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BA single honours Games Design with Foundation Year 2019/20

Year of entry

*Subject to validation

A number of our degrees are also offered with an additional foundation year (Year 0). Whether you are a school-leaver or someone considering returning to study but don’t have the entry requirements for your chosen subject, a foundation year course may be just what you’re looking for.

A foundation year is the first year of a four year programme which:

  • provides an introduction not only to study at University but also to your chosen subject
  • offers you a highly supportive environment where you can develop the self-confidence, knowledge, skills and understanding for further study.

Following the Foundation Year will explore areas including:

  • indie game creation from concept to release
  • games design, art, sound, and narrative for games
  • games design techniques and software applications
  • how to prepare yourself for a successful career in games design. 

Games are a vital component of modern society. We play console and computer games to relax at home, mobile phone games and apps to fill the time during our daily commutes, and play board and card games at social gatherings. Perhaps more than ever before games and play are important to contemporary life, and making games has become not only a form of creative expression but also a major industry.

Christ Church is considered one of the world leaders in play-culture research, and the School of Media, Art and Design holds one of only two major archives of arcade photography (the other is in Stanford University).

Games Design develops your understanding of digital and analogue games through making and studying them. As you do this you’ll develop your creative and technical skills, including the use of software such as YoYo Games’ Gamemaker Studio, Twine, Unity 3D and Unreal Engine, and design processes. You’ll apply these skills to make your own games in response to a variety of short-and-long creative briefs, some of these will be individual and others group-based. Through doing this you’ll create lots of different games, make the games that you want to make, and learn to work in an environment as close to the professional world as we can make it. While this is primarily a practical course you’ll also develop your research and writing skills, you’ll study games, learn of their histories, the ways that industry works, player communities and their wider social, cultural and economic contexts.

The course is designed inclusively, recognising that the very best games are made by people who enter the field with different perspectives and expertise. It is therefore suited to students who are interested in making, playing, and studying games, but who lack conventional computing expertise. Games Design is ideal for people approaching games design from other creative disciplines, such as art & design, music, literature, or computing.

Top reason to choose this course

If you are interested in studying games, understanding how and why they work and then using your skills to designing and make them, then this is the course for you. If you have an idea for a game that you want to make then this is the course for you. If you have ideas for innovative and creative games, indie games that do and say something different, then this is the course for you. If you can see that games can be applied to a wide range of different situations – from entertainment to art, and marketing, then this is the course for you.

In Year 1 you will develop the foundational skills essential to games design, including a rapid introduction to coding and scripting, and games design software. The academic year is split into two semesters. Semester 1 focuses upon introducing new ideas and concepts such as games design tools, game histories and employment skills for creative careers. It is in the first semester where you will be introduced to Game Maker Studio, Adobe Creative Suite software, the fundamentals of coding and scripting, and other games design tools. Semester 2 focuses on further developing the skills from semester one, through making assets and prototypes, and through working on a double-weighted student-led games design project. This project will be produced in response to a set brief which will detail the aims and objectives of the game produced, but you will be at liberty to propose and create a game that you devise.

You can study French, German, Italian, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish as part of, or alongside, your course.

more info

Year 2 continues the model introduced in Year 1 but brings in optional modules for you to choose from. In Semester 1 you’ll learn to use games for other creative purposes, creating mods, mashups or machinima, and learning about player cultures, player communities and ways to study how players interact with games. You’ll then select from a range of optional modules including ones focusing on narrative within games, 2D animation, and 3D animation. This will build your skills and specialist understanding of games. In Semester 2 you’ll work on another double-weighted games project, and have the option of either learning more about employment within the creative industries, or spending time at an international partner institution as part of the Global Experience in Media, Art and Design module.

Year 3 of Games Design focuses primarily on the planning, design, development and release of a games project. In Semester 1 you will undertake a module focusing on pre-production and prototyping methods, produce a undertake a work­ related learning module that includes opportunities for a work placement, freelance commission, or internationalisation project. In Semester 2 you will produce a major games­design practical project and undertake a games­studies research project.

