Study abroad in Breda

Gerhard Scheiber, Web Business & Technology, Study year 2011

  • Why, focusing on game programming, did you choose this University of Applied Sciences for your semester abroad

I chose the NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands as they offer the degree program International Game Architecture and Design, in short IGAD. With my passion for video games and my high interest in their development, it became clear to me quite quickly that I will spend my semester abroad in Breda. The degree program is split into four focus areas: arts, programming, design and production, as well as Indy (Independent) Game Development. I opted for the latter as it includes all the important aspects from the other three choices. That way, I was introduced to the modeling of objects, texturing of these models, 2D animation, art theory, conceptualizing and designing of games, and handling of the game engine Unity. This engine supports not only the programming language Javascript, but also the object-oriented language C #, which I myself could learn about because of my previous experience in Java. 

  • What challenges did you have to face during your semester abroad?

There were a number of challenges which I had to face such as the handling of new tools, cooperation with complete strangers from all over the world, and especially drawing. When it came to drawing I just had to realize that, compared to others, I am simply not talented enough. Another challenge was time management. Nearly every course included project work but I had to sit one exam each in only two courses, Game Engines and Concept Design. In GameLab, for example, the project was to work in groups to conceptualize and realize a complete game within only one semester.

  • Were you satisfied with the content of your courses at your exchange university?

IGAD is generally very practice oriented and prepares its students for the video game industry. The content of the courses with a focus on theory was very well taught but in the more practical courses that was less the case. The practical courses had a high number of students, which meant that it was hardly possible to directly interact with the lecturers and ask them questions. Instead of being in close contact with lecturers, students were simply given a long list of links to tutorial videos to develop their skills. I don't think that this is an ideal solution as the time necessary for self-study is definitely longer than what the lecturers estimate.

  • Will you continue with the field of study which you took up for your semester abroad?

Generally, the semester I spent in Breda for my stay abroad was very interesting even if it was time-consuming. I am planning on using my newly acquired knowledge to develop video games and release my first, own indy game in the near future. Under certain circumstances, I might even consider doing my Master’s in the Game Technology Master's program at the NHTV.