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BA (Hons) Game Arts — Overview

The UK games industry is the largest in Europe – and is responsible for creating some of the most recognisable games in the world.

Simultaneously, gaming and virtual reality now increasingly extend beyond play, becoming part of the fabric of everyday life.

Fantasy landscapes by Will Roberts.

Game Arts is concerned with realising the spread of new ideas about social and democratic design, and our programme will put you ahead of the field in this area. 

You’ll gain a comprehensive understanding of these issues and a wide overview of the commercial entertainment industry. During this three-year programme, you’ll develop the specialist skills to create your own original computer games in both 2D and 3D. 

We encourage students to work collaboratively on industry set live briefs.

With these skills, you’ll interpret gaming technology creatively and artistically, to come up with your own original game concepts. We’ll introduce you to cutting-edge technology that will bring your ideas to life. 

You’ll learn the complete artistic processes – from sketching and developing concepts to creating 2D animated sprites and tillable content to prototyping gameplay. 

Members of the public explore student designed and made games at our Best of Summer Show exhibition in the Gallery.

Students will also learn how to work with VR technology, creating assets and content for 3D game engines and using 3D modelling to create concepts and environments as a team for virtual reality worlds. 

The programme will also see you explore sound production, narrative structuring, character development and animation techniques. 

Students exhibit work to industry professionals at our annual Summer Show.

What will I achieve?

From day one we’ll help you work towards a career in game arts or an associated area. And we’ll instil in you a confident and independent approach to creative working methods.

 

Within the more mainstream games segment, UK-produced titles such as Grand Theft Auto, Little Big Planet, Fable and Batman: Arkam.

 

BA (Hons) Game Arts — Highlights:

  • Find new ways to express your visions virtually. 
  • Leave primed for employment in both AAA and Indie companies, with a rounded understanding of the game arts industry. 
  • Develop a high level of skills in both 3D and 2D, gaining the fundamental skills to develop your personal creative approach. 
  • Learn about the latest game industry software, so that you leave industry-ready. 
  • Attend national gaming events EGX, EGX Rezzed and the Develop:Brighton conference.
  • You’ll also have the opportunity to attend the international animation, gaming and VR conference FMX in Stuttgart, with our Animation students.

Have a question for our team? Email: GAMEARTS@pca.ac.uk

BA (Hons) Game Arts — Modules

Year One

BAGA101 – Asset Creation

This module will cover the skills needed for students to creatively produce game ready assets using 3D polygon modelling. It is a core vocational 3D skill needed towards developing computer games for both indie and AAA titles. Students will be introduced to the possibilities of 3D modelling in the context of game asset creation. This process also contains preproduction process and should have a portfolio artwork at its core. This modules skills and knowledge could be a major strand to underpin the 3D route for developing the final year project at level 6, year 3.

BAGA102 – Game Play Creation

This module will explore game play theory towards a practical outcome. The theories learned should underpin much of the practical skills taught in BA (Hons) Game Arts. It will give students the opportunity to explore the theory of play and underpin their practice with a sound knowledge of both real world and virtual game types. These game ideas will be simple digital prototypes introducing digital students to game architecture and game environment. In the final year students will create an interactive game artefact for which this module will be crucial.

BAGA103 – Drawing for Game Arts

The module develops observational skills, 2D visualisation processes and other visual communication techniques to aid the design/preproduction process involved in developing game arts.

This module underpins the core idea generation and preproduction process involved within all the practical modules in BA (Hons) Game Arts. It will instil confidence in the student to communicate with traditional manual and digital drawing/design process.

BAGA104 – Professional Practice 1

Exploration into the vocational opportunities that will be available to the students through the completion of the BA (Hons) Game Arts. Develop a clear understanding of personal relationships with the computer games industry and other related creative areas. Engage in entrepreneurial practice to develop a wider understanding of the employment possibilities as a games artist.

BCOP100 – Contexts of Practice 1

This module will introduce students to key theories and will provide a range of critical approaches supporting the investigation, interpretation and analysis of contemporary creative practices. Students will study a range of ideas and concepts that have shaped the way that we understand, engage with, produce and consume art, design and media products. Students will develop core research and communication skills to help them to articulate and contextualise their understanding of the themes covered in this module. The knowledge gained in this module will support your creative practice by developing and understanding the relationship between thinking and making.

