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Video Game Design

Video Game Design

course overview

The immense advancements that have risen from new discoveries and the development in media technology are constantly altering the field of visual communication. These changes have also brought about unprecedented challenges and opportunities for both the prospective and active visual communication practitioners. Recognizing the need to keep pace with the rapidly evolving the thriving and fast-growing digital game design entertainment environment, the aim of the Advanced Diploma in Video Games Design programme is to provide students an industry-focused design curriculum in a professional andcreative setting.

In diploma programme, students will be exposed to a well-balanced course of study encompassing the fundamental theories and the most up-to-date technical skills in design. In addition, students are required to put the knowledge and skills into practice in a variety of design exercises and projects.During the course of study, students will be introduced to essential design modules in Video Games Design such as Design Principles, Colour for Designers, Drawing for Designers, Digital Image Processing, Interactive Media Design, Animation Principles 1, 3D Techniques and more.

In Advanced programme, underpinned by solid foundation of design, students will be introduced to more advanced design disciplines in Video Games Design such as Object Oriented Programming for Designers, Advanced Programming for Game Designers, Screenplay and Storyboarding, Game Level Design, Body Mechanics (Rigging), Matte Painting, Design Studio and more.

The curriculum of the programme will be delivered in a mix of teaching tactics ranging from lectures and seminars to tutorials and various assessment methods including assignments, presentations, research, and quiz. Throughout the programme, emphasis will be put on the conceptual abilities and aesthetic sensibilities of the students. The main objective of the programme is clearly about enabling students to develop games design from conceptualization to production.

Career Opportunities

  • Creative director
  • Producer
  • Animator
  • Game developer
  • Concept artist
  • 3D modeler

 

Diploma in
Video Game Design

Duration : 6 months

ANATOMY

The module introduces students to anatomy as a foundation of figure building and character design in animation. In addition to basic observation drawing and visualisation skills, students will study major systems of human and animal anatomy such as form, function, proportion, structure, and mechanics through theoretical and practical guidances that take the form of lectures, technical workshops, practical experimentations, and critique sessions. The components of the module include observation skills, structural systems (skeletal, muscle, articulation, etc) in human and animal anatomy, sculpting and detailing techniques in clay modeling, etc.

ANIMATION PRINCIPLES

The module introduces students to the classic principles in animation design. Developed by Disney animators, Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas, the principles form the basis of motion based animated works. Through theoretical and technical studies, students will be guided to explore and relate laws of physics, emotional timing, and character appeal to animation designs. The guidance will take the form of lectures, tutorials, technical demonstrations, practicals, and critique sessions. The components of the modules include terminology and history of animation, classic animation principles, basic concepts in 2D computer animation production such as keyframes, tweening, etc.

3D TECHNIQUES

The module introduces students to fundamental knowledge and skill sets, as well as professional practices, in 3D graphic creation and manipulation. Using the industry standard 3D computer graphics software, students will be guided to explore both the technical and aesthetic aspects of 3D model making and rendering, with emphasis on creative and realistic representation. The guidance will take the form of lectures, tutorials, technical demonstrations, practicals, and critique sessions. The components of the modules include techniques and principles in modeling, shading, texturing, lighting, camera control, rendering, etc.

DESIGN FUNDAMENTALS

The module introduces students to fundamental concepts and knowledge in visual design practice that form the basis of two-dimensional visual communication works. Through theoretical and technical studies, students will be guided to explore and relate basic design principles to effective interaction of visual elements in design compositions. The guidance will take the form of lectures, tutorials, technical demonstrations, practicals, and critique sessions. The components of the module include design elements, figure and ground relationship, colour theory, design principles, visual interactions and hierarchy, etc.

DIGITAL ILLUSTRATION

The module introduces students to fundamental knowledge and skill sets, as well as professional practices, in digital illustration for visual communication. Using the industry standard vector editing app, students will be guided to explore both the technical and aesthetic aspects of vector based drawing and painting, with emphasis on creative visual effects and effective composition. The guidance will take the form of lectures, tutorials, technical demonstrations, practicals, and critique sessions. The components of the module include vector shape and stroke creation, manipulation and experimentation, vector graphic effects, digital typography, etc.

DRAWING FUNDAMENTALS

The module introduces students to fundamental knowledge and skill sets in drawing. With emphasis on observational skills, students will be guided to explore the technical and aesthetic aspects of drawing, ranging from compositional techniques to contemporary practices. The guidance will take the form of lectures, tutorials, technical demonstrations, practicals, and critique sessions. The components of the module include observation of light and shadow, tonal range, shading techniques, perspective drawing, gesture and figure drawing, conceptual drawing, etc.

