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Video Game Development - MA / MSc

Serious about working in games? Then enrol at the industry endorsed finishing school for games developers and artists. Gamer Camp: Pro (MA and MSc Video Games Development) has been created in partnership with the likes of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, Codemasters, Rare and Exient....

Studying with us in 2021/22

It is possible that the 2021/22 academic year may be affected by the ongoing disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.  Information about the arrangements the University has put in place for the 2021/22 academic year in response to Covid-19 and the emerging variants can be found here.


Should the impact of Covid-19 continue in subsequent years of your course, any additional and/or alternative arrangements put in place by the University in response will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, pandemic-related/health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.

  • Level Postgraduate Taught
  • Study mode Full Time
  • Location City Centre
  • School School of Games, Film and Animation
  • Faculty Faculty of Arts, Design and Media

Overview

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

Gamer Camp: Pro (MA and MSc Video Games Development) has been created in partnership with the likes of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, Codemasters, Rare and Exient.

We aim to help you become the perfect recruit for development studios within the game industry, uniquely combining professional, multidisciplinary game development practice with the latest industry insights and tools.

It's a winning formula. With mentoring from industry veterans and support from leading game development teams, our graduates are prepared for success. Recent graduates are employed by companies including Creative Assembly, Ubisoft and Codemasters.

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

On Gamer Camp: Pro, you'll eat, sleep and breathe game development, receiving intensive tuition from industry pros with experience at big-name developers like Free Radical Design, Electronic Arts and Codemasters.

The course was founded by Oliver Williams (Deputy Head of the Birmingham Institute of Creative Arts) 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. It was developed in partnership with the industry to provide a ‘finishing school’ that produces work-ready graduates with the practical skills they need 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 develop a working game that can be published, and experience every stage of the game development cycle. You will receive real game briefs, training and mentoring from industry partners such as Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, Exient, Mediatonic, Rare and Codemasters.

Working in teams in your own game development studio, 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 the development of a working PlayStation4 game prototype for Sony Computer Entertainment Europe.

“My tutor at Gamer Camp drew from a wealth of industry experience and he provided a level of insight and guidance which was nothing short of excellent. This, coupled with an unparalleled dedication to his student’s success, helped me to gain my first job in the game industry. ” Simon Foster, Character Artist at Sega Hardlight Studio, Gamer Camp graduate 2011 - 12

Why Choose Us?

  • One of the only courses of its kind in Europe, designed to produce ‘work-ready’ graduates for the games industry. We were also one of the first five courses in Europe to be given PlayStation4 development kits, and we are proud members of the Sony Academic Alliance and PlayStation First scheme.
  • You will receive real game briefs, training and mentoring from industry partners such as Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, Codemasters, Rare, Exient, Natural Motion and Mediatonic.
  • You will gain a real qualification, leaving with an MA/MSc in Video Games Development, depending on whether you focus on artwork or programming.
  • Your finished games will be submitted for publication, providing another opportunity to attract the attention of industry and get your name known.
  • You will spend eight months producing a ‘vertical slice’ on PS4, in collaboration with Sony London Studio, using Sony hardware and software.
  • Graduates have gone on to work for companies such as Rockstar Games, Creative Assembly, Sega, Codemasters and Sony.

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

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

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

English – IELTS 6.5 (no less than 6.0 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.

International Students

Entry requirements here

Fees & How to Apply

  • International students

Award: MA

Starting: Sep 2021

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 1 year
  • £9,800 per year
  • Full Time
  • 18 months (including Professional Placement - see below*)
  • £10,800 per year

Award: MSc

Starting: Sep 2021

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 1 year
  • £9,800 per year
  • Full Time
  • 18 months (including Professional Placement - see below*)
  • £10,800 per year

Award: MA

Starting: Sep 2021

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 1 year
  • £14,500 per year
  • Full Time
  • 18 months (including Professional Placement - see below*)
  • £16,000 per year

Award: MSc

Starting: Sep 2021

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 1 year
  • £14,500 per year
  • Full Time
  • 18 months (including Professional Placement - see below*)
  • £16,000 per year

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

Access to computer equipment

You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.

Printing

You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.

Field trips

All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.

Access to Microsoft Office 365

Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.

Key software

You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.

Key subscriptions

Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.

Free access to Rosetta Stone

All students can sign up to the online learning language platform for free through the Graduate+ scheme.

Excess printing (optional)

Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.

Placement expenses (optional)

If you choose to undertake a placement, you'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst living or working away from home.

Accommodation and living costs

The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.

