Where to study game design in South Africa

The game development industry is budding in South Africa, and there are some reputable institutions offering videogame-centric courses.

There are a number of elements in the development process that can draw in various disciplines, such as project management, 3D design and animation, artistic work, and programming.

As we near the final quarter of 2012, prospective students should be assessing their options for 2012. Below are some institutes offering courses with a focus on a career in game development as the outcome.

University of Cape Town

The University of Cape Town (UCT) offers a major in Computer Games Development, but this must be taken in conjunction with a major in computer science.

The Computer Game Development programme aims to give a deep understanding of the technical side of Computer Game Design, and a broad appreciation of the roles that others, such as animators, play in the design and creation of a successful game.

Students undertaking this programme still complete a regular computer science degree and can thus serve in any role which requires a computer scientist.

More information can be found at the UCT faculty of science webpage.

University of Witwatersrand

The University of Witwatersrand (WITS) in Johannesburg offers two game design courses, depending on which side of the process you wish to be involved in.

Courses are offered to students from the School of Electrical and Information Engineering and the Wits School of Arts.

Catering for aspirant developers is a new degree hosted in the School of Electrical and Information Engineering. It is a 3 year degree called a Bachelor of Engineering Science in Digital Art – BEngSc (Digital Art).

For students interested in creative production there is the Bachelor of Arts in Performing and Visual Arts majoring in Game Design – BA PVA (Game Design) which is hosted in the Wits School of Arts.

Students in both programmes take the Game Design courses together. Within this multidisciplinary arena you will become familiar with many areas within game creation, while still having the opportunity to specialise in your own field of interest.

More information can be found on the WITS website.

Friends of Design

If the long-term commitment of a degree is beyond you, Cape Town’s Friends of Design Academy of Digital Arts offers a one-year part-or full-time course in game design.

The course teaches the essentials of game design; how to plan, conceptualise and create content for various types of games; and how to participate in a team during a game production.

Since the course builds on existing skill, there is a prerequisite for a formal qualification in Graphic Design, IT & Programming, Web Design, 3D Animation, or Illustration and Fine Art.

More information can be found on the Friends of Design website.

Learn 3D

If you are looking to specialise in the 3D animation side of things, Learn 3D in Johannesburg offers 1-year accredited courses in 3DS Max, Maya, Mudbox, Autodesk Composite, Adobe After-effects, and Unity 3D.

The aim of this course is to enable students to understand and effectively use specific 3D techniques adopted by the games industry, namely low-poly modelling, normal-mapping, texture unwrapping and animation re-targeting.

After developing proper game assets such as characters, vehicles and environments students will be able to put everything together in a game with the Unity3D engine.

To assist in this task the course will also cover game level design and the basics of programming with C#. After finishing the course students will have developed two small games, for PC and for the Apple iPhone/iPad platform.

For more information visit the Learn 3D website.

Are there any institutes that aren’t on the list? Have you studied game design somewhere and want to share your experience? Let us know in the comments below and on the MyGaming forum.

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