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Games Design & Development

Course Description

A ground-breaking MA in Games Design and Development, combining existing NFTS expertise in character creation, storytelling, design, animation, sound, and more, with input from games industry experts in games design, games art, games production and games audio.

Quick Facts:

2 Year Course
Course runs Jan-Dec each year
Next intake: January 2017
NFTS Scholarships available for UK Students

Visit the website https://nfts.co.uk/our-courses/masters/games-design-development



- Study games design and development working alongside the film and television industry’s best and brightest future prospects.
- Build up an in depth fluency in all games design and development disciplines.Develop industry contacts through conferences, event attendance, trade association involvement and visits from industry practitioners and luminaries.
- Gain a practical knowledge of games software development, and the ability to experiment with new pipelines and evolving technologies and techniques.
- Work on high profile solo and group projects, with plenty of opportunities to experiment, innovate and excel.
- Unlike other schools, production costs are met by the School.

Taught by leading games practitioners and experts in the field, our MA in Games Design and Development is a world-leading postgraduate games programme with the reputation, accreditation and alumni credits to back this up. Learning and working alongside film, television and animation practitioners, the course provides a unique opportunity for future games innovators to hone their creative and technical skills, developing fluency in all the core videogames development disciplines such as games design, code, art, animation, production, audio, interface and more. The NFTS provides MA Games students with an unrivalled creative context, as well as the inestimable collaborative opportunities presented by the course’s setting at the heart of the NFTS media development and production studios.


Videogames are a relatively young medium, in a continual state of innovation and evolution, which means creatively there is still everything to play for. New platforms and technologies have broadened out the field, with fantastic opportunities for technical invention and artistic innovation. The NFTS Games course provides the practical skills and creative knowhow to design, devise and make games from inception to delivery, and the vision and temperament to provide creative leadership in an industry which continually strives to increase its cultural reach, broaden its audiences and create new and engaging experiences for an innovation-hungry marketplace. Games students develop projects in collaboration with students from other NFTS disciplines including sound design, composing, screenwriting, cinematography, producing, production design, digital effects, editing and production management.

*There are a number of different scholarships that support this course, including the Wellcome Trust Science Media Studentship. For more information see Scholarships and the Wellcome Trust - http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/Funding/Public-engagement/Funding-schemes/Broadcast-games-and-film-awards/Science-Media-Studentships/index.htm


In the first year students undertake a series of set projects – both group and solo – during which they also learn core games development disciplines of design, art, animation, coding and production. The modules and workshops cover 3D modelling/animation, game programming (C#/Unity), game design, character creation, producing and project management. Students also take classes in Life Drawing and theory lectures in cultural and critical studies to support their practical work. In the second year students focus on their Final Major Project, working in multi-disciplinary teams with students from other disciplines. Numerous fruitful partnerships have been formed with sound designers, composers, screenwriters, producers, production designers, cinematographers, digital effects artists and others, but the exact composition of development teams varies according to the nature of the projects. External practitioners can also be brought in on projects where needed. Early in the second year students also undertake a detailed module on commercial aspects of game development and present professional business cases for their projects to a panel of experts as a practical output.


Students develop a cumulative portfolio of work throughout the course. First year output will include the following projects at minimum: ‘Hello World’ (an extensive playable 3D environment made a as a group project); ‘App Factory’ (a mobile/tablet game); ‘Synthespian’ (a player controlled interactive character performing to a set text); ‘Moments of Consequence’ (a short interactive drama). Students work in teams with other school specialisms depending on the specifics of the project. Second year output is exhibited at major shows and expos in various stages during the year, as well as at the Games Graduation Expo which takes place alongside the NFTS Graduation Film, Television and Animation screenings in February.

Students also participate in competitions, game jams and external projects throughout the course, and work is shown and shared on NFTS Games department blog (http://www.nfts-games.com) as well as on students’ own individually maintained portfolio websites. The department also actively promotes student output and activity on our well-followed social media presences.

Final Projects are as varied and diverse as our student group. We’ve proudly presented cutting edge virtual reality experiences, a playable political thriller, episodic interactive dramas, comedic ghost stories, a Dostoevsky-inspired interactive story environment, a motion-controlled playable monster, an interactive romantic comedy, to name a handful. Many more on the way.


