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Higher Certificate in Game Graphics and Multimedia Entertainment 
93930  Higher Certificate in Game Graphics and Multimedia Entertainment 
Friends of Design - Academy of Digital Arts 
CHE - Council on Higher Education  HEQSF - Higher Education Qualifications Sub-framework 
Higher Certificate  Field 02 - Culture and Arts  Design Studies 
Undefined  120  Not Applicable  NQF Level 05  Regular-Provider-ELOAC 
Reregistered  SAQA 1141/23  2021-07-01  2024-06-30 
2025-06-30   2028-06-30  

In all of the tables in this document, both the pre-2009 NQF Level and the NQF Level is shown. In the text (purpose statements, qualification rules, etc), any references to NQF Levels are to the pre-2009 levels unless specifically stated otherwise.  

This qualification does not replace any other qualification and is not replaced by any other qualification. 

This one-year practical qualification is designed for learners who want a thorough grounding in the knowledge and skills needed to work in the interactive media and computer game industries, or progress into an Advanced Certificate, Diploma or Degree programme.

Learners will master the tools, practices and terminology required to work in the interactive media and computer game industry, and be confident to apply their skills from pre-press to post-press:
Receiving a brief, conceptualising a visual solution; presenting the ideas professionally through the use of concept writing, prototyping and planning the digital content needed for the production; executing a concept digitally through the use of and integration of the wide range of industry standard application programs; testing and analysing existing parts of the game for improvement of fun and use ability, and finally presenting the final works in a professional manner.

The qualification is intended for the learner to master the latest game creation technologies and develop and utilise skills in creating game concepts for specific target groups and purposes acquired on the course to produce professional and motivating interactive experiences that can be published worldwide or used by their clients to sell or use them.

Learners will develop skills and knowledge in design and layout to produce properly working games, using industry-standard applications such as Unity 3D, Blender 3D, Adobe Photoshop, Java Script and Microsoft Office, together with all the essential skills needed to create a game from the first idea to the working and publishing-ready product.

The qualification is intended to address the urgent skills shortage in the country and make further education more accessible to the masses.

This is an entry-level higher education qualification. The qualification is primarily vocational and oriented to the Interactive Media and Game industry. The qualification serves to provide learners with the basic introductory knowledge, cognitive and conceptual tools and practical techniques for further higher education studies in their chosen field of study. The knowledge emphasises general principles and application.

This qualification signifies that the learners has attained a basic level of higher education knowledge and competence in Digital Design and is capable of applying such knowledge and competence in an occupation or role in the workplace. The qualification includes a simulated work experience or work integrated learning (WIL) component.

Rapid advancements in technology and the presence of the digital entertainment area in which we personally live and professionally function has led to greater demands on the average creative professional to implement a broader set of skills to produce a wider range of material. The demand for game designers, 3D graphics artists and level designers, both locally and internationally, is also increasing because of the rapidly expanding market for Web-based, download and mobile games for the entertainment and advertising and educational sector and expansion of the video entertainment market, including television, movies, video and made-for-Internet outlets. Personnel with knowledge and experience in these areas will be in demand. Designers will especially be needed as demand for design projects increases due to the increasing number and complexity of projects in interactive media, web sites, video games, cellular phones, Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) and other technology.

There is an important need in the digital entertainment market for skilled, and design competent graduates. The qualification aims to prepare talented, motivated young people for today's workforce. The qualification encompasses specific practical exercises and practical projects in the Game Design arena. It also pursues theoretical aspects of game design, as well as business practice studies in the area of digital entertainment. Learners engage in a fixed curriculum that emphasises technical skills, design and conceptual thinking. The qualification will equip the learners with the tools, to plan, analyse and create interactive games for different purposes and different media. They will be able to, independently, decide the most effective way of planning the game development, create the game contents (rules, needed graphics and animations), developing the user interface, create specific types of games for specific purposes, implementing a variety of methods such as use of colour, story-telling, illustration, and various other dramatisation and visual techniques. They will be able, as well, to set up a freelance interactive media development business. Learners advance through a series of lectures, demonstrations, practical work, exercises and critique in a group context.

Our qualification will prepare learners to work professionally in a plethora of careers, such as:
Game Design, Web Game Design, Graphic Design, Virtual Architecture Design, Advertisement Game Design, Edutainment Software Design, 3D Animation Design, Character Design and Presentation, and Education. 

Recognition of Prior Learning:
This qualification may be achieved in part through the recognition of relevant prior learning and through prior experience as a practitioner in one of the sub-fields of Arts and Design. Providers are required to develop structured means for the assessment of individual learners against the Exit Level Outcomes of the qualification on a case-by-case basis. Such procedures, and the assessment of individual cases, are subject to moderation by independent-assessors.

