I don’t have a degree that’s ‘relevant’ to Games. Can I still apply?

Many of our successful applicants do not have a ‘games-specific’ degree. In fact we take great pride in the eclectic backgrounds of our students! We’ve welcomed folk with undergraduate degrees in philosophy, ancient history, psychology, political science, physics, fine art, theatre, film production and numerous other subject areas. We’ve also had those whose previous professions have included cinematography, television production, biomedical research, fashion modelling, brass fabrication and pie-making. Bringing in people with such diverse interests and areas of expertise has really elevated the games produced on the course. We are looking for people with great ideas, with a passion to invent new game experiences and explore new modes of storytelling.

What prior level of knowledge of game design is required or recommended for the course?

It’s important for us though to be reassured that applicants will be able to get to grips with the coding and practical art sides of the course, therefore we encourage people to get hold of the Unity game engine (which is free at www.unity3d.com) and try out their preliminary exercises or tutorials to put something together. It should only take a couple of days or so, but it does give you a taste of games development. Were not expecting polished, releasable titles, just for you to show that you are up for giving these things a try and have capacity to learn.

I have not previously studied a creative subject what should I include in the portfolio?

It’s always a good idea to ensure your portfolio includes some practical work. This could be illustrative, photographic, design, code or creative writing. We also like to see some 2D or 3D digital artwork if possible. We really want to see your best creative work so be sure to include any applicable games, animation, screenwriting or essays that you’ve done. As far as your games proposal is concerned, it varies from applicant to applicant. Most of you will write about a game that you foresee yourself attempting to make having acquired the appropriate skills. We like to see how good your ideas are and also how well you are able to define, describe and specify a game idea. More than anything else, we’re looking for applicants to use their imagination and give us some insight into the type of games you are interested in developing – both on the course and beyond. This, plus the short critical analysis of a game title of your choice, should make a good application.

Where is the school based?

We are based in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire which is a mere 30 minute train ride from London Marylebone. For more information see our Contact Page

How long is the course? Can I study long distance?

It is a two year, full time course. Students are required to attend curriculum hours on Monday to Friday from 10am – 5pm, for scheduled lectures and modules. Although you have access to the games labs 24 hours a day. There is currently no option for long distance studying.

How does the two years break down? What are the key modules?

Module 1 – Hello World – an extensive playable 3D environment made as a group project. Each person within the group will have a specific role to perform and will design a part of the environment

Code Camp – An intensive programming course

Module 2 – App Factory – a mobile/tablet game. You have 5 weeks to make a game for a tablet or a mobile phone

Module 3 – Synthespians – a player controlled interactive character performing to a set text. A relatively short animation module. You have the option to use VR. 

Module 4 – Moments of Consequence –This is the big finish to the first year. Games students pair up and work with students from other departments to make a short interactive drama (3-5 minutes).

There are also ‘Advanced Game Design’ and ‘Business of Games’ lectures. In addition, there is the opportunity to join students from other department for Monday ‘Screen Arts’ sessions. We are also fortunate to have lots of masterclasses from industry professionals.

The second year consists of making the final major project culminating in a graduation showcase in a London venue.

The film school is renowned in the film industry, will we get the chance to work with students from other departments?

Most definitely. We work closely with our counterparts in Sound Design, Composing, Digital Effects, Screenwriting, Producing, Editing, Cinematography and Production Design. In the short time the course has been running some of these collaborators have won BAFTA’s and earned Academy Award nominations.

In 2015 the National Film and Television School was named the Top International Film School (outside US) by the Hollywood Reporter which was a huge accolade. Full story here.

Do you have guest lectures?

As often as we can! Previous guest lecturers have been Charles Cecil from Revolution (Broken Sword series), Yoan Fanise from Digixart (Valiant Hearts), Barry Meade from Fireproof Games (The Room series), Jessica Curry and Dan Pinchbeck from The Chinese Room (Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture), Siobhan Reddy from Media Molecule (Tearaway) and Richard Lemarchand (Uncharted) and that’s just to name a few. After the masterclass our guests will spend one to one time with the students and offer valuable feedback on their individual work

What computer programs do you use? What code do you teach?

We use the whole range of Autodesk and Adobe software for the art side. In particular, our students make use of Maya, plus specialist programmes for specialist tasks such as Mudbox, Substance Painter and Marvellous Designer.

Coding-wise we use Unity3D with C#, which is a great way to learn game development, and provides students with a very marketable skillset. We are always looking for the easiest/fastest/cheapest ways to get quality output and this includes motion/performance capture tools as well as parametric modelling and animation tools

Will I get help with funding?

Here’s a link to the official page for information regarding funding.

Scholarships and bursaries are available (mostly to UK students) and are means tested. That means as a UK based applicant you should get help with at least a proportion of your fees if you need it, depending on assessed means and/or sources. There are also a range of loans and schemes for postgraduate study for both UK-based and others which are applicable to our MAs as we are a registered and recognised HEI.

The unofficial advice is to research. There are grants and bursaries out there if you are prepared to hunt them down. Most of our students have received financial assistance of one sort or another, a few of which funded their studies completely. For further advice or guidance contact our Registry. Or by all means ask us and we will try to point you in the right direction.

What have your students done since graduating?

We have had five years of graduates so far. Almost all have gone on to work in the Games Industry in some capacity. This ranges from working in established studios in design and development roles, to independently forming their own outfits to further develop the games they started working on while on the course. Examples of the latter include ‘Pixel Ripped’ (Ana Ribeiro),  ‘4PM’ (Bojan Brbora) and ‘Off Grid’ (Rich Metson and Pontus Schonberg). Others have started their own companies and received funding to develop specific projects such as Cupboard Games (Jon Hatton and Paul Dillon). So the answer is quite varied, but in general our students have ended up in exciting places and are continuing to develop their careers making innovative games in one context or another.

Do you go to events and industry shows?

We certainly do! You will see an NFTS Games presence at major UK trade shows and conferences including Develop, EGX, Rezzed, Apps World to name a few

Do you have memberships to organisations?

We, and our students, are members of UKIE, Playstation First, Skillset and HEVGA (Higher Education Video Games Alliance)

Can I visit the school?

We have a number of open days throughout the year. Keep an eye on the ‘Open Days’ page on the official site for info

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