A univer­sity that wants to in­stil a broad range of game cre­ation skills in its grad­u­ates

EDGE - - TIME EXTEND - BEV BUSH Course leader, BA (Hons) Games De­sign www.uclan.ac.uk

B ack in 1994, BA (Hons) Games De­sign course leader Bev Bush joined Trav­eller’s Tales as a 3D mod­eller. Her cred­its in­clude Mickey Ma­nia, Crash Bandi­coot: The Wrath Of Cortex and the first two Lego Star Wars games. Out­side of games, she was also a back­ground artist on UK car­toons Dan­ger Mouse and Count Duck­ula dur­ing her time at Cos­grove Hall Films. Her broad range of ex­pe­ri­ence has in­flu­enced UCLan’s Games De­sign de­gree, and here we dis­cuss what stu­dents can ex­pect from it.

What does your course cover? Sim­ply put, the course cov­ers three main ar­eas of ac­tiv­ity: draw­ing and dig­i­tal paint­ing, which ranges from sketch­ing as an aid to cre­ative think­ing and de­vel­op­ing ini­tial ideas to the pro­duc­tion of fin­ished con­cept art for pub­li­ca­tion; dig­i­tal modelling and game en­gine work­flow cov­ers the game-spe­cific re­quire­ments for de­sign­ing and de­vel­op­ing dig­i­tal as­sets You’ve run the course for years now – what’s changed in that time? We’ve in­tro­duced more de­sign for mo­bile games and are men­tor­ing small groups of


for games; and, lastly, de­vel­op­ing the me­chan­ics, rules and meth­ods by which a game is de­liv­ered is cov­ered by game me­chanic de­sign.

It feels like a broad scope. Yes, UCLan’s Games De­sign course is un­usual in that it cov­ers both game de­sign prac­tice and the­ory, as well as game art and tech­ni­cal skills. Stu­dents have a broad ex­pe­ri­ence of these el­e­ments in year one and spe­cialise more as their skills de­velop, so that by third year they have a chance to fo­cus on cer­tain ar­eas of choice. stu­dents in the de­vel­op­ment of small and play­ful projects. I’ve re­cently in­tro­duced Con­struct 2 into the cur­ricu­lum along­side UDK to give stu­dents con­fi­dence to de­sign games us­ing vis­ual pro­gram­ming, for ex­am­ple… And we con­tin­u­ally re­vise and re­view the timetable in cre­ative ways to ac­com­mo­date stu­dents so that their learn­ing is cur­rent and rel­e­vant. The course has gone from a small group with a fo­cus on game the­ory ten years ago to a large co­hort that cre­ates and de­signs fully playable game lev­els. We have also seen an in­crease of fe­male stu­dents over the years, sev­eral of whom are now work­ing in key roles within the in­dus­try. Do you keep in touch with your old

in­dus­try col­leagues? Yes, I con­tinue to li­aise with my in­dus­try col­leagues, who are very sup­port­ive of the course. And we aim to in­cor­po­rate in­dus­try cri­tique within our feed­back and to in­stil an un­der­stand­ing that vis­ual com­mu­ni­ca­tion is just as im­por­tant as ver­bal com­mu­ni­ca­tion within the dis­ci­pline of de­sign. We con­tinue to de­velop stu­dent skills in line with in­dus­try re­quire­ments and se­cure live briefs and re­sources, main­tain­ing the use of cre­ative think­ing through­out… For ex­am­ple, the Games De­sign course has run three live briefs with ma­jor com­pa­nies this year. And two in­die com­pa­nies have been formed from groups of our grad­u­ate stu­dents in the past few years. Both – WhitePaperGames [ Ether

One] and Lu­nar Soft­ware [ Rou­tine] – are mak­ing very im­pres­sive in­roads.

UCLan’s Games De­sign space is open plan, with a com­mu­nal area at one end for group dis­cus­sions and idea shar­ing – it’s also stocked with a range of both board and videogames to play for in­spi­ra­tion

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