Undergraduate BSc (Hons)

Games Design and Production

Salford School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology

Attendance

Full-time

Course

Three year

Next enrolment

September 2022

Introduction

In a nutshell

Video Game development has become one of the fastest growing sectors in the world, AAA, Indie, Advergaming, Hyper-Casual and Serious Applications offer a broad landscape for excellent employment opportunities. With this continued expansion, there has never been a better time to get involved in video game production.

Keen to kick-start your career in the games industry? Looking for a degree that will help you develop the skills and experience you need? Are you looking for a course that will allow you to build functional games? Whether you are an aspiring programmer, designer or artist, our specialised games design and production course with optional placement year, will give you the chance to experience the world of professional games design and put your newly developed skills to the test. This kind of experience is invaluable to future employers and will give you the competitive edge within the job market.

Throughout this games design degree, you will study gaming in a range of contexts, from the basics of games design and digital arts, to the fundamentals of programming. As you move into the second and third years of your degree, you will be able to focus on the area of specialism that interests you, choosing from optional modules taught by leading experts in the field. You will become experienced in group working through agile methods, you will learn about narrative and storytelling, human computer interaction and user experience, developing a broad understanding of historical and emergent technology. You well investigate developing trends  while building knowledge and understanding of the broader digital creative industries.

The optional placement module and intensive team-based learning environment will give you the chance to apply your skills in a real-world setting. You will gain an understanding of organisational structure, internal processes and how development teams work, so you will graduate with a clear focus on your next step into industry. Indeed, the USP of this degree is the years of experience we have in formulating multidisciplinary teams to build real world product, within a professional working structure and environment.

You will:
  • Learn how to think both creatively and technically as a game designer and producer
  • Gain fundamental and advanced knowledge in creative computer programming
  • Gain fundamental and advanced knowledge in digital graphics and art
  • Develop specialist skills in planning, prototyping, and producing computer games
  • Work in multidisciplinary teams to produce functional polished product

Want to learn more about studying games design and production? You can sign-up to an Open Day or attend a campus tour.

Our supportive course enquiries team can help you with any general questions you may have. You can also explore all of our Creative Digital Media and Gaming courses.

Placement

options available

International

students accepted

This is for you if...

1.

You want to build functional games in multidisciplinary teams in a real world production environment.

2.

You want to understand the broad landscape of game production while specialising in your own are of interest.

3.

You want to learn about emergent interactive technology and the wider digital creative industries.

4.

You want to engage in a program that aims to prepare students to gain meaningful employment in the digital creative industries

Course details

All about the course

The course has one clear and focused objective, to prepare students to gain employment in the digital creative industriesThis games design course also allows you to dive into both the artistic and creative side of games production as well as the  fundamentals of programming.

As your studies progress, optional modules will allow you to specialise in an area of games development, whether that’s advanced 3D modelling or getting to grips with hardcore programming challenges. You will explore games design theory, game play mechanic, narrative and world building, you will consider human computer interaction, user experience, and interface design, while considering usability testing and quality assurance. Everything you learn will feed into the continued production of tangible product in a real-world team-based learning environment.

In the final year you will define your own working groups to produce a game prototype to an industry standard, you decide who to work with, and as a team you define the genre, the theme and scope of the product you choose to develop. Alongside the production of your game, great emphasis is placed on defining a pathway into employment, a purposely developed module will help you develop your own professional identity and core competencies. A further practice-based dissertation module will help to develop a genuine area of expertise, putting you ahead of the competition.

Want to find out more? Take a look at our course breakdown to see what will be covered in each module.

Year one

Design Theory Fundamentals

Within this module you will learn the fundamentals of games design, you will study the theory of play, rules and mechanic. You will investigate design methods and process, you will conceptualise and build board game prototypes, before testing and polishing toward a professional product. This module is rich and fast paced and lays the foundations for the design pathway across the next three years.

Visual Art

Within this module you will follow a Bauhaus model engaging with a number of creative processes and practices. You will be encouraged to develop your independent creative capabilities, you will learn about portraiture and life drawing, product and vehicle design, and get hands on in the workshop building physical pieces. Throughout this module you will develop design skills, building confidence to communicate your ideas. Even if you are a programmer and have little prior artistic capability it does not matter, at this stage it is about the experience, learning more about the creative process and its application.   

