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Successful game dev course closed at University of Wales

Degree which saw up to 71% of graduates join industry closed for financial reasons

The University of Wales at Newport has closed its degree level Games Development & A.I. programme, effective immediately - citing financial and political reasons.

The course was expected to see an increase in applications in the 2011 academic year, thanks to exposure from events such as the Global Game Jam and coverage in specialist press, recruitment for any this year and beyond has been halted. The university claims that between 35 and 71 per cent of graduates from the course found relevant industry jobs each year.

Emergency cuts imposed by the government, and filtered down via the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, meant that a 5 per cent reduction in student numbers was necessary for the 2011 academic year - on top of a 50 per cent cut in clearing admissions. All Computing Awards, excluding Forensic Computing, have been proposed for permanent withdrawal at Newport.

The Games Development & A.I. BSc was a casualty of these cuts, but hope does perhaps lie on the horizon in the refocusing of some of the country's funding for school leavers.

These cuts apply to undergraduate programs, but Newport has a been encouraged to apply for funding in the area of foundation degrees, with the heavily vocational Games Development & A.I. course being seen as a solid applicant for this status, especially in the light of the shortfalls identified by the Livingstone Hope review.

The plan is currently in the hands of the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, with the new Creative Technology and Games foundation degree due to start in 2012 if funding is granted. If it is, the new course would see a higher level of integration with relevant local business and potentially a much more focused approach to game development.

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Latest comments (10)

Mike Reddy Course Tutor BSc Computer Game Development, University of South Wales6 years ago
It is important to note that the highly thought of BA Computer Games Design course, currently run by the School of Art Media and Design, is unaffected by these changes. Both courses worked well together, meeting most, if not all, of the criteria Alex Hope outlined for the "best" courses, with the programmin students definitely benefiting from working side-by-side with the artists. Such collaborations, and involvement with extra-curricular activities, paid off with three teams applying to Dare last year, two interviewed, and one Angry Mango, winning. This, if nothing else, shows the level of talent, dedication and determination of our graduates.

It is sad that some of our alumni have joined the Canadian brain drain, and oneof our best, who I hope won't mind me naming (Carlos Massiah late at Frontier) has been a victim, like many, of layoffs. In an overly secretive Industry where incomplete projects are not allowed to be put on the CV, where does that leave Carlos, a gifted graduate with nothing to show for years of work?

Dr. Mike Reddy
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Steven Yau Senior Game Developer, King.com6 years ago
The project goes on the CV has Unannounced (or whatever the status of the project) is or in your Student's case, I assume 'Outsider (Unreleased)' and be careful what specific details are put under the duties of the project.
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Mike Reddy Course Tutor BSc Computer Game Development, University of South Wales6 years ago
Thanks Steven!

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Mike Reddy on 7th February 2011 9:25am

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William Kavanagh QA Technology, Codemasters6 years ago
Really sorry to hear about the closure of this course. As an alumni of the BA Computer Games. Design I can vouch for the quality of the program. It is a shame it is no more.
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Steven Yau Senior Game Developer, King.com6 years ago
@Mike, no worries. I have an example on my CV of a project that never got named externally. http://www.stevenyau.co.uk
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Giles Armstrong Junior Game Designer, Relentless Software6 years ago
As a UWN graduate myself (BA Film & Video), I'm also really sorry to hear this.

On a lighter note I'm also sorry/jealous to hear that in the years since I was last in Caerleon, back when the new City campus was no more than a fancy bridge that led to a building site, there's now a BA Computer Games Design course! ^_^

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I am very sad to see the Games Programming and AI course go, however the can I please stress that the Computer Games Design BA is still in full swing. From what I understand is that Newport are losing it's Division of Computing, but with other Universities nearby (still under the University of Wales banner also) offering similar courses it's not the end of the world is it?

Further information about this can also be found here:Develop It sucks that there are budget cuts, and job loses, and course closures; but to look on the bright side is it not better for Universities to specialise in this time so as to offer the best quality education possible?

The Games Design course has recently produced people that have gone on to win Dare to be Digital, display and Game City in Nottingham, take part in the GDC in San Francisco and be hired by companies straight off the degree. Newport also invested money in hosting the Global Games Jam recently too. I am slightly concerned that this article and related tweet has caused a miss-understanding as to which course has gone.

The new City Campus is designed to be a an Art, Media, Design and Business school and bring something good to Newport, which I think is a great thing and about time. Surely the success of all this should be applauded, more so than the failures, especially when it boils down to the government budget cuts which are apparently out of our control.
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Adam Griffiths Games/Level Designers 6 years ago
Having Graduated from the Games Dev & AI course in 2007 (being one of the first to graduate from the course), establishing Dark Rock Games in 2007 (thanks to the Uni) and with help from the Uni, produced some great pieces of co-development work, I'm completely shocked and greatly upset that such a course will no longer run. Mike and all the other lecturers dealing with the course have put in a great deal of their work and personal time into making it a solid and incredibly educational experience for all.

I'm truly gutted for all those who will no longer be teaching the degree, and all those who will no longer have the opportunity to apply for the course, a truly sad day! Well done to everyone who kept it going for as long as they have.

When an industry does so well to outsell music and Film, shame on the government for not stepping up to the plate and providing even more opportunities.
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Mike Reddy Course Tutor BSc Computer Game Development, University of South Wales5 years ago
Although this is an old story now, I'd like to state that a Foundation Degree Creative Tech and Games, with "commendable" levels of Industry involvement, has now been validated. Sadly, a decision, not mine, was made part way through development, that it would not be offered at Newport but only through FE college partners. So, teaching on the final, final year of the Games Dev BSc in September, will be my last. All my timetable for the coming academic year 2012-13 is modules that won't run again. This, and the announcement of a merger with Glamorgan today, means I'm not sure if I'll have a job next year. Fingers crossed, I might do that disgruntled Indie Dev Auteur thing and become filthy rich…

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Mike Reddy on 4th July 2012 5:54am

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Mike Reddy Course Tutor BSc Computer Game Development, University of South Wales4 years ago
This week marks the last of my teaching on the BSc Games Development and A.I. The Foundation Degree I spent 2 years of my life writing was dropped without explanation by even the FE colleges; anyone want an innovative Creative Technology foundation degree? I'm now planning to teach traditional computing modules for next year, on the new university's Computer Science award.
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