BAIS300 – Interdisciplinary Studies

This module provides an opportunity to expand and develop skills and knowledge in fields beyond the immediate programme environment, in subject areas which are nonetheless relevant to your personal career aspirations, and which have the potential to develop new horizons and feedback into future modules. Students will engage in an elective offered by a discipline outside of your own. Electives may include: drawing, costume accessories, live art, printmaking, curatorial practice, web design, interactive media, creative writing, studio or location photography, underwater imaging, film making, contemporary crafts, textiles, & fashion marketing and promotion.

Year Two

BAGA201 – Character Creation

The module will engage the students in the exploration of character design, creation and animation; the character will be the central player in a game world. The module will expand on the use of a range of game industry software in the conception and build of an original character. Students will be encouraged to create innovative and sophisticated character designs through a clear production line. The module will introduce animation techniques to add life and context to the character’s actions. This character (high poly) or characters (low poly) will be structured to perform effectively in a designated game engine.

BAGA202 – Level Creation

The module will explore game/level creation in computer games. It builds on the skills and knowledge learnt in Game Play Theory and Practice and will develop the creative and practical skills needed when creating computer games for both the indie games companies and AAA games companies. This will be the core module to underpin the final major creative project in Level 6.

BAGA203 – Professional Practice 2

This module builds on the experiences of Level 4 BAGA104 Professional Practice 1 and offers students the opportunity to inform their understanding of their own personal and professional development. Through research into the professional concerns which are relevant to individual interests within the creative industries, external cultural environment and communities of practice. It will run concurrently with other Level 5 modules and will inform their broader practical development and will provide a theoretical and contextual understanding of the level of professionalism required to build a career and make a living and continue to engage them with their own development.

GCOP200 – Contexts of Practice 2

This module extends and develops the themed ideas, concepts and critical discourses introduced in Contexts of Practice 1. This themed approach encourages students to make considered and appropriate links between their area of practice and wider contextual and interdisciplinary discourses.

It will continue to develop critical approaches to research, which will inform the understanding of the relationship between context and practice. Students will undertake a contextual research project that links the thematic focus of their particular seminar series to their area of game studies, which culminates in an illustrated research project.

Year Three

BAGA301 – Research and Experimentation

Reflecting on previous Level 4 and 5 studies the students will consolidate on the best use of acquired skills and knowledge to choose a project theme so as to best present personal development and aspire to gaining future aspirations. This module will give them the opportunity to research, present and test out concepts.

The module will be broken into two parts. Firstly a period of research that will underpin the independent final major project. This will be presented in a preproduction document that organises and structures the whole project. The second part is based on demonstrating that the project is achievable via the production of a body of proof of process covering all areas of the final project.

BAGA302 – Creative & Professional Development

Students will apply an original aesthetic towards best presenting the initial concept. They will research the branding of an original visual style to communicate and stand out in a crowded market place. This module will enable students to use personal career ambitions to position themselves for progression to employment, self-employment or to post-graduate study.  It will provide multiple opportunities for students to assimilate previous industry experiences and research into both contextual subject matter and creative outcomes of the final year modules. The module will encourage consideration of audiences, end-users and relevant markets.  

BAGA303 – Creative & Professional Conclusion

This module represents the culmination of a self-initiated or self-selected project begun in both BAGA301 and BAGA302. This Level 6 module also synthesises both Level 4 and 5 skills and the understanding acquired throughout the entirety of the student’s study on the programme. It builds upon their previous achievements culminating in a final body of work for exhibition.

As such this body of work will demonstrate depth of understanding, creative innovation, aesthetic, conceptual and technical skills, and will be supported by the production of a portfolio of self-promotional materials relating to personal professional aspirations.

BAGA304 – Contexts of Practice 3

The purpose of this module is to culminate the development of independent critical thinking in conjunction with the students practice. So as students can clarify their understanding and position themselves as a creative practitioner by situating creative practice within a wider set of theoretical contexts. Working with increased autonomy, the student will develop a research project that aims to synthesise the relationship between contextual theory and practice to develop critical awareness and an understanding of art & design in its widest context. The intention is to embed and extend critical thinking into the students practice with an informed rationale and to position themselves as contemporary practitioners.

