UEL Games

Computer Games Design
Computer Games Development

We've compiled a lot of resources that we think will make our student's (or anyone else's) life easier when it come to making games. From free software to royalty-free assets, we've searched for everything we could to get you up and running quickly. Our Facebook group is open to all students, staff and alumni. It is often the quickest way to see important notices and find out what is going on.

Please note, some of these suggestions require you to be a student or a member of UEL.

Ludology Studios

We have two dedicated Ludology Studios with a total of 56 dual-monitor Dell XPS workstations. All of our machines run on Windows 8.1, with a package of industry standard software installed, including:

  • Unity3D
  • Unreal
  • Photoshop
  • Illustrator
  • 3DS Max

The list goes on! This is just a small selection of the software you'll learn studying games at UEL.

There is also a collection of hundreds of games in the labs. Ranging from simple card and board games to complex role playing games, there's an example of just about everything.

Research Room

Our bespoke research room is provided for the use of final year students. It has eight dual-monitor Alienware PCs, and everything needed to help a group meeting move along smoothly, including a large meeting table. With hardware to play with and a mini library, there's no better place on campus for a third year.

Software

We have the latest and greatest asset and game creation tools available to students on our PCs. We try our hardest to ensure we use tools that are freely available to students but there are some tools which simply are not available for free. We have created a list of freely available alternatives however, ensuring our students always have the tools they need, wherever they are studying.

Audio Assets

We use the following software packages for editing and managing audio assets, from simple sound effects to music tracks:

3D Assets

We use a variety of software for the creating, editing and management of 3D game assets. From simple chests to fully-animated characters, the tools we use to get the job done are:

2D Assets

From UI elements to sprites for 2D games all the way to textures and maps for complex 3D objects, 2D assets can be a critical part of a game's visual representation. In order to create these, we currently use the following software:

Programming Tools

Alongside our game engines, we use a variety of programming tools. Currently in use are:

Game Engines

We teach a variety of game engines in order to provide students with foundational, transferable skills which can be used across a range of game making technologies. The current roster of game engines used across all years on both courses is:

 

Free Software for Students

We strive to use a variety of tools which are either free to use or free for students, so that students can work as easily from home as in the Ludology Studios. There are several categories of software we use, detailed here with links to download the software. Where the industry-standard software is not free to use, we have recommended good alternatives which are.

UEL now provides each of their students with an Office 365 account - each student gets 1TB of cloud storage on OneDrive and up to 5 installs of Microsoft Office for free.

Office Software
3D Asset Creation
Development Tools
Image Editing
  • Artweaver - An image editor similar to and compatible with Adobe Photoshop, free for Academic use
  • The GIMP - A free and open source image editing software, it is fully compatible with Adobe Photoshop
  • Inkscape - A free and open source vector graphics program, similar to and compatible with Adobe Photoshop
  • Aviary Online Image editor
  • Sumo Paint - Photoshop style editor
Game Engines

Games Society

Come and join the best Game Society at UEL!

 

The society meets twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays. Tuesdays are generally for consoles, Xbox 360/Wii/PS3, we normally bring along a few different multiplayer games. Fridays are more focused on board games, card games, roleplaying and tabletop games.

 

Membership costs £2 for the year which you can pay to the student union at any time, rooms and times are:

Tuesdays: 6pm-10pm, WB.2.04, West Building

Fridays: 4pm-10pm, WB.2.04, West Building

 

For more info and updates join the Facebook group here.


Join us and play all of the games!

Reading List

We've collated a list of useful readings in every aspect of games taught at UEL. Many of these are considered essential reading on their subjects and others are pointers to books which may help you expand your knowledge of a subject in different directions.

2D Graphics & Design

Essential Books

  • Fox, B, (2004) Game interface design. Cheltenham UK: Premier Press, 1592005934
  • Krug, S, (2005) Don’t make me think!: A common sense approach to Web usability. 2nd edn. New Riders, 0321344758
  • Weinmann, E and Lourekas, P (2007) Illustrator CS5 for Windows and Macintosh: Visual quickstart quide.  London: Peachpit Press, 0321706617
  • Weinmann, E and Lourekas, P (2007) Photoshop CS5 for Windows and Macintosh: Visual quickstart guide. London: Peachpit Press. 0321701534

Other Useful Books

  • Gordon, B and Gordon, M (2002) The Complete Guide to Digital Graphic Design. London: Thames and Hudson.
  • Kelly, O (1996) Digital Creativity. London: Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.
  • Koren, L and WippoMeckler, R (2001) Graphic Design Cookbook, London: Chronicle Books.
  • Morgan, J andWelton, P (1992), See What I Mean?: an introduction to visual communication, Arnold
  • Thomas, G (2001) How to Design Logos, Symbols and Icons,Wisconsin USA: North Light Books.
  • Wands, B. (2001) Digital Creativity: Techniques for Digital Media and the Internet. London: JohnWiley & Sons.
  • Weinmann, L (1999) Designing Web Graphics. Indiana USA: New Riders Publishing.
Games Design

