hanli said:I fully agree that they should be a part of the community. Like the bursary I keep using as an example: he is required to intern over holidays, and to meet with HR to report on his progress. This is not only a requirement, it is also a huge draw card. Interning, mentorship and community involvement are the BENEFITS a student would get, not just money to pay.
hanli said:Asking for a game a month may be a bit much, since the last thing you want is to pay for someone's studies then have them fail maths (or something) with the bad excuse: I had to finish my bursary game. And even the best of students make sorry excuses.It may be better to just require every project to be posted. (easy to do as part of determining the merits of the course - the known institution factor - would be requesting course outlines from the institution)
dislekcia said:That's the thing that confuses me (and makes me believe most students really aren't focused on making games), that benefit is freely available to everyone, but few access it :(
dislekcia said:hanli said:Asking for a game a month may be a bit much, since the last thing you want is to pay for someone's studies then have them fail maths (or something) with the bad excuse: I had to finish my bursary game. And even the best of students make sorry excuses.It may be better to just require every project to be posted. (easy to do as part of determining the merits of the course - the known institution factor - would be requesting course outlines from the institution)
Yeah, the focus for me would be on making at least one project you were working on for university into a game at the same time. So if you're doing a maths project and it's on statistics, study dice rolls in D&D. If you're doing a CS project on vision algorithms, make a game that plays pong in 3D using eyes on a paddle. That's the sort of design skill fostering that'll make someone a superstar.
dammit said:While I love your idea, @dislekcia , I think it's a better route just to say that any game they do make, needs to be shared on the forums. Instead of forcing someone to make games because their bursary requirements say they have to (and I fully believe that forcing someone to do anything will drain any love they have for it), we can all just work on fostering their enthusiasm to the degree that they do that anyway. Wouldn't that be more rewarding?
dislekcia said:dammit said:While I love your idea, @dislekcia , I think it's a better route just to say that any game they do make, needs to be shared on the forums. Instead of forcing someone to make games because their bursary requirements say they have to (and I fully believe that forcing someone to do anything will drain any love they have for it), we can all just work on fostering their enthusiasm to the degree that they do that anyway. Wouldn't that be more rewarding?
I dunno about this angle. I mean, it seems to be that people make many more games when under deadline pressure to do so. There are many more members here who don't make games unless they've got an external deadline at MGSA than there are members who just kinda keep making games of their own accord. How many games have you made personally outside of jams or competitions?All I'm suggesting is that the students learn to practice viewing everything through a game design lens - a paper they write could be a game, or they could come up with a chair-based game during a boring lecture, the scope is pretty endless. The goal is to get those ideas posted here so that people can discus them and EVERYONE can learn.
dammit said:We should be able to inspire them so much that they wouldn't want to do anything else, though. That would be the goal :)
hermantulleken said:Don't game design students make more than one game a month anyways?
farsicon said:May I point out as well, that even if a student finishes this course with honors, they may be of little value to employers in other fields (corporate, et al) - so there's that risk as well, especially after spending 3 years on this.
farsicon said:In the end the fact still remains that game dev in this country is not a viable career (yet).
farsicon said:If you want to pursue it beyond a hobby, then you will have to learn to think like an entrepreneur and start working 10 times harder than any of your peers, so that maybe one day if you're really lucky/good you can produce something of value. If you're not able to go above and beyond in this sense then game dev is not for you, and one of the other engineering routes would be a better option.
dammit said:Though, to be fair, none of my bursaries had any more requirements than I had to pass my courses, or I would have to pay them back.
dislekcia said:dammit said:Though, to be fair, none of my bursaries had any more requirements than I had to pass my courses, or I would have to pay them back.
I have to wonder if you now work in a field related to the organisation that granted those bursaries? I don't know what your bursaries were for, but beyond helping produce a smart human being capable of learning neat stuff and doing interesting things - did they achieve their industry objective through sponsoring you?
how to we teach these candidates to learn those "non-educational" skills which have made these guys so successful?
Chippit said:In simplest terms, why have one mentor when you can come here and have 50?
@I'd go a bit further than @Elyradine did in his previous post... I think that internships are significantly more useful than the academic studies.It's probably too complicated to organize, but if there were the possibility of a subsidized internship at a video game company I'd be much happier supporting that.Though I'm certainly not against educational bursaries for promising students in game design. I've been bemoaning the poaching of talent by the more established fields for many years.At the very least I'd like to concurr with @Elyradine's initial suggestion.
