Teesside Univer­sity

Evolv­ing its cour­ses to keep pace with a shift­ing in­dus­try


Teesside was one of the first uni­ver­si­ties in the world to run cour­ses aimed at the videogame, vis­ual ef­fects and an­i­ma­tion in­dus­tries. Its course con­tent is reg­u­larly re­freshed to re­flect cur­rent in­dus­try prac­tices. Its Games De­sign course has been split, of­fer­ing a cre­ative de­sign path, and a more tech­ni­cally fo­cused op­tion. Deputy head of game de­vel­op­ment Gabrielle

Kent gives us the de­tails.

Why should stu­dents choose Teesside Univer­sity for their ed­u­ca­tion?

We have earned our ex­cel­lent rep­u­ta­tion and cre­ated im­pres­sive cus­tom-built fa­cil­i­ties for our stu­dents. The ma­jor­ity of our staff worked in the game in­dus­try be­fore mov­ing into lec­tur­ing, and we have Skillset ac­cred­i­ta­tion across a num­ber of cour­ses. Through our an­nual An­imex fes­ti­val, stu­dents have ac­cess to talks and mas­ter­classes from stu­dios such as Valve, Bioware, Bethesda, Epic, Naughty Dog, Guer­rilla and Bliz­zard, as well as highly suc­cess­ful in­de­pen­dents. We have strong re­la­tion­ships with many stu­dios that lead to place­ments and grad­u­ate jobs. A large num­ber of com­pa­nies visit us to dis­cuss ca­reers and to re­cruit di­rectly from our end-of-year show, Ex­po­tees.

Have you no­ticed any chang­ing trends in what stu­dents are look­ing to study?

Many of our stu­dents are now choos­ing to go it alone or set up their own stu­dios af­ter grad­u­at­ing, but need a bit of help with the busi­ness and mar­ket­ing side of game de­vel­op­ment. In an­swer to this we cre­ated an In­die Game De­vel­op­ment de­gree which cov­ers not just de­sign, script­ing, me­chan­ics, UI and so on, but also busi­ness, mar­ket­ing and game pub­lish­ing. Stu­dents know that they are look­ing to get into a very com­pet­i­tive in­dus­try, so we aim to en­sure we equip them with a wide range of highly trans­fer­able skills.

What do you look for in prospec­tive stu­dents?

Pas­sion, a pos­i­tive at­ti­tude, and the abil­ity to work as part of a mul­tidis­ci­plinary team. Team­work is ex­tremely im­por­tant to us. We run a num­ber of group de­vel­op­ment mod­ules which have earned high praise from in­dus­try. These re­al­is­ti­cally sim­u­late the de­vel­op­ment cy­cle, plac­ing stu­dents into spe­cific roles, with staff act­ing as pro­duc­ers. Stu­dents are ex­pected to meet key mile­stones and carry out doc­u­mented play and bug test­ing, cul­mi­nat­ing in a fi­nal ver­ti­cal-slice pre­sen­ta­tion to peers, lec­tur­ers and in­dus­try. This ex­pe­ri­ence pre­pares them well for life in both in­die and triple-A game stu­dios.

The univer­sity has a mo­tion-cap­ture stu­dio. Has it now be­come more im­por­tant for bud­ding de­vel­op­ers to learn those kind of skills?

As the first games course in the UK to have our own mo­tion-cap­ture lab, we have al­ways ap­pre­ci­ated the grow­ing im­por­tance of the tech­nol­ogy to the game in­dus­try. This has be­come ev­i­dent to em­ploy­ers and many of our grad­u­ates have gone on to work at spe­cial­ist mo­tion-cap­ture stu­dios such as Cu­bic Mo­tion and The Imag­i­nar­ium. We also of­fer a fully equipped post­pro­duc­tion suite and sound stage. Our stu­dents can ac­cess de­vk­its, Leap Mo­tion, 3D laser scan­ners, full colour 3D prin­ters and much more, and we are cur­rently putting to­gether a ded­i­cated VR lab fea­tur­ing a num­ber of pop­u­lar tech­nolo­gies such as HTC Vive and Ocu­lus Rift.

Ide­ally, what do you hope your stu­dents take away from their time at Teesside Univer­sity?

We aim to in­spire our stu­dents and to open their minds as well as ex­pand their hori­zons. We hope that they leave us as pos­i­tive, team-minded play­ers who don’t just fit into the in­dus­try, but con­trib­ute to­wards mak­ing it a bet­ter place for all.

“We h av e st r o n g re l at io n s h i ps wi t h st u di o s t h at l e ad t o g r ad­u­ate j o bs ”

Among its broad range of game-cen­tric cour­ses, Teesside of­fers a BA (Hons) de­gree in Con­cept Art

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