Computer and Video Games
BSc (Hons)

Overseas study available
Based at MediaCityUK
International Students can apply

3 good reasons to study Computer and Video Games at Salford

1.

Gain a balanced education with exposure to both the artistic and programming sides of the discipline before specialising

2.

Learn about games development in the context of the wider creative industries

3.

Follow an agile methodology that reflects industry practice creating games on a spectrum of platforms

Course Summary

The dynamic world of computer games production is at the cutting edge of creative media and one of the largest growth areas, internationally, within the creative industries.

 

This course provides you with extensive training in the design and production of computer games. You will be taught skills in the planning and prototyping of games within an agile framework, exploring 2D and 3D character and environment art, graphics and animation.

 

Offering a unique mix of both the creative and the technical; the course has become well known for developing technically savvy, creatively aware and future thinking professionals.

 

The course has produced graduates who have found employment both within the Triple A sector (Travellers Tales, Rockstar) in balance with students working in more independent creative studios such as Matmi and Mi.

 

Most recent successes include the Nomination for a Bafta and channel 4 funding for one of our Graduating Teams, Lamplight Studios… A Pixel Story was released on Steam in 2015. Graduating students form the Triple Ox team 2015 were also nominated and came runner up in the Microsoft Imagine Cup. The Graduate team from UH HO Studios have also secured incubation space for their title, Galatic Enforcer, set for release later this year.


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BSc (Hons) Computer and Video Games 2014 showreel.

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Simon Bramwell talks about how his team developed, produced and published a video game, Dead Metal, as part of the BSc (Hons) Computer and Video Games.

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Here’s an example of some of our students’ work – Lamplight Studios:  ‘A Pixel Story’

Course Details

The dynamic world of computer games production is at the cutting edge of creative media and one of the largest growth areas internationally within the creative industries. This course provides you with extensive training in the design and production of computer games. You will be taught skills in the planning and prototyping of games within an agile framework, exploring 2D and 3D character and environment art, graphics and animation. You will also have the opportunity to develop both fundamental and specialist knowledge in computer programming.

Throughout your studies, you will look into gaming and user interaction across a spectrum of related practices. The aim of the course is to provide you with a rounded exposure of the elements of interactive user content, building up your confidence in various specialisms as the course progresses.

You will work as part of a team in your final year to produce a prototype game, with modules looking at areas such as patents, copyrights and other means of legal protection as well as the economics and structure of the industry to enable you to learn the skills needed to take your product to market.

Offering a unique mix of both the creative and technical, the course has become well known for developing technically savvy, creatively aware and future thinking professionals

Course Structure

Year 1

Year 1 takes you through the basic art and design processes and technical fundamentals of programming as well as the design and planning of creative games across platforms. You will also learn how to solve problems using design theory through practice, look into the emergent use of entertainment technologies and cover the fundamentals of 2D and 3D digital graphics. Theoretical modules cover the historical and social issues surrounding creative media, and project management skills are embedded across several modules.

Year 2

Year 2 core modules build on the design, planning and prototyping of a game and agile development production skills, as well as covering narrative technologies. Elective modules allow you to further specialise in the other areas covered in the first year, such as 2D/3D character and environment art and graphics, or a more in-depth programming knowledge and application.

Year 3

In the third year you will learn about patents, copyrights and other means of legal protection as well as the economics and structure of the industry. You will also work as part of a team to produce a prototype game and undertake an individual portfolio (chosen from Programming; Art and Graphics; Sound and Music; Design). You will write a practice-based dissertation in the final year allowing you to combine the theoretical and practical work into a single project.

Year 1

Year 1 takes you through the basic art and design processes and technical fundamentals of programming as well as the design and planning of creative games across platforms. You will also learn how to solve problems using design theory through practice, look into the emergent use of entertainment technologies and cover the fundamentals of 2D and 3D digital graphics. Theoretical modules cover the historical and social issues surrounding creative media, and project management skills are embedded across several modules.

Semester 1

Core Modules:

This module sheds light on the importance of design theory and how it underpins much of design practice. This grounding will enable you to creatively express ideas and communicate effectively by selecting appropriate technologies to deliver a creative solution to a project brief.
Through this module, you will gain an awareness of, and practice, the variety of traditional visual media within a studio environment. By working to project briefs, you will deliver creative solutions using appropriate visual means, reflecting on your practice through a self-reflective development diary.
Entertainment technologies play a significant role in society with increasingly innovative applications. During this module, you will gain the skills needed to explore the new ways that entertainment is being used in unconventional ways, through a range of existing and emergent digital technologies.