Entertainment Technologies

Entertainment Technologies has two strands, firstly the study of technologies from the past, the present, and in the future. The module aims to equip you with the foundation knowledge required by a creative digital practionaire, not only in the game's domain, but across the broader digital industries. Within the second part of this module, you will conceptualise and build interactive prototypes in our maker space, using technologies such as Raspberry Pi, Arduino and rudimentary Processing to realise your ideas.

Design Practice Fundamentals

Within this module you will work in production teams to build your first 2D digital game. You will engage with industry methods within an agile framework, to conceptualise, design, prototype and test your ideas. We aim to build functional product and the outputs at this stage are expected to reach a high standard. Groups will consist of individuals taking on distinct roles, as we drive with a strong professional work ethic to achieve our goals.

Digital Graphics

This module is in essence a continuation of the visual arts module in the first semester, in that it engages the same design methods and traditional arts practices, only this time the final outputs will be digital. The module covers photographic theory, composition, digital image theory, image retouching, pixel and vector art, digital painting, graphical layout and an introduction to 3D modelling. The module is rich and fasted paced, and the outputs are varied. Again, if you are a programmer at heart this module offers a supportive opportunity to understand more about digital arts methods, processes, and pipelines.

Introduction to Programming

Within this module you will receive a solid introduction to the foundations of computer programming, you will study code structures and principles, you will prototype, test and bug fix. You will investigate flexible configurable systems and receive an introduction to games engines. If you have any kind of phobia towards computer science relax, this is about experience, understanding, risk taking and having fun. You will receive all the support you need to progress. If you are already familiar with programming, we have the expertise to help you develop to the next level at a more accelerated pace.

Year two

Advanced Gameplay Development

This module will echo the group-based production modules already undertaken, and will utilise the same processes and pipelines, it will though, step up a level in complexity and edge closer to a commercial standard, the visual elements will be more organic and detailed, the gameplay will be richer, and the systems will become more dynamic. The themes typically covered within this module will include: third person controllers, aesthetic and technical aspects, controlling game agent’s animations, interacting with agents, combat mechanics, interacting with conversational systems, game cinematic components, constructing open landscapes, advanced game mechanics, advanced level design techniques, game analytics and telemetrics.

Game Development Foundations

Within this module you will work in production teams to build your first 3D digital game, the module will build upon, and further develop the production pipelines and tools introduced in the first year, but now the process is becoming progressively more complex.  Topics covered will include, first person and animation controllers, game sketching, visualising gameplay, state machines, flow diagrams, space-based design, advanced user interfaces, conversation systems, and play testing techniques. The module is demanding yet rewarding, and at this stage you can expect to see significate progression.

Human Data Interaction

This module covers the theoretical principles of Human Computer and Data interaction. Examples of its manifestation will be explored across both serious and entertainment applications. Learning will focus not only at the point of interaction between human and computer, but also the underlying systems and data that drive interactive experiences. Students will explore the origins and generation of data, ethics and security, and the power of analytics and statistics which increase the value and utility of data sets. Learning will look at how humans interact with data through digital interface and the importance of pattern and human factors. Students will go on to explore information design, communication and interface paradigms before moving on to consider both interface and system design, prototyping and testing.

Digital Narrative Technologies

You will learn the theory of storytelling and narrative and apply this knowledge through creative practice to a digital artifact. This process of understanding, applying and bridging traditional narrative from myth and legend, script and screen, to a contemporary immersive manifestation is designed to give you a broader understanding of narrative from a cultural perspective. The themes covered in the module will typically include: The Power, Importance and Origin of Story, Story Structures, The Hero’s Journey, The Power of Myth, Narration and Focalisation, The Art of Characterisation, Environmental Storytelling, Writing a Treatment, Storyboarding Techniques, Narrative and Emergent technologies, Immersion & Interactivity and Spatial Narratives.

You will also choose one of the following two optional modules

Digital Environment Art

Within this elective module you will be introduced to the processes and skills required to design, develop and deploy 3D virtual games environments. You will learn how to employ traditional design processes to conceive and plan for the construction of modular components that can be transposed into game engine technologies. The module will focus on the construction of well crafted, low detail, optimised 3D topology, it will develop fundamental 3D modelling and texturing skills. Emphasis will be put on the quality of the product, employing industry standards and production pipelines. Rather than being a technical training module, you will be expected to demonstrate a capability to engage technical tools alongside traditional creative process. Everything in this module feeds back directly into your group-based game production.  

