Undergraduate study
Computer Games Animation

BA (Hons) Computer Games Animation

UCAS code: G453 BA/CGAnim

Note: this course has been replaced by BA (Hons) Computer Animation, so we are only accepting direct entry applications for Final Year in 2018.
If you love games this course provides a technical and creative route into the area of animation creation in a games context. You develop the knowledge and skills necessary for the extended animation process right from illustrated concept through to animating a fully rigged and textured model utilising both key frame and motion capture animation.

Course information

Full-time

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

More full-time details

Part-time

  • Not available part-time

Contact details

Further information

  • 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 work

    Computer Games showreel

    2D Animation student work showreel

  • News

    Students exhibit their work at Double Negative studios during ExpoTees London
    Animation and Visual Effects students from the School of Computing had the opportunity to exhibit their work at Double Negative’s London studios this summer. Staff and students took the renowned ExpoTees brand to the country’s capital city to meet some of the industry’s leading players.

    Read the full story

 

Note: this course has been replaced by BA (Hons) Computer Animation, so we are only accepting direct entry applications for Final Year in 2018.

This course uses a variety of engines and takes an in-depth look at the creative and technical issues involved in developing large scale levels for PC and consoles through to 2D and 3D casual games.

Course structure

Year 2 core modules

Creative Portfolio Development

Creative Portfolio Development gives you the opportunity to develop an online portfolio of material to a professional standard in your chosen field of study. You create a body of work reflecting your own specialisation, demonstrating your understanding of core industry requirements, practices and pipelines with a view to showcasing your creative and technical ability via an online portfolio.

Cut Sequence Design for Games

Cut Sequence Design for Games explores the various design elements needed to create cut-sequences for computer games. This module is targeted towards games animation students in order to understand the narrative structure needed within certain game types and how to design for its implementation within a current game engine. You look at how modern cinematography techniques are transferred into the real-time environments used within computer games. You are required to develop a short in-game cut-sequence and present this via a storyboard and video sequence.

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.

Motion Capture for Animation and Games

We introduce you to the skills you need to produce animation for computer games using motion capture techniques and technologies along with free form 3D animation.

There is emphasis on developing your skills in various motion capture hardware and software tools appropriate to computer games production, along with further development of freeform 3D animation skills.

You are taught the technical issues regarding the different types of motion capture hardware and software available in the School. And also how motion capture animation is acquired and applied in a computer game, the tools available to achieve it, along with developing further your free form animation skills and techniques.

You are encouraged to appreciate industry processes and the implications of continued improvement of both hardware and software within the computer game and motion capture sectors.

This module aims to:

  • give you an understanding of the techniques used in producing motion capture and animation for computer games, and the different types of motion capture and animation required
  • enable you to differentiate between the various types of animation used in the production of computer games
  • provide an appreciation of the tools available to produce effective computer game animation, including motion capture tools, lipsynch animation, freeform animation and nonlinear animation
  • develop both technical and creative animation skills for use within a gaming environment.

Lectures cover issues on animation design and planning for computer games and motion capture production, alongside videos to illustrate points and generate discussion. Where appropriate, lectures take place in the motion capture lab.

Lectures also cover the requirements of the computer games industry and its changing nature.
Where possible there will also be visiting speakers.

The lectures are supported by lab based practical sessions in which you complete a set number of exercises and the practical elements of the module’s in-course assessment. Work for this is to be done during practical sessions and in your own time.

You are expected to work and learn independently in your own time to a schedule, and to use our extensive motion capture facilities, software and learning materials.

Assessment
There is an Individual in-course assessment for which you submit a report of approximately 1,500 words. You are also required to keep a regular blog covering your work and development and include this as an appendix to your report.

Non-bipedal Animation for Games

We introduce you to the skills required to produce non-bipedal animation for computer games.

Emphasis is placed on further developing core animation skills and applying these to non-bipedal animation in a game engine context.

You are taught the creative and technical skills required to produce non-bipedal animation for use in a game engine and the tools available.

You are encouraged to practice your observational skills and select appropriate references in order to develop believable animation.

Assessment is through in-course assignment consisting of two components weighted at 70/30.

 

Final-year core modules

Advanced Animation Techniques

You continue to develop the techniques learned in the Introduction to Animation for Games and Motion Capture and Animation for Games modules.

We emphasise the use and development of your existing animation skills in free form and motion capture based animation and applying them to a variety of different gaming environments including full motion video (FMV), real-time in-game animation and other methods as appropriate.

