

August 18, 2006 — Leave a comment

Full Sail Real World Education is a school located in Winter Park, Florida. It caters to those interested in new media, with degree programs in Computer Animation, Digital Media, Entertainment Business, Film, Game Design & Development, Recording Arts, and Show Production & Touring. Full Sail offers associate’s and bachelor’s degrees after 12 to 21 months of an accelerated schedule.

What school do you currently attend, and what is your specific field of study?

I currently attend Full Sail Real World Education in the Game Design and Development Degree Program.

How long is the program, and what are the requirements to get accepted?

Currently, the Bachelorâ??s Program is 21 months long. Since it is very math-oriented, not only is a High School Diploma required, but the student must also have a minimum of an A in Algebra 2.

How much does the program cost, and what options exist for financing?

The program costs approximately $64k, but there are many options open for financing such as grants, loans, and there are also some scholarships available. Each student has their own Financial Aid representative that will help them find the loans and scholarships that best work for them, in addition to helping you fill out the FAFSA form.

Ultimately, what sort of job do you want when you finish with the program?

I have not chosen a specific field yet but I do enjoy design, production and Artificial Intelligence (AI) programming. However, if I were to specify one right now, I would love a job in production. I enjoy managing projects and communicating with teams.

What is the size of your department? Do you feel that you are getting enough meaningful contact with your professors?

There are at least 30+ professors that teach in the program and approximately 3 lab technicians per each class to assist in answering questions about our hands-on labs. It is a fantastic set up for this type of learning. We get four hours of lecture and then four hours to work on assigned labs or project work. We get all the knowledge and are also graded on how well we can show that knowledge.

What is your opinion of the faculty in your program? Do you have faith in their industry experience and knowledge? Do you have any particular favorite professors?

My favorite professors would have to be Gary Miller and Keyvan Acosta. Both of these professors are on opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to fields within the game industry, but both professors are fully competent in those areas of study.

What are the schoolâ??s facilities like? Do you feel that the equipment is up to date, and do you think that there is enough of it for the entire student body?

Our equipment tends to be constantly up-to-date as we are given a laptop that is of the latest technology. So each new class that comes in has the newest technology to program on which keeps us completely up-to-date in that respect.

What is the focus of your education? How do you feel about the balance between the practical/technical skills youâ??re learning, and more theory-based aspects of game development?

Considering programming as a whole, a great deal of it is based in the practical and technical, however, we do have some theoretical classes both based in the programming aspects and the game design aspects that give all the students what I believe to be, a very well-rounded compendium of knowledge of the industry as a whole. We can start out in one position and then move into the career we want whether that be in the full programming or in the design or production sides of the game industry without needing more education say in business or in the arts or history.

Do you feel confident that youâ??ll be able to get a job when you graduate? What sort of post-graduate services does your institution provide?

Full Sail provides great services and has a wealth of connections to companies in the industry for the purpose of career placement. They also have a Career Placement team of 36 full-time employees to help guide our career opportunities.

Do you feel that you have a leg up on prospective game developers who started in the “trenches?” Why did you choose to take this route, rather than trying to get your foot in the door as, say, a tester?

I feel I do have a leg up on those that may have started out as just game testers. The thing about development is that there is a lot of programming to it, and here we get a good basis of C++ programming knowledge. Knowing how to program in a way that not only uses less cycles, but less memory to make the game run well. That isnâ??t something you can learn just by starting in the trenches.

I chose this route because I knew there was more to programming than just writing it to show something on the screen and make it move. There is so much more lying underneath and I like to know about it all. Had I taken the tester route I may not know about anything but that.

Also needless to say, there are trenches here too, we just get a little heads up before we get our deadlines and milestones where we crunch 24 hours beforehand to get everything scheduled into the game.

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