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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.