I'm certainly not against educational bursaries for promising students in game design. I've been bemoaning the poaching of talent by the more established fields for many years.
hanli said: absolutely clear and measurable, not based on 'well we see them around at meetings a lot' or 'they post games often'.
francoisvn said:Hi @CreepinCreeperGaming! These bursaries are more for tertiary education, while it sounds like you're talking about job shadowing. For job shadowing, you should probably try to contact studios nearby and see if any of them are willing to help. There's great write up by local studio Retro Epic, with some useful advice on job shadowing here: http://www.retroepic.com/game-development-job-shadowing/
I think that this thread is more than sufficient evidence that our members would support it :D
Derail over. We now return you to an excellent thread about an excellent idea.
All I'm suggesting is that the students learn to practice viewing everything through a game design lens - a paper they write could be a game, or they could come up with a chair-based game during a boring lecture, the scope is pretty endless. The goal is to get those ideas posted here so that people can discus them and EVERYONE can learn.
Again, if they came here and were like hey, I want to be challenged with a comp or deadline every month, then sure, let's go. But they may not be able to cope with that on top of what should be an extensive course load at the university. And no, I don't necessarily think the best route is making them have to make everything they submit a game - their professors in the other courses might not appreciate it and he/she might get lower marks, or struggle because of this arbitrary rule imposed on them.
The person who gets a bursary still has the right to choose what to do with the rest of their life, even if it's not making games.
We should be able to inspire them so much that they wouldn't want to do anything else, though. That would be the goal :)
Also, while it's totally cool that you're signing up for competitions and jams as they fit into your life, you're not signing up for a multi-year bursary to make games being issued by a game development interest group. If anecdotal perspective was all that was required, then my own history is enough to "prove" that this isn't an over the top requirement - I turned university projects into games all the time AND my marks didn't suffer, nor did it matter in the end because hey look a portfolio.
So, my logic is as follows:
1. Helping people get to university is good, however there's a problem with current university students actually making games or continuing to make games after they graduate.
2. This is a significant problem if the MGSA is going to grant a bursary. Other granting institutions demand future work and continuance contracts from students for years after the original bursary period ends I'm assuming we don't want to be like that. (If you accept an engineering bursary, you don't get much choice about what you do with the next few years of your life after university)
3. So we need a different approach to ensuring that bursary students become active developers. A portfolio is the best thing to help people get into game development, demonstrate their skills, provide points to learn from AND motivate people with feedback.
4. How do we help someone receiving a bursary build a portfolio of their own? I'm suggesting we use the tools that help people that aren't focused on being game developers 100% of the time build portfolios.
If my logic sucks, neat, poke it. If the solution to 4 that I'm proposing is crap, neat, suggest others. But I don't think it's helpful to consider the current outputs of courses (as much as I respect @hanli and co) as being the best way to ensure game developers continue making stuff. For one thing, none of the university courses I've seen so far do anything to help people run their own studios or sell their games successfully, that's a significant weakness.
Maybe a different/better approach to 4 is slotting said bursary student into MGSA-member studios during their holidays to intern. But that's totally being horrible and stealing their holidays, etc... I'd hope so... We have no idea, because none of them seem to post their projects here.
If you study engineering, (at least when I did it at my varsity), there is a module that requires you to go work at a company for a certain amount of time. If you don't do it, you don't pass. If you don't like it, there is a wonderful world of other careers out there for you.
So at least some requirements (requirement sounds better than enforcement doesn't it :P) in this direction is not unheard of. Last year 16 paid jobs were advertised on this site; that is a microscopic small number (of course there are others, but we know there are not many). When the student finishes, he or she is not only competing with his or her classmates, but also with the veterans working at the many small companies that go bust or have to retrench each year (and is obviously not so widely made known; I often joke about the similarities between some companies and the CIA). (Edit: so I think enforcing some form of portfolio building scheme is extremely beneficial if we want the student to succeed; we should not care if that does not endear us).
Lastly, game development is a great fun job, but to survive in it is damn tough, and if you want to succeed, you will typically have to do many non-fun things, just like people in all other jobs. You cannot just do a game jam because it's fun. You also have to (sometimes) do it because it is vital.
