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.

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.

What’s covered in the 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 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 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 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

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 6.5 (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.

UK or EU Students:  £8,900 per year

International Students: £8,900 per year

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 hours

Gamer Camp: Pro 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.

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:

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 AmbassadorOpportUNIty: 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.

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.

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