About Game Development

If you’re passionate about gaming, and have a talent for developing game-play concepts and understanding game mechanics, this course will give you the fundamental skills you need to kick-start your career.

At JMC Academy, we believe in teaching all of the fundamentals of game design.
Here, you will learn how to design, develop and implement an idea, with emphasis on creativity and expression through concept creation, digital drawing, environment modelling and game engine implementation.

To ensure you graduate with the skills demanded by leading developers, you will gain hands-on expertise in leading industry software like Maya and the Unity game engine. By working together in teams to create interactive game prototypes and quality game assets, you will also be able to exercise your job-readiness in a particular specialty.

For anyone passionate about becoming a world builder and storyteller, this course if for you.

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Diploma of Creative Arts
(Game Design)

2 Trimesters
Where / Brisbane / Melbourne / Sydney
Next intake 06/06/2016 / See all intake dates
Entry requirements / Aus / International
This Diploma is focused on giving you the fundamental skills you need for a career in game development from the ground up. This includes hands-on concept drawing, environment modelling, digital sculpting, rigging and game engine implementation. 

You will begin to understand the core components of visual narrative and games design and will adopt a range of rich, diverse and expressive animation techniques which you'll develop into sophisticated outcomes. 
 
A solid foundation in game art development practice will provide you with the perfect platform upon which to deepen your critical level of knowledge and understanding in the Bachelor. 
Diploma of Creative Arts
(Game Design)
Curriculum
Subject
Production Art I
This unit seeks to provide some of the fundamental skills needed to help visualise ideas and to translate them into representations in 2D and 3D. The unit does not assume any level of existing skill but instead starts from the most basic elements of design and drawing with the belief that any able person can learn to draw competently. Imaginative interpretation, visual conceptualising of story and story elements, and the representation of narrative moments, form the primary thrust of the unit. Exercises will be directed toward an art direction project and the visualisation of character and story.
Creative Process
The aim of this subject is to build an awareness of a reliable and thorough creative process. It aims to instil commitment, individual and group, to that process, and to provide working tools for the origination and development of creative projects.

Students will work in small groups, through three distinct stages, towards a Prototype Proposal that deals with the challenge of approaching a creative career. This research exploration will include student backgrounds, interests, aspirations and expectations, then explore the links, similarities and differences between the group members. Creative outcomes will include both individual and group generated content as the result of a design-thinking based structure or information framework that links the research findings. The final outcome of the three stages is a Prototype Proposal that will contain evidence of the creative process applied to the development of a proposed design project. This proposal could be an animated film, a game, a digital interactive work, web site or similar.

Students will undertake three creative stages that will introduce and explore the student groups as young designers today and their pathway into a future career. Each part of this unit will be approached employing a design-thinking methodology. Each phase of the process will be explored employing the following processes and themes: 1. Discover: “What do we like to make?” (sustaining our practice, aspirations and expectations) 2. Ideate: “How do we get our work ‘out there’” (potential strategies, methods for exposure) 3. Prototype: “Strategy, Platforms, Process” (a proposal on how to make it all happen)

The three stages of this project always remains at a development stage and are never taken into actual production, allowing students to focus on the process rather than on the polish of a finished outcome. This also allows them to work with ideas that may not be practical to actually execute, encouraging them to be more ambitious, investigative and inventive.
Game Programming I
For game designers, creating effective and tightly designed game play is made possible only with an understanding of fundamental core programming concepts. This unit provides this introduction to games development, where students will begin to develop an understanding of games programming and game engine operation. This is through writing games-focused software scripts in the C# language using the Unity games engine Application Programming Interface (API). Students will complete a number of small games projects and exercises, which will teach the operation of a powerful game engine, and the importance of understanding the fundamentals of games programming for game design practitioners of all fields – artists, designers, and programmers.
Introduction to 3D
This first year course teaches the practical operation of a 3D graphics program used throughout the degree. Technical skills are conveyed through set video exercises to be completed independently of the class and two creative assignments developed under the direction of your lecturer.
Game Art I
This unit introduces the student to the fundamental production process of creating art assets for games, teaching practical skills in operating a range of 3D and 2D content creation applications for use in computer games. The student follows a range of tutorials and exercises to learn a wide range of foundational game art creation skills and techniques. These culminate in the production of a creative project utilising interactive game art.
Game Studies
The meaning of video games, as with all art forms, is the product of complex interactions between their form, function and context. This unit introduces students to the interactions between game rules and systems, players, and the wider world that make games meaningful. Students will analyse the basic elements of games, the formal systems by which they operate, and the context in which they are produced and played. Students will critically examine the broad structural attributes of games that establish the fundamental basics for play, the conditions under which games are made and played, and the details of dynamic interactions between player and game systems that allow a more detailed understanding of how video games function as media texts.

