Krut Patel

Tell us a bit about yourself before you enrolled in the Visual Computing program at SFU.

I finished my bachelors in Computer Science back in 2013 from India. Along with my studies, I used to develop games and mobile applications. After graduation, I landed up with an internship at a local indie game studio. My internship led me to start my own game studio and publish games under the title of PixelNinja Games while doing some freelancing on the side. It was during this time that I decide to pursue further studies and gain more skills.

What attracted you to the visual computing program?

Along with freelancing, I used to follow news from the game industry a lot and was fascinated by the work done by OpenAI with the Dota2 AI. The Dota2 AI taught the game to itself entirely via self-play using deep learning and defeated many top professional players. Also, Minecraft and No Man’s Sky, having marked an era in the history of Procedural Content Generation, caught my eye. Not to mention Google’s Blocks project, which allows creating models in VR also enthralled me. I was also interested in the inner core working of a game engine. Keeping this in mind, I was searching for a suitable master’s program and I came across the Visual Computing program at SFU. I decided to apply for it because it had both the flavours of computer graphics and machine learning.

Why did you chose to come to Canada?

There is no doubt that Canada is now referred to as the silicon valley of the north and SFU is one of the top universities in Canada with an incredible global reputation.

Vancouver, ranked as Canada’s best startup ecosystem and being home to lots of indie game studios as well as game giants such as Electronic Arts, made my decision easy. I decided it would be the right place to study and grow my skill set.

Also, the stunning snowcapped backdrops and natural landscapes that Vancouver offers made my decision to study in the area stronger.

What is the most important thing you have learned in the program so far?

It would be hard for me to point out the most important concept that I have learned from the course topics, which themselves are challenging. I learnt a lot about handling pressure, meeting deadlines, working as a team and the importance of communication.

Why do you think this program is important or significant?

The professional nature of the program helps students to get industry experience with a co-op placement. Seeking for co-op positions gives students time to think over and get a head start on the kind of work they enjoy and would like to pursue once they have graduated.

What types of jobs are you looking for? How does this program fit with your career goals?

I’m interested in working at an Indie game studio specifically with virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) or working on their graphics engine. So far the program has helped me to understand what goes into making a render engine and the concepts surrounding scene lightning, shaders, mesh deformation and mesh subdivision all of which forms a core part of a game’s graphic engine.

What would you tell potential students looking at SFU’s Visual Computing program?

I would say that it is challenging and involves a lot of work. Getting admitted is difficult but after that you have to pour yourself entirely into the courses, doing assignments and keeping up with lectures. I would recommend the program if one is really interested in computer graphics and machine learning.