July 22, 2020

Tom Hudson portrait

I’m Tom Hudson and I’ve recently graduated from Cardiff Met with a First Class Honours in BSc (Hons) Computer Games Design and Development. I have always been an avid gamer and my favourite memories growing up are of my brother and I spending hours gaming together. Before coming to Cardiff Met I’d never envisioned myself studying any form of computing, instead I wanted to take my passion in basketball and have a career in coaching. Post sixth-form I worked in retail for two years but never felt satisfied, despite receiving promotions. So I decided getting back into education would assist in pursuing a career I could enjoy.

Why game development? Well, I shortlisted two paths. Either a degree in sports to pursue basketball coaching, or take a risk on a brand new Game Development course and learn skills I never thought I’d get the chance to learn. My decision was swayed when I found the video introduction to the Game Development course, which was hosted by Dr. Paul Angel (the Programme Director at the time). His description of the course captured my attention and I knew then that this course would be perfect for me. I attended an open day and got to meet Paul which solidified my decision: I had to go to Cardiff Met.

What actually happened throughout my degree? With no prior programming knowledge, my first year was challenging. I asked lots of questions and eventually got it, but I am fairly sure my coursemates hated my constant lecture interruptions! My best memories happened during my second year. I embraced my love of basketball and joined the Cardiff Met Archers Basketball Team which gave me a chance to compete in the sport I love!

Tom and his basketball teammates
Some of my teammates and I prior to a match against Cardiff Uni

I also did my fair share of clubbing (okay maybe too much), but most importantly I got to make really cool games with my closest friends. I also had the opportunity to find an internship which I declined, a big mistake and probably the only regret from my journey.

A screen from the game Ent
Ent – a game my friends and I made in our second year

Final year was fun, but also the toughest part of the journey. I went through some personal battles with mental health and then the global pandemic hit, turning everyone’s lives upside down! Yeah, this academic year has been a struggle. I didn’t let anything hold me back though, I took it all in my stride and persevered through it all! I got the opportunity to freelance and make an awesome educational game called Marvin The Manta Ray for the charity Manta Trust. I also made a VR game called Supermarket Dash with my best friends!

A demo of my VR game, Supermarket Dash

The main highlight from final year though has to be my dissertation, which is on the topic of Procedural Terrain Generation. Throughout the entire study I was a bit overwhelmed (and the pandemic certainly did not help with that)! By the end though I had a pretty cool tool that I could show off in my portfolio and I knew a fair bit on the topic, which helped boost my self confidence.

A computer generated terrain
A procedurally generated terrain made using my dissertation’s terrain generator

The key takeaways from my journey are:

  • Active learning is SO important. Ask questions and get involved!
  • If you have the chance to do an internship, DO IT. The skills you will learn and exposure can increase your chances of landing that dream job.
  • Get involved with more than just your course! Societies, sports, socials etc. Just get out there and make a memory.

Doing this degree has changed my life. I’ll forever look back with happiness at the experiences and the friends I have made. It’s been an amazing journey at Cardiff Met.