This unit provides grounding in the systems by which games operate that underpins future units, where students will put this knowledge into practice in the creation of games. Beyond this, students will also engage with public discourse around video games, deepening their engagement with the medium, introducing them to a wide array of perspectives, and giving them a basis for honing their craft and engaging with the video game industry.
T2 Electives: Production Art II, Motion Design & Design


Production Art II:

Builds on Production Art I to take the design and concepting process to a much more detailed and exhaustive level. Students will create an in-depth art direction workbook for an animation or game concept, and learn to refine and present art and design concepts in industry standard formats. This unit is an elective choice.



Design:

Students have the option of taking one of several units offered in the Digital Design course. This may include such areas as Design Software competency or User Experience Design.



Motion Design:

This unit builds on the design principles and animation technique that students have been introduced to in 3DAN 201 Production Art I, 3DAN 203 Traditional Animation and VIS 204 Creative Process. Basic design principles will be re-visited in the context of motion and timeline, and further concepts, including colour, light, motion, depth and time, will be introduced and explored. Students will also be introduced to some of the origins, history and current practice of motion graphics and hybrid digital 2D and 2.5D animation through screenings and analysis of recent and current work, both purely graphic, and character and narrative based. Students will be introduced to technique and workfl ow in After Effects and its integration with other graphic packages including Photoshop, Illustrator and Flash. These techniques will be applied across a series of exercises addressing basic technique, communication challenges, and the creative possibilities of the medium. This unit is an elective choice.
3D Animation I
Animation I analyses and applies key principles of animation within 3D software. Technical workflow and mechanics are illustrated through lectures and ongoing practical exercises building foundation knowledge and skills. Students must take this unit and/or 3DAN 209.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Bachelor of Creative Arts
(Game Design)

6 Trimesters
Where / Brisbane / Melbourne / Sydney
Next intake 06/06/2016 / See all intake dates
Entry requirements / Aus / International
This Bachelor Degree follows contextual studies in art history, traditional art practice and animation and the development of art concepts and design documents for games. You will learn about game play and interactivity through digital sculpture, game engine technology and the creation of professional assets for real-time environments.
 
After an introduction to game engine scripting and the core technical knowledge required to create interactive game play, you will use leading games development software to design and create interactive game worlds. You will become capable of creating life-like animated characters and environments, as well as developing unique game-play mechanics.
 
In your final trimesters, you will learn a number of sophisticated skills including character rigging, visual scripting for games engines and motion capture for real-time games animation and cinematics. You will produce a games concept in a process that emulates real-world production, and will also develop a show reel, to help you when you enter the workforce.  
Bachelor of Creative Arts
(Game Design)
Curriculum
Subject
Production Art I
This unit seeks to provide some of the fundamental skills needed to help visualise ideas and to translate them into representations in 2D and 3D. The unit does not assume any level of existing skill but instead starts from the most basic elements of design and drawing with the belief that any able person can learn to draw competently. Imaginative interpretation, visual conceptualising of story and story elements, and the representation of narrative moments, form the primary thrust of the unit. Exercises will be directed toward an art direction project and the visualisation of character and story.
Creative Process
The aim of this subject is to build an awareness of a reliable and thorough creative process. It aims to instil commitment, individual and group, to that process, and to provide working tools for the origination and development of creative projects.

Students will work in small groups, through three distinct stages, towards a Prototype Proposal that deals with the challenge of approaching a creative career. This research exploration will include student backgrounds, interests, aspirations and expectations, then explore the links, similarities and differences between the group members. Creative outcomes will include both individual and group generated content as the result of a design-thinking based structure or information framework that links the research findings. The final outcome of the three stages is a Prototype Proposal that will contain evidence of the creative process applied to the development of a proposed design project. This proposal could be an animated film, a game, a digital interactive work, web site or similar.