I'm okay with there being requirements associated with the bursary, but they need to be realistic and need to respect that the person needs to learn multiple skills to be successful in this industry or any other. Though, to be fair, none of my bursaries had any more requirements than I had to pass my courses, or I would have to pay them back.
Again, this is not a unique problem to game development or game development degrees. Universities are totally happy to supply an endless stream of graduates with degrees that make them 0% more employable. I feel like our job is to try and ensure that whoever receives the MGSA bursary becomes as good a game developer as they possibly could be, not to give them a parachute should they decide that they want another career (that's the job of the people trying to grow those industries) - this is one of the reasons why I'm in favor of some sort of continuous portfolio growth: If that's not happening, we (both MGSA and the candidate) will have learned that this isn't a good fit for them, which is a much better thing to learn in 1st year than after 3 years of a degree.
I'm still of the opinion that support from this community would be best applied to candidates to whom 'the path' is more of a sure thing - who have already started on the discovery quest and have found that they really wanted more...
look, we all have our own opinions on this... and I'm still in, regardless.. I'm just not a big fan of failure, and if I wanted to fund a generic student to do generic things and become one of the generic masses, there are many other ways I could do that without committing to their success. I'd much rather be part of something nobler though...
Now can we please stop talking about me specifically?
I feel that thinking that it's not viable is incredibly toxic. For several years, even though I wanted more than anything to make video games, I considered computer science, actuarial science, applied maths, as career paths because of how not-viable game development was. The only reason why I'm working in game development right now is that I met someone who started working at Luma Arcade, who introduced me to the studio, and exposed me to many of the other industry professionals who've since formed this community, and who showed me that it totally is viable.
Then I thought that, yeah, being a game artist locally is fine for junior positions, but in the long term it's not viable because of low pay and long hours, and if I wanted to take my career seriously, I'd have to go work at Blizzard/Riot/Valve. Er, nope. Because of how much work there is (and how few other people there are to do it well) I get to charge more. I consistently make more money than friends of mine who've got over three times more work experience in graphic design, advertising and other more commercial art fields than I do in games, and some friends who're in accounting and financial services who have the same amount of work experience.
Yeah, it's a crap load of work to reach the level where you can actually compete against veterans for job posts, but I don't think it's helpful to frame it so far out of reach that it's effectively not possible. If you network with professionals (to make those who know what jobs are out there know that you're available for work), intern and learn from them (so that they know that you're capable -- if you are), have a portfolio of prototypes/art/audio for when a referral comes along, and have a good personality that makes you work well in a team (i.e. you're not an asshole), it's really not that bad. If you're not getting a game dev job, then I argue that it's because you aren't doing those things, or haven't invested enough time in them just yet. I can't think of anyone who's done all of those things, wants to work in games, but can't.
I'd really want the recipient of the bursary to want to intern at studios, to want to network with people in the industry, to want to build prototypes/art/audio, to want to cultivate a personality that makes them a good team fit. To me, giving a bursary is about enabling someone who cannot do those things because of financial constraints, to do them.
To me, it's not about "school fees" necessarily. I'd happily pay for transport to and from community meetups, to Arcade to job shadow and intern, internet, etc. If it means making prototypes/art/audio, and showing regular progress, and involvement in networking and interning, etc., I'd consider paying for that even if they don't learn it at an established institution.
Here's the question though - how to we teach these candidates to learn those "non-educational" skills which have made these guys so successful? Education helps, but in reality it's actually not the stuff you learn from books/institutions that makes good (game) developers...
I think requirements/pre-requisites should always be part of a bursary. I see them more like filters than anything else. People that are scared of requirements usually still have some soul searching to do before they can undertake the task(s). The actual requirements can be debated but I'm not too worried about that.
What I was looking for someone to mention(to see if it's not just me that's thinking about this) was something about a mentor. I mean, more than just giving someone money to study game making , we want more contributing members to the community. I think a mentor that would take responsibility(in a very loose form) for the student could help a lot in terms of their growth as a game maker.
The idea is that their studies and class attendance is their own responsibility. But motivation and participation would (in part) be the responsibility of the mentor. I'm not thinking in the sense of telling them you *have* to be at this game jam, or join this comp or else. More along the lines of inviting and introducing them to the community at the meetups and social functions. Being available to break previous preconceptions about games. Or having an already formed network of people to contact if there are things they want to know more about that the mentor doesn't actually know.
