BA (Hons) Game Design and Development 2022/23

Southwark Campus

Mode: Full-time

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Tel: 0207 815 7500

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Overview

Get into the game

This award-winning innovative course will allow you to learn all the key aspects of game design and development. There will be an inter-disciplinary first semester where you will work collaboratively on real world projects with students studying media production, music and sound design and photography & imaging to enhance your digital media production skills and to develop your ability to work effectively in a team and on project planning.

In the second semester of your first year you will then focus fully on game design and development gaining specialist skills but still with opportunities to collaborate with students on other courses in the creative technologies in subsequent years of study. You will be taught by lecturers with more than 20 years’ experience in the games industry offering you the sought-after practical experience of working creatively and collaboratively at the forefront of tech advances.

Real-world application of your skills is essential, and you will have the opportunity to work with external clients and game publishers. On completion of the course you will have the opportunity to showcase your creative production in the creative technologies show which evidences to employers that you are ready for a career in an ever-changing digital and technological landscape.

Why study Games Design and Development at LSBU?

Ranked joint 7th in the UK and 1st in London for Graduate Prospects in Art & Design (Complete University Guide 2021) and ranked 1st in London for graduate prospects in Art and Design (Sunday Times League Table 2020).
We are a centre of excellence for virtual and augmented reality games research in London, offering development experience in pervasive gaming.
Get access to high-spec games systems and tools at our multi-million pound studio facilities, Elephant Studios.
Learn the skills you need to create, release and promote your own games, using design, code, art, animation/modelling, audio, level design, character creation and production.

Volunteering opportunities with the game publishers Ubisoft and Bethesda – and benefit from our connections with Eurogamer, BAFTA, Sony, Eidos, Ubisoft, Bethesda, Nintendo, and video game magazine publishing houses including Future and Imagine.
Start to focus on specialist skills in design and development as early as the second semester in your first year.

This course was previously called Game Cultures.

Awards and accreditations

Key course information - ordered by mode
Mode Duration Start date Location
Mode
Full-time
Duration
3 years
Start Date
September
Location
Southwark Campus

Modules

On this course you’ll learn the essential skills required to work in the games industry, as well as developing your creativity under the guidance of passionate games industry experts.

You’ll learn the technical side of making games and about the gaming industry too – acquiring the creative and organisational skills specific to game production and leadership roles. You can expect to create games for a wide range of gaming platforms: computer games, arcade games, gaming consoles, mobile games and online multi-player gaming. We’ll cover: game and level design, life drawing and anatomy, character design, animation, sound design, scriptwriting, 3d modelling, motion capture – all culminating in a major independent project.

Methods of assessment for course overall: 83% coursework

Year 1

  • 2D Game design
    Understanding the principles and practice of game design is a crucial first step in enabling you to build innovative games. In 2D Game Design you'll learn the key elements involved in videogame production by creating a digital game. As a group, you'll develop a game concept and then, in specialist production teams designed around key game industry roles (e.g. producer, artist, designer, sound engineer, programmer) and with an emphasis on QA, you'll realise their game vision. We'll familiarise you with professional skills crucial to the game development process: managing the game asset pipeline, strategies for meeting deadlines, game development project management techniques and, of course, team work. Assessment:  group assessment of a game (50%), and an individual assessment of design/programming element taking the form of a level of the game, containing both play element and cut sequence (50%).
  • Art and sound design
    In order to engage effectively in the process of videogame design and development, you need to understand how art and sound perform together as the fundamental building blocks of digital play spaces. In this module you'll learn design techniques and processes integral to art and sound design in videogames. Specifically, you'll learn to observe, record, express and represent both objects and sounds, and, in doing so, explore the interrelationship of the visual and audio in the context of videogame development. The skills you learn in this module will prove invaluable for the complementary 2D Game Design module, whilst also providing a bedrock for production work you take on in subsequent modules. Assessment: Character design—art: oral presentation supported by sketchbook (30%),  Character design—sound: oral presentation supported by digital sound files organised in student’s sound database (30%) and  Cartoon strip/ storyboard cutscene, with an original soundtrack (30 seconds to 1 min) supporting character design. The soundtrack needs to incorporate voice, foley, soundFX and ambient sounds (40%).
  • Memory games (theory module)
    Memory Games traces the rich cultural heritage of videogames. In this module we discuss pivotal events in videogame history and, along the way, pay homage to the designers, developers and players who have made the industry what it is today. During this module you'll take a personal journey, reflecting on the games you play, see why you began to play them and explore what it is about the games you play that makes you continue playing them.  Central to this voyage of discovery will be recognising the crucial role the past plays in shaping the games they are going to create in the future. Assessment: 1,500-word videogame essay (75%), and an in-class exam (25%).
  • 3D modelling
    3D Modelling introduces the process of creating models in 3D.  You'll explore the connections between 2D art and 3D modelling, examining issues such as: perspective, texturing, rendering and lighting. Skills acquired in the 3D Modelling module will prove invaluable for your second and third year production work. Assessment: 3D environment model(s), supported by accompanying workflow post-mortem (100%).
  • Industry and professional practice 
    The game industry is one of the most exciting and compelling creative industries to work in, but it is also one of the toughest. Not only is it hard for a young professional to get his or her foot in the door, but rapid technological developments and a lack of open exchange of information due to fierce competition between game companies, make it hard to keep ahead of the game. Industry and professional practice is a module designed to tackle both of these challenges. Through a series of innovative master classes you'll gain insight and knowledge from a diverse group of game industry experts. At the same time, you'll learn the professional codes and conventions of the game industry and develop the professional skills they need to get a job in the game industry. Assessment: game pitch (40%) and  CV and portfolio (60%).
  • The creative industries
    A lecture series with accompanying seminars on the topic of The Creative Industries, and visits to TechCity UK and other centres of artistic practice. Assessment: a 1,500-word essay (100%). You'll be given a small range of suggested topics, but you'll also be able to pick a topic of your own choosing, assisted by your seminar group leader.

