Computer Games Design

BA (Hons)

2018 entry

The computer games industry is growing at a record pace (according to TIGA, The UK video games industry contributed £1.11 billion to the UK economy in 2014, up from £1.01bn in 2013). The number of UK games companies is growing at 22% a year.

BA Computer Games Design allows you to apply your skill and creativity within the growing computer games industry and beyond.

Through this course we particularly value an entrepreneurial indie attitude, aiming to challenge convention and help form the future of gaming.

You’ll learn from internationally renowned lecturers, many of whom are currently commissioned in industry on innovative technology/design projects.

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Length of study:

Three years full-time

Starts:

September 2018

Campus:

UCA Rochester

UCAS code:

I620

UCAS institution code:

C93

UCAS campus code:

R

Course overview:

Students on our Computer Games Design course will take a broad approach to the specialism and may incorporate games technology and design into other related disciplines – for example architecture, fine art, illustration or graphic design.

You’ll be part of a creative community with strong external networks, but there will be a strong focus on your own individual approach to game design as you develop a broad range of skills that underpin your chosen area of specialism.

Our Rochester campus has excellent facilities dedicated to Computer Games with high-end PCs and Macs running software including Unity and Unreal 3D Editor, CGI Autodesk Entertainment suite, Adobe Master Collection, ZBrush, Andriod tablet dev kit and Swift for iOS.

The course also has access to shared resources including 3D workshops and laser-cutting, as well as photography and printmaking.

There are fantastic career opportunities for graduates of Computer Games Design, with the option to develop entrepreneurially into fields beyond the creative arts – for example, educational and therapeutic games and games for rehabilitation.

Open Days

Register for an Open Day to find out more about this course in person.

Course content - 2018 entry

This year takes you through the fundamental indie game design processes and introduces technical foundations of design and programming as well as planning. Theoretical units give you a critical and conceptual understanding of your discipline.

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change.

Course modules

  • Art and Design

    This unit introduces you to key drawing skills; design skills; conceptual approaches and software needed to develop ideas into art assets for indie games development. You'll gain a solid grounding in art and design skills and principles that underpin computer games design. You'll learn how to approach problems creatively using a range of sources for inspiration and reference. You'll be introduced to software, through which you will produce outcomes demonstrating your conceptual approach, drawing skills and technical understanding.

  • Animation

    This unit develops on ‘Art and Design’ and introduces you to key skills, conceptual approaches and software needed to develop ideas into animated assets for indie computer games. You'll gain a solid grounding into the principles and processes of real time animation for computer games, from traditional drawing skills to animation in software. You will produce outcomes that demonstrate your technical and conceptual skills.

  • Interaction

    Building on the foundation skills you have developed in the previous units, this unit introduces you to interaction through the fundamental concepts of gameplay, computer games design, and computer games scripting. You'll produce outcomes that demonstrate your technical and conceptual skills and reference the indie games context.

  • Moving Image Culture: Understanding and Interpretation

    You'll be introduced to a range of key concepts central to an understanding of historical and contemporary moving image culture, from celluloid film to computer games and digital media. Exploring influential artworks and relevant theoretical and critical writings, you will analyse some of the cultural and artistic contexts of the moving image and become familiar with technical innovations and conceptual transformations, before and after the so called digital shift. The unit provides an introduction to formal analysis and the aesthetic interpretation of the moving image, as well as to narrative and genre. It also considers the ideologies, institutions and cultural practices that shape the production and experience of cinema, computer games and networked media.

Year 2 builds on your planning, design and prototyping skills. Approaches to entrepreneurial practice introduced. Theoretical units continue. Study abroad is an option.

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change.

Course modules

  • Games Design

    Through this unit you will further build on the skills and contextual knowledge you gained in Year 1. Alongside this you will develop your understanding of professional aspects of the indie games industry and start to define your future role within it. You will undertake this unit individually. This is an opportunity to develop your personal design, technical and intellectual interests in computer games through the production of a body of work for a specific audience (the audience will be defined through the unit brief for this unit).