Essentially what I'm talking about is a foot in the door to all the things previously mentioned. If there is that one person you now will be at an event and you have at least one person to chat to, it's a lot easier to attend. I'm not sure how, or even if it will work, but it seems like a good idea on paper. (To me at least)
I get that it's excellent to have a specific person to bounce questions and ideas off of (and it is), that's kind of the environment we want to foster here in the first place too, is it not? Perhaps effort is best focused on that broader goal instead? Encouraging potentials to be comfortable asking questions here seems like it should be our primary goal (beyond, of course, getting knowledgeable, skilled people to contribute here in the first place, be it with games or advice or answers or help)
It is exactly as you say though. The idea is focused on the broader goal. It's just one method to do that for a specific person. I would love for it to be easy for everyone to ask questions on the forums, but I really think that sometimes people psyche themselves out because they feel that their question is a stupid question or something(...please tell me I'm not the only one that does that. O.O)
So the mentor would be a person that the student meets in a comfortable setting for the student and just makes it easier to progress to the next steps of becoming self sufficient and asking questions and posting valuable games and information.
It's probably too complicated to organize, but if there were the possibility of a subsidized internship at a video game company I'd be much happier supporting that.
Though I'm certainly not against educational bursaries for promising students in game design. I've been bemoaning the poaching of talent by the more established fields for many years.
At the very least I'd like to concurr with @Elyradine's initial suggestion.
However the I feel like this would make a better stretch goal. As someone who taught myself everything I know, i'd far rather support an apprenticeship program that helps people develop real world game dev skills. I see that as a more tangible step towards real industry growth. At least for now.
Anyway - i've learnt not to get in the way of people who are motivated to make something happen. And if this bursary comes together I will probably contribute something. ;)
In addition, I think the effort it takes to actually support an apprenticeship is being grossly underestimated here.
@BlackShipsFilltheSky and @TheFuntastic Are you saying that you'd be happy to have one intern full-time each year and teach them programming; 2D art; 3D art; animation; music composition; or game design and possibly more than one? If that's a yes, when can I start? :) In addition - a full-time apprenticeship would be so time-consuming that it would be to a detriment of the games you are making (something I wouldn't want to happen to either of the games you make).
An internship is a great idea - but only works with some base level of skill, otherwise the employee is overwhelmed by teaching the internee how to do everything. These are kids coming straight out of high school. A subsidized internship/ apprentice ship would be awesome and something I would jump at the chance of doing - but it's not something to teach an underprivalged kid how to make games. (It should be a parallel program for people coming out as relatively skilled and useful to studios).
I think the implication that a one year (if you'll even take them on that long) or few month internship could replace a four year Game Design degree is insulting. I've learnt so much from internships - more than I would learn in the same period at university - but that's only because I had a base level of skill learnt from university. :)
There is evidence that self-taught people make great game designers/developers, perhaps even better ones that university educated ones. However, there is little to no evidence that those who are self-taught learn these skills faster than a university graduate. There is also a belief that if you go to university, you suddenly can't learn anything by yourself. I'm an utter supporter of self-learning and I'm of the opinion that learning game design is a personal journey and is something that can't be taught. I learnt Gamemaker in the year Wits Game Design focuses on analogue games, because of that effort, I had a game go to Games for Change Festival in New York. That self-taught paradigm is effective, but rare and certainly isn't solely a trait of those learning outside of university.
Speaking from the perspective of being on the Wits course, the entire four year program is oriented around constructing a portfolio of games. I've personally received an internship and a couple freelancing jobs just from the games I've developed in the Wits course. The course is completely about developing a portfolio of games - so why do we need to require kids to kill themselves to make more games? (Even though it's never a bad thing).
We've moved on from discussing how to fund an under privileged kid going to school, to how to ensure that whoever we fund consistently become world class game developers. You're all talking about how kids we take onto this bursary should want to engage with the community, should want to make more games. You're talking about a state of mind, a way of thinking, which is by very nature of their background unlikely to be present. This is a paradigm that plagues South Africa in many areas - most comparably in our low rates of entrepreneurship.
