Computer Games Design BA(Hons) 2016-17

This course also available for 2017-18 entryThis course also available for 2018-19 entry

It’s not too late to apply for September 2017. Find out more.

 

About the course

The course covers the creative aspects of games design and development and provides opportunities for you to specialise in more complex aspects of game and level design or games art at later stages of the course. You'll be supported in developing, designing, planning and creating game ideas and concepts. You'll also have the opportunity to produce and integrate artwork and graphical assets for computer games. We introduce current issues and ideas and emerging technologies used by the games industry throughout the course. The games courses benefit from our industry partnerships and we run an active programme of industry guest speakers. Previous speakers have included art directors, animators, illustrators and designers who work freelance and from companies including Rockstar, Formerdroid and Realtime UK.

This course offers you the chance to spend a year working in industry and we have a Placement Unit team that can support you in your search for a placement position. The University also has a number of placement positions are available in our in-house games development studio to help facilitate this. Our ‘Canalside Studios' gives placement students the opportunity to work as part of a team developing games for a range of platforms including Xbox Live Arcade, iPhone and Android. Past students have also developed software with the NHS, The Royal Armouries and the West Yorkshire Fire Service.

Alternatively, if you are a student from within the UK or the EU, you could consider starting your own small business by applying for the Enterprise Placement Year in conjunction with the University's Enterprise Team.


UCAS code:
G4W6

Start date:
19 / 09 / 2016

Duration:

3 years full-time
4 years inc. placement

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for this course are normally one of the following:

•  ABB or 320 UCAS points from three A Levels or equivalent (General Studies is not accepted)

•  DDM in a BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Art and Design or a games related subject.

•  A Foundation course in Art and Design: Distinction

•  Other suitable experience or qualifications will be considered.

In addition you must have GCSE Mathematics and English at grade C or above.

Contact:

Admissions and Marketing Office

Tel: +44 (0)1484 473116

Email: compeng@hud.ac.uk

Follow us on Twitter @ HudCompEng|https://twitter.com/HudCompEng?lang=en-gb]
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Places available:

40

(this number may be subject to change)

Location:
Huddersfield, HD1 3DH

Course content

The course covers visual design, 3D modelling, sculpting, texturing and animation. You will also be supported in gaining skills in conceptualisation and analysis, level design and prototyping with game engines. A key element of this course is team working and group work throughout your course aims to help you to develop your team working abilities.

This course will develop your abilities to design and plan creative game ideas and concepts, and produce artwork and graphical assets for computer games. We introduce current research, issues and ideas, and developing technologies used by the industry. The course is based around industry studio practice, and you have the opportunity to specialise in year two in either games design or games art.

To view work from our students and read news form the course visit Hud Uni Games

Year 1

Core modules:

Concept Development 1

This module aims to introduce you to a broad spectrum of methods and practices, used when generating ideas for games and developing game concepts. You’ll explore topics such as play, game concepts, rules and game mechanics. You’ll be encouraged to evaluate and critique both traditional and digital games, whilst being supported in gaining practical skills in the development and refinement of original concepts. Interactive design methods, design documentation and visual and verbal presentation skills will also be covered in this module.


Digital Media Project 1

The digital media industry relies on professionals who work effectively in multi-disciplinary teams. This module aims to gives you early experience of working in such an environment. Working as part of a team, you will aim to plan, design and develop a digital media product. The module aims to provide you with an understanding of industry best practices within the digital media industry. You will be introduced to the product development cycle, technology limitations, and possible future developments relevant to each course. You will also be encouraged to begin exploring the enterprising aspects of the digital media industries, by entering competitions or publishing a game, mobile app, website or other digital media artefact.


3D Games Asset Development

This module has been designed to introduce you to the principles of 3D asset creation for current generation video games and integration into real time rendering engines. Asset development will include things such as environmental props and weapons as well as entire game scenes. You’ll examine workflows and methodologies for artist driven pipelines and technologies to aid in the production of game ready assets. You’ll be supported in gaining an understanding of the requirements of developing assets to specific design briefs, styles and technical limitations.