Essential Books

  • Davies, M (2008) Designing Character‐based Console Games. London: Charles River Media
  • Fullerton, T. (2008) Game DesignWorkshop: A playcentric approach to creating innovative games. London:Morgan Kaufmann
  • Moore, M. (2011) Basics of Game Design. CRC Press
  • Oxland, K. (2004) Gameplay and Design. London: AddisonWesley.
  • Perry, D (2010) Game Design. London: Cengage
  • Salen, K. and Zimmerman, E. (2004) Rules of Play. MIT Press: London
  • Schell, J. (2008) The Art of Games Design: A book of lenses. London: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers
  • Sylvester, T. (2013) Designing Games: A Guide to Engineering Experiences, O'Reilly Media

Other Useful Books

  • Adams, E and Rollings, A. (2007) Game Design and Development, London: Pearson Education
  • Bates, B (2007) Game Design. London: Thomson
  • Costikyan, G. (2013) Uncertainty in Games (Playful Thinking series), Massachusetts: The MIT Press
  • Crawford, C. (2002) The Art of Interactive Design No Starch Press.
  • Juul, J. (2005) Half Real, Massachusetts: The MIT Press
  • Juul, J. (2013) The Art of Failure: An Essay on the Pain of Playing Video Games (Playful Thinking series), Massachusetts: The MIT Press
  • Rouse III, R. (2003) Game Design: Theory and Practice, (2nd edn) London: Woodware Publishing
  • Salen, K. and Zimmerman, E. (2006) The Game Design Reader. MIT Press: London
  • Selinker, M. (et al) (2013) Kobold Guide to Board Game Design, Open Design LLC
  • Swink, S. (2012) Game Feel: A Game Designer's Guide to Virtual Sensation, CRC Press
  • Trefay G. (2010) Casual Game Design. Massachusetts:Morgan Kauffman
Game Production

Essential Books

  • Michael D (2003) The Indie Game Development Survival Guide: Charles River Media.
  • Rabin, S (ed) (2005) Introduction to Game Development. Hingham,Massachusetts: Charles River Media.

Other Useful Books

  • Irish, D. (2005) The Game Producer’s Handbook. Boston,MA: Thomson Course Technology
  • Mook, C (2007) Essential Action Script 3. London: O’Reilly
  • Rabin, S (ed) (2005) Introduction to Game Development. Hingham,Massachusetts: Charles River Media.
  • Rosenwieg, G. (2009) Action Script 3 Game Programming University: London: Que.
  • Spey, R. (2009) Foundation Games Design with Flash. New York: Friends of Ed
Game Programming

Essential Books

  • Millington I. & Fubge J.(2009) Artificial Intelligence for Games. Second Edition. Burlington, MA:Morgan Kaufman
  • Stroustrup B. (2009) Programming Principles and Practice using C++. Pearsons

Other Useful Sources

  • Ahlquist J. & Novbak J.(2010) Game Artificial Intelligence. Boston: Thomson
  • Bell, D. (2003). An Introduction to the Unified Modelling Language. URL: http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/rational/library/769.html
  • Bourne D.M. & Seeman G. (2004) AI for Game Developers. Sebastopol, CA: O’ReillyMedia
  • Dale N. and Lewis J. (2002) Computer Science Illuminated. Sudbury: Jones and Barlett
  • Harbour J.S. (2007) Beginning Game Programming. 2nd Edition. Boston: Thomson
  • Miguel B. And de Sousa T. (2002) Game Programming All in One. Portland: Premier Press
  • Nirosh, L.W.C. (2015) Introduction to Object Oriented Programming Concepts (OOP) and More. URL: http://www.codeproject.com/Articles/22769/Introduction-to-Object-Oriented-Programming-Concep
  • Walsh P. (2009) Advanced 3D Game Programming Using DirectX 10 Plano, Texas:Wordwar
  • WeidfieldM. (2009) The Object Oriented Though Process. 3rd Edition. Boston: Addison‐Wesley
Games Writing

Essential Books

  • Bateman, C. ed. (2007) Game Writing: Narrative skills for Videogames. London: Charles River Media
  • Chandler R (2007) Game Writing Handbook: Charles River Media
Level Design

Essential Books

  • Kremers (2009) Level Design: Concept Theory and Practice
  • Perry, D (2010) Game Design: Cengage

Other Useful Books

  • Ahearn (2008), 3D Game Environments, Focal Press
  • Bartle (2003) Design of Virtual Worlds, Penguin Books
  • Byrne, E. (2005) Game Level Design, Charles River Medi
  • Co (2006), Level Design for Games: Creating Compelling Game Experiences, New Rider Games
  • Feil & Scattergood (2005), Beginning Game Level Design, Course Technology
Project Management

Useful Books

  • England, E and Finney, A (2002) Managing Multimedia: project management for web and convergent media, Book 1 ‐ People and Processes, 3rd Edition, Wokingham: Addison‐Wesley
  • England, E and Finney, A (2002) Managing Multimedia: project management for web and convergent media, Book 2 ‐ Technical Issues, 3rd Edition, Wokingham: Addison‐Wesley
  • Hartley, P (1997) Group Communication, London: Routledge
  • Hughes, B (2000) Dust or Magic? Secrets of successful multimedia design, Harlow: Addison‐Wesley
  • McCracken, R and Gilbart,M (1995) Buying and Clearing Rights: Print, Broadcast and Multimedia, London: Blue_print Press
  • Nielsen, J (1999) Designing Web Usability: the practice of simplicity, New Riders
  • Strauss, R (1997) Managing Multimedia Projects, Newton, MA: Focal Press
Research

