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Fees and Funding

Here's the fees and funding information for each year of this course

Overview

Whether it's the fun of Super Mario or the horror of Resident Evil that consumes you, this is your chance to convert your passion for playing games into knowledge about how to create and design them.

You'll get the most out of our course if you come with an interest in all kinds of games - board, card and pen-and-paper - not just digital ones. You'll be amazed what you can learn from games like Munchkin or Dungeons and Dragons.

We run two games courses at UEL, subtly different but both sharing the same focus on designing games and game play.

Our course will equip you, like many of our successful graduates, for a role in the expanding games industry. We're justly proud of the imagination and quality of our students' work. By the end of your course, you should be playing a game you designed and developed yourself - and hopefully following in the footsteps of the many UEL graduates now making their mark in the games industry.

You can also take this course with a foundation year (FY), which means you it will take you four years to complete the course full-time, and eight years to complete the course part-time.

What makes this course different

Two computer screens

Hands-on approach

We’ll give you the capability to come up with an interesting idea and take it from paper to screen – prototyping it and developing it both individually and as part of a multi-disciplinary team in a way that mirrors the professional games industry.

Person in gaming studio

Practical experience

You’ll have the opportunity to create games for simulated real-world briefs, developing for targeted demographics, marketplaces and player types allowing you to have a real sense of what developing a game would be like within a large and small studio.

Lecture hall

Industry experts

You’ll be taught by a mixture of academics and industry professionals with experience within multiple areas of game development and narrative design. You’ll also be inspired by the industry speakers who will visit UEL to give talks on various topics within the greater games industry.

WHAT YOU'LL LEARN

Both of our three-year computer games courses share a common core of modules. The Computer Games Design (Story Development) programme differs slightly, though, with its emphasis on the application of traditional story and narrative design to game and gameplay design. The course will allow you to develop creative writing skills and focus on how they relate to game design.

In your first year, you'll look at the basic theoretical and practical aspects of games design and development. One day, you could be deconstructing Asteroids or Pac-Man; the next, creating your own board game. You'll be learning about graphics and prototyping production techniques as well as games theory.

In your second year, you'll concentrate on more detailed games design as well as studying games research methods. You'll also get the chance to apply your developing knowledge by working for a live client. You'll  gain valuable insights into all aspects of professional practice. It's not just about designing games but about communicating your ideas properly, so you'll take part in presentations and pitches.

In your final year, you'll complete an individual research and dissertation project. Working in a group, you'll also conceptualise, design and develop an original game to give you a proper feel for how the games industry works. At the same time, you'll be putting the final touches to your final professional portfolio to ensure you are in the best possible position after your graduate.

MODULES

  • Core Modules
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    Academic Development

    This module will provide students with the opportunity to identify the skills, competencies and experience required for successful development to embarking on their university degree and successfully completing it and progressing on to a range of potential future career areas.

    Central to the developmental process is for each student to cultivate the reflective skills, openness and self-awareness to enable themselves to assess what they are doing, identify areas for improvement, and confidently receive and give constructive feedback.

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    Narrative and Creativity

    This module will provide students with the opportunity to identify the skills and knowledge necessary to create oral, visual and written narratives for all kinds of media production. This module aims to give students the theoretical understanding of narrative and creativity. Throughout the module students will be encouraged to consider how these theories shape their chosen subject. Students will be assessed on their ability to present their understanding of narrative theories and give supporting examples of how these apply to various forms of media.

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    Group Film Project

    Students will develop fundamental digital media production skills required to make a film. Over this course of this module, students will work in groups to research and produce a short fiction or non-fiction film for online distribution. Students will also have the opportunity to reflect (critically evaluate) on their own practice in relation to the main topics covered during the module; including professional practice.

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    Professional Development: Mental Wealth

    This module will provide students with the opportunity to identify the skills, competencies and experience required for employment and employability and how employability and industry connections are implemented in the curriculum.

    You will begin to recognise the areas for your own personal professional development (including emotional, social, physical, cultural and cognitive intelligences) through taught and workshop activity.

    Central to the developmental process is for each student to cultivate their reflective skills through collaboration with other undergraduate students and analysing effective approaches to industry briefs and creative problem solving.

  • Core Modules
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    Introduction to Game Design

    The module introduces a range of theoretical approaches to the study and design of games: definitions of games and game elements, the interrelationships between various elements of a game and how they combine to create compelling and balanced challenge and gameplay.

     

    Student will experience working as part of a team to design a game applying the iterative process of designing computer games from ideation, developing concepts, planning gameplay, prototyping through to user testing.