Semester 2

Core modules:

The purpose of this module is to provide an awareness of the fundamentals of interdisciplinary design practice. Through lectures, workshops and a selection of design briefs, you will learn to creatively express ideas whilst gaining technical ability operating within a studio culture.
By understanding the variety of digital graphic technologies used within a studio environment, you will be able to define and discuss the core digital tools used by designers, develop technical proficiency within visual communication and creatively express your ideas through a range of digital mediums.
The module is an introduction to writing software products through stand-alone applications and the use of third party libraries (Unity).  You will gain an awareness of basic logic and introductory object oriented programming techniques, whilst familiarising yourself with the design of programs using pseudo-code. You will be encouraged to research further use of existing game technologies and produce your own fully functioning 2D game.

Year 2

Year 2 core modules build on the design, planning and prototyping of a game and agile development production skills, as well as covering narrative technologies. Elective modules allow you to further specialise in the other areas covered in the first year, such as 2D/3D character and environment art and graphics, or a more in-depth programming knowledge and application.

Semester 1

Core Modules:

The purpose of this module is to introduce you to the processes involved in games design from producing a clear, play-based vision for a proposed prototype to producing designs and gameplay mechanics. Throughout this process, you will develop competencies within specialist areas such as 3D graphics or programming, as well as develop innovative and original approaches to collaborative design, production and implementation through working with a team.
In this management-based module, you will develop an understanding of the agile project management skills needed within the modern creative media production process. You will learn to work effectively in project teams and communicate fluently and accurately regarding digital game production. Your self-management skills will be put to the test, along with your ability for independent learning and decision-making, in the planning of a professional industry standard digital game project.

Elective modules:

In order to gain a critical awareness of the digital environment development and production workflow, you will learn to work independently and autonomously, developing critical awareness of related design principles and applying them to your own digital real-time environments.
This module introduces the various types of tools created to aid in the game development process and the role of the ‘tools programmer’ within the games industry. You will learn how to resolve the complexities and issues of software development along with the processes required to make professional GUI based, event-driven applications.

Semester 2

Core modules:

This module will provide you with the opportunity to negotiate, manage and implement a small-scale, digital game prototype to highlight the collaborative process between design practice and digital animation. You will be responsible for negotiation, management and implementation of a small scale prototype and further develop your ability to utilise emerging game technologies.
Your work on this module will enable you to develop advanced skills in the creation and production of storyboards for use in commercial creative media. You will do this by exploring interactive entertainment technologies and narrative theory and how they are applied to scriptwriting and traditional narratives.

Elective modules:

Through critical and practice-based learning, you will be introduced to character development and the production workflow process across a variety of digital media including video games, film and TV. You will also gain key skills in character design and animation from character rigging and motion tracking to audio driven animation generation and output editing.
Through Engine Programming for Games, you will learn the key stages of the programmable graphics process, gaining a technical awareness of C++ and Direct X as programming languages, whilst being able to employ core mathematical concepts such as Vectors and Matrices.

Year 3

In the third year you will learn about patents, copyrights and other means of legal protection as well as the economics and structure of the industry. You will also work as part of a team to produce a prototype game and undertake an individual portfolio (chosen from Programming; Art and Graphics; Sound and Music; Design). You will write a practice-based dissertation in the final year allowing you to combine the theoretical and practical work into a single project.

Semester 1

Core modules:

Core aims of this module include refining your ability to develop clear visual concepts for a proposed artefact as well as providing you with experience in producing production plans and schedules. By working on a practice based project to a professional standard, you will build up advanced competencies within at least one specialist area i.e. storyboarding, narrative, 2D/3D graphics, programming or animation. As a result of your studies, you will also enhance your ability to work effectively in teams and communicate fluently and accurately in relation to digital media production.
It is important for students to develop their presence both on and off-line in developing an identity and presence for employers.  This module aims to prepare students for industry via the production of promotional material that defines and reflects their present and developing skills. The module consolidates and defines a student as an individual through the analysis and production of a digital brand awareness.

Semester 2

Core modules:

This 60 credit module is an opportunity for you to take responsibility for the negotiation, management and implementation of a major project. Under supervision, you will be required to undertake research and extended study into creative artefact production, demonstrating an in-depth understanding of your chosen area, formulating the project as a research question or a product development.

Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.

Entry Requirements

Qualification Entry requirements
Foundation Diploma in Art and Design: Pass = 165 (plus other additional qualifications to a total of 300pts)
UCAS tariff points 240-280 points..
GCE A level 240-280 points
BTEC National Diploma MMM-DMM
Scottish Highers 280-300 points
Irish Leaving Certificate 280-300 points
International Baccalaureate 28 points

Salford Alternative Entry Scheme (SAES)

We welcome applications from students who may not meet the stated entry criteria but who can demonstrate their ability to pursue the course successfully. Once we have received your application we will assess it and recommend it for SAES if you are an eligible candidate.

There are two different routes through the Salford Alternative Entry Scheme and applicants will be directed to the one appropriate for their course. Assessment will either be through a review of prior learning or through a formal test.

