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The best game school in the world

Do you dream in 2D or 3D of worlds that don't yet exist? Are you creative, resourceful, and ambitious, and above all passionate about games, films, and special effects? Do you want to create unseen things with the latest technology and software? Then the Digital Arts and Entertainment (DAE) bachelor's degree is perfect for you. Let the games begin!

The DAE program has already won best game design and development programme in the world several times, an award named by third parties. So we don't need to be modest: our Digital Arts and Entertainment bachelor's degree is internationally among the absolute top!

The focus of this programme is international and you can follow it at Howest in both Dutch and English.

If you choose DAE, you choose an internationally respected programme that prepares you completely for the wonderful and challenging world of game and film content creation.

DAE Student Showcase 2022
Student Digital Arts & Entertainment

Majors within Digital Arts and Entertainment

The major that you choose at the start of the programme determines whether your focus will be on film or games. Depending on your major, your focus will be on either the artistic or technical aspects of the production process.

Check out our course options

Game Development
Major

Become an all-in Game Developer

3D Animation
Major

Create 3D virtual creatures

Game Graphics Production
Major

Create inviting game environments

Visual Effects (VFX)
Major

Become an expert in Visual Effects

Independent game production
Major

Independent Game Production neemt je mee doorheen de volledige productie van een spel.

Interactive Sound Production
Major

Become an expert in Sound Design for games

Interesting jobs in the gaming and film industry

After obtaining your bachelor's degree in Digital Arts and Entertainment, doors will open for you worldwide. It all depends on the major you chose: one focuses more on artistic abilities, the other more on developing technical skills. But in the end, you will be a well-rounded technical artist.

Though the bachelor's degree in Digital Arts and Entertainment may be intensive, the opportunities in the workplace offer a great reward.

You can find concrete job opportunities both domestically and abroad.

Student Digital Arts & Entertainment

Quality assurance in every programme

Quality assurance is embedded in the daily operation of our entire programme. We continuously and systematically improve the quality of our courses. The involvement of students, field professionals and alumni is crucial in this process.

In 2019, the Digital Arts & Entertainment bachelor's programme was reviewed by an independent and external panel. The review was conducted by VLUHR QA. The quality of the programme was evaluated positively. For the report click here (in Dutch).

Recent graduates of the Digital Arts & Entertainment bachelor's programme have stated that they were satisfied with the quality of the training they received. Graduate satisfaction is monitored every year with an exit survey completed upon graduation. Click here to see a review of satisfaction figures.

A day in the life: DAE
Cost estimation for this study programme
Studenten Toerisme en Recreatiemanagement met lesgever aan de Broeltorens in Kortrijk

How to apply as an incoming international student

All information on nominations, applications and tuitions can be found here.

Info day
Saturday 9 March
FROM 10h TILL 16h
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Come and visit us

These are the next info days in Kortrijk:

All info days

More info?

Receive the brochure by post
Subscribe to the newsletter of this study programme.

Student met brochure van Howest

Strengths of the programme

International Education

The programme Digital Arts and Entertainment was named the best gaming school in the world by The Rookies in 2017, 2018, and 2021.

DAE has a extensive worldwide network that includes many of the largest players in the industry. Over the years, our alumni have managed to secure positions within almost all of these companies.

Finally, the DAE programme offers many international opportunities, both in terms of lessons, guest speakers, study trips, internships and employment. In your final semester, you will go on an internship for 18 weeks.

Practice-oriented

You get a lot of practical experience. With the exception of a few subjects, the emphasis is on hands-on learning. Most lessons consist of 1 to 2 hours of theory and 4 to 6 hours of practice.

The program is also very up-to-date. It responds strongly to the current needs of the sector. The skills you learn are therefore very relevant. The bar is set high, but your diploma leads to a promising career.

Technologies used at DAE

Autodesk 3D Studio Max, Autodesk Maya, Unreal UDK, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Premiere, Pixologic Zbrush, PS3 Dev Kit, Adobe After Effects, Adobe CS4, C++, .NET Framework (C#), Eyeon Fusion, Microsoft Visual Studio Professional, DirectX SDK, Unity, MySql, Lumonix ShaderFX, Nvidia FX Composer, Nvidia PhysX SDK, fmod, Open GL ES, WebGL, Maxscript, HLSL, GLSL, …

Inspiring campus

Digital Arts and Entertainment has its headquarters in The Level, a building specifically designed to not only showcase the ambitions of our DAE students, but also to approach the sensation of a game. This is evidenced by, among other things, the bizarre staircase, the literal division into levels, the rough materials, and the mystical light that comes from the atrium.