Students will undertake three creative stages that will introduce and explore the student groups as young designers today and their pathway into a future career. Each part of this unit will be approached employing a design-thinking methodology. Each phase of the process will be explored employing the following processes and themes: 1. Discover: “What do we like to make?” (sustaining our practice, aspirations and expectations) 2. Ideate: “How do we get our work ‘out there’” (potential strategies, methods for exposure) 3. Prototype: “Strategy, Platforms, Process” (a proposal on how to make it all happen)

The three stages of this project always remains at a development stage and are never taken into actual production, allowing students to focus on the process rather than on the polish of a finished outcome. This also allows them to work with ideas that may not be practical to actually execute, encouraging them to be more ambitious, investigative and inventive.
Game Programming I
For game designers, creating effective and tightly designed game play is made possible only with an understanding of fundamental core programming concepts. This unit provides this introduction to games development, where students will begin to develop an understanding of games programming and game engine operation. This is through writing games-focused software scripts in the C# language using the Unity games engine Application Programming Interface (API). Students will complete a number of small games projects and exercises, which will teach the operation of a powerful game engine, and the importance of understanding the fundamentals of games programming for game design practitioners of all fields – artists, designers, and programmers.
Introduction to 3D
This first year course teaches the practical operation of a 3D graphics program used throughout the degree. Technical skills are conveyed through set video exercises to be completed independently of the class and two creative assignments developed under the direction of your lecturer.
Game Art I
This unit introduces the student to the fundamental production process of creating art assets for games, teaching practical skills in operating a range of 3D and 2D content creation applications for use in computer games. The student follows a range of tutorials and exercises to learn a wide range of foundational game art creation skills and techniques. These culminate in the production of a creative project utilising interactive game art.
Game Studies
The meaning of video games, as with all art forms, is the product of complex interactions between their form, function and context. This unit introduces students to the interactions between game rules and systems, players, and the wider world that make games meaningful. Students will analyse the basic elements of games, the formal systems by which they operate, and the context in which they are produced and played. Students will critically examine the broad structural attributes of games that establish the fundamental basics for play, the conditions under which games are made and played, and the details of dynamic interactions between player and game systems that allow a more detailed understanding of how video games function as media texts.

This unit provides grounding in the systems by which games operate that underpins future units, where students will put this knowledge into practice in the creation of games. Beyond this, students will also engage with public discourse around video games, deepening their engagement with the medium, introducing them to a wide array of perspectives, and giving them a basis for honing their craft and engaging with the video game industry.
T2 Electives: Production Art II, Motion Design & Design


Production Art II:

Builds on Production Art I to take the design and concepting process to a much more detailed and exhaustive level. Students will create an in-depth art direction workbook for an animation or game concept, and learn to refine and present art and design concepts in industry standard formats. This unit is an elective choice.



Design:

Students have the option of taking one of several units offered in the Digital Design course. This may include such areas as Design Software competency or User Experience Design.



Motion Design:

This unit builds on the design principles and animation technique that students have been introduced to in 3DAN 201 Production Art I, 3DAN 203 Traditional Animation and VIS 204 Creative Process. Basic design principles will be re-visited in the context of motion and timeline, and further concepts, including colour, light, motion, depth and time, will be introduced and explored. Students will also be introduced to some of the origins, history and current practice of motion graphics and hybrid digital 2D and 2.5D animation through screenings and analysis of recent and current work, both purely graphic, and character and narrative based. Students will be introduced to technique and workfl ow in After Effects and its integration with other graphic packages including Photoshop, Illustrator and Flash. These techniques will be applied across a series of exercises addressing basic technique, communication challenges, and the creative possibilities of the medium. This unit is an elective choice.
3D Animation I
Animation I analyses and applies key principles of animation within 3D software. Technical workflow and mechanics are illustrated through lectures and ongoing practical exercises building foundation knowledge and skills. Students must take this unit and/or 3DAN 209.
Game Design I
This unit will provide theoretical and practical knowledge of computer game theory and design. It will explore the requirements for a successful game, and the types of interactions used to create meaningful play. Analysis of existing game mechanics will be covered as well as ways to generate original content. Techniques such as development and construction of game design documents, designing for a specific genre, building narrative, character development and sound design are covered. Skills gained in this unit are implemented in future units as part of the game creation process.
Game Programming II
This unit continues the programming stream from Game Programming I. The unit is designed to give students the skills to develop more advanced game play functionality by exploring a range of common game development problems and allowing students to learn through practice by developing a small game project. Skills in software design and development fundamentals are also explored.
Game Art II
This unit focuses and extends general skills learnt in GAM 201 Game Art I. Advanced game art asset creation skills are developed, enabling students to create high-level “next generation” game graphics. Practical instruction in high-end modelling, texturing, shading and testing in real time environments develop the skills necessary to create the high-quality graphics common to “AAA” styles of games.
T3 Electives: Rigging and 3D Modelling II


