Spatial Constructs | Abertay University

Spatial Constructs


In this module students will engage with the creative and technical processes involved in the design and construction of virtual environments. Audience interaction within these spaces will be critiqued with consideration for visual style, architectural theory, level design, and environmental storytelling. By the end of this project students will have gained experience in the construction of interactive virtual spaces, which will be particularly beneficial to those who have an interest in level design or environment art for games.


The aim of this module is to provide the student with specialist skills in the critique, design, and construction of virtual environments.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module the student should be able to:

1.  Demonstrate a technical understanding of game engines, game art pipelines, and software solutions for virtual environments.

2.  Demonstrate a critical understanding of the conceptual and practical issues surrounding the design and realisation of virtual spaces.

3.  Carry out artistic and design research in order to develop an innovative and expressive concept for a virtual environment project.

4.  Iteratively design and develop a virtual environment demonstrating an appreciation of visual style, spatial design, and user experience.

Indicative Content

1 Visual research

Investigate the development and application of visual style in virtual environments.

2 Level design

Research the theory and practice of level design. Develop original and effective level designs.

3 Spatial design

Consider architectural theories and principles when developing concepts for a virtual environment.

4 Narrative

Investigate the role of narrative in virtual worlds. Consider environmental storytelling and the impact of user agency.

5 Virtual environment aesthetics

Consider the aesthetics of game environments

6 Concept development

Develop art and design concepts for an original virtual environment.

7 Art production

Create original 2D/3D art assets and deploy these assets in a game engine as part of a virtual environment.

8 Audio

Produce/source and implement sound effects/music in a game engine as part of a virtual environment.

9 Scripted interaction

Devise and implement a range of user interactions within a game engine as part of a virtual environment.

10 User navigation

Consider the user experience, and in particular how users will navigate and interpret your virtual environment.

Statement on Teaching, Learning and Assessment

In the first six weeks of the term, students will be supported by a series of 6 x 1-hour lectures and 6 x 1-hour technical demonstrations. The former will introduce students to the pertinent concepts and theories that will underpin their critical engagement with the project. The latter will expose students to game environment art pipelines, environment construction, and level scripting. In the second half of the term, students will attend 6 x 1-hour demo sessions, where they will be expected to exhibit their work and discuss their progress with the class. Throughout the term, students will attend 12 x 2-hour practical sessions.

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Total 200
Lecture 12
Tutorial/Seminar 6
Supervised Practical Activity 24
Unsupervised Practical Activity 0
Assessment 100
Independent 58

Guidance notes

Credit Value – The total value of SCQF credits for the module. 20 credits are the equivalent of 10 ECTS credits. A full-time student should normally register for 60 SCQF credits per semester.


We make every effort to ensure that the information on our website is accurate but it is possible that some changes may occur prior to the academic year of entry. The modules listed in this catalogue are offered subject to availability during academic year 2018/19 , and may be subject to change for future years.