     

    To encourage the development of successful problem-solving strategies for future design development challenges and provide a framework for creative thinking covering: thinking about making; iteration; critique; embodying practice.

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    Gameplay Development

    The module introduces the process of designing and producing computer games with emphasis on developing gameplay and the game asset production pipelines.

     

    Students will work individually developing a range of digital game prototypes applying the iterative process of developing computer games demonstrating a variety of core gameplay mechanics and core gameplay scripting concepts associated with developing computer games.

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    Game Studio 1 (Mental Wealth)

    Developing the key psychological and physical determinants of human performance is increasingly critical for successful graduate-level employment, entrepreneurship and career progression in the 4th industrial revolution.

     

    This module will provide students hoping to work in the games industry with the opportunity to learn and apply the full range of skills, competencies and experience required for successful progression into in a range of potential future career areas.

     

    Students will learn about conventions and expectations in the games industry, focussing on areas specific to their programme of study. They will also advance their own personal professional development through taught and workshop activities, and explore possible strategies to further develop their reflective skills and self-awareness.

     

    Students will practice key methods including digital and other research and qualitative methods used in industry today, including trends, news coverage and customer reviews. Students will also learn the conventions of research and analysis in order to develop a pitch or proposal in response to a client brief.

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    Storytelling for Games

    This module examines forms of digital storytelling in the context of traditional and interactive narrative and it explores the role of digital storytelling in a range of media contexts. The module provides an introduction to the history/emergence of digital storytelling. Case studies from various media such as news, gaming, cinema and social media are presented.

     

    Contemporary applications of digital storytelling are demonstrated, including the role of digital storytelling in the interactive media industries. Narrative theory, such as the conventions of plot and character development, the representation of narrative action and the use of digital media are taught, culminating in a digital media production piece that embodies the theories and concepts students have learned.

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    Documentary: Games

    The module provides students with an understanding of how to engage with urban environments through social documentary forms. Students will develop an understanding of identity politics and representation in creating different genres of self-representation in practice (non-fiction) that is targeted towards the creative industries.

    The module will provide a context of social documentary practice and problematise categories of autobiographical representations, notions of ‘truth’ and ‘realism’ and will facilitate civic engagement and involvement with the East London community.

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    Introduction to Software Development: Games

    • Explains the activities involved in the design, implementation and testing of software from first principals
    • Focuses on the procedural programming methodology and introduces the object-oriented programming methodology
    • Furnishes students with the necessary skills to produce programs using a high-level programming language
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    Game Level Design

    The module explores a range of concepts associated with the different types of game levels, the elements that form and shape a game level and the process for designing and developing game levels.

    Students will work individually developing interactive 3D game prototypes applying the iterative process of developing computer games demonstrating core level design concepts and techniques documenting the design & development process.

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    Interactive Narrative Design for Games

    The module builds upon level 4 developing the writing elements & techniques applicable to digital and non-digital writing. Student have the opportunity to develop interactive fiction applications and critically evaluate how effective they are at meeting the intended desired effects.

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    Applied Narrative & Gameplay Design

    This module introduces the students to the principles of expressing story through gameplay mechanics, environments & the audio/visual experience. Students will have the opportunity to develop technical skills suitable for the creation of small, narrative-led games and will critically evaluate linear and non-linear works and discuss how they achieve their desired effects.

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    Game Client Project

    The module tasks the students with developing a pitch and prototype for a game based on a live brief. The pitch will include a proof of concept build of the game as well as a budget and production plan for the production of the whole game.

     

    Students will experience working as part of a team to design a game applying the iterative process of designing computer games from ideation, developing concepts, planning gameplay and prototyping adopting industry recognised project management techniques.

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    Database Systems

    This module aims to provide you with the theoretical and practical knowledge that influences the design, implementation and applications of database management systems.

    It promotes the understanding of database systems in information management by providing technical skills that are required to deploy a database management system using various languages and tools that can be used within games development.

  • Core Modules
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    Agile Game Development

    In this module students will work collaboratively on an iterative game development project. It will provide students with the opportunity to participate in an interdisciplinary team using theory and production skills developed from the full range of games design, development and production modules from previous levels. Students will learn to work and manage projects using agile production techniques. The module aims to provide an environment indicative of recognised industry practices, using industry standard tools, underpinned by contemporary games design research.

