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Joe Merricks, BA (Hons) Games Arts, UCA Farnham

Games Design BA (Hons)

Games Design BA (Hons)

Farnham 3 years full-time, 4 years full-time

Apply now through Clearing Call us now 01252 918240

Course overview

On our BA (Hons) Game Design degree, you'll gain the skills and expertise necessary to thrive in the ever-growing games industry.

The games industry is the fastest growing entertainment sector since the start of the 21st Century; global revenue is almost twice that of the film industry, with interactive digital experiences, from consoles and virtual reality (VR) to Smart TVs and mobile phones embedded in our everyday lives.

On this course, the skills you'll gain will help you succeed, not only in digital games development but in the broader creative industries. You'll learn user-centred design across a multitude of media, from board and card games to pervasive mobile experiences and digital games. And you'll learn production methodologies and work in teams to develop many portfolio pieces as the course progresses.

Your first year focuses on developing your analogue and digital design skills through rapid prototyping. You'll explore the historical and contemporary place of games and play, and learn about narrative and how interactivity affords different forms of storytelling.

You'll deepen your investigation into the creative, personal and business aspects of games development in the second year. Your exploration of game development will start to focus on user-centred design and your role as a designer of interactive, playful experiences that offer compelling narratives. You will prototype a variety of designs, learning about genre, platforms and user research.

The final year provides the chance to explore the cutting edge of digital game design. You will develop your own major degree project, undertake trips to major industry events and expositions, and prepare for your career in professional practice.

 

Our standard three year undergraduate degree for those who meet the entry requirements for higher education.

UCAS Code for 3 year/standard: I620

A four year degree programme, including a foundation year to help develop your creativity before you embark on year one of a degree.

UCAS Code for course with Integrated Foundation Year: I62A

A four year course, specifically designed to provide international students with the English language and creative skills before they embark on year one of a degree.

UCAS Code for course with Integrated International Foundation Year: I62C

A four year programme, which sees you spend an entire year gaining valuable industry experience prior to your final year of study.

UCAS Code for course with Professional Practice: I621

A five year course, including a foundation year to help develop your creativity before you embark on year one of a degree, and a year on a professional placement gaining valuable industry experience prior to your final year of study.

UCAS Code for course with Integrated Foundation Year and Professional Practice Year: I62B

A five year course, including an international foundation year concentrating on English language and core creative skills before you embark on year one of a degree, and a year on a professional placement gaining valuable industry experience prior to your final year of study.

UCAS Code for course with International Integrated Foundation Year and Professional Practice Year: I62D

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Accredited by:

Rookies School Accreditation
Course details

Course Details

The content of the course may be subject to change. Curriculum content is provided as a guide.

UCA’s Integrated Foundation Year is designed to give you the skills you’ll need to start your degree in the best possible way – with confidence, solid knowledge of creative practice, study skills and more.

You’ll explore a range of creative techniques and develop your portfolio, with your chosen subject in mind. We’ll work with you throughout the year to ensure you’re on the right track and give you the tools to achieve your highest potential on your degree.

Find out more about the Integrated Foundation Year

For our students coming from a non-UK educational background, UCA has launched an Integrated International Foundation Year, based at UCA Farnham to bring students from around the world to one hub of creativity.

This year of preparatory study is designed to give you the skills you’ll need to start your degree in the best possible way – with confidence, solid knowledge of creative practice, study skills and the English speaking and writing skills you’ll need to succeed.

You’ll explore a range of creative techniques and develop your portfolio, with your chosen subject in mind. We’ll work with you throughout the year to ensure you’re on the right track and give you the tools to achieve your highest potential on your degree.

Find out more about the Integrated International Foundation Year

Launch Week
All launch weeks feature a range of activities, which will comprise an interdisciplinary Industry Guest Speakers’ Series offered to all students across the School of Games and Creative Technology.

There will also be other activities, such as study trips and/or studio visits, Design Sprints, could also take place.

Fundamentals of Game Design
You’ll be introduced to the core skills that are required by game designers across multiple disciplines, including game design theory, design documentation, development in game engines and 3D game asset development. You’ll be introduced to game engines and other game development software for the prototyping and production of game artefacts.

Equality Diversity and Inclusion
The unit provides an opportunity for you to explore what is meant by equality, diversity, and inclusion and the implications of these concepts on your own creative practice.