Entry Requirements:
  • National Senior Certificate.
  • National Certificate (Vocational).
  • Recognition of Prior Learning. 


    This qualification consists of compulsory modules at NQF Level 5, totalling 152 Credits.

    Modules at NQF Level 5:
  • Game Theory, 12 Credits.
  • Game Design Concept Creation, 12 Credits.
  • 3D Modelling and Animation, 32 Credits.
  • Game Scripting, 28 Credits.
  • Game Engine Basics, 28 Credits.
  • Interface Layout and Design, 8 Credits.
  • Level Design and Balancing, 8 Credits.
  • Final Exam Project, 24 Credits.

    Total number of Credits = 152. 

    1. Demonstrate understanding of the basics of game planning and game production.
    2. Demonstrate understanding for the different parts of a game or an app. By Analyse a game idea and structure it into a document to show understand that a game or an interactive app is a sum of its parts. Apply skills acquired to create 3D models for interactive media or game development purposes. Demonstrate understanding of theory behind this technology and how it works in a real time 3D environment.
    3. Apply knowledge in smaller game projects and learn how to structure scripts. Manage game play logic, Create interactivity and use game engines to their full potential.
    4. Demonstrate understanding of how a Game Engine like Unity 3D can be used to create games and interactive entertainment.
    5. Apply the rules of proper user interface design and layout.
    6. Plan levels of Game Design Concepts and Game Design Theory properly and find obvious mistakes.
    7. Apply artistic skills, planning and time management capabilities and the knowledge of tools to complete a project in a given time.
    8. Apply artistic skills, planning and time management capabilities and knowledge of tools to complete a project in a given time. 

    Associated Assessment Criteria For Exit Level Outcome 1:
  • Understand why games and interactive media appeal to certain target audiences.
  • Get a clear overview over the games and interactive media market today and how it might develop over the next couple of years.
  • Understand how a production works from the initial phase to the finished product.
  • Understand the importance of proper time management when it comes to production.
  • Formulate and pitch a project idea in an effective way.

    Associated Assessment Criteria For Exit Level Outcome 2:
  • Break down a game or interactive media app into rule systems, needed assets, menu systems and other needed parts.
  • Describe said elements in a way that others understand how they are supposed to work.
  • Structure a document based on the specifics of a given project.
  • Plan and structure a document.
  • Understand the importance of a proper document for effective planning and production.
  • Evaluate a game design document.
  • Write a game design document.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 3:
  • Plan a model on paper and create it with the use of 3D software tools.
  • Unwrap the model to prepare it for texturing.
  • Applying textures and materials to 3D models to create convincing surfaces.
  • Understand the difference between high polygon and low polygon models.
  • Understand the setup and use of key frame animations.
  • Rig and animate a bipedal character.
  • Import a finished 3D model into a 3D virtual environment (Game Engine import).

    Associated Assessment Criteria For Exit Level Outcome 4:
  • Understand the logic behind scripts and how classes and functions work.
  • Understand the importance and use of different types of variables and arrays.
  • Breaking down game mechanics into scripts.
  • Create management scripts for game logic.
  • Influence the virtual environment using scripts.
  • Use game engine specific functions.
  • Create game play and interactivity.
  • Read and understand scripts for research purposes.

    Associated Assessment Criteria For Exit Level Outcome 5:
  • Fully understand how to use the Unity3D game engine and what can be done with it.
  • Create environments in Unity3D.
  • Use light, materials and particle effects.
  • Implement new game assets into a Unity3D project.
  • Create playable game play routines in the game engine.
  • Realise their own game play ideas in the Unity3D engine.
  • Create playable levels and entire games.
  • Implement what they know about the possibilities of the game engine into designing their game or interactive media ideas.

    Associated Assessment Criteria For Exit Level Outcome 6:
  • Apply the basics of interface layout and design.
  • Know how to give the user the information needed to navigate in a game.
  • Create an easy to read interface or menu structure.
  • Analyse an interface and spot its flaws to correct them.

    Associated Assessment Criteria For Exit Level Outcome 7:
  • Know that different games have different types of levels which need to be planned accordingly.
  • Apply different techniques to make virtual environments easier to navigate for the user.
  • Check the balancing of the challenges the player faces in a level and determine whether a level is too easy or too challenging.
  • Play and analyse existing game levels, their geometry, graphics, sounds and lighting in order find not working colour schemes, confusing features and other problems in the level design.

