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Channel your creativity and join a multi-skilled team to develop the next generation of video games. On our arts-based MA, you’ll join the vibrant games and technology community based here in Cambridge that includes ARM, Frontier Developments, Jagex and Ninja Theory.
- Join a course that scored 100% for overall satisfaction in the Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey 2019
- Improve your prospects with guest speakers and live briefs from companies like Sony, Sumo Digital, Jagex, and Frontier
- Take part in events with industry reps like gaming festival Brains Eden, hosted every year by ARU, where games studios snap up the latest talent
- Study in Cambridge, where 18% of the UK gaming industry is based (nesta.org.uk)
- Access cutting-edge research materials through our partnership with the Global Science & Technology Forum
- Experience working in a multi-disciplinary team alongside students from our MA Computer Games Development (Computing)
If you have a degree in an art and design or computer games-related subject, our course will allow you to specialise in games art at Master’s level.
Based in the inspiring environment of our new Compass House Games Centre, you’ll learn all about best practice in the games industry. We’ll encourage you to work in design production teams, tackling a series of creative and technical challenges with programmers and industry professionals. You’ll develop your design skills and learn how to create and publish successful games across a range of platforms.
Cambridge accounts for nearly 20% of the UK computer games industry, so it’s a great place to study as we enjoy excellent links with the major games developers in the area. What’s more, our Computer Games Centre offers studio space to local indie developers, who’ll share their knowledge and experience with you.
We’re partners with the Global Science & Technology Forum, allowing our students access to cutting-edge research materials.
While you’re studying, we’ll encourage you to take on work placements and collaborate on live projects with the games industry. You’ll also have the chance to enter games events, such as Brains Eden, which Anglia Ruskin hosts every year.
This course runs in parallel with our MSc Computer Games Development (Computing), reflecting the multidisciplinary nature of games creation.
Our MA gives you the chance to specialise in the design and technical implementation of computer games, whether you already have a games-related degree, or you’re a recent graduate of a non-games-related degree who’s looking to move into this area. Our course is also suitable if you work in another creative industry and are looking to move into games design and creation.
The skills you’ll learn on this course are relevant to other forms of games – including board games and educational games – allowing you to consider a number of career options.
Interactive computer games is a relatively new medium; as the industry grows, you’ll find more and more opportunities to use the computing and creative skills you’ll hone while studying here.
MODULES & ASSESSMENT
Making MethodsThis module will introduce you to a range of core research methods in the creative and visual arts, and examines the implications of considering practice as research within art and design disciplines. You will explore the interaction of critical theory and studio practice within art and design, and the relationships between scholarship, reflective analysis and creative impulse. You will also address the distinctive character of research in the visual arts, and consider the concepts of practice-based research and practice-led research through a range of exemplars from different art and design disciplines. You will examine a range of different research approaches within the visual arts and across the broader field of the arts, humanities and sciences. This wide-ranging enquiry is designed to assist and inform your conception, development and documentation of creative projects, and to provide a ‘toolkit’ of research methods for both your practice and critical work.
Games Development 1Games development is a multidisciplinary endeavour, requiring input from artists, audio technicians, programmers and designers, to produce an entertaining, polished product. On this module you will apply your existing skills to complex inter-disciplinary projects, testing games design theory in a developmental framework that will allow you to collaboratively plan successive games projects. In the process, you will gain hands-on experience of how your particular discipline relates to the demands and requirements of professional games development. Rapid project prototyping will lead you to critically evaluate and assess the games design and highlight areas that you could improve in the development process. Your final assessment will take the form of completed game development projects and your critical report, which will provide a reflective commentary of your development process, a contextual analysis and an evaluation of your projects.