Board Game Design
Applying your skills to paper-based design, you’ll work in teams to prototype and build a board game. You’ll consider building mechanics, technical design documentation and artwork such as box art, character and environment designs, including 3D models for your game, which you’ll present at the end.

Opportunity Week
Opportunity Week gives you the chance to try something a little different, broaden your engagement and your subject knowledge, such as Games Jams and Design Sprints. There may also be study trips and/or studio visits locally, in major hubs like London and even internationally for festivals, or trips museums, galleries and festivals.

Introduction to Games Production
You’ll be led through production management, communication tools, further game engine and design software skills, as well as expanding upon design theory and research of existing games, This will give you a full overview of how the games production pipeline works, and you’ll be required to produce an academic project reflecting on the practice of game design.

Client Brief
You’ll be asked to use your skills and knowledge to work on a client-facing brief. You’ll work individually or in teams to respond, building your collaborative skills. And you’ll focus on refining your presentation skills to ensure outcomes are shared successfully.

Interactive Narratives
You’ll study popular frameworks and theoretical concepts such as designing a plot, character, setting, dialogue, culminating in making your own interactive narrative. You’ll investigate narrative as a psychological and anthropological phenomenon, before understanding its most contemporary and experimental forms embodied in postmodernism, and finally, games as narrative architectures for exploration.

ATOM Activities
ATOM activities are tiny pieces of diverse individual learning that facilitate interdisciplinary exposure and give you the chance to learn topics that would not otherwise be scheduled on your timetable.

PLE Digital Outcome 1
Your PLE Digital Outcome is a purposefully edited, self-directed record of your constructive engagement with and presence on, digital media platforms across the year. Examples of this could be an online portfolio or blog/vlog, or social media activity.

Launch Week
All launch weeks feature a range of activities, which will comprise an interdisciplinary Industry Guest Speakers’ Series offered to all students across the School of Games and Creative Technology.

There will also be other activities, such as study trips and/or studio visits, Design Sprints, could also take place.

Rapid Games Prototyping
You’ll advance your understanding of key concepts, tools, development and production methods in digital game development, with an emphasis on experimentation across multiple platforms and software packages. You’ll identify the scope and parameters of a prototype that provide a clear gameplay loop, situated within a specific genre and platform as identified by market research. Once this prototype has reached a pre-defined level of gameplay defined by the brief, they will begin anew on another prototype with a different gameplay loop and genre until they have a portfolio of original IPs.

The Conscious Practitioner
You’ll explore global perspectives and influences on creative practice, drawing upon interactions with varied identities, cultures, politics, and histories. The unit will explore how beliefs, values and attitudes drive behaviour and practices.

Environmental Storytelling (electives)
Learn about how narrative works in environmental design – how the surroundings of a game can convey mood and atmosphere. You’ll use game engines and 3D modelling to build original scenes, implementing them in a fully realised game environment for player habitation, movement and interpretation.

You’ll explore the fundamentals of environmental storytelling: discovery, interpretation, participation and play; advocate an understanding of the historical, social and cultural factors underpinning any design, and finish with the delivery of an original narrative architecture embodied as a playable project.

Motion Capture Technologies (elective)
Motion-capture techniques now widely impact many core disciplines with the creative industries, such as Games, Fashion, Film and TV, VFX, Animation, Digital Performance and beyond. This intensive unit is designed to give you a grounding the core skills, knowledge and understanding required for motion-capture production. As part of the unit, you’ll earn how to use VICON Motion Capture technologies at UCA for a wide variety of disciplines.

Opportunity Week
Opportunity Week gives you the chance to try something a little different, broaden your engagement and your subject knowledge, such as Games Jams and Design Sprints. There may also be study trips and/or studio visits locally, in major hubs like London and even internationally for festivals, or trips museums, galleries and festivals.

Games Studio
This unit builds upon previous production and development skills aiming to give a simulation of a game studio environment with a focus on team working and collaboration to a brief. You’ll expand your use of production management, communication tools, game engines, file repositories and personal and collaborative reflective practice. Within the team, roles are organised with staff to allow students to begin to specialise into their chosen areas of expertise.

Industry Brief
You’ll use your skills and workflows to produce work for an industry brief, who will set specific parameters and conditions to be met by a deadline. This could include style guides, historic markers, format conditions, audience, and genre.