Year 2

  • Story design
    All video games tell a story, even Space Invaders. In the twelve-week module Story Design, you'll learn the fundamentals of good writing regardless of intended medium, and then focus more closely on video game specific mechanics, with an emphasis on practical knowledge - how to work with a writer, what formats you need to understand and how to get a job in the first place. We'll strike a balance between the cinematic, high-production values of AAA fare and the more experimental, cutting-edge realm of bedroom development. Even if you have no intention of writing professionally, knowledge of dramatic interactive techniques can still be a fundamental principle of work in production, art and design, and can help you to work with writers in the future. Assessment: a 1,000-word project proposal (25%), and script extracts for beginning and end cut scenes together with the step outline diagram (75%).
  • Character modelling and animation
    Character Modelling and Animation extends the core art concepts, skills and techniques covered in the first year. Here you'll embark on an essential game art task: creating an animated story. You'll learn advanced character modelling techniques and get to grips with the animation pipeline. You'll attend bi-weekly observational and life drawing sessions to support you develop of traditional drawing skills—an essential requirement for game artists. Assessment:  portfolio (100%).
  • 3D level design
    Stepping up a gear, you will enhance your design skills by creating a game level in 3D using an industry-recognised game engine. The module not only provides you with the practical skills required to effectively create 3D levels, but introduces two key industry professional skills: pitching and writing design documentation. Prior to beginning level production you'll first “pitch” the 3D game your levels will be found in. Then, once green lighted, you'll produce effective written documentation to refer to whilst making your levels. You'll need to think consistently and critically about ideas of play and playing. Assessment: Part 1 - level design document, supported by a 1,000-word game pitch explaining the 3D level (25%); and Part 2 - a 3D level supported by development diary and video walk-through (75%).
  • Re:creation 
    Re:Creation marks the halfway point of your degree. Crucially, the Re:Creation module explores the requirements and expectations of two key level 6 modules: the 10,000 word dissertation and the Advanced Game Project. To this effect, you'll identify a potential area of interest for the dissertation, synthesize the various kinds of theory that you have encountered so far on the course and, conduct a literature review in their area of interest. This literature review will provide you with the necessary knowledge required to hone your dissertation ideas and prepare your dissertation proposal. The module also requires you to take an in-depth look at your own professional practice, while planning for the future. You'll prepare for year three's Advanced Game Project module by undertaking one of the most challenging formal communication tasks in the game industry: pitching a game concept. Assessment: 4,500 word dissertation proposal (50%), and a Game Project Pitch and accompanying panel interview (50%).
  • Game programming
    Every game requires coding. In this module you'll explore key concepts in programming and learn how to apply them to their own game project. Throughout the module sessions you will not only develop your understanding of the fundamentals of game programming, but also further develop your understanding of the game production processes you learned in year 1. You'll also be expected to schedule and accurately track game programming tasks. The module will not only provide you with a conceptual understanding of the programming of games, but will provide you with key project planning and management skills that you can then apply to next year's Advanced Game Project work. Assessment: game programming task (25%) , and a  game project (75%).
  • Collaborative practices
    One of the advantages of studying in the School of Arts and Creative Industries is that students have access to all of the student talent enrolled at the school. The Collaborative Practice module sees students across multiple creative media disciplines—film, photography, sound design, games, digital design-- working in development teams to create a compelling and marketable project from initial idea to completion. In doing so, you’ll learn how to respond to a brief set by industry and gain essential knowledge about areas related to games. An added bonus is making contacts that you’ll most likely keep for life.  Assessment: portfolio 100%.

