Video Game Enterprise, Production and Design - MSc

Attendance:
Full Time
Starting:
September 2017
Campus:
NTI Birmingham
Fees:
£8,900 for UK/EU Full Time 2017 entry (view all fees)

Serious about working in games? Then enrol at the industry endorsed finishing school for games developers and artists.

MSc Video Game Enterprise, Production and Design (Gamer Camp: Biz) has been created in partnership with the likes of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, Codemasters, Rare and Exient. It provides experience of working to deadlines as part of multi-disciplined, project team to produce playable games to a professional standard.

You will work in a simulated studio environment over full-time office hours, four days a week, on real game briefs set with one or more of our partner developers.

It's a winning formula, with mentoring from industry veterans and support from leading game development teams.  Recent graduates from Gamer Camp are employed by companies including TT Games, Creative Assembly, Ubisoft, Codemasters and Rockstar Games.

What's covered in the course?

If your ambition is to work as a video games designer, games producer and/or entrepreneur, you will need serious design knowledge, and managerial and business know-how to help lead a game to its completion. Although you will not be coding or creating art assets on a daily basis, it is vital that you have a comprehensive and realistic understanding of the game development process, and how all the disparate elements operate and come together. This is what makes you an effective ‘T’-Skills candidate.

On Gamer Camp: Biz you'll get specialist training, mentoring and support from our staff who all have vast industry experience as game developers, having worked in design, production, art, programming and even running their own business. Staff come from such big-name developers as Eurocom, Electronic Arts and Freestyle Games, while Programme Director Zuby Ahmed founded his own company, SmashMouth Games. The course is delivered in a series of ‘boot camps’ followed by one-to-one support, studio based game development and project delivery.

Starting with the fundamentals of video games code, art and design, you will build upon these creative skills to teach you how game development teams are managed and how complex processes, ideas and personalities can combine to create a successful games product.

Teaching takes place in a modern production studio based in Birmingham City Centre where you’ll be provided with studio space to complete projects, with access to the facilities and software you’ll need for the duration of the course. As and where possible students are also given work experience opportunities, previously these have included studios such as SmashMouth Games, Codemasters and Exient.

“I have been in the industry for almost 2 years now and the Gamer Camp Biz course definitely helped me gain the necessary experience and understanding of the role. Following the course I was able to get several interviews including getting to the final round of the Ubisoft graduate scheme before I got my position at TT Games.” Toby Jennings, Gamer Camp Biz 2014 Graduate. Junior Project Co-ordinator at Travellers Tales Games

Why Choose Us?

  • The course will show you how to project manage the delivery of complex, creative and technically challenging video game products, and explain the business models available to generate income from games.
  • Gamer Camp has been recognised as one of the top games courses in the UK, highlighted in the Livingstone-Hope Next-Gen report. Gamer Camp is part of the Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Academic Advisory Board.
  • The course has been designed to give you an understanding and experience of game development roles in design, production, and business start-up, where you will also have a window looking how programming, art and audio design work within development.
  • You will learn in a realistic game development studio environment using NTI Birmingham's facilities. You will make a number of small scale games and a large scale game, on platforms such as PC, tablet/mobile and console, in collaboration with our industry partners which include Sony London Studio, Codemasters, Rare, Exient, Natural Motion and Mediatonic.
  • You will gain a real qualification, leaving with an MSc in Video Game Enterprise, Production and Design.
  • As you go through the course you may find opportunities to set up your own business or work at a partner company; we will endeavour to help you to get to where you want to be in your professional career.
  • Graduates have gone onto to work for companies such as Rockstar Games, Creative Assembly, Sega, Codemasters and Sony.
Visit our open day

Postgraduate Open Day

Our next Postgraduate Open Day will be on Wednesday 26 April 2017, between 2pm and 7pm. Come along to find out more about our courses and see our facilities. You can't book your place just yet, but register your interest and we'll send you an email when you can book.

Register your interest

This course is open to International students

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

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New £10,000 postgraduate loans

You may be able to take advantage of the government’s plans to make loans of up to £10,000 available for postgraduate study.

More about postgraduate loans

Entry Requirements

UK students
Essential

Passion for games

Positive attitude

Confidence to run a business and / or creative technical software development team

Comfortable user of Windows or Mac OS applications

Desired, but not essential

Experience of web or software coding (HTML, Java, C, C++, C#)

Experience of art asset creation using Adobe Creative Suite, Maya, 3DS Max or ZBrush

Game development experience

Degree related to games, programming, art, business, management, marketing, law, economics or design.