Games Engine Programming

This module will echo the group-based production modules already undertaken, and will utilise the same processes and pipelines, it will though, step up a level in complexity and edge closer to a commercial standard, the visual elements will be more organic and detailed, the gameplay will be richer, and the systems will become more dynamic. The themes typically covered within this module will include: third person controllers, aesthetic and technical aspects, controlling game agent’s animations, interacting with agents, combat mechanics, interacting with conversational systems, game cinematic components, constructing open landscapes, advanced game mechanics, advanced level design techniques, game analytics and telemetrics.

Digital Character Art

Within this module you will learn to conceive, design, develop and animate 3D characters for real-time and pre-rendered applications. Persona and narrative will be considered as well as aesthetic and proportion, you will learn how to apply traditional art and design methods to craft your ideas. Focus will be put on the creation of elegant topology and form, students will first learn how to sculpt low polygon organic geometry before moving towards more complex sculptural tools. Students will investigate and apply texturing through contemporary tools and methods. Learning will culminate in the rigging and animation of a character with games ready animation sets.

Advanced Games Engine Programming

This programming module continues to develop knowledge learned and applied in the first semester of the second year. You will again build an understanding of more complex underlying programming paradigms before applying these back to extend off the shelf games engines. The topics covered in this module will typically include: Tool construction, Advanced code systems; flocking, pathfinding, obstacle avoidance, Knowledge of Open GL Shaders, Local networks and Global networking for online gaming, Sound/Audio programming, Play analysis, Security awareness, Risk Assessment, Encryption. Mobile Application Deployment, Testing and Reporting, Beta Deployment and testing techniques. Quality Assurance, Business Management; marketing, in-app purchase Pay to Win versus Paid Apps and in App Advertising.

In addition, you will choose one of the below optional modules

Advanced Games Engine Programming

This programming module continues to develop knowledge learned and applied in the first semester of the second year. You will again build an understanding of more complex underlying programming paradigms before applying these back to extend off the shelf games engines. The topics covered in this module will typically include: Tool construction, Advanced code systems; flocking, pathfinding, obstacle avoidance, Knowledge of Open GL Shaders, Local networks and Global networking for online gaming, Sound/Audio programming, Play analysis, Security awareness, Risk Assessment, Encryption. Mobile Application Deployment, Testing and Reporting, Beta Deployment and testing techniques. Quality Assurance, Business Management; marketing, in-app purchase Pay to Win versus Paid Apps and in App Advertising.

Digital Character Art

Within this module you will learn to conceive, design, develop and animate 3D characters for real-time and pre-rendered applications. Persona and narrative will be considered as well as aesthetic and proportion, you will learn how to apply traditional art and design methods to craft your ideas. Focus will be put on the creation of elegant topology and form, students will first learn how to sculpt low polygon organic geometry before moving towards more complex sculptural tools. Students will investigate and apply texturing through contemporary tools and methods. Learning will culminate in the rigging and animation of a character with games ready animation sets.

Year three

Creative Portfolio

Within this module you will initially focus on the realities of finding meaningful employment in the digital creative industries. You will be encouraged to investigate the personas of practicing professionals and the structure of the company’s you identify as relevant to your career progression. Subsequent sessions will ask challenging questions of your current capabilities within a supportive, positive environment. This process is intended to identify strengths and possible weaknesses before building a structured plan to develop capabilities and core competence. You will be asked to develop a professional persona based on where you would like to be positioned in the coming years. All other learning and project elements will then be built around a persona statement. You will learn how to best communicate your persona and how to align work examples to support your persona statement, you will learn how to best frame and distribute your evidence of capability in both a physical and digital format. You will learn how to strategically plan a pathway into employment, which will include contingency. This module is designed to build awareness, a focused personal vision, capability and a road map into employment.

Final Project Proposal and Prototyping

Within this module the learning and experience gained during the previous two years crystallises as you engage in the pre-production of a professional games prototype. You will typically define your own production groups, genre, narrative and technology, planning and developing an ambitious project. The aim of this endeavour is to develop and pitch an industry standard game prototype in every respect. You will work within a simulated industry environment and at this stage outcomes will be seen as a potential commercial product. This module is connected to the Final Project development module in the final semester, where your prototype will move into full scale production.