Year 3

  • Advanced game project (triple module)
    In this module you run a small game development in which you develop the game you pitched in year two. In doing so, you’ll demonstrate your skills as a game designer and producer. Moreover, you’ll further develop your particular game specialism (e.g. artist) by freelancing on other students’ projects. During the module you define a clear brand for your company, plan carefully, protect your assets, manage freelancers and ensure that everything gets done on time. Further, each week you are responsible for demonstrating progress to and documenting feedback from a ‘publisher’ team comprised of industry specialists. Assessment: Pre-production documents including game concept, game requirements and game plan and business documentation (10%), a playable prototype game or game level(s) (15%), a professionally realised game or game level(s), delivered as a playable build (75%).
  • Tangible play
    So far, you have learned to design and create games at the desktop. Now we move away from the screen and venture into the real world. In this module, you meet with an industry client who will set a game brief they need to respond to by producing both an innovative accessible game prototype and a unique hardware input device for playing the game they've designed. This module asks you to push the boundaries of play and innovation and to consider the everyday landscape as a limitless playground, whilst meeting the requirements of an external client. Assessment: portfolio assessment 100%.
  • Dissertation (double module)
    University-level study involves high-level advanced thinking. This is one of the key factors that differentiates university study from general game training courses. In this module, you'll have the opportunity to conduct original research in an area of your passion or interest directly related to your chosen games specialisation. Drawing on the theoretical and practical understanding you will now have at this point in the course, you will explore a specific subject area of your choice under the guidance of an experienced supervisor. The final dissertation is seen as the expression of your intellectual development, but it’s also a good way of demonstrating your ability to a potential employer. Assessment: one 10,000 – 12,000 word dissertation.

Modules are assessed through individual and group projects, development work related to industry roles (e.g. 3D model or game script), critiques, oral presentations and pitches, written reports and essays.

Employability

The UK was estimated to be the 5th largest video game market in 2017, where the country’s 32.4 million gamers will spend $4.2 billion this year (Newzoo). There is also expanding cross-linking between the games and film industry globally. Read more about the UK games industry.

This course will set you up for a design-related career in the games industry, or game- related jobs in connected industries such as journalism and PR. Recent graduates have become designers, character and environmental artists, and scriptwriters.

Want to hear more about our graduates? Games alumnus Ari Shirazi shares his story of building a career in the games industry; from being a games-obsessed toddler to a Technical Designer at Sony – and on working on some of the world’s most popular video games.

Experience

During the course we encourage you to engage with outside professional bodies as a means of increasing your profile and gaining experience. Our students have worked with TT Fusion, Crytek, THQ, Electronic Arts, Buena Vista (Disney's game development arm), Square Enix, Sega and PlayGen.

One group of our first-year students was commissioned by the BBC to produce freelance games content. And a group of our second-year students was successfully placed in the highly prestigious Dare to be Digital festival, sponsored by the BBC, Channel Four, Microsoft, Electronic Arts, the Scottish Executive and Rockstar.

Employability Service

At LSBU, we want to set you up for a successful career. During your studies – and for two years after you graduate – you’ll have access to our Employability Service, which includes:

  • An online board where you can see a wide range of placements: part-time, full-time or voluntary. You can also drop in to see our Job Shop advisers, who are always available to help you take the next step in your search.
  • Our Careers Gym offering group workshops on CVs, interview techniques and finding work experience, as well as regular presentations from employers across a range of sectors.

Our Student Enterprise team can also help you start your own business and develop valuable entrepreneurial skills.

As one of the most established games courses in the UK, over the past ten years we’ve developed an exceptional international network of contacts. Our lecturers coordinate the London Chapter of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) and while on the course students’ work on international game development projects with organisations such as UNICEF.

The 'out-of-school' perks of being on this course are great, like all the conventions and conferences we are able to attend or volunteer at. There are a lot of opportunities to experience the games industry, hands-on.