Digital Media Studio 1

The module aims to develop your technical skills and knowledge in digital media production, through using appropriate hardware and software to design and develop digital media products and components. Practical studio themes will be developed by tutors which are aimed at helping you to gain an understanding of how the theory fits in with your digital media discipline.This module is shared across different digital media courses, so course specific groups will be formed around these themes, enabling you to focus on the technologies that support digital media production which are most appropriate to your course. You’ll be introduced to the concepts and principles that underpin the creation of digital media and will use a programming or scripting language to control actions, interactions and animations.


Introduction to 3D and Animation

Working with software of an industry standard, this module will introduce you to the principles and techniques involved in the development of 3D objects and environments. You’ll be encouraged to gain skills in developing multilayered textures suitable for animation, computer games, architectural and technical design. You’ll have the opportunity to develop skills in understanding how to create animated characters, materials, lighting, rendering and the production of simple animation solutions.


Year 2

Core Modules:

Games Design and Innovation

In this module you will be supported in building on your knowledge and understanding of key design principles relating to computer games. The module has been designed to encourage innovation and creative thinking for the development of design ideas, as well as aiming to extend your research and practical skills. You’ll be expected to progress initial concepts into workable design solutions with an emphasis on balancing creative ideas against technical and design requirements and constraints.


Team Project (Games)

This module gives you the opportunity to work as a team to design and develop a prototype computer game. You’ll be supported in exploring theories and principles of team working and project management through the development of your chosen game. Weekly tutorial sessions will be held to allow your team to get regular feedback and guidance on the progress of your project. Alongside this you’ll also explore important legal and professional issues relevant to people working in the IT industry.


Computer Games Design Studio 2

This module aims to expand your prior knowledge of transferring 2D skills into the 3D domain. You will be introduced to principles and good practice for designing and prototyping for 3D game building. You’ll explore how assets and levels may be designed, created, imported into and then manipulated in an industry standard gaming environment.

Option modules: Choose two from a list which may include-

Computer Games Analysis and Design

This module gives you the opportunity to study current principles and approaches surrounding computer games design and analysis, key to inform and enhance your own design practice. This module complements the module “Game Design and Innovation”, and aims to provide you with a platform to deconstruct and critically analyse existing commercial games, and to leverage what can be learned through game analysis in order to design novel, high-quality products.


Visual Design

This module offers you the opportunity to explore a range of approaches to the subject of visual design; taking a broad approach to the design and production of visual assets for contemporary digital media. You will be encouraged and challenged to be creative and to experiment with your designs. You’ll have the chance to explore a range of artistic approaches to various design briefs whilst developing core software skills. You'll study how to develop original design concepts; presenting these to fellow students for feedback and design criticism with the aim of improving and refining your design skills and the quality of your portfolio.


3D Character Animation

Initially you’ll explore how to develop concepts for animated characters, and be supported in developing an understanding of how to create characters using geometric shapes (topology). Then, focusing particularly on the production and planning of 3D characters for games and animation, you’ll build a 3D model of your designed character and study the processes involved in developing a ‘digital skeleton’. You’ll then have the opportunity to bring your character to life using cinematography, storyboarding and animation principles.

Year 3 – optional placement year

Final year

Core modules:

Individual Project

This module is driven by you. You are asked to select a problem to solve which is relevant to your degree, and of appropriate scope and depth to be tackled within a timeframe of 30 weeks. Carrying out the project enables you to develop and demonstrate your ability to undertake research, manage time, use your initiative, learn independently, discuss and write convincingly on a subject requiring independent learning. A supervisor will support you throughout your project. You’ll use your existing knowledge and be encouraged to acquire additional skills as you carry out your project. The aim of the project is to suggest a solution to an identified problem. Your final report should describe the aims, scope and motivation of the project, the research you have undertaken, and the technical solution provided, including justification for design and development decisions.


