A ground-breaking MA in Games Design and Development, combining existing NFTS expertise in character creation, storytelling, design, animation, sound, and more, with input from games industry experts in games design, games art, games production and games audio...
Games Design and Development
A ground-breaking MA in Games Design and Development, combining existing NFTS expertise in character creation, storytelling, design, animation, sound, and more, with input from games industry experts in games design, games art, games production and games audio.
Taught by leading games practitioners and experts in the field, our MA in Games Design and Development is a world-leading postgraduate games programme with the reputation, accreditation and alumni credits to back this up. Learning and working alongside film, television and animation practitioners, the course provides a unique opportunity for future games innovators to hone their creative and technical skills, developing fluency in all the core videogames development disciplines such as games design, code, art, animation, production, audio, interface and more. The NFTS provides MA Games students with an unrivalled creative context, as well as the inestimable collaborative opportunities presented by the course’s setting at the heart of the NFTS media development and production studios.
WHY STUDY GAMES DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT?
Videogames are a relatively young medium, in a continual state of innovation and evolution, which means creatively there is still everything to play for. New platforms and technologies have broadened out the field, with fantastic opportunities for technical invention and artistic innovation. The NFTS Games course provides the practical skills and creative knowhow to design, devise and make games from inception to delivery, and the vision and temperament to provide creative leadership in an industry which continually strives to increase its cultural reach, broaden its audiences and create new and engaging experiences for an innovation-hungry marketplace. Games students develop projects in collaboration with students from other NFTS disciplines including sound design, composing, screenwriting, cinematography, producing, production design, digital effects, editing and production management.
In the first year students undertake a series of set projects – both group and solo – during which they also learn core games development disciplines of design, art, animation, coding and production. The modules and workshops cover 3D modelling/animation, game programming (C#/Unity), game design, character creation, producing and project management. Students also take classes in Life Drawing and theory lectures in cultural and critical studies to support their practical work. In the second year students focus on their Final Major Project, working in multi-disciplinary teams with students from other disciplines. Numerous fruitful partnerships have been formed with sound designers, composers, screenwriters, producers, production designers, cinematographers, digital effects artists and others, but the exact composition of development teams varies according to the nature of the projects. External practitioners can also be brought in on projects where needed. Early in the second year students also undertake a detailed module on commercial aspects of game development and present professional business cases for their projects to a panel of experts as a practical output.
PORTFOLIO DEVELOPMENT AND PROJECT OUTPUT
Students develop a cumulative portfolio of work throughout the course. First year output will include the following projects at minimum: ‘Hello World’ (an extensive playable 3D environment made a as a group project); ‘App Factory’ (a mobile/tablet game); ‘Synthespian’ (a player controlled interactive character performing to a set text); ‘Moments of Consequence’ (a short interactive drama). Students work in teams with other school specialisms depending on the specifics of the project. Second year output is exhibited at major shows and expos in various stages during the year, as well as at the Games Graduation Expo which takes place alongside the NFTS Graduation Film, Television and Animation screenings in February.
Students also participate in competitions, game jams and external projects throughout the course, and work is shown and shared on NFTS Games department blog (www.nfts-games.com) as well as on students’ own individually maintained portfolio websites. The department also actively promotes student output and activity on our well-followed social media presences.
Final Projects are as varied and diverse as our student group. We’ve proudly presented cutting edge virtual reality experiences, a playable political thriller, episodic interactive dramas, comedic ghost stories, a Dostoevsky-inspired interactive story environment, a motion-controlled playable monster, an interactive romantic comedy, to name a handful. Many more on the way.
Since 2012, the NFTS Games course has fed into a creative community of alumni, course contacts, indie developers, games journalists and development studio people who visit the course and follow our work. Students entering the course rapidly become part of this community through networking events, meetup groups, conference attendance and involvement with industry associations such as UKIE, Bafta Games, Creative Skillset and others. Not only does this provide a healthy exchange of ideas and knowledge, but it also provides a network of contacts for future employment, partnership opportunities and funding sources.
A significant proportion of NFTS Games grads have secured funding or distribution for projects developed on the course and have formed their own studio start-ups to make them, while others go on to work at games studios such as Sony Computer Entertainment or Reloaded. Students have also been successful in securing grant funding for projects through our partnership with the Wellcome Trust. Our alumni have also had their fair share of awards and prizes.
As well as an advisory group including members drawn from Sony, Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Media Molecule, Bossa Studios, Natural Motion, NDreams and others, we have regular workshops delivered by experienced industry practitioners. Recent visiting tutors include Siobhan Reddy (Media Molecule), Imre Jele (Bossa Studios), Tara Saunders (Sony), Andrew Oliver (Radiant Worlds), Richard Lemarchant (ex Naughy Dog), Phil Harrison (ex Microsoft), Barry Mead (Fireproof games), Mike Bithell, Jess Curry (The Chinese Room). As well as giving overview talks, where time permits guest tutors have one-to-one sessions with students and give specific input of current project work.
The course is a member of the Sony Playstation®First programme which give students access to Sony PS4 devkits and professional software development kits. We are also a Creative Skillset accredited MA course.
Games design and development students at the NFTS come from a wide range of backgrounds and prior experiences, and have demonstrated an excitement, aptitude, creativity and willingness to learn new skills. We actively seek a diverse and interesting group of people who have something new to bring into the games development fold. Successful applicants have come to us with previous qualifications from across the arts, sciences and humanities; and from all walks of life as far as profession and practice is concerned. Games development experience is welcome, but by no means essential.
The NFTS games course provides a truly unique opportunity to enter one of the most exciting creative industries of the modern age.
A critical analysis of a computer game of your choice. No more than two sides A4, typed.
A brief outline of the kind of game project you wish to undertake
A digital portfolio containing samples of your work.