Work Experience

Employment skills are central to the Games Design curriculum, with the Creative Career module pathway running through all years, and bringing together games designers, animators and digital media practitioners. The approach to games, making them for a wide range of sectors, uses and purposes, and the development of a portfolio of outward-facing work, also assists students with employability.

BA (Hons) Games Design includes a work-related learning Creative Career 3 module in which you have the opportunity to undertake a short placement, or similar experience relevant to employment and internationalisation, typically during Semester 1 of Year 3. Placements could be within a commercial games design environment such as a studio, an advertising or design agency, or conducting project work as a freelance designer. It is expected that you will take the lead in identify your own placement, with the support of the programme team and the University’s careers service.

In addition to curricular activity, we strongly encourage you to engage in volunteering and we will help you connect with charities and organisations.

Other information

BA (Hons) Games Design makes flexible use of the School of Media, Art and Design’s computing suites and studios on the university’s city-centre campus in Canterbury. You will be given UKIE membership during your time on the course and will be encouraged to engage with DiGRA and IGDA student arms; membership offers reduced-price entrance to a range of international gaming events and the opportunity to attend game jams.

The programme also offers the opportunity for additional language and cultural training and the possibility of a year studying abroad at one of our international partner universities. There is abundant evidence that such international experience helps to improve academic performance, enhances employability and improves the pace of career progression (Universities UK International (2017).

Core Modules

Year 1

Games Design Tools 1 (20 credits)

Games Design Tools 1 aims to take students with a variety of programming backgrounds, including no prior programming experience, and bring them all to a common level of knowledge and understanding necessary for games design. It aims to develop the students’ understanding of fundamental programming concepts, and provide students with the problem-solving skills to design, implement, test and debug games.

Creative Career 1 (20 credits)

Creative Career 1aims to introduce students to the professional competencies, processes and creative language that underpins the creative industries. This module introduces students to a range of research, development and creative processes necessary to produce games (animations or digital media). This module is intended as a rapid introduction to the core elements of design as a systematic creative activity, including: visual research methods, idea generation, workflows and methodologies, critique and feedback skills, thumbnailing, concept sketching, and introductory software skills).

Games Design: Contextual and Historical Perspectives (20 credits)

Games Design: Contextual and Historical Perspectives introduces students to the key cultural, historic and economic contexts related to games design. It aims to provide students with sufficient understanding of the origins of games as cultural artefacts in general, and with computer games and gaming more specifically. By doing so students will be able to understand how their practice connects with what has gone before, and some of the key creative, economic and ethical considerations of games design.

Games Design Tools 2 (20 credits)

Games Design Tools 2 builds from the first module by further exploring the aesthetics of games design, evaluating art, sound, animation, pure design and writing. The module shifts a students’ focus from manipulating an existing game framework into being prepared to create their own. This module supports students to identify their specific creative interests and supports the Games Design Project I module.

Games Design Project I (40 credits)

Responding to concepts such as of “persuasive games” or “games for change”, and a set creative brief that specifies what a game must do, students work in small groups to produce a game. This is a double-weighted practical module, where students learn to work in teams, break tasks apart, and deliver a game for the deadline. In addition to digital games this module offers scope for alternate outcomes to be proposed, such as analogue games, card-games, board games, ARGs, etc. providing they meet the module learning outcomes.

Year 2

Game Arts: Mods, Mashups, Machinima (20 credits)

This module specifically encourages students to use and alter games through the application of creative skills, resulting in the creation of artefacts including (but not limited to) mods, mashups and machinima. The aim is that by doing so students will understand the ways that their individual creative expertise can be harnessed towards the generation of assets within a game, and that these assets have potential to radically alter the reception and rhetoric of a game.