*Professional Placement option

The Professional Placement version of the course is optional and is offered as an alternative to the standard version of the course.

This will allow you to complete a credit bearing, 20 week Professional Placement as an integral part of your Master’s Degree. The purpose of the Professional Placement is to improve your employability skills which will, through the placement experience, allow you to evidence your professional skills, attitudes and behaviours at the point of entry to the postgraduate job market. Furthermore, by completing the Professional Placement, you will be able to develop and enhance your understanding of the professional work environment, relevant to your chosen field of study, and reflect critically on your own professional skills development within the workplace.

You will be responsible for finding and securing your own placement. The University, however, will draw on its extensive network of local, regional and national employers to support you in finding a suitable placement to complement your chosen area of study. You will also benefit from support sessions delivered by Careers+ as well as advice and guidance from your School.

Placements will only be confirmed following a competitive, employer-led selection process, therefore the University will not be able to guarantee placements for students who have registered for the ‘with Professional Placement’ course. All students who do not find a suitable placement or do not pass the competitive selection process will be automatically transferred back to the standard, non-placement version of the course.

Personal statement

Students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.

Your postgraduate personal statement is going to shine a light on your personal experience, academic success, personal skills and any other factors that will support your application for further study.

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

Your passion and motivations

Studying a postgraduate course usually means you want to specialise in something. So what’s driving you?

Why this course?

Show that you’ve researched the course offering. What is it about this particular course that appeals to you? Is it the lecturers? The modules? Etc.

What makes you a good postgraduate candidate?

Tutors want to know that you can handle postgraduate study, so show them how your undergraduate experiences or work life has equipped you for a more advanced level of study. Key areas to address are research and group work but this can vary depending on your chosen course.

Relevant academic or work experience

Add anything relevant that relates back to your chosen course and shows how your skills will contribute towards your learning. What extra-curricular activities have you taken part in? What awards have you won? What employment or voluntary experience do you have that has helped you develop transferable skills? How do these specifically relate to the course you are applying for?

You should also mention your future plans and how a postgraduate qualification fits in. Try to look beyond your postgraduate study – do you plan to jump straight into a specific career or follow your studies with a research degree? Lastly, use plain, professional English and, where possible, utilise the language of your chosen industry.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

Course in Depth

MA modules (Games Artists)

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 180 credits):

The purpose of this module is to give you the opportunity to experience the challenge of completing the research and concept phase of a time constrained, small-scale video game project. You will work in small art teams to research appropriate art styles and comparative game products to define their own unique art style for a video game project.

The purpose of this module is to bring together art, code, production and design students together into a game development team and give them the opportunity to work collaboratively to produce a releasable small-scale video game. Typically this is the type of title commonly described as an ‘indie game’ which is made in a short time frame with a small agile development team. If the completed game is at an appropriate standard the game can be submitted to relevant game stores and act as a published title on a student CV.

The purpose of this module is to give you the opportunity to experience the challenge of completing the research and concept phase of a co-ordinated yet adaptive video game project. You will work in a large art team to research appropriate art styles and comparative game products to define their own unique art style for a video game project. The focus of the module will be on a student’s chosen discipline, for example; environment, concept, character, GUI/UX, animation or technical art.

The purpose of this module is to bring together art, code, production and design students together into a game development team and give them the opportunity to work collaboratively to produce a prototype for a large-scale game on either console, PC or connected devices.

The purpose of the module is to enable you to undertake a sustained, in-depth and theoretically informed research project exploring an area that is of personal interest to you. It is important that we can support you appropriately, so you will be guided towards choosing a research topic which is relevant to your discipline and in which your lecturers have expertise. The outcome may take the form of a written dissertation or a practical outcome with accompanying reflective, critical and contextual material. The main consideration when choosing your topic is that it must be relevant to your programme and you should consider the relevance of this topic to your future academic or professional development.

MSc modules (Programmers)

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 180 credits):

The purpose of this module is to give you the opportunity to experience the challenge of completing the research and prototype phase of a time constrained, small-scale video game project. You will work in small code teams to research appropriate gameplay implementation within a defined framework and to coding standards.

The purpose of this module is to bring together art, code, production and design students together into a game development team and give them the opportunity to work collaboratively to produce a releasable small-scale video game. Typically this is the type of title commonly described as an ‘indie game’ which is made in a short time frame with a small agile development team. If the completed game is at an appropriate standard the game can be submitted to relevant game stores and act as a published title on a student CV.

