Undergraduate study
Computer Games Design

BA (Hons) Computer Games Design

UCAS code: G470 BA/CGD

UCAS code: GWL2 BA/CGD for Year 0 entry
Ever played a terrible game and thought you could design something better? Or been so gripped by one that you wish you had come up with the idea? Then think about a course in computer games design.

Course information

Full-time

  • Length: 3 years (or 4 including a work placement year)

More full-time details

Entry to 2017/18 academic year

Part-time

  • Not available part-time

Contact details

Further information

£500

£500 available to kick-start your degree – for travel, accommodation or other living expenses

Eligibility criteria apply

£270m

Over £270m invested in our town-centre campus for your improved student and learning experience

More about the campus

88%

88% of students would recommend Teesside University to others
(National Student Survey 2016)

Why choose Teesside
  • Facilities

    Computer Games

    Teesside has fantastic state-of-the-art facilities for games students including high-end computers with dual screens and where appropriate Wacom graphics tablets. Highly specialised facilities include a motion capture studio, Kinect lab, a dedicated games lounge equipped with an array of consoles and life drawing studios.

  • Student profile
 

The games designer makes great ideas become real, designing the rules and structure of a game. It involves working with many different people, understanding the roles of specialists who need to work together to create games. You develop 2D and 3D design skills alongside an appreciation of game mechanics and its relationship to game play, including conceptual, story, character, level and visual design. You also study game engines and industry technologies and compare their capabilities.

*This course has a foundation year for applicants who don’t meet the requirements for Year 1 entry. Places are limited.

More about the Art Foundation Year Games and Animation

Modules

Year 0 (foundation year) core modules

Critical and Contextual Studies

You gain an historical and contextual overview of the history of art, animation, film and games. Aimed at technical, arts, games and animation students, this module equips you with an introductory level of understanding in the context of your chosen field of study.

Through a series of lectures and seminars, you engage in research and discussion based on your chosen areas of art, animation and game history. You learn how to effectively seek out appropriate academic sources on which to base and construct these discussions in seminars and in writing.

Foundation Project

You are guided through the production of a small-scale individual project, defined in part by you with guidance from your tutor. The foundation project guides you to a more autonomous working approach developing your project management skills and consolidating other skills already learnt in other modules.

You develop original ideas and concepts for the pre-production of an appropriate project in your chosen field of study. This may take the form of a game design document, modest game prototype, animation or game pre-production, concept art or another appropriate form related to the games, animation and film industries.

Modelling Principles

You learn some of the basic principles of 3D computer modelling, lighting and texturing. You use 3D software to produce a simple 3D model that will be textured and rendered with basic lighting. Through guided tutorial tasks, you learn some of the first principles of 3D modelling with the view to creating a small collection of elementary assets for computer games and animation. You create simple textures in appropriate software, such as Photoshop, and consider basic CG lighting.

Narrative Principles

You are introduced to the theory and practice of narrative construction within animation and games. You focus heavily on narrative structure and plot through the group production of a story overview, script and animatic or other appropriate form.

You study the basics of story writing for animation and games including character, story arcs, point of view, creating and formatting scripts, storyboards and animatic, and non-linear stories which may be implemented in software such as Twine.

Problem Solving Principles

This module introduces problem solving, using simple tools and techniques – it is intended for students with little or no experience of logical thinking. It concentrates on developing your logical thinking and problem-solving abilities – from the ability to recognise and define problems, through selecting an approach to problem solving or decision making, to evaluating the difference between the current and the desired state.

You may use recreational problems, like games and puzzles, to convey the important concepts and provide a more limited context to work within.

Visual Scripting Principles

This module introduces you to fundamentals of visual scripting including variables, functions and operators. You use these concepts to implement functionality and interaction using a contemporary game engine.

 

Year 1 core modules

Game Asset Creation

You are introduced to the basic creation of assets for small, contained or independent games. You understand the core skills required to create and implement sprites, simple 3D assets, materials, particles and audio for a game.