Team Project (Games)

On this module Games Design and Games Programming you'll work in a group to simulate a company environment. You’ll be supported in working as a team to design, code and implement a small computer game. The module covers software development, team working, team management, company structures, professional issues and ethics. This aims to help you develop business and entrepreneurial skills and provide you with experience of software development in a group environment working alongside other game industry professions.

Option modules: Choose two from a list which may include-

Advanced Visual Design

This module offers you the opportunity to undertake a significant ‘visual design project’ of your choosing. You’ll be supported as you develop an original portfolio ‘centre piece’. You’ll study how to critique aspects of contemporary visual culture and be encouraged to stretch both your creativity (‘conceptual skills’) and technical ability, as you strive to develop an original idea into a portfolio ‘focal piece’ with design excellence at its heart; following a pre-production, production and post-production lifecycle as you go.


Concept Development 3

This module explores advanced topics in game design, focussing on the quality of the player experience and reflecting current industry trends and state of the art game research. Building upon your previous years of study, you will explore principles and strategies key to enhance player engagement and satisfaction. You’ll be supported in applying these principles and strategies to develop a body of work providing refined and sophisticated solutions to challenging game design problems


Advanced 3D (Design and Production)

This module provides you with an opportunity to develop and demonstrate a combination of practical and conceptual skills for the planning and implementation of complex 3D projects (such as the creation of 3D worlds and environments). The module includes studio sessions in which you’ll be encouraged to introduce and discuss a range of theories and examples of current practice relating to the subject, for example the asset pipeline, project scoping and design constraints. You’ll work individually to undertake practical assignments and independent research will allow you to demonstrate your understanding and knowledge of specialist topics.

Important information

We will always try to deliver your course as described on this web page. However, sometimes we may have to make changes as set out below.

We review all optional modules each year and change them to reflect the expertise of our staff, current trends in research and as a result of student feedback. We will always ensure that you have a range of options to choose from and we will let students know in good time the options available for them to choose for the following year.

We will only change core modules for a course if it is necessary for us to do so, for example to maintain course accreditation. We will let you know about any such changes as soon as possible, usually before you begin the relevant academic year.

Sometimes we have to make changes to other aspects of a course or how it is delivered. We only make these changes if they are for reasons outside of our control, or where they are for our students’ benefit. Again, we will let you know about any such changes as soon as possible, usually before the relevant academic year. Our regulations set out our procedure which we will follow when we need to make any such changes.

When you enrol as a student of the University, your study and time with us will be governed by a framework of regulations, policies and procedures, which form the basis of your agreement with us. These include regulations regarding the assessment of your course, academic integrity, your conduct (including attendance) and disciplinary procedure, fees and finance and compliance with visa requirements (where relevant). It is important that you familiarise yourself with these as you will be asked to agree to abide by them when you join us as a student. You will find a guide to the key terms here, where you will also find links to the full text of each of the regulations, policies and procedures referred to.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England is the principal regulator for the University.

Placements

This course offers you the chance to undertake an optional placement in Year 3. This opportunity helps you to build on the knowledge and skills developed on the course. You will be employed by the company for 12 months, but the actual number of weeks worked will be dependent on the annual leave entitlement you are given in line with the placement company's policy.

The placement year is a valuable tool that can enhance your employability and help you to develop as an individual. It is acknowledged that graduates with industry experience are generally much more attractive to employers.

Our Placement Unit will be on hand to support you in finding suitable placement opportunities. They will assist you with preparing your CV and with interview techniques. They'll also be in contact with you during your placement so that you'll be fully supported while you gain the experience that employers value so highly.

The Placement Unit team are regularly in contact with local and national companies. Previous students have spent their placement year at companies including Sega Europe Ltd, Rebellion Studios, Rockstar Leeds and Red Kite. In addition to external organisations, we have a number of placement opportunities available in the University's Canalside Studios, giving you an opportunity to work as part of a team undertaking research and developing games for a range of platforms.

