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

Games Design BA (Hons)

Games Design BA (Hons)

Farnham

Course overview

Covering the full indie game development pipeline, from planning and concept to publishing, our BA (Hons) Games Design specifically explores this vibrant, imaginative and fast-growing sector of the games industry.

This course blends games arts, games design and critical thinking with professional skills and project management for the indie games sector and will prepare you for working either in a team at an independent studio or on your own development projects.

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

With access to excellent facilities and high-end technology, plus the support of experienced staff with strong links to the indie gaming industry, you’ll graduate with the skills and tools you need to jump right into your dream career.

You have the option to complete a Professional Practice Year as part of this course. This will give you the opportunity to develop your professional, academic and personal potential, equipping you to be confident and engaged in creative workplaces. Employers widely recognise these qualities, and a significant proportion of placement students are offered graduate-level jobs or go onto postgraduate study.

Please note - this course is subject to updating and will be moving from UCA Rochester to UCA Farnham for 2022 entry.

 

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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Course details

Course Details

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.

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.

Please note, this course is subject to updating and the unit information is provided as a guide.

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.

Please note, this course is subject to updating and the unit information is provided as a guide.

Games Art
Through this unit you will further build on the 2D and 3D skills and contextual knowledge you gained in Year one. Alongside this you will develop your understanding of professional aspects of AAA workflows and wider games industry, when starting to define your future role within it.

Games Production
You'll be introduced to games production practices by adopting professional roles and working together in teams. Divided into two halves, in the first half, you will work as part of a group to create a 3D environment based on a real world setting as chosen by your tutors. The second half of the unit concentrates on using your developing practical and conceptual skills to produce an outcome of high quality.

Gaming in Contemporary Culture
You’ll critically examine the position of computer games and gamers within culture and society, exploring gaming's relationship to gender, ethnicity, conflict and capital. You’ll also discuss ludology and its attendant concepts, including immersion, procedural rhetoric and cyber-individualism.

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

Please note, this course is subject to updating and the unit information is provided as a guide.

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.

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
The course fees per year for 2022 entry will be available here shortly. 

As a guide the fees for 2021 entry are:

  • UK students - £9,250 
  • EU students - £9,250 (see fee discount information)
  • International students - £16,950 (standard fee)
  • International students - £16,270 (full early payment fee)

Additional course costs
In addition to the tuition fees please see the additional course costs. The details for 2022 will be available here shortly. As a guide please see the additional course costs for 2021 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.

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.

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Games studio, UCA Farnham

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Games studios, UCA Farnham

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Games studio, UCA Farnham

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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.

Entry requirements

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 / 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.

*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.

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

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

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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