From someone who actually knows and works with underprivileged students I'd say a required internship in the holidays is one of the few fair ways to encourage further growth and interest. Anything else would put a stress on the student that they are unlikely to cope with.
TL;DR This is a discussion about a bursary, not a scholarship. A self-taught path would neither be viable for the kids we're looking at in this program and would be grossly time-consuming for the studio that took them on. A subsidized internship/apprenticeship programme is an excellent idea, but requires a base level of skill to be effective or useful. The state of mind of wanting to engage is rare and even more so among the under privileged kids we're trying to help.
Yeah, as you mention - teaching someone from scratch in an intern environment is a terrible idea - they would end up costing the business for more money than it was worth. Similarly expecting someone disadvantaged without computer or internet access to be self taught is just silly.
And yes, the goal for what I mentioned would be quite different than enabling someone underprivileged to study game design. It would be more about ensuring the people who already have some kind of grounding (university or self taught) successfully transitions into productive members in the industry. That's quite different from setting up a bursary, but it seems to me like a more achievable and immediately useful first step for my 200 rond.
Opinions are of course my own and I'm very happy to have my mind changed by the success of a MGSA bursary program. :)
That said, I'll repeat in case this turns into an argument: But I'm personally not psyched either. My opinions are my own of course.
Insulted is probably too strong a word- rather I think it's unfair to think any reasonable length internship could replace a full-time degree. Self-taught people are mostly likely much more effective than those who are educated, but it still takes them a long time to learn those skills - longer than a few month or year long internship probably. I was drawing from your words an implication, perhaps incorrectly, that you believed such an internship could act in place of a course. I'd actually love to see a formal programme for internship/apprenticeship as it's something I could see myself benefiting from to an immeasurable degree.
As @hanli mentioned earlier both her and I have faces to put this too so apologies if I came off too strongly :). I had no intention of turning this into an argument - I just thought we'd begun discussing something other than a bursary programme, which, while I feel we need to expand such a programme to included scholarships or internship-focused plans in the future, we should focus on a bursary for now :).
Why do you think this? I mean, what can a degree provide that a reasonable length internship can not? I'm not sure where I come down on this yet, but I'm leaning towards internship because of personal experience. It would be interesting to hear what specific things degrees might do that internships can't.
Perhaps we could revive the academic vs professional vs do-it-yourself experience value debate in another thread then? I agree with @Bensonance that this thread really isn't the place for it (and such debates tend to be circular anyway as debaters often conflate themselves with their education, academic or otherwise).
i.e. this is the place to discuss the support for some kind of MakeGames bursary, and the community's hopes for it.
It's a given that at some point MGSA should definitely support as many bursary as we possibly can, I'm just not sure that it is the best thing we can do right now and I'm trying to explore what else we might do that might be better suited. I don't always know a lot about the industry though, and my conclusions/predictions are often wrong. So I thought that it would be better to have more information rather than less(which I know you don't disagree with).
I don't see discussing topics like this as a derailment of the thread. I see it as a continuation, but it depends on what the goals are for what we are trying to do with this bursary. If the goal is just to give someone a bursary, then the discussion is pretty much over. A lot of people have already said they'd contribute it's just a question of pointing to the hat and seeing what we get. If however the goal is to provide a benefit to the industry/community, I think there is still worth in discussing what might be a better/worse approach to getting someone new into the industry.
In the end I'm also going to contribute to the bursary not matter what. There are also some requirments/systems that I would like to see implemented to help out the students, especially if they come from backgrounds that might mean they are a bit left behind in terms of studies. Systems that would help them succeed not just check that they are succeeding. I'm just not convinced that it is the best thing at the moment.
1) A bursary offers people the opportunity to study where they would not otherwise be able to do so. Often in a field related to the company/body offering the bursary, and often with the stipulation that the student work for the company (paid) for a set period AFTER completing their studies.
2) The program that the bursary is given for would need to be carefully considered.
3) I, predictably, disagree fundamentally with the premise that a ComSci degree from UCT, or an Engineering or Arts degree from Wits will not stand someone in good stead in many different industries.
4) What someone did or did not learn at a university is reflective of the person in question, their ways of learning (which differs, difference is GOOD not bad), and the construction of the program. Not of universities as a concept. Look at the individual programs before making a judgement on formal education.