Game Design and Mechanics

This module introduces you to the core theories involved in designing games. You examine the pre-production stages of game and level design with a strong focus on game mechanics and their role in designing an engaging and immersive gaming experience.

You develop creative design documentation, plans and diagrams which communicate gameplay, layout and concepts as simply and visually as possible.

Game Production and Project Management

You consider a broad range of skills and methods used in effective project management. And you focus on the role of the project manager in the day-to-day management of teams and production.

You look at how to manage projects from pre-production, through to production, delivery and project closure. You develop your knowledge and understanding of techniques for project scoping, project planning, budgeting and project software, whilst developing an understanding of the role of the project manager throughout the project process.

You are introduced to tools for project management such as standard project management and task management software including cloud-based solutions for collaboration.

Game Prototyping

You are introduced to fundamental concepts involved in the creation of game prototypes. You examine the essence of a core gameplay, with a strong focus on interaction and how this translates into a tactile, engaging experience.

You study the fundamental principles of scripting, including variables, functions and operators.

Games Studies

You study and analyse computer games and computer games development, and the contemporary and historical issues affecting the games industry and wider society. Industry speakers share their experiences of games and professional development.

Non-digital Game Development

You explore non-digital game development, and the theories and methods for game and spatial design for board games, card games, room escapes, games of chance, collaborative play, and spaces of outside play. Experts and industry speakers share their hands-on experience.

 

Year 2 core modules

Game Development

As part of a team, you concentrate on the creation of a small scale, tactile game prototype within a contemporary game engine.

You are provided with an opportunity to focus on an area of expertise or experiment across a variety of development disciplines. Game Development also allows you to gain confidence in communicating your ideas to a professional audience in an engaging manner.

Games Interface Design

You are introduced to the creative and practical processes of planning and developing front end and heads-up display (HUD) interfaces for games. You are encouraged to explore a variety of creative methods including 2D and/or 3D software tools in the development of interface elements which are brought together into fully functional interfaces.

You explore design theories, interactivity, accessibility, rational navigation and interface psychology through a series of lectures and lab based sessions.

Journeyman

You work in a team to produce a game experience within a current game engine. This provides you with experience of working within a production environment, and also with an opportunity to target specific production skills within your chosen field of study.

Mission Design

You explore the design and production of gameplay missions, why people play games, what makes them fun and how this knowledge can be applied to add depth and playability to level design.

As a level designer on a live game, you produce gameplay missions within a level. You combine knowledge of game theory and psychology with techniques such as scripting, timing and game balance to concept, design and produce an engaging gameplay experience.

Mission Design uses ready-made custom game assets consisting of 3D models, animation, VFX and sound to enable you to focus on your implementation rather than creation. The missions are created within a current industry standard game engine.

Platforms and Peripherals

You build upon fundamental concepts involved in the research and analysis of a chosen piece of hardware or software associated with games.

You examine the history of a chosen area and explore key events which have helped develop the technology into its current format. The future trajectory, best practices and associated uses of such a technology are investigated in relation to trends both inside and outside of games.

 

Final-year core modules

Beta Arcade

You gain experience of working as a member of a games development team that is as close to industrial practice as possible. Beta Arcade simulates the working criteria and mix of development skills that are required to produce a polished prototype of a computer game concept which would be suitable for publication.

Contemporary Studies in Games

You investigate and evaluate emerging trends in computer games using critical, cultural and contextual studies. You are required to carry out an exploratory written research paper into computer games using appropriate academic resources that have relevance to your main subject area and degree pathway as well as the computer games market place.

Game Design Project

Game Design Project is a large scale piece of individual coursework, completed under the supervision of a project supervisor and a second reader. You agree the project parameters with your supervisor with the aim to produce a substantial artefact related to the games field. The process begins with a pre-production document and culminates in a written reflective report, and a viva where the artefact is presented and defended.

You develop an appropriate sense of work-discipline coupled with a professional outlook and are expected to take responsibility for the planning and execution of an extended piece of work including the consideration of associated legal, social, ethical and professional issues. You explore a chosen subject area in depth and are required to demonstrate the ability to analyse, synthesise, and creatively apply what has already been studied on the programme whilst demonstrating critical and evaluative skills and professional awareness.