Rigging:

This unit covers how to set up a skeleton and rig for a character mesh, how to skin the mesh and weight it properly, how to add controls to the rig, user interface options, blend shapes, and testing of rigs. The unit provides the technical knowledge for creating a fully controllable character for use in animation or game productions.



3D Modelling II:

This subject aims primarily at developing and encouraging students to use digital sculpture to further their understanding of the figure, explore three dimensional ideas and be able to comfortably realise characters for future productions. Assessments focus on students developing their own sculpted and textured character with staggered submission stages relating to different aspects of the workflow.
Game Development Lab I
This unit provides a platform for students to explore a range of possible creative game development approaches, and develops a framework for completing complex game projects. This is the first of two consecutive units (the other being GAM 404 Game Development Lab II) designed to introduce students to the design and production process of games development in a way that encourages exploration and experimentation of digital game production, with the emphasis more on learning about software development practices, rather than finished outcomes.
Rapid Prototyping
This unit extends the student’s fundamental knowledge of game programming through the practical application of the rapid prototyping process. The unit develops the approach needed for game programming projects by engaging in a number of exercises that will explore the mindset required when thinking about the world in terms of systems and inter-connected relationships and meanings. At the conclusion of the unit students will have the correct mindset necessary to explore the challenges of digital games development.
Game Design II
This unit builds on the knowledge of game design and interactive storytelling that has been developed in the course so far. The subject introduces students to some of the fundamental theories of designing game spaces that are engaging to play in, and develops a conceptual and theoretical foundation for the definition and attainment of game design goals. Content will include concepts universal to level design, including interactivity, map design, world building, immersion, sensory perception, and pace.
Motion Capture
Motion capture systems are an increasingly important tool in the creation of film and game animation, but to produce high quality work requires knowledge and skill. This unit will introduce students to the technology and techniques for designing, setting-up, capturing and working with motion capture data.

Students will examine examples of motion capture work good and bad, and analyse where and how it is most effective. They will work with actors or other performers in the studio, to direct performance and motion for capture. Students will learn how to set up and use the equipment and how to acquire and manage the data produced.

Most importantly, students will spend a substantial part of the unit developing an understanding of how the data is utilised, and the place of the animator’s skillset in refining, cleaning up and completing the action captured. Students will begin to acquire these skills through the practical work undertaken in the unit.
Integration
This unit brings together students from Animation, Game Development and Digital Design (and potentially other courses) to work on creative projects that seek to look outside the mainstream production areas normally focussed on. Students will develop, plan and execute innovative projects that may involve elements such as location-based gaming, interactivity, projection mapping, web and device-based storytelling, transmedia and other forms that fl ow from the intersection of animation, game technologies and interactive digital design.
Game Development Lab II
This unit is a continuation of Game Development Lab I, run in the previous trimester. Students will take their early game prototypes and build these into working games. During this process they will follow key game development software practices, and will be required to reflect on this process by the end of the unit.

