Online Master Degree in Indie Games Development

Online Masters Degree in Indie Game Development

MA Indie Game Development Course Overview

Become a confident and daring indie game developer, producing vibrant and engaging experiences for gamers.

Award title: MA Indie Game Development
Awarding body: Falmouth University
Level: 7
Mode of study: Online, part-time 
Duration: Two years
Total tuition fees for the two-year course: £10,900 (including £250 acceptance fee)
Additional costs: To complete your coursework, you’ll require a desktop/laptop at an expense of around £1,300, capable of running games engines and 3D Modelling software, as well as Canvas, our online learning platform

Masters degree summary

Do you have the artistic vision and ambition to create original indie games?  

Integrate design tools, programming languages, game engines, as well as specialist middleware and frameworks into your game development practice. 

Analyse the principles of the creative process, from ideation and design through to delivery and dissemination. 

Explore business models used by indie games studios to see how you could start up your own. If you already have a business idea, get it off the ground with help from a mentor. 

The course is part of Falmouth’s Games Academy, one of the largest dedicated game development studio spaces of any UK university. In 2020 it was featured in The Princeton Review as one of the top 50 games schools in the world.

The Academy is full of people working in all aspects of the games industry, creating real games and digital products every day. We primarily use Unity as our game engine, but have expertise that spans a wide range of tools.

Indie Game student work

Credit: DangerZone - Planetary Pest Control

As an MA Indie Game Development student, you'll benefit from our 'doing it for real' approach. 

On Falmouth Flexible’s MA Indie Game Development, you’ll: 

  • Design and implement digital and non-digital games 
  • Apply the principles of design and creativity to generate fun and playful experiences
  • Learn to use industry-standard platforms for making games and adapt to their technical constraints 
  • Apply primary and secondary research methods drawn from game studies and the broader design science literature
  • Use methods from business and analytics to better understand how people engage with games and game companies
  • Adopt both technical and arts perspectives as part of a design thinking process to deliver novel games
  • Collaborate across disciplinary boundaries, an increasingly important skill in the games industry 
  • Practice game design across a range of application domains, including gamification and serious games
  • Keep and control the Intellectual Property (IP) of any games you produce.

Who is this masters degree for?

This course is for anyone who wants to bring their creative and artistic skills, and aspirations to indie game development.

If you want to launch your own small business which will produce and sell indie games, our Indie Game Start-Up and Major Project modules will help you innovate and develop your business idea, with mentoring made available to support you.

However, the critical thinking and research skills you learn on the course are also applicable to a range of careers, including:

  • Indie games
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Game design
  • Digital art
  • Programming
  • Production
  • Gamification 
  • Creative technology
  • Immersive art
  • Education

Course content

MA Indie Game Development 

You will learn how to produce original and creatively distinguished games based on your own intellectual property, which clearly illustrate how they can engage an audience. 

You will gain the ability to critically reflect upon and evaluate working methods and find the most effective ways to collaborate on projects. 

You will learn how to pitch your ideas, communicating concepts and presenting artefacts visually with clarity and enthusiasm. 

MA 

You will need to complete four 30-credit modules and one 60-credit project (180 credits in total). All modules on the course are compulsory and must be passed in order to complete the award. 

PGDip 

You will need to complete four 30-credit modules (120 credits in total). All modules on the course are compulsory and must be passed in order to complete the award. A dissertation (major project) is not required. 

*Please note: the order of modules may differ to that stated below. 

 
Core Modules Credits
Development Practice  30
Game Development 30
Co-creative Design and Development Practice 30
Indie Game Start-Up 30
Final Major Project 60

Module one - Development Practice (30 credits)

By devising a series of small-scale creative artefacts, you will use your existing ideas about development practice and then experiment with new approaches to challenge these ideas. This will enable you to create a personal case study, from which you can define how to expand and enrich your practice. Beyond the personal case study, you will gain a broader sense of the contexts in which these practices are applied across disciplines. 

Module two - Game Development (30 credits)

Youll develop and combine skills from the art, design and programming disciplines to create your own small indie game. This will help you understand how game development draws from many different disciplines and explain the different tasks involved in making games. By the end of the module you will have made a game yourself and produced a report that explains the cross-disciplinary context for your creative process.

Module three - Co-creative Design and Development Practice (30 credits)

You'll work in a team on a problem-led creative project. This will typically, but not necessarily, be a small game or creative app. You will work together to situate, design, implement and evaluate your creative artefact. With the support of a supervisor, you will strategically manage scope, workflow, communication roles and responsibilities. At the end, you will have produced an original artefact based on your own intellectual property which clearly illustrates how you can engage an audience. 

