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Video Games Art and Mechanics: Digital - Level 3Apply Now »

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Level: 3

Location: Joseph Wright Centre

Years: 2

Interview: Y

Course Summary

This qualification is aimed at 16 to 18-year-old students who are in a full-time Level 3 education programme and who wish to pursue a career in the video games industry by studying the core principles of video game art and video game mechanics.

While centred on video games, the content of this course means it is suitable for other creative media roles in which gaming techniques are applied more generally, including e-learning, participatory arts and arts practice and performance.

This qualification will provide you with a solid foundation in understanding how the games industry works. It covers the essential drawing skills required by any games artist plus a working understanding of how games are designed and how a games engine functions. It also includes an introduction to visual scripting.

You will study the course as part of a learning programme that could also include other subjects, but which will help you to develop the skills and knowledge that are needed in the fast-moving video games industry.

This qualification could also be taken alongside a Level 3 Maths qualification or compatible IT qualification including the Advanced AQA Tech-level IT: Scripting and App Programming.

Entry requirements

Typically, you will have at least five GCSEs graded A*- C, including English Language and Maths. Alternatively you may have equivalent intermediate qualifications at Merit grade or above, along with GCSE grade 4/C in English Language and Maths.

Importantly a university application will probably require five GCSEs graded C (4) or above, including both English Language and Maths GCSE at grade 4/C or above.

In addition to these entry requirements, you may be asked to attend a taster activity where your practical skills and potential will be assessed.

Course Content

All of the units in this qualification are mandatory and will provide the core video game arts and mechanics technical knowledge and skills required for progression towards working as a games artist or designer in the video games sector.

You will cover topics such as:

  • Business for video games – essential elements involved in setting up or working within a business in the video games industry, including how games businesses work today, what knowledge and skills are required to start up a games business, what is needed to work within an existing games business and how to manage the development of games.
  • 2D games art – essential drawing skills required by a games artist, covering the use of mixed media, various techniques and processes such as tone, colour, shape, line, perspective and proportion, and the various visual styles achievable through the language of drawing. The visual recording skills that you develop form the basis for many subsequent units in associated larger qualifications, such as 3D modelling (character and environment) and concept art.
  • 3D environment art – key construction methods for environment art, focusing on modelling and texturing pipelines required for the creation of a city building.
  • Games mechanics – learning the fundamental ideas behind games design, why we play games and how games are designed. Through the application of visual scripting, this knowledge is used to drive the technical development of a playable character within a games engine. This character will be built up to participate in a complete playable experience.
  • Transferable skills - generic ‘soft skills’ that are valued by employers and higher education alike.

How will I be assessed?

You must pass all units and all transferable skill requirements to achieve the qualification.

Performance in all units is graded at Pass, Merit or Distinction. These unit grades are then converted into points and added together to determine the overall grade for the qualification.

Assessment entails both:

  • Internal assessment: work is assessed by tutors against grading criteria provided within each unit
  • External assessment: units are assessed by AQA using a marks-based scheme

Are there any additional costs or specialist equipment required?

You will need to provide a memory stick and a set of mini-headphones for your studies.

What can I do after this course?

Students who achieve this qualification will have a range of options, as studying this qualification does not restrict future progression into one particular role.

Examples of potential career progression opportunities are 2D games artist, environment artist, graphic designer, technical artist and games designer.

This qualification could also form part of a basis for application to a higher education course (degree, foundation degree or HNC/HND) in a video games related discipline.



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This course is run at the Joseph Wright Centre

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Helen Clark

Helen Clark

Former BTEC student Helen leads Derby innovation showcase

A company director who studied BTEC multimedia at Derby College is spearheading a key event showcasing ideas and innovation in the city. Helen Clark, 32, attended the former Wilmorton site on a two year course when she was just 16. She is now a director with city-based Clark CX, a website conversion rate optimisation consultancy, which was founded by her husband Pete. Helen said Derby College gave her a crucial insight into the workplace and the course was broad-based enough to allow her to choose in which direction she wanted to take her career. After college she took a graphic design degree in Norwich, which led to design roles in Bath, Mansfield and then Derby. Pete separately attended Derby College on an art foundation course, and Helen joined his business two years ago. They are now putting together TEDxDerby 2016 at QUAD on May 21. The event is a forum which will showcase creative and innovative ideas from speakers predominantly based in, or connected, to Derby.

Helen said: "The BTEC course was like an introduction to the real world and how people work in the industry. We covered a wide range from illustration to graphic design and video work, which helped me to decide which field I wanted to go into."

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