Games and Players (20 credits)

This module aims to develop students’ critical and conceptual understanding of game studies theories, debates and research methodologies. It encourages students to shift their focus from practical concerns of making games onto a consideration of the player / audience / community. By learning to study and consider the players, students will be introduced to games research as a discipline, and learn skills which students can be built upon in practical and research projects in L6.

Games Design Project 2 (40 credits)

Games Design Project 2 follows the same module as the module in year 1, but the complexity of the creative brief, and the opportunities for you to propose solutions, are expanded. You will work in a group on a substantial games project, sharing expertise from staff and other students.

Year 3

Pre-Production for Games Design  (20 credits)

This module supports students in developing the pre-production materials for a proposed game of their choice. Students will learn to adopt industry games design planning and pre-production processes, producing an appropriate game-design pitch / concept proposal for a game of their choice, and learn to develop this into a proof-of-concept prototype. This proposal could then be worked on for the final major project if sufficient resources are available to complete it.

Creative Career 3 (20 credits)

The module aims to prepare students for entry into employment in the creative sector by developing awareness of: commercial expectations and practices, presentation and pitching, CV writing, portfolio management and team-working. The module aims to support students in drawing upon the strengths of their subject-specific practical and theoretical work developed over the duration of their studies, to apply this within a work-based learning context, and to reflect upon strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for further development.

Mixed Media Dissertation: Games and Culture (20 credits)

This module aims to develop students’ abilities in research, analysis, construction of an academic argument, and modes of articulation, to produce a mixed media dissertation on a chosen subject relevant to games design. A mixed media dissertation may take the form of a written dissertation or an alternate practical form (for example a game that introduces theoretical concepts).

Final Major Project (40 credits)

The module aims to support students in demonstrating the conceptual and technical expertise they have acquired throughout the programme with specific emphasis placed upon the realisation of a game design previously presented in the pre-production module.

Project Release and Evaluation (40 credits)

This module develops students’ understanding of the ways that games are promoted and articulated to target audiences, including the range of channels for communication and marketing that are available. Students are required to take an active role in the ‘packaging’ and release of a game (individually or as part of a group), including a selection of literature and paraphernalia. In addition to this, students will be required to reflect upon the strengths and weaknesses of their approach, and the process of development over the duration of the degree, notably the need to connect with players and broader audiences.

Likely optional modules

Storytelling and Interactive Narrative (20 credits)

The module aims to develop students’ awareness of games’ ability to tell compelling, meaningful, and notably, interactive narratives. This is a theory/practice module in which you will learn and then apply the concepts of interactive fiction (IF) and narrative, with the production of a game / bot / narrative environment. You will study a range of outputs including traditional text adventures, speech bots, ‘walking sims’ and mobile games (e.g. Lifeline, Reigns).

Creative Career 2 (20 credits)

This module aims to develop students’ understanding of the creative sector as an industry, becoming aware of key dynamics within the sector and specific expectations related to employability. These include discipline specific working practices, geographic spread, working structures, team working and inter-personal skills, freelancing and collaborative work, funding streams, developing portfolios / studio setup, taxation, regulation, law and ethics.

3D Animation (20 credits)

The module aims to provide students with a range of 3D computer animation techniques and skills. It aims to focus these techniques and skills in the production of a short practical project, developing an idea through to fruition.

Global Experience in Media, Art and Design (20 credits)

This module aims to develop students’ potential for intercultural awareness, while also developing their employability and work-related skills for a wide variety of professions related to the media, culture and communication industries. It does so by engaging students in a media project conducted abroad.

2D Animation (20 credits)

This practical module aims to provide students with a range of 2D animation techniques and skills. It aims to focus these techniques and skills in the production of a short practical project, developing an idea through to fruition.

A degree in Games Design would help you to enter the games design and development industry, which is a growth sector in the UK. The skills you develop on the course would also open up opportunities in advertising, marketing, events, museum and exhibition design, and the creative sector more generally.

