Video Games Development (Gamer Camp: Pro) - MA / MSc

Attendance:
Full Time
Starting:
September 2016, September 2017
Campus:
NTI Birmingham
Fees:
£9,500 for UK/EU Full Time 2016 entry (view all fees)

Gamer Camp Pro (MA/MSc Video Games Development) has been created in partnership with the likes of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe,Codemasters,Rareand Exient. We aimto help you become a perfect recruit for a career in the games industry- with not just the skills, but also the experience you’ll need. Our graduates have been employed by companies including Sony Evolution Studios, Ubisoft and Rockstar Games.

Gamer Camp: Pro is taught day to day by Alex Darby (Ex-FreeStyleGames, Codemasters) and Iain Harrison (Ex-Eurocom, Free Radical (now Crytek UK).

What's covered in the course?

On Gamer Camp: Pro, there are no  classroom lectures,  distance learning, dissertations or exams. Instead, you'll eat, sleep and breathe games with intensive tuition from industry pros with experience at big-name developers like Free Radical Design, Electronic Arts and Codemasters.

The course was developed in partnership with the industry to provide a ‘finishing school’ that produces work-ready graduates with the practical skills they needed to be successful. Many companies recruit directly from the course, giving you access to jobs that you would not come across elsewhere.

You will get specialist skills training, mentoring and support from leading game developers, the chance to design and build a working game that can be published, and experience at every stage of the games development cycle. You will receive real game briefs, training and mentoring from industry partners such as Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, Exient, Rare and Codemasters.

Working in teams in your own game development studio at NTI Birmingham, you will be provided with all the software you need for the duration of the course. You will create a fully working game for a series of platforms, culminating in developing a working PlayStation4 game prototype for Sony Computer Entertainment Europe.

For more information about the five principles of Gamer Camp Pro look at Why Choose Gamer Camp Pro.

Why Choose Us?

  • This is believed to be the only course of its kind in Europe, designed to produce ‘work ready’ graduates for the games industry.
  • You will receive real game briefs, training and mentoring from industry partners such as Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, Exient, Rare and Codemasters.
  • You will work in a realistic game development studio environment at our NTI Birmingham building.
  • You will gain a real qualification, leaving with an MA/MSc in Video Games Development, depending on whether you focus on artwork or coding.
  • Your finished games will be submitted for publication, providing another opportunity to attract the attention of industry and get your name known.
  • We were one of the first five courses in Europe to be given PlayStation4 development kits. You will spend four months effectively working for Sony as an outsourced studio with Sony hardware and software.
  • Graduates have gone onto to work for companies such as Rockstar, Creative Assembly, Sega and Sony.
Visit our open day

Postgraduate Open Day

Our next Postgraduate Open Day will be in Autumn 2016. The date will be confirmed soon and registration will open shortly.

In the meantime, register your details and we'll contact you when more information is available.

Sign up for Open Day info

This course is open to International students

NTI Brmingham

Discover NTI Birmingham

Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.

Visit the School website

Founded by:

The course was founded by Oliver Williams (NTI Director) and Guy Wilday, former Studio Director at SEGA Racing Studio (SEGA Rally) and Head of Studio at Codemasters (Colin McRae Rally), currently Development Director at Sony's London Studio.

Entry Requirements

Gamer Camp Pro is open to applicants who fit either of the following programmer or artist criteria:

Programmers
Programming applicants should have, and be able to demonstrate:

Object-orientated programming skills, preferably C++

Experience working with Windows, Mac OS or Linux API's

Degree in computer science, mathematics, physics or related discipline is desired but not essential.

We'd like to see a real-time demo and its source code.

What we're looking for from your demo

We want to see an interactive demo that is representative of your best work

We'd like to see both a finished executable and source code in order to help us make our decision.

In an ideal world we're looking for a sensibly structured object oriented architecture

Clean, clear, well laid out code that is easy to follow

Appropriately documented by use of comments.

