MA Sound Design
for Video Games

We train you for the industry of the future.

Game audio is a rapidly expanding and extremely creative area of the video games industry. Our online master’s course in Sound Design for Video Games, is the only one of its kind in the world. It is designed to prepare you, both creatively and technically, to work as a sound designer and eventually an audio lead or audio director. Taught and mentored by top video games sound designers, you will learn how to create the sounds that brings the world of the video game to life. Then you’ll go on to implement your sound in the game using industry standard middleware like FMOD.

For those with a background in audio production, audio engineering or music, sound design for games offers a great career opportunity in a fast growing industry, while doing something that is both creatively and technically demanding and rewarding.

    • Learn to use industry standard technology from active sound design and music veterans to get the most relevant learning experience possible.
    • Find your voice as a sound designer, with help from leaders in the field.
    • Learn to create work in an adaptive and interactive genre, tackling challenges unique to video games.
    • Personal 1-to-1 tuition from top professional sound designers.
    • Regular online workshops and tutorial groups, forum discussions and exclusive webinars.
    • Access to over a 1000 videos covering topics across the spectrum, with exclusive content from events like Develop Brighton and the Ludomusicology conference.

There is no other course in the world that offers tutors and support staff as well connected as ThinkSpace, and no offline campus can compete with our wealth of talent from around the globe.

What Will I Learn?

    • You will learn to create game sound both from your own recordings and sourced from commercial libraries.
    • You will learn the power of sound to tell stories and build character.
    • You will learn how to use inexpensive and readily available field recording equipment to produce atmos, spot effects and foley.
    • You will learn to imagine a sound world that fits perfectly with the ethos of the game.
    • You will learn technical skills like creating and implementing foley, weapons, impacts and vehicle sounds.
    • You will learn collaborative and remote working skills, vital in such a connected global industry.
    • You will learn business skills to help you produce a winning portfolio that will help you into a new career.

What Work Will it Prepare Me For?

The main destination for students is to video games companies, large and small, as a sound designer. Other students, who come from the music composition side of the business, want sound design skills to help boost their employability. Some students are teaching in academia and require a master’s degree to enhance their career progression.

Full Access to ThinkSpace Course Materials.

All our degree students have full access to the course materials on all our other courses, including all the degree and non-degree premium courses. Course text, videos, project materials, online workshop library, everything you could need. Choose the degree course you feel most comfortable with, and then explore new challenging areas like interactive composition for games, sound design, tv scoring and orchestration.

Who’s Teaching Me?

Our faculty are all current working professionals, many involved at the highest level in the business.

The instructors who will be giving you individual feedback, either in writing or at the student workshops, have composing and sound design credits including;

Batman Arkham Knight, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Dragon Age Inquisition, Need for Speed, Mass Effect 3, Bioshock 2, Project Cars, Elite Dangerous, Formula 1, Alien Isolation, Quantum Break, Harry Potter, Assassins Creed (trailers) Sim City, Drakensang, Sniper Elite 3 and Pokemon. They’ve worked for most of the major game studios including Electronic Arts, Sony, Rocksteady, Microsoft, Bioware and many others.

We are extremely grateful to our guest lecturers who have contributed either in person at seminars and live events, or on video and include Harry Gregson-Williams (Metal Gear Solid, Call of Duty), Charles Deenan (Call of Duty, Halo, Need For Speed) and Vincent Diamente (Journey, Flower).

It is a tribute to the generosity of all these composers and orchestrators that they are willing to share their expertise and insights with the next generation of professionals.

  • Dr Stephen Baystead

  • Andy Gibson

  • Frank Petreikis

  • Gina Zdanowicz

  • Peter Ward

  • Guy Michelmore

Your Degree

On successful conclusion of your course, you will be awarded a Master of Arts degree from the University of Chichester. All UK degrees, including those of the University of Chichester, are recognised worldwide. The qualification is full accredited in the UK and subject to regular quality control, review and external invigilation to ensure the highest academic standards are maintained.

The graduation ceremony takes place in Chichester each year where you will receive your degree alongside you fellow students and the rest of the university’s graduates.

Content

Your course falls into eight modules plus a final major project which lasts three months. Each module focuses on a different section of the orchestra or lineup, while at the same time developing specific compositional, technical and business skills.

  • Connector.

    Unit 1 – Game Audio Technology

    The fundamental difference between traditional media and video games is the technology. We’ll be training you on industry standard tech such as FMOD and engines like Unity. If you’ve ever tried to learn these tools through youtube, you don’t need to be told of the issues you can come across. With ThinkSpace, we give you hours of detailed and entertaining videos with certified FMOD user and Audio Lead Andy Gibson and detailed text and diagrams, along with 1-1 tuition, to help get into the world of Game Audio.

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    Unit 2 - Foundations of Game Music and Audio

    Ensuring you are fully equipped to begin your journey into video game audio, we’ll be teaching you about not just the technical challenges that form the heart of our daily lives, but also the creative necessities of audio and working with a brief. Topics include detailed field recording training from senior sound designer Pierre Griscelli.

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    Unit 3 – Research Skills and Critical Reflection

    Putting all this in context, learning to analyse how and why music and audio is used. Learn research skills and understand where game music fits into wider cultural and academic landscape.