BA (Hons) Game Arts — Staff

Martial Bugliolo: Programme Leader
 
Martial Bugliolo, Programme Leader

Martial is BA (Hons) Game Arts Programme Leader at Plymouth College of Art, his teaching practice was subsequently awarded ‘Outstanding’ after the review – his way of teaching e-learning was highlighted along with just five others throughout the country.

Following on from his exemplary practice – using Blended Learning and Game Based learning techniques to create accessible videos of his lectures to help enhance the lecture and materials associated.

Interests include the creation of trans-disciplinary in new media that explores authenticity and creativity within augmented environments. His main area of expertise has been investigating how it can improve its systems by identifying future technologies that may enhance them. Martial started teaching at PCA in 2003.

Robert Naylor: Lecturer

Rob develops traditional and digital drawing skills towards a fluent 2D language for Game Art. This contains levels of conceptual development from initial idea generation through to final concept art. He successfully transfers traditional model-making skills into sculpting in digital space using ZBrush to create 3D Game Assets. Rob promotes imaginative concept art through a broad range of research and image reference gathering. Thus film, television and games, SF/Fantasy book cover art/illustration, the graphic novel/comic book, story boarding, manga and anime, as well as more traditional art and design forms are all utilised as sources of inspiration.

James A Brown: Lecturer

James is a lecturer in BA (Hons) Design for Games, Extended Diploma in Interactive Media and Game Arts, and Painting, Drawing and Printmaking at Plymouth College of Art. His main areas of expertise are teaching Practice in context, with a background in the history of art and art criticism. James is an active researcher in subjects relating to theories of play, particularly regarding video games.

James is also currently researching his PhD in Cultural Theory, specifically focusing on social and cultural changes in 1990s Britain and their effects on art criticism.  James also writes on art history and criticism extensively and has been published on a range of subjects and co-writes an art critical blog. 

For further Information and links to academic papers, see http://plymouth.academia.edu/JamesBrown

Luke West: Lecturer

Luke specialises in delivering the key digital software skills needed for animation and games production digital and traditional. This includes programs like 3D Studio Max, Adobe Photoshop, Premiere, Flash and After Effects.

Whilst undertaking his PGCE placement at Plymouth College of Art, his enthusiasm for teaching and positive feedback from students led him to apply for the post of technical demonstrator. In 2011 he became a member of the animation and games programmes, encouraging students to incorporate into their work the full potential of digital design.

BA (Hons) Game Arts — Student Work

Student work by Rachel Woods

Student work by Mohamud M Aden

Student work by Will Roberts

Student work by Lewis Colman

Student work by Will Roberts

3D printed model by James Dyer

3D printed model by Stefan Stoev

Student work by Andy Cole

Student work by Chris Rose

Student work by Chris Rose

Student work by Bonnie Simpson

Student work by Peter Cox

Student work by Will Roberts

Student work by Tom Lawrence

Student work by Rebecca Churches

Student work by Katherine Chisholm

Student work by Mohamud M Aden

BA (Hons) Game Arts — Students Say


Laura Varga – BA (Hons) Game Arts

"I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it from the very beginning. We draw and do digital 3D modelling from day one. As a mature student I’ve made lovely friendships with younger students – it’s a nice mixture and people are open-minded. We get lots of support from the tutors and technicians – they even set up extra skills workshops when we asked for them."

 

James Dyer – BA (Hons) Game Arts

"You don’t get that experience at school. It’s more hands-on here and that helps you decide what to specialise in. We’re learning about audio for games, traditional and digital drawing, gaming, and conceptual design and presentation techniques. There are so many specialist skills needed for Games Design that we need to collaborate to double our expertise. Teamwork is really important to us."

BA (Hons) Game Arts — Careers & Alumni

Students will benefit from a programme of visiting lectures and artists, hearing from creative directors, 3D modellers, freelance games artists, coders and more.

The reality of the games-making world is built into everything we do. We will encourage you to collaborate effectively on live industry-led projects, meet practising designers and participate in study visits, external commissions, national competitions and exhibitions.

The South West is becoming increasingly important in games development and construction, with Plymouth currently planning a new digital hub as part of The Market Hall regeneration project – a dynamic centre for digital arts, research and culture set to open up exciting new opportunities.

There is also the possibility of studying abroad for a semester or a year at one of our Erasmus partner universities.