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    Advanced Game Narrative Design

    This module explores the role of the narrative designer within video games and broaden their understanding of the pipeline for narrative content in the commercial games industry. The students will develop an understanding of the technical writing and professional documentation formats that are used within the games industry such as story pitches and character bios while also exploring ideas of emergent & procedural storytelling and advanced modules of story branching. The students will be given the opportunity to develop a small narrative-led game(s) and produce mechanics that explore narrative ideas and themes while also developing their critical understanding of their own voice as a writer and game developer.

HOW YOU'LL LEARN

You'll be taught by a range of academics, many of whom are practitioners in the area they teach. Some of the assessments focus on practical skills and are presented as 'live or simulated briefs'. This ensures that the practice-led teaching is relevant to industry and practice. Our staff are well placed to take advantage of a range of professional networks and industry contact. Each module is designed with practical components informed by theoretical underpinnings, with the intention that students develop an ability to have an informed approach when designing their practical assignments.

Guided independent study

When not attending timetabled lectures or workshops, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This will typically involve skills development through online study, reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects and preparing coursework assignments and presentations. Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, specialist facilities, such as game labs, the library, the full Microsoft Office software, including MS Teams, and Moodle: our Virtual Learning Environment.

Academic support

Our academic support team provides help in a range of areas - including learning and disability support

Dedicated personal tutor

When you arrive, we'll introduce you to your personal tutor. This is the member of the academic course team who will provide academic guidance, be a support throughout your time at UEL and who will show you how to make the best use of all the help and resources that we offer.

Workload

Each year you will spend around 276 hours of timetabled learning and teaching activities. These may be lectures, workshops, seminars and individual and group tutorials. Contact hours may vary depending on each module. The approximate workload hours for this course are:

  • Scheduled teaching - 276 hours
  • Guided independent study - 924 hours

Your timetable

Your individualised timetable is normally available within 48 hours of enrolment. Whilst we make every effort to ensure timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week between 9.00am and 6.00pm. For undergraduate students, Wednesday afternoons are normally reserved for sports, guest talks and cultural activities, but there may be occasions when this is not possible.

Class sizes

To give you an indication of class sizes, this course normally attracts 30-40 students a year. Lecture sizes are normally 30 plus students. o In the classroom you will be taught in groups of 18-30+ students. However, this can vary by academic year.

HOW YOU'LL BE ASSESSED

Coursework will include practical outcomes, e.g. individual or group-based games, artefacts, presentations, written assignments.

The approximate percentages for this course are:

  • Year 1: 90% coursework, 10% exams
  • Year 2: 100% coursework
  • Year 3: 100% coursework

You'll always receive written or audio feedback, outlining your strengths and how you can improve. We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 15 working days.

CAMPUS and FACILITIES

Docklands Campus

Docklands Campus, Docklands Campus, London, E16 2RD

WHO TEACHES THIS COURSE

The teaching team includes qualified academics, practitioners and industry experts as guest speakers. Full details of the academics will be provided in the student handbook and module guides.

Patrick Girard Quinnell

A Designer at heart, with a passion for technology. This has led to a career at the forefront within the multimedia and technology sector.

Read more

What we're researching

At the University of East London we are working on the some of the big issues that will define our future; from sustainable architecture and ethical AI, to health inequality and breaking down barriers in the creative industries.

Our students and academics are more critically engaged and socially conscious than ever before. Discover some of the positive changes our students, alumni and academics are making in the world.

Please visit our Research section to find out more.

I don’t think I’ve ever been made to feel more welcome. Being surrounded by people who are friendly, social, and share your interests has to be one of the best things I can say about my university experience.

Ben Nizan, BA (Hons) Computer Games Design

YOUR FUTURE CAREER

We believe our courses are ideal preparation for a career in the games industry - and we can point to a couple of BAFTAs to back it up.

After graduating with a computer games degree here, Ashraf Mohammad started working with Rocksteady as a games tester. He has gone on to work on the Batman series of games and was a member of the team who won the 'Best Gameplay' and 'Best Game' BAFTAs for Batman: Arkam Asylum.

He is just one in a long list of our graduates who have made a real impact in the industry. For instance, in the last five years, two have featured in Develop Magazine's list of the industry's top 30 most promising young talents.

One, Richard Hamer, is now a top designer for Sony Entertainment Europe. The other, Ryan Wiltshire, worked for leading companies and has now set up his own studio. Another graduate, Matt Glanville, is a highly respected designer who's now working for Just Add Water on Oddworld.

Some students go on to work as designers, programmers, testers and producers in a wide range of companies while others have become games design teachers themselves or launched successful careers in other areas of digital media.

Explore the different career options you can pursue with this degree and see the median salaries of the sector on our Career Coach portal.