You are taught the technical issues of advanced animation for games such as optimisation for game animation production and custom controllers.
You’re encouraged to appreciate industry processes and the implications of continued improvement of both hardware and software.

This module aims to:

  • develop the techniques you use in producing animation
  • investigate different formats and compression, and understand their uses
  • enable you to differentiate between the various types of animation used in producing computer and video games
  • give you an appreciation of the tools available to produce effective computer game animation
  • develop your technical and creative animation skills for use in a gaming environment.

Lectures cover the issues regarding the design and implementation of FMV sequences within modern computer games.

We also cover issues on computer games industry requirements and the changing nature of hardware, software and middleware.

We emphasise learning techniques and practices commonly employed in the computer games industry.

Lectures are supported by lab based practical sessions in which you complete the practical elements of the module’s in-course assessment.

Assessment
There is an Individual in-course assessment in two parts.

Advanced Games Development

You gain the experience of working as a member of a games development team that is as close to industrial practise as possible. We simulate the working criteria and mix of development skills that are required to produce a computer game.

The assessment is a group assignment in which team members develop a working game, product specification and individual report. This will consist of two components weighted at 70/30.

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.

Games Practical Project

This module is a large scale, individual piece of work, which you undertake under the supervision of a member of the academic staff.

It takes place over 20 weeks, starting near the beginning of the academic year and involves the production of a substantial artefact and culminates in the writing of a report and a viva consisting of the presentation, demonstration and discussion of the artefact.

You are guided to develop an appropriate sense of work-discipline coupled with a professional outlook. We expect you 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 are able to explore in depth a chosen subject area, and demonstrate your ability to research, analyse, synthesise, and creatively apply new and existing knowledge while demonstrating critical and evaluative skills and professional awareness.

This 60 credit practical project is specifically intended to allow you to achieve considerably more in terms of the scope and depth of your product development.

This module aims to:

  • develop an appropriate sense of work-discipline in the planning and execution of an extended piece of work
  • allow deeper exploration of your chosen subject area, to the extent you acquire the expertise to discuss its issues authoritatively
  • develop your documentary communication ability in preparing a comprehensive report on the project
  • where appropriate, build upon your experiences in your work experience year
  • provide you with the experience of undertaking a substantial individual practical piece of work from conception to conclusion
  • develop your ability to research, analyse, synthesise, and creatively apply what you have already been studied
  • give you an opportunity to demonstrate critical and evaluative skills
  • allow you to develop and demonstrate a professional outlook on and approach to the production of a significant artefact.

Assessment
We assess the submitted written project report in terms of both subject matter and its presentation. The assessment of the report will contribute 50% to the overall project mark. It will be read by the supervisor and a second reader (another member of academic staff). The two assessors are expected to agree a mark for the report.

The artefact-related assessment consists of a viva (to include the presentation, demonstration and discussion of the artefact in an ‘exhibition’ context) and will account for 50% of the total mark. This part of the assessment is the responsibility of the Supervisor and Second Reader together.

Generic guidelines on the management and assessment of this artefact-related element of the project are provided.

 

Modules offered may vary.

How you learn

Each module is delivered through a structured 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.

The expertise of our lecturers has been called upon by industry:
Staff at Teesside University worked with Billingham-based Tomlinson Hall & Co Ltd to produce a piece of animation to demonstrate how their unique Liquivac vacuum pump operated.

Tomlinson Hall came to Teesside University to find a way to show potential applicants how the components of the Liquivac pump were able to perform a wide range of operations in different industry sectors.

The company was put in contact with Dave Cockburn, a Senior Lecturer in Games Art in Teesside University’s School of Computing and a computer games artist who has worked for several leading games studios throughout his career.

Dave worked in conjunction with Horizonworks, a Newcastle-based marketing company, who were developing a new brand, website and marketing materials to relaunch Liquivac for Tomlinson Hall.

How you are assessed

We believe that 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

Find out more about financial support
Find out more about our course related costs

Work 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

When you graduate you are ideally suited to a career as a 2D or 3D animator in the film, TV, games or web industries. Graduates have gone on to enjoy careers as designers, concept artists, character animators or 3D generalists with a wide range of companies including Double Negative, Moving Picture Company, Glassworks, Cinesite, Passion Pictures, DreamWorks, Pixar and Framestore.

Entry requirements

You are considered for direct entry to Year 2 or the Final Year (if applicable) of this course if you have suitable qualifications that satisfy the learning outcomes for Year 1 and Year 2. You aren’t guaranteed a place but your application is carefully considered.

You are invited to come for an interview and present a portfolio of your work.

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

Part-time

  • Not available part-time

Contact details

Further information