>- I'm not in a design degree but feel like I am a better game designer than most GD's I know
You are, I guarantee it. Rant time!
Most BAGDs are completely garbage at everything they do, but make up for it with hard work. Because guess what? A ton of GAT (at least through semester 5 or so) is just doing work and following instructions. They draw upon video games that they like to play for immediate inspiration when they make their games, instead of coming up with something creative and new. They get by by following exactly what the professor says to do to, which usually involves hours upon hours of work.
Some of the more creative design students become bored with this crap very quickly, realize that DigiPen truly has very little in the design department to offer, and drop out immediately.
If you want to tell how good a BAGD is, just go to Ellinger's website and skim it for terminology. Don't read it too hard or it'll hurt your brain with its stupid. Memorize these dumb terms (but just the terms, not the definitions, again, your brain will hurt), and listen to see if designers you know use them casually in earnest in order to sound like they know things about game design that you don't. If they use "engaging" instead of "fun", or ever talk about "the intensity curve", or about how a game has "the aesthetic of discovery/expression/competition/etc."… you're probably talking to someone who knows fuck-all about game design but is a likely a very hard worker.
Also, incoming students: if you meet someone in one of the design degree programs who mentions that they really want to write stories for video games more than actually design them, they will definitely fall into that category.
Knowing how to design is not something that you can learn from books right now. Game design is not a very well-researched field yet, and it's largely bullshit at the moment. When you're designing a video game, you barely need to know any of the crap the GD program teaches you; you just need toPost too long. Click here to view the full text.