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Game Design and Production
BA (Hons)

Push the boundaries of games making by studying a Game Design and Production degree in the city that spawned Grand Theft Auto.

Course detail

Start Date

September

Duration

4 years (full-time) or 3 years (accelerated)

Degree Classification

BA (Hons)

UCAS Code

G452

Why study Abertay's BA (Hons) in Game Design and Production?

Learn to harness your creativity and get set to push the boundaries of games making by studying in the thriving city that spawned Grand Theft Auto (GTA). Gain a degree from one of the most prestigious game design schools in the world.

Developed for creative and technically minded people with a desire to become a key part of the games industry, this degree is designed to make you work-ready, teaching you game concept and asset creation, game prototyping, and production and leadership skills.

As a student on this programme, you will:  

  • Work alongside artists, programmers and audio specialists in small development teams to design and develop computer games
  • Study the historical context and fundamentals of game design, interaction and narrative theory
  • Develop professional skills in level design, concept development, project management and entrepreneurship
  • Learn how interactive entertainment products are designed, developed and marketed

You’ll be encouraged to work creatively and professionally as a game designer, communicating concepts through prototypes, game assets, documentation and presentations, in addition to honing your communication and management skills through multidisciplinary projects.

Your Journey Starts Here

At Abertay, we enjoy an international reputation for excellence in computer games education. This stems from our unique student experience, which places you in a simulated workplace that promotes innovative game creation.

Entry Requirements

 Please visit our Entry from College pages for suitable College courses.

 

Qualification Type Grade Requirements Essential Subjects
Higher AABB
A-Level BBC
Irish Highers H2H2H3H3
International Baccalaureate 30 Points
BTEC Extended Diploma DDM Business, Creative Media Production, IT
HNC/HND - Our Entry from College pages list approved HNC/HND courses
Qualification Type Grade Requirements Essential Subjects
HND - Our Entry from College pages list approved HNC/HND courses

Not sure if you're eligible for entry?

If you have the potential and motivation to study at university, regardless of your background or personal circumstances, we welcome your application.

We understand some people have faced extra challenges before applying to university, which is why we consider the background in which your academic grades have been achieved when making an offer.

If you expect to receive passes in three Scottish Highers (grades A-C) and have either ...

  • been in care
  • participated in a targeted aspiration-raising programme such as LIFT OFF, LEAPS, FOCUS West, or Aspire North
  • no family background of going to university
  • attended a school or lived in an area where not many people go to university

... we encourage you to submit an application.

Information for International Applicants

Please provide certified proof of your English language level. Our accredited International English Foundation Course can help. To further enhance your academic English, Intensive English for Academic Purposes can help you achieve your potential.

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English Language Requirements

Explore English language requirements for entry to Abertay University.

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English Language Courses

Discover the range of English language courses on offer at Abertay University.

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Visa Information

Learn more about visa requirements for studying at Abertay University.

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About Your Modules

The module information shown here describes the modules our students are taking this year. The modules do change over time to keep our programmes up-to-date and relevant. This means the exact modules you take could be different. If you receive an offer to study with us, you will receive a Programme Information document that sets out exactly which modules you can expect to take as part of your Abertay University degree programme.

Please note: As well as Key Modules outlined below, you may also be required to choose Elective Modules. 

Key Modules (2017/18)

Developing Game Concepts (DES101)

An introduction to the games industry that develops skills in design and production practices, pitching and communicating game concepts, and the planning of game projects.

Pre-Visualisation (DES102)

Provides students with a working knowledge of computer arts production techniques and practices required to design and communicate concepts for games visually.

Game Engines and the Principles of Programming (DES105)

An introduction to the core concepts of computer programming through practical examples within games engines. This module provides an introduction to computational thinking for students who want to work in the games industry. It is for students who require knowledge of programming for their game design practice, but who are not primarily programmers and who have limited or no experience in programming.

Quality Assurance & User Experience (DES103)

Provides students with a working knowledge of the theory and practice of quality assurance to deliver projects through to completion and the user experience as it relates to the design and development of creative projects

Game Studies and Criticism (DES104)

An introduction to game studies as a meta-discipline. This module provides students with an understanding of the concepts, issues, and texts for the study of games and related cultural forms, so that they can form and disseminate cogent analyses and critiques.

Gameplay and Narrative Design (DES201)

An introduction to the knowledge, processes and techniques necessary to formulate and explore effective, innovative game ideas with consideration for the structure of both gameplay and narrative design. Module content includes: game genre mechanics; constructs of gameplay; design documents and artefacts, game design process; narrative theory for game design; experimental approaches; visualisation and digital techniques; audience and cultural engagement.