The Game Development Lab stream is designed to prepare students for significant game development projects, beginning concurrently in this trimester with the beginning of their Major Project.
Major Project Part A
The purpose of this unit is to prepare for the team production of a game development project in Trimester 6 Production. Students will be required to conceive, write, research, design, analyse, and creatively solve problems in the preproduction stage of their major games project. By the completion of the trimester students should have a completed playable game prototype with all essential game play functionality working, as well as a finished game design document, a tight art style guide, character, environment, prop and interface designs, and a detailed production schedule. You are also expected to determine what additional expertise you require from outside your team, and to contact and negotiate with appropriate individuals for those services. This may include items such as sound design, music, voice performance and/or action reference, artwork elements, programming, and more. Classes may include screenings, demonstrations and short workshops on methods and tools, but will primarily be conducted as meetings between supervisor and teams to review progress, along with supervision in a studio context.
Professional Development
This subject is aimed at giving the student the tools and skills needed to seek employment upon completion of the program. Preparation of showreels and portfolios, letter writing and interview skills, and the promotion of oneself as a unique “brand” in a creative industry all form part of the content. Students will have the opportunity to test their presentation skills in both mock and real environments. They will draw on the work completed during the course as well as charting a direction for the future, and preparing a set of materials to take with them into their job-seeking. Students may, as a part of this unit, have the opportunity to connect with industry representatives at site visits, “speed-dating’ interviews, and other events.
Major Project Part B
The purpose of this unit is to coordinate the team production of the project developed in Pre-production providing a practicum of a real world studio setting on a collaborative project. Classes may include screenings and short workshops on methods and tools, but will primarily consist of scheduled meetings between supervisor and teams to review progress, along with studio-based production work under the supervision of a technical support lecturer. Guest lecturers may, as needed, be brought in to consult with and advise teams on specific aspects of their projects.

Careers in the Industry

Graduates may find employment with

With focused and intense practical study in games art and design, and knowledge of industry leading software, you'll be set to tackle a diverse range of roles.

With your well developed portfolio and confidence in the skills you've acquired, you'll be able to start creating world-class games at multiple levels within the global games industry. 

Specific roles may include

Game Designer
Game Producer 
Creative Director 
Level Designer 
Concept Artist 
Texture Artist 
Environment Artist

Character Artist  
Animator  
Modeller 
Technical Director 
Interface Artist 
Story Writer 

 

* ELECTIVES

In trimesters 2, 3 & 4 one unit per trimester is selected from elective options which may include:

* T2:

  • Production Art II - for students wishing to focus more on art and character design (concepting, design and art direction for animation and games).
  • Design - relevant to all visual creatives (digital concepts and user experience design).
  • Motion Design - motion graphics, colour and design for the moving image.

* T3:

  • Rigging - technical art for students interested in setting up characters for animation. 
  • 3D Modelling II - digital sculpture for students interested in character creation and studying the human form.

* T4:

  • Motion Capture.
  • Compositing – combining layered elements into finished shots, CG & live action integration, projection mapping and tracking.

Student testimonials

  • "Learning industry standard software with JMC Academy has prepared me for a career in the game industry. Thanks to small class sizes. I found the tutors at JMC to be very accessible." - Alaric Willi
    Renderer, Wrangler, Iloura Animation and Visual Effects Studio | Game Development Alumni
  • "This course was well worth the time. I am able to develop industry standard work while knowing how to professionally present myself to potential clients. The course material is very current."
    Jessie Lee | Game Development student

Faqs

Is the Game Development course more focused on design or development?
The Game course is primarily focussed on art and design, but we recognise that a familiarity with scripting and programming in implementing ideas is a key part of the skillset of a game artist, and you will certainly learn skills in those areas as well.

The emphasis is on understanding the theory behind games, designing interesting challenges, mechanics, concepts and stories, and creating the art and assets for those concepts. You would be studying a mix of art and design, software and programming skills, and theoretical concepts.
I have no experience in making games (although I have played many). Will I be able to do well in the Game Development course?
You don’t have to come with existing skills – it’s handy if you have them but not essential. It’s your compulsion to create, story tell, and complete tasks that we’re really looking for, and we teach the course from beginner level up so you're in good hands. 
What software programs will I use in the Game Development course?
Applications used in the Game Development course include Maya for modelling and animation, Mudbox and 3DCoat for digital sculpture. Unity Pro will be your core game Engine and you'll work with Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and After Effects. You will also have the chance to try a range of other packages such as RealFlow and Fusion.
Are there any work experience/internship opportunities specific to the Game Development course?
While the availability of internships and work placements depends on the individual companies and studios in the industry, we have strong relationships with many practising game designers and game studios. As a result of these connections there is the potential for you to experience internships and placements, studio visits, talks and workshops by industry practitioners, and assessment feedback opportunities from industry people during dedicated 'speed networking' nights. Where practical, interviews will be arranged for individual graduating students with companies seeking to recruit new talent.