Useful Books

  • Bell, J (2005) Doing Your Research Project, Milton Keynes: Open University Press
  • Berger, A. (2000) Media and Communication Research: An introduction to Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches, London: Sage
  • Bertrand, I. and Hughes, P (2004) Media Research Methods: Audiences, Institutions, Texts, Basingstoke: Palgrave
  • Deacon, D et al (eds) (1999) Researching Communications: A Practical Guide to Methods in Media and Cultural Analysis, London: Arnold
  • Gray, A (2002) Research Practice for Cultural Studies, London: Sage
  • Grix, J. (2004) The Foundations of Research, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan Hammersley,
  • Hammersley, M. and Atkinson, P. (1995) Ethnography: principles in practice, 2 nd edition, London: Routledge
  • Hansen, A. et al (1998) Mass Communication Research Methods, London:Macmillan
  • Jones, SG (ed) (1999) Doing Internet Research: critical issues and methods for examining the net, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage
  • McGuigan, J. (ed) (1997) Cultural Methodologies, London: Sage
  • Seale, C. (2004) Researching Society and Culture, 2nd Edition, London:Sage
  • Silverman, D. (2004) Doing Qualitative research: a practical handbook, London: Sage
  • Stokes, J (2003) How to do Media and Cultural Studies, London: Sage
  • van Zoonen, L. (1994) Feminist Media Studies, London: Sage
  • Wakeford, N (2000) ‘New media, new methodologies: studying the web’ in D Gauntlett (ed) Web.Studies: rewiring media studies for the digital age, London: Arnold
Study Skills

Useful Books

  • Adams, E and Rollings, A. (2007) Game Design and Development. London: Pearson Education.
  • Cotterell, Stella (2003) The Study Skills Handbook. 2nd ed. Basingstoke: Palgrave‐Macmillan.
  • Parsons, R. (ed) (2006) GCSE Mathematics: Revision Guide. London: CGP.
  • Peck, J. and Coyle,M. (2005) The Student's Guide to Writing, Basingstoke, Palgrave‐Macmillan
  • Peck, J. and Coyle,M. (2005) Write it Right. Basingstoke: Palgrave‐Macmillan

Royalty Free Assets

We know it can be difficult to find anything to use for free but we've found some great sources for free assets that you can use. Some of them require registration and some offer paid services however all of them have a selection of assets which are royalty free for use. Remember that doesn't necessarily mean 'public domain', so there may be some restrictions on use, such as required attribution to the author of the original or no editing permitted.

You can also add the UEL Games Logo to your games.

Buying a Computer

Most games development software is available for PC only. For this reason we do not use macs for the games courses at UEL.

Do not buy a Mac, iPad or Android tablet as your only computer. Unless you have another PC to work on, you will not be able to use much of the game development software we use.

The minimum requirements we recommend are as follows:

  • CPU: Multi-Core, preferably quad core (Intel: i5 or i7, AMD: FX six or eight cores)
  • RAM: 8GB
  • HDD (Storgae): 1TB (1,000 GB)
  • GPU (Dedicated Graphics): AMD Radeon or nVidia GT/GTX - minimum 1 GB of video RAM
  • Resolution: 1600 x 1050 - more important than screen size
  • Screen Size:
    • Laptop: 15"
    • Desktop: 22"

There may be other things you'd like personally but avoid technology you will not use. Don't let a salesperson convince you otherwise. Ask David or Joe if you are not sure what to buy. Here are some good places to buy computers, parts and laptops:

Mesh, PC Specialist, Laptops Direct, eBuyer, BT Shop (formerly Dabs), Scan, Tesco Direct

Tutorials

We have collated some of the best sources for tutorials for the tools we teach from across the web. They range from user produced to official guides, hobbyist to pro and written steps to video demonstraions but we think they're some of the best tutorials out there for these tools.

Stencyl Intro

Generators

In designing games, random generators can go a long way to help seed an idea. There are generators for just about everything on the web and we've found two of them useful time and time again, in all sorts of different scenarios. From the overarching concept for a video game to some ideas for the next quest in a Dungeons & Dragons campaign, these generators can really help you out.

Seventh Sanctum, run by Steve Savage, has been publishing generators since 1999. From generators for several types of names to ice cream dishes, wrestling moves and more there isn't much Seventh Sanctum can't help you generate. For those instances it cannot however a collection of similar generator websites are recommended by the author.

Donjon is another collection of generators with a specific focus on fantasy. Three are a few 'weird' and sci-fi generators there, too but the main strength of donjon is the provision of generators hich explicitly follow the rules of many tabletop RPG systems to help create NPCs, scenarios, worlds and more.

Resources

Ludology Studios Issues?