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Josh Lynch, BA (Hons) Games Arts, UCA Farnham

Games Development BSc (Hons)

Games Development BSc (Hons)

Farnham 3 years full-time

Course overview

Our BSc (Hons) Games Development course is perfect if you're seeking a career as a sought-after Technical Artist within the gaming industry.

This industry-focused degree course, taught in state-of-the-art facilities at UCA Farnham, is founded on the principles of User-Centred Design (UCD) and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), and you’ll learn how to consider the user throughout each stage of the game design and development process.

As you explore game design, you’ll have access to the very latest hardware and software – Alienware Aurora towers, 4k dual screens, RTX 2080 graphics cards and SSD HDs, with Unity and Unreal games engines for prototyping. As the course progresses, you’ll be able to test your games on the very latest Dev Kits, including those from Nintendo Switch.

This course sits alongside the established and highly regarded BA (Hons) Games Arts degree, and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to collaborate with students on that programme as you make game prototypes together. You’ll also get to take part in Game Jams with your peers across our games degrees, mirroring industry approaches to idea iteration and team development.

When it comes to industry links, you’ll benefit from our connections with games brands including Rebellion, SEGA, Creative Assembly and SuperMassive Games, and graduate with all the tools you need for a successful career.

Past graduates have gone on to work for AAA, iii and indie games companies across the UK and abroad.

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.

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

UCAS Code for 3 year/standard: G450

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: G45A

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: G45C

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: G451

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: G45B

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 Integrated International Foundation Year and Professional Practice Year: G45D

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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 Games Development
You’ll learn the fundamentals of game development practices, through three core pillars of understanding required to develop a variety of technical skills - Game Engines, Scripting and Programming, and 3D Modelling

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.

Gameplay Design and Programming
This unit introduces further key concepts required to more effectively prototype and produce compelling video games, and you’ll also resume your education in the critical and contextual debates surrounding the medium of video games.

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.

Technical Art
Technical art bridges the gap between artistic and technical practices, such as programming, visual effects and animation within the field of video games. You’ll be introduced to game engine tools and the theory required to create visual effects and improve the visual fidelity of video games programmatically. Through this you will build shaders/materials and learn how post processing and lighting can be used to control the aesthetic direction of a video game.

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 (elective)
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.

Tools and Production
Tools and Production introduces you to new key skills within the discipline of games programming and technical art while concurrently building your first self-directed projects aligned with a chosen discipline.

As technical artists, one key skill is an ability to create tools that can be used by artists and designers to simplify asset pipelines and tasks in game software and engines – and you’ll be introduced to the scripting practices required to do this.

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.

Advanced Games Programming
Concluding all prior technical units throughout your course, this unit introduces advanced programming practices and theories that are common requirements within professional environments within both video game and software development. You’ll be required to take part in various technical tests designed to gauge your knowledge of programming languages and ability to problem solve.

The tests that will be taken throughout this unit will be in line with industry standard tests that are typically used during recruitment processes.

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.

Tuition fees - 2023 entry

UK students:

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

EU students:

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

International students:

  • Integrated International Foundation Year - £16,950
  • BSc 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 help provide you with opportunities that align with your interests and future career aspirations.

Facilities

This course has studios with high end PCs with Alienware Aurora towers and the latest RTX 2080 graphics cards, 4k dual screen monitors and Wacom Cintiq graphics tablets, with software including Unity and Unreal games engines. There is also a VR development studio, and a dedicated Games Incubator Studio for graduate entrepreneurs looking to set up their own companies or looking to release games to market. In addition, our Farnham campus has sound production and Foley studios, pro tools and a specialist library.

Games studio, UCA Farnham

Foley sound studio, UCA Farnham

Games studio, UCA Farnham

Library, UCA Farnham

Career opportunities

Career opportunities

Taking advantage of our proximity to the UK’s largest games hubs, our course connects directly with some of the best-known names in the industry, including:

  • Supermassive Games
  • EA
  • Sony
  • Creative Assembly
  • Supergonk
  • Two Point Studios
  • Zappar
  • Hangar 13
  • Atom Republic
  • Rebellion
  • Miniclip

We also regularly welcome input from active industry practitioners, who can offer expert advice and guidance to students about the realities of working in the computer games market.

The UK games industry is the fifth largest in the world, with plentiful opportunities, particularly in London and the South East where almost half the market is based. According to the Association for UK Interactive Entertainment, the games industry grew by 26 per cent between 2017 and 2018, and 82 per cent of games companies are looking to expand their workforce.

This course is uniquely focused towards producing graduates who are steering their careers towards being a Technical Artist working between both the artists, designers and programming teams.

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 & portfolio requirements

Entry & portfolio requirements

BSc (Hons) course
BSc (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 9-4/A*-C 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.  

Portfolio requirements

You will be required to submit a digital portfolio and if you’re a student from the UK, attend an Applicant Day. This can include personal work with traditional or digital media, sketchbook drawings, and relevant coursework. Further information on specific portfolio requirements and how to submit your digital portfolio will be sent to you after you’ve submitted your application.

More portfolio advice

 


BSc (Hons) course with Integrated Foundation Year
BSc (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 9-4/A*-C 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. 

Portfolio requirements

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. 

 


*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.

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

The entry requirements for these courses will depend on the country your qualifications are from, please check the equivalent qualifications for your country:

Portfolio requirements

You will be required to submit a digital portfolio and if you’re a student from the UK, attend an Applicant Day. This can include personal work with traditional or digital media, sketchbook drawings, and relevant coursework. Further information on specific portfolio requirements and how to submit your digital portfolio will be sent to you after you’ve submitted your application.

 


BSc (Hons) course with Integrated International Foundation Year
BSc (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.

Portfolio requirements

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. 

 


English language requirements

To study at UCA, you'll need to have a certain level of English language skill. And so, to make sure you meet the requirements of your course, we ask for evidence of your English language ability, please chcek the level of English language required:

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

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

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

    G450

  • UCAS Code for course with Professional Practice

    G451

  • UCAS Code for course with Integrated Foundation Year

    G45A

  • UCAS Code for course with Integrated International Foundation Year

    G45C

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

    G45B

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

    G45D

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