Training Spotlight: University of Huddersfield

Situated in West Yorkshire, the University of Huddersfield has been teaching students the ins and outs of games art and programming for almost ten years.

“We try to make sure the course is always current. We work closely with industry partners and are always open to making necessary adjustments so the teaching reflects what’s happening in the games industry,” Ruth Taylor, course leader for BA Computer Games Design, tells Develop.

The BA course is deliberately broad in the first year and covers both technical and creative aspects of games design and development. Students get to grips with scripting as well as 3D modelling, asset production, understanding games design principles, usability, interaction, teamwork and development.

“In 2006, we set up our own in-house studio, Canalside, which provides placement opportunities for a small team each year working on a variety of games projects,” Taylor adds.

“This gives students and staff the opportunity to develop and publish. We have a strong track record of supporting students to publish their own games and for business start-ups. The university’s 3M Buckley Innovation Centre provides office space for student start-ups, as well as a growing number of small games companies.”

Along with its state-of-the-art innovation centre, the university gives students access to industry standard tools, such as 3ds Max, ZBrush, Photoshop, Unity, UDK and so on. Rolling licences for the tech helps ensure that it keeps up to date with the latest tools.

As students progress through the course, there is more opportunity to focus on particular interests and specialisms, such as 2D and 3D art, for instance, or animation, environments and games design.

Huddersfield places high importance on teamwork and production, and students from the BA Games Design and BSc Games Programming courses work together on project modules to develop their own games. And that process continues throughout the degree.

“Being able to demonstrate skills by having a finished game is a priority and we encourage students to
self-publish,” says Taylor.

“By the time students reach their final year, we expect them to have a strong sense of their own specialist interests and to be producing highly individualised portfolios.”

Being part of the Game Republic network, which includes many games companies in the Yorkshire region, gives the university a wealth of connections to the games cluster in its immediate area. The educational institution also has support from Red Kite, Team17 and Rockstar Leeds.

Of course, nothing says more than Huddersfield’s roster of alumni, some of whom have featured in Develop’s 30 Under 30 in the last couple of years.

Taylor says: “You’ll find our graduates in many of the country’s major games companies, as well as some working in the States and Europe. We’re just as proud of those working for smaller companies or developing their own start-ups. The games industry is very diverse and creativity isn’t just limited to the big studios. And I like to think Huddersfield students are creative.”

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