NHTV - Epic Games Educational Spotlight

By Ronny Franken



Institution: NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences
School: Academy for Digital Entertainment (ADE)
Department: CMGT: International Game Architecture and Design (IGAD)

Program Description
At NHTV Breda students enroll for one of the world’s best entertainment gaming programmes, a long standing member of Sony’s PlayStation First academic development programme, and completely taught in English. After a foundation year in visual art, programming or design and production, students continue to develop their own roles, skillsets and ultimate career path towards their dream job. During their four years of study students work in a simulated game development studio on different game projects in which they take a contributing role. Students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to a complex question, problem or challenge. The focus is on facilitating students to become self-driven learners that can analyse a problem and use all the resources around them. Projects will become more complex and increase in scope towards AAA development cycles including development tools and hardware towards the conclusion of their study.

Instructor Spotlight


Ronny Franken

Ronny has a background in industrial design and switched from developing and designing products for the real world to their virtual counterparts in the mid-nineties. He worked as a level designer, art lead and production designer on various released titles across multiple platforms from PlayStation onwards for which he created imaginative and inspiring game worlds.
Ronny teaches subjects related to visual design, world building and procedural modeling. He coordinates the visual arts curriculum as well as the first foundation year at IGAD. By sharing his passion he hopes to inspire students to create and build original beautiful worlds within production constraints.


Robbie Grigg

Robbie has filled most of his life building games with various technologies from the past 20 years. Robbie has co-founded and developed a successful computer games company, an online gaming software provider and worked with US-based developers and publishers in the release of worldwide titles. Academically Robbie has worked with universities in Australia, United Kingdom and the Netherlands to bring a world perspective in effective game development and the technical challenges in the PC, console, and online gaming sectors.

Robbie teaches subjects related to C++ games programming, data-structures, algorithms along with a strong mathematical foundation. He supervises year three of the IGAD study where he hopes to encourage industry level practise in the way students technically complete their products.


Student Spotlight


Riverfall - Tobias Koepp

Riverfall was a combination of a research and graduation assignment that in total spanned a period of 30 to 40 weeks. The project started its block-out in UDK and was ported over to Unreal Engine 4 because it was important to use the latest editor tools for a large world like this. To create the assets Tobias used a combination of Maya, ZBrush, 3D Coat and Photoshop. This was an individual project supported by regular consultation meetings with a supervising teacher.

“From a very early point in the education I knew that I wanted to create worlds. It seemed like a good idea to take the time I had available as a student to create a project like this and attend as many lessons as possible. I chose a project that I knew I would enjoy, learn a lot from and a challenge in seeing just how far I can push it in a given timeframe. For the future I am looking to work on projects that reflect my interests and that I can have some fun with.”


Prototyping Physically-Based Camera Systems - Juul Joosten

While in university Juul used UE4 to prototype the concept of physically based camera systems. His idea was to support cinematographers using UE4 to set up camera systems in the engine using real-world parameters such as focal length and aperture while having effects like focus breathing and a correct depth of field. The approach was to support this through the UE4 plugin system.




Group Student Work


Total Recall - Team ArtEfficient

Team ArtEfficient’s project focussed on creating an environment for a four-player deathmatch level design based on the Total Recall movie [2012]. The team tried to stay as close to the film as possible, but in addition to the visual reference from the movie they did a lot of research to extend and elaborate on the look and feel. The biggest challenge was to create a level that reflected the worn, almost slum-like atmosphere with all its stacked architecture and different cultures while keeping the map readable for the player. Readability was enhanced by strong use of silhouettes and smart clustering of set-dressing and lighting. The lighting proved to be challenging because of the night-time setting and the bright neon signage.

This was a second year project in which everyone had a clear role and specialisation. Within the pipeline all team members did their share of modelling, texturing and working within the engine to optimise the learning experience. The project was built and rendered using Unreal Engine which, with its artist friendly workflow, allowed the team to work efficiently. A notable technical feature was the procedurally generated background, constructed using Houdini and a basic set of modules.

“In the end we did feel like we stayed true to the original mood and feel of the movie, and we hope you can recognize this in the project.”

Team members: Loek Gijsbertse, Max Berends, Jeroen van Dongen, Anastasia Opara, Anna Richter, Tim Paauwe, Corné Willemsen, Baiba Gedrovica, Tim Baijens

Trailer:  https://youtu.be/3XROUFR37Jw
Showcase: https://youtu.be/gPGICv9vDKo

KABOUNCE - Tivaru Games


KABOUNCE is a competitive multiplayer pinball game where you control the ball. It was originally conceptualised during Epic’s 2015 UE4 July Game Jam by two NHTV students and a 3D Artist, and later crowned as one of the three winners. The following four weeks the team polished KABOUNCE for launch on Steam Greenlight, and the game was greenlit in only six days.

So far KABOUNCE has been showcased nationally, in the Netherlands, and most recently GDC San Francisco (sponsored by the Dutch Creative Industries Fund NL). KABOUNCE is on track for a full commercial release on Steam later this year.

Team members: Tim Baijens, Jos Vrijdag, Hedrik Offenberg, Tim Paauwe, Anthea van Leeuwen, Anton Dessov, Sanjay van Gastel, Sven Brinkman, Robbie Storm, Bart van Kuijk, Hielke Morsink, Jan de Graaf, Ted Bom, Querijn Heijmans, Jonathan de Croon

External Team members: Alex 'Richardson' Hynes, Laura van de Mast

Website: http://www.kabouncegame.com/
Steam: http://store.steampowered.com/app/431930/

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