DIGITAL IMAGE PROCESSING

The module introduces students to fundamental knowledge and skill sets, as well as professional practices, in digital image processing for visual communication. Using the industry standard graphic editing app, students will be guided to explore both the technical and aesthetic aspects of digital image creation, enhancement, and manipulation, with emphasis on creative visual effects and effective composition. The guidance will take the form of lectures, tutorials, technical demonstrations, practical experimentations, and critique sessions. The components of the module include image adjustment, retouching, and transformation; painting and masking techniques; filter effects, etc.

DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY

The module provides students with essential knowledge and skill sets to gain fundamental understanding of image capture through digital photography. In the module, students will be guided to explore both the technical and aesthetic aspects of photography as a contemporary medium of expression in visual communication. The guidance will take the form of lectures, tutorials, technical demonstrations, practicals, and critique sessions. The components of the module include familiarisation of digital photographic equipment, technical correlations of shutter speed, aperture, and ISO in exposure, common genres of photography, natural and studio lighting, digital photography workflow, etc.

Advanced Diploma in
Video Game Design

Duration : 18 months

GAME PROGRAMMING

The module provides students with the basic knowledge to develop a programming foundation in object-oriented game development. In the module, students will be guided to explore the fundamental concepts of OOP (Object Oriented Programming) and gain familiarization with the principles, logics, and techniques of OOP-supporting programming language. The guidance will take the form of lectures, tutorials, technical demonstrations, and practicals. The components of the module include various systems of interaction for rich gaming experience such as in-game coordinate mapping, score keeping and measurement, reward and penalty, etc.

2D GAME DESIGN

The module provides students with the essential knowledge to develop a basic foundation in 2D game design and development. Using industry standard computer graphics tool and cross-platform 2D game engine, students will be guided to explore the technical and creative aspects of 2D game design process covering areas such as game graphics, structure, mechanics, interactivity, and more. The guidance will take the form of lectures, tutorials, technical demonstrations, and practicals. The components of the module include the historical development of video game; typology and ethics of game design; game story structure, form and function; character archetypes and background tiling, user interface and interaction, etc.

HISTORY OF VISUAL COMMUNICATION

The module provides students with the historical overview of graphic design as the anchor of visual communication from early twentieth century to present. In the module, students will be guided to trace the evolution of graphic design, from both the cultural and technical perspectives, and the contextual factors from which it arose. The guidance will take the form of lectures, discussions, visual analyses, and critique sessions. The components of the module include investigation of traditional and contemporary forms of graphic designs from various key movements, exploration of the role and influence of graphic design in modern society, introduction to the important graphic designers of different generations, etc.

USER INTERACTION DESIGN 1

The module provides students with essential knowledge and skill sets to build a solid foundation in the development of effective interface design. Through theories and practicals, students will be guided to plan, strategize, and design a system of human-centric interfaces with emphasis on accessibility and usability in the context of user experience. The guidance will take the form of lectures, tutorials, technical demonstrations, practicals, and critique sessions. The components of the module include user behavior patterns, information architecture, planning and sequence mapping, GUI, visual hierarchy and navigation, prototyping in low, medium, and high fidelity, user interaction in interface system design, etc.

MOTION GRAPHICS AND EFFECTS 1

The module provides students with the essential knowledge and skill sets to build a solid foundation in motion graphics and effects design. Using industry standard vector based animation and motion effects tools, students will be guided to explore various animated interactions between motion elements in screen media, ranging from simple shapes to complex forms; from pictorial marks to symbolic logos; from type to imagery. The guidance will take the form of lectures, tutorials, technical demonstrations, practical experimentations, and critique sessions. The components of the module include stop motion animation, animated web content, typography in motion, and comprehensive motion graphics design, etc.

DIGITAL VIDEOGRAPHY

The module provides students with the essential knowledge and skill sets to gain fundamental understandings of capturing moving images through digital videography. In the module, students will be guided to explore both the technical and aesthetic aspects of videography as an contemporary medium of expression in visual communication. The guidance will take the form of lectures, tutorials, technical demonstrations, practicals, and critique sessions. The components of the module include video production workflow from storyboarding to audio integration, art directions in videography and cinematography, video editing and compositing with industry standard tools, effects treatment in post-production, etc.

3D CHARACTER MODELLING

The module provides students with essential knowledge and skill sets to model a 3D character from base geometry to high resolution sculpture. Using industry standard 3D computer graphics software, students will be guided to explore both the technical and aesthetic aspects of the process of character development from concept design to final rendering. The guidance will take the form of lectures, tutorials, technical demonstrations, practicals, and critique sessions. The components of the module include understanding of projection of high resolution details on low resolution geometry, digital modeling and sculpting techniques, UV mapping, various texturing methods such as bump, displacement, reflection, specular, occlusion mappings, etc.

