Want To Study Game Design?

Are you a year 12 student apprehensively staring at the UAC guide? Rather be saving the galaxy from Reapers, blasting zombies, or tending a farm? Flip through Macquarie University’s section and you will find two new offerings for the year commencing 2012 that might be the solution to your problems.

Starting right now Macquarie is offering a Bachelor of Information Technology – Games Design and Development and a major within the Bachelor of Arts: Interactivity and Games.

Macquarie’s approach to this field is innovative and stands out from any other offering in NSW. Our philosophy is that videogames are more than software; they are art with all the critical and cultural baggage that goes with that. So our graduates, even the BIT students, will be exposed to the artistic, critical and cultural side of gaming with the aim to create better games, not just fancier graphics. At the core of both offerings are a series of new units designed specifically to bridge the gap between the technical and artistic sides of videogames. All of these units were designed collaboratively between the Computing Department (Faculty of Science) and Media, Music, Communications and Cultural Studies Department (Faculty of Arts). This means that students in either course will sometimes be in computer labs, and at other times be reading, writing and talking about videogames in Arts-style tutorial groups. You’ll be working together across the two Faculties to create these hybrid objects in the joint project units.

The BIT – Games Design and Development is built upon the existing BIT in software development, and is run by the Computing Department. This means that graduates of this course will have the vital grounding and experience in the fundamental technology and programming concepts required to build any complex software system, including videogames. There are a series of new videogame-specialist units required by this course which will focus your technology skills towards building videogames. The Arts/Media-style units will introduce Computing students to concepts of criticism and cultural theory in order to better understand how their creations will fit into the society that consumes them.

The Arts major, Interactivity and Gaming is the newest development from within the various media specialties offered at Macquarie. Graduates of this major will have a deep critical understanding of media, in particular interactive and digital media. This major is not purely theoretical, though. Students will complete practical videogame projects with their BIT colleagues, as well as gain some hands-on experience with interactive web design or other media disciplines offered within the department.

This is a growing area at Macquarie – we are constantly investing in world-class media production hardware, new games for the labs, or development tools for undergraduates. Further, our brand-new Interactive Media Institute is looking for projects and proposals from industry or interested post-graduate students in virtually any area of digital and interactive media. We are strongly focused on bringing together talented producers from any discipline or background, whether from film, audio, programming, design, graphic arts or writing to name a few.

For our undergraduates, we want to offer an education that is more than the contents of a C++ textbook. We want to explore not only how to make games, but why. What is important about videogames? How do we deal with the discourse around our favourite medium? How can we ensure that we really are pushing the medium forward, and creating art worth our time? These are important questions to answer as videogames mature – and it’s going to be this coming generation of developers that will do it.

Bachelor of IT – Game Design and Development Computing

Bachelor of Arts Major in Interactivity and Games MMCCS Department Interactive Media Institute (IMI)


    *sigh*, as someone coming to the end of their bachelor degree, I wish someone was offering this course when I was finishing high school... #missed opportunities

      Completely agree, except I finished mine (bachelor I.T.) a couple of years ago. I've got a feeling many recently finished I.T. students are going to be lamenting the lack of opportunity. Makes it worse that the gaming industry will start expecting these degrees to enter the industry.

        Halfway through BIT.

    So at the end of this degree you get a farm and a spceship?

    I'm doing a Bachelor of IT at UTS. We don't do game design. sadface.png

      Just finished my Bachelor of Science (Games Development).

      It was shit. An absolute joke.

      It's essentially a BIT with 2 required subjects (Animation and Game Development).
      Both were useless.

      However, that was the first revision of the course, the course now has like 6 subjects specific to games, which makes me feel like I got the short straw from UTS.

      Either way I'm working as a games tester, so not all bad I guess

    Wow, so after getting this degree you can go work for KMM or Nnooo - pick one of the two, because there's no-one else in NSW (in the console market, at least).
    The number of graduates in a single year is probably going to be larger than the number of game development jobs in whole state.

      I don't know who'll be suicidal enough to do this. The Aussie games industry is in its death throes and shaking off studios like a bad case of fleas. Coupled with the recession and I can't imagine a worse time to get into the industry.

      Yes, you CAN feasibly move to the West Coast and try your luck there, but then you'd need to justify your worth to your employer over countless silicon valley grads, plus they'll need to vouch for your visa. You'd have more luck, trying to be an A-list actor.

        With the tax breaks coming for R&D game creation has the chance to flourish. shame it came too late for certain companies

    This may sound bad but, for anyone looking to go down this path, please note: It will be incredibly hard to get a job in this field. Simply have a look at the number of studios that have closed over the past 18 months. The market has allot of people out there at the moment, with experience just looking for a job.
    The best way to come out of this sort of degree at the moment is to look towards an indie studio. But you will have to offer more than just being a games designer.

    While designers are important, you need to know that these are still businesses. Ones with small turnovers (at least initially), and as such not much money. If you can rock out with kick-ass programming or animation skills as well as good design then you are a hell of a lot more attractive. Even if you launch your own backyard studio and work at it full time, you will need to watch costs, and an effective way to do that is to multitask yourself.