From the second year onwards, classes are also in The Square.

Extra activities

In the second year, during the academic year, you will have a week off to participate in the game or film jam. In teams of five, you will then have three days to make a game or short film.

Additionally, there are TEDX presentations, workshops on new games are organized, and there are study trips abroad.

Register now!

Have you decided? We look forward to welcoming you to our Howest community! 
You can find all information about registering via the link below.

Apply now

Studenten in pauze met koffie op de campus

FAQ

If you don't find what you're looking for or have a specific question about this program, please feel free to contact us. We are available every weekday from 9am to 5pm. Direct other questions to this contact person:

Dries Deryckere

Dries Deryckere

Academic Director

Silke Vanloofsvelt

Silke Vanloofsvelt

International Admissions Officer

In the case you buy a laptop through Howest, you can look here which laptop is recommended by your course. In the case you already own a laptop or wish to buy a new one yourself, it needs to qualify to the same specifications.

Would you like to study abroad for a semester? Or are you interested in an international internship? You can! You will discover all the opportunities to go abroad within Howest on this page. During your studies, we will work together to make your international adventure a reality!

There is no perfect secondary school programme that can prepare you for DAE. However, having seen plenty of mathematics, or other relevant content (basic programming for game development of independent game production; art and drawing basics for the art majors) will make it easier to adapt to some of the first year course material. 

The prospective student needs to have acquired a Flemish secondary school or HBO5 diploma. If these requirements are not met, it is still possible to enrol if the applicant has met the following conditions: 

  • You have acquired a certificate of general education and a certificate of professional education. 
  • In case you are 21 years or older, you may apply for an alternative admission procedure. 

For international students and students with other diplomas, please refer the following link.

 

Although the general consensus leans towards “no”, it is not entirely impossible, provided that you opt for an individualized track (4 year programme or longer) and a part-time job. The final-year modules “group projects” and “internship” are not compatible with an office hour job due to your mandatory attendance at the school or the internship company. 

No, almost all classes are given in person.

No previous knowledge is required; the courses start at a basic level. However, they will pick up in speed and complexity very quickly, so it is advisable to have at least basic drawing skills before choosing these majors. 

About 80% of our students are able to find a job within the 2 months following graduation. 60% finds a job in Belgium, the rest settle abroad. We have observed that 2 years after graduating, around 60% of our alumni are working abroad.

Howest has recently opened its own dormitories, dubbed “The Wing”. It’s located in the Vercruysselaan in Kortrijk. There are numerous other student housing options in the vicinity of the campus. You can look up student accommodation in Kortrijk.

 

 

Depending on your major choice you will learn to operate industry mainstream 3D- and or programming software. To get a complete rundown of the software we currently employ, check out each course individually

Most classes will require a mid to mid-high tier gaming laptop or workstation (current requirements

A small piece of advice: don’t buy your laptop a year in advance: prices will inevitably drop and/or next gen tech may be introduced. But don’t wait until the last moment to order your device either. Make sure you’re fully equipped before the start of the academic year. 

For courses that require a drawing tablet we recommend the Wacom Intuos Pro (Medium) for the artists and the (Small) version for developers. These tablets cost around €250 and €100 respectively. 

Read more

 

All the course material will be available online for the student (free). Depending on the major choice, it is required to buy a book or extra costs for a company visit, drawing material, ...  

That depends on which major you choose. 

  • Students in the Game development or Sound Design track will mainly focus on C++. 
  • Independent Game Production students will learn to code in C#. 
  • Game Graphics Production and 3D & Visual Effects students learn to script in Processing (JAVA), Python and other relevant scripting languages. 

Students with a Flemish TSO, ASO or KSO secondary school diploma can choose to enrol in the Dutch as well as the English programme. Students with a Flemish BSO diploma or with a secondary school diploma from one of the other Belgian communities, need to provide proof of minimum CEFR level B2 in English if they want to opt for the English programme. 

Those students and students with international diplomas, can find a list of recognized language certificates in section five.

Although it is technically possible to enrol at any time during the academic year, we strongly advise students to enrol no later than 3 weeks after the academic year has begun. Due to the pace at which new course content is processed, it will be nearly impossible to catch up with the materials and deadlines, while keeping up with the ongoing classes. 

