Games Design BA (Hons)

UCA Rochester - 2020, 2021

Length of study:

Three years full-time

Campus:

UCA Rochester

Entry requirements:

112 UCAS tariff points

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Course entry options:

September 2020

September 2021

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UCAS institution code:

C93

UCAS code:

I620

Course overview

Our BA (Hons) Games Design course at UCA Rochester gives you the opportunity to explore the growing indie games industry and apply your creativity to develop a career in this vibrant, imaginative and fast-evolving sector. 

This course covers the full indie development pipeline, from planning and concept to publishing. Blending games art, games design and critical thinking with professional skills and project management for the indie sector, this course will allow graduates to fit into a small studio or undertake their own development projects.

As a Games Design student, you’ll be part of a creative community with strong external networks. You’ll be able to focus on your own individual approach to games design as you develop a personal game style and portfolio. During the course, you’ll also work within small, agile teams, where each contributor has more creative ownership over the result, usually performs more than one role and is able to innovate and challenge what has gone before. 

Learning from experienced lecturers with strong links to the indie gaming industry, you’ll apply your skills beyond just creating entertainment and explore other areas such as avant-garde games and games with a purpose. You’ll be encouraged to apply your skills to making games for more expressive, artistic purposes alongside those geared towards mainstream entertainment. 

Throughout the course, we’ll encourage you to develop an entrepreneurial indie attitude which challenges normal, conventional methods and will enable you to help form the future of gaming. To support this, project management, team working, marketing and self-promotion, and professional practices skills are woven into the curriculum.

Valued at more than the worth of Hollywood, the gaming industry is continually expanding at the forefront of technology, whether it’s digital or analogue, video games or board games. There are fantastic career opportunities for graduates, with the option to develop entrepreneurially into fields beyond the entertainment sector.

You’ll have access to excellent facilities dedicated to computer games with high-end PCs running software including Unity, CGI Autodesk Entertainment suite and Adobe Creative Cloud. We also have collections of board games, pen and paper role-playing games and retro videogaming setups, and access to shared resources including 3D printing workshops, laser-cutting, photography and printmaking. The course will equip you with the skills and tools you need to begin a career in the games industry after you graduate. 

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Course details

  • Year 1

    Art and Design
    Learn key drawing skills, visual design skills, conceptual approaches and software so you can develop ideas into art assets for indie games development. You will learn how to approach visual problems creatively using a range of sources for inspiration and reference. You will be introduced to software, through which you will produce a digital and non-digital outcome, demonstrating your conceptual approach, drawing skills and technical understanding.

    Animation
    Building upon Art and Design, you’ll be introduced to key skills, conceptual approaches and software to develop ideas into animated assets for indie computer games. You will gain a solid grounding into the principles and processes of real time animation for computer games, from traditional drawing skills to animation in software, producing digital and non-digital outcomes demonstrating your technical and conceptual skills.

    Interaction
    This unit introduces you to the fundamental concepts of gameplay, design, prototyping (analogue and digital) and visual scripting. You will produce digital and non-digital outcomes demonstrating your technical and conceptual skills and will end up with dozens of experiments, ideas and prototypes to draw on in future practice.

    Moving Image Culture: Understanding and Interpretation
    With a focus on video games and the history of their theorisation, this unit introduces you to a range of key concepts central to the understanding of historical and contemporary moving image culture. You will also become familiar with the technological developments and conceptual transformations, before and after the so-called digital shift, establishing a firm understanding of the technical and intellectual changes that have influenced the development of the video game as a medium.

  • Year 2

    Games Design
    Building on the skills and knowledge you gained in year one, you’ll develop your personal design, technical and intellectual interests in games through the production of a body of work. It should explore how values are communicated in games, and how we can make games to explore deep, meaningful topics and personal narratives.  You'll undertake this unit individually, and produce both digital and non-digital outcomes that reflect your design skill and ability to express yourself artistically.

    Games Production
    This unit introduces you to contemporary games production practices ,the roles of those involved, and gives you the opportunity to produce work as part of a group over the course of the whole year. You’ll work in a team to design two games, in an iterative fashion as you would in a contemporary games development studio. Together you’ll contribute to the design and programme elements of production, deliver pitch presentations and prototypes of your projects, and adhere to milestones where consistent progress and good time-management forms a major part of the final assessment.

    Gaming Culture
    Critically examining the position of computer games and gamers within culture and society, this unit explores concepts and issues central to the historical, theoretical and aesthetic dimensions of the gaming practice. You’ll explore 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.

    You'll also take part in follow-up practical prototyping exercises based on the themes of your lectures, to demonstrate creativity, generative capacity of critical and contextual knowledge, and to encourage quick, experimental development practices.

