School of Art, Design and Architecture

BA (Hons) Game Arts and Design

Bring your creativity to the world of computer games. Learn 3D modelling, 2D art and animation, level design and gameplay coding. Games industry experts will guide you through all aspects of game design and development, building a full understanding of the game creation process, and allowing you to specialise in the areas you find most engaging.

In a friendly and vibrant setting, you will learn industry-standard software and practices, and have access to the latest hardware, including high-spec gaming PCs and VR headsets. Over three years (or four with an optional industry placement), you will tell epic stories and create living worlds, working individually and teaming-up with other students.

A top 5 UK young university for subjects of art, design and architecture

Times Higher Education Young University Rankings 2021

University of Plymouth ranked top for Design & Crafts in the Guardian's 2021 university rankings

  • 1st for 'Satisfied with Course' (92.5/100)
  • 2nd for 'Satisfied with Teaching' (92.7/100)
  • 7th overall for Design & Crafts (90.8/100)
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Careers with this subject

Your degree in Game Arts and Design could lead to a career as a game artist, 3D modeler, gameplay coder, level designer, technical game designer, technical artist, producer, or many other roles in the games industry. Your transferable creative and technology skills could also lead to employment as a designer, programmer or producer in other creative and tech industries.

Where could your game design degree take you?


Key features

  • Learn 3D modelling with industry-standard software like Maya, Blender, ZBrush and Substance Painter.
  • Hone your 2D art and animation skills, using Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Animate and After Effects.
  • Create epic level designs in Unity and Unreal Engine.
  • Develop your coding skills with C# and Blueprints.
  • Taught by industry experts, with a focus on preparing you for a career in the games industry.
  • Amazing national and international field trips to gaming expos and festivals, such as meeting professionals from top games studios at EGX Rezzed in London and exploring immersive gameplay Amsterdam.
  • Explore sound design, narrative and game design theory, and study the psychology of games and gamification.
  • Access to the latest hardware, including high-spec gaming PCs and VR headsets.
  • Get a head-start in the industry with an optional placement year (for example, one of our students has secured a placement at Criterion Games).
  • Get ready for a career as a game artist, 3D modeler, game designer, level designer or gameplay coder, joining Plymouth graduates who have gone on to work at the world's top games companies including Electronic Arts, Frontier Developments and Bossa Studios.
  • We annually review the skills, software and hardware we teach, to ensure the course is always up to date.
  • Our dedicated lab space is open until 10pm, other amazing facilities, include our 35-seat, 360° immersive vision theatre, VR kits, graphics tablets, game controllers, 3D printers and even an extensive collection of boardgames.
  • Teaching and learning are practical and project-based - sometimes working individually, and sometimes in teams.
  • Your assessments are 100 per cent coursework – no exams.
  • No prior knowledge requirements – we teach everything from the ground up (but if you do already have art and coding skills, we can’t wait to see how much further you can take them with our help!).

Course details
  • Year 1

  • Get straight into learning the art and coding skills you need as a game designer. You are introduced to 2D design and 3D modelling software, game engines and gameplay coding. Bring your drawings to life with animation and interactivity, and create your first 3D models and games. Learn about storytelling and build your own gaming hardware.

    Core modules

    • Disruptive Design Strategies (DAT441)

      This module introduces students to practical and creative processes that encourage experimentation and prepare for HE workflows. Through conceptual understanding of artistic practice combined with technical production skills in a range of areas, such as 2D and 3D design, facilitate by industry standard design software.

    • Stage 1 Placement Preparation (FAPY100)

      If you’re undertaking a company placement in your third year, this module helps you find a suitable placement, and prepares you for the placement itself.

    • Introduction to Immersion (GAD442)

      This module introduces issues and techniques involved in designing and developing immersive experiences. Students will be introduced to rapid prototyping to explore a wide range of immersive elements within game design, exploring what immersion is and how the audio-visual elements of video games contribute to worldbuilding and user experience.

    • Game Programming (GAD443)

      This module introduces coding for game designers, explored through the creation of a playful interactive project. Working with programming languages and game engines, students learn to use code to make their drawings and animations come to life with dynamic and interactive behaviours. Key programming concepts such as variables and conditional logic, are introduced alongside relevant game studies topics. Students will apply what they have learnt to solve problems and create engaging gameplay.

