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Undergraduate study
Computer Games

I600 BA/TGDes (I604 BA/TGDesFY for Year 0 entry)


Course overview

This course is a unique opportunity to explore and develop skills in the theory, design, and development of tabletop roleplay games, board games, card games and other analogue immersive games experiences such as Live Action Roleplay.

The course will blend traditional game design theory and mechanics with specific modules on non-digital game design for the burgeoning global market in this area. You will have the opportunity to develop engaging and appealing games individually and in teams, and will work with other disciplines such as concept artists to bring their ideas to life.


Course details

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.

Introduction to Mathematics

This module introduces the relevant mathematical notations and techniques if you are preparing to study a technical computing degree at undergraduate level. The emphasis is on developing the skills that enable you to understand technical specifications of computing devices.

Topics include the number systems prevalent in computing, algebraic manipulation and equation solving, and the concept of functions – both algebraic and graphical formulations.

The module is delivered through lecture and tutorial sessions. Worked examples illustrate how each mathematical technique is applied. Problem-solving tutorial exercises give you the opportunity to practise each skill or technique.

Introduction to Programming

This module is ideal if you have little or no experience of programming – it uses tools that are easily available, easy to use and familiar to anyone who has used a computer.

You learn how programming language constructs are applied to different problems of increasing complexity. All programming solutions are executed in a web browser although the module is not specifically targeting web development.

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.


Year 1 core modules

Balancing Play

The board games industry has grown extensively, and modern designer board games incorporate a wide variety of inventive and sophisticated game mechanics.

You will become equipped with the tools and skills to facilitate analysis of board game mechanics and to explore their effectiveness and balance. You will be introduced to fundamental analysis techniques (eg numerical) that will support evaluation of different gaming mechanics such as hand-management, deck-building or dice-driven systems. The knowledge and abilities developed will be transferable to other disciplines and career paths.

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 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.

RPG Games Mastering

You work on an individual RPG games project, which involves the production of an artefact related to RPG games and culminates in an assessment comprising a development blog and final scenario document.

Visualising Play

Card games, board games and even role play games use visual information to organise gameplay. Behind the scenes, game designers use graphical tools to develop, construct and visualise processes, systems, structures and gameplay elements for a variety of end users. You will experiment with industry standard design tools, as well as tangible visual aids (eg counters and miniatures), to convey information in appealing, professional and accessible ways.


Year 2 core modules

Board and Card Game Prototyping

You learn about, and experience, the process of designing, implementing, testing and evolving a prototype card or board game. You explore game mechanics and player interaction, as well as play testing and critique to produce an engaging play experience in a table top game prototype, using an iterative development process.

Digitising New Ventures

The market for board, card and role play games is expanding faster than the market for video games, but there is also increasing crossover between the two, making both markets stronger and encouraging innovation. This module explores the digital strategies and applications that feed into and support table top game design. It examines new trends and business models for table top games and look at emerging ways of playing traditional games digitally or integrating digital elements into traditional gameplay experiences. It also examines social media marketing and how to succeed as a table top entrepreneur.

Games Systems and Economies

This module facilitates the development of skills in the modelling and simulating of table top games systems as well as the economics of games. This will involve utilising a visual language software tool for diagraming game economies and simulating them over time, eg machinations.

Table Top Game Jam

This module provides you with an industry modelled team-based experience of table top game creation. It concentrates on the skills and knowledge required in the development of a game, including important key transferable skills such as the ability to work in a team, the ability to follow design requirements and the ability to adapt to change. You are prepared for team working and game development via drop in sessions.

The Psychology of Play

Games are made and played by people. This means that the behavioural sciences of humans form an important part of understanding why something appeals to players, and why it might not. The complexity of human identities, motivations, communication styles and group dynamics are underpinned by established theories in psychology and sociology. This module explores some of the most relevant behavioural theories and applies them to the context of playing table top games, either face-to-face or via online means.


Final-year core modules

Games Futures

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

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.

Interactive Experiences

You gain experience of working as a member of an interactive experience development team that is as close to industry practice as possible. It will be aimed at stimulating the working criteria and mix of development skills that are required to produce a polished prototype of an interactive experience concept which would be suitable for implementation.