    I'm not saying don't head down this path, the more education and representation for the games field the better. I'm just asking you to remember that there are very few ways to come out of this with a stable job. You may very well have to put your dream of games design into a night job, and work another job to make ends meet.

      I was about to say this. For 99% of people doing it, it's a waste of time.
      The key to choosing a course is to find out what jobs you can get and how likely and accessible it is to get a job in that field once you've finished.

      I would agree. In my experience (as an ex games programmer) having a regular Software Engineering degree, rather than a game specific one, was no hindrance to me getting into the industry.

      It did help a lot with the non-games job that I had to take for a couple of years while waiting for my opportunity to break into games.

      Once you've got a few years experience then your degree really doesn't matter.

      All in all, given the current state of the games industry in Australia, I'd recommend that people get a regular degree and spend as much time as they can working on game projects at home. The portfolio you build is going to help you way more than the bit of paper. You'll also have a leg up if you want to go indie fulltime, or even part time with a regular job to pay the bills.

        Badger, I'd like to be the Danny to your Miyaki.
        (Er, that is, I'd love to know about more if you studied here in Oz, since I've been doing my head in trying to find out more from useless institutions. Especially living here in Adelaide, where for the film industry, ONE university does ANYTHING. >.< )

          its Miyagi, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keisuke_Miyagi

    Please please please if you are taking this course... LEARN ABOUT HOW YOU CAN SET UP YOUR OWN STUDIO. Unless the tide turns don't expect to have an easy employment at a big company.

    "Rather be saving the galaxy from Reapers, blasting zombies, or tending a farm?"

    Because often game designers spend the majority playing rather than doing design work.

    Better luck getting a job as a philosophy major.

      Hey now! there are heaps of job opportunities as a philosophy graduate. McDonalds, Woolies, Big W, there's heaps of low paying menial jobs that are just dying to have people with philosophy degrees.

    Having done a "games" degree at Qantm College, I would like to warn people looking to do games art, to not expect your qualification to mean much. Your showreel/portfolio is all they really care about, a degree will only help you get a visa if you are looking overseas. That said, don't expect to get a job overseas without an awesome showreel or experience.

    I came out of Qantm skilled but not at the level required to work in the industry (and that was back when there were lots of studios here). It took me another year of practice before I broke into the industry. If you are passionate about making games (different from playing games) you should chase the dream, but don't expect a degree to be an instant job getter. Its a tough industry to get into, and it doesn't pay that great compared to business degrees and whatnot.

      I'm so glad I never went to QANTM. I am quite thankful for that careers day, where I had the privilege of meeting a student from QANTM. I swear he was high.

      It would've been one expensive life lesson if I moved to Brisbane. Instead I got a discounted life lesson in my hometown, from JCU doing the New Media Arts Degree.
      It's an industry of skill and talent, not of degrees and qualifications. I'm glad I changed courses, as it's funny to see only 4 or 5, out of 70 or so have jobs in the creative industry. And those people were already artistically talented. The rest of them are 'freelancers'. LOL

    Hopefully this won't come off as apologetic or overly-defensive, but I feel I should respond to the pessimistic-but-realistic concerns being voice here about getting a job in this field.

    Firstly, I'm not sure anyone thinks that it is 'easy' to get any job in any industry. But this is particularly true in anything we might call a 'creative industry.' Is it 'easy' to get a job in making movies, or music? Is it easy to get a job writing comic books or novels?

    I'm not sure where this heightened awareness of the difficulty of getting a job comes from, in this particular area. In any of these other creative industries I mention, its taken as a given that anyone wanting to break in has to 1) be doing 'the job' in their spare time 2) work their way in over time. No one gets hired out of university to write or direct a Hollywood blockbuster. No, they are writing scripts at home, while they work whatever day job they have. They get a job as a copy-editor for the local newspaper before you become a field reporter for CNN. You write your novel long before anyone gives you money for it.

    The beautiful thing about the games industry today is the fact that one, or two, or three people can actually produce a polished, sell-able game without having 'a job' at any company. The tools available these days for free, or at affordable prices (such as Unity3D, which we are developing our later courses around) are all that's required to get your ideas off the ground.

    So, yes, I actually agree with a lot of what the previous posters have said: realise that there aren't jobs waiting for you, but understand that there don't need to be in order to make a successful career out of games production. It takes dedication and sacrifice, but so does anything remotely artistic.

      Honestly, I wouldn't recommend those field of study to anyone either. I would say a pure gaming degree is probably not a great idea, because you can get a more wholistic degree in software dev (with a minor in art or something) and be in a better position as a graduate. Even if you can't get into the industry, at least you can get a job and some programming experience.

        Oh, and if your wondering, Macquarie is a great campus. Balances a laid back atmosphere with quality outcomes better than any of the other units I've attended.

        ^I'd highly recommend this for anyone even considering doing this degree. If you had a prudent bone in your body, you'd do a generic IT or software design degree, rather than something so singularly specific as Game Design.