Since 2012, the NFTS Games course has fed into a creative community of alumni, course contacts, indie developers, games journalists and development studio people who visit the course and follow our work. Students entering the course rapidly become part of this community through networking events, meetup groups, conference attendance and involvement with industry associations such as UKIE, Bafta Games, Creative Skillset and others. Not only does this provide a healthy exchange of ideas and knowledge, but it also provides a network of contacts for future employment, partnership opportunities and funding sources.

A significant proportion of NFTS Games grads have secured funding or distribution for projects developed on the course and have formed their own studio start-ups to make them, while others go on to work at games studios such as Sony Computer Entertainment or Reloaded. Students have also been successful in securing grant funding for projects through our partnership with the Wellcome Trust. Our alumni have also had their fair share of awards and prizes.


As well as an advisory group including members drawn from Sony, Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Media Molecule, Bossa Studios, Natural Motion, NDreams and others, we have regular workshops delivered by experienced industry practitioners. Recent visiting tutors include Siobhan Reddy (Media Molecule), Imre Jele (Bossa Studios), Tara Saunders (Sony), Andrew Oliver (Radiant Worlds), Richard Lemarchant (ex Naughy Dog), Phil Harrison (ex Microsoft), Barry Mead (Fireproof games), Mike Bithell, Jess Curry (The Chinese Room). As well as giving overview talks, where time permits guest tutors have one-to-one sessions with students and give specific input of current project work.

The course is a member of the Sony Playstation®First programme which give students access to Sony PS4 devkits and professional software development kits. We are also a Creative Skillset accredited MA course.


Games design and development students at the NFTS come from a wide range of backgrounds and prior experiences, and have demonstrated an excitement, aptitude, creativity and willingness to learn new skills. We actively seek a diverse and interesting group of people who have something new to bring into the games development fold. Successful applicants have come to us with previous qualifications from across the arts, sciences and humanities; and from all walks of life as far as profession and practice is concerned. Games development experience is welcome, but by no means essential.

The NFTS games course provides a truly unique opportunity to enter one of the most exciting creative industries of the modern age.


- A critical analysis of a computer game of your choice. No more than two sides A4, typed.
- A brief outline of the kind of game project you wish to undertake
- A digital portfolio containing samples of your work.

Feel free to contact the NFTS games department via for any further information. You can also keep up to date with all our latest developments on the course blog at
http://www.nfts-games.com , our facebook page http://www.facebook.com/NFTS.Games or twitter feed @NFTS_Games.


You can apply directly to us at the NFTS by clicking on the link below:

APPLY FOR GAMES DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT COURSE - https://nfts.co.uk/sign-me-up/apply-now/?nid=28

You can apply online, or download a word document of the application form to submit via email
When selecting your course, please ensure that you have read the entry requirements and details of the supporting materials that should accompany your application.


We are happy to receive applications 24/7 and 365 days a year up until the deadline. That said, there is no particular advantage to submitting your application very early. The important thing is that your application shows us your latest work and tell us about your most recent filmmaking experiences.

Visit the Games Blog site - http://www.nfts-games.com/

Visit the Games Design & Development page on the National Film & Television School website for more details!

All Available Videos:

(Student Profile)

Albert Bentall

Games Graduate. Games Design credits include: London Heist (Sony Computer Entertainment)

(Student Profile)

Phil Harrison

CEO, Alloy Platform Industries

"I am excited for the future of creative industries in the UK if this is the calibre of work that is being produced by the students at the school"


Science Media Studentships - Single Award

The NFTS studentship offers financial support for one PhD-level biomedical scientist to undertake a postgraduate qualification (MA) at the NFTS in Games Design and Development, Directing Fiction or Screenwriting, all of which last 24 months.The awards will pay for tuition costs plus a grant to cover basic living expenses for the duration of the studentship.The next NFTS application deadlines are as follows:8 July 2016 (17.00) - Games Design and DevelopmentIf you are interested in making an application, please contact Dr Jonathan Wardle - Director of Curriculum and Registrar.
T +44 (0)1494 731475
E [email protected] Or visit the NFTS website (http://nftsfilm-tv.ac.uk/our-courses/masters).