Melissa Larsson

We are also members of UKIE and TIGA, are part of the prestigious university games consortium BUGS, and the course director was one of the founders of the Digital Games Research Association and the London Game Research Group. Each year students have the opportunity to volunteer with the game publishers Ubisoft and Bethesda. Our course staff have strong connections with Eurogamer, BAFTA , Sony, Eidos, Ubisoft, Nintendo, and video game magazine publishing houses including Future and Imagine.

The course has an annual guest lecture programme and we host numerous game industry conferences throughout the year. Each year we host the annual IGDA videogame writing panel and Game Camp.

A selection of previous industry speakers:

  • Rudolf Kremers, Eufloria
  • Rhianna Pratchett, Tomb Raider, Heavenly Sword, Overlord, Mirror's Edge
  • James Swallow, Deus Ex 3, Maelstrom, Star Trek Invasion
  • Andrew S. Walsh, Fable: Legends, Prince of Persia, Harry Potter
  • Tom Jubert, FTL, Penumbra, Talos Principle
  • Mike Bithell, Thomas Was Alone, Volume
  • Dan Pinchbeck, Dear Esther, Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs
  • Ed Stern, Splash Damage
  • Roisi Proven, Supermassive Games Ltd.
  • Rob Bartholomew, Bethesda Softworks
  • Josh Zammit, Electronic Arts
  • Mark Morris and Chris Delay, Introversion.

LSBU was shortlisted firstly in the category of best educational institution and secondly in the category of best education initiative & talent development. The latter nomination is for LSBU’s collaboration with specialist-technology charity Lifelites, which provides games and game hardware designed by LSBU students to terminally-ill children in hospices.

The collaboration between LSBU and Lifelites is explained by GamesAid.

AIM
AIM Awards is the specialist awarding organisation for the Games, Animation and VFX Industries, chosen by major employers to develop this innovative Level 3 Extended Diploma in partnership with them, to prepare students for high level degree courses and Apprenticeships. LSBU currently offers guaranteed interviews to any AIM Awards student wishing to apply for VisualEffects who has successfully passed level 3 or Level 3 equivalent exams.

Facilities

A dedicated Games studio, motion capture studio, green screen, sound studio, photography studio, specialist library resources.

The Game Design and Development modules are predominantly taught in a specialist Games Studio which features custom-built high-spec PCs and game consoles. Students have access to the Game Studio outside of teaching hours for playing games and working on game projects. You'll spend much of your production time planning, designing and prototyping games using applications such as:

  • The Unity Game Engine
  • 3D Studio Max and Maya
  • Zbrush, Adobe Photoshop
  • Motion Builder
  • The Unreal Development Kit
  • Oculus Rift SDK
  • Leap Motion VR SDK
  • Cubase, Logic, Sound Forge, Audacity, Audition and FMod.

Teaching and learning

Your Lecturers are leading practitioners in their fields, so everything we do is industry relevant. Inspiring guest speakers from publishers, production houses and creative studios will give you further industry insight and build your professional connections.

Your practical work will be supported by a team of Technical Demonstrators and you’ll have access to cutting-edge facilities.

Our approach is grounded in the traditions of art and design, but informed by critical theories drawn from the established international field of Game Studies. You'll benefit from dedicated one-to-one guidance by our experienced lecturers who are active in Game Studies research. As a result, you'll have access to a substantial body of cutting-edge research that will help foster your own practical and intellectual development.

Percentage of time spent in different learning activities
Lectures and seminars Self-directed learning
Year 1 28% 72%
Year 2 31% 69%
Year 3 16% 84%

Year Tutoring

As an undergraduate Arts and Creative Industries student, you will be allocated a named tutor during your first three weeks at LSBU.  The role of your tutor is to be your primary contact for academic and professional development support.

Your tutor will support you to get the most of your time at LSBU, providing advice and signposting to other sources of support in the University.

Your tutor should be the first person at the university that you speak to if you are having any difficulties that are affecting your work. These could be academic, financial, health-related or another type of problem.

You will have appointments with personal tutor at least once a semester for 30 minutes throughout your course.   You can contact your tutor for additional meetings or support by email.

Entry requirements

  • A Level BCC or;
  • BTEC National Diploma MMM or;
  • Access to HE qualifications with 9 Distinctions 36 Merits or;
  • Equivalent level 3 qualifications worth 106 UCAS points
  • Applicants must hold 5 GCSEs A-C including Maths and English or equivalent (reformed GCSE grade 4 or above)
  • We welcome qualifications from around the world. English language qualifications for international students: IELTS score of 6.0 or Cambridge Proficiency or Advanced Grade C.