3D Design for Games (DES204)

An introduction to the 3D game art pipeline that provides students with the knowledge and skills required to design and build their own 3D assets for games. Module content includes: software skills; polygon modelling; curves and NURBS modelling; UV mapping; texture production; 3D painting; sculpting; lighting; modular production.

Level Design and Scripting (DES205)

Provides students with the theoretical, practical and technical knowledge required to utilise game engines and operate as an effective level designer. Module content includes: terminology and concepts; editing systems; scripting game logic; AI and pathing; physics; interface; content; cameras; spatial and lighting design; user experience.

Design Contexts (DES202)

An overview of the contexts of design across a range of creative fields. This module challenges students to investigate design history, the role of the designer, along with emergent design practices. Module content includes: design history and principles; the design process; design beyond games; diversity; accessibility; design practice; design futures; ethics.

Interactive Media Production (DES203)

A complete introduction to the processes and purposes of designing and developing a piece of interactive entertainment. Module content includes: historical overview; concept and communication; design process; core design; the development team; rules and mechanics; look and feel; cultural and commercial awareness.

Professional Project: Planning and Prototyping (DES301)

Students work together as individual subject specialists on an interactive media project as part of a multi-disciplinary team. Students will communicate with clients and relevant stakeholders, take part in pitching concepts and deliver presentations, contribute to the iterative design and development of the concept, research and test technical pipelines and create project documentation and planning materials.

Production & Leadership (DES303)

Provides students with an in-depth understanding of the issues around the production process and managing a creative team. Module content includes: leadership; controlling software and asset production; production control; human factors; handling criticism; team dynamics; case studies; professional practice and ethics; managing risk and uncertainty.

Spatial Constructs (DES306)

Students will engage with the creative and technical processes involved in the design and construction of virtual environments. Provides specialist skills in the critique, design and construction of virtual environments. This is particularly helpful to those who have an interest in level design or environment art for games.

Professional Project: Development and Delivery (DES302)

Working within a multidisciplinary team, students will develop an interactive media prototype based on the planning and initial prototyping of concepts conducted within the module DES301 Professional Project: Planning and Prototyping. The emphasis is on the development and delivery of a final digital prototype in response to an initial creative brief, taking into account both stakeholder and user feedback.

Gameplay Prototyping (DES304)

Provides students with the technical and creative skills necessary to create prototypes that demonstrate the functionality of game mechanic design and promote rapid prototyping as a useful evaluation tool and an essential part of the development process.

Critical and Contextual Studies (DES305)

Provides students with skills and knowledge to enhance their understanding of their field through theoretical and critical underpinning of their academic writing. Module content includes: surveys of literature; critical frameworks; disaggregation as an analysis technique; identifying the research question; dissemination of the research findings.

Honours Project Proposal and Development (ART405)

This module allows students to formulate a contextual, theoretical, and practical foundation in a self-selected area of professional practice and research. Students will evaluate existing research, texts and projects with a view to developing a project proposal and will develop a portfolio of practical work pertinent to their own professional practice and the selected honours project topic.

Professional Contexts & Entrepreneurship (DES401)

Provides students with a detailed and critical understanding of the creative industries which prepares them for professional practice and entrepreneurship.

Honours Project (3) (ART403)

Students undertake an extensive creative research project where they fuse theory and practice to create a large scale portfolio of work sensitive to critical theories, concepts and practices within a specialist area of enquiry.

Honours Project Dissertation (ART404)

Approaches research as an active process of inquiry that leads to the production of a dissertation which appropriately communicates research process and findings.

How the Course Works

 

Learning and Assessment

A large part of the course revolves around making games and building a portfolio that demonstrates your skills and specific area of creative practice.

You’ll spend around 15 hours per week in lectures, tutorials and practical activities, with the remainder of your time spent in self-directed learning.

Lectures, tutorials and practical activities increase your understanding of game design and production, and allow you to develop competencies in technological, theoretical and collaborative work.

During first and second year, your work will mostly be assessed through practical coursework, presentations and reflective essays.

In later years, taught module assessment is by a mixture of critical essays and coursework. Project modules are assessed through the submission of conceptual work, design solutions, interactive media products and project reports.

The final year dissertation and project allows you to focus on a specific topic within design and production, and develop a specialist area of expertise.

Accelerated Degree

If you’re keen to undertake the accelerated degree, you’ll complete the first two years of the degree programme alongside those students following the non-accelerated route.

Acceleration starts in May at the end of second year. The table below illustrates the difference between the two routes.

