Topic outline

  • Preparing for BTEC Digital Games Production

    On the left of the image are two circles of blue sparking energy. There are three images of a computer generated character in a hood and fantasy armour. The first is standing looking at the viewer. The second is lunging with one arm above their head as if summoning something. The third image shows the character looking off to the left with an arm thrown out as if projecting magic.

    Image Ref: Pixabay 3009159


    If you have any questions about the course or anything to do with college life, please email heretohelp@eastcoast.ac.uk

  • Introduction

    Your teacher for this course is Richard Allington

    Email Richard (r.allington@eastcoast.ac.uk)

    Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have


    The video game industry is the largest entertainment industry in the world, with an estimated 2.3 billion players worldwide at the time of writing. The industry has seen exponential growth year on year and there are no signs of it slowing down!

    Why are games so popular?

    There are many contributing factors but one of the biggest reasons is that video games can cater to an extremely wide demographic. There are experiences for everyone and platforms available to fit around most lifestyles. Gone are the days when “Hardcore gamers” were the sole audience, the stigma has been lifted and playing games is a socially accepted and often celebrated endeavor. To see evidence of this, you can look to games such as Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Games don’t come any more casual; the game spent weeks at the top of the charts and has become the best-selling digital game of all time with over 5 Million digital sales Worldwide in March alone. Advances in technology enable us to immerse ourselves and interact with increasingly detailed game worlds and allow developers to tell stories in ever evolving ways.

    Why make games?

    Making video games is often a grueling but extremely satisfying task. We are shaped by what we have experienced in lifemaking games is an opportunity to leave a mark, to create an experience that evokes emotions and could stay with people for their entire lives. Working in the games industry will also allow you collaborate with other creative and talented minds across multiple disciplines to create unique and wonderful projects.

    Where could this qualification lead?

    Primarily aimed at students that are looking to head to university to study games development and eventually enter the industry. This course offers first steps towards key industry roles.


    In the sections below you will find an overview of the units covered in this qualification, information about the programs we will be using and some course preparation activities for you to complete. 


    • 3D Modelling (Unit 40) / 3D Animation (Unit 43)

      What will you be doing: In Unit 40 (3D Modelling) students will be conducting research into the common features found within 3D modelling software and learning how to create / texture 3D models of their own in Blender. Once fully researched students will be using this information and further research to plan and create six models for a video game (Theme TBD). These models will be imported and set up for use inside of Unreal Engine 4.

      In Unit 43 (3D animation) students will be conducting research into 3D animation techniques, technical considerations and the history of animation; once the research is complete, students will be learning key animation techniques such as bi-pedal animation and creating walk cycles for 3D characters, how to use particle effects in Blender and much more. Students will use this information to create a short animated intro for a TV show aimed at children.

      What skills will you be developing: Research skills, Key 3D Modelling skills (Blender), Importing 3D models for use in 3D game environments. Key 3D Animation skills.



      Below are a collection of models created for Unit 40 by current first year students enrolled at L6FC, this years theme was Pirate artifacts


      • Digital Games Production (Unit 13) / Digital Media Skills (Unit 3 - Controlled Assessment)

        What will you be doing: In this unit students will be conducting research into different game genres; once fully researched, students will be using this information to plan and create a 2D game level in GameMaker Studio 2.  

        What skills will you be developing: Research skills, Programming skills (Game Maker Language / Drag and drop), Pixel art.

        The skills you develop in Unit 13 will help you prepare for the controlled assessment (unit 3). The controlled assessment for this course will be completed towards the end of your second year and will involve creating a 2D game level based on a scenario set by the exam board. The controlled assessment counts for 33% of your overall grade, unit 13 brings this up to 50% of your overall qualification, so a good understanding of GameMaker Studio 2 will be crucial for overall success on this course.

        • 3D Environments (Unit 41)

          What will you be doing: In this unit students will be conducting research into the common features of 3D development environments, once fully researched students will be using this information to plan and create a 3D game environment in Unreal Engine 4. 

          What skills will you be developing: Research skills (Written element), Level Design (Unreal Engine), 3D Modelling, Project Planning 


          • Extra-Curricular

            We are interested in participating in more games development competitions. The BAFTA YGD will be an excellent opportunity to put your skills to the test and compete with other teams within your age bracket across the country. There are some excellent prizes and a fancy awards ceremony in London for the winners!


            Each year we will be attending EGX (Euro gamer Expo). This is one of the largest gaming events in the world and is attended by many big names in the industry. It is an excellent opportunity to speak to people from industry (AAA / Indie Devs), universities that offer games development degrees and to have people critique your portfolio of work. It's also a great opportunity to check out the latest industry developments, listen to talks given by industry professionals and to visit exhibitions of historical gaming achievements.

            • Preparation Activities

              Throughout your time at the college you will be learning to use a variety of software and creating projects that will give you a good understanding of games development. Throughout this page I have listed the software that we will be using during the course. Those that want to get a head start and to make their lives a little easier when they arrive should consider doing the following:


              Learning a programming language

              It really doesn't matter which programming language you learn. The important thing is that you understand the core programming principals and concepts. Once you understand these, you will be able to learn other languages much easier. We will be using Game Maker Language to develop our 2D Games. If you are unable to afford the software or don't have the necessary hardware available at home then you may want to learn a language like Python. Editors are free to download and it doesn't require powerful hardware to run. Dedicating time to learning a language will make a lot of the course content more manageable.

              Python download link

              Python activities


              Begin learning 3D Modelling

              If your computer is capable of running Blender, there are plenty of content creators online that you can learn from. In the Unit 40 section of this page I have embedded a video from BlenderGuru. He makes great content and his Doughnut beginner tutorial series in particular is an extremely popular starting point for 3D artists.

              Blender download link


              Practice Academic Writing

              You will be writing a lot during your studies. Every unit of work starts with a written research based assignment. The practical elements will require justification in the form of written elements that accompany them. There's no getting away from it, you're going to need to be able to write well in order to convey meaning and to achieve the best possible grades at college. Below is a link to help you improve your skills before college starts!

              Academic Writing