  • Games Production

    This unit introduces you to contemporary games production practices and workflows. The first component introduces the process of making a game environment and the roles of those involved, specifically you will learn game environment production techniques and workflows. In a team and in response to the unit brief for this unit you will design an environment, you will do this in an iterative fashion as you would in a contemporary indie game production studio. Each member of your team will adopt a role representative of industry practice for example your team will need a designer, scripter, producer, modeller, texture artist, etc. The second component challenges you, again within a team, to develop a game proof of concept or ‘vertical slice’. In response to the unit brief for this unit you will collectively develop a game concept. Each member of your team will need to specialise in a specific area appropriate to their skills and interests, however all members should be involved in, and contribute to, all aspects of production.

  • Gaming Culture

    This unit explores concepts and issues central to the historical, theoretical and aesthetic dimensions of the gaming practice. It critically examines the position of computer games and gamers within culture and society, exploring gaming's relationship to gender, ethnicity, conflict and capital, before turning a critical eye inwards to discuss ludology and its attendant concepts, including immersion, procedural rhetoric and cyber-individualism.

  • Study Abroad (Optional)

    This optional unit will allow you to spend a period of time in an overseas educational institution.

Your third year introduces the economics and management of the industry as well as copyright, patents and legal concerns. You will work as part of a team to produce a prototype game. You will write a practice-based dissertation.

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change.

Course modules

  • Final Major Project - Pre-production

    You will begin this unit by developing a project proposal through which you will define the concept, scope, audience, and purpose of your Final Major Project, you will present this through a pitch to your tutors and peers. Alongside this proposal you will produce a detailed production schedule committing to project milestones.

  • Final Major Project

    In this unit you will build upon the work you have undertaken in the previous unit to produce a fully resolved body of work, you will do this either individually or as part of a team. This unit represents the culmination of your study of Computer Games Design at UCA. Through it you will demonstrate your creativity, skill, knowledge and understanding of recognised games industry practices and pipelines producing outcomes to a professional standard.

  • Dissertation

    You'll undertake a substantial period of sustained, individually negotiated research on a subject related to the contextual and/ or theoretical concerns of your discipline or chosen area of practice, towards the provision of structured written argument.

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change.

Course modules

International study

Find out more about studying in the UK, or studying part of your course abroad at one of our partner institutions (study abroad option not available on all courses).

Course connections

On this course, you'll be exposed to a world of opportunities

Rochester is ideally located in the South East of England proximate to 48% of the UK games industry, we’re 45 minutes from London Victoria through which the capital’s indie games and technology start-ups can be accessed.

  

Career routes are plentiful in the computer games industry, which is growing at a record pace. According to The Independent Games Developers Association (TIGA), the UK video games industry contributed £1.11 billion to the UK economy in 2014, up from £1.01 billion in 2013. The number of UK games companies is growing at a rate of 22% per annum – London and the South East comprise 48% of the UK games industry. 

 

You may also like to consider further study at postgraduate level.

How to apply - 2018 entry

I am a UK or EU citizen ...

I am not a UK or EU citizen ...

Entry requirements - 2018 entry:

Entry requirements

The standard entry requirements* for this course are:

One of the following:

  • 112 new UCAS tariff points (equivalent to 280 old UCAS tariff points), see accepted qualifications
  • Pass at Foundation Diploma in Art & Design (Level 3 or 4)
  • Distinction, Merit, Merit at BTEC Extended Diploma
  • Merit at UAL Extended Diploma
  • 112 new UCAS tariff points from an accredited Access to Higher Education Diploma in appropriate subject.

And four GCSE passes at grade A*-C and/or grade 4-9 including English (or Functional Skills English/Key Skills Communication Level 2).

Other relevant and equivalent Level 3 UK and international qualifications are considered on an individual basis, and we encourage students from diverse educational backgrounds to apply.

*We occasionally make offers which are lower than the standard entry criteria to students who have faced difficulties that have affected their performance, and who were expected to achieve higher results.

 

Your portfolio

We’re looking for emerging artists who are excited about the subject area, keen to learn, and are looking to create amazing digital art and design work. A portfolio should reflect your specialist areas of interest through visual work, which may include 2D or 3D artwork, sketchbooks and drawings, films, and any games or projects you’ve worked on. Portfolio work may also be provided on an external hard drive or memory stick.

More portfolio advice

Fees & finance

Uncover all the costs involved, as well as the grants, loans and other financial support you may be entitled to.

Student regulations

Find out more about the operation of our courses, student conduct, assessments and examinations.

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