Fees

The 2019/20 annual tuition fees for this course are:

  UK / EU Overseas
Full-time - Foundation Year 0 £6,575 £8,500
Full-time - years 1-3 * £9,250 £11,900

Tuition fees for all courses are payable on an annual basis, except where stated.

* The tuition fee of £9,250 relates to 2019/20 only. Please read the 2019/20 Tuition Fee Statement for further information regarding 2019/20 tuition fees and mid-course year on year fee increases.

Additional course costs

Although we aim to minimise any additional costs to students over and above the course tuition fee, there will be some additional costs which students are expected to meet.

Costs applicable to all students

CategoryDescription
Text books Own purchase text books
Travel to other sites Where travel to other sites is required, this will be payable by the student
Library Fees and Fines Where students fail to return loaned items within the required time they will be responsible for the cost of any Library Fees and Fines applicable
Printing & Photocopying The cost of printing and photocopying undertaken by students to support their individual learning are payable by the student
Graduation ceremonies It is free for the student to attend the ceremony itself. Guest tickets and robe hire / photography are additional costs payable by the student

Course specific costs

CategoryDescription
Accommodation costs for Placements

Some additional costs to the student are associated with the participation in archaeological fieldwork placements. The cost of the placement itself (training, supervision, equipment, and PPE) is provided by the University. However, travel to and from the placement, accommodation, and food and drink during the placement are generally not provided by the University or fieldwork placement provider.

Clothing / Kit

Some fieldwork placements involve camping, and in these cases camping gear is not provided by the University or fieldwork placement provider.

Clothing and kit that is essential for Health and Safety reasons are provided by the University and/or fieldwork placement provider at no extra cost to the student. Clothing and kit that is kept by the student and not essential for Health and Safety reasons are not provided by the University or fieldwork placement provider.

General principle policy

The University’s general principles policy for additional course fees are set out here

CategoryIncluded in the tuition feeAdditional cost to student
Field trips (including trips abroad and trips to museums, theatres, workshops etc) No, if the trip contributes to the course as an optional module. Yes if the trip is optional.
Travel and accommodation costs for placements  No

Travel and accommodation costs for professional placements within the Education and Health & Wellbeing Faculties.

Travel and accommodation costs for other work placements. 
Text books No Own purchase text books.
DBS / Health checks No Yes
Professional Body registration No Yes
Travel to other sites (e.g. travel to swimming pool for lessons) No Yes
Clothing / Kit Yes, where the clothing / kit is essential for Health & Safety reasons. Yes, where the clothing is kept by the student and not essential for health and safety reasons.
Learning materials Essential learning materials (excluding text books) in connection with the course. Additional materials beyond the standard provision essential for the course or where the costs are determined by the student’s area of interest and the outputs are retained by the student.
Library fees and fines No Yes
Printing and photocopying No Yes
Social events No, unless the event forms an essential part of the course. Yes, unless the event forms an essential part of the course.
Graduation ceremonies It is free for the student to attend the ceremony itself. Guest tickets and robe hire/ photography are additional costs payable by the student.

Teaching

Our teaching on each module will usually include a combination of technical and creative workshops, lectures, interactive seminars, individual tutorials, demonstrations, and exercises, though the balance between these elements will vary depending on the specific module content (such as the different balance between theory and practical delivery in a module).

This varied approach is designed to cater to your needs, supporting you not just in learning how to use and apply software, but to think about games design as a creative and commercial practice. There are times when working on projects is beneficial, and other times where listening to presentations from games designers and researchers will support your growing skills. You will be asked to apply the skills you have acquired, generally in the form of a practical project (a game, a prototype, a demonstration, a presentation, written evaluation, or occasional essay). These become increasingly complex as the course progresses and your confidence and expertise increase. In addition to this you will be surrounded by a community of games makers, researchers, and players, and other creative practitioners. The expectation is that as a games design student you will actively seek out collaboration and input from staff and peers, and in doing so improve your work and contribute to the games design community. You will typically have around 12 contact hours per week; however, your actual contact hours will depend on the optional modules you select.

