Brunel University offers undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in games that can be combined with other subjects from the school of arts such as sonic arts or creative writing.
The courses aim to teach students theory, design and application. Students study practical game design and reflect on this practice through concepts and methodologies used in the academic study of games.
Course convener Douglas Brown says that an “emphasis is placed on applying theory in a design context to develop a range of creative, analytical and design skills relevant to the contemporary games marketplace”.
He adds: “An insider’s view of the industry is complemented by all the benefits of a traditional arts degree, including the understanding of a range of conceptual models to aid in the process of critical, independent thought and problem solving.
“Brunel's game students also have the opportunity to pitch their design ideas to industry experts.”
Speakers on the courses have included “regular appearances” from industry professionals such as Media Molecule’s Mark Healey and Brunel lecturer and founder of Games Workshop Steve Jackson.
Ian Livingstone and Peter Molyneux have also spoken at the university, who have both received the development legend honour at the annual Develop Awards.
Brown claims that around 60 per cent of graduates from the courses get into the industry, joining studios such as Ubisoft, Rebellion, and Creative Assembly, credited with working on games including Brink, Fable 3 and LittleBigPlanet 2.
As for how the courses train students up for an ever-changing industry, Brown says the ethos of the Brunel games programme is to educate students to become confident, creative designers with a broad understanding of games as a media type with their own unique features.
“Core to all our programmes is the development and practice of the skill in creating rules to make a game that people will want to play,” he says.
“Design, analytical and communication skills never date or expire, and equip our graduates to meet the demands of the games industry.”
Looking to what the university could provide in the future for its games students, Brown says that Brunel hopes to run a broader choice of joint degrees with more technical options such as computer science courses to further improve its offerings.
“Offering BSc degrees alongside our BA degrees will make a good addition to our portfolio,” says Brown.
“We are also looking into staging a single honours games course”
He adds that long term the university isn’t looking to recruit in ever-increasing numbers, but rather to maintain and enhance the quality of the experience.
“Demonstrating the value of the academic study of games to the industry through our diverse, diligent and innovative graduates is part of our wider goal of championing the academic and artistic value of games as a medium.”
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