Final Project Development

 

The final design module continues the work undertaken within Final Project Proposal and Prototyping as it moves to a phase of full-scale production. It is our goal, within a realistic scope, to drive these projects as close to an industry standard as possible, and we expect at this stage to see the application of a full spectrum of production methods and processes. You will at this point have identified your areas of expertise and will contribute to multiple roles within your team. The objective of this module is twofold, to generate the highest quality example of your individual and group working capability, while building momentum, confidence and competence to support your transition into industry.

Practice Based Dissertation

Within this module you will have the opportunity to develop a purely written or practice-based dissertation. This process has proved invaluable in supporting students to find their first employment opportunities, as it allows you to build a contemporary area of expertise. The module also equips students with the necessary academic skills required to progress to master's degree or PhD. The module is supportive through a network of passionate academics. Elements typically covered within the module include: practise based research, qualitative and quantitative research, critical evaluation, advanced academic writing, research strategies and reflective practice.

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.

What Will I Be Doing?

60%

Coursework

40%

Presentations

TEACHING

As part of your games design degree, your timetable will include a breakdown of your scheduled lessons with timeslots for you to explore your independent research interests.
Your classes will be based at our MediaCityUK campus.

Production-based modules are delivered primarily through workshops, where you will cover new material and receive practical support from your lecturers during classes

Theory modules underpin the practical elements of this degree and are delivered through combined lecture/seminar sessions. You will be provided with directed reading and will have the opportunity to clarify and discuss areas of interest or difficulty.

Project work will allow you to produce work tailored to your individual interests.

ASSESSMENT

An important part of your games design studies is the opportunity to showcase your academic strengths in a variety of different ways. Your games design and development modules are typically assessed through coursework, projects, and presentations.

BE A PART OF A CREATIVE, SUPPORTIVE COMMUNITY

All  our  Creative Digital Media and Gaming courses  are delivered by the  Salford School of Arts, Media, and Creative Technology. Our focus is to ensure that you have the skills you need to pursue your dreams, and we encourage our students, past and present, to collaborate with each other and achieve great things.  

Each year - through the Create Awards – our School rewards the incredible achievements and successes of our final year and postgraduate students.  

Whatever you choose to study with us, you’ll be mentored and supported by experts. And once you graduate, it won’t end there. You’ll join a thriving alumni network across Greater Manchester and beyond, meaning you’ll be supported professionally and personally whenever you need it. 

MEDIACITYUK FACILITIES

Our MediaCityUK facilities are industry-standard, so much so that they are used by our industry partners themselves.

When you study with us on this animation degree, you’ll learn from our experienced tutors and demonstrators, who’ll teach you how to use our facilities. These include:

TV studios - our TV studios have been used by the BBC for a variety of broadcasts, such as the Olympics and Christmas music concerts, and they’re equipped with the same audio-visual systems used by the ITV and Sky too. 

The studios have green screen facilities as well as basic props so you can design and build sets for a range of projects. 

Green screen facilities - these allow you to create effects such as those you see on weather reports and incorporates a camera system and 3D graphics software.   

Audio production - we’ve got all the hardware and software you need to make sure you’ll know just how to create, edit, mix and master audio for film and television. Our main studios feature Avid S6 consoles – a similar set up to those at our MediaCityUK neighbours, such as Dock10 and ITV. 

MakerSpace - bring your designs to life using 3D scanners and printers, power tools and a range of art and craft materials.   

Stop-frame studio we have animation booths equipped with industry standard lighting, grip, software and cameras and learn just what it takes to make your ideas and storyboards a reality. 

Computer Suites and Editing Studios – our computer suites are equipped with the latest industry-standard software. You’ll learn from our experienced demonstrators, who’ll teach you the skills needed to turn your concepts into a reality.

Equipment stores - cameras, lighting kits and mics – they’re all essential to media production. But don’t worry, you won’t need to spend thousands of pounds to get the set-up you need – we have a fully equipped equipment store available for you to use and take-out industry-standard kit. 

Employment and stats

What about after uni?

