Sion Lenton

Sion-Lenton-350x263BA (Hons) Video Game Design and BA (Hons) Video Game Digital Art Course Director

Could you tell us about your experience and how this feeds into your courses?

I have over 25 years of game development experience working for AAA developers such as Codemasters and Sega. I started working in video game design and eventually progressed into the production and management side. I have been teaching for over five years at institutions such as the National Film and Television School and Buckinghamshire New University, before joining BCU.

What is the philosophy of your courses?

The main philosophy of the courses is that ‘we learn by doing’. We believe that the best way to learn how to make video games is to make them. As a result, our courses are a great blend of theory and practice, with summer modules providing the opportunity for students to gain first-hand experience working in a multi-discipline team to develop a video game.

If you had to name one thing about your courses that make them distinct, what would it be?

The video game courses are unique as they are two-year fast-track, meaning students gain a degree in just two years. This provides an intensive but rewarding experience, with a clear focus on producing portfolio assets, making our graduates ready for industry on completion of the courses.

Why is Birmingham a good place to study?

One of the huge benefits of studying video games in Birmingham is its prime location with relation to industry. In Birmingham we have several AAA game developers, such as Codemasters, Playground, Ubisoft and Sumo, who are all based near our BCU campus. We have strong links with all of these companies who often join us to review students’ work, and inform us of their employment needs and requirements so we can ensure our graduates have the right skills and experience to pursue a career in the video game industry.

Where will the students be based during their time here and what will their learning environment be?

Video game students are based in the Curzon Building at our City Centre campus which is situated right in the heart of Birmingham and just five minutes’ walk from Moor Street station. You will have access to excellent facilities and specialist equipment and software in our industry standard studio space.

What can students do to help prepare them for the courses?

The best advice for students preparing for the course would be to familiarise themselves with the software and practices. For example, Video Game Design applicants could take a look at Unity and Unreal, whilst Video Game Digital Art applicants could look into 2D and 3D software such as Photoshop and Maya. A great way to do this is to take advantage of the numerous tutorials you can find online to get you up to speed with the best practices for the relevant software.

What’s your favourite element about working at the School of Games, Film and Animation?

The collaboration between the various departments is something that works very well and brings great benefits to our students. There is significant cross over between our Film and Video Games courses and students are always interested in exploring this.