DkIT Games Development Students travel to Portugal06 March 2017
12 second-year students from DkIT’s BSc (Honours) in Computing in Games Development took part in a 12-day European intensive project in the city of Porto, Portugal. The project is called “Serious Gaming for a Better Europe”. The project involves three third-level colleges and three NGOs. The three colleges that are involved in the project are DkIT, Artesis - Plantijn Hogeschool Antwerpen from Antwerp in Belgium and Instituto Superior Politécnico from Porto in Portugal. The three NGOs that are involved in the project are Le Partenariat from Lille in France, Studio Globo from Brussels in Belgium and Stedenband Haarlem-Mutare from Haarlem in the Netherlands. Students from each of the three third-level colleges participated in the project.
The project is funded by the European Union’s Erasmus+ programme. The aim of the 12-day intensive project was for the students to build serious mobile games that focus on the theme of Freemdom. The students were given guidance as to the direction and game content by the NGO experts. The games that were built covered topics such as tolerance of refugees, gender equality and freedom of the press. Three of the games that have been built by the students will be further developed over the next year. After that, one game will be further developed to a commercial level and will be deployed in secondary schools across Europe.
Coming up with unique serious games on the topic of freedom was challenging for the students. One student said “our project for the two weeks was focused on the concept of Freedom. Freedom can be a very vague topic for many people, as people all around the world could think of freedom very differently.”
The project was very intense. The students had to produce three presentations of their game over a 12-day period. The students found the work to be challenging, yet rewarding. One student stated that “the work was hard, on the game students’ side we had to develop a working prototype of a mobile game for a pitch in under two weeks. It was tough work but nothing we couldn’t handle! Our Belgian team mates had to help create the actual presentation for the pitch and I never realised the work that can be put into a PowerPoint presentation and how good it can look! Overall I highly recommend to any student that they sign up for these kinds of projects! It sounds cliché, but it was a college experience I couldn’t replace. I met new people and experienced new things that I don’t think I’ll ever forget.”
Participating in intensive projects offers many benefits to the participating students. One student summed up several of the benefits for students of participating in this kind of project, stating “for me, it wasn’t about competing to get your game further developed – although it is a great thing to have on your CV! For me, it was about the experience of being in an intensive project where I got to discuss my game in a professional manner with judges, my group and the various lecturers and NGO experts. Meeting my new Belgium and Portuguese friends and having a wonderful 12 days was the highlight of the trip. Would I do it again? Yes I would with no hesitation because I learned and developed as a person over the 12 days. I am so glad that I put my name down for this project!”.
Summing up the learning and personal growth experience, another student stated that “Portugal was an experience I shall never forget. There were times of struggle and fun, but at the end of the day it was very worthwhile. The experience I gained throughout the 12 days will help me with my studies in DkIT and prepare me for the future. We instantly connected with both the Belgium and Portuguese students and we had great moments together. The best part of the trip was meeting not just other students, but teachers from different countries as well. The Irish and European teachers were extremely helpful and kind to us. They guided us on the right path.”