School of Art, Design and Architecture

BA (Hons) Game Arts and Design

BA (Hons) Game Arts and Design is a new and exciting course that focuses both on the creative and technical side of gaming. Working with experienced game developers and researchers you will look at designing characters, environments and gameplay. Spend some of your time studying alongside illustration students where you can hone your character and environment skills.

Explore development on different platforms including mobile, VR and AR, experiment with game sound design, study the psychology of games and gamification, and create your own novel interactive experiences.

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A top 10 UK Young University for Art, Design and Architecture

Times Higher Education Young University Rankings 2019

Apply through Clearing for September 2019

Clearing is the last opportunity to achieve a place this September.

If you are yet to apply to the University of Plymouth you can pre-register for Clearing to receive priority treatment on results day.

Apply through Clearing

Key features

  • Our course is designed in close collaboration with games developers and researchers to ensure technologies, skills and techniques are up to date.
  • Access all areas – our dedicated lab space open until 10pm, and take advantage of our other amazing facilities, including a 35-seat, 360° immersive vision theatre.
  • Your assessments are 100 per cent coursework – no exams.
  • Be inspired by lecturers who are experts in their field, with backgrounds in both industry and research. The exciting work going on in our research groups, i-DAT and Planetary Collegium, feeds back into the teaching on this course.
  • Get ready for work - take an optional additional year and secure a paid placement with a games company. 
  • Broaden your horizons with great enrichment activities including overseas field trips.  Previous locations have included Berlin, Helsinki and New York. 
  • Get exclusive insights with talks from guest speakers from the creative arts and technology industries.

Course details

  • Year 1
  • Get a grounding in key techniques and gain a critical understanding of the theories behind game development. You are introduced to character development, interaction technologies and approaches to immersion, along with the coding skills and creative design strategies that underpin them.

    Core modules
    • DAT406 Digital Making

      This module introduces students to a key set of digital technologies that are core to the production of current digital artwork. This will include exposure to a wide range of software, hardware and networking components commonly used by digital artists and designers. This is a Plymouth Plus module.

    • DAT411 Disruptive Design Strategies

      This module introduces students to practical and creative processes that encourage experimentation and foster critical thinking. Through conceptual understanding of artistic practice combined with technical production skills in a range of areas, such as 2D and 3D design, digital fabrication, and physical computing (electronics and microcontrollers), students are expected to develop physical prototypes and media outputs that demonstrate innovative thinking within a multi-disciplinary context. Induction is given to a fully-equipped maker space, digital fabrication suites, and a 360° Immersive Vision Theatre.

    • GAD402 Immersive Experience

      This module introduces issues and techniques involved in designing and developing immersive experiences. This module takes a user-centred approach to the production of virtual and blended reality environments (including a wide range of different styles and types of game. The key to this module is the combination and integration of sensory stimuli to produce an engaging and compelling, whilst at the same time coherent user experience.

    • GAD405 Creative Coding

      This module provides an introduction to programming for digital artists and designers. The syllabus, topics, examples and style of teaching are designed to support interaction, graphics, video, animation, sound, embedded systems and integration with live data sources.

    • GAD412 Narrative Sequence

      You will explore interactive storytelling and animation / sequence creation within your work via a range of traditional and digital media and formats. Storytelling, narrative pacing, creative writing and animation are features of this module. Critical reflective writing underpins practical work.

    • GAD413 3D Design for Games

      Students create character and environment concepts as digital paintings, and realise their designs as detailed 3D models. Drawing and painting skills are developed, exploring figure, proportion, lighting, colour and value. Students learn advanced modelling and texturing skills using state-of-the-art software platforms, rigging their characters for animation and exporting them to game engines. In addition, students develop presentation skills and showcase their work in a digital portfolio.

  • Year 2
  • You are introduced to advanced design and programming techniques, helping you develop your individual creative practice. Professional collaborations with industry give you insights into the benefits of both individual and group ways of working.

    Core modules
    • DAT502 Creative Industries

      This module explores the dynamic changes that are sweeping through traditional media and communications industries, brought about by the impact of new technologies. It explores, through group production projects, the practical issues underpinning the management of distributed organisations. The module includes an international field trip

    • GAD511 Game Programming

      This module builds on the game programming skills developed to this point, and applies them to working with a range of different game genres. Students explore first-person shooters, 3rd-person adventures, driving games, 2D platformers and arcade shoot `em ups. Working individually, they choose two of these genres and produce games that demonstrates the application of animation, physics, trigonometry, artificial intelligence, user interface, and game state management.

    • GAD512 Level Design

      This module focuses on designing virtual environments and game levels. Students will consider the ludic and narrative role of level design and apply these to the production of an interactive game environment. Students will be presented with a variety of theoretical frameworks that will help them better understand human cognitive processes and thus aid them in designing and creating more engaging game levels. Automated procedural generation will also be explored.

    • ILLUS511 Technique and Approach 2

      Individual research identifies, analyses, and communicates an investigation into the work of an individual or a group of practitioners in illustration or an allied practice. Lectures and research run concurrently throughout the module, to support the writing of an essay. Preparation for dissertation is undertaken. Drawing skills develop along with knowledge of the value of drawing within your illustrative practice.

  • Placement year (optional)
  • An optional paid 48-week work placement offers invaluable practical work experience. We recommend it because it enhances your final year of study and you are also more likely to receive project sponsorship and immediate employment with your placement company after you graduate.

    Core modules
    • FAPY602 Industry Placement

      A 48-week period of professional training spent as the third year of a sandwich programme undertaking an approved placement with a suitable company. This provides an opportunity for the student to gain relevant industrial experience to consolidate the first two stages of study and to prepare for the final stage and employment after graduation.