    • Interactive Narrative (GAD444)

      You will explore interactive storytelling and animation / sequence creation within your work via a range of traditional and digital media and formats. Storytelling, narrative pacing, creative writing and animation are features of this module. Critical reflective writing underpins practical work.

    • Character and Environment Design (GAD445)

      Students create character and environment concepts as digital paintings, and realise their designs as detailed animated 3D models. Drawing and painting skills are developed, exploring figure, proportion, lighting, colour and anatomy. Students learn advanced modelling and texturing skills using state-of-the-art software platforms, rigging their characters for animation, and exporting them to game engines. In addition, students develop presentation skills and showcase their work in a digital portfolio.

  • Year 2

  • Master more advanced 3D modelling and game programming techniques, and hone your level design skills. Learn about working in the creative industries from visiting speakers, and work with Illustration students to further develop your drawing skills.

    Core modules

    • Creative Industries (DAT502)

      This module explores the dynamic changes that are sweeping through traditional media and communications industries, brought about by the impact of new technologies. It explores, through group production projects, the practical issues underpinning the management of distributed organisations. The module includes an international field trip

    • Virtuality and Immersion (DAT517)

      This module provides a firm introduction to virtuality and immersion augmented reality, virtual reality, and dome environments. During this module, students explore and utilize a range of immersive technologies and design practices on subjects such as scientific simulation, virtual heritage, architectural visualization, and more. Techniques like 3D capture and photogrammetry are also introduced, and a range of resources are provided, such as AR and VR headsets, for developing complete immersive solutions, applications, and artworks. The module is optional, and it is recommended for students that are interested in pursuing specialization on immersive media.

    • Level Design (GAD551)

      This module focuses on designing virtual environments and game levels. Students will consider the ludic and narrative role of level design and apply these to the production of an interactive game environment. Students will be presented with a variety of theoretical frameworks that will help them better understand human cognitive processes and thus aid them in designing and creating more engaging game levels.

    • Game Development (GAD553)

      This module builds on the game development skills learned to this point and applies them to working with a range of different game genres. Students work as individuals or small teams to propose and develop an interactive experience, creating a reflective design journal on the development process. To accompany this, students will research and explore a chosen role within the games industry.

    • Stage 2 Placement Preparation (FAPY501)

      This module is aimed at students who may be undertaking an industrial placement in the third year of their programme or are looking for other work opportunities. It is designed build on the Level 1 module (FAPY100) and to assist students in their search and application for a placement and/or other work experience and in their preparation for the placement itself.

  • Placement year (optional)

  • An optional paid 48-week work placement offers invaluable practical work experience. We recommend pursuing a placement, as it enhances your final year of study and improves your employability on graduation.

    Core modules

    • Digital Art and Technology/Internet Design Placement (FAPY604)

      An extend period of professional training (at least the duration of both teaching semesters - 36 weeks) spent as the third year of a sandwich programme undertaking an approved placement with a suitable company (either a paid placement or unpaid internship). This provides an opportunity for the student to gain relevant industrial experience to consolidate the first two stages of study and to prepare for the final stage and employment after graduation.

  • Final year

  • Focus on your own particular areas of interest by selecting from a range of optional modules and set your creativity free in your epic final year project.

    Core modules

    • Gameplay (DAT663)

      This module develops audio, visual, immersive, and interaction production skills with the specific application to video game design. Students will showcase the developed prototypes at a public games showcase event at the end of term.

    • Final Year Project (GAD631)

      The Final Year Project is student-led, negotiated through close liaison with an allocated supervisor. Students are expected to develop a creative, practical industry-standard project, accompanied with a written work that demonstrates sophisticated research methods, a critical engagement to theoretical discourses and debates, an understanding of production processes, and a developed awareness of markets, audiences, and industrial contexts. The practical element needs to comprise of a significant digital media production that is innovative and experimental in its approach and placed within a contemporary framework. Resources such as software, hardware, and labs, as well as tutorials in research and writing are given to the students to ensure they are fully-equipped to produce a sophisticated result. The final works are exhibited on the Degree Show at the end of the school year.

    Optional modules

    • Realtime (DAT661)

      This module develops audio, visual, immersive, and interaction production skills with the specific application to a public exhibition space with a predefined theme. Students will draw from a variety of sources, disciplines and media that they have explore to this point on the course.

    • Everyware (DAT662)

      Through practical project work the module explores the evolution of the Internet of Things, the emergence of Pervasive Media and the application of Physical Computing. Projects are framed within a critical exploration of space as a cultural, social and technological phenomenon and models of architecture, communities and personal identity.

