A master in game design

 

by Allan Asp Christensen, Class ’14

After I graduated from Sonic College I had many thoughts on what I would do with my undergraduate degree in Sonic Communication. I could have taken the road of being an independent sound designer, -editor, -technician as many others would do, but I felt that I wasn’t done learning. There are many industries of sound design., but eventually I started thinking of game audio design and knew that IT-University of Copenhagen (ITU) offered a master’s degree in game design.

Entry requirements to Game Design
My admission to the ITU went pretty well. I filled out an admission-letter on Kvote 2, which is a Danish system where you can apply through motivation, credentials, and etc.  At that time there were three tracks of game design you could choose from; Technique, Design, and Analysis (today there are only two tracks; design and technique).  I choose to take a master in game design because of the relations to my previous education at Sonic College.

Daily Life on Game Design
Life on ITU is pretty straightforward, and awesome, although, it is hard and time-consuming to study game design. You are using a lot of hours in your free time to read up on articles for the lectures, developing games, making projects, so it is not a walk in the park. You have 16 hours of lectures during a week, and if you include the homework the nomination is 37 hours a week, but I tend to spend a lot more time.

The game design education values experience of developing at least one game, which is the “game design course” in first semester, no matter what track you come from. Afterwards if you want to continue making games you sign yourself up to classes. I took three different classes to make game projects during my education, and I had a plan of personal learning progress for each project. In the first project I wanted to learn the basic audio implementation, and coding in Unity 3D. In the second project I learned the basics of a program, called Wwise, which is a audio implementation software for game audio designers, and composers. In the third project I learned to make my own game and implement everything by myself.

There are many fields of interests in game design, and the best part of this master’s degree is your own role making or choice of subjects. As an example, in every written assignment I made, the subjects would focus on theories in game audio, or when developing a game I identified myself as a game audio designer. The deliberate choice of interest made me of cause more knowledgeable in game audio design, segmented myself in relation to the others, and became the go-to guy if anyone needed some help with audio in games.

It is fun to work with other like-minded creative people, where the first assumption in the development stage of a game; everything is possible. Another thing worth mentioning is the large network you are creating when studying, and you can see the opportunities to future collaborations.

In the moment I am about to start on my thesis. My subject for that matter is to study and explore how people play with sound. As long as the subject has some relevance to the game design area you have the opportunity write about anything you want. So to sum-up, IT-University gives you the freedom in the field of your interest, and for me it was game audio design in which I angled every project to my benefit. The game design program gives you the opportunity to be curious, and investigate possible inventions, collaborations, or theories, and they even urges you to start your own business if you have a good idea.

The Future
I have in collaboration with my brother a business, where we have a house called KlangHaus, and inside of that house built 8 postproduction audio suites that we rent out. My dream is to make a living out of this business, so when I’m done with my master’s degree we will start to produce audio for games, develops games, and make some music in the spare time. If I fail with this business I will get a job in the field of game audio design or similar.