Game Design

Game Design is an incredibly popular choice for young people with a creative flair and a skill for computer programming. Studying game design can help you build on your passion for computer games but it also enables you to consider careers in a wide range of industries.

While still a relatively young industry, gaming has achieved phenomenal success and continues to grow at an incredibly rapid pace - even surpassing the Hollywood box office in terms of annual revenue.

There has never been a better time to join the games industry. The gaming industry is thriving due to the immense popularity for games, the exciting new generation of hardware, outstanding software, and boundless creativity, content and technology developed by highly skilled people who are passionate about games.

Game developers are constantly given new opportunities to push the boundaries of their craft to create compelling new game experiences. The design and creation of a new game is a huge technical and artistic project with many different people skilled in Art and Animation, Design, Programming, Scriptwriting and Journalism, contributing to its realization and success.

Artistics and animation job opportunities exist in the following sectors: Computer Games Development And Electronic Entertainment; Design Visualisation; Animation; Visual Effects Production; Interaction Design; Interactive Audio; Content Creation for TV, Film, Advertising And Marketing.

Typical job titles include Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) Artist, Animator, Modeller, Compositor, Effects Artist, Technical Director (TD), Lead Designer, User Interface Designer, Creative Director.

There is also now a worldwide shortage of Game Programmers and a constant demand for first-rate computer programmers with knowledge of developing applications using middleware such as game engines.

Creative Skillsset gives some useful insight into the different roles here.

Serious games promises to be one of the most rewarding sectors of the global economy over future years with new and expanding markets in Asia (particularly India, South Korea, China, and Singapore) bringing new challenges and opportunities.

Will my degree be recognised?

A degree in game design obtained with the European Union and at good universities outside the EU will be recognised. However it is important to check the programmes offered by different universities to find the most suitable degree as content of topics taught can be different to the UK.

There are some excellent universities worldwide that offer courses in Game Design.

Does it make sense to study game design abroad?

Yes, it does. At many universities it is mandatory to undertake an industrial placement to gain valuable work experience in the market and to increase your attractiveness in terms of employability after graduation.

The opportunities available to you in other countries may be much more suitable for your longer-term employment aspirations.

What grades do I need to get in?

This differs in terms of the university and the country you decide to go to. Keep in mind, there are world class universities where you will need world class grades just as there are in the United Kingdom. It is a safe assumption that you will need to have A- Levels in Maths to study programming and other relevant subjects in order to be able to study Game Design at university.

What else should I bear in mind?

As already mentioned, we think the most important thing for you to consider is whether your degree is recognised. After you have clarified that, then you have the choice of some excellent universities worldwide.

Other considerations include financial matters as most universities abroad do not provide financial aid during the studies. But this also depends on the chosen university, that’s why it is important to research study opportunities aboard thoroughly before making a decision.

Where should I look for Game Design degrees abroad?

There are many excellent universities around the world where you can study game design and animation in English.

For example:

DigiPen Institute of Technology in Bilbao is a sister campus of DigiPen in the USA, which regularly ranks as one of the very best game design schools in the world.

For more than 20 years, DigiPen has helped shape the game industry in the U.S. and around the world. Many of its professors and executives have held prominent positions at major game companies like Nintendo, Microsoft, and Disney, and DigiPen graduates have contributed to hundreds of game titles, including Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Halo, Portal, Half-Life, Guild Wars, and BioShock Infinite.

DigiPen’s Bachelor of Science in Computer Science in Real-Time Interactive Simulation (BSCS) is a four-year computer science degree focusing on the technical aspects of computer graphics and simulations.Students begin with a solid foundation in mathematics, physics, and programming, then apply that knowledge in yearly team-based projects where they design, programme, test, and finally release their own fully playable games to the public.

DigiPen also offer a four-year Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Art and Animation programme which is designed to prepare students to create artwork at a professional level.

Rather than simply teaching students how to use current tools and software, the BFA programme emphasises the development of foundational skills that remain relevant and useful regardless of the technology or medium. Students who successfully complete this programme will have the skills to produce powerful, affecting imagery in a professional studio environment.

Breda University of Applied Sciences (BUAS) in the Netherlands offers specialisations on Visual Art, Programming, Design and Production, and Indie Game Development. BUAS is an official partner of Sony and is a member of the PlayStation® First Academic Partnership Programme. This means BUAS students develope games for PlayStation 3 (PS3), PlayStation Portable (PSP) and PlayStation Network (PSN). PlayStation® hardware and software play a central role in the teaching curriculum of the IGAD course.

Students of the Bachelor of Game Design and Development at Hanze University of Applied Sciences work on game concepts, 2D and 3D artwork, game development and game evaluation. While working in a team, students learn how to turn a game concept into a final product and how to involve the end user in the development of the product. There is extra emphasis on research, innovation, intercultural communication and entrepreneurship. Furthermore, students work on developing specific professional skills needed as a game designer, game artist, game developer or game evaluator.

Elsewhere, a wide range of English taught game design and animation degrees can be found in countries such as Germany, Czech Republic, Denmark and Ireland.

Some thoughts from game design students at overseas universities

Samuel Gilbert

Charlie Thorpe

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About A Star Future

A Star Future provides information and guidance to British students looking to pursue their undergraduate studies abroad.

Through our presentations in schools and our websites we aim to ensure that British-educated students are well informed about their choices.