School of Art, Design and Architecture

BA (Hons) Game Arts and Design

Bring your creativity to the world of computer games. Learn 3D modelling, 2D art and animation, level design and gameplay coding. Games industry experts will guide you through all aspects of game design and development, building a full understanding of the game creation process, and allowing you to specialise in the areas you find most engaging.

In a friendly and vibrant setting, you will learn industry-standard software and practices, and have access to the latest hardware, including high-spec gaming PCs and VR headsets. Over three years (or four with an optional industry placement), you will tell epic stories and create living worlds, working individually and teaming-up with other students.

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

Times Higher Education Young University Rankings 2019

Careers with this subject

Your degree in Game Arts and Design could lead to a career as a game artist, 3D modeler, gameplay coder, level designer, technical game designer, technical artist, producer, or many other roles in the games industry. Your transferable creative and technology skills could also lead to employment as a designer, programmer or producer in other creative and tech industries.

Key features

  • Learn 3D modelling with industry-standard software like Maya, Blender, ZBrush and Substance Painter.
  • Hone your 2D art and animation skills, using Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Animate and After Effects.
  • Create epic level designs in Unity and Unreal Engine.
  • Develop your coding skills with C# and Blueprints.
  • Taught by industry experts, with a focus on preparing you for a career in the games industry.
  • Amazing national and international field trips to gaming expos and festivals, such as meeting professionals from top games studios at EGX Rezzed in London and exploring immersive gameplay Amsterdam.
  • Explore sound design, narrative and game design theory, and study the psychology of games and gamification.
  • Access to the latest hardware, including high-spec gaming PCs and VR headsets.
  • Get a head-start in the industry with an optional placement year (for example, one of our students has secured a placement at Criterion Games).
  • Get ready for a career as a game artist, 3D modeler, game designer, level designer or gameplay coder, joining Plymouth graduates who have gone on to work at the world's top games companies including Electronic Arts, Frontier Developments and Bossa Studios.
  • We annually review the skills, software and hardware we teach, to ensure the course is always up to date.
  • Our dedicated lab space is open until 10pm, other amazing facilities, include our 35-seat, 360° immersive vision theatre, VR kits, graphics tablets, game controllers, 3D printers and even an extensive collection of boardgames.
  • Teaching and learning are practical and project-based - sometimes working individually, and sometimes in teams.
  • Your assessments are 100 per cent coursework – no exams.
  • No prior knowledge requirements – we teach everything from the ground up (but if you do already have art and coding skills, we can’t wait to see how much further you can take them with our help!).

Course details

  • Year 1
  • Get straight into learning the art and coding skills you need as a game designer. You are introduced to 2D design and 3D modelling software, game engines and gameplay coding. Bring your drawings to life with animation and interactivity, and create your first 3D models and games. Learn about storytelling and build your own gaming hardware.

    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
  • Master more advanced 3D modelling and game programming techniques, and hone your level design skills. Learn about working in the creative industries from visiting speakers, and work with Illustration students to further develop your drawing skills.

    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

    • FAPY200 Stage 2 Placement Preparation

      Building on the Level 1 module (FAPY100), this module continues to support you with the search for your placement and preparation for the placement itself.

    • 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 pursuing a placement, as it enhances your final year of study and improves your employability on graduation.

    Core modules
    • FAPY604 Digital Art and Technology/Internet Design Placement

      An extend period of professional training (at least the duration of both teaching semesters - 36 weeks) spent as the third year of a sandwich programme undertaking an approved placement with a suitable company (either a paid placement or unpaid internship). 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 set your creativity free in your epic final year project.

    Core modules
    • DAT603 Gameplay

      This module explores games design, entertainment systems and the broader field of 'play' within a technological context. Student centred practical projects will be informed through a grounding in relevant cultural, social, psychological and economic theory.

    • 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
    • DAT601 Realtime

      This module develops audio and visual production skills with a specific application to the manifestation of information drawn from a variety of sources, disciplines and media. Students will develop techniques for rendering visual and acoustic representations across a range of resolutions through animation, illustration, dynamic data, and immersive dome environments.

    • DAT602 Everyware

      Through practical project work the module explores the evolution of the Internet of Things, the emergence of Pervasive Media and the application of Physical Computing. Projects are framed within a critical exploration of space as a cultural, social and technological phenomenon and models of architecture, communities and personal identity.

    • DAT604 Venture Culture

      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.

    • ILLUS610 Negotiated Project 1

      A number of broad themes are presented. After reflection and evaluation of previous conclusions and future ambitions, you select one theme and submit a typed brief associated with the selection to satisfy your personally identified goals. Upon acceptance of your brief, you undertake an in depth study of the chosen theme (or the identified aspect of the theme) and produce a body of work that responds to your written brief, demonstrating a full engagement with the task defined within the brief. Competition or live briefs may be undertaken as part of this module provided they fit within the agreed proposal and cover the Learning Outcomes.

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 20 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

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.

Applicants are not required to share a portfolio with us, however, doing so may allow us to guarantee you a place or consider applications that do not meet the normal academic requirements. A portfolio could include your 2D drawings, paintings, designs or animations, 3D models, game levels or mods, or examples of your coding such as programs, games or apps you have made.

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 2019 2020
Home/EU £9,250 To be confirmed
International £13,400 £13,800
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.

Additional costs

This course is delivered by the Faculty of Arts and Humanities and more details of any additional costs associated with the faculty's courses are listed on the following page: Faculty of Arts and Humanities additional costs.

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

<p>Master 3D modelling</p>
Master 3D modelling

Experience national and international fieldtrips

Learn level design in industry-standard game engines

Learn level design in industry-standard game engines

Develop sought-after coding skills

Experience national and international fieldtrips

Experience national and international fieldtrips
<p>Hone your 2D art skills</p>
Hone your 2D art skills

Careers in the games industry and beyond

Your degree in Game Arts and Design could lead to a career as a game artist, 3D modeler, gameplay coder, level designer, technical game designer, technical artist, producer, or many other roles in the games industry. Your transferable creative and technology skills could also lead to employment as a designer, programmer or producer in other creative and tech industries.

The Digital Art and Technology Group 

As part of the digital art and technology group at the University of Plymouth, BA (Hons) Game Arts and Design builds on 25 years of excellence in interactive media education. The course is a new evolution of the Medialab Arts and Digital Art and Technology programmes, which have seen graduates go on to join the world’s top tech companies including Reddit, Facebook, Electronic Arts, Aardman Animation and Pixar, as well as find success as indie games developers, tech start-ups and world-renowned artists. Our team is a multidisciplinary collective of coders, artists, designers and hackers who work with data visualisation, games, virtual reality, robotics, interactive installations, sound design and everything else digital. 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.

"What I love about the Game Arts and Design course is not only being able to create my own fun, quirky games, but also seeing what my peers create alongside me and watching them improve their skills throughout the development process and beyond. Playing their games at the end is just the icing on top!"

Connor Leigh, Game Arts and Design Stage 2

Student work

See a variety of work by students on the BA (Hons) Game Arts and Design course.

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Our research

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