In addition to the above, international (non-EU) students also require:

International students
Essential English Language Requirements

English – IELTS 6.5 (no less than 6.0 in any bands)

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
MSc Sep 2017 FT 1 year £8,900

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

International Students

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

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

You will need to apply online direct to the university for this course. A link to the form will be available soon as well as details of the course fee. We'd like to send you an email once the link is available to save you checking back - just sign up for an update.

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.

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.

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.

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 for some courses and options?

Postgraduate loans

Modules

Small Scale Video Game Research and Planning

You will experience and complete the research and concept phase of a small-scale video game project. Following the design process at the concept phase of product development to the research stage, applying ideas at a synthesis stage and finally refining and applying your ideas. Your projects will mirror industry practice and involve co-operation and team work with programmers, designers and producers.

Small Scale Video Game Development

The purpose of this module is to bring together art, code, production and design students into a game development team and give them the opportunity to work collaboratively to produce a releasable small-scale video (Indie) game. You will be taught both industry standard discipline techniques focusing on specific skills, as well as broad skills covering teamwork, communication and estimating.

Large-scale Video Game Research and Enterprise Practice

You will complete the research and concept phase of a co-ordinated yet adaptive large-scale video game project, while simultaneously generating ideas for a business plan to pitch to high level stakeholders. This process will enhance your project management framework for game development, and introduces industry approaches to assessment and evaluation. The project mirrors industry practice and requires extensive co-operation and team work within a large art team and wider development group (programmers, designers and producers).

Large-scale Video Game Prototype

Bringing art, code, production and design students together into a game development team, you will work collaboratively to produce a prototype for a large-scale (Triple A) game on either console, PC or connected devices. If the completed prototype is of an appropriate standard it can be further developed into a demo for a AAA product which will act as a powerful asset on a student CV.

Final Major Project – Video Game Production

In this module, the design and production team will be invited to assist the high level stakeholders and together with the Gamer Camp Pro students, you will originate, execute and deliver a full ‘vertical slice’ console game. Typically this is the type of title commonly described as AAA (Triple A) title. This experience will consolidate your mastery of key skills as well as engagement with current opportunities in the field.

Course Structure

The MSc Video Game Enterprise, Production and Design programme focuses on professional game development so that you can work as an effective team member within the remit of games design or games production. You may even wish to investigate ways of setting up your own studio with the knowledge and skills you learn from the programme. In summary, the course offers students:

  • PG Certificate- Semester One
  • Small Scale Project- Mobile
  • PG Diploma- Semester Two
  • Large Scale Project- PS4 Console & Enterprise Development
  • Master of Arts/Science- Semester Three
  • Final Major Project - PS4 Console and/ or Placement/ Start up:

This is so that on completing the programme students will have the opportunity to pursue careers in the following: 

  • Producer / Associate Producer
  • Game Designer (Component, 2D/3D Spatial/Level, Analyst)
  • Mission Scripter/Technical Designer
  • Publishing
  • Business Start-up and Business Development

Classroom hours

Gamer Camp: Biz is a real studio environment.  There are neither traditional exams nor lengthy dissertations, instead you'll work full-time hours (9.30am-4.30pm, Monday to Thursday) over 11 months.

Each module on Gamer Camp is dedicated to ensuring you have the understanding and skills to tackle the challenges of professional game development.  The dedicated teaching weeks at the beginning of each module will give you a broad appreciation of process and methodology, combined with regular tutorials from both our industry veteran teaching staff and also where possible our external mentors from the game industry.

From module to module you’ll be working in teams to design and produce a number of different games. Here you'll learn the skills needed in key disciplines to develop for platforms such as PC, tablet/mobile and console.  This will simulate both the Indie and AAA game development experience.

Together, this hands on experience and one to one mentoring will give you the expertise needed for a career in game development.

This is all about you, your professional development, your pursuit of perfection and your proven application of knowledge to practice through an intense game development experience that showcases your expertise, talent and professionalism.

Classroom activities

Overview: a single screen 2D puzzle platformer

Your team has been inspired by Manic Miner decides to reimagine the classic game for today's gamer using touch interface on Tablet devices. The game will have a themed level structure with each themed level consisting of a group of levels (see Angry Birds), minimum one batch of levels with a coherent theme. There will be a three-star rating for how successful the player is at completing the level.

Key Features

  • Single screen game play area
  • A level start position and exit position
  • Platform puzzles drive the gameplay
  • Player must collect key(s) or other items to unlock the exit
  • Event driven gameplay mechanic, such as switches making platforms move / doors open
  • Different platforms will have different behaviours, such as quicksand, travelator or, trampoline
  • Enemy characters need to be either avoided or destroyed to reach exit
  • Enemy characters can be destroyed by jumping on them
  • Simple touch and swipe controls. For example, press on left of tablet to walk left, press right to walk right, swipe up to jump up, swipe up left to jump up left…
  • Easy to understand scoring system for example time, pick ups, enemies defeated, or specific objectives
  • Theme, characters and enemies to be defined by the team. The art team are encouraged to present some options to choose from.

