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This study programme is designed for 16 to 19 year olds (aged 19 to 24 for students with an Education, Health and Care Plan).

All courses take place on our Sixth Form Campus, therefore any applicants aged 25+ or over who do not have an Education, Health and Care Plan may be required to complete a DBS check as part of the conditional offer to West Suffolk College. The cost to the applicant for a DBS is £30.00 and the DBS check can be completed through the college.

Please visit our Adult EducationDegrees and Employer section for alternative courses.

About the course

About The School of Art, Design & Digital-Creative / Leonardo Creative House

We hope you apply and join one of our courses. You will belong to the biggest curriculum area at West Suffolk College - The School of Art, Design and Digital-Creative. We are thriving, fun and ambitious. Studying ONE subject that you truly connect with (with no exams) is a liberating joy. You will love it!

This year we have over 500 students studying a broad range of creative courses across different levels. We are fortunate to have our own purpose-built building - 'Leonardo House' - on the main campus. Over many years we have all worked hard to be considered one of the very best Further Education creative centres in the UK. We care about what we do and strive to develop the next generation of professionals for the UK and global Creative Industries. Our culture is one of very high standards and freedom of individual expression. You will be working with like-minded individuals and professional specialist staff. Being part of Leonardo Creative House is a great thing. With hard work you will thrive and progress to a rewarding future.

Derek Johnson - Director of The School of Art & Design / Leonardo Creative House

The course - what is it all about?

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From the very first moment you power on a PC you will be building games. And we mean this, by the end of day 1 you will have made a working game. It's important to us that a Games course is about games, developing hands on skills, using games engines, and become masters of industry level software packages to actually build games. Everything you will do is to an industry level and used to produce your very own games ready for platforms such as Steam or The Computer Games Design and Development course has a proven track record of producing outstanding games designers and artists with amazing successes at the FXP games festival winning 5 years in a row, industry recognition from companies such as Jagex (Runescape) and Talewind games not to mention outstanding achievement at the world-renowned BAFTA YGD awards.

Don't just take our word for it, this was said on about one of our students.

"There is so much amazing talent out there - we've just hired this… developer who just turned 18 but he's running circles around us."
CEO Talewind games

Year 1 will introduce you to a variety of programming, art, and animation skills across a range of 2D and 3D projects. Our amazing team of talented staff will guide your games design journey through the use of programs such as Photoshop, Maya and most importantly Unreal Engine. Everything we do builds upon skills picked up in different sessions, working collaboratively across the design and development disciplines to make a well-rounded game that incorporates artistic, technical, and functional feedback loops and develops your skillset to produce inspiring industry level game experiences. By the end of year 1 you will be fully capable of making industry level games ready for production. Year 1 will introduce you to a lot of skills and techniques setting you up perfectly to really stretch your legs in year 2.

The second year focuses solely on developing you as an individual with each project allowing you to develop your own niche resulting in a bespoke portfolio to match your chosen progression route. Although your skills are developed in a game setting the ability to model in 3D, create inspiring artwork or problem solve through code opens doors to a wide variety of industries beyond a keyboard or controller. Our students have progressed onto university courses focusing on areas such as Music and Audio production, Cyber Security, Architecture, Animation, Illustration, and events management to name a few. The work you create in year 2 will not only add new skills with randomisation and data sets but also push your work to a much wider audience, with games jams, competitions such as BAFTA YGD as well as shows and events to showcase the exceptional work you will produce. The year is capped off with an end of year exhibition which is visited by thousands of people on the opening night alone.

This course is all about making games and will give you the perfect start to your career in the games industry.

What the course covers

Creative and Technical skills:

  • 2D design and asset creation skills
  • 3D modelling and animation skills
  • Coding and scripting with world leading games engines
  • Digital; various software - including Unreal Engine, Adobe CC (Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere Pro) and Autodesk Maya
  • Audio for games
  • Idea generation
  • Play testing and feedback of new games
  • Exploration and experimentation of media and processes
  • Independent development of studio work into own unique outcomes

Professional Skills:

  • Working on 'live' assignments
  • Meeting deadlines
  • Working with focus and independence
  • Communication
  • Presentation of outcomes
  • Online professional social media profile

The courses and what you need to get a place

  • UAL Level 1 Diploma in Art, Design and Media (1 year)
  • UAL Level 2 Diploma in Digital Arts (Art & Design) (1 year)
  • UAL Level 3 Extended Diploma in Creative Practice: Art, Design & Communication (internal pathway: Games Design and Development) (2 years)

What level will you do? To gain a place a level 3 you will need to achieve at least four GCSEs at grade 4 or above. We would like at least one of these GCSE's to be in Maths or English subject areas. If you feel you may not achieve this benchmark, then a level 1 or level 2 course will be the perfect first step into further education. Our level 1 and level 2 programs are all outstanding and inspirational courses. We are however flexible to individual circumstances as one size does not fit all. At interview (do not worry it is a very pleasant meeting!) we will discuss with you your entry skills and explore your individual options and levels. All will be fine!

How will I be assessed?

All courses and levels are assessed against submitted coursework by a deadline - work with NO sat exams. All are assessed at Pass, Merit, Distinction levels against the qualification unit criteria.

We are proud to be a University of the Arts London (UAL) accredited college. This is the largest creative awarding body in Europe.

NOTE: All level 3 courses carry the required UCAS points for university applications.

Where will it take me?

Level 1 and 2 students progress to levels 2 and 3.

Level 3 students progress to university or employment. Annually about 75% of our level 3 students decide to progress to university. They all successfully gain places. Our students progress to the very finest universities such as Chelsea, Central Saint Martins, Manchester, Nottingham Trent, London College of Fashion, Norwich, Southampton and many others.

Outstanding aspects and highlights

We love doing as many enriching activities as possible. This ensures your educational experience is varied, challenging and positive. Recently Digital Arts and Games Design students have:

  • Visited EGX - the UK's Largest Games Event
  • Taken part in FXP - part of Brains Eden
  • Taken part in worldwide competitions such as Bafta YGD
  • Taken part and run Games Jams
  • Collaborated with industry professionals to develop larger scale games

Days & times

Starting September 2023

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