Dr. P's personal recommendations for those who want to get into the game industry from this area (North Carolina).  (Updated 12 July 2011)

As you know, I have been teaching game creation (especially game design) in community college. CC is a great place to go for people who aren't sure what they want to do in life, as it is far less expensive than university, doesn't offer the distractions (parties!) of a residential university, yet people are more likely to succeed. At a good CC they'll be treated better; and it is well-known that people who start their college at a CC, then transfer to a university, are more successful at the university than the people who started there as freshmen.

This semester I am not teaching, rather I am writing a second book (that seems to be using parts of the unpublished first...).

If you're SURE you want to be a programmer, and you have the grades and smarts to get accepted (and the $money$ to be there), go to NC State, where Dr. Michael Young has a programming concentration related to gaming.

If you're SURE you want to be an artist, and you have the grades and talent to get accepted (and the $money$ to be there), go to NC State.  Professor Tim Buie, who used to be art director for several video games before he got his MFA, has a concentration for games in the Fine Arts degree.

For those who want to be game/level designers, I know of no good university choice hereabouts.  Frankly, wherever I'm teaching is the best choice. Remember, however, that it will help you a lot to be either an artist or a programmer (or at least, scripter) when you're trying to get into the game industry.  Level designer is the best practical goal.  Almost no one is hired right out of school as a game designer, quite rightly.  Savannah College of Art and Design has a degree in game design, but it is both distant and fairly expensive.  It IS accredited as a college, not a trade school, which is a big plus.

If you are sure what you want to do but don't have the wherewithal to go to NC State, then community colleges could be the next choice.  Knowing the situation at Wake Tech and how students are treated, I cannot recommend it AT ALL, nor would many if any of the students there.  Moreover, it is skewed toward programming.  CCCC doesn't have a game program.  FTCC's is just starting, and has big problems.   CPCC in Charlotte is primarily for programmers.  I haven't heard anything about games from Johnston CC, but that doesn't mean they don't plan to start.  Pitt CC (Greeneville, same town as East Carolina) does first year "SGD" (Simulation and Game Development"), as does Wayne CC (Goldsboro).  Second year students are expected to move on to Wake, but in practice it hardly ever happens.

East Carolina proposed (April 09) a certificate in game development.  A certificate and concentration are roughly equal, amounting to a few specialize courses.

Programmers can attend any college/university that's good for programming, and teach themselves the parts that are game-specific (such as using game engines).


Digipen and Full Sail "University", and schools like them, are vastly expensive, and do not give you a "real" degree, that is, they are not accredited as ordinary colleges, but only as trade schools. So, for example, if you have a "bachelors degree" from one of those schools, you cannot be accepted for graduate study at a standard college/university because you don't have an accepted degree.  Whether an employer will accept a degree from these places as a "real degree" is open to doubt.

In any case, be wary of any school that is owned by one or a few people, such as these (and, unfortunately, many art schools as well). Seriously consider whether you want to go to any school that claims to own the games etc. that you make while at the school. And be wary of any school where the game curriculum was started by or is dominated by programmers, unless you want to be a programmer.

Lew Pulsipher