  • Final year
  • Focus on your own particular areas of interest by selecting from a range of optional modules and a significant final year project. These allow you to develop skills relevant to industry and enhance your employability.

    Core modules
    • GAD631 Final Year Project

      The Final Year Project is student-led, negotiated through close liaison with an allocated supervisor. Students are expected to develop a creative, practical industry-standard project, accompanied with a written work that demonstrates sophisticated research methods, a critical engagement to theoretical discourses and debates, an understanding of production processes, and a developed awareness of markets, audiences, and industrial contexts. The practical element needs to comprise of a significant digital media production that is innovative and experimental in its approach and placed within a contemporary framework. Resources such as software, hardware, and labs, as well as tutorials in research and writing are given to the students to ensure they are fully-equipped to produce a sophisticated result. The final works are exhibited on the Degree Show at the end of the school year.

    Optional modules
    • DAT621 Realtime Performativity

      This module prepares students for the future of web and Internet systems by introducing them to state-of-the-art and currently emerging technologies in this area, with an aim to develop practical and theoretical techniques that inform the production of complex web systems. The module makes extensive use of the IBM WebSphere and its applications on the Smarter Planet initiative, which presents innovative solutions for industries, cities, and whole societies by utilizing intelligent connectivity, cognitive computing applications, automation, and optimized data-driven systems. The module is optional, and it is recommended for students that are interested in pursuing specialization on web development.

    • DAT624 Venture Cultures

      This module introduces students to the concepts of entrepreneurship through the practical exploration of individual, collaborative and organisational creative enterprise. Operating as a pragmatic vehicle for generating new ventures within the creative industries, the formation of prototype companies enables students to rehearse the commercialisation of their practice. By the end of this module, students have in place a business plan for a start-up company of a digital product or service related to their field of expertise, i.e. interactive design, web development, immersive media, gaming, Internet of Things, etc. Industry experts are invited frequently to provide guidance for the students¿ projects, and to give valuable advice and feedback for the final project outcomes. The module is optional.

    • DAT625 Machine Learning for Artistic Practice

      This module covers machine learning and its applications within the areas of digital media, such as big data and visualization, automation, conversational agents, and voice, face, and sentiment recognition systems. The students are given a comprehensive historical overview of ¿intelligent¿ computational agents, from cybernetics to DeepMind, Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit, Baidu AI, and IBM Watson, and they focus on understanding and implementing contemporary development practices in machine learning and Artificial Intelligence, with an emphasis on creative applications for artistic practice. The module is optional, and it is recommended for students that are interested in pursuing a BSc degree and a specialization on information design.

    • GAD621 Gameplay and X-Reality

      This module explores contemporary frameworks for gameplay and virtual environments (AR, VR, XR), with a focus on production methodologies and the broader field of ¿play¿ within a creative and technological context. It provides a grounding in relevant cultural, social, psychological, and economic theories, as well as strategies for synthesis of design and production of experimental prototypes. Practical workshops cover game development platforms (3D modelling and animation, game engines, motion capture systems), as well as speculative and emerging environments for AR/VR/XR development, including headsets, tracking technologies, and sensory-based systems. The module is optional, and it is recommended for students that are interested in pursuing specialization on game design and immersive media.

Every undergraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the course aims, the course structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest course structure and may be subject to change:

BA Hons Game Arts and Design programme specification 2019 2020 5837

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff

96 - 120

Applicants must share a portfolio with us.

We would like to see examples of your work if you have them, such as: 
  • a portfolio of drawings, sketches, character designs or game design
  • computer-based and online work: algorithmic artworks, web pages, games, blogs etc.- media: video, photographs, sound pieces, music.
Applicants must demonstrate a commitment to new media/digital production or interactive arts.

A level 
A minimum of 2 A levels, General Studies accepted.

International Baccalaureate
28 points.

18 Unit BTEC National Diploma/QCF Extended Diploma

BTEC National Diploma modules
If you hold a BTEC qualification it is vital that you provide our Admissions team with details of the exact modules you have studied as part of the BTEC. Without this information, we may be unable to process your application quickly and you could experience significant delays in the progress of your application to study with us. Please explicitly state the full list of modules within your qualification at the time of application.

All access courses
Pass a named Access to Higher Education Diploma (preferably art and design or combined), with at least 33 credits at merit and/or distinction. 

Mathematics and English Language grade C.

Equivalent qualifications may be considered.

For a full list of all acceptable qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

Fees, costs and funding

EU applicants should refer to our dedicated Brexit webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s plans to leave the European Union.

New Student 2018 2019
Home/EU £9,250 £9,250
International £13,000 £13,400
Part time (Home/EU) To be confirmed To be confirmed
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per a number of credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances.

How to apply

All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). 

UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code. 

To apply for this course and for more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email

The digital art and technology group

BA (Hons) Game Arts and Design is part of the digital art and technology group at the University of Plymouth, a multidisciplinary collective of coders, artists, designers and hackers who work with data visualisation, games, virtual reality, kinects, robotics, interactive installations, sound design and everything else digital. 

All of our lecturers are practising games designers, coders and digital artists. Our courses combine creative and technical skills with cultural and new media theory - producing graduates who are highly employable while also seeing the world in a new way. 

Our Digital Media Design course has resulted in a number of startups including Mutant Labs games company, Play Nicely digital design and TruVision VR who are currently making waves with virtual reality models for architects. 

We aim to future-proof our students, to prepare them for an ever-changing world, where technologies evolve, but smart thinking is always in demand.

Think about your future

The games industry offers a wide and diverse range of job opportunities for technically-minded creative professionals. 

Whether you want be a game designer, character artist, environment designer, user-interface specialist, gameplay developer or producer, this course will help you develop and hone your skills to ensure your work stands out.

Our research

  • B The exciting work going on in our research feeds back into the teaching on this course