        I know how hard it is for certain newer courses to be noticed. And with THIS degree, they don't even have a single graduate who can attest to its quality, or how well it prepares them for the workplace, or even what the market looks like (dismal).

        Do this course if you'd like to sit around the breakfast table circling classifieds with a red pen every morning.

      Just as an aside Adam, writing a novel isn't a job. Anyone can do it and you don't need a degree.

        In terms of the amount of effort you need to put into writing a decent novel, getting it published, etc it's definitely a job... just not a 9-5 one, perhaps.

          But with writing, you're not expected to sink in a few years of your life and tens of thousands of dollars in tuition, before you're even qualified to put pen to paper.

            As the graduate of a degree in Creative Writing I can tell you that in the vast majority of cases, yes you are.

            Even if you are enough of a prodigy to write a successful novel with no higher training (and you would be either a lottery winner or a prodigy), it still takes between 1-5 years to write a novel and first novels pay out about 10-15k.

            Being a writer is a massive time and money investment if you want to go pro.

              I wonder how many great novels came from people who went to writing school?

              Yes, you might learn valuable lessons from a writing course but you're not expressly prohibited from writing until you graduate. You won't be looking for employment in the same way, and have it denied because you don't have a degree (like almost every other field). You do it by your own volition.

    As a software engineer coming out with a "Bachelor of Games and Interactive Entertainment" at the end of last year, I cannot recommend enough that budding games developers do a straight software-engineering course and fill their electives with game-development units instead.

    More than 1/2 of your degree will be filled with irrelevant design/art related subjects that should only appear in a liberal arts degree.

      Did you read the course descriptions before making this comment?

    The University of Tasmania's had something like this for a while now, the Games Technology degree.

    I believe if you want to be a Programmer in the games industry you can't pass up a Computer Science major.

    Take note that design is not programming, but programming is required. As is art(2d, 3d, texture and concept), writing, production, QA, analysis, legal and everything else that goes into games. The simple reason is not many designers get hired, and when they do, they need to fill many hats.

    Also, don't go into this looking to learn how to design, that's all stuff you either learn from failure, or book learn(Jesse Schelle has a good one). Go in there to take what skills you do have and apply them to a team project. The bit of paper is worthless - it's the work you have that'll get you the job.

    Do learn how to do everything required to make a game, though - prototyping is an amazing skill to have.

    Oh, and aim more towards your own studio, even if you do want to be hired into a team - the job market has yet to install the latest updates for you.

    Frankly, I'd pick up unity, blender and gimp before another games degree these days, but if you really want that bit of paper to look at when you come home from your shift at maccas, you can do worse.

    Universities in Australia have many Programming/computer science experts to teach you will when it comes to programming, they also have great artists to teach you visual design. What Universities dont have are Games Designers who have created good games and willing to teach. So unless they have a games designer with experience running or/and teaching the coarse dont even bother. I am studying games programming at RMIT and its basically Computer Science with some unrelated game subjects removed and some media related games subjects like graphics programming added in from the media school. Its a good mix.

    If you go to a University degree expecting a job at the end of it, especially in 2011, you have serious issues that might require psychological counselling. To get a job you have to add value. You possess value by being an educated and skilled person, which happens while and during a during, not purely because of it.

      Something I wish I knew when I went into uni however many years ago :(

    For the love of god, if you want to go into games DO NOT study a game related degree. It is too specific. Do an IT degree with maybe a few game related electives, and teach yourself game design/programming, and make a game to show you can do it.

    Having spoken to people in the industry at Gametech, I can tell you that no one cares if you have any degree at all, so long as you have something to show for your skills (and if you're going to get a degree anyway, why not get a generalised one that can get you a wide range of jobs, rather than boxing yourself in from day 1).

    I was actually in the prototype course for this 3 years ago back when I was at Maq. It's very good. Highly recommend it.

    Does anyone know of any postgraduate certificate/diploma courses in game design in Australia?

    i may be doing a games design course at murdoch in Perth, with a double makor in computer science, as a safegaurd in case the game design doesn't work out!

    I love how similar their "Bachelor of Arts: Interactivity and Games" sounds compared to Swinburne University's "Bachelor of Arts (Games and Interactivity)" that has been running since 2006 down here in Melbourne.
    Also, nearly any university with a comp-sci degree or art/design degree will have a game focused major or entire degree. Remember to shop around before making your choice, and perhaps hedge your bets by choosing something that will help you get a job outside the industry too.

    -waste of your time, do computer science, or some hardcore art course, writing etc. then by all means make games either in your spare time or for a company, BUT:

    think about what it's like to work for a game company, as in realistically. pick one near you, check what they make. then imagine its really commercial, like your trying to sell lady gaga lunch boxes just to survive. the pays not great and women don't like you. Is this what you really want? Do you want to never have sex again? if yes then congrats work at it and get a job there, you might meet some cool people in a really creative environment and have some fun along with the long hours, but there will also be much pain and suffering so I can't recommend it.

      Wow sounds like your quite experienced n not getting sex and selling lady gaga lunch boxes.

    i didn't realize kotaku was an advertiser for some shitty online uni.

    I'm already doing something like this at University of Wollongong, so whatever

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