SCREENPLAY AND STORYBOARDING

The module provides students with the fundamental understanding of screenplay and storyboarding for short films, animations, and video games. Through theories and practicals, students will be guided to explore both the technical and aesthetic aspects of visual storytelling with emphasis on original scriptwriting and sequential narrative in the format of storyboard and animatic. The guidance will take the form of lectures, demonstrations, practicals, and critique sessions. The components of the module include the roles of screenwriting and storyboarding in film, video, animation production; film direction and cinematography basics, strategic crafts in screenwriting; creative visualisation techniques and practices in storyboarding, etc.

ACADEMIC RESEARCH AND COMMUNICATION SKILLS

This unit covers key aspects of research and communication studies in academic contexts relevant to students of design and marketing. Students engage in collaborative learning activities throughout the term in order to develop their teamwork skills.
Students learn to locate, understand, and critically evaluate information from books, journals, the Internet, and primary sources, in order to do effective research. Using these sources of information, students then produce an extended piece of analytical writing and give oral presentations to their peers. Skills in doing primary research (i.e. conducting interviews and surveys), accessing and evaluating information, paraphrasing, using established referencing systems, applying the principles of effective communication, and the professional presentation of documents, are all covered during the module.

3D GAME DESIGN

The module provides students with the essential knowledge to develop practical understandings in 3D game design and development. Using industry standard 3D computer graphics tool and cross-platform game engine, students will be guided to explore the technical and creative aspects of 3D game design process with emphasis on 3D game graphics, environments, mechanics, interactivity, and more. The guidance will take the form of lectures, tutorials, technical demonstrations, and practicals. 3D game genres and platforms, 3D game engine and development tools, integration and optimisation of 3D game assets, lighting in 3D game environments, 3D mechanics and user interactions, etc.

GAME LEVEL DESIGN

The module provides students with the essential knowledge and skill sets to gain proficiency in game level design. In the module, students will be guided to explore both the technical and creative aspects of game structuring with emphasis on moving gamers through various stages and environments to create a compelling game experience. The guidance will take the form of lectures, tutorials, technical demonstrations, practicals, and critique sessions. The components of the module include the role of level designers; game genres, structure and mechanics; gamer motivation and psychological behaviour, game progress, stages, and competitions; visual clues and environment development, etc.

DESIGN STUDIO

Progressing towards industry-focused development, the module provides students with a practical training ground to put their design knowledge and skills in practice through engagement in live projects, design competitions, or the equivalent. In the module, students will experience first-hand the “real world” expectations in design from clients or industry partners. In addition, students will gain familiarization with the professional standards in project planning and time management, as well as the fast-paced design process in the creative industry. Facilitated by the lecturer or tutor, students are required to work independently to present a well-considered design solution with emphasis on the fulfillment of requirements in the creative brief.

MAJOR PROJECT

Building on the prior design knowledge and skills, the module provides students with an opportunity to reflect upon their experiences in previous modules and extend their design development in areas of specialisation that they would like to pursue in greater depth. Within a self-directed problem based framework, students will be challenged their usual understanding of design practices in order to formulate a comprehensive, well considered, and creative design solution. Throughout the module, students will be facilitated by the lecturer or tutor to complete their design projects of choice in adherence to industry standard process and workflow. The priorities of the module include advanced level of analytical and critical thinking, strategic planning and management, competency in creative conceptualisation and execution, etc.

MOTION GRAPHICS AND EFFECTS 2

Building on the foundation of Motion Graphics and Effects 1, the module enables students to gain proficiency in the advanced practice of motion design. Through theoretical and practical guidances, students will develop specialised skills in creating sophisticated motion designs with focus on creative application of animated visual effects to both the conventional and unconventional time based media. The guidances will take the form of lectures, tutorials, technical demonstrations, practical experimentations, and critique sessions. The components of the module include advanced masking with rotoscoping and motion tracking; simulation effects in various particle systems; motion effects in VR/360 environments, etc.

PORTFOLIO AND SHOWREEL

The module provides students with the essential knowledge and skill sets to develop a personal portfolio, which can reflect their competency and positioning in their areas of specialization. Through theories and practicals, students will be guided to investigate and improve their representative design works in the portfolio design process. The guidance will take the form of lectures, tutorials, practical experimentation, and critique sessions. The components of the module includes self-assessment, review and revision of assignments, resume writing, presentation skills for job interview, etc.

3D RIGGING

The module provides students with essential knowledge and skill sets in character rigging for mechanical and organic models in 3D animation. Using the industry standard 3D computer graphics software, students will be guided to explore both the technical and aesthetic aspects of bipedal rigging to create realistic and flexible movements for character animation. The guidance will take the form of lectures, tutorials, technical demonstrations, practicals, and critique sessions. The components of the module include techniques of forward and inverse kinematic, skeleton controls, realistic and cartoon motion studies, parenting and groups, curve controllers and weighting, etc.