The purpose of this module is to give you the opportunity to experience the challenge of completing the research and concept phase of a co-ordinated yet adaptive video game project. You will work in a large code team to research appropriate code implementation for framework level game development. The focus of the module will be on low-level programming to enable further development of a largescale video game. Students will look specifically at systems such as player control, game play, AI, graphics and rendering and game framework.

The purpose of this module is to bring together art, code, production and design students together into a game development team and give them the opportunity to work collaboratively to produce a prototype for a large-scale game on either console, PC or connected devices.

The purpose of the module is to enable you to undertake a sustained, in-depth and theoretically informed research project exploring an area that is of personal interest to you. It is important that we can support you appropriately, so you will be guided towards choosing a research topic which is relevant to your discipline and in which your lecturers have expertise. The outcome may take the form of a written dissertation or a practical outcome with accompanying reflective, critical and contextual material. The main consideration when choosing your topic is that it must be relevant to your programme and you should consider the relevance of this topic to your future academic or professional development.

Course structure

You’ll be split into two groups - programmers and artists, and provided with industry-crafted training throughout the course, tailored to your discipline.

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 the concept design process, using Maya for game assets, Z Brush and retopology, plus the correct use of source control and project management. 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- Semester One
  • Small Scale Project- Mobile
  • PG Diploma- Semester Two
  • Large Scale Project- PS4 Console
  • Master of Arts/Science- Semester Three
  • Final Major Project - PS4 Console

Within each phase, you'll learn the skills you need to create games as a programmer or artist for each platform from our in-house game development veterans and external mentors from the game industry.

You will work in teams to produce a mobile game and a PlayStation4 console game. This will simulate both the indie and AAA game development experience.

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

As part of your study you will take part in a largely practical environment as a member of a game design team adhering to project briefs. These briefs are given to your team which you work together to achieve under the guidance of one of our staff as your mentor. Past students have created work that has been published on the iOS store. 


Student work

Some of our past games include:

Employability

Enhancing employability skills

The Gamer Camp: Pro courses directly answer the industry call for “T-skilled” workers in the creative 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.

With this skillset, the programme’s graduates have an advantage and are often employed by industry soon after finishing the course.

Typically, Gamer Camp: Pro graduates at work are delivering professional game content in either AAA or indie game development studios. Here, their choice of MA or MSc award, their final Masters-by-Practice project and continuing specialist professional development will have directed them towards their end career goal:

  • MSc graduates are C++ programming specialists and the course will have helped shape their core discipline within this field.  Whether that be tools, graphics, physics or framework, each programmer will have the skills necessary to work within the highly competitive game development industry.
  • MA graduates as art specialists are frequently employed within a multitude of industry-specific roles.  These range from concept, environment, character and GUI artist positions. The course ensures that each art student focuses on a core art discipline, which ensures they are ready to work within the highly competitive game development industry.

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


Graduate jobs

 Freddie Pitcher

Freddie Pitcher
Junior 3D Artist at Holosphere VR

“If there’s anything potential employers look for most, it’s experience. GamerCamp provides the environment that emulates real-world game studios and offers an opportunity to work within a multi-disciplinary team of Coders, Designers, Artists and Producers.

What I enjoyed most about GamerCamp was the hands-on attitude to the work involved. The best way to learn about the complexities of game development is to simply make games! GamerCamp throws you into a room full of other like-minded individuals with varying specialisms and tells you to make a game.

What you learn as a direct result of the maelstrom that follows is invaluable to anyone wanting a career in game development. I'm currently working as a Junior 3D Artist at a VR company based in Birmingham called HolosphereVR. It's a great place, the work is always interesting and the people are awesome!”

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.

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:

Additional information

Gamer Camp: Pro is defined by the diversity of its students and their continuing professional development in a constantly evolving, global game market. Every continent and culture are represented in every cohort of our graduates: Europe, Middle East, Africa, Russia, India, Asia Pacific and the Americas. This is a mirror of the game industry itself, which has a global reach.

Facilities and Staff

Parkside and Curzon Buildings
NTI-facilities-2
NTI-facilities-3

Our School of Games, Film and Animation is based in the Curzon Building, a £63 million development, located on our City Centre campus.

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.

The School of Games, Film and Animation expressly reserves the right to change the technology, hardware and software used on its undergraduate and postgraduate programmes wholly or partly, at any time and without giving notice.

Our staff

Zuby Ahmed

Programme & Creative Director Video Game Design & 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.

More about Zuby

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 School of Games, Film and Animation, working as part of the Gamer Camp team teaching the MA/MSc in Video Games Development and BSc in Interactive Entertainment (Games Development).

More about Zafar