Choosing to continue his studies here was an easy choice. Most graduates leave after year 3 to focus on their portfolio though Simon decided to stay for master’s so he can create work for his portfolio and receive constant feedback and support from tutors.
Following his BA (Hons) Games Design, Simon says MA Games Design is about taking your skills to the next level as he’s gone from putting his first game together at the end of year 3 to working on a fully polished game ready for publishing for his MA.
He has been involved in several projects and one that stands out is from October 2019 when he was invited to take part in the EGX Jam in London along with other students. EGX is the UK's biggest gaming convention which is attended by AAA companies such as EA and Sony. All of the costs for travel and accommodation were paid for. For the event they were required to create a game in under 48 hours which would then be presented on stage at the convention. The game they created was called 'Nan Turismo' – a game where twisted metal meets old ladies with scooters.
From that the team was invited to present the game at Manchester Gamers Unite. This is the largest gaming event in Manchester and they were able to network with games developers from UK.
Added to that, towards the end of 2019, he and a few other students from the course founded Lunchbox Games. They are currently in development of their first major project which they hope to turn into a commercial success.
All of his life, he has struggled with education because he has ADHD. On the Games Design course he was met with full understanding from his tutors and actually encouraged to bring it into his work.
All of the tutors have industry experience or are currently in the industry themselves and there are great connections to current industry professionals.
"The University of Central Lancashire's game studio, where past students work covers the walls as a constant form of inspiration, is a great environment – students from all years openly interact with each other. "— Simon Ashcroft
The skills you gain from the course are used by current games companies and students learn how to create a complete game from start to finish.
The studio has everything you would likely find inside an industry studio. Computers have all the latest software you need and there are Cintiq drawing tablets in each area. Simon says the tutors can always be contacted for feedback and advice and he adds that he’s even shown personal work and projects that are outside of the course to the tutors and has received detailed feedback on them.
His advice to prospective students would be to follow your passion for video games. Instead of writing essays and taking tests, I spend my days in university making and playing games, he says.
The best way to get a feel for the course is to come and visit: the studio is open every day and there’s always someone you can talk to who can show you around the building and what work is being created.