This year takes you through fundamental games design processes and introduces technical foundations of design, programming, art and animation.
You’ll be introduced to a range of new skills, including conceptual design, development of rules, mechanics and systems, scripting, logic, common development practices, prototyping, introductory art and animation asset production and how to document your creative process.
Theoretical units give you a critical and conceptual understanding of your discipline and better help you innovate in your practice.
You will 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.
Art and Design
This unit introduces you to key drawing skills, visual design skills, conceptual approaches and software needed to 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.
This unit builds upon ‘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 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. You will produce digital and non-digital outcomes that demonstrate your technical and conceptual skills.
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 that demonstrate 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
This unit introduces you to a range of key concepts central to an understanding of historical and contemporary moving image culture, with a focus on video games and the history of their theorisation. Exploring influential video game examples and relevant theoretical and critical writings, you will analyse the cultural and artistic contexts in which the medium has been theorised, produced and played. 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.
Having established a range of core skills in Year 1, Year 2 encourages you to think about and explore what can really be done with those new skills.
You'll build upon on your planning, design and prototyping skills and develop your technical skills, and your personal artistic voice. Through a series of solo and group projects, you’ll explore how to use these skills in new and interesting ways that expand the creative boundaries of the gaming medium. You will also be introduced to approaches to entrepreneurial practice and concerns.
Theoretical units continue to be a key part of your design practice and study abroad is an option during the second semester (January to May).
In this unit you will build on the skills and knowledge you gained across all units in Year 1. This is an opportunity to develop your personal design, technical and intellectual interests in games through the production of a body of work that explores 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.
This unit introduces you to contemporary games production practices (particularly Agile/Scrum), 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.
In a team, and in response to the unit briefs for this unit, you will design two games over the year and you will do this in an iterative fashion as you would in a contemporary games development studio. Each member of your team will adopt at least one role representative of industry practice for each project - your team will need a designer, scripter/programmer, producer, artist, etc. Each member of your team will specialise in a specific area appropriate to their skills and interests, however all should be involved in, and contribute to, the design and programming elements of production. Your production workflow will require you to deliver a pitch presentation and prototype of your project at the start, and adhere to several regular milestones where consistent progress and good time-management forms a major part of the final assessment.
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.
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'.
Having established and developed your skills and creative thinking in Years 1 and 2, you’ll embark on a substantial development project in the third year which will be the showcase of what you have learned to date. You will also be introduced to the economics and management of the industry.
You'll work as part of a team to produce a polished game, and individually will write an extended dissertation.
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
In this unit you will build upon the work you have undertaken in the previous unit ‘Final Major Project – Pre-Production’ to produce a polished, finished release. You will do this as part of a team. This unit represents the culmination of your study of Games Design at UCA. Through it you will demonstrate your creativity, skill, knowledge and understanding of the craft of games design and aptitude for your chosen career path upon graduation.
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:
Fees and additional course costs
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, these are still to be finalised for 2020 entry but as a guide please see the additional course costs for 2019 entry.
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.
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.