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Undergraduate study
Indie Games Development (with Foundation Year)

Indie Games Development (with Foundation Year)
BA (Hons)

I624 BA/IGDFY

 
 

Course overview

Independent games developers and studios now make up a high percentage of the UK games industry, most producing games that are quick and easy to pick up and play and aimed at a wide audience. This indie games development course equips you with the practical, theoretical and business skills needed in order to succeed in this rapidly growing industry. This course includes an optional work placement year, at no extra cost.

Computer games facilities

See the facilities you use when you study computer games at Teesside University

Independent developers require a mix of technical, creative and entrepreneurial skills to design, develop and market their games. This course teaches you to develop compelling games with exciting mechanics and strong gameplay, both as individuals and as part of a team. While the main focus is on the development of smaller independent games, the skills taught are also applicable to design and, production roles within large mainstream development studios.

Teesside has been at the forefront of computer games education for many years. This course has been designed to support the shift in the UK games industry and to prepare you for the many opportunities this shift presents.

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

This course includes a foundation year - ideal if you need additional preparation or if you don't have sufficient grades to join Year 1 of a degree.

 

Course details

You study a range of topics key to developing your own games – scripting, game design theory, game engines, user interface, business, games production and development.

As well as developing core skills, you are encouraged to develop an entrepreneurial attitude to equip you for work as an independent developer in the social, casual and mobile games industry.

Course structure

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 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.

Gameplay Scripting

Contemporary game developers use scripting to produce fun, creative and entertaining gameplay. You explore how core scripting concepts and ideas are applied to solve practical development problems and to build gameplay elements using a modern engine, alongside other industry-standard tools.
You spend time in lectures and studios and gain valuable experience of being a gameplay scripter through practical, hands-on learning.

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

2D Game Creation

You concentrate on the 2D aspects of computer games development with a contemporary game engine and focus on the principles of design. A variety of methods of how to design, create and develop interactive 2D content is covered.

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.

Games Business & Marketing

Focusing on the business and marketing aspects of the games industry, you study new trends and business models for games development and look at turning a digital concept into an attractive business proposal in order to acquire funding and investment. You also examine marketing and how to set up a business as an individual. A variety of methods on how to establish and sustain your personal and product profile will be explored.

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.

 

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.

 

Final-year 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.

Game Publishing

With the rise of independent developers and alternative distribution platforms, it has become easier than ever to get games to market. You examine the various platforms of game publishing and distribution, examining the various procedures and methods involved in getting your game to market in the modern games industry. This module consists of studio-based practical sessions, seminars, tutorials and individual work. You develop a new business proposal related to the field of games, complete with a marketing/funding pitch for a concept.

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. 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.

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

Any combination of level 3 qualifications. Each application is considered on a case-by-case basis.

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

For general information please see our overview of 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

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: 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.

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.

Career opportunities

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

Entrepreneurial support from University-based Launchpad can help you to start your career as an independent developer or small company. 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.

As the course provides a range of transferable skills in real-time environments such as Unity and Unreal, you are also well suited for careers in VR or real-time visualisation and interactive experiences.

 

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 2021/22 academic year

Fee for UK 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: 4 years (or 5 with a work placement)
  • UCAS code: I624 BA/IGDFY
  • Start date: September
  • Semester dates
  • Typical offer: Offers tailored to individual circumstances

Apply online (full-time) through UCAS

 

Part-time

  • Not available part-time
 

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  • Student work

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ExpoTees 2021 animation, visual effects and computer games showreel

Our ExpoSeries of events allow you to showcase your skills to industry professionals who are seeking to recruit new and rising talent.

 

Get in touch

UK students

Email: scedtadmissions@tees.ac.uk

Telephone: 01642 335008


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International students

Email: internationalenquiries@tees.ac.uk

Telephone: +44 (0) 1642 738900


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