Starting at- or during the course in the second semester is also not recommended, as most of the courses of the second semester build upon the content of the first semester modules. 

You are allowed to enroll for the amount of ECTS you currently own. You cannot purchase additional study credit. 

Yes. If you are not confident enough to take the courses in English, you can choose to start in the Dutch curriculum and later switch to the English curriculum or vice versa.

Yes. There are different study formulae available. You can take an additional year to complete the default programme in order to spread the workload or you could choose a credit contract and compose your own personalized curriculum which consists of courses from different majors/study programmes. 

You cannot partake in any of the third year courses (internship, graduation work, group projects) when choosing a credit contract. 

If your previous higher education’s subject matter sufficiently overlaps with the content of one or more DAE modules, you can consider applying for an exemption. You can apply up to 15 days after the start of the academic year or enrolment date (if you missed the start). 

To apply, please send an email to trajectbegeleidingdae [at] howest.be (trajectbegeleidingdae[at]howest[dot]be) and state which module you wish to be exempt from. Be sure to provide a course overview of the relevant modules from your previous education as well as a grade sheet or certificate. 

A DAE study track counselor will process your application and will pass on his or her decision to you soon after. Should you apply for an exemption after the start of the academic year it would be wise to keep attending all classes until an approval for exemption has been obtained. 

Sadly no. There is currently no DAE master programme. 

We are happy to meet you during one of our info days. Each major showcases its programme and our staff will also assist you with any questions you may have. 

COVID-19 UPDATE: If the health regulations regarding social distancing are still enforced a physical tour of the school will not be possible. We will be providing online alternatives during this time, please check our website for more information. 

No. You are only limited by your dedication to the programme and your willingness to invest the required time

No. Everybody that meets the prerequisites can enrol. 

No, but you will quickly come to realize it is nearly impossible to stay on track and process the subject matter autonomously if you periodically miss class. 

DAE is a degree that aims to educate the best possible, production ready, employees for the international entertainment industry. No matter what major you will choose in DAE, the focus will always be on creating some sort of content for the production pipeline of an entertainment application. Both games and movies are graphical media and both are the result of a complex pipeline that includes a lot of technicalities and the use of lots of different types of software.  This means that the DAE profile is that of a Technical Artist, a profile that is a mix of technical and artistic skills. If you only want to be an artist or if you only want to write code and nothing else, then DAE might not be the right choice for you. 

Making games or movies is something completely different than playing games or watching movies. If you fail to tell the difference, you might be in for a very rough ride. Playing games and watching movies is important to get to know the medium, but that is not where our focus is. Everything we teach relates to what happens behind the screens. 

There is only a very limited amount of schools worldwide that offer the same level of education as we do. If you compare DAE with playing football, we are not playing on a local level, we are playing in the Champions League.  This means that DAE is the digital equivalent of top sport where the bar is set high. You will have to train as hard as you can muster in order to reach the required level of skill. Learning how to push yourself and constantly trying to exceed your boundaries is an essential trait of a DAE student.  Accepting feedback and turning it into ways to improve yourself is a crucial attitude for a DAE student.  

Bottomline: studying DAE is not about getting your degree but about becoming as good as possible in what you are passionate about. If you are not passionate about what you study, you will not enjoy our working regime. 

Life in DAE can be tough due to the high workload and the high level of expectations in terms of skills. You won’t be able to handle this easily if you plan to act like a lone wolf. Integrating yourself into the student community is an essential element of student life in DAE. Help others where you can and be helped by other students where you need help is the essence of student life in DAE. 

Being able to compose a schedule and organize your work accordingly is crucial. Without proper time management, you will likely get overwhelmed. A DAE student plans his/her assignments well in advance in order to make all the deadlines. Working against deadlines is an essential element of your training in DAE. After all, missing your scheduled release date as a game studio could upset investors and even mean the end of the company. 

Full-time students have around 25 hours of class per week. However, since we are a very practically oriented programme, students will have to continue honing their skills outside of class by working on assignments. For each hour that we spend teaching you, we expect you to spend at least one hour at home training your skills. Students can expect to invest around 40-50 hours per week in order to reach the required level of skill to get a passing grade. This amount corresponds with a fulltime working week. 