    • Venture Culture (DAT664)

      This module introduces students to the concepts of entrepreneurship through the practical exploration of individual, collaborative and organisational creative enterprise. Operating as a pragmatic vehicle for generating new ventures within the creative industries, the formation of prototype companies enables students to rehearse the commercialisation of their practice.

Every undergraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the course aims, the course structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest course structure and may be subject to change:

BA Hons Game Arts and Design programme specification 5837

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

In light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the changeable nature of the situation and any updates to government guidance, we may need to make further, last minute adjustments to how we deliver our teaching and learning on some or all of our programmes, at any time during the academic year. We want to reassure you that even if we do have to adjust the way in which we teach our programmes, we will be working to maintain the quality of the student learning experience and learning outcomes at all times.
Entry requirements

UCAS tariff

96 - 120

A level 
A minimum of 2 A levels, General Studies accepted.

International Baccalaureate
28 points.

18 Unit BTEC National Diploma/QCF Extended Diploma
DMM. 

BTEC National Diploma modules
If you hold a BTEC qualification it is vital that you provide our Admissions team with details of the exact modules you have studied as part of the BTEC. Without this information, we may be unable to process your application quickly and you could experience significant delays in the progress of your application to study with us. Please explicitly state the full list of modules within your qualification at the time of application.

All access courses
Pass a named Access to Higher Education Diploma (preferably art and design or combined), with at least 33 credits at merit and/or distinction. 

GCSE
Mathematics and English Language grade C.

Other
Equivalent qualifications may be considered.


We welcome applicants with international qualifications. To view other accepted qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary

Applicants are not required to share a portfolio with us, however, doing so may allow us to guarantee you a place or consider applications that do not meet the normal academic requirements. A portfolio could include your 2D drawings, paintings, designs or animations, 3D models, game levels or mods, or examples of your coding such as programs, games or apps you have made.

Fees, costs and funding

The UK is no longer part of the European Union. EU applicants should refer to our Brexit information to understand the implications.

New Student 2021-2022 2022-2023
Home To be confirmed To be confirmed
International £14,200 £14,600
Part time (Home) To be confirmed To be confirmed
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per a number of credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances. For more information about fees and funding please visit www.plymouth.ac.uk/money.

Additional costs

This course is delivered by the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business and more details of any additional costs associated with the faculty's courses are listed on the following page: Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business additional costs.

How to apply
All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). 

UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code. 

To apply for this course and for more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email international-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

<p>Master 3D modelling</p>
Master 3D modelling
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Experience national and international fieldtrips

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Learn level design in industry-standard game engines
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Learn level design in industry-standard game engines

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Develop sought-after coding skills
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Experience national and international fieldtrips

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Experience national and international fieldtrips
<p>Hone your 2D art skills</p>
Hone your 2D art skills

Careers in the games industry and beyond

Your degree in Game Arts and Design could lead to a career as a game artist, 3D modeler, gameplay coder, level designer, technical game designer, technical artist, producer, or many other roles in the games industry. Your transferable creative and technology skills could also lead to employment as a designer, programmer or producer in other creative and tech industries.

The Digital Art and Technology Group 

As part of the digital art and technology group at the University of Plymouth, BA (Hons) Game Arts and Design builds on 25 years of excellence in interactive media education. 

The course is a new evolution of the Medialab Arts and Digital Art and Technology programmes, which have seen graduates go on to join the world’s top tech companies including Reddit, Facebook, Electronic Arts, Aardman Animation and Pixar, as well as find success as indie games developers, tech start-ups and world-renowned artists. 

Our team is a multidisciplinary collective of coders, artists, designers and hackers who work with data visualisation, games, virtual reality, robotics, interactive installations, sound design and everything else digital. We aim to future-proof our students to prepare them for an ever-changing world where technologies evolve but smart thinking is always in demand.

"What I love about the Game Arts and Design course is not only being able to create my own fun, quirky games, but also seeing what my peers create alongside me and watching them improve their skills throughout the development process and beyond. Playing their games at the end is just the icing on top!"

Connor Leigh, Game Arts and Design Stage 2

Examples of student work

See a variety of work by students on the BA (Hons) Game Arts and Design course.

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Our research

  • B The exciting work going on in our research feeds back into the teaching on this course

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