My Major Is Gaming…

Times have changed. You can now take a university class in writing games. In fact, YOU can now take a university class about writing games because [Dave Churchill] of Memorial University has put all 22 of his lectures up for your enjoyment. [Dr. Churchill] isn’t planning on releasing the assignment files, but you can still get a lot from watching the videos. Apparently, the classes were also live streamed on Twitch.

The games build on SFML so the resulting games can be portable. The library abstracts input, graphics, sound, and networking.

The games use an entity component system (ECS) which is one possible architecture. Like any kind of software, of course, there are many different ways to get the job done. The games appear to be 2D, so if you were planning on writing the next Doom, you’ll need to do a little extracurricular work.

Like most classes, the first one (see below) starts off with some housekeeping, but it picks up rapidly. You should probably already know C++ if you want to get the most out of it.

The course focuses on desktop computer games, but the ideas would apply even to writing things for consoles. If video games aren’t your thing, you can always hack your own non-degree on some other computer science topic.

12 thoughts on “My Major Is Gaming…

  1. Dr Ian Parberry was doing this in 1999 at the University of North Texas….only CS professor worth anything during my time there. and the physics class there was utterly useless. (So I retook it elsewhere). Still, LARC was a thing, and a class on video game programming was a thing all the way back then!

  2. This is cool. Only the teachers at the top of their game who are proud of their courses put up their classes on YouTube. After watching this first one I can see this is a polished course.

  3. Another MUN grad here. Still remember my intro to computer science course, which really changed the way I looked at computers, and the subsequent Java course which cemented my decision to go into physics instead!

  4. I love it — Looks more professional than some of these udemy courses. He really put the work in — i’m thinking about actually doing the whole course. Fingers crossed that it stays up for a while on youtube.

  5. As a veteran of the video game industry, I just wanted to say this: Please do not spend money on an education specialized in game industry skills.
    The industry will burn you out and you will be left with an education that is worthless in any other field.

    1. I’d say skills are transferrable. Learning to write games teaches you a lot about computer programming in general, whether organizing a large project, working in teams, documenting code, understanding hardware and optimizing code, dealing with advanced issues such as concurrent programming, threading, low-latency networking etc.

      Still, working in the game industry itself is shit.

      1. Word. I have had more fun just writing my games and making graphics and sounds than being a cog in a year long project that may or may not be released due to some tangental BS. IP is all mine too outside of the CC portions. First game was garbage and tanked but the last one is over 100k downloads in two months so that makes it at least a little rewarding. I think my biggest concern was doing the text and making it playable and snarky enough for adults and kids but not offensive to cancel culture. I am interested in watching this series though as I never had a class in game programming and building itself. I was just always self taught doing something fun in this arena. With so much time in quarantine, it gives me something fun to do and I think I made a whopping fifteen bucks so far to buy bird seed with, so there is that haha!

    2. Well, another long term gamedev here. Things have gotten better in the last 5-10 years. In the last couple of companies I’ve worked in, I didn’t had any major crunches and extra time was always paid.
      I do agree that a major in CS is a better overall investment, you can be smart and try to pivot your assignments to something game related.
      The problem I see with this programs is that they are not focused enough. Unless you are lucky to be a successful indie, you will probably work on one role, so all those lessons in Blender or music production will be left unused.

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