Table Top Game Design Project

You work on an individual table top games project under the supervision of a tutor. The project involves the production of a substantial artefact related to the table top games field 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. You 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 can explore a subject area in depth, and thereby 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. Lectures provide you with specific theoretical information related to the subject, while accompanying tutorials focus on developing practical skills and work on assessments. Tutorial sessions are also used for feedback and advice from tutors. Further support is offered online in the form of extra learning material where necessary.
In your second year you take part in our unique Journeyman module, 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 Unreal 4 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

One of the key features of this industry is the need for job applications to be supported with a portfolio of credible and relevant work. Our learning and teaching approach and assessment strategy acknowledges this need. Throughout the course you are challenged with demonstrating game development skills that are directly related to the topical needs of the job market. We use a range of different assessment types – the majority are coursework – and you have the opportunity to work on projects in a team. The problems you solve, the tools you use and the methods employed are the ones you will use in the workplace.

Our Disability Services team provide an inclusive and empowering learning environment and have specialist staff to support disabled students access any additional tailored resources needed. If you have a specific learning difficulty, mental health condition, autism, sensory impairment, chronic health condition or any other disability please contact a Disability Services as early as possible.
Find out more about our disability services

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


Entry requirements

Entry requirements

A typical offer is 96-112 tariff points from at least two A levels (or equivalent), or 64-80 for entry to Year 0 (Foundation Year). You will be invited to an Open Day as well as an Applicant Experience Day, where you can meet some of the staff that will teach you and also experience what it is like to study at Teesside University.

For additional information please see our entry requirements

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



Career opportunities

This course prepares you for a careers as a board, card or RPG game designer and developer.

You will bring new types of tabletop games to life. You work with artists and writers to create the system, board, the rules and the pieces. This role requires imagination, creativity and collaborative skills. Additional skills include expert knowledge of a wide range of board games and an understanding of the gameplay mechanics that makes a great game.

Throughout your course we offer a wide range of business networking opportunities for you to extend your knowledge of the industry and show case your skills, enhancing your opportunity of securing your dream job. We host events such as:-

ExpoTees is our end of course showcase of graduate work which attracts over 150 business partners each year, these are businesses who are looking for the emerging talent in the digital fields.

ExpoTential and ExpoTalent are student showcase events taking place in the first and second year of your course. They are aimed at preparing you for the final year ExpoTees event, ensuring you are at your best when you exhibit in your final year. These events attract around 80 business representatives all looking to identify future digital talent.

Students Futures Week – a week-long event in which business partners network with our students across all years of study. Providing industry panels, presentations and networking opportunities you build professional skills and knowledge in your field preparing you for your next step in your career.

Drawing on our extensive industry links we invite guest speakers in your field to present to our students. Throughout your course we bring in industry speakers to ensure that you develop your knowledge of the industry that you plan to build your career in. In addition to covering technical subjects these speakers provide an insight into what employers are looking for in their employees, from technical to professional skills.

Work placement

Being able to include work experience on your CV makes you a much more attractive job 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 gives you help and support throughout the placement process, including guidance on applications and interviews, to help you get a placement that suits you.


Information for international applicants


International applicants - find out what qualifications you need by selecting your country below.

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Useful information

Visit our international pages for useful information for non-UK students and applicants.

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Entry to 2019/20 academic year

Fee for UK/EU applicants
£9,250 a year

More details about our fees

More details about our fees for international applicants

What is included in your tuition fee?

  • Length: 3 years (or 4 years including a work placement) or 4 years including foundation year (or 5 years including a work placement)
  • UCAS code: I600 BA/TGDes
    I604 BA/TGDesFY for Year 0 entry
  • Semester dates
  • Typical offer: 96-112 tariff points

Apply online (full-time) through UCAS



2019 entry

Fee for UK/EU applicants
£4,500 (120 credits)

More details about our fees

  • Length: Up to 6 years
  • Attendance: Daytime
  • Enrolment date: September
  • Semester dates

Apply online (part-time)



ExpoTalent is a unique opportunity to meet businesses to secure placements, internships and future employment opportunities.


Choose Teesside


Are you eligible for an iPad, keyboard and £300 credit for learning resources?



Live in affordable accommodation right on-campus



Study in our town-centre campus with over £270m of recent investment


Industry ready

Benefit from work placements, live projects, accredited courses


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Open days

16 November 2019
Undergraduate open day

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29 February 2020
Undergraduate open day

Book now