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Home » Video Games & Esports » Extensive game design course offers students industry connections and practical skills

Professor Vesna Brujic-Okretic

Head, School of Computer Science and Mathematics, Kingston University

Hope Caton

Game Design Lecturer, Kingston University

Industry connections, AI integration and hands-on training can prepare students and aspiring professionals for success in game design, according to video games lecturers.

Connecting with industry is crucial for students aspiring to enter the competitive games sector. It helps them stay current with industry trends and build valuable contacts for potential job opportunities. Combining this with hands-on technical training, including new elements like artificial intelligence (AI) and cinematics, equips graduates to step into the evolving world of game design and development.

Comprehensive game design education

Kingston University has long-established video games courses. Professor Vesna Brujic-Okretic, Head of the School of Computer Science and Mathematics, says: “We teach production and programming of games and take students through the whole process to the end of the course where they produce a game.

“While the emphasis is on programming, we are now weaving AI into the course so it can be used as a tool in the creation process.” Computer science, game mechanics and production remain at the core of the course, including working with C++ and Unity game engines, though artwork and accompanying music are also learning components.

Hope Caton, Game Design Lecturer at Kingston, adds: “We are a complete one-stop shop for learning about anything to do with games.”

Computer science, game mechanics and
production remain at the core of the course.

Caton, who previously worked in the games industry as the narrative writer of Tomb Raider IV, highlights how the university’s inKUbator scheme connects students with game industry employers. It facilitates weekly online talks with alumni and gaming industry professionals from big brands. “They talk about current trends, what they do in their jobs and about how to get roles,” she says.

“They show us portfolios and CVs; we recently had the Head of Design from Frontier do a portfolio review for our graduate students to give them tips on how to better target their portfolio to a role.” Kingston also runs game jams and is the only university to annually showcase student games at the Develop Conference.

Practical skills and diversity efforts

From the first year, students start making games, learning design and using gaming engines. They eventually design and publish games, incorporating cinematics and narrative. “It’s a very practical course,” says Brujic-Okretic. “Students also learn future skills of time management, communication with other team members and industry production management tools.”

These skills prepare students for careers in the games industry as well as in programming or software engineering across various sectors. Now, efforts are underway to increase female enrolment in the course.

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