About the BA (Hons) Independent Game Design (Game Art) programme
The BA (Hons) Independent Game Design (Game Art) course is aimed at anyone who has a passion and drive for making finished, publishable visual assets that populate video games. Prior experience of Game Development is not a prerequisite, but some experience with modern game engines such as Unity and Unreal will be beneficial. Art packages such as Photoshop and Illustrator and 3D software packages such as 3DS Max, Maya and Cinema 4D are also not a requirement, but a willingness to invest oneself in the creative process of game development is a necessity.
The degree is structured to offer two distinct, yet complimentary pathways – Games Art and Games Development – designed to maximise students’ potential employability while allowing them to play to their strengths. It also allows for natural cross-fertilisation between the two, allowing students to build up mutual networks and awareness of each other’s roles.
The Games Art pathway will focus on developing learner’s digital and practical art skills for game design and development.
The video game industry and the creation and distribution of video games have changed beyond all recognition in the past five years. No longer is the route to employment solely through the behemoths that publish AAA games, costing millions to make and bring to market. With the viability of game creation tools now available to all through free licences for Unity, Unreal and others, there has not been a time since the inception of bedroom coders over thirty years ago where it has been easier to get into the industry.
UCAS 2017 tariff, standard entry requirement for the degree will be 80 UCAS points, with a minimum of grade ‘C’ in both GCSE Maths & English. This equates to MMP at Btec National Diploma level, grades CCD at ‘A’ Level, and on the Diploma Foundation Studies (Art, Design & Media) this is equal to a Merit. Applicants for the Games Art pathway will be expected to show a portfolio of work that encompasses both practical and digital design.
Non academic Entry Requirements
In line with the widening participation brief and lifelong learning strategy, the Institute will also encourage applications from non-traditional learners who lack formal academic qualifications. All such non-traditional applicants will be interviewed, set an appropriate piece of work and a judgement made taking into account their academic potential and relevant experience.
What you will learn
Year 1 (Level 4)
The first year will give you all the basic knowledge required to start your journey into the visual side of the games industry, providing you with skills in 2D art, level design, game mechanics, game design, character design and GUI design.
Year 2 (Level 5)
The second year allows you to build on these skills in group based work where you will start to create polished and finished games. Alongside this, you will create narrative experiences, 3D assets and levels to a highly polished degree and character animation whilst also gaining a deeper understanding of the theory behind fun and games.
Year 3 (Level 6)
The final year is where you bring all the skills you have learnt together in to your Final Major Project, creating a fully featured game in order to sell your skills to the wider gaming industry. There is also a dissertation to complete and you will also be tasked with creating yourself an online portfolio to show off the skills and work you have produced across the breadth of the course.
Learning & Teaching Methods
Each module is either 42 or 56 hours of class contact time, dependent on whether it is a technical or theory based module. The expectation on each student is that they do a further 150 hours per module of personal study and development outside of the timetabled hours. The current model of attendance is that each semester, all modules are covered in a two day window.
There are no exam papers or tests – work is graded through practical assignments such as making games and the creation of various types of visual assets.
There are no requirements for students to provide their own equipment, although having a capable laptop or desktop PC for working at home is beneficial. The University Centre is equipped with powerful gaming labs, providing the latest industry standard software, enabling students to fully realise their game design visions. These labs are open extended hours, allowing students to utilise them beyond the allotted timetables hours. The University Centre’s Learning Resource Centre is also open 24 hours, 7 days a week (holidays excluded), providing students with a rich and varied base for their learning.
The degree ensures that students develop a sound knowledge and critical understanding of the core principles of games design and development, alongside an understanding of the development and practice of creating 2D and 3D visual assets for video games.It enables students to develop the skills to create full and complete video game products. and provide opportunities that seek to develop the students’ capability to take positive initiatives, respond effectively to new ideas, adapt to changing circumstances, and adopt a ‘problem-solving’ approach to the design of computer and video games. Students attend a stimulating learning environment which fosters a critical, reflective and challenging approach to the study of the subject and enables students to use a wide range of thinking skills, practical and professional expertise and transferable learning, includingindustry identified core skills. The degree offers students the opportunity to work individually and within development teams to facilitate the production of anindustry-standard games design portfolio, concentrating on games production, delivering assets and game builds.
The programme is delivered using state of the art games development equipment housed in the purpose built £23m University Centre. Students have the opportunity to partake in the Global Game Jam every year. As a recognised Jamming Site, you can hone your skills in 48 hours of game making surrounded by like-minded students here at the University Centre Grimsby.
The course is fundamentally designed to enable the student to progress into the industry, whether that be moving into a recognised development team, or forming your own team in order to create your own games and experiences. On the previous degree, we have had students work on the latest Lego games along with students already licenced to publish on Xbox, Playstation, Nintendo e-Shop and Steam. Students have also gone on to work at Sumo Digital, the UK’s largest independent development studio. This is a result of the quality and variety of delivery that is at the core of the course.