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Undergraduate study
Technical Game Development

I621 BSc/TGD (I627 BSc/TGDFY for Year 0 entry)

 
 

Course overview

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 'AAA' games industry as a technical game designer or a gameplay scripter.

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
  • Gameplay scripting
  • Games design theory and technical application
  • Team-based development including creating a range of game types within small and large-scale teams.


Discover what it would be like to study one of these degree subjects and get advice on careers in the industry with one of our interactive STEMulate12 sessions.

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Course details

Course structure

Year 0 (foundation year) core modules

Case Studies

This module provides tools in your reading of cultural texts. Focusing on computer games, animation and film, you gain an introductory level of understanding in the context of your chosen fields of study.
As well as looking at the historical and contextual overview of the history of animation, film and computer games, you also look at how we interpret these types of media historically and materially. You choose a text from within your area of interest and undertake an analytical review in the form of a case study.

Foundation Game

You produce an individual project artefact, with the supervision of a member of academic staff. This involves you producing a small game project.
You take your existing knowledge and develop a small game from start to finish. This includes writing a high level concept document (proposal), early demo and testing (progress review) and a completed demo made within a contemporary game engine or similar.

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.

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.

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

C++ Programming

You are introduced to C++ programming, focusing on the learning, development and application of algorithms and data structures within computer games, and the basics of class-based object-oriented programming using C++ language.
You demonstrate conceptual understanding and practical competence of programming by designing and implementing solutions to specific programming problems.

You study standard C++ libraries, and where appropriate one or more 3rd party libraries. You are required to demonstrate an understanding of professional practices and appropriate codes of conduct.

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 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.

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

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.

Industry Portfolio Development

You are provided with the opportunity to work from a games industry provided brief to create a body of work to a professional standard in your chosen field of study.

You produce 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 through an online portfolio.

This portfolio is intended to demonstrate your understanding of the quality of work expected at a professional level. You are expected to present your work in an appropriate online format – this may be embedded video, blogs or a specific portfolio website.

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.

 

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.

Final Year Project

The Final Year Project is a large-scale piece of work, undertaken under the supervision of a member of academic staff. The project involves the production of a substantial artefact related to your subject area.

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.

Upskill

You evaluate and identify an area of your personal skillset that is underdeveloped and take steps to develop it before undertaking your major project.

You negotiate a brief with your tutor to enhance your skills in a relevant area of current or emergent practice in games development. You research and identify appropriate academic or industry resources that are relevant to your work on practical modules, as well as the computer games industry, and use them to develop a personalised development project that can be practical or academic.

 

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, interests and career aspirations.


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

Typical offer
• Year 0 entry (UCAS code I627 BSc/TGDFY): flexible, each application is considered on a case-by-case basis
• Year 1 entry (UCAS code I621 BSc/TGD): 96-112 points

Find out how many points your qualifications are worth using the UCAS tariff calculator. If your qualifications are not listed, contact our admissions team as we may accept alternatives.

We may also be able to help you meet the entry requirements through our Summer University modules.

Maths and English
Acceptable qualifications in maths and English include:
• GCSE grade 4 (or higher)
• Level 2 Key Skills (Communication and Application of Number)
• Level 2 Functional Skills.

We also accept alternative equivalent or higher level qualifications.

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

 

Employability

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 games 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 Launchpad 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.

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 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.

 

Information for international applicants

Qualifications

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

Select your country:

  
 

Useful information

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

Talk to us

Talk to an international student enrolment adviser

 
 

Full-time

Entry to 2020/21 academic year

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

More details about our fees

Fee for international applicants
£13,000 a year

More details about our fees for international applicants


What is included in your tuition fee?

  • Length: 3 years (or 4 with a work placement) or 4 years including foundation year (or 5 with a work placement)
  • UCAS code: I621 BSc/TGD
    I627 BSc/TGDFY for Year 0 entry
  • Enrolment date: September
  • Semester dates
  • Typical offer: 96-112 points

Apply online (full-time) through UCAS

 

Part-time

2020/21 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)

 
 
 
 

Facilities

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

 

Choose Teesside

iPad

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

 

Accommodation

Live in affordable accommodation right on-campus

 

Campus

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

 

Industry ready

Benefit from work placements, live projects, accredited courses

 

Get in touch

 

Open days

 
 
 

Foundation year

Part-time

Part-time DiscoverUni data