Our International Community gives the campus a great vibe of different cultures and backgrounds. The international students that join DAE have a significant impact on the entire student population. They bring a different and unique perspective to our campus and Global community, as they have made this immense step to leave their home country and follow their passion for the Game/VFX industry. 

GGP shapes you into a 3D artist for the games industry. You will be able to choose between a more artistic approach which focuses on creating individual objects and characters (Assets), or a more technical approach, which focuses on creating game settings and the automatization of the workflow (Environments). Although both minor tracks focus on the artistic part of game development, Environments has a substantially bigger focus on technical and programming skills.

The minor Environments minor is most likely the right choice for you! In this minor we spend a lot of time giving you the tools and skills you need to weave programming-, scripting- and other technical skills into a 3D environment. 

Although video game production is a hugely collaborative endeavor, it’s fair to say that game developers are at the core of everything. They are responsible for programming all the visual ideas, animations and sounds into the actual game itself. 

As a result, they need to understand the wider vision of the game’s creators, as well as possess the technical expertise to implement it. 

Where the GGP student can be considered the “artist” on game project, the GD students is the “programmer” on a game project. 

Before you enrol, make sure that game development is the right choice for you; take a few online tutorials in programming, experiment in Unity or Game Maker, create a mod with the Steam workshop, participate in a jam on itch.io, etc. Do those experiences spark your interest? Welcome to GD. 

If you’ve seen an average of 4 hours of math during your secondary school education, you should be fine. If you’ve enjoyed more than 4 hours per week, the math courses will be even more accessible. Students that have had less than 4 hours of math in secondary school can still succeed, but will have to put in much more effort.

IGP builds upon the technical artists roots of the DAE profile by adding a focus to game design and game production. It contains a broad overview of the entire production- and business process of game development and -design in order to guide students towards founding their own studio, creating their own production or allow them to take up supportive rolls in a production, such as an assistant producer or game play designer and developer.  

The Interactive Sound Production major aims at imparting the students with an attuned set of (sound) programming skills. It teaches students a number of necessary skills to properly understand, integrate and communicate demands for an audiovisual or game production’s sound design. The curriculum features insights in 5 areas of game sound creation, namely SFX, Music implementation, Voice recording/acting, Foley recording and Ambient. Moreover, students are taught the fundamentals of recording, mix-down, mastering and audio spatialization. 

Are you fascinated by the magic of animation? We take you through the production process of a 3D animation film. We start with the visual storytelling in a storyboard: evolving from a 2D animatic to a 3D block-out to the final scene. In this pipeline, *you* are the "puppet master". Let virtual beings jump, run, fly, talk, cry, fight, fall in love... There are no limits. With animation, the boundaries are 
endless.  
You learn to analyze reference material image by image. Whether the character is an animal, a human being, an object or an alien... the silhouette, the emotion and the key pose you convey must be universal and credible. 

But it doesn't stop here. You also explore the pipeline of 3D modeling and sculpting, texturing, rigging, shading...  

At the start of the course, the foundations are laid immediately by teaching the student to draw anatomy and perspective. You will get an introduction to SideFX Houdini paired with a solid base of math that allows you to create spectacular procedural 3D content. You also get the chance to experiment with motion capture and photogrammetry within our high-tech greenkey studio. 

The secrets of VFX blockbusters are finally revealed! From the start of this study programme, we're going to take a look "behind the scenes" to discover what goes into the creation of all those visual effects. The process of film magic starts with rotoscoping, tracking, matchmoving and compositing. We dive into the greenkey studio or we film on location with a portable green screen. You will be given a solid technical foundation which consists of math and programming at the start of the programme, once the groundwork has been laid, we unleash the full potential of SideFx Houdini in order to give you a thorough understanding of how all the visual effects are made and what's required to bring them all to life. 

In addition, we see all possible scenarios in terms of simulations: explosions, smoke, particles, fluids, cloth, muscles, hair, ... You literally become *the* CGI creator of a hyperrealistic 3D scene, or you combine recorded material, 2.5D matte paintings and set extensions. Techniques such as compositing and color grading are the final steps in this production process. 

The content of this curriculum is based on to the current needs of the film industry. Whether it's London, Montreal or closer to home, the possibilities for hard-working VFX Artists are unlimited! 

Choose one of the two. An animator and a character artist are two very different things. Excelling in both of them is not impossible, but exceeds the scope of one study programme.