    Study Abroad (Optional)
    This optional unit will allow you to spend a period of time in an overseas educational institution. If you choose this route your time abroad will replace the second half of 'Games Production' and all of 'Gaming Culture'.

  • Year 3

    Final Major Project - Pre-production
    You'll 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 games design document and production schedule committing to project milestones (a significant milestone will be the conclusion of this unit before progression to ‘Final Major Project’).

    Final Major Project
    The culmination of your studies at UCA will see you build upon the work you have undertaken in the previous unit to produce a polished, finished release, as part of a team.  You’ll demonstrate your creativity, skill, knowledge and understanding of the craft of games design and aptitude for your chosen career path upon graduation.

    Dissertation
    This unit consists of a substantial period of sustained, individually-negotiated research on a subject that is likely to be related to your chosen area of practice. You will produce a structured written argument in the form of a well-researched, long-form essay where you will evidence your clarity of argument, depth of critical thought, and research skill.

     

  • Study abroad

    This course offers the opportunity to study abroad for part of your second year. To find out more about studying abroad as part of your course please see the Study Abroad section:

  • Fees and additional course costs

    Tuition fees
    The course fees per year for 2020 entry are:

    • UK and EU students - £9,250 
    • International students - £16,250 (standard fee)
    • International students - £15,600 (full early payment fee)

    Additional course costs
    In addition to the tuition fees please see the additional course costs for 2020 entry.

    Further information
    Find out more about our course fees and any financial support you may be entitled to:

    These fees are correct for the stated academic year only. Costs may increase each year during a student’s period of continued registration on course in line with inflation (subject to any maximum regulated tuition fee limit). Any adjustment for continuing students will be at or below the RPI-X forecast rate.

Facilities

Powerful digital workstations (Intel i7, 16GB Ram, NVidia GTX1070/80, SSD, 4K monitors) with Basecamp, Unity, Autodesk suite, Maya LT, Adobe Master Collection, and all digital games platforms (Steam, GOG Galaxy, Battle.net etc.). You will have your own workstation for each year of the course. Shared resources with other courses include laser-cutting and rapid prototyping, as well as photography and printmaking.

What our students say

Course connections

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

  • Industry links

    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.

  • Careers

    With the UK games market being the fifth largest in the world and growing at a record pace, career routes are plentiful in the computer games industry. According to the Association for UK Interactive Entertainment, the UK video games revenue is expected to overtake total spend on books by 2020 – the sector was valued at a record £5.11 billion in 2017 and is predicted to grow by £8 billion over the next four years.

    London and the South East comprise 47% of the UK games industry, and with 82% of games companies are looking to expand their workforce, there are more career opportunities in gaming than ever before.

  • Further study

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

     

Apply now

UK/EU applications

Apply for full-time study - starting September 2020:

Apply for part-time study - starting September 2020:

Apply for full-time study - starting February 2021:

Apply for full-time study - starting September 2021:

Apply for part-time study - starting September 2021:

International applications

If you are applying for more than one course in the UK please apply via UCAS, to apply direct to UCA please use the links below:

Apply for full-time study - Year 1 - starting September 2020:

Apply for full-time study - Year 2 - starting September 2020:

Apply for full-time study - starting September 2020:

Apply for full-time study - starting February 2021:

Apply for full-time study - starting September 2021:

Apply for full-time study - starting January 2020:

Apply for this course and other courses in the UK - full-time study - starting September 2021:

Due to visa requirements, this course is not available to students that require a Tier 4 (General) visa

If you have another category of visa please contact us: internationaladmissions@uca.ac.uk to find out if you are eligible to study.

If you're interested in joining Year 3 of this course, please contact our Admissions Team on +44 (0) 1252 892 960 or admissions@uca.ac.uk

When to apply:

We are still accepting applications for 2020 entry - get your application in now.
If applying directly to us, you can apply throughout the year but we recommend you apply as early as possible so you have time to arrange accommodation and visas.

For more information visit our how to apply pages

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

The standard entry requirements* for this course are:

One of the following:

  • 112 new 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
  • 27-30 total points in the International Baccalaureate Diploma with at least 15 IB points at Higher level, see more information about IB entry requirements.

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.

International entry requirements

To view the equivalent entry requirements for your country please select it in the list below.

Pick Your Country

Non-UK equivalent qualifications

English language requirements

Don't meet the international entry requirements or English language requirements?

You may be able to enter the course through the following entry courses:

Pre-sessional English courses in the UK or China

UCA International Foundation courses

The UCA International College

Your portfolio

For this course we will require you to attend an Applicant Day and bring your portfolio for assessment. 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. Further information on how to compile a portfolio and the specific requirements for examples of work to be included will be provided on the Applicant Portal after you apply.

More portfolio advice

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