Brenden Gibbons

Brendon Gibbons

University: NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences

Course: BSc in International Game Architecture and Design (IGAD)

Year: 3

Nationality: British

1. Why did you choose to study abroad?

I paid €1,906 for this year’s tuition at NHTV. In the UK the fee for an equivalent course would be €11,416 so there’s quite a big difference! I found however that there was very little difference in the quality (actually, NHTV seemed just as good if not a higher quality of education than some of the universities I was considering in England), and whatever that difference was, it was definitely not worth the extra €9,510!

2. Why did you choose to study the IGAD degree?

I visited the NHTV international open day and decided it was right for me because I found that everyone, both students and teachers, were so incredibly passionate about what they were doing. I found their passion so infectious that I knew straight away that I wanted to be a part of it. I absolutely love video games and knew I wanted to create games, so it seemed a good fit. The teachers were incredibly honest about what the course was like, what they were trying to do, and the thoughts behind everything they were teaching.

3. Tell us about the IGAD course and what you’re studying

I’m studying as a videogame designer, which basically means I’m studying how to make videogames fun. I’m studying how to make a world and design everything inside, from the story to how the doors work and how high you can jump (which is as important as the story itself!).

The main aim is learning how to craft an experience, how to create a game that makes gamers feel a certain way, allows them to experience happiness, sadness and a whole range of emotions, and ultimately have fun.

4. How are you finding your studies?

I’m really enjoying my studies and the student experience at NHTV. Honestly, the atmosphere that IGAD has is very nice and welcoming. We’re all passionate about what we’re doing and it’s fascinating to see what different ideas and projects everyone is working on. If you keep an eye out the teachers (and other students) give students a heads-up about exciting events, projects or tools that you wouldn’t have access to otherwise and it means you have some amazing opportunities.

5. What’s been the highlight of your time at NHTV over the past year?

I went to HUGE number of game-related events last academic year. I started with travelling so some local events with fellow NHTV students and then I ended up flapping my wings and travelled to Belgium, France, Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Britain! It’s been an amazing experience to meet other game developers and through this realising that this is definitely the career I want to puruse and also feeling reassured that what I have been studying at NHTV is relevant to what I want to do.

Also, some of the events that I heard of through NHTV were actually funded. I went to Kortrijk, Belgium for three days and Lille in France for a week for a project called Digital Stories, where we made films that allowed people to interact with it through laser pointers. I only found out about the Lille event through one of my teachers. I was also able to go to the Brains Eden Game Jam in Cambridge as part of the NHTV team and that was a great experience too.

6. How would you rate the learning environment at NHTV?

The interaction between students and teachers at IGAD is great. Most teachers treat working at IGAD like working at a game studio so there’s a very nice feeling of relaxed professionalism. You can approach the teachers at any time with a question, they’re happy to talk and communicate, and they want to make sure that you’re happy and feeling good about what you’re learning.

7. What are your plans for the IGAD internship?

I’ve love to intern with a big name company and preferably in America. A few days ago some of the IGAD students in the year above me returned to NHTV after their internships and one guy was telling me about his placement at a theme park design company. Hearing about his experiences just blew my mind. I’m going to apply to everything that catches my eye and try it!

8. How many hours do you study each week?

I’m supposed to study 40 hours a week (that includes lecture time). I don’t actually know how many hours I put in to be honest … I don’t keep count. Sometimes a lot more, sometimes maybe less. It’s tough sometimes but you have to put the hours in to get good work done and see progress and results.

9. What’s the atmosphere like at NHTV?

Friendly, and busy! There are plenty of free open areas to work in and there’s a lot of students. Sometimes it can be a little hard to find a quiet spot for study, but since the work areas are open it’s easy to find friends or study mates so you can talk or work with them.

10. What’s student life like at NHTV?

I’m a member of the NHTV Theatre group, which has some cool international stuff now. I was part of two different international theatre improvisation classes (both of which ended with a performance show) and I was also part of the dancing crew and choir for a Dutch musical.

I’m also part of the Creative Lab, which is an organisation of the academy that is about supporting students who wants to make things. I was part of a project to make a short live action film for the virtual reality headset Oculus Rift, which was shown at the GoShort International Short Film Festival in Nijmegen. Their support meant that I could focus on the challenges of working with the technology, instead of more of the logistical challenges of making such a thing.

11. How did you find student accommodation when you first arrived?

It can be quite hard to find a good place to live. Initially I found the primary system to get a place in Breda as a student ( tricky. Private housing agents aren’t too keen on renting to students because of the typical bad student reputation. Fortunately I have now been able to find myself a good place now using Click For Rooms

12. Would you recommend the city of Breda to other British students?

Sure. There aren’t many good places to dance, but there’s a lot of nightlife. It’s a lot more interesting though if you’re not just interested in drinking! There’s a very good design museum that has new exhibitions reasonably regularly. There are also quite a range of art and design events and city festivals and celebrations that take place each year. Breda also has a good concert hall with a whole range of different music styles being performed. Breda is a student city so there’s always something happening if you keep an eye out and are willing to try new things.