UNIVERSITY OF HULL
A long-established institution with strong industry links
“We have alumni in most major studios, and they often visit us”
The University Of Hull distinguishes itself with a particular focus on industry experience that includes an in-house commercial development studio, SEED, run by students and staff. Hull’s Computer Science For Games Development course offers a three-year BSc, one-year MSc or integrated fouryear MEng, and is delivered by staff such as senior lecturer Warren Viant.
Why should students choose the University Of Hull?
Over our 20 years of game programming education, we’ve acquired a reputation for graduating high-quality game programmers. We have alumni in most major studios, and these studios often visit us to provide guest lectures to students and give us feedback to use in our curriculum development. So between these industrial links and our focus on staff development, we’re able to predict which skills students are likely to need when they graduate with a good degree of accuracy. Another major advantage that Hull offers is the opportunity to work on real, commercial projects within SEED, our in-house software development unit, or HIVE, our virtual environment centre.
What’s the thinking behind those initiatives?
Being able to program well is key, but employers want more than just robots who can churn out C++ code – they also want to see a wider skillset: teamwork, communication, dealing with clients, and professionalism are all critical skills too. SEED and HIVE are our solutions to this, allowing us to teach valuable employability skills and expose students to real commercial software development with a wide range of clients. One of SEED’s most successful products is an Emergency Service Command & Control system used by many UK fire services. The importance of this experience is hard to overstate. Students are exposed to the project life cycle: they meet customers, gather requirements, agree the specifications, develop the software, and deliver, install and support the product.
Which tools do you focus on?
In terms of tools and software development kits, we focus on Visual Studio 2013/2015, Parasoft C++ Test, Intel Parallel Studio, Sony PlayStation Suite, DirectX, HLSL, OpenGL and GLSL. However, libraries and game engines such as Unity and Unreal are available for use in projects, and our students have used them to great effect in game jams and competitions. The skills they develop with us mean they can quickly learn and use other technologies, which is important as they pursue their careers in this ever-changing field.
What do you hope your students will gain from their time at Hull?
The big advantage – and the one that makes Hull unique – is the opportunity for high-quality industrial experience for students in SEED and HIVE, which is guaranteed for all masters students. There are other, wider benefits to this too, including an increased awareness of, and involvement in, commercial software development by academic staff – over half of us are actively engaged in SEED-related activity. The availability of relevant commercial software development also provides case studies we can integrate into the teaching of software engineering. This gives students a valuable insight into their future careers and helps to ensure all our programmes minimise the skills gap between graduation and employment.
SEED is currently working with HFR Solutions to produce VR training systems for the emergency services