Alternatively, if you are a student from within the UK or the EU, you could consider starting your own small business by applying for the Enterprise Placement Year in conjunction with the University's Enterprise Team. You'll have the opportunity to benefit from business advice, mentoring and networking sessions. You can find out more information on the Enterprise Placement Year here.

Career opportunities

80% of our graduates from this course go on to work and/or further study within six months of graduating (DLHE survey).

Previous graduates have gone on to work in a variety of roles such as Games Designer, Graphic Designer, Lead User Interface Designer and Senior Program Manager in organisations including Rockstar Games, Microsoft Xbox, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe and EA Games*.

*Source: LinkedIn

Teaching and assessment

You will be taught through a series of seminars, tutorials, group work, practical experience and lectures.

Assessment will include coursework, presentation, work-based learning and examination.

19% of the study time on this course is spent in lectures, seminars, tutorials etc.

Your module specification/course handbook will provide full details of the assessment criteria applying to your course.

Feedback (usually written) is normally provided on all coursework submissions within three term time weeks – unless the submission was made towards the end of the session in which case feedback would be available on request after the formal publication of results. Feedback on exam performance/final coursework is available on request after the publication of results.

Huddersfield is the only University where 100% of the teaching staff are Fellows of the Higher Education Academy.*

  • permanent staff, after probation: some recently appointed colleagues will only obtain recognition in the months after their arrival in Huddersfield, once they have started teaching.

Facilities

Our facilities are contemporary and we use software and equipment that you will encounter in industry.

Facilities include mobile, wireless and fixed computing facilities with Windows, Linux and Apple Mac workstations, as well as industry-standard design and development facilities. You'll use industry-standard software including Adobe Suite and Autodesk 3ds Max, as well as the latest game engines such as Unity and Unreal 4, whilst working on high-end PCs with dual monitors. You'll also be able to book out graphics tablets via our technical team. If that's not enough, you'll also be able to use video and photographic equipment.

How much will it cost me?

In 2016/17, the tuition fee for UK and EU students at the University of Huddersfield will be £9,000. Tuition fees will cover the cost of your study at the University as well as charges for registration, tuition, supervision and examinations. For more information about funding, fees and finance for UK/EU students, including what your tuition fee covers, please see Fees and Finance.

If you are an international student coming to study at the University of Huddersfield, please visit the International Fees and Finance pages for full details of tuition fees and support available.

Optional field trips may be offered during the course to destinations in the UK, which you would need to pay for if you choose to attend. Previous trips in recent years have included a visit to a regional game arcade for 1 day at a cost of £20.00 per student. Other field trips may cost more.

Further study

Progression to a postgraduate course is dependent on successful completion of your undergraduate studies, there may also be minimum qualification requirements such as a first class or higher second (2.1) degree. Please check the course details to confirm this. You could also consider further study in the form of an MSc by Research (MRes) and ultimately if you're successful you could potentially progress onto PhD study.

International

If you are an international student (including EU) you can check if you meet our entry requirements (both academic and English language) by visiting our country pages.

If you do not meet the entry requirements you can consider completing a degree preparation programme (if you are from a country outside of the EU) at the University's International Study Centre (ISC). You can call the ISC on +44 (0) 1273 339333 to discuss your options. You can also complete the online application form or to ask a question please fill in the enquiry form and talk to one of our multi-lingual Student Enrolment Advisers.

If your English language is not at the required level (IELTS 6.0 overall), we have a range of Pre-Sessional English programmes that you can enrol on before starting your degree programme. You will not need to take an IELTS test after completing one of our Pre-Sessional English programmes.

Research community

Research plays an important role in informing all our teaching and learning activities. Through research our staff remain up-to-date with the latest developments in their field, which means you develop knowledge and skills that are current and highly relevant to industry. For more information, see the Research section of our website.

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