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MA Sound Design for Video Games

If you have a strong interest in video games and a background in music or audio, then this master’s degree course will give you the skills you need to work as a sound designer in video games. As a career it’s both creatively fulfilling and technically challenging. Creating audio worlds, storytelling with sound, finding innovate technical solutions to creative problems is what this postgraduate degree course is all about. The MA Sound Design for Video Games is run in partnership with ThinkSpace Education. 

Course content

The course has been developed in close consultation with the industry so we know we are teaching you the skills your future employers want you to have.

It’s a strongly project focused course and you will develop an effective workflow, remote working and collaboration and a clear understanding of what’s expected of a professional member of the game audio team.

You need to be technically literate and learn software easily.

This course does not require you to learn to code but you will be developing a powerful combination of creative and technical abilities that are market-focused.

Working in games is all about finding new ways of doing things and creative problem solving. This postgraduate course accurately reflects the working life of a games composer working as part of remote working team.

All your tutors are working professional video game sound designers.

You will work on a inspiring range of games, including commercial releases, provided as part of your course materials.

You will learn not only how to create inspiring interactive sound but also how to implement your audio inside the game using industry standard middleware like FMOD and WWise.

Whether you are a composer looking to increase your chances of employment or an audio professional with a passion a for sound design, our MA will bring you real-world professional tuition you need to lay the solid foundations of a career in video game sound design and audio.

Working specifically on creating great audio for video games, you will be tasked with recording, manipulating and implementing audio using the same tools you will be expected to use in the industry.

Sound Design for Video Games students are trained in the practical audio of games such as foley, dynamic game states and the many technical challenges that face professional sound designers working today.

Whilst you will learn how to edit music for video games, Sound Design for Video Games students won’t be assessed on their own compositional skills.

Indicative modules

GAME AUDIO TECHNOLOGY

You start with an intensive course in audio middleware that you will use to implement your music in the game. You will also learn about memory budgets, CPU restrictions, game engines, different platforms and version control. There is information on who does what and how game audio teams are put together.

RESEARCH SKILLS

A rich and rewarding module that is closely tied to the practical projects. Designed by leading game music academic, Dr Tim Summers, this module leads you deeper into the conceptual thinking surrounding games. It gives you the research tools to reflect on your own work and to draw more meaningful conclusions about the nature, structure and future of video game audio and music.

FOUNDATIONS OF GAME SOUND DESIGN

Your first practice based module and you’ll be creating sound for a range of puzzle games, an infinite runner and a simulator. It’s all about learning to work to a brief and finding a creative space inside the game aesthetic. You’ll be learning about atmos loops, spot FX and dealing choosing and implementing music. The business focus is on one of the fastest growing and most accessible sectors, mobile and handheld gaming.

SOUND AND THE MOVING IMAGE

Trailers and cut-scenes are an essential part of the gaming experience. This module looks at how to create stylized textured sound to picture. You will also learn music editing so you can take pre-existing tracks and incorporate them into the cut scene or trailer. We have a wide selection of cut scenes and trailers to work on including the triple A title Red Bull Air Race and the multi-award winning Armello.

INTERACTIVE AUDIO 1

You will learn many of the fundamental tools of the sound designers trade from foley to idles, weapon and machine sounds to vehicles and impacts. All of this you will implement using middleware inside specially selected game levels. As with the music, you will be learning both to create engaging and distinctive sounds and how to implement the audio interactively inside the game. The business focus is on working with very small indies, those bedroom developers who can go on to great things.

INTERACTIVE AUDIO 2

How do you create the sound of a 3D world? What are the implications of VR and AR for game audio? In this module you learn how to create the sound and implement the audio to bring 3D worlds to life. You will learn more about parameters and game states and find different ways of approaching the same problem. The business focus is on working with medium sized indies and small teams.

ADVANCED GAME AUDIO 1

This module brings together all the individual techniques you have learnt so far. You will be applying the problem solving skills you have been developing and following a complete project workflow through from start to finish. We look at the world of the AAA games, the workflows and what it takes to work as part of the audio team on a big title.

ELECTIVE

In addition to Professional Development and Kontakt Programming, you can also choose to learn a second middleware Wwise, or further cement your core skills with Advanced Game Audio 2.

DISSERTATION

The dissertation is a substantial piece of work taking 12 weeks to complete. It will take the form of a major project or portfolio of smaller projects in which you create the sound and implement all the audio inside the game. You will also write a commentary on your work to explain your choices and problem solving strategies.

Teaching and assessment

  • Personal 1-to-1 tuition from top professional composers and sound designers.
  • Learn by working through projects. The workload is challenging but it’s only through hard work that you will truly reach the next level.
  • Detailed feedback from a range of tutors, online workshops and tutorial groups, forum discussions and exclusive webinars.
  • Telephone and direct email support.

Additional Costs

Include Additional Costs: 

Additional Costs

Hardware and software

You will be uploading and downloading a large quantity of material so you should have access to a reliable broadband with a speed of at least 5Mbs or more.

We have found that the Google Chrome browser is the most compatible with the Adobe Connect webinar software we use which will also be an important part of your course.

All your assignments are uploaded through the Student Portal on our website. This can also be accessed with any standard FTP client, for example CuteFTP on a PC or Transmit on a Mac.

HARDWARE

You will need a computer, software and ancillary equipment (MIDI keyboard, monitors, hard drives both internal and external), Mac or PC, capable of producing professional quality music and audio, and recording equipment. This is the overriding principle and the following minimum technical specifications are given for guidance.

PC

  • Windows 7 or above PC laptop / desktop
  • Quad core 2.3 GHz processor +
  • 16 GB RAM +
  • Graphics card, 1GB GPU (EVGA Nvidia GT 610 or equivalent), we recommend 2GB+

MAC

  • OSX 10.8 or above
  • MacBook Pro, iMac or Mac Pro
  • Quad core 2.3 GHz processor +
  • 16 GB of RAM +
  • Graphics card, 1GB GPU, we recommend 2GB+

SOFTWARE

This is an intensive course with strict deadlines in order to mirror a real-world professional working environment. As such, students must be have acquired and be competent in the use of the minimum technical requirements prior to starting the course to get the most out of it. Students may be eligible for significant educational discounts.

DAW (Digital Audio Workstation):
We expect you to have a working knowledge of one computer based DAW:

  • Logic
  • Cubase
  • Nuendo
  • Sonar
  • Digital Performer
  • Reaper

Game Software: 
You need to have a copy of the following programs but we do not expect you to know how to use them. The exact version number of this software is important, and the version we support may change. Full information on the current approved course software version is available when on the course. Both Unity and Fmod are able to be downloaded for free.

  • Unity
  • Fmod

Recommended Additional Software:

  • Pro Tools
  • Kontakt
  • Sound Forge

Places still available

Apply Now

Apply for 2018

Course length

Full Time