This is in your best interest after all; the easier it is for us to see how good you are, the easier it is for us to be confident in your abilities.

Don't have a demo?

Your demo doesn't necessarily need to be earth-shatteringly clever or innovative - we just want to see a real time interactive demo that you've written yourself using C++.

If you're stuck for inspiration, why not make a clone of a simple retro arcade game - for example breakout, or Space Invaders.

We suggest using the free and open source game library Cocos2dX.

Artists
Games artist applicants should have, and be able to demonstrate:

Ability to draw (eg character design, environment design, concept boards)

2D and ideally 3D design skills

Animation skills

Must be able to present at interview a game demo or game assets and a portfolio of work*

Degree in art, design, graphic, visual communications, animation or related discipline is desired but not essential

*Artists please note: Your portfolio should include examples of sketches and workflow, showing development of ideas, not just finished artwork.

International students
International (non-EU) students also require the following:

English – IELTS 6.0 (no less than 5.5 in any bands)

Programmers should also have: BE or BTech at 55 per cent or 50 per cent from a 5 star University from a four-year degree in either; Computer Science Engineering (CSE), Information Technology (IT), or Bachelor of Computer Applications.

Artists should also have: BA in Visual Communications, Art and Design or any relevant art subject.

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
MA Sep 2016 FT 1 year £9,500
Sep 2017 FT 1 year TBC
MSc Sep 2016 FT 1 year £9,500
Sep 2017 FT 1 year TBC

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
MA Sep 2016 FT 1 year £12,000
Sep 2017 FT 1 year £12,000
MSc Sep 2016 FT 1 year £12,000
Sep 2017 FT 1 year £12,000

The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.

Additional costs

There are no compulsory additional costs or charges associated with studying on this course. While you may choose to purchase personal copies of text books, all our key text books are available from our library or online (subject to normal library loan and online access arrangements). NTI Birmingham courses aim to connect students with industry locally, nationally and globally, in alignment with student aspirations. Opportunities to engage with industry in an alternative location are always promoted but are never compulsory so students can make a decision based around their individual responsibilities, lifestyle and finances.

Based on the past experience of our students, you might find it helpful to set aside about £50 for each year of your studies for stationery and study materials. All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

Your personal statement

Your personal statement is a highly important part of your application. It gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Course choice

Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?

Career plans

If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.

Work experience

Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.

School or college experience

Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.

Non-accredited skills or achievement

eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.

You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form instead.

This course is not available part-time

Got any questions?

Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible postgraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

Did you know that you will soon be able to apply for a postgraduate loan of up to £10,000?

Postgraduate loans

Games Artists

Art Fundamentals of Game Development

You will work in teams containing art and programming specialists, to produce interactive games features and game play. This module covers the use of the software tools required to produce game content for artists and introduces industry approaches to, and application, of source control, as well as assessment and evaluation tools.

2D Game Art, Production and Delivery

This module consolidates key skills in the context of the production of commercially viable products. You will be encouraged to establish an open approach, ensuring you are able to respond positively to feedback and direction, as well as being able to evaluate approaches to game development from a project management and implementation perspective.

3D Game Development (Art)

This module provides more advanced knowledge of game development and the production cycle, enabling the creation of products for specific commercial audience markets. You will explore the technical and production challenges of developing cross-platform game products, work in teams to develop such a product, and evaluate and benchmark technical, artist and production value.

Art for Console Game Prototypes

You will gain the specific knowledge of the game development and production cycle required to produce a product for a mainstream popular game console up to prototype or first playable demo stage.  This allows you to extend your understanding to large and complex game product and provides experience of the production of a publishable game product.

Video Game Professional Art Practice

Your production team will be invited to take over the executive producer role and respond to a current game industry challenge identified by one of our industry partners. You will originate, execute and deliver a full console game further developing and consolidating your mastery of key skills, as well as knowledge of, and engagement with, current opportunities in the field.

