Undergraduate study
Computer Games

This course is in Clearing Clearing 2017

BSc (Hons) Technical Game Development

UCAS code: I621 BSc/TGD

UCAS code: I627 BSc/TGDFY for Year 0 entry
A games designer designs the rules and mechanics of a game, a programmer implements the gameplay. This innovative new course teaches you both sets of skills, combining programming and game design to equip you with the knowledge required to develop your own games or to enter the games industry as a technical game designer or a games programmer.

Course information

Full-time

  • Length: 3, 4 or 5 years dependent on whether you undertake the foundation year, placement year or both.

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.

 

Note: this course is for Year 0 and Year 1 entry only in 2017. We currently operate a different structure for entry to Year 2 and final year. Please contact scm-enquiries@tees.ac.uk for more information.

Technical game development investigates game design theory and mechanics and technical application. It teaches you how to work in small and mid-scale development teams to create innovative games in a range of engines. Graduates will be ideal candidates for a range of careers in the dynamic world of game development and beyond. The course themes include:

  • creative development of projects from pitch to prototype
  • games programming
  • games design theory and technical application
  • team-based development including creating a range of game types within small and large-scale teams.

Course structure

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

You are introduced to problem solving, using simple tools and techniques. You develop your logical thinking and problem solving abilities. From recognising and defining problems to 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

You are introduced to the principles 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 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 Middleware

You look at programming techniques and concepts needed to create a modern computer game using industry-standard middleware products.

You are introduced to general game programming skills, and a range of game middleware components and their utilisation.

You study the game production pipeline and the ethical and legal considerations of licencing and copyright when using industry-standard middleware.

On completion you are equipped to create a 3D interactive game environment.

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.

Game 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.

Maths for Games

Knowledge of advanced mathematical concepts for building a games engine is essential for a games programmer. You learn basic and advanced mathematics in an applied context.

Visual Scripting

This module develops your introductory level skills in visual scripting using a contemporary game engine.

You consider the fundamentals of visual scripting including variables, functions and operators along with more advanced aspects such as player controllers and game modes. You use these concepts to implement gameplay functionality and interaction using a contemporary game engine.

 

Year 2 core modules

Algorithms for Games

Complex coding and scripting for a computer game requires an understanding of problem solving, data structures and algorithms needed to define the contents and behaviour of a virtual 3D world. You are introduced to these topics using an informal yet rigorous approach. The algorithms range from simple to advanced, widely used in AAA games. Recreational problems, like games and puzzles, are used to convey the important algorithmic concepts.

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.

Game 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.

Game Jam

You are provided with an intensive game-studio experience relying on agile development methodologies in a controlled environment.

Game Jam concentrates on the skills and knowledge required in the development of a computer game, including important key transferable skills such as the ability to work in a team, the ability to follow a game design specification, and the ability to adapt to change.

Teams are drawn at the start of the module. You are then provided with a game design document written by a member of staff who act as the client throughout. Lecturers support the teams through practical sessions and lectures.
Lectures are delivered on topics to prepare you for the team working agile development process as well as covering standard gameplay programming techniques.

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

Advanced Design Techniques

You extend your knowledge of modern design techniques and principles commonly used within the games industry, and undertake research into modern design principles and before creating a small proof of concept using that research as a basis for your games design.

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.

Technical Game Development Project

Technical Game Development 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.

 

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.

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

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

Career opportunities

This course provides you with a range of technical and design skills, making you the perfect candidate for a career as a technical designer or an independent game developer.

This course has been developed with input from games studios who require games designers with scripting skills, offering graduates an opportunity to fill a skills need in industry.

For those wishing to become an independent game developer, entrepreneurial support from University-based DigitalCity can help you to start your career or set up a small business. Many small studios now take advantage of Kickstarter funding to generate the funds to develop their games. As a graduate of this course, you have the skills to put forward a polished proof of concept to attract funding.

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

Entry requirements

Call us on 0800 952 0226 about our entry requirements

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, 4 or 5 years dependent on whether you undertake the foundation year, placement year or both.

More full-time details

Entry to 2017/18 academic year

Part-time

  • Not available part-time

Contact details

Further information