You will use industry-standard software, notably YoYo Games’ Game Maker, Unity 3D, Unreal Engine, 3D and 2D animation software and the Adobe Creative Suite, for much of your digital work. You will have access to a wide range of specialist facilities such as screen printing, oversize print services, laser cutting and 3D printing throughout your course to further support your output.

Independent learning

It is expected that you will spend 24 hours per week outside class time working on projects individually and in teams.

Overall workload

While your workload will shift in response to deadlines you should see your studies as a full-time job of at least 36 hours per week.

Academic input

The teaching team consists of highly qualified academics and practitioners with a wide range of expertise and experience.

Members of the teaching team are qualified to postgraduate level and are research-active. They have experience in delivering research-informed teaching. You should note members of the teaching team might change.

Guest speakers from industry as well as postgraduate students sometimes assist in teaching and assessing some modules. However, experienced academics teach the vast majority of lectures and seminars.

The programme is led by Dr Alan Meades, an internationally renowned games researcher. Alan holds an MA by Research in Electronic Arts and a PhD in Game Studies.  He wrote the 2015 book Understanding Counterplay in Video Games after spending five years studying hacking and modding communities on the Xbox 360. Alan is currently working on the Arcade Tales project (www.arcadetales.com/share), which tells the unheard history of the British arcade.

Games Design is assessed through the submission of practical assignments normally consisting of a practical response to a brief (such as a game), and a supporting set of materials (such as a PDF collection of sketches and planning, and/or a written or video-based evaluation). The requirements of each module will be made clear in their handbooks / briefs. There is one module per year that is assessed using essays, but this is primarily a practical degree programme. There are no formal exams. Each module contains several opportunities for 'formative' assessment also known as the “crit” for which you receive feedback from your tutor and peers.

Percentage of the course assessed by coursework

Portfolio-based practical submission and essays will typically be used to assess the Games Design course. You will be responding to a number of creative briefs that enable you to propose and develop solutions using the skills, approaches and disciplines that you deem appropriate. You are assessed against module-specific Learning Outcomes and School-level marking criteria which are made available to students during their studies.

Year 1

  • 80% practical coursework
  • 20% essay

Year 2

  • 80% practical coursework
  • 20% essay

Year 3

  • 80% practical coursework
  • 20% essay

Feedback

You will receive formative feedback on all practice assessments and summative feedback on end of module assessment hand-ins. Feedback is intended to help you learn and you are encouraged to discuss it with your module tutor. In addition to summative feedback (normally returned 15 working days after submission), you will have frequent opportunities to present and receive feedback on your progress as part of the teaching.

In addition to mac computer labs we will also have the following open-access spaces and facilities: an open access student design space, screen printing studio offering specialist equipment and the chance to physically print posters, designs and t-shirts. outdoor garden space, gallery space, large format digital printing equipment, 3D printing equipment, laser cutter, photographic studios, darkrooms and a range of bookable equipment, from Wacom tablets to Go-Pro video cameras.

Our new art and design building on our Canterbury campus is scheduled to open in September 2018. The building will have bespoke learning spaces for our art and design students and will be equipped with the latest technology. Our main campus in Canterbury has city centre facilities on its doorstep.

UK/EU

Full-time study

Apply via UCAS

Need some help?

For advice on completing your application please contact the Admissions Enquiry Team:

Email: admissions@canterbury.ac.uk
Tel:+44 (0)1227 928000

Fact file

UCAS course code

  • I601 Games Design with Foundation Year

UCAS institution code

  • C10

Length

  • 4 years full-time

Starts

  • September 2019

Entry requirements

  • Candidates should have studied at level 3 and have attained 48 UCAS Tariff points, although those without formal qualifications will be considered.

    You do not need to have significant prior knowledge of Arts and Humanities related subjects but should be motivated to study the subject. More entry requirement details.

Location

School

Last edited 13/08/2018 10:52:00

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Last edited: 13/08/2018 10:52:00