UEL Games

Computer Games Design
Computer Games Development

We run two game courses at UEL and both have a particular emphasis on developing gameplay and designing games. 

Design is a confusing term and means different things to development teams. Within a game context there are many aspects of that will be designed: Visual design, Sound design, Prop design, Environment design, Level design, Gameplay design, Story design, Character design, Software design, Interface design.

Our courses will provide a general overview of all the design aspects mention above but above all focus on the game design and gameplay, and share a common core of modules. Outside of this BSc Computer Game Development students take extra modules focused on developing software design and programming skills. BA Computer Games Design: Story Development students take extra modules focused on creative writing and an in-depth understanding of narrative structures and archetypes and how these apply to games design.

Below is general information that applies to both courses we offer. Select one of the tabs above for more detailed information about content and entry requirements for each course.

Applicant Design Challenge

This is the design challenge which must be completed by all applicants as part of our admissions process. The exercise has two parts. All applicants are required to complete and submit both. Details of where these should be submitted will be provided when you are contacted to request you complete the challenge. Please do not submit them before requested.

1. Design Challenge

Taken from: Brathwaite, B. and Schreiber, I. (2009) Challenges for Game Designers. London: Charles River Media. 

Draughts is a well-known traditional board game played on a chess board. You can find the rules for draughts and play an online version of the game at http://www.draughts.org/how-to-play-draughts.html.

For this challenge you are requested to design a variant of draughts that uses a larger 12 x 12 square board. You may make any rules changes necessary to support the new larger size.

Playtest your variation.

Please submit
  • Written rules modification for the playable new game including the starting set-up of the pieces (this may be an image).
  • Analysis short analysis of what effect the new larger sized board has on the gameplay experience. 

2. Design Analysis

Write a small piece (500 words) about your favourite game saying why you like it, but also suggesting what could be changed to improve it.

Course Structure

All UEL courses are broken down into modules. The typical UEL games student studies 11 modules across three years of full time study, for a total of 360 credits (120 credits per year). The first year is shared between courses to give all students a foundation in all aspects of design and development. It is composed of two 45 credit modules and one 30 credit module. The second year has three shared 30 credit modules with each course studying an additional 30 credit specialisation module. In the third year of study, there is one 45 credit module, two 30 credit modules and a further 15 credit specialisation module.

Level 4 (Year 1)

The first year introduces  the basics of computer games design, games and audience analysis, story development/writing and games theory, as well as introductory graphics and prototyping production techniques and theories.

Games Research & Analysis

Introduction to key theoretical concepts and professional working practices associated games development and research.

Gameplay Development

Introduction to the process of designing and producing computer games including asset production and the scripting concepts associated with developing computer games via the design and development of a 2D computer game.

Introduction to Games Design

Introduction to a range of theoretical approaches to the study and design of games exploring interrelationships between elements and how they combine to make compelling and balanced gameplay. Students work as part of a team in the iterative design and development of a game.

Level 5 (Year 2)

The second year focuses on more detailed games design, planning, implementation, production management, prototyping and testing and further games programming skills including object oriented games programming, as well as dissertation planning and preparation. At this level multidisciplinary teams work to an industry brief for external clients.

Professional Practice (30 credits)

Introduction to the appropriate professional design and development processes, techniques and management for all stages of production, working as part of an interdisciplinary team to an industry brief.

Gameplay Events & Level Design (30 credits)

To explore the concepts, theories and practices associated with gameplay and level design through the research, planning and development of a 3D game level.

Digital Media Research Methods (30 credits)

Introduces research methods and concepts and data analysis techniques appropriate to games research in preparation for the final year dissertation. As part of this module students will formulate their dissertation topic and proposal for the following year.

Specialisation Module 1 (30 credits)

Computer Games Design (Story Devlopment) students take Narrative & Gameplay Design, exploring writing elements and techniques for digital and non-digital writing.

Computer Games Development students take Gameplay Programming, developing essential gameplay programming and system planning skills.

More information about these modules is available on the respective course pages.

 

Level 6 (Year 3)

The final year includes a large scale, multidisciplinary team-based production project with the opportunity to apply further develop skills learned in the first two years, in the design and development of an original game idea. At this level student undertake an independent research project and dissertation on a topic of their choice, and consider the exiting job market and the creation of a polished and targeted portfolio of work. Students on the Computer Game Development course also explore more advance games programming concepts, including games AI.

Games Studio (30 credits)

This module enables students to work collaboratively on a all stages of a large scale professionally informed games project as part of an interdisciplinary team. The module provides an environment indicative of recognised industry practices, using industry standard tools, underpinned by contemporary games design research and management and development practices.

Dissertation (45 credits)

In this module students devise and undertake an individual dissertation on a topic of their choice. As part of this research they will develop and test a digital prototype as part of primary research used to answer the question they set and develop under guidance from their specialist supervisory team.

Professional Games Portfolio (30 credits)

Encourages students to critically analyse existing and potential games markets and consider and apply the legal, ethical and political aspects relating to games production. Provides an overview of planning, scheduling, budgeting and cost benefit analysis of games development, and how to produce a targeted portfolio.

Specialisation Module 2 (15 credits)

Computer Games Design (Story Devlopment) students take Professional Games Writing, exploring technical games writing and documentation.

Computer Games Development students take Dynamic Gameplay Programming, further developing gameplay implementation and exploring concepts such as AI, multiplayer and multi-platform publishing.

More information about these modules is available on the respective course pages.

Learning Environment & Assessment

Learning takes place through lectures, seminars and practical workshops in specialist labs, screenings, presentations, crits and invited speakers from industry. Tutorial sessions are also available, as well as personal one-to-one supervision of final year projects and dissertations. Most assessment is via practical, theoretical and group and individual project coursework.

Students are expected to undertake individual and team-based project work at all levels of study. This allows students to develop their own ideas, work in groups and/or research specific topics. There is the opportunity to work in small groups or individually on live client briefs in the second year of study.

Added Value

The course offers a range of extracurricular games design and development activities, including Games Design workshop, Games Club and the UEL SU Computer Games Society which run a number of events throughout the year. Games Design and Games Club sessions give students from all levels of study an opportunity to meet, both for technical or coursework assistance, planning, discussion and implementation and playtesting of non-assessed projects. In Games Club students play a wide-range of paper-based role-playing, board and card games as well as playtest paper-based prototypes of assessed work as well as non-assessed design projects. The games design teaching team attend and support these sessions.

Your Future Career

Graduates from our games courses have gone on to work as designers, programmers, QA testers, and producers in a wide range of companies including Sony EE, Rocksteady, EA, Playdead, Bethesda, THQ, Just Add Water, TT Games, Ninja Theory, Warchest and Sega.

Some of our graduates have gone on to post graduate study, or teaching games design and development, while others have launched successful careers in other fields making use of a wide range of valuable transferable skills our courses provide.

Profiles of some of our graduates can be found on this site in the Graduates section of this site.