Video game sales surpassed the £4billion mark in 2020, showing that the UK’s gaming industry is going from strength to strength - leading to a growing number of opportunities available for video game enthusiasts (Prospects). There is a wide range of job roles in the gaming industry, including game artists, game designers, game developers, animators, audio engineers, software testers, technical support officers, game producers and writers.
Games Design focuses on creating characters, images and environments online. The course starts by considering theory linked to various media from different sectors to explore how meaning, messages and values are constructed through formal and stylistic elements. Initial units will look to develop your planning skills and allow you to gain more insight into requirements such as finance, logistics and regulations for a media project.
You will look to create a pre-production portfolio that will be fully researched and present ideas on how you would plan to deliver a digital game, including the initial scripts and storyboards. The course also explores the web production lifecycle, conventions to produce a website and asset preparation to add interactivity to your site. There will be opportunities to work on client briefs to demonstrate technical and creative skills in producing a complete project.
On this course, you will participate in lively discussions about new gaming technology and media campaigns. You will also review the latest developments within the sector as they are released.
The department organises trips and talks, for example to EGX to look at the new games being showcased and the indie and retro developments. We have also visited Teesside University to learn more about progressive web apps and develop rapid prototyping skills within storyboarding.
We teach all the latest skills and techniques in vibrant, exciting spaces. Facilities include industry-standard software and equipment within specialist creative art workshops. Students have access to specialised art studios and dedicated Mac suites, and you will be taught how to use a variety of digital software.
This course leads to employment with the sector or higher-level study. You could potentially move to a career in level design, concept art/character art, game design or any degree-level course linked to games development.
Working in games design.
With consumers demanding a constant stream of high-quality content, media companies are investing in digital technologies and a workforce that allows them to compete in this innovative and fast-moving sector.
Prior to the 2020 national lockdown, Britons were already among the biggest global video game consumers - market intelligence company Newzoo reported that as many as 37.3 million people in the UK play video games. However, the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) has revealed how sales are now at record levels - increasing by nearly 15% compared to the previous year - as people inevitably turned to other forms of entertainment they could easily access at home.
This substantial amount of revenue was driven by digital gaming, which accounted for £3.6billion. Players increasingly chose to purchase digital subscriptions, direct to console games and downloads rather than physical media.
ERA chief executive Kim Bayley says, "The entertainment market was already growing without coronavirus, but with much of the leisure sector shuttered due to lockdown, music, video and games were in the right place at the right time."
Trade association TIGA has reported that the nation’s games development workforce is now 18,279 strong - up by over 12% from November 2018 to April 2020 - the fastest growth it has recorded (Prospects).
Meet your tutor
After freelancing in the industry for 6 years, for clients both big and small, I’ve learned a thing or two about a thing or two. I hope to get students inspired and excited about this industry and its potential as well as their own.
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In the UK, the gaming industry is worth over GBP5 billion to the economy, with more than 2000 firms, of all sizes, designing and developing games. In the past two years, more than 10000 new video games were released, and every single one of them had at least one designer - this job involves creating the looks, the rules and background story, and the critical structures to the game. As newer technologies are developed, more designers are needed to use these tools in bringing creativity to life on screen.