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 industry using standard middleware like FMOD.
For those with a background in audio production, audio engineering or music, Sound Design for Video 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.
A Student’s Story: Alex Green
Hear first-hand from a ThinkSpace Education postgraduate student.
Sound designer Alex Green discusses the structure of the Sound Design for Video Games degree, creative scripting and sound design techniques.
If you are considering a ThinkSpace Education master’s degree and want to speak directly with one of our current or past students in a similar position as you, then drop us a line and we’ll put you in touch.
What Work Will it Prepare Me For?
The main destination for students is 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.
One Thousand Videos.
Access All ThinkSpace Course Materials.
There are thousands of videos available to our students and every single one is available to master’s students. You have full access to all 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 interactive audio for games, sound design and scoring for other media.
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, Assassin’s Creed (trailers) Sim City, Drakensang, Sniper Elite 3 and Pokémon. 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, which includes 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 Baysted
Mark Angus: Professional Sound Designer & Head Video Game Tutor
Award winning sound designer Mark Angus has worked on a huge variety of projects, from Alien Isolation where his team won a BAFTA, Silent Hill and DC’s Injustice 2.
Mark discusses his role as ThinkSpace Education head Video Game tutor, the professional expertise of ThinkSpace Education’s tutors, what you will learn on our video game postgraduate degrees as well as how studying online with ThinkSpace Education works.
On successful conclusion of your course, you will be awarded a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Chichester. All UK degrees, including those of the University of Chichester, are recognised worldwide. The qualification is fully 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 your fellow students and the rest of the university’s graduates.
According to our 2019 Graduate Employment Survey and an amazing 80% of our graduates have found work in their chosen field. This is a fantastic achievement so congratulations to them all!
Our recent students have gone on to work at Mojang, Creative Assembly, Frontier, Dam Busters and many more. Our graduates have worked on the score for Spiderman PS4 and scored the latest Battlefield 1 Apocalypse trailer.
Combined with our 95% graduation rate, that means apply to ThinkSpace Eduation gives a really solid basis for anyone hoping to start a career in film composing, orchestration, game music or audio.
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.
Module 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 and detailed text and diagrams, along with 1-1 tuition, to help get into the world of Game Audio.
Module 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.
Module 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.
Module 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.
Module 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.
Module 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.
Module 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.
Module 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, 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.
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
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.
Full-time and part-time students pay the same.
Interest-free monthly repayments
start from £57, $83 or €75 a week.
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 and finance procedure, please visit the dedicated Student Finance page.
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 undergraduate 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.
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.
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:
• Ableton Live
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.
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.
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.
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+
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+
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:
Two microphones or greater
Sonniss GDC give away Sound effect libraries
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 standard 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.
Materials, Structure & Assessment
The course operates on a modular basis. The majority of modules count for 15 academic credits. Each credit taken equates to a total study time of around 10 hours. Total study time includes scheduled teaching, independent study and assessment activity.
Students on our MA and MFA courses learn through a mix of self-directed study (particularly of our extensive course materials) as well as through 1-2-1 sessions with our tutors and group Webinar sessions. All student work, practical or written, is assessed by our tutors (there are no exams on the course). On each module, students have an opportunity to submit formative assignments (which don’t contribute to the final grade) to receive tutor feedback and guidance before submitting the summative assignment.
Full time students are entitled to one session per week with a tutor, and students on part time schedules are entitled to one session every two weeks. The dates and times of upcoming Webinars are available to see in the student calendar in the VLE (Virtual Learning Environment). All Webinar sessions are recorded and kept in our Webinar Library, which our students have access to, meaning they have hundreds of hours of workshops and lectures to get stuck into whenever they want. These are usually hosted through the website BigMarker.
In the final three months of the programme, students will engage with self-directed independent study as they create and produce a major specialist practical project or can opt to undertake a written dissertation. Students are expected to demonstrate the ability to work independently, and to show self-motivation and critical self-awareness. Students are also expected to show significant organisational and time-management skills which assist in the timely and successful delivery of project work and research.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.