Programmers

Programming Fundamentals of Game Development

You will work in teams containing art and programming specialists, to produce interactive game features and game play. This module covers C++, the principal coding language required to produce game content, and introduces industry approaches to, and application, of source control, as well as assessment and evaluation tools.

2D Game Programming, Production and Delivery

This module consolidates key programming skills in the context of the production of commercially viable products. You will be encouraged to establish an open approach, ensuring you are able to respond positively to feedback and direction, as well as being able to evaluate approaches to game development from a project management and implementation perspective.

3D Game Development (Programming)

This module providesadvanced knowledge of game development and the production cycle that enables the creation of products for specific commercial audience markets. You will explore the technical and production challenges of developing cross-platform game products, work in teams to develop such a product, and evaluate and benchmark technical, artist and production value.

Programming for Console Game Prototypes

You will gain the specific knowledge of a game development and production cycle required to produce a product for a mainstream popular game console up to prototype or first playable demo stage.  This allows you to extend your understanding to large and complex game product and provides experience of the production of a publishable game product.

Video Game Professional Programming Practice

Your production team will be invited to take over the executive producer role and respond to a current game industry challenge identified by one of our industry partners. You will originate, execute and deliver a full console game further developing and consolidating your mastery of key skills, as well as knowledge of, and engagement with, current opportunities in the field.

Course structure

You'll work full-time hours (9am-5pm, Monday to Thursday) over 12 months, with each team given a mentor from industry to set a development brief, monitor progress and sign-off the game once it's complete. You’ll be split into two groups; programmers and artists, providing industry-crafted training throughout the course, tailored to your discipline.

Within the training sessions of the course, you will learn the fundamental skills used every day in the games industry. Programmers will study topics such as C++, maths, debugging, coding standards and source control, while artists’ training will cover topics including Photoshop, 3D Studio Max/Maya, Z Brush and source control. Programmers and artists will be placed together to learn in teams, but will be assessed as individuals.

Gamer Camp: Pro is divided into three sections on two game development projects:

  • PG Certificate Mobile
  • PG Diploma PS4 Console
  • Master’s PS4 Console: Final Project

Within each section, you'll learn the skills you need to create games as a programmer or artist for each platform from in-house staff with games and external mentors from the games industry. You will work in teams to produce a mobile game for iOS and Android, and a PlayStation4 console game.  This will simulate both the Indie and AAA game development experience.

With mentoring from course leaders Iain Harrison and Alex Darby, they will work in teams to produce a 2D game, followed by a 3D console game, before a final six-month production period where they'll produce a PlayStation3 game.

Further studies

Birmingham School of Media – part of the University – offers opportunities for students interested in taking their research interests forward into an MPhil or PhD.

 

Founded by:

The course was founded by Oliver Williams (Gamer Camp Studio Director) and Guy Wilday, former Studio Director at SEGA Racing Studio (SEGA Rally) and Head of Studio at Codemasters (Colin McRae Rally).

Enhancing employability skills

The Gamer Camp courses have been designed in consultation with some of the UK's most successful games companies to completely prepare you for working in a development studio through simulating a development team project from start to finish.

Students on the MA specialise in a specific video games art disciplines and, on completing the course, are ready for job roles as; GUI/FX, environment, character, concept and technical artist or animator.

Students on the MSc specialise in specific video games programming disciplines and, on completing the course, are ready for jobs as tools, graphics, UI/FX, physics and gameplay programmers.