English Language Requirements

IELTS score: 6.0 (with no individual element below 5.5)

Applicant profile

Successful applicants should have strong academic records, a firm and clear motivation to succeed and a passion for creative and interactive media. The course offers a student-centered and creative learning environment, and we seek applicants who are interested in our project and practice-based curriculum. You should be able to articulate your interests in creative and interactive media, and present them to a wider audience. You should also be interested in developing an appreciation of both the technical and creative elements of computer and video game design and production, as both a specialist and as a core member of a small production team.  

A portfolio of relevant work either in 2D/3D art, traditional or game-related design or C++/C# programming will greatly benefit your application to the course.

All applicants are interviewed.

Teaching

  • Production-based modules are delivered primarily through workshops which integrate new material with practical support in the class
  • Underpinning theory modules are delivered through combined lecture/seminar sessions. Students will be provided with directed reading and be expected to use the contact sessions to clarify and discuss areas of particular interest or difficulty
  • Project work plays a key role in students achieving the intended learning outcomes.

Assessment

Dependant on the modules that you choose, you will be assessed through:

Coursework (60%)

Presentations (40%)


Employability

Graduates from the course have gone on to work in variety of fields across the games industry ranging from level/game designer, 3D artist, tools/engine programmer and producer. Graduates have gone on to work for a variety of employers ranging from Travellers' Tales, Sony, EA, Sega, Smashmouth Games, Namco, Blitz, and Virtalis.

Examples include Richard Tyrer (Senior Designer at Climax Studios), Peter Brisbourne (Designer at Traveller's Tales), Tim Ceesay (Studio Manager at Smashmouth Games), Christopher Beckford (Programmer at Namco), Waseem Punnu (Environment Artist at Rockstar North), Lance Winter (Designer at Blitz).

Career Prospects

The course has produced students who gained positions in the high profile games environment with regional and international names such as Rockstar, Travellers Tales, Sony, EA, Sega, Namco, Blitz and Lamp Light Studios. The course has strong connections with the BBC and is continually developing content to meet the demands of a present and emerging digital industry.  

Graduates from the course have gone on to work in variety of fields across the games industry ranging from level/game designer, 3D artist, tools/engine programmer and producer.  

Students are encouraged to develop themselves as industry professionals.  2015 successes included the publication of A Pixel Story (Lamplight Studios), Recognition at the Microsoft Imagine Cup (Triple Ox Games) and ongoing development to publish Galactic Enforcer (Uh Ho Studios).

Alumni Profile

Jonathon Dunn, Level 6 Graduate, 2015:  

The 3 years I spent studying Computer & Video Games at the University of Salford were instrumental in shaping me as a person, professional and academic.   The course’s approach of developing both the technical and creative sides of it’s students, allowed to me attain the necessary skills required to find a job straight after graduating. ¿Students use the very latest software and production techniques found in the industry, making their skills relevant and sort after.  

What makes this course unique is its focus on group work, as students are given the opportunity to act in the capacity of a real life games studio, with all the responsibility and artistic license that entails. ¿This format challenges students to become true professionals and collaborators, honing their organizational prowess and soft social skills, which prepares them for the truly interdisciplinary industry of game development.  

The course also offers the chance for students to engage with the academic and philosophical aspect of games, I was greatly inspired by my lectures, and have hence started research on Ideology in Games, which I hope to take to PhD level.

Links with Industry

Staff from this course have worked with several companies over the past decade to enrich the student experience with live briefs and placement opportunities. The course involves industry partners on several levels ranging from guest lecturers, live briefs and placement opportunities.

The course employs a variety of staff from different sections of the industry including design, programming and  management.  Most recent connections have involved presentations by Aardvark Swift and the BBC. The course intends to keep its students fresh with contacts and live events such as Game Jams (BBC) and live industry pitches (Barclays).

Games Testing Events are embedded into the course (hosted at Media City UK) to encourage feedback and contact with industry.

Further Study

There are opportunities for students to apply for PG study on Gaming and Interactive Media Courses upon completion of their Degree.

Fees and Funding

Fees 2016-17

Type of StudyFee
Full-time£9,000
Part-timeYour annual fee will be calculated pro rata to the full-time fee according to the number of credits you are studying
Full-time International£11,500

Additional costs

You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.

Financial support for this course

 

Facilities

The course is taught at both Media City and takes advantage of other spaces that the School of Arts and Media provides.  The course has access to high end computer facilities at MCUK and also has a dedicate studio/tech suite for Level 6 students.

Students enjoy the benefits of both studio and computer lab spaces over their 3 years of study, and have the opportunity to mix and collaborate with students from other disciplines in a shared community environment.


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Take a guided tour of the University's facilities at MediaCityUK.