Value of Scholarship(s)

tuition costs plus a grant


Applicants should be PhD-level biomedical scientists wishing to explore a career in the broadcast, games and film industries in the UK and/or Republic of Ireland. Applicants must have a PhD or equivalent, some experience of science communication, and a demonstrable aptitude for working with TV, radio, film or games.

Application Procedure

The studentships will only be awarded to applicants who have a confirmed place on the course of interest.For the NFTS, application is through the NFTS website: Games Design and Development, Directing Fiction, Screenwriting.After the application deadline, a shortlist of candidates for interview will be drawn up, with interviews taking place in late July.

Further Information



NFTS Scholarships - No. of awards TBC

All long term resident UK students, once they are offered a place on the MA programme, are invited to apply for an NFTS funding award. Awards may consist of either a bursary or a scholarship or a combination of both. NFTS Scholarships are donated by individuals or organisations with a direct involvement in the film, games and television industries. They often include a mentorship and an individual donor may take in interest in your work. Therefore they have an added prestige.The NFTS funding awards contribute directly to tuition fees and may be between £1,000 and £10,000. They are not re-payable by the student. They are only available to UK permanent residents although there is also currently one small scholarship available annually to a French-speaking student.

Value of Scholarship(s)



They are only available to UK permanent residents although there is also currently one small scholarship available annually to a French-speaking student.

Application Procedure

Students are invited to apply in both of the two years of the course. Some scholarships are intended to be for a particular specialisation, for female students, or awarded on ethnicity or according to the UK region of an applicant.

Further Information



The Toledo Scholarship - No. of awards TBC

Applications are treated confidentially and are means tested. The school reserves the right to ask an applicant to provide proof of his/her financial circumstances and of possible family support. The Assistant Registrar must be notified immediately of any change in an applicant’s financial circumstances. Careful consideration is given by the Scholarship Panel with a view to responding to demonstrated financial need. Funds are limited and students are asked to estimate responsibly how much assistance they think they will need as this affects the School’s ability to accommodate students in serious need.Unfortunately, we are unable to open this scheme to EU or International students, or to students on the Diploma programmes. There are some course specific scholarship opportunities available to Diploma students. Please check the latest situation on the NFTS website course pages. There may not be enough scholarships available to allow the school to give one to all applicants. Therefore it may be necessary for you to make alternative arrangements for your tuition fees and maintenance. All students offered a place are provided with guidelines for applying for independent funding. This information is distributed during the summer. NFTS funding applications are received in September and the Scholarship Panel meets in October to decide the awards for the following year. Decisions are announced shortly afterwards.

Value of Scholarship(s)

See the website


The Toledo Scholarship is an NFTS scholarship specifically intended to enable talented newcomers from the UK’s ethnic minorities to fast-track their ambitions and join the British film industry.

Application Procedure

Application is made in the same way as all other NFTS scholarships but candidates will need to identify themselves as an UK ethnic minority candidate in order to be considered automatically.

Further Information



BAFTA Scholarship - No. of awards TBC

The BAFTA Scholarship Programme assists talented individuals in need of financial support. A BAFTA scholarship can help you afford an NFTS course in 2016 or 2017. Recipients will receive:
- Up to £10,000 to cover their course fees
- An Industry mentor
- Free access to BAFTA events around the UKUK students who have worked in the industry for at least two years may qualify for assistance from the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund. Students with relevant experience who have been offered a place on a course should apply direct to the CTBF. There is also an opportunity to apply early and directly for a BAFTA scholarship before your application has been completed. UK applicants should look out for the BAFTA scholarship announcement on their website.Some of the remaining UK Regional Screen Agencies offer scholarships to students from within their region. Some are arranged through the School as NFTS Scholarships, while others must be applied for direct, in competition with students at other institutions.

Value of Scholarship(s)

Up to £10,000


Eligible courses are listed on the website.

Application Procedure

The deadline for applications is Friday 17 June 2016. You can apply to BAFTA before you are offered an NFTS place.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

Games design and development students at the NFTS come from a wide range of backgrounds and prior experiences, and have demonstrated an excitement, aptitude, creativity and willingness to learn new skills. We actively seek a diverse and interesting group of people who have something new to bring into the games development fold. Successful applicants have come to us with previous qualifications from across the arts, sciences and humanities; and from all walks of life as far as profession and practice is concerned. Games development experience is welcome, but by no means essential.

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