Feedback from Students

"Gamer Camp was an absolute turning point in my life to get to where I am today. I lacked confidence and direction in what I was doing and Gamer Camp gave me the opportunity to channel myself into something defined, challenging and rewarding"

- Nick Wilby, Graduate MSc Video Games Development 2013-14 now Generalist Programmer at Ubisoft Montreal studio in Canada

"Gamer Camp left me with a solid platform of skills, industry connections and experience which lead to fantastic opportunities working within indie studios and pitching mobile game products, ultimately enabling me to pursue my career as a character artist" 

- Simon Foster, Graduate MA Video Games Development 2011-12 now Character Artist at Sega Hardlight Studios

Feedback from Employers

"Gamer Camp is great preparation for a career in games. The opportunities students have gained through the programme are endless"

David Stephen, Managing Director of Feral Interactive Limited

"PlayStationFirst works in partnership with select universities in the UK and Europe as we see the development of new development talent in the UK crucial to the continued success of our European studios and the wider video games industry

Dr. Maria Stukoff, Head of Academic Development at Sony Computer Entertainment Europe

Placements

You’ll get the opportunity to take part in a short placement during the Easter break as part of your course. There is also the opportunity for a longer three-month placement at the end of the course for professional development.

OpportUNIty

OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

Graduate jobs

Students leaving Gamer Camp course have gone onto work with many of the industry’s biggest names. Roles secured by our graduates include Concept Artist at Sony Evolution Studios, Character Artist at Sega Hardlight Studios, Associate Producer at Spicy Horse Games, and Environmental Artist at Rockstar. MA and MSc students have also set up their own studios.

International Students

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.

BCUIC

BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Popular home countries

Our students come from around the world but our visual communication course is most popular with international students from:

Gamer camp course facilities
NTI students
NTI foyer
Gamer camp Mindugas Play

The New Technology Institute (NTI) is a part of Birmingham City University's City Centre Campus at University House.

We help you learn a specific discipline such as digital marketing, programming or art and put that discipline into practice by offering flexible teaching space, dedicated development studios and open access work areas for group projects, as well as course-specific facilities.

Gamer Camp

  • Dedicated games development studio space.
  • Apple and Android target devices.
  • One high spec PC for game development per code and art student and high spec laptop per business student. As a Gamer Camp student you have your own PC and desk in a games development studio.
  • Wacom Cinetiq graphics tablets for selected art roles, such concept, GUI and character.
  • PlayStation 4 development and test kits. We were one of only five universities in Europe to receive PS4 Dev at launch.
  • PlayStation VITA development and test kits.
  • Perforce Source Control.
  • Hansoft Project Management software.

Interactive Entertainment

  • High spec PC laptop (Games Development and Digital Art), which is available to keep if you complete the course.
  • MacBookAir laptop (Digital Marketing), which is available to keep if you complete the course.
  • Dedicated studio space for projects.

Future Media and Film Futures

  • Access to dedicated studio space including iMac computers to deliver projects with external clients.
  • IMDB Pro.

Oliver Williams

NTI Birmingham Associate Director

Oliver is Associate Director at the New Technology Institute (NTI), an industry-facing school within Birmingham School of Media that specialises in developing industry-led academic courses. He is also the Studio Director for Gamer Camp, a Masters-level video game development programme.

Oliver’s 16-year career spans product development, project management, software development, marketing, management and solution selling. He is an expert in project managing complex interactive media products.

Iain Harrison

Course Director for Gamer Camp: Pro

Iain Harrison is a Senior Lecturer and Studio Manager at Birmingham City University’s NTI Birmingham, working as part of the Gamer Camp team teaching the MA/MSc in Video Games Development.

Graduating from Coventry University in 1997, Iain joined the team at the end of August 2011 and oversees the development of game artists on Gamer Camp. Currently, he is working on providing a more structured development process for trainees; by helping them focus on the skills needed to become a first-class artist.

Guy Wilday

Gamer Camp Industry Consultant

Guy was formerly the Studio Director at SEGA Racing Studio (Sega Rally) as well as Head of Studio at Codemasters (Colin McRae Rally). He is currently Development Director at Sony London Studio and heads the Gamer Camp Video Games Advisory Board.

