The Bachelor Programme in Game Design and Graphics gives you the tools to work with the game medium on a professional level and equips you to develop new expressions within the field. The programme specialises in producing art for game development. Former graduates have started their own studios and work at some of the world’s best known game companies. The programme is given at Campus Gotland, an environment characterised by the close proximity between professors and students.
Numerous profiles from the game industry and other higher education institutions have given this Bachelor’s programme high praise: “This game design programme is one of the best that I have seen, particularly the polymorphous approach to design. The code is only as good as the player experience, and this shows. Also, there is a political approach that inflects design that gives many of us hope for a mature and complex industry of the future.” – Prof. Derek A. Burrill, University of California
Why this programme?
The programme Game Design and Graphics provides skills in developing games for commercial production, as well as a deeper understanding of how games work and how they affect us.
The education mixes practical game development with theoretical courses within game design and graphics. In the programme, we explore theories and methods in game design, game development and game analysis. Game developers need good communicative skills both to communicate with their team and to shape the experience that the game will provide. To reflect this, the programme provides training in expression through text, imagery and games, as well as verbal communication.
As an artist, you learn to produce art assets for 2D and 3D games, combining theoretical and artistic knowledge with the technical skills inherent to the medium. The programme also trains practical production with other disciplines through several project courses.
The education has a good reputation internationally thanks to the high level of the students’ productions. Invited professionals and academics come to share their experience and knowledge during recurring events. This provides plenty of opportunities to build a contact network. The education’s students have a track record of winning prizes at the Swedish Game Awards, the largest Nordic competition for independent developers.
In 2014 Uppsala University’s Department of Game Design was entered into the Higher Education Video Game Alliance, a gathering of mainly North American higher game development educators where both education, research, and industry questions are on the agenda.
Study Abroad The Department of Game Design today has cooperation agreements with four institutions in Tokyo and Erasmus-agreements with the University of Riga as well as Université d’Angers for the purpose of student exchange. A cooperation agreement with the University of Silesia, Poland, will soon be established. In addition to this, Uppsala University has a wealth of cooperation agreements providing many options for studying abroad.
The programme leads to a Bachelor of Arts with Game Design as the main field of study.
Name: Evelina Foxberg From: Stockholm Studying: The Bachelor Programme in Game Design and Graphics
Why did you choose this programme?
– I have sketched and painted all my life and I saw game graphics as an opportunity for me to combine this with my hobby, gaming!
Why did you choose Uppsala University?
– A friend of mine, who completed this programme and went on to work within the gaming industry, recommended it to me. The fact that the programme is taught in Visby was also a plus!
What is the structure of the programme?
– During term time, there is a combination of designated teaching hours and project work, where you get to practice what you have learnt, both in game design and in graphics. Each year ends with a large project, so the rest of the year is spent developing our knowledge in preparation for this final project. We can even show our final project at the Gotland Game Conference as well as other competitions, which provides a great opportunity to make contacts within the industry.
What do you think of the programme? Does it live up to your expectations?
– Yes, I think so! When I started the programme, graphics was my main interest, and even though this is still the case, I have developed a completely new interest for game design, which I didn’t have beforehand. Each final year project is also a great opportunity since it allows us to practice working in a team and creating games.
Where do you hope this programme will lead you?
– I hope to gain experience in producing games and the graphics for games that I can take with me into working life. I think even having a mind for design and being used to working in a group is going to be useful in the future.
Do you find that there is a difference between your previous studies and your university studies?
– You are more independent in your university studies than at the high school level; you get out what you put in.
Do you have any advice or tips for anyone interested in applying to this programme?
– Go all in! Both in your studies and in your student life.
Three quick questions The best thing about studying?
– The student life! And constantly learning and trying out new things.
The best thing about Uppsala University?
– The fact that they offer the Bachelor Programme in Game Design and Graphics!
The best thing about Visby as a city?
– It is small and cosy – everything is close, including friends!
The programme comprises three years of full-time studies where the major subject Game Design is studied in parallel with the minor Game Graphics through both theoretical and practical project courses. Courses within Game Design, where all project based courses are housed, are taken together with the other Bachelor’s programmes in the area of Game Design at Campus Gotland.
Game Design makes up 105 credits, out of the total 180 credits, while the minor subject makes up 30 credits. The programme also has 30 credits where you can choose to broaden your field of study or deepen your knowledge in the major or minor.
The minor and major subjects are studied in parallel. Both subjects contain theoretical as well as practical courses. The project courses test and train both game design and programming skills as students from all Game Design programmes collaborate to produce games. In this way, the programme provides a continuous opportunity to test and utilise your ability in realistic scenarios, since the project courses effectively models the challenges that must be faced when working in a diverse team of creative, artistic, organisational and technical individuals.
The projects, like the theoretical courses, train academic writing and presenting in preparation for the degree project that ends the third year.
The graphic courses start from the basics and lead to a small game development project, after which the education and the projects increase in complexity and size. The graphic courses teach perspective drawing, character drawing, computer graphics, colour theory, composition, 3D modelling, animation, motion capture technology and real time graphics.
Courses within the programme
Semester 1 Game Design 1 - Introduction 15 credits Minor Subject 15 credits
Semester 2 Game Design 2 – Game Development, 7.5 credits Game Production 1 – Arcade Game, 15 credits Minor Subject, 7.5 credits
Semester 3 Game Design 3 – System Design, 15 credits Minor Subject, 15 credits
Semester 4 Game Design 4 – Serious Games Design, 7.5 credits Minor Subject or optional courses, 7.5 credits Game Production 2 – Vertical Slice, 15 credits
Semester 5 Optional courses*, 30 credits *within major, minor or other subject, alternatively studies abroad.
Semester 6 Game Design 5 – Theory and Method, 7.5 credits Game Design 6 – Experimental Game Design, 7.5 credits Degree Project, 15 credits
The programme is offered at the island of Gotland. Instruction is in English.
The theoretical courses within game design are taught through lectures, workshops and smaller projects. The majority of the courses include group work. The graphic courses are lecture based with continuous practical training within the course related field.
Every year includes one or two project courses, in which you work with your specific role in groups to produce complete games, where the teaching is taking the shape of guidance and tutoring.
The programme theoretically and practically prepares you for a professional career within business, organisations, authorities or as a business owner.
One of the programme’s strengths is its well-developed contact with the game industry. This is why the programme’s former students make up an especially useful network. Through yearly recurring events notable individuals from the international game industry, former students and academics are invited to judge student projects and share their experience. This provides an excellent opportunity for you to build your own contact network for the career ahead of you.
Former students have gone on to become both business owners running their own studios and employees at some of the most successful game studios in the world. Notable examples of companies where former students have found work include Blizzard Entertainment, Massive Entertainment, Starbreeze Studios, Crytek, Fatshark, Frictional Games, Ubisoft, Avalanche, Lionhead, CCP, DICE and Might and Delight. A number of graduates also work within the Swedish higher education sector, teaching and running game design programmes.
The game industry is the largest and fastest growing business in the entertainment industry. It is in continuous development which leads to a large demand for a broad spectrum of creative professionals with game development as the common denominator. Games are also increasingly being used within education, training and medicine, under the name Serious Games.
As a graduate of the programme, you will be able to continue your studies at Master's level in or outside Sweden.