Advanced entry

If you have already completed some studies at another university, we may be able to consider you for advanced entry. Please see our advanced entry page for more information.

Course status

  • Accreditations and course subject to validation

    This course is validated by London South Bank University. Applications are being accepted.

How to apply

International students

International (non Home/EU) applicants should follow our international how to apply guide.

Home/EU applicants

Mode Duration Start date Application code Application method
Mode
Full-time
Duration
3 years
Start date
September
Application code
W212
Application method

All full-time undergraduate students apply to the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) using the University's Institution Code L75. Full details of how to do this are supplied on our How to apply webpage for undergraduate students.

All part-time students should apply directly to London South Bank University and full details of how to do this are given on our undergraduate How to apply webpage.

As well as applying through UCAS, international students (non-EU) may complete the LSBU Direct Application Form (DOC File 316 KB) and email it, along with scanned copies of supporting documents, to: international.admissions@lsbu.ac.uk.  We need to be emailed scanned copies of the following documents with your application:

  • academic certificates and transcripts
  • English Language qualifications (if applicable)
  • passport (photo and ID page)
  • copies of all UK visas (if applicable)

Accommodation

Students should apply for accommodation at London South Bank University (LSBU) as soon as possible, once we have made an offer of a place on one of our academic courses. Read more about applying for accommodation at LSBU.

Finance

It's a good idea to think about how you'll pay university tuition and maintenance costs while you're still applying for a place to study. Remember – you don't need to wait for a confirmed place on a course to start applying for student finance. Read how to pay your fees as an undergraduate student.

Home/EU postgraduate students and research students should apply through our dedicated application system.

Full details of how to do this are supplied on our How to apply section for postgraduate students and our How to apply section for research students.

International applicants should use our international application system. Full details can be found on our How to apply section for international students.

See our admissions policy (PDF File 1,043 KB) and complaints policy (PDF File 127 KB).

Considering your application

Your application will be circulated to a number of potential supervisors who will look at your academic qualifications, experience and the research proposal to decide whether your research interest is something that could be supervised at LSBU.

There will also be an interview either by telephone or at the University. If you are successful you will be offered a place on a course and informed of the next enrolment date. The whole process normally takes between six to eight weeks, from receipt of your application to a decision being made about your application at the School.

Prepare to start

We help our students prepare for university even before the semester starts. To find out when you should apply for your LSBU accommodation or student finance read the How to apply tab for this course.

Enrolment

Before you start your course we’ll send you information on what you’ll need to do before you arrive and during your first few days on campus. You can read about the process on our Enrolment pages.

Fees and funding

Fees are shown for new entrants to courses, for each individual year of a course, together with the total fee for all the years of a course. Continuing LSBU students should refer to the Finance section of our student portal, MyLSBU. Queries regarding fees should be directed to the Fees and Bursaries Team on: +44 (0)20 7815 6181.

Full-time

BA (Hons) Game Design and Development (FT) - Year 1 FT Southwark SEPT

The fee shown is for entry 2021/22
UK fee: £9250International fee: £14900
AOS/LSBU code: 5790Session code: 1FS00
Total course fee:
UK £27750
International £44700

For more information, including how and when to pay, see our fees and funding section for undergraduate students.

Please check your fee status and whether you are considered a Home, EU or International student for fee-paying purposes and for our regulatory returns, by reading the UKCISA regulations.

See our Tuition Fees Regulations (PDF File 201 KB) and Refund Policy (PDF File 775 KB).

Possible fee changes

The University reserves the right to increase its fees in line with changes to legislation, regulation and any government guidance or decisions.

The fees for international students are reviewed annually and the University reserves the right to increase the tuition fees in line with the RPIX measure of inflation up to 4 per cent.

Scholarships

We offer several types of fee reduction through our scholarships and bursaries. Find the full list and other useful information on our scholarships page.

The individual fee for this course is shown above. For more information, including how and when to pay, see our fees and funding section for postgraduate students.

See our Tuition Fees Regulations (PDF File 201 KB) and Refund Policy (PDF File 775 KB).

We have a range of PhD Scholarships available in partnership with businesses and organisations; read notices of PhD studentships.

Register your interest in BA (Hons) Game Design and Development

Contact information

Course Enquiries - UK

Tel: 0207 815 7500

Order a prospectus

Course Enquiries - International

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7815 6189

Get in touch

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