Games Writing

You develop your skills as a games writer and explore the theory and practice of creative writing and investigate the basics of prose writing, including: narration, character, story arcs, point of view, voice, tense etc. Practical exercises and activities will be employed to help you develop your own voice and individual writing style.

 

Modules offered may vary.

How you learn

For each module you learn in a series of lectures and tutorials. The lecturers provide you with specific theoretical information related to the subject while the tutorials focus on developing your practical skills. In the later tutorials you work on assessments and use this time to get feedback and advice from tutors. Further support is offered online in the form of extra learning material. You are expected to manage your time to complete work outside the tutorial sessions.

In your second year you take part in our unique Journeyman Project, highly praised by industry, in which all games art students work with games designers in a simulated game studio experience, outsourcing various essentials such as assets and animation to specialist teams. You work on games in UDK and Unity to strict milestones in a scenario that is as close to industry practice as possible within an academic environment.

How you are assessed

We believe that it is essential for you to learn through the experience of doing. Assessment for all modules is in the form of practical projects, which you work on throughout the year. You develop a portfolio of design work throughout the course. In Year 2, the Journeyman Project provides you with essential teamwork skills ready for industry. The Project in the final year allows you the freedom to set your own project based on your skills and interests.


Our Disability Services team helps students with additional needs resulting from disabilities such as sensory impairment or learning difficulties such as dyslexia
Find out more about our disability services

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Find out more about our course related costs

Professional placement

Being able to include work experience on your CV makes you a much more attractive applicant. You have a much higher chance of improving your degree classification and the boost in confidence will give you the edge in job interviews.

98% of our students who complete a work placement achieve a high level degree classification and are offered a graduate job within six months of graduating.

We have established excellent long-term relationships with businesses giving you the opportunity to apply for summer, year-long and graduate placements with key organisations such as: Microsoft, Rare, Team 17, ZeroLight, R8 Games, Hammerhead VR, Dojo Arcade, Schlumberger, Sumo Digital and Coastsink.

Student selection is carried out by employers through competitive interviews and often skills tests. Placements are not compulsory but are assessed and contribute to your final degree award.

Our placements team gives you help and support throughout the placement process, including guidance on applications and interviews, to help you get a placement that suits you.

Career opportunities

This specialist degree offers the skills you need for a career in the games industry and provides generic skills which open up numerous other career paths. Some of our graduates have been recognised as being among the world's best young games development talent, and feature in Develop magazine's annual 30 under 30.

Employment opportunities include creative director, games designer, scriptwriter, level designer, concept/storyboard artist, interface designer and games tester.

Graduates from our games degrees have gone on to work as level designers, junior game designers, mission designers and artists in a wide range of companies including 3rd Dimensions, Atomic Planet, Bizarre Creations, Blitz Games, Codeworks, Eutechnyx, Halch, Media Molecule, Microsoft Rare, Streamline, Frontier Rebellion, Rockstar North, Sega, Streamline, Traveller's Tales, Ubisoft Reflections, Venom, Virtual Playground, Volatile, Weta Digital and many more.

Entry requirements

A typical offer is 96-112 tariff points including at least two A levels (or equivalent), or 64-80 for entry to Year 0 (Foundation Year). You're required to attend an interview.

If you don't have an appropriate educational background for this course, you may receive an offer in a related but more suitable area.

If you’re applying for entry to Year 0 (Foundation Year) please use UCAS code GWL2 BA/CGD.

For additional information please see the entry requirements in our admissions section

International applicants can find out what qualifications they need by visiting Your Country


You can gain considerable knowledge from work, volunteering and life. Under recognition of prior learning (RPL) you may be awarded credit for this which can be credited towards the course you want to study.
Find out more about RPL

What is KIS?

How to understand the Key Information Set

Course information

Full-time

  • Length: 3 years (or 4 including a work placement year)

More full-time details

Entry to 2017/18 academic year

Part-time

  • Not available part-time

Contact details

Further information