Some of our past games include: GodsendPictassoBaggage Reclaim and Tubby Toucan.

Professional associations:

We are members of both the video games trade associations, Ukie and TIGA (The Independent Games Developers Association). 

We are also a PlayStation First institution and a very active member of the Sony Academic Alliance.

Trips and visits

During module sprint reviews there will be opportunities for industry guests to attend ‘milestone review’ sessions, to review and provide feedback on your work and suggest directions for further development.

During your final major project you will have a number of choices to complete a major portfolio piece, which may require you to go off-site to visit key stakeholders as and when required.

  • the opportunity to work on-site to complete the large-scale game, which will have industry steer
  • the opportunity to work on-placement within a live development studio, working within either a design or production discipline
  • the opportunity to set up your own business and immediately start developing your own product(s). 

Employment Opportunities

The Gamer Camp Biz course directly answers the industry call for “T-skilled” workers in thecreative media industry, (Skillset. Strategic Skills Assessment for the Creative Media Industry, London. 2009: 20). Here professional employability is defined by proficiency across disciplines and specialist expertise within them. 

The course seeks to develop students into T-Shaped art professionals complete with a keenly practiced ability who can work with others in a creative and technology constrained development team. This is the type of adaptive, reflective and capable professional the industry requires.

“There is a shortage of new people in the industry equipped with ‘T-skills’ - highly specialised in one core field, but with broad skills and knowledge to utilise their specialism across teams and platforms” - Skillset, December 2009 Strategic Skills Assessment for the Creative Media Industry. London: Skillset

Broad Attributes and Knowledge developed may include but is not limited to

  •          Team work and communication
  •          Project management and delivery
  •          Agile project delivery and Scrum
  •          Estimating
  •          Critical analysis and evaluation
  •          Reflection and adaptation
  •          Client handling
  •          Global appreciation

With this skill-set, the programme’s graduates have a huge advantage and are often employed by industry soon after finishing the course.

Typically, Gamer Camp: Bizgraduates go on to deliver professional game content in either AAA or indie game development studios.Here they continue their specialist professional development within Game Design, Production or Business & Enterprise within career-focused positions such asMission Scripter/Technical Designer, Publishing and more.


Feedback from Employers

"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

There are opportunities every year for students to work in game development studios.  Working with our industry partners, we are able to offer a short placement* over the Easter break to selected individuals.  During the final phase of your course, you’ll have the opportunity to undertake a three-month placement* as part of your Master’s by Practice.

Previous students have worked at  Codemasters, Sony, Exient and Jagex, with the majority having been offered full-time positions on finishing the course.

*Please note, placements are not guaranteed and are subject to the requirements of our industry partners.

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.

Links to industry

Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE), Codemasters, Rare, Exient, FreeStyleGames, Playground Games, Mediatonic, Natural Motion, MintGames, Lab42, UKIE and Aardvark Swift (recruiters) have all endorsed Gamer Camp, with SCEE kindly supplying PlayStation4 and VITA development kits for the course in the process.

Our partners also kindly offer their time by sending staff to help deliver key discipline specific lectures, sit in on milestone reviews and help mentor students to success.

Graduate jobs

Successful students will be prepared for roles in production and design; more specifically as project managers, scrum masters and assistant producers within the games industry. They will also be able to work in product development, as product owners, as designers/scripters or in game and business analytics, and will also be confident and able to set up their own video games business.

Previous graduates now work in roles including technical designer at Rockstar North, associate producer at Rockstar London, junior product co-ordinator at Travellers Tales Games and asset and process management intern at Nintendo Germany.

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 video game enterprise and production 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.

Two-Year Fast-Track

  • High spec PC laptop (Games Development, Digital Art and Design and Production) for the duration of the course.
  • MacBookAir laptop (Digital Marketing) for the duration of 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.

Zuby Ahmed

Senior Lecturer & Programme Director MSc Video Game Enterprise & Production

Zuby is a seasoned game developer and manager, with a career spanning over 20 years, 15 years of which have been focused within the Games Industry.

Starting as a freelance writer for Edge, Zuby went onto work for Digital Image Design, Warthog Games, and EA Games.

In 2006 Zuby founded SmashMouth Games (SMG), with a focus on making innovative 'pick up & play' games whilst also starting his career in Higher Education as a lecturer. Zuby has taught graduates who have gone on to have successful careers, working for companies which include Sony, Ubisoft, TT Games and Rockstar North.

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.

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."

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