'People are always willing to help you out'

Why did you choose the Games Programme?

Oh man, that started quite a while ago, I mean most of the people in our programme have a passion for what we are doing, either because we already started making games at an earlier age or because we have been playing them since god knows when. What really attracted me about Creative Media and Game Technologies / International Game Architecture and Design (IGAD) was the Design and Production aspect, I always had a passion for wanting to know how games worked and trying to create my own twist to them. The study programme itself sounded like a dream, you get to know the full scope of creating a game including the designing and managing aspect and it is being taught by people from the industry. When you hear that as a young gamer with dreams of belonging in the industry it’s hard to get disappointed.

Why did you choose to study at NHTV?

I did check out other programmes but the portfolio of lecturers that this programme had was nowhere to be found, another great opportunity was the international aspect. Most of the people will agree that English becomes a near-native language to anyone who enjoyed a whole bunch of games during their youth. It’s nice to be able to talk in the language you started thinking in since you were exposed to it so much, and it’s a great opportunity to meet new people with different cultures, this exposure is never a bad thing if you strive to make creative art works.

If you had to explain what you are studying right now to someone who is in secondary school, what would you say?

I am learning how to make games, and although this may sound a bit lame and maybe even simple it is quite the contrary. We study society, culture and even philosophy, we try to understand how people think and what makes them come back to gaming over and over again. Armed with this knowledge we choose to create games for entertainment, education and even persuasion. Gaming is far more then Call of Duty or World of Warcraft, it is involved in our everyday life; we live in an age where everyone is a gamer. This makes my education so incredibly fun, I know that in the future I can reach the masses with whatever message I would like, and if that would be able to inspire/persuade/teach or entertain people I’d be a happy man.

What do you like/dislike about your studies and NHTV?

At NHTV I mostly enjoy that we are one big community, they are critical of their own study programmes and we get our chance to rant out whatever we think needs improvement at the end of every term. It offers a lot of activities and parties if you are into that kind of thing and knows that even as an education institution they are never done with learning. It wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t have my share of criticism on certain topics on the course of study, so one thing you should be prepared for is well… You know that social life you have? Yes, that will be kind of gone. The rosters at NHTV (probably because it is a massive school) could use a little shaping up from time to time. Schoolwork in itself consumes most of the time, but add some very awkwardly scheduled days to that and you can say goodbye to whatever social activities you had planned for this term.

Which part / subject did you enjoy most in the last year?

Last year we got our hands dirty as designers, with that I mean we weren’t just typing our lives away in word but we got some very interesting tools for level design courses that allowed us to create immense prototypes in Unity. This meant we were able to design, create and play our own products which was really something cool after just writing your ideas down for a year and seeing only some of them come to reality (with a little luck) in Gamelab. Though the moment I’m writing this I notice I’m in a bit of a conflict, I did enjoy the level design a lot, but we also had Narratology courses which meant we started writing stories, story structures and their appliances in games. It’s a though call to choose between the two as they both satisfy a completely different aspect of what I like, so I’m going to cheat the question and choose both of them.

How many hours a week do you have to study?

It depends on what year really, the first year is though and with that I mean insanely though. Be prepared to run a full-time job called IGAD and the funny part is; you are paying them. Don’t worry though, it’s worth it, but in the first year I easily spent approximately 60 hours a week on studying, this did however include the times I was in school and the travelling times to get there. The further you get up the ladder, the less time consuming it becomes. In year three I easily halved this time, however; this means that the course material became a little heavier but nothing you can’t handle if you made it to year 3.

How would you describe the atmosphere at NHTV?

This is a simple one, I can leave my laptop and go to the bathroom while sitting in the canteen without a worry on my mind. It’s nice, friendly and welcoming. People are always willing to help you out (this is even emphasised by the teachers.) So it’s as good as it gets.

What are your plans for your internship?

Internship for IGAD is in the first part of the fourth year, this has a simple reason; when we go for internship it is very well possible we never come back. Especially in the games industry, you are eager to start at the earliest opportunity, if you get a chance you should take it, so the course has adapted to that. I am planning of going anywhere that isn’t the Netherlands, I have my dream companies which I would like to work at in either America or France so we will see what will happen to that. I would be happy enough with any AAA company.

Jan van Lamoen
Alumnus Creative Media and Game Technologies / International Game Architecture and Design

Read more stories of students and alumni of the programme International Game Architecture and Design