Academic Year Term Accelerated Route Non-Accelerated Route
Year 1 Term 1 (Sept-Dec) Term 1 Term 1
Year 1 Term 2 (Jan-May) Term 2 Term 2
Year 1 Term 3 (May-Aug) - -
Year 2 Term 1 (Sept-Dec) Term 3 Term 3
Year 2 Term 2 (Jan-May) Term 4 Term 4
Year 2 Term 3 (May-Aug) Term 5 -
Year 3 Term 1 (Sept-Dec) Term 6 Term 5
Year 3 Term 2 (Jan-May) Term 7 Term 6
Year 3 Term 3 (May-Aug) Term 8 (Honours degree completed) -
Year 4 Term 1 (Sept-Dec) - Term 7
Year 4 Term 2 (Jan-May) - Term 8 (Honours degree completed)
Year 4 Term 3 (May-Aug) - -

Dare Academy

Every year, we run the prestigious Dare Academy project, where teams of students are given a unique month-long summer hot-housing experience with games industry mentors to build and polish an industry-standard game.

We then showcase the games at EGX, the UK's biggest games event, and the top three teams are flown out to visit international games partners and to be profiled.

This is a unique offer for Abertay games students and it ensures you stand out from the crowd.

If you’re applying from overseas or from outside Scotland, we have scholarships available to make your studies more affordable.

Find out more

Abertay Games Showcase

Check out a selection of exciting and fascinating games created by students on our world-leading games courses ...

Be Inspired

A screenshot from a computer game

Programme Fees for 2019

Scottish & EU students

£1,820

Fees shown are payable annually and may be subject to increase each year.

Please see our Undergraduate Fees and Funding page for further details. 

English, Welsh & Northern Irish Students

£9,250

Fees shown are payable annually and may be subject to increase each year.

Please see our Undergraduate Fees and Funding page for further details. . 

International Students

£14,800

Fees shown are payable annually and may be subject to increase each year.

Please see our Undergraduate Fees and Funding page for further details. 

Scholarships

Rest of UK Abertay Scholarship - £2,300 per year for four years

This scholarship is intended to support students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland to study at Abertay. Scholarship is paid directly into your bank account in two instalments each year to support you with living and travel costs. No application necessary.

International Abertay Scholarship - £2,300 per year for four years

This scholarship is intended to support students from international countries (outside of the EU) to study at Abertay. Scholarship is paid directly into your bank account in two instalments each year to support you with living and travel costs. No application necessary.

In addition, we offer a range of corporate/philanthropic scholarships shown below, which are available to all students to support your studies with us. 

The Lothian Family

A £5,000 award for undergraduate students with financial or social difficulties which may prevent them from studying at Abertay.

The Robert Reid Bursary

Two £500 awards for students who have overcome challenges to attend university.

Ninja Kiwi

The Ninja Kiwi Scholarship is a one-year scholarship of £1,500 and is open to students who are entering Year 4 of Games courses.

Careers

We work closely with leading game developers such as 4J Studios, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Microsoft and Ubisoft, making graduates from this course highly employable within the games industry.

Previous Abertay graduates have found employment as:

  • Game designers
  • Associate producers
  • Quality assurance testers
  • Community managers

These roles are spread across a variety of projects, including AAA games, independent, mobile and online marketplaces. The production and leadership theme of the programme has also thrust entrepreneurial graduates towards forming their own companies in the games or media sectors.

 

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Choose Your Path

Small games studios to national and international media groups require talented individuals with expertise in team management, design and production control of new media products. The games industry offers long term career potential through its continued expansion.

Prospects have never been better, as it’s a growing and exciting industry, with a global demand for skilled development staff.

 

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Industry Links

There are excellent industrial links across all the games programmes at Abertay.

You’ll receive guest lectures and demonstrations from external companies as part of normal teaching. Abertay Game Lab also runs a series of special events and masterclasses with well-known local and international designers and developers. These are on offer to all students.

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Unistats

Unistats collates comparable information in areas students have identified as important in making decisions about what and where to study. The core information it contains is called the Unistats dataset (formerly the Key Information Set (KIS)).

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Arran Topalian

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Eilidh Macleod

Eilidh works as a Games Designer making new levels for Angry Birds Pop.

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Natalie Clayton

BA (Hons) Game Design and Production, 2017

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Pocket Sized Hands

An innovative software company made up of Abertay graduates

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Puny Astronaut Games

A games company made up entirely of Abertay graduates

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Timea Tabori

Rockstar Engine Programmer, Chair of IGDA Scotland and Women in Games ambassador...

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David Hamilton

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Programme Leader - Game Design and Production

Dr Robin Sloan

Dr Robin Sloan

School of Design and Informatics | Senior Lecturer

View profile

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