3D CHARACTER ANIMATION

Building on the foundation of 3D Character Modeling and 3D Rigging, the module enables students to gain proficiency in the advanced practice of 3D character animation design. In the module, students will be guided to explore specialised skills in infusing illusion of life to animated characters. The guidance will take the form of lectures, tutorials, technical demonstrations, practicals, and critique sessions. The components of the module include character motion planning with poses and animated sequences; expression conveying personality, emotion, and attitude; staging, lighting, and props; sound design and lip synchronization, etc.

INDUSTRIAL ATTACHMENT

This module aims to provide students with the opportunity to gain real-world industry experiences and professional practices in their chosen discipline. It allows students to establish connections, develop useful contacts, and gain industrial skills and an overall perspective of the discipline. The industrial attachment is intended to enhance students’ educational experience and prepare them for their careers.

Duration : 1 year

Bachelor of
Digital Media Design (Honours)

Duration : 12 months

Introduction to Multimedia Technology

This module provides the most essential skills in handling multimedia tools and designing multimedia content in a development environment. Furthermore, it provides an overview of the interactive multimedia industry, the profession and career options, the market, and production, forming the basis for the study of digital arts and technologies.

Law for the Creative Industries

The aim of this subject is to examine the legal environment in which local and international contemporary design oriented professionals operate. It is designed to equip students with knowledge of the basic legal principles, and more generally common law systems. The module focuses on contract law and dispute resolution, duty and standard of care, tort and negligence, copyright, and personal indemnity insurance.

Project Management

This module covers topics which include project management processes, tools of project management, project resources management, roles and responsibilities of the project manager, project risk assessment, project scheduling, cost estimation and performance analysis, and budgeting.

Sustainable Design

The aim of this subject is to give students an awareness of the importance of designing for sustainability in addition to providing a valuable knowledge of current sustainable technologies, materials, design innovation and practitioners.

Entrepreneurship and New Business Development

This module is designed to provide students the theoretical concepts and practical tools for entrepreneurship and new business development. It aims to encourage students’ interest in starting own firm, and also to provide the skills and knowledge in managing, influencing and stimulating entrepreneurial activities. Students will engage in the entrepreneurial process, from the idea generation stage to the collection of information, further refinement of the original idea to produce business plan and idea pitching. Student will develop competencies, techniques, and skills about entrepreneurship, set within a reflective and critical approach to study business development in the modern economy.

HISTORY AND CRITICAL STUDIES

Students will research and analyze the historical events and movements in graphic design history and how they have significantly influenced contemporary graphic design works such as corporate identity and visual system design, advertising design, motion graphics design, packaging design, poster design and so on. The development of the phonetic alphabet-letterforms, writing and typefaces will be equally examined with particular reference to the impact of technological developments such as the printing press, mass media reproduction and the digital revolution. Students will then demonstrate their knowledge through the research, design and presentation of a piece of work, which is inspired by the historical events or movements in graphic design history.

VISUAL EXPLORATION

This module is the advanced version of Visual Studies. Through a series of studio-based assessment tasks and in-class studies, students will learn critical and conceptual problem solving techniques in addition to ‘traditional’, non-digital, technical graphic design creation skills and techniques. Within this module students will also begin to develop their own visual language and style, resolve key issues of visual representation and gain better knowledge in graphic media.

DIGITAL AND APPLIED ILLUSTRATION

This module will introduce students to develop their conceptual skills utilize thro’ advanced vector-based / digital illustration techniques such as; gradient meshes, blends, filters, custom brushes, symbols and masks. Concentrating on digital illustration, this module encourages students to experiment through drawing skills combined with computer illustration software to produce a dynamic body of work / vector graphics to create designs that clearly communicate ideas and information within Visual Communication and the commercial context.

ENVIRONMENTAL GRAPHIC DESIGN

The project covers all phases of a design project from inspiration, through conceptualization to production. Students will learn the basic approaches and essential knowledge of creating effective visual identity system, which contributes to generating and sustaining positive brand image. Students will also examine the relationship between visual identity system and the strategic brand development by means of research, study and analysis, which will culminate in the form of a brand manual.

ADVERTISING DESIGN

This module introduces students to the field of advertising design studies. Students will be exposed to the different theories, design and principles of advertising, the techniques and approaches practiced by advertising agencies also and the practical skills required while planning and developing a successful advertising campaign. Students will explore media across a range of both print and digital. Students are encouraged to challenge and explore the possibilities on the relationship among “big Idea”, “media” and “target audience” by emphasizing on the creative aspects of advertising.

GAME DESIGN

Students in this module learn about the history of the classic 2D video game and the state of 2D development today, to understand commonly used gaming terms and plan a video game production, understand the basics of the game design, and how to create their own art assets to be synthesized into a unique interactive video game of their own design.

Major Project

The project covers all phases of a design project from inspiration to conceptualization. The module is completed over 2 semesters.

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