Division of Games and Arts

Internationally recognised teaching and research in game design and digital arts.

About Us

The Division of Games and Arts is home to Abertay’s internationally recognised teaching, research and knowledge exchange in game design and production, computer arts, immersive experience design, and game studies.

Abertay was the first university to offer computer games degrees. We are the best institution in Europe to study game design and development, and consistently feature in the Princeton Review’s list of the world’s top games courses. The school is designated the National Centre of Excellence in Computer Games Education, and we are a leading partner in Sony’s PlayStation First initiative, and home to one of the largest PlayStation teaching labs in Europe.

Our undergraduate and postgraduate programmes are designed to support your development of technical and creative skills through studio-based practice and live projects working closely with industry.

We also provide opportunities for students to collaborate with each other across disciplines, producing games and digital media projects in response to briefs set by both academic staff and industry.

Head of Division

Dr Dayna Galloway

Study with Us

Postgraduate Taught Degrees

Postgraduate Research Areas

Postgraduate Research Areas

Academic staff in the division have pursued research on a diverse range of themes, including:

  • Applied games
  • Interactive design in the performing arts
  • Games and history
  • Immersive experience design
  • Interactive narrative design
  • Experimental game development
  • Game aesthetics
  • Game production studies

This is aligned with the current priorities for postgraduate research listed below:

Computer Arts MA by Research, MPhil, PhD 

Game Design MSc by Research, MPhil, PhD 

Games Studies, Games – Media, Culture and Society MSc by Research, MPhil, PhD 

Game Design, Practice and Theory MA by Research, MPhil, PhD 

Immersive Experiences, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, User experiences in immersive environments MSc by Research, MPhil, PhD

Applied Games MSc by Research, MPhil, PhD

Computer Games Development and Technology MSc by Research, MPhil, PhD

Game Art and Animation MSc by Research, MPhil, PhD

Interactive Sound and Music MSc by Research, MPhil, PhD

Performance and Play MSc by Research, MPhil, PhD

 

Facilities

Our approach to game education incorporates work-related learning, workplace simulation and team-based development environments.

The learning spaces are a combination of dedicated development studios and project spaces. Specialised spaces for content and asset creation include:

  • A 3D modelling, animation and motion capture studio
  • 3D printing and emergent technology lab
  • A professional-grade sound and audio recording studio
  • A Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality lab
  • A life drawing studio

Abertay is also a leading partner in Sony’s PlayStation First initiative and is home to one of the largest PlayStation teaching labs in Europe.

Students have access to a range of the latest development hardware and software on campus.

Male wearing Virtual Reality head - female watching in background

Our Research

Games and Arts is one of three Divisions in the School of Design and Informatics.

The research profile of the Division is interdisciplinary, encompassing digital art and performance, game design and game studies, and sound and music production. This supports one of Abertay’s research priority themes, Creative Industries.

Our research leads to the creation and evaluation of new and experimental forms of play, from curated digital performances to applied games. 

In applied games, we use a range of research methodologies – from serious game jams to full development projects – to explore the role and value of games in education, in training, and in science communication. 

While our researchers are well-placed to lead and manage research projects involving the development of games and interactive media products, many are also creative practitioners engaged in practice-based research ranging from experimental game design to digital art. 

The Division has received funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) the European Commission, the Scottish Funding Council, the Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities (SGSAH) and a range of other funding bodies, charities, public sector and private sector organisations for research and knowledge exchange projects.

Games and History

This core area of research activity relates to how games, interactive media, and immersive experience design engages audiences with history, with collective memory, and with the aesthetics of nostalgia.

Our games and history research includes work on games that engage audiences with World War 1, and games that seek to represent the social and ethical impact of the sugar trade on 19th century Scotland.

An example of a project in this research area is Their Memory, a collaboration between Abertay, Poppyscotland, Pocket Sized Hands and Ruffian Games that led to the creation of a prototype VR experience that allows participants to explore the memories of veterans.

Play and Performance

One of our key research domains involves the intersection between play and performance.

A prime example of leading practice-based research in this field is the Inchcolm Project, a proof of concept hybrid of game design, theatre design and promenade performance.

More broadly, our research staff are actively engaged with the design, development, and showcasing of experimental game design. Our practice-based game design research includes experimentation with novel and original controller designs, explorations of play and play styles, and playable critiques of games and technology.

Applied Games

Abertay has a strong track record of applied games research. This research explores the design, development, and evaluation of games for serious applications such as education, training, or health.

Our applied games research projects in this field include: 

  • A collaboration with the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service to develop game-based learning solutions for professional training.
  • Development of an educational game on the life of Andrew Carnegie for use in secondary education (with the support of the Carnegie Birthplace Museum).
  • The use of game jams to engage in knowledge exchange with private sector partners in aviation, cybersecurity and policing.

Working with our colleagues in the Division of Games Technology and Mathematics, we are also conducting practice-led research into the design of games to support families adversely affected by cancer diagnosis.

Arts Research

Our arts research involves the creation of original works as a commentary on contemporary society, in support of communities, and in exhibition and festivals.

This includes art practice that challenges norms and provides artistic commentary on geopolitics, digital graphic design that explores differences in visual perception and experience including the perceptions of partially sighted communities, and engagement with and leadership of digital arts festivals.

Game Studies

In game studies, we are interested in undertaking theoretical and empirical research into the design, production, and reception of games.

Our research interests and publications include: 

  • Game narratives, genres, media literacy, and performance in games
  • Gamification
  • Ludification
  • Transmedia
  • Game production studies, communities of practice, and game jams
  • The history of game audio, visual design, and gaming nostalgia
  • Curation, collection, and archiving of games and interactive media.

Job Opportunities

 For Job Openings, including Research Fellowships in our School, view the job search section on our website.

For PhD Studentships in any of our Subject areas, check out the Funded research projects and Postgraduate Research Funding sections.

 

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