After achieving a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Engineering at IIIT Una, India, Shivi Vats decided to come to Klagenfurt to continue studying with the master’s programme Games Studies and Engineering. In this interview he talks about why one should study at AAU and what advantages Klagenfurt has over a big city like Delhi, India.
Why did you decide to study at all? Was it clear from the beginning what you want to study?
I had known since high school that I wanted to prioritise education over getting a job, and during my bachelors, I decided that I wanted to get a master’s degree to specialise in games, rather than go down a generic computer science route with my career.
Tell us a memorable AAU anecdote!
I loved spending nights at the university working on projects with my friends. During the first two semesters, none of our apartments were big enough to host 3-4 people so we would gather at the university. It was quite a lot of fun and we even had a few “favourite spots” where we would prefer to sit. Working till 3 AM fuelled by coffee from the vending machines in the university sure is a unique experience!
Which subjects do you like and why? What do you like most about your studies?
I love all the game-related subjects, such as Game Studies, Game Engineering and others that are related to the two main fields. I like the fact that I get to study games, since I have had a passion for games for as long as I can remember and getting to both develop games and analyse them through a critical lens is a great experience.
Has your view of the world changed through your studies?
My studies have had a huge impact on the way I view and approach research work. I come from a technical background, where we would hardly ever delve into research. However, coming to AAU and studying subjects such as Game Studies has opened my mind up to how fascinating research can be. And I attribute a huge chunk of that to the amazing lecturers Assoc.-Prof. Mag. Dr. René Reinhold Schallegger and Univ.-Ass. Felix Schniz, M.A., who made the introduction to the field creative and interesting for me.
How do you explain the contents of your studies to your family or friends?
Since almost everyone knows about video games nowadays, I explain to them that I mainly study how to make games and what games are. Most of them understand quickly, especially those who are quite familiar with games already. To others, I say that I’m studying games in general. And whatever they interpret from that often holds true for my studies.
Why did you choose Klagenfurt to study? What do you like about Klagenfurt?
I wanted to study games and AAU is one of the few universities that fit all the other criteria I had. And I learnt that Klagenfurt is a city of around 100,000 people with a lake right next to it. Coming from an industrialised city with tens of millions of people, Klagenfurt sounded like a great place to move to! And I have not regretted that decision at all! I like that Klagenfurt is so quiet and that there are beautiful sceneries with mountains that I can see from my balcony.
Why should one study here?
Firstly, I believe one should study what they truly have an interest in, and if AAU has a programme that fits the interests, they should apply to study here. Secondly, AAU offers a modern infrastructure, good course content, and a friendly and approachable faculty, which are good reasons for anyone to come study here!
What do you look forward to when you arrive at the university?
I look forward to seeing my friends and the lecturers, and to learn about something I have a passion for.
What would be an important advice to share with AAU freshers?
This is a general advice I would give to anyone starting a master’s programme. Please do not think that it will be the same level of effort as your bachelor’s. It is quite a lot more and for good reason. Specialising in a field requires a lot of work and you will be expected to put in that work if you have chosen to enrol in a master’s programme.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years? In which field do you want to work?
I see myself working a nice desk job, perhaps owning a small business on the side. I want to work in the games industry, but I would also love to work in a generic software engineering job as long as I am interested in the product I am working on.
- My first day at the university was… daunting as I had just moved across continents, to a country whose language I did not speak, and whose culture I was foreign to. But thankfully my lecturers made me feel comfortable quickly as they gave me a tour of the university.
- My greatest lecture experience… was discussing about games with others in the lecture hall. Listening to and participating in critically analysing a game, a piece of media which I had only considered to be a fun past time before that, was fascinating to me.
- My university is… a nice place to study at.
- My student life does not work without… coffee, discipline and daily routines.
- I am inspired by… my lecturers guiding me and telling me that I’ll do great.
- My studies in 3 words… analysing & engineering game systems.