EMPLOYMENT

If you’re not sure how to get into the game design industry, you’ve come to the right place. Graduating from university with a degree in games design and production, along with relevant realworld experience, places you in an ideal position to take your first step into this exciting and dynamic industry. With the skillset you’ve developed throughout your course, you’ll be well set to secure a variety of roles in designing, producing and programming. What’s more, many of our graduates have gone on to work at world-renowned development companies, including Rockstar, Sony, EA, Saga,  and Namco, Travellers Tales and Team 17.

FURTHER STUDY

Graduates showing strong academic and research skills can pursue a further postgraduate path through  our Postgraduate programmes  on a full-time or part-time basis subject to a satisfactory proposal. 

A taste of what you could become

Games Designer

3D Artist

Applications developer

Animator

Data scientist

and more...

Career Links

The course involves many industry partners on several levels ranging from guest lecturers, live briefs and placement opportunities. Through our connections and alumni we can help students generate opportunities in what is an ever-expanding sector. We encourage and support students in seeking opportunity’s in not only the games industry but also the wider digital creative industries and also the corporate graduate placement market. The curriculum you engage in within this course, is becoming increasingly relevant, valued and transferable. The bottom line is that as you become competent you will find a wealth of opportunity out there.

Requirements

What you need to know

APPLICANT PROFILE

To gain a place on this games design degree, we would like to see evidence of your talent and capability either as a creative, artist or programmer. This will take the form or a digital portfolio and potentially be supported through a very informal friendly interview. Don’t think that we just want to see polished digital work, we are keen to see people with traditional skills, drawing, fine art, graphic design, photography and well as budding programmers with an interest in maths, logic and problem solving. 

You’ll also have to submit a personal statement and meet our entry requirements. This is a written piece (360 to 500 words) of your academic, professional/life experience and future goals. We’ll want to understand:

  • what motivates you and what you’ve learnt on your current academic journey;
  • why you want to work in the gaming sector.
  • Why you believe that the University of Salford is the right choice for you.

 

As part of your application, we will need to see a portfolio of work to provide opportunity for you to share your creative practice with us. Any offers will be conditional upon our subject team having the opportunity to review your portfolio, and we look forward to viewing your work. For some applicants, you may also be asked to take part in an informal group seminar discussion or interview– either live or on camera – to demonstrate your skills.

Don’t be intimidated by the application process, portfolio or interview. We are a very supportive, inclusive and friendly institution. You are more than welcome to email the program leader, Mick Lockwood, at anytime for advice and to arrange an informal chat.

Once you’ve made your application to study with us, we’ll contact you and let you know the next steps.

Do you want to know more about this games design degree? You can sign-up to an Open Day or attend a campus tour.

Our supportive course enquiries team can help you with any general questions you may have. You can also explore all of our Creative Digital Media and Gaming courses.

Standard entry requirements

English Language requirements

International applicants will be required to show a proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.0, with no element below 5.5, is proof of this.

GCSE

English and maths GCSE grade C/grade 4 or above.

You must fulfil our GCSE entry requirements as well as one of the requirements listed below.

A level

96 - 112 points

UCAS tariff points

96 - 112 points

BTEC National Diploma

DMM-MMM

Access to HE

96-112 UCAS Tariff points from Level 3 QAA approved Access programme

Scottish Highers

96 - 112 points

Irish Leaving Certificate

96 - 112 points

International Baccalaureate

28 points

European Baccalaureate

Pass in Diploma of at least 60%

Alternative entry requirements

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.

How much?

Type of study Year Fees
Full-time home 2021/22 £9,250per year
Full-time international 2021/22 £15,600per year
Full-time home 2022/23 £9,250per year
Full-time international 2022/23 £15900per year
Additional costs

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

Scholarships for international students

If you are a high-achieving international student, you may be eligible for one of our scholarships.
 
We have a range of scholarships available for students applying for courses in 2020-2021 and 2021-2022. Our Global Gold Excellence Scholarship is worth £3,500 and our Global Silver Excellence Scholarship is worth £3,000 - both are available for students studying in our 2021/22 intakes.

We also offer the Salford International Excellence Scholarship which offers up to £5,000 discount on tuition fees. As this is a prestigious award we have a limited number of these scholarships available.

See the full range of our International Scholarships.

Apply now

All set? Let's apply

Enrolment dates

September 2022

UCAS information

Course ID G470

Institution S03