My master's studies in Sheffield:

In this blog you can read about the adventures I have during my master's studies in England.
Because I really enjoyed my stay in Sheffield during my semester abroad, I always thought that I might come back for a longer period of time. Our professor G. Tullius in Germany told me an interesting thing when we were speaking about gaining a master's degree: If I study the "MSc Games Software Development" in Sheffield, I would be credited several modules from this master for a German master at Reutlingen University. Effectively, I get two complete master's degrees in less time! And since I could really imagine to study in Sheffield again, I decided to take this special opportunity. The industry-related teaching at Sheffield Hallam University is my window to the world of professional games development I was always very interested in and the more academic teaching at Reutlingen University complements this practical knowledge with the ability to work in a scientific way. Whether I choose to join the industy or to deepen my thinking in research, this combination will certainly pay off.
And last but not least: I will have a whole lot of fun!

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28th of September 2017

#5: Special equipment

Jacob Habgood, who has an active connection to Sony, in front of our PS4 development kits.

At the moment, our only obligation at the university is the first module "C++ Boot Camp".
It aims to bring everybody's programming skills to the same level and prepare us for the other modules. This fortunately gives us a bit more time to cope with all the organisational tasks outside university, which at least in my case seem to build up a long steeplechase again.
With some of my fellow students, I attended a voluntary lecture today which concerned a very special resource of our faculty: More than thirty PS4 development kits! This custom-built version of Sony's newest gaming console is extremely expensive and usually only available to professional developers from the industry. Jacob Habgood, who also established the game studio "The Steel Minions" at the university and keeps an active connection to Sony, introduced us into how to use these devices. Developing with Sony's "PhyreEngine" is a technical challenge that one can learn a great deal from. Because of my fascination especially for gaming consoles I hope for an opportunity to make the most out of this valuable resource during my time here. And I would certainly consider the hefty tuition fees being well-invested in this case. Talking of which: I want to very much thank the AUFnet society from our faculty of computer science in Reutlingen for selecting me as the recipient of their international scholarship last week, supporting my studies in Sheffield by 500 €! Thanks a lot!

22nd of September 2017

#4: A cosy course

A group picture with all my fellow students from around the world and our course leader, Pascale.

Exactly like the last time I started to study in Sheffield, an induction of all new students at their faculties took place in the week after the orientation days. Alongside many informal events, I had the pleasure of meeting my fellow students from the same course already on Monday for the first time! As I indicated with the title of this entry, we are quite a cosy course only consisting of seven students. Nevertheless, we truly form a very international group! In the picture, you can see from left to right: Tiziano from Italy, our course leader Pascale from France, Jordan from England (London), Stelios from Cyprus, Nikos from Greece, me, Bradley from Barbados and Harry from Darlington (England). Brought together by our passion for video games and programming, we are certainly going to experience many things as a group during the next year. I am therefore very much looking forward to an exciting time with such nice fellow students!

15th of September 2017

#3: Another Orientation: Two Memories

This is the biggest lecture hall at the university, filled with new students from a broad range of countries!

The orientation days took place in the second half of this week, which very much reminded me of my time in Sheffield two years ago. There was a big opening event again, whose highlights still were Andrews enthusiastic welcome, which meanwhile achieved cult status, and the very entertaining introduction into a safe life in Sheffield by the police constable Tom Goodhill. Also, there were plenty of opportunities to get in touch with new fellow students and make global acquaintances. Yesterday, for example, I was asked if I want to join a group consisting of two French women, an American woman and a Chinese woman for a quiz! We stayed together as a group for the rest of the day, which left time for many interesting conversations. Today, I attended the Welcome Dinner, where I met two Chinese women. After switching tables for the upcoming quiz, I even met a Japanese! He was probably the first compatriot I had the honour of meeting personally. As quite a fan of the Japanese, I immediately had some questions at the ready. Funnily enough, I had to learn that he is not much into video games and anime, but interested in sports! Furthermore, he has been in Germany several times because he is also quite a fan of my home country. A very nice encounter that also teaches: Patterns, for whichever groups of people, are generally not very useful. Although I would have already called myself oriented before the orientation days this time, I am glad that I took the opportunity to participate yet another time. And classicists of the era of the Nintendo DS also certainly recognised my reference in the title of this entry...

10th of September 2017

#2: Take it from the top!

This is the cutlery I bought for my new household. Because it is just a few pieces, I distributed them nicely in the drawer.

I used my first weekend to ensconce myself in my new flat. As a family, we often spent our holidays in a holiday home, so I somehow assumed that I would already be provided with the essentials this time, as well. And since the description of the flat only featured what great things are already there – omitting what is not there – I expected to find a freshly made bed, towels, cutlery and basic kitchen equipment. On the verge of my departure, I learnt on enquiry that I will only be provided with a mattress for the bedding, why I brought a sleeping bag with me as collateral, which additionally took up around a fourth of my suitcase's volume. But when arriving in Sheffield, I realised that I actually had absolutely nothing in my flat except for the furniture stated in the description, a microwave, a fridge and an electric kettle. The flat screen on the picture that had been sent to me also seemed to have vanished into thin air. Furthermore, it looked like there has not been a cleanup since the last tenant – the fitted carpet had to be vacuum-cleaned quite urgently, one could see the streaks of a hasty wipe on all surfaces and the freezing compartment was dirty and iced over. But regardless of these negative surprises, I really appreciated the warm welcome from the administrator of the housing complex, knowing that I will surely feel at home here after a certain time of reconfiguration. I already bought my own set of cutlery and many other things like a complete bedding, some tableware and even a cheap toaster! It is good to have all that because this will probably not be the last time I need to build up a household from scratch. On top of that, I am definitely going to remember my first evening here, eating my frozen pizza with free plastic cutlery from the inner face of the cardboard before getting some well-deserved sleep inside the sleeping bag with my winter jacket as a pillow...

8th of September 2017

#1: Back in Sheffield

The housing complex I will be living in during the next year is called "Challenge Works" and is located in the city centre.

After one and a half year, I walked through Sheffield again today! And it almost seems to have not changed a bit. The environment looks still very familiar to me and I am glad to have the opportunity to be here for another while: During the next twelve months, I will be studying the master's course "MSc Games Software Development", where "MSc" means "Master of Science". This means that I will be working scientifically in the field of video game production to expand my knowledge about this topic. In contrast to a "Master of Arts", which could for example handle the production of artwork, 3D models or music, I am going to focus more on programming and general technical frameworks for video games. I am sure that I will have a lot of fun here! My accommodation is called "Challenge Works" and is located in the city centre this time. It takes me only two minutes to the main building of my faculty, for instance! This is something I always dreamed of during the last four years whilst studying at Reutlingen University, to which I had to travel by public transport for about one hour.
But for now, I am just going to ensconce myself in my new home!

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