Digital Arts – Experimental PracticeOn this module you will create and develop a body of work related to your chosen area of computer games and undertake a learning programme to gain the skills you need for further study on the course. You will collate a sustained body of self-directed visual and technical research, supported by supervisory tutorials, peer group learning and seminars, and complete a statement of intent that will inform your programme of practice-based enquiry, supported by theoretical research. Through direct experimental research, you will test and develop the ideas outlined in your statement of intent, with the specific content and mode of work being dependent on the research direction of your individual project proposal. Your work will be analysed in the context of your specific field of research, which you will be asked to evaluate in relation to current digital art practice. You will be supported by seminars on particular technologies relevant to student project topics, as well as contextual issues relevant to the computer games industry. Weekly computing laboratory sessions will also guide and monitor your progress, with an emphasis on supporting appropriate learning activities rather than delivering content. Your assessment will be based on the research, process, documentation, implementation and evaluation of the work outlined in your project proposal. Where group work is specified, your individual contributions will be assessed separately. You will be encouraged to adopt a professional and real world approach, allowing you to undertake work for third party clients and practitioners of the industry, agreed on with your module tutor.
Games Development 2In this module, you will plan and develop a games project that focuses on creating an innovative games experience. You will be encouraged to focus on engaging player experiences, not necessarily limited to traditional video game platforms. You will be challenged to develop projects with a target platform, audience and reward strategy in mind, and to reflect professional, legal and ethical issues in your game design. The projects you will undertake can either be a complete game development project, or an experimental prototype for the exploration of new ideas, which you can potentially continue in your Major Project. You will collaboratively construct a schedule of development that considers the prioritising of the various skillsets, thus developing your project management and time management skills. You will also work collaboratively, ensuring that you plan and develop the project in consideration of the demands and influences of other team members’ subject specialisms. Your formative assessment will take place at several stages within the module: (i) at pitching sessions; (ii) in two peer assessment sessions; (iii) in one-to-one tutorials. Your summative assessment will take the form of a game development project and a critical report on your game project that includes an analysis of your development process and project in relation to industry practice.
Master’s Project: Art and DesignThe Masters Project represents the culmination of your learning on the programme, giving you the opportunity to develop and resolve a major area of enquiry. This is a self-directed visual project negotiated with the staff team and peers. You’ll need to negotiate, manage, co-ordinate and bring to successful conclusion a complex, practice-based project within your field of art, media or design. You’ll start by formally presenting your research proposal to staff and peers, and will be expected to build on your previous modules to identify a complex area for investigation and enquiry, as well as research methods appropriate to the project. Following negotiation with staff, peers and, where appropriate, outside agencies, you’ll then submit a written research proposal. Your project may involve external engagement alongside a personal exploration of themes and concepts in your specialist field. You’ll need to show your ability to innovate, think strategically and be sensitive to changing cultural and social climates. You’ll be assessed by portfolio (a body of work comprising a written project proposal, and developmental and final visual work) and a 1200-word reflective commentary. This commentary will specifically outline the methodological and ethical considerations relevant to your portfolio work, and evaluate your final visual work.
Visual Research PracticesOn this module you will explore the role of visual practices as research methods. You will explore and document the ways in which practice informs the development of method, and the manner in which experimentation within your practice is used to test propositions, verify findings, and demonstrate these through your outcomes. These ideas form the main precepts of practice-based research, and will be explored through a self-proposed project developed in consultation with your tutor. The module provides a context within which to explore the ways in which the processes associated with your practice, serve as tools of investigation and analysis. In the course of the module you will identify the key research questions implicit in visual projects, develop strategies and experimental methods for addressing these questions, and contextualise these methods in relation to precedent within your discipline. This will also enable you to locate your method within the wider context of research methodology addressed in the companion module Making Methods. During the development of your project you will investigate and critique your method to ensure that it is appropriate to the investigation of your question and to the expression of your findings. You will review the ways in which practice shapes and refines experimental method, and the analysis of experimental findings informs successive phases of the practical outcome. According to the context of the project and the nature of your practice, this may involve different considerations of audience, purpose and impact, as well as reference to a variety of sources and precedents. You will be assessed through the body of visual coursework, a research logbook kept during the development process, and an evaluative commentary of 500 words reflecting on the work after completion.
You’ll show your progress through a combination of written and practical work, carried out individually and as part of a team.