Game Design and Production

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

Award Title

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.

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.

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.

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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Entry Requirements by Country

Discover whether you're eligible for entry and learn more about the country-specific qualifications you need to study at Abertay.

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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 (2018/19)

Developing Game Concepts (DES101)

Gain an introduction to the games industry by learning to develop, pitch and communicate game concepts, and by considering gameplay principles, game development practices, and game production. Module content: History of games and the games industry; The nature of digital games; The structure of the games industry; Documentation and communication; An introduction to game project management.

Game Art Production (DES102)

The processes and pipelines used to develop 2D and 3D assets for games. Learn to work with a range of digital art packages and graphics types, and about visual style development and asset implementation in game engines. Module content: Visual research; Visual style development and communication; Pipelines and platforms; 2D graphics; 3D graphics; Animation; User interfaces; Professionalism.

Game Engines and the Principles of Programming (DES105)

Introduction to computational thinking needed to work in the games industry. This module 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 previous experience in programming. Module content: Introduction; Expressions, variables and statements; Conditionals; Repetition and loops; Functions; Data structures; Classes; Modules; Files; Engines.

Quality Assurance & User Experience (DES103)

Introduction to the quality assurance process, user experience design. Gain practical experience in key software tools and techniques. Module content: Introduction to QA & user experience; QA in the games industry; Game testing processes; Documenting game quality; Measuring game quality; Game testing software and tools; Game submissions process; User experience & focus testing games; Designing a user experience; Iterating on design.

Game Studies and Criticism (DES104)

Introduction to game studies as a meta-discipline. Learn how to analyse and critique games and interactive media. As the breadth of game themes and topics expands, there is a growing need for game designers to demonstrate an awareness of pertinent theories, concepts, and models that could inform their practice. Module content: Theories of play and games; Critical theory and analysis; Histories of games; Culture and politics of games.

Gameplay and Narrative Design (DES201)

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: 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)

Introduction to the 3D game art pipeline. Learn to design and build your own 3D assets for games. Module content: Software skills; Polygon modelling; Curves and NURBS modelling; UV mapping; Materials; Texture production; 3D painting; Sculpting; Lighting; Modular production.

Level Design and Scripting (DES205)

Develop student skills in the use of game engines particularly on the creation of game content and levels underpinned by level design theory and practice. Module content: Terminology and concepts; Editing systems; Scripting game logic; AI and pathing; Physics; Interface; Content; Cameras; Spatial and lighting design; User experience.

Design Contexts (DES202)

The contexts of design across a range of creative fields. Investigate design history, the role of the designer, along with emergent design practices. Module content: Design history; Design principles; The design process; Design beyond games; Diversity; Accessibility; Design practice; Design futures; Ethics.

Interactive Media Production (DES203)

The processes and purposes of designing and developing a piece of interactive entertainment. Module content: 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)

Work on an interactive media project as part of a multi-disciplinary team. 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. Module content: Market research; Concept development; Technical research and design; Visual research and design; Audio research and design; Content pipeline testing; Pitching and presentation; Concept revision; Branding; Prototyping and project planning.

Production & Leadership (DES303)

The issues around the production process and managing a creative team. Module content: Leadership; Controlling software production; Controlling asset production; Production control; Human factors; Handling criticism; Team dynamics; Case studies; Professional practice and ethics; Managing risk and uncertainty.

Spatial Constructs (DES306)

The creative and technical processes involved in the design and construction of virtual environments. Learn to critique audience interaction within these spaces with consideration for visual style, architectural theory, level design, and environmental storytelling. Module content: Visual research; Level design; Spatial design; Narrative; Virtual environment aesthetics; Concept development; Art production; Audio; Scripted interaction; User navigation.

Professional Project: Development and Delivery (DES302)

Work within a multidisciplinary team to develop an interactive media prototype based on the planning and initial prototyping of concepts conducted within the module 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, that takes into account both stakeholder and user feedback. Module content: Professional development; Development processes; Product marketplace; Team Organisation; Team management; Prototype creation; Release management; User testing; Project delivery.

Gameplay Prototyping (DES304)

Develop the technical and creative skills 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. Module content: Evolution of gameplay mechanics; Gameplay analysis; Gameplay mechanics functional analysis; Gameplay implementation; Iterative development; Evaluation Methods; Aesthetics; Game balancing; Emergent gameplay.

Critical and Contextual Studies (DES305)

Learn to set theoretical and critical frameworks to underpin specialist writing within your domain of practice. Module content: Surveys of literature; Critical frameworks; Disaggregation as an analysis technique; Identifying the research question; The post mortem.

Honours Project Proposal and Development (ART405)

Formulate a contextual, theoretical, and practical foundation in a self-selected area of professional practice and research. Evaluate existing research, texts and projects with a view to developing a project proposal and produce a portfolio of practical work pertinent to your own professional practice and selected honours project topic. Module content: Development of research questions; Information gathering and analysis; Exploring ideas; Critical evaluation; Pitching ideas; Criticism and refinement; Ethics and professional practice; Contextual review; Proposal; Design and communication.

Professional Contexts & Entrepreneurship (DES401)

Learn to engage critically with the creative industries. Discuss the global marketplace for creative media, the development of business ideas, and the demonstrable knowledge, expertise, and planning expected by employers and investors. Consider which creative industries align with your own personal ambitions for employability or entrepreneurship such as Games, Animation and Visual Effects, Film and Television, Graphic Design, Web and Digital Media, and Installation Art. Module content: The creative industries; Understanding the marketplace; Creative industries development lifecycles; People, roles and professional expectations; Legal and financial understanding; Ethics; Entrepreneurship; Personal branding and preparing for employment; Career routes and development; Self-employment in the creative industries.

Honours Project (3) (ART403)

Undertake an extensive creative research project where you fuse theory and practice to create a large scale portfolio of work, sensitive to critical theories, concepts and practices within your specialist area. Module content: Project philosophy; Relationship to other honours project modules; Conceptualisation; Methodology; Development; Supervision; Discussion; Deliverables; Presentation.

Honours Project Dissertation (ART404)

Approach research as an active process of inquiry to produce a dissertation which appropriately communicates research process and findings. Module content: Research proposal; Analytical development; Research context; Synthesis and evaluation; Testing and evaluation; Dissertation; Autonomy and academic rigour; Communication and presentation.

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.

For more information on the course content, please download the Programme Information - BA Honours in Game Design and Production

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.

Abertay Games Showcase

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

Be Inspired

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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 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)).

Get inspired

Meet some of our Game Design and Production graduates and find out what they've gone on to do.

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Arran Topalian

Arran changed his career goals from history teacher to computer games designer. He now works at Mediatonic.

Find out more

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Eilidh Macleod

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

Find out more

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Natalie Clayton

Taking part in a TEDx event on campus helped Natalie's career fall into place.

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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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