Expression with 3D Environment Art for Games 1

7.5 credits

Syllabus, Bachelor's level, 5SD516

Education cycle
First cycle
Grading system
Fail (U), Pass (G), Pass with distinction (VG)
Finalised by
The Department Board, 4 November 2020
Responsible department
Department of Game Design

General provisions

The course is part of the minor field of study Expression in Convergent Media.

The course is part of the Bachelor Programe in Game Design and Graphics, 180 credits

Entry requirements

At least 4 credits from Expression, 3D Modelling and Texturing for Games

Learning outcomes

This course introduces students to 3D-environments for digital games, focusing on the implementation of techniques and artistic principles in the production of modular environments. Upon completion of the course, the student will be able to:

  • Plan, produce and implement a small modular environment for a game level including unique assets, textures and lighting, by following an iterative pipeline from white boxing to final implementation
  • Generate complex textures for assets based on high resolution 3D-models,
  • Demonstrate a theoretical and practical understanding of the technical limitations relevant to modular environments for games and how this impacts performance
  • Demonstrate a basic understanding of lighting and lightmaps and be able to implement lights in game engines as well as LODs and collisions
  • Discuss the pros and cons of using modular environments for games such as impact in production, reusability of assets, sharing and instancing of textures and materials, optimization techniques, lightmaps, tileable textures, and also artistic considerations such as visual style and visual fatigue.
  • Discuss how existing games use modular environments, and how this impacts gameplay.


The course focuses on knowledge and skill-sets needed in the creation of modular 3D-environments for games. These environments contain more advanced game assets and textures, as well as optimization techniques. The course is structured towards a large individual assignment with key components focusing on theoretical, technical and artistic content and the application of both practical and theoretical skillsets and knowledge.

Content includes,

  • Creating complex normal maps from high resolution 3D-models
  • Basic understanding of architectural principles as applied to indoor environments
  • Planning of modular environments and evaluating them in a game engine through whiteboxing
  • Developing modular assets for game environments
  • Understanding and implementing optimization techniques such as material instancing, texture sharing, texture tiling, lightmaps and LODS
  • Basic lighting techiques for games
  • How to balance reusability and visual variation
  • Texturing and storytelling.


The course combines lectures and a project that is developed both inside and outside of the classroom. Lectures focus on the theoretical, artistic and technical aspects of the course in the form or seminars and workshops.


Examination is in the form of practical assignments during the course with focus on an individual project documented in a final written component. Grading is based on the degree to which the submissions demonstrate an understanding and application of the theoretical, technical and artistic content in the course as specified in the goals and requirements for each assignment.

To achieve the overall grade of Pass with distinction, a Pass with distinction grade is required for the majority of the submissions as well as the final assignment.

If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the University's disability coordinator.

Plagiarism and Cheating

Uppsala University does not accept cheating or plagiarism. Suspected incidents of cheating or plagiarism are reported to the Vice-Chancellor, which may issue a formal warning to the student or suspend the student from studies for a certain period.

NOTE: Only a completed courses can count toward a degree.

Other directives

The course substitutes/overlaps the course (5SD043) 3D Computer Graphics: Theory and Application III 7.5 credits at Uppsala University.