Module four - Indie Game Start-Up (30 credits)

You’ll design and prepare to launch a small business with a focus on indie game development. Youll investigate and assess market opportunities in an area of your choice. This could involve exploring your audience, comparing how game businesses operate, contrasting business models, and considering how intellectual property can be managed.  

Youll then decide on which business opportunity your indie game is responding to and devise a business plan. You’ll consider branding, cash flow modelling, enterprise planning, incorporation, seeking further investment, and interrogating routes to market. This will underpin further development and launch of your indie game. 

Final Major Project (60 credits)

You’ll work on a major research and development project, either independently or with others. This allows you to expand and consolidate your skills of devising, developing and executing an extended development project. You can build upon your projects from other modules or develop a new concept. You should finish the course with a polished project of a publishable quality. A supervisor will act as your mentor and adviser. If you’re planning to start your own business following this MA, your supervisor can direct you to professional services staff for business mentoring. 

Assessments

All modules are project-based with assessments which are designed to consolidate and test your ability to generate and appraise games.

Assessments are 100% coursework, submitted within the online virtual learning environment, and designed to reflect professional practice.

They could include:

  • Projects
  • Portfolios
  • Pitches
  • Papers

Watch our video on how you study

 

The online learning platform

With Falmouth Flexible, you can access your course from wherever you are in the world through Canvas, our easy-to-use online platform. Everything you need to study the course is in one place.

You can participate in class discussions and get to know other students, submit assignments, get feedback from your online tutors, and access University support services. 

Taught by industry experts

The course is part of Falmouth’s Games Academy, one of the largest dedicated game development studio spaces of any UK university. 

You'll learn from a multidisciplinary team from Falmouth Games Academy with expertise across disciplines, bringing together art, animation, audio, design, programming, and writing. 

Falmouth University has a track record of success in indie game publishing:

  • Get Packed by Moonshine Studio
  • Soria by Polargryph
  • SAI by Studio Mutiny
  • Roboats by Animal Puree
  • Kick Your Astronaut by SquirrelSoft
  • Karate Krab by Liquid Sapling
Learn more about our MA Indie Game Development Tutors.

Learning activities

There will be guided learning activities consisting of:

  • Online audio-visual lectures to introduce key concepts. They are not simply recordings of live teaching, but are created specifically for online learning, with opportunities for dialogue amongst and between students and teaching staff.
  • Online small group discussions for dialogue and debate, reflection and critical feedback.
  • Online individual tutorials where you can get feedback from tutors on your progress.
  • Online group tutorials and crits where tutors can mentor your group and comment on your progress and prototypes.
  • Self-evaluation helps you reflect critically on your working methods and develop personal responsibility for your progress.
  • Practice-based workshops help you develop practical, technical and team working skills.
  • Jams and Hackathons help you develop computing skills, creativity and the ability to work effectively in teams. Jams often provide a launch place for the devising stage of a development, as is common within the industry.

Face-to-face events

Up to twice a year, you’ll have the optional opportunity to meet your classmates and tutors in person at face-to-face events. These allow exploration of topics related to your course content and offer a wider industry context for your learning. Dates and location of the events will vary. Events usually incorporate a weekend to accommodate busy schedules.

Find out more about face-to-face events.

Support

Throughout your studies, you’ll be supported by a student advisor. Their job is to answer any non-academic queries you may have, and they can be contacted via email, phone, text or WhatsApp. They can show you around the online learning platform, guide you through enrolment, and give advice on managing your work/life balance.

 

As a Falmouth student, you enjoy an equal status to students studying on campus:

  • Your own student ID card
  • 24/7 online access to library resources
  • Students’ Union community
  • Careers advice
  • IT services and training
  • Wellbeing advice and support
  • Access to study skills training on topics such as referencing

Entry requirements

You will need:

  • An honours degree or Level 6 equivalent qualification
  • Proof of proficiency in English (minimum overall score of IELTS 6.5 with at least 6.0 in Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening or TOEFL IBT (Internet Based Test) with a minimum of 88 overall and at least 21 in all 4 components).

We also accept a range of equivalent recognised English language qualifications. Candidates without a degree or formal qualification are still encouraged to apply. For more information regarding equivalent international qualifications and Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) please email us at postgraduate@falmouth.ac.uk, call +44 (0)1326 213 827 or view our handy article:

GUIDE TO APL

How to apply

  • Submit an online application form.
  • Submit a copy of your first degree certificate or Level 6 equivalent qualification and your IELTS/TOEFL certificate if English is not your first language

Please email us at postgraduate@falmouth.ac.uk or call +44 (0)1326 213 827 for free advice from our friendly and knowledgeable course advisors.

Start dates and application deadlines

2020/21 
Intake Application deadline Welcome week Course start date
September 2020 7 September 14 September 21 September

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