Graduates become:

  • Game Artists in both AAA and Indie companies
  • Experts in automotive and architectural 3D visualisation
  • Concept artists
  • Animators
  • 3D modelers
  • Indie game developers

Recent graduates:

Jack Eaves - Concept Artist - Rebellion working on Sniper Elite 4 and Until Dawn

Henry South - Texture Artist - Industrial Light and Magic worked on Star Wars, Rogue One, The Hulk (San Francisco, Singapore, Vancouver & London)

Steve Cronin - Character Artist (ZBrush) - Creative Assembly (Horsham, West Sussex)

Tim Nguyen - User Interface Designer (GUI) - Creative Assembly (Horsham, West Sussex)

Fred Fritzpatrick - Strike Game Labs (Plymouth)

Jonathan Vigurs - Texture Artist at 4J Studios - Mojag Minecraft

Mark Ashbourne - 3D Artist and Sound/ Audio Engineer - Realistic Games (Reading, Berkshire)

Stefan Stoev - Character Creation, Hungary

Graham Watson - Creative Director - Remode & Real Visual (VR Company, Plymouth & Watford, London)

Alex Young - HTC/Vive (UK)

Patrick Sweeting - Front End Developer - Core Blue (Plymouth)

Oliver Curtis - Level Designer Tripmine Studio

Simon Wong - Concept Art and Illustration Artist - Vorpal Games Ltd (Manchester)

Kris Kosunen - Community Manager - HTC/Vive (UK)

Sam Hassens -Technical Artist at Blippar

‘Careers in the Curriculum’ at Plymouth College of Art = The Three E’s (Employment, Entrepreneurship and Enterprise):

Through consistent, embedded participation in professional practice throughout your studies, you will have the opportunity to engage with the key professional, transferrable skills for employability in the creative industries and potentially working in partnership with other sectors either locally, regionally, nationally or internationally.

From writing and making the most of your CV to curating, exhibiting, or volunteering, the acquisition of professional skills has been designed and written in to the programmes of study by staff teams with ‘real world’ experiences and supported through engagement with Industry Liaison Groups, who help inform the development of the higher education curriculum.

BA (Hons) Game Arts — Entry Requirements

Minimum 5 GCSEs, grade C or above, from a general range of educational GCSE subjects, preferably including at least one from Art, Design, Textiles or Media.
200 UCAS Points

BTEC National Diploma - MMP grade
VDA: AGNVQ, AVCE, AVS
Access to HE Art and Design
Irish/Scottish Highers/Advanced Highers
International Baccalaureate
Other International Qualifications

Applications welcome from candidates without formal qualifications who can provide evidence of their creativity.

BA (Hons) Game Arts — Resources

All of our students have access to a wide range of facilities and specialist equipment and through our programme, you’ll get to use studios packed with industry standard 2D, 3D and animation kit. 

Our Game Arts programme is delivered via lectures, practical studio-based activities in dedicated teaching spaces, and online through a virtual learning environment.

Facilities at the college include:


Animation, Film and Photography Studios

Our students make full use of our industry-standard dedicated studio spaces – including our infinity cove, green screen, and specialist sound studio (with Foley pit and vocal recording booth) – plus our stop-motion suite, our darkrooms, and plenty of individual edit suites, all up-to-date with the latest industry-standard software.

Our FabLab.

Drawing Studios

With north-facing windows, a ‘methods and process’ area, individual studio space and a specialist life-drawing studio, our impressive, open-plan, triple-height Drawing Studio is a huge space, perfect for many different activities and specialisms.

FabLab

Our ‘fabrication laboratory’ is kitted-out with the latest in digital design technologies – from 3D printers to 3D scanners, a vinyl cutter, CNC milling machine, CNC router and laser cutter. It adds a whole new level of opportunity for students across all creative walks of life.

Our Mac Suite.

The Print Lab and Equipment Resource Centre

The Print Lab offers affordable and quick print services for all our students who are looking for anything from large-format or solvent printing, to photo printing, scanning or vinyl cutting, and a wide range of finishing services. And our highly experienced Equipment Resource staff can advise you on which of our 6,000 pieces of industry-standard kit – from underwater cameras to traditional large format cameras and all free to hire – will best meet your needs.

Our FabLab.

Our Ceramics Studios.

Our Equipment Resource Centre.

UCAS Code: W281 Full Time
Part Time

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