Zafar Qamar

Zafar Qamar

Senior Lecturer/Technical Director for Gamer Camp and Interactive Entertainment

Zafar Qamar is a Senior Lecturer and the Technical Director at Birmingham City University’s NTI Birmingham, working as part of the Gamer Camp team teaching the MA/MSc in Video Games Development and BSc in Interactive Entertainment (Games Development).

Graduating from University of Birmingham in the 90’s, Zafar went on to have a successful career in video games for more than 20 years working for companies including; Psygnosis, Codemasters, FreeStyleGames. Zafar has worked on several titles; Hostile Waters, Cold Winter, F1 2010, 50 Cent Blood on the Sand, Blur Overdrive. He recently joined the NTI team in December 2014 and oversees the development of game programmers on Gamer Camp and Interactive Entertainment. Currently, he is lecturing on two levels, for Postgraduates and Undergraduates and helps students focus on the skills needed to become first-class programmers.

"Anyone can play games, or download Apps on their smartphones and tablets and play on them or use them. This is analogous to reading. But how do you write? As technology exponentially develops, the gap between people being able to read and those being able to write is widening.
I’ve always loved computers since the age of 12 when my brother bought a “cutting-edge” 48K Sinclair Spectrum! I want to share my knowledge going all the way back to old-skool retro-games like Pong and Asteroids and vector-based displays all the way up to cutting-edge full HD games of nowadays."

"I love programming, I love mathematics and I love creating games and apps software. I now love sharing those skills with others and injecting my enthusiasm into them and preparing them to jump straight into the games-industry, or even becoming proficient enough to develop their own games studios."

Zafar’s role as Senior Lecturer on Gamer Camp consists of managing the numerous trainees on the course, making sure they are working at an appropriate level that is coherent across all bases. Each trainee on the course is required to meet real briefs in order to enhance their skills as a game developer. Zafar expects a high level of professionalism from all the trainees having previously worked through many games studios from Codemasters, FreeStyleGames and AppCrowd going all the way back to old veteran studios such as Sony/Psygnosis in Liverpool, and Rage Software/Swordfish Studios in Birmingham.

"I’ve had some great times in the games industry and it’s been a real pleasure working with some extremely talented and lovely people."

"In the olden days we had computers that were ‘all-in-one’ units like the BBC Micro, or Commodore64. You just plugged them into a TV. When you switched them on then after a few seconds they prompted you to start typing something in to them. This seemed quite encouraging to make the users type on their keyboards. Nowadays people switch on their PCs or MACs and start clicking things with a mouse.

If you want to learn how to program then there are literally hundreds of ways to do it, all of them requiring you to install some large application or having to go to particular websites. There are many questions from the outset:

  • Which language? C/C++/C#/Java/JavaScript/other?
  • Which application?
  • Which version of Visual Studio?
  • Which development platform? PC/Mac/other?
  • Which Target platform? PC/Mac/Xbox/Playstation/Android phone/Apple iPhone/Microsoft Windows Phone/other?
  • Should I create native programs or can I create something cross-platform (so that it works on multiple platforms without having to re-write it)?
  • Is there a good game-engine/framework/library that I can use/purchase? Unreal Engine/Unity/Marmalade/Xamarin/other?

So you can see there are many questions to answer before you’ve even started. This presents a bit of a hurdle for anyone wanting to have a ‘quick go’ at programming!"

"Here at Gamer Camp we teach great programming development methodologies based on decades of professional experience, and keep it up to date with the latest technologies, all whilst steering clear of the many bottlenecks and pitfalls that seem to present themselves around us. Work smart and hard."

Alex Darby

Gamer Camp Guest Lecturer

Alex was a founding member of FreeStyleGames, the creators and developers of DJ Hero. His first industry job was as a Prototyping Programmer for Codemasters in 1996, and he has since worked as both a Lead Designer and a Lead Programmer. He currently works as an Indie Developer.

UK prospective students:

UK enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5595

EU / International prospective students:

International enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5389

Already applied?

Email the applications team

+44 (0)121 331 6295