You’ll work as individuals or in a team (depending on the brief) and develop new skills in engaging and communicating effectively with your fellow students, including your ability to respond to an industry focused brief. In addition, you will focus on refining your presentation skills to ensure that you successfully share the outcomes, reflecting on your output.

Creature Animation (elective)
This unit will start with observational studies, such as a trip to the zoo, where you’ll undertake and shoot reference footage of animals in motion in order to gain a deeper understanding of each creature’s body mechanics.

You’ll then create a walk cycle, a run cycle, and a short emotive piece showing interaction between the creature and an environment.

Pervasive Game Studio (elective)
This unit explores and practices the design of pervasive games. As the name indicates, pervasive game experiences refuse traditional boundaries of games and play, whether this is the field, the board, or the screen.

In this unit, principles of game design are applied to the design, development, promotion and engagement of outdoor play enmeshed with various media and technologies. We explore the campus as a playground, with links to other forms of media including sport, film, theatre, television, websites, social media, augmented and virtual reality. The final deliverable is a pervasive game design.

Virtual Production Studio (elective)
Virtual Production (VP) is a rapidly growing area of content production. By combining CGI, game-engines, and virtual reality technologies, VP enables completely new ways of making digital productions for broadcast and online, to real-time, on-set visual effects. You’ll learn how to use UCA’s Virtual Production Stage to produce live or online virtual productions of all sorts and disciplines.

ATOM Activities and PLE Digital Outcome
These units are an extension of the Year 1 ATOM Activities and PLE Digital Outcome

If you opt to complete a professional practice year, this will take place in year three. You will undertake a placement within the creative industries to further develop your skills and CV.

While on your Professional Practice Year, you will be required to pay a reduced tuition fee for that year. This fee will be determined using government funding regulations. Based on current regulations, we expect this to be a maximum of 20% of the tuition fee rate that you are charged for your second year of study. You will also incur additional travel and accommodation costs during this year. The University will provide you with further advice and guidance about this as you approach your Professional Practice Year.

Please note: If you are an international applicant, you will need to enrol onto the course ‘with Professional Practice Year’. It will not be possible to transfer onto the Professional Practice Year after enrolment

Launch Week
All launch weeks feature a range of activities, which will comprise an interdisciplinary Industry Guest Speakers’ Series offered to all students across the School of Games and Creative Technology.

There will also be other activities, such as study trips and/or studio visits, Design Sprints, could also take place.

Final Major Project: Pre-Production
Your final year allows you to develop a significant body of work that demonstrates your chosen pathway discipline, ideation skills, genre interests and your aspiration for your future role within the Games and entertainment industries. Work from this period of study will make up and define your graduate portfolio. This unit is all about developing your project proposal through which you will define the concept, scope, audience, and purpose of your Final Major Project.

Final Major Project: Critical and Conceptual Influences
This unit consists of a period of sustained, individually negotiated research which will help you develop an appropriate methodological approach towards your Final Major Project. You’ll produce a written piece that reflects upon and articulates a clear and sustained argument.

Professional Practice
You’ll identify, explore and develop professional promotional resources that highlight your strengths and your body of work. This will help you define and present yourself in a professional manner to external parties, in line with the conventions of professional practice and the workplace.

Final Major Project: Production
The culmination of your studies, you’ll follow through with your agreed proposal to produce a body of work that demonstrates your creativity, skill, knowledge and understanding of recognised games industry practices and pipelines, to a professional standard. Work from this stage will make up your graduate portfolio.

You will take responsibility for your own development in anticipation of graduation and professional practice in the computer games industry, and you’ll be required to keep a development journal to document your technical skills and ideas, your process, and your ongoing critical evaluation and reflection.

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:

Tuition fees - 2023 entry

UK students:

  • Integrated Foundation Year - £9,250
  • BA course - £9,250

EU students:

  • Integrated International Foundation Year - £9,250 (see fee discount information)
  • BA course - £9,250 (see fee discount information)

International students:

  • Integrated International Foundation Year - £16,950
  • BA course - £16,950

If you opt to study the Professional Practice Year, for 2023 you will be required to pay a reduced tuition fee of £1,850 (UK students) and £3,390 (International students). You will also incur additional travel and accommodation costs during your Professional Practice year. The University will provide you with further advice and guidance about this.

