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Undergraduate study
Computer Games Design

I470 MComp/CGD

 
 

Course overview

This course allows you to follow an integrated, cohesive programme of study to postgraduate level, covering advanced topics. You learn to develop compelling games with exciting mechanics and strong gameplay, both as an individual and as part of a team. This course includes an optional work placement year, at no extra cost.

While the main focus is on casual games development, the skills taught also apply to roles within the broader games industry. As well as developing core theoretical and practical design skills, you also develop your entrepreneurial abilities to equip you for work as an independent developer in the social, casual and mobile games field. Themes include:

  • Game development
  • Game mechanics
  • Game prototyping
  • Interface and level design.

These topics are areas of games development that are identified as being important current topics. Experience in these areas give you an advantage in the jobs market. In addition, the focus on casual games and entrepreneurship ensures you are fit to work for yourself or in a small studio.

Alongside the optional work placement year, you can gain valuable experience and engagement with the sector through our shorter work placements, internships and work experience opportunities. Find out more

 

Course details

Course structure

Year 1 core modules

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 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 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.

Industry Briefs

This module involves you working as individuals to produce an artefact in relation to a game experience using an Industry brief.

You experience working with a real production brief set by industry. It provides you with an opportunity to target specific and current production skills within your chosen field of study.

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.

 

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.

 

Year 3 core modules

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.

Games Narrative

You explore the theory and practice of games narrative creation and investigate the basics of storytelling in games, including: narration, character, story arcs, point of view, voice, tense, cutscene, mise en scene, narrative wash / narrative texture, backstory, storytelling using affordances and signifiers, world building, emergent storytelling, and found text / found audio.

You develop your skills as a games narrative creator through a range of strategies. Practical exercises and activities help you develop your own narrative voice and individual writing and/or visual storytelling style.

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.

 

Optional work placement year

Work placement

You have the option to spend one year in industry learning and developing your skills. We encourage and support you with applying for a placement, job hunting and networking.

You gain experience favoured by graduate recruiters and develop your technical skillset. You also obtain the transferable skills required in any professional environment, including communication, negotiation, teamwork, leadership, organisation, confidence, self-reliance, problem-solving, being able to work under pressure, and commercial awareness.

Many employers view a placement as a year-long interview, therefore placements are increasingly becoming an essential part of an organisation's pre-selection strategy in their graduate recruitment process. Benefits include:

· improved job prospects
· enhanced employment skills and improved career progression opportunities
· a higher starting salary than your full-time counterparts
· a better degree classification
· a richer CV
· a year's salary before completing your degree
· experience of workplace culture
· the opportunity to design and base your final-year project within a working environment.

If you are unable to secure a work placement with an employer, then you simply continue on a course without the work placement.

 

Year 4 core modules

Advanced Game Mechanics

We introduce 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 as visually as possible.

Advanced Game Prototyping

You build upon fundamental concepts involved in the creation of a game prototype as part of a small team, and examine the contrast between the creation of a strong core mechanic, which is immediately tactile, and how it can be expanded upon through player learning, subtractive design and variety to provide longevity – ultimately providing an accessible, engaging and substantial gameplay experience informed by playtesting.
You enhance your skills both inside and outside of a contemporary game engine. Inspired by the structure of relevant titles, you are encouraged to rigorously plan tasks from a macro and micro perspective prior to development.

Game Group Project

You concentrate on the prototyping aspects of computer games development within a contemporary game engine and focus on the principles of design and programming. A variety of methods of how to create, design and develop interactive content specific to modern gaming platforms is covered.

This module consists of studio based practical sessions, seminars, and teamwork. You work in small teams to develop a working game from concept through to fully demonstrable prototype.

MComp / MArt Project

You undertake a major, in-depth, individual study in an aspect of your course. Normally projects are drawn from industry-based problem areas. The project involves you researching and investigating aspects of your area of study and then producing a major deliverable. You also critically evaluates your major deliverable, including obtaining third party evaluation where appropriate.

Practice-based Research in Games

You develop skills in practice based research, through experimentation and research into the creative process, culminating in more original idea generation.
We encourage you to analyse and evaluate elements of practice based research and synthesise your findings into your own practice. Your focus is put into broad, deep and varied historical and cultural research in order to enrich your visual inspiration. You gain insight into the creative process through regular written reflection.

 

Modules offered may vary.

 

How you learn

For each module you learn in a 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

It's 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.


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
112-128 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 specialist degree offers the skills you need for a career in the games industry and provides generic skills for numerous other career paths. Future employment opportunities include creative director, games designer, scriptwriter, level designer, concept/storyboard artist, interface designer and games tester.

Graduates from our games degrees have gone on to work as level designers, junior game designers, mission designers and artists in a wide range of companies including: 3rd Dimensions, Atomic Planet, Bizarre Creations, Creative Assembly, Eutechnyx, Halch, Media Molecule, Microsoft Rare, Naughty Dog, Ninja Theory, Rebellion, Rockstar North and Rockstar San Diego, Sega, Streamline, Supermassive Games, Traveller's Tales, Ubisoft, Venom, Weta Digital and many more.3rd Dimensions, Atomic Planet, Bizarre Creations, Blitz Games, Codeworks, Eutechnyx, Halch

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 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

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

The final year is discounted from £9,250 to £6,500

More details about our fees

Fee for international applicants
£13,000 a year

The final year is £12,045

More details about our fees for international applicants


What is included in your tuition fee?

  • Length: 4 years (or 5 with a work placement)
  • UCAS code: I470 MComp/CGD
  • Enrolment date: September
  • Semester dates
  • Typical offer: 112-128 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)

 
  • Student work

    Computer Games showreel

    2D Animation student work showreel

     
  • Student and graduate profiles
     
  • News

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    Staff from Teesside University and Creative Assembly taking part in a remote signing of the Memorandum of Understanding Leading UK games development studio to grow opportunities for students with Teesside University partnership
    One of the country’s leading computer games development studios has joined forces with Teesside University to create more opportunities for students and graduates.

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    Animex Expansion plans announced for major animation and games festival
    Teesside University’s internationally-renowned Animex festival is expanding in a drive to get the wider community engaged and enthused about the annual event.

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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 up to £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

 

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