Undergraduate study
Computer Games Animation

BA (Hons) Computer Games Animation

UCAS code: G453 BA/CGAnim

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

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

94%

94% overall satisfaction with their course
(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.

  • 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

 

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.
Teesside University is ranked #18 in the Animation Career Review list of top international animation schools.

*This course has a foundation year for applicants who don’t meet the requirements for Year 1 entry.
More about the Art Foundation Year Games and Animation

Modules

Year 1 core modules

Concept Visualisation for Games

This module teaches you the creative processes of planning and developing concepts and related artwork for computer games and animation using a variety of methods, including hand-drawn and digital illustration.

You develop digital illustration work using industry standard image manipulation software.

You discuss and explore the pre-production process focusing particularly on scriptwriting, storyboarding, and concept art through a series of lectures and studio based sessions.

We introduce you to other areas of development such as planning and budgeting, design, research techniques, idea generation and layout, cinematography and art direction.

This module aims to:

  • encourage creativity, imagination and research in the development of concepts
  • introduce you to a range of drawing techniques, both traditional and digital
  • give you a basic understanding of the pre-production process for animation and computer games and their component parts including scriptwriting and storyboarding
  • introduce the concept and importance of project planning and budgeting.

This module will help you develop ideas for scripts, storyboards, characters, environments and props as well as give you a broad understanding of the entire process involved in the production of a computer game or animation.

Assessment
There is an individual in-course assessment which includes much of the work you’ve produced over the course of the module during tutorial sessions.

There are three distinct parts, a script, concept art, storyboards and an animatic. You are given each part during the relevant block of lectures.

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.

Games Prototyping

Learn the core principles and workflows of iterative development processes behind creating games in a contemporary games engine. Prototyping your ideas will result in the most robust and enjoyable gaming experience.

History of Games

You take an historical view of the development of computer games from their inception to the present day. You learn about their origins in traditional board games, electro-mechanical games such as pinball and paper-based role-playing games.

You look at how computer games have evolved alongside hardware developments in personal computers (PCs), hand-held games, consoles and arcade games as well as the associated peripherals.

The various genres of game are explored, their characteristics and how they have, and are combining, evolving and spawning new genres.

The impact of improvements in computer graphics is also explored from raster and vector graphics through to 3D modelling.

You also discuss topical issues in the gaming community, the development of the games industry as a whole and where games might develop in the future.

In addition, there is an emphasis on the development of professional skills including teamwork, report writing and delivering presentations. You also undertake structured and supported personal development planning (PDP) activities such as self-assessment, planning and reflection and you are encouraged to record such activities in your e-portfolio.

You are assessed through an individual portfolio of game reviews and a group presentation on a contemporary game issue.

This module involves viewing flickering/flashing images, and animations/games that may induce motion sickness.

Introduction to 3D Modelling

Here you discover the fundamental principles used in the production of 3D models for use in a real time game environment including the creation of suitable textures.

You create a range of assets which can be used as props in a game engine and other real-time applications such as virtual reality.

Lectures explain the principles of the modelling tools available in advanced modelling software and give you to examples of how these techniques have been used in the production of finished computer games.

In practical terms, you are helped by the use of industry standard modelling software and hardware with specific attention being given to those parts which are used by practising game modellers.

Use of 3ds Max and Photoshop are our main practical focus.

This module aims to:

  • introduce fundamental principles for the design and production of low polygon models and associated textures for use in computer games and other real time applications
  • enable you to establish a set of criteria for the design and production of low polygon models and their associated textures
  • ,li>enable you to use the capabilities of industrial standard computer modelling tools for the production of low polygon models
  • identify the importance of low polygon modelling in real time computing environments
  • identify and establish the link between the artist, programmer and the designer within a computer games development team.

A series of lectures introduce you to the basic principles involved in the production of low polygon models for use in real-time applications.

Lectures are supported by lab-based practical sessions in which you complete a set number of exercises and the practical element of the module’s in-course assessment.

Assessment
A single in-course is an individual assignment in which you produce a range of models, and associated textures, for use in real-time applications.

The number of models you create depends on the complexity of the models in association with current industry standards.

We give feedback in tutorial classes and on the online message board.

Introduction to Animation for Games

In this module we introduce you to the skills you need to produce animation for computer games.
We emphasise developing core animation skills and applying them to a variety of different gaming environments.

You are taught the technical issues regarding the different types of animation required within a computer game, and the tools available to achieve it.

Also we encourage you to appreciate industry processes and the implications of continued improvement of both hardware and software.

This module aims to:

  • provide you with an understanding of the techniques used in producing animation for computer games and the different types of animation required
  • enable you to differentiate between the various types of animation used within the production of computer games
  • provide an appreciation of the tools available to produce effective computer game 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, alongside videos to illustrate points and generate discussion.

They also cover issues on the changing requirements of industry plus opportunities to hear visiting speakers.

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

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.

You are expected to complete tutorials and work on your assignment independently. We’ll give you feedback in the practical sessions.

Assessment
The module is assessed in two parts - a one hour and 15 minute multiple choice exam (30%) and an in course assessment (ICA) (70%).

You are also expected to keep a regular blog covering the work and development through the module delivery, and include it as an appendix to the report.

 

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 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

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

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

A typical offer is 96-112 tariff points including at least two A levels (or equivalent). You're expected to come for an interview and present a portfolio of your artwork.

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

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