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    Unit 4 – Sound, Music and the Moving Image

    For all the separate and distinct challenges that face game developers, learning to create work designed for the visuals is still a key part of the creative process. We’ll introduce you to some of the indispensable skills of working with audio to picture and editing sound effects. We’ll also be discussing some of the key challenges of editing music to picture, with real world AAA demonstrations from BAFTA award winning Sound Designers.

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    Unit 5 – Interactive Audio

    Now armed with the skills to get to work inside middleware, you will begin working inside game projects using both the audio tools and game engine to create interactive Foley and dynamic audio sources like volumes. You will work on projects that are designed to help you progress in a logical build up of techniques, getting you to walk before you can run. Along this path you will also be taught the physical processing and recording skills necessary to capture such audio.

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    Unit 6 – 3D Audio Environments

    Learning from industry experts, you will see just how the professionals achieve immersive audio environments. You will create realistic and dynamic 3D audio environments through game projects. Work ranging from placing locational audio to decorate and provide detail to the scene, to creating dynamic mixer snapshots that react to game data.

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    Unit 7 – Advanced Audio 1

    One of the most overlooked areas of game audio is dialogue and mixing. They are both a huge part of the development process and can both be hugely complex. You will be taught by professional video game dialogue editors and discuss the needs of both the game and voice talent. You will also tackle the challenges of mixing in a non linear medium with projects designed to develop your listening skills.

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    Unit 8 - Elective

    As part of your MA, you will be given the opportunity to further your studies with a selection of elective modules. With choices ranging from sampling technology, Kontakt training and cinematic sound design, with more choices being added as time goes on. Enabling you to choose what’s best for you to progress your career.

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    Final Major Project

    This longer three-month project involves creating audio for a game under real-world conditions. There are a wide selection of projects to choose from and students can put together several in the form of a portfolio or tackle one longer assignment.

“ThinkSpace serves an incredibly valuable function by connecting the practice of media music from the industry with the newest research on the topic coming from university academics.”

– Dr. Tim Summers
Ludomusicology Research Group

“ I would recommend [the ThinkSpace MA] to any composer who simply wants to be better at their job, whatever their experience level.”

– Amory Leader
IMDB

Time

Full time, 12 months – 30 hours a week

Part-time 24 months – 15 hours a week

Part-time 36 months – 8 hours a week

These are estimates and the exact amount of time will depend on each individual student. It includes, live workshops, one-to-one tutorials, reading and watching video tutorials and project work.

Prices

The course fee is the same for UK, EU and international students and includes the cost of a live orchestral session. Full-time and part-time students pay the same.

£8,850 / $12,950 / €11,600

You can choose to pay in pounds sterling, US dollars or euros.

We offer an interest-free instalment plan where you can spread the cost of your course and graduate debt-free.

Students will be required to pay a deposit on enrolling. For more information on this, please contact the course manager.

For a more detailed summary of fees, loans and finance procedure, please visit the dedicated Student Finance page.

  • Interest-free monthy repayments
    start from £57, $83 or €75 a week.
  • Apply Now

Requirements

For FAQs and more information, please visit the Applications & FAQs, Student Finance and Study With ThinkSpace pages.


  • Academic

    Applicants should have an undergraduate degree.

    If you don’t have a music or audio based degree, then other experience can be taken into account, including work-based experience of making music, professional development courses and first degrees in other subjects. This RPL, as it’s known, is always assessed on a case-by-case basis. It also depends in part on how many other students in the cohort are using this route, as there is a maximum percentage of students we can take through this process.


  • Internet

    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.


  • Software

    In order to mirror a real-world professional working environment, this is an intensive course with strict deadlines. As such, students must 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
    • Protools
    • Ableton Live
    • 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:

    • iZotope RX
    • Sound Forge
    • Audio database software such as Mutant or Sound Miner.

    For queries about any other platforms, please contact the Course Manager.


  • Hardware

    You will need a computer, software and ancillary equipment (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+

    Audio Equipment
    As a Sound Designer you will be asked to capture your own audio as well as to use pre existing libraries. As minimum you will need the follow or equivalent alternative:

    Zoom H4n
    Two microphones or greater
    Sonniss GDC give away Sound effect libraries


  • Technical

    We expect you to have a good, solid knowledge of one computer based DAW like Logic, Cubase, ProTools, Ableton or Reaper. You should be able to complete tasks quickly and to a deadline within these softwares and be comfortable doing new tasks inside them. Your demos should be of good quality and we are happy to listen to your work and give you an opinion on this before you apply.

    A high level audio production standards is what we are looking for. You don’t need to be creating sound effects already, but should have demonstrable experiences with audio, whether through music, radio/podcasting, live audio or other audio production activities.

    You should be comfortable learning new softwares and troubleshooting problems. Becoming a Sound Designer is as much being a developer as it is about creating assets.


  • Books, Films, Scores and Recordings

    Throughout the course, you will be required to play games, read books, study scores and listen to recordings. These are, for the most part, not included in the price of your course. You should expect to have to purchase, rent or borrow games, films, recordings and printed material. The reading and listening list gives you guidance to the minimum reference material you will need. This list is a minimum and you should expect to have to access further resources during the course of your programme of study.

Contact Us

My name is Tim and I’m the MA course manager here at ThinkSpace. If you have any questions that you’d like answering, please don’t hesitate to fill in the contact form below, or email me at tim@thinkspaceeducation.com.

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