5) Our charter says that we want to encourage game development AND promote good game design education.
6) Mentorship and Internship are PART OF MOST bursaries. Insisting that they be involved is somewhat like insisting that the bursary involves funding. A "yes, and?"
7) Students should post more projects - YES.
As for point 1 - now we just have to agree on how we are going to deploy our new gimp "...for a set period after completing their studies..." :P
Coming from an engineering background and working for Sasol I know that even Sasol doesn't these days offer bursaries always and that it is in no means a guarantee of a job, and that the pressure on not necessarily merits always only. But I agree if in the engineering field they can ask that you sign a time commitment over, it is not much to ask the same kind of payback for someone whom is already willing and passionate about games since they should want to anyways and it will just help them and the community in the end.
Forcing jams, maybe not, but at least an ongoing game project, well if he/she has not already one in mind then maybe its not the right candidate - but maybe this is more a question of which course or university degree we support. Since this should really be part of the course.
That said, making games is damn hard, and dammit man it is, cause I'm an chemical engineer (with 9years of PC control engineering experience) and its hard for me. Passion goes a long way to motivate doing something that is hard. Also it pi**es me off that careers (jobs) practically is so far removed from what the study experience is, the engineering factory is far removed from the university experience in this country.
I'm mostly concerned about the message this first bursary will send to the world, and so it must be a success and therefore we need to make sure it is then. Remove risk in a logical way, since we are not a company whom will get as much payback, it will be even more important. But then again this can also just be a pay it forward bursary, but then we can just as well sponsor some text book money to a few instead of one candidate - just to market game dev in SA.
Another concern, will this be in a Trust structure? Fund structure I think is important to keep things above board and give it better chance of success, I own a few trusts and can help with good trust managers..
And yes something that was great at sasol is a rotation between departments on holiday work and after the degree, we can move this person around different local companies. Good social responsibility and then lots of time to make games practically to everyones benefit. But I must say I'd like to see more people learning how to make graphics for games locally.
Great topic! I want to support it
As someone who is self-taught (in dev - still figuring out the game part), I can confirm that formal education isn't the be-all-and-end-all.
But I contributed money because these guys may not be in the position to learn it by themselves. You assume that everyone has access to the internet and resources.
And I will continue to contribute money if this idea can be taken further, and can be structured in a way that we know that people that wouldn't have had the opportunity are given one.
Regarding internships, I think they can be really valuable. I have an intern from DUT with me for the next year and it is working out great - however there is no way that I would have been able to take him in if he had no prior training. I can't spend half my day teaching someone (I'd love to, but life doesn't work that way).
As many of you know, the corporate world values ability and eagerness.
We certainly do not judge or concern ourselves with the personal lifestyle or creative preferences of applicants. In fact, The only investigation I'm allowed to pursue into an applicant's life is their linkedIn profile.
That is because the applicant's personal lifestyle choices and beliefs should not be allowed to sway my opinion of them.
Since we are talking about somebody's future profession here, I feel we should hold the same objective distance during the assessment of an applicant.
In other words, I'd prefer technical assessment (that includes the usual legalities and sanctions checking, but perhaps also focuses on virtues of productivity.)
What I would NOT like to see, is any form of social/ideological/political assessment. These are things that I feel are irrelevant.
Given that, Count me in.
I have no idea what the costs and time would be for putting together a MOOC that's worth a damn. Probably orders of magnitude greater than it would cost for a single bursary.
Internships are already a thing that people can chase after if they want, it's not something that needs an official body to run. It all depends on the motivation of students and if there are studios where people have the time to take in interns. Interns take up a LOT of time, at least if you want them to learn anything substantial.
While I don't recall the content of the original thread here, I suspect part of the purpose of bursaries was to get disadvantaged students a chance to get into game development. Some of the barriers a bursary might overcome might be some of the same barriers stopping them from studying a MOOC course.
Right now there are a lot more students studying game development than companies capable of taking on interns. Honestly I'm less concerned with bursaries right now than about how to create employment opportunities in game development.
Part of the reason for this is (as I understand it) that Wits and @hanli (Hanley Geyser) have done such an excellent job of supporting students, which leaves the industry in a place of having to do an excellent job of facilitating job creation. I guess that's a problem we want to have :/
I could use a bursary.