Additional course costs

In addition to the tuition fees there may be other costs for your course. The things that you are likely to need to budget for to get the most out of a creative arts education will include books, printing costs, occasional or optional study trips and/or project materials. These costs will vary according to the nature of your project work and the individual choices that you make. Please see the Additional Course Costs section of your Course Information for details of the costs you may incur.

Further information
For more detailed information about our course fees and any financial support you may be entitled to please see our fees and finance pages.

The fees listed here 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.

Industry placement
offer

Preparing graduates for successful careers underpins everything we do, and all students on this course may be offered support to identify and prepare for an industry placement according to their individual needs. We’ll draw on our wide range of contacts within the creative industries to provide you with opportunities that align with your interests and future career aspirations.

Course specifications

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change in line with our Student Terms and Conditions for example, as required by external professional bodies or to improve the quality of the course.

Facilities

This campus has studios with high-end PCs with Alienware towers, 4k dual screen monitors and Wacom Cintiq graphics tablets, all dedicated to games design, with software including Unity and Unreal games engines. In addition, our Farnham campus has sound production and Foley studios, pro tools and a specialist library.

Games studio, UCA Farnham

Games studios, UCA Farnham

Games studio, UCA Farnham

Library, UCA Farnham

Course connections

Course connections

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

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.

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

Explore our Gradshow

Visit our 2022 grad show site to see the incredible work created by our graduating students

Visit the 2022 Gradshow
Entry requirements

Entry requirements

BA (Hons) course
BA (Hons) course with Professional Practice Year

The standard entry requirements* for these courses 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 / BTEC National 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.  

 


 

BA (Hons) course with Integrated Foundation Year
BA (Hons) course with Integrated Foundation Year and Professional Practice Year

The standard entry requirements for these courses are one of the following:

  • 64 new UCAS tariff points, see accepted qualifications
  • Pass at Foundation Diploma in Art & Design (Level 3 or 4)
  • Merit, Pass, Pass at BTEC Extended Diploma / BTEC National Extended Diploma
  • Pass at UAL Extended Diploma
  • 64 new UCAS tariff points from an accredited Access to Higher Education Diploma in appropriate subject
  • 24 points from the International Baccalaureate, 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. 

 


 

BA (Hons) course with Integrated International Foundation Year
BA (Hons) course with Integrated International Foundation Year and Professional Practice Year

For these courses you need to have completed 12 years* of schooling (with good grades) and show strong evidence of your ability to successfully complete the programme and progress onto your chosen degree.

 


 

*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. We consider the strength of our applicants’ portfolios, as well as their grades -  in these cases, a strong portfolio is especially important.

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

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

Pre-sessional English courses

UCA International Foundation courses

The UCA International College

BA (Hons) course
BA (Hons) course with Professional Practice Year

For these courses, we’ll need to see your portfolio for review. We’ll invite you to attend an Applicant Day so you can have your portfolio review in person, meet the course team and learn more about your course. If you would prefer to upload a portfolio digitally, there is also the option to submit it online via your UCA Applicant Portal. Further information will be provided once you have applied.

 


  

BA (Hons) course with Integrated Foundation Year
BA (Hons) course with Integrated Foundation Year and Professional Practice Year

These courses don't require a portfolio. If you receive an offer, you’ll be invited to attend an Applicant Day where you can meet the course team and learn more about the course.

 


 

BA (Hons) course with Integrated International Foundation Year
BA (Hons) course with Integrated International Foundation Year and Professional Practice Year

These courses don't require a portfolio. If you receive an offer, you’ll be invited to attend an Applicant Day where you can meet the course team and learn more about the course.

 


 

More portfolio advice

Apply Now

Please use the following fields to help select the right application link for you:
  • UCAS Institution

    C93

  • UCAS Code for 3 year/standard

    I620

  • UCAS Code for course with Professional Practice

    I621

  • UCAS Code for course with Integrated Foundation Year

    I62A

  • UCAS Code for course with Integrated International Foundation Year

    I62C

  • UCAS Code for course with Integrated Foundation Year and Professional Practice Year

    I62B

  • UCAS Code for course with Integrated International Foundation Year and Professional Practice Year

    I62D

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