    Associated Assessment Criteria For Exit Level Outcome 8:
  • Have a deeper knowledge and more experience in the chosen field.
  • Have a better judgement concerning the time that has to be invested to reach a certain goal within the chosen field.
  • Work independently on a given task in the chosen field.
  • Be more familiar with possible problems and be more confident about themselves working in the chosen field.

    Integrated Assessment:
    The qualification entails a number of tests of ability and understanding throughout the year, including:
  • Observation.
  • Written tests.
  • Oral tests or questioning.
  • Simulation, case study.
  • Reports.
  • Portfolios.

    Formative assessments:
    Formative assessments are most commonly delivered in the form of class exercises, of varying levels of difficulty, which not only facilitate the academy's "building block" style training method, but also test the learners' comprehension of the subject matter as the content of the module is taught. These smaller projects are issued on an ongoing basis throughout the learning period. Examples of such formative assessments would include demonstrating the use of particular software tools in the software module, such as Photoshop or demonstrations of application of programming tools within smaller controlled scenarios.

    Summative assessments:
    More detailed and complex practical projects are delivered at the end of each module to prove the learners' competency in each compulsory module. A further, final comprehensive project is required at the end of the qualification to prove the learners competence in order to obtain the overall qualification. An example of summative assessment required is the final digital portfolio of the years' web and motion graphic works, delivered at the end of the qualification on DVD, complete with packaging, CV and business card.

    Internal/External Moderation:
    The academy follows standard moderation procedures and has an external examiner system in place. 

    The Designschule Schwerin, Germany, offers an accredited three year work education in Game Design ('staatlich anerkannte Berufsausbildung').

    The qualification includes:
  • Game Theory.
  • Game Engine Basics.
  • 3D Modelling and Animation.
  • English.
  • German.
  • Creating Games I.
  • Creating Games II.
  • Zbrush.
  • Character Design.
  • Storytelling in Games.
  • Dramaturgy.
  • Human Anatomy Studies.
  • Theory on Colour Use.
  • Sculpting.
  • Scripting.
  • Creating Worlds.
  • Level Analysis.
  • Research Paper Writing.
  • Basic Law.
  • Games and Media.
  • Game Industry Basics.

    Marked courses are either obligatory for the accreditation and cover social studies, language or courses in general design.

    In Germany a work education has to be three years including internships and a semester for final exams in order to be accredited.

    Brunel University London, UK, offers a Bachelor's Degree in Game Design.

    Typical Modules:
    Level 1:
  • Theory 1: 'Reading' Games - methods for, and practice of, analysing the formal components of games.
  • Design 1: Introduction to Game Design - practical exercises, working to set briefs.
  • Application 1: Methods for, and practice of, communicating design concepts and ideas.
  • Creative Computing - gaining confidence with software commonly used by the creative industries as well as web design.
  • Asset and Story Creation 1 - getting to grips with image manipulation and 3d modelling tools.
  • Academic Practice.

    Level 2:
  • Theory 2: Approaches to analysing games and players.
  • Design 2: Large game design projects, working to a brief, World design and the building of games within those worlds.
  • Application 2: Prototyping game designs and understanding the games industry.
  • Asset and Story Creation 2 - Cementing Design 2's world and game designs with 3D models, storyboarding and optional animation.
  • Game Mechanics - Looking in-depth at game mechanics and how they function as the core of the gaming experience.
  • An elective module from a wide choice of subjects offered by the School of Arts.

    Level 3:
  • Theory 3: Socio-Cultural Contexts - analysing the social and cultural implications of games.
  • Asset and Story Creation 3 - Intensive module supporting your practical games dissertation projects.
  • Major Design Project.
  • Major Theoretical Project.
  • Asset Creation Project.

    The qualification has been compared to the two similar qualifications in game design in terms of the modules offered and what the work course entails. 

    Horizontal Articulation:
    Learner can articulate horizontally into a Higher Certificate in Graphic Design or a Higher Certificate in Art Direction and Graphic Design.

    Vertical Articulation:
    Completion of the Higher Certificate meets the minimum entry requirement into a cognate Diploma or Bachelor's Degree. Accumulated credits may also be presented for admission into a cognate Diploma or Bachelor's Degree qualifications. 



    As per the SAQA Board decision/s at that time, this qualification was Reregistered in 2015. 



    This information shows the current accreditations (i.e. those not past their accreditation end dates), and is the most complete record available to SAQA as of today. Some Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionaries have a lag in their recording systems for provider accreditation, in turn leading to a lag in notifying SAQA of all the providers that they have accredited to offer qualifications and unit standards, as well as any extensions to accreditation end dates. The relevant Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionary should be notified if a record appears to be missing from here.
    1. Friends of Design - Academy of Digital Arts 

    All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.