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Undergraduate study
Computer Games Programming

GGK6 BSc/CGP (I614 BSc/CGPFY for Year 0 entry)

 
 
 

Course overview

This degree is one of the UK’s leading games programming courses and is well respected by the industry. You have the opportunity to study on this specialist course taught by experienced developers and internationally recognised researchers. Learn to apply software engineering and problem-solving skills to develop games from 2D games developed from scratch, to polished 3D games with massive development teams.

Games programmers build games from the creative vision of designers and artists. Our course gives you the essential industry skills to do this. Games-specific modules take you beyond traditional software development, providing a head start for your future career. Each year culminates in producing a complete game demo, whether as a personal project using middleware, in a team of programmers working to a game design document or in a multidisciplinary team of artists, animators and designers. You will become a talented software engineer, technically skilled and an excellent problem solver with games-industry-specific knowledge and experience. You will have the technical expertise for a variety of careers within the games industry and mainstream computing.

The course is structured around the following themes:

  • Programming and agile software engineering practices
  • Gaming hardware and platforms (mobile devices and consoles
  • Gameplay programming and user interfaces (multimodal interfaces) artificial intelligence
  • Networked multiplayer games (from social gaming to massively multiplayer games) graphics, animation, physics, and simulation programming.


Take part in Animex our annual international festival of games and animation which brings together experts from world-renowned studios including Rockstar, Pixar, Aardman, Disney, ILM, Sony Interactive and Supermassive Games.You also have the chance to enter our local, national and international GameJam events, take part in our industry competitions, attend industry events, and Beta test some upcoming games before they are released.

You also have the chance to enter our local, national and international GameJam events, take part in our industry competitions, attend industry events, and Beta test some upcoming games before they are released.

Free online maths course
Prepare for your studies with our free online Mathematics for University course. Develop your knowledge and understanding in maths so that you can start your studies in September confidently and better prepared. Places offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Find out more

Professional accreditation

bcs Accredited Degree This degree has been accredited by the British Computer Society (BCS), The Chartered Institute for IT.

Accreditation is a mark of assurance that the degree meets the standards set by the BCS. An accredited degree entitles you to professional membership of the BCS, which is an important part of the criteria for achieving Chartered IT Professional status through the Institute. Some employers recruit preferentially from accredited degrees, and an accredited degree is likely to be recognised by other countries that are signatories to international accords.

 
 

Course details

Course structure

Year 0 (foundation year) core modules

Case Studies

This module provides tools in your reading of cultural texts. Focusing on computer games, animation and film, you gain an introductory level of understanding in the context of your chosen fields of study.
As well as looking at the historical and contextual overview of the history of animation, film and computer games, you also look at how we interpret these types of media historically and materially. You choose a text from within your area of interest and undertake an analytical review in the form of a case study.

Computational Thinking

Algorithms are considered to be at the heart of computing and are critical to developing computer-driven applications. Designing algorithms requires you to think like a machine, using computational thinking to construct procedures to implement as computer programmes.

This module introduces you to the fundamental building blocks of algorithms through classic puzzles and recreational games. You develop your knowledge of design principles and your proficiency in creating algorithmic procedures by cultivating your ability to think computationally in solving puzzles and creating routines for playing simple, computer-enabled games.

Foundation Game

You produce an individual project artefact, with the supervision of a member of academic staff. This involves you producing a small game project.
You take your existing knowledge and develop a small game from start to finish. This includes writing a high level concept document (proposal), early demo and testing (progress review) and a completed demo made within a contemporary game engine or similar.

Introduction to Mathematics

This module introduces the relevant mathematical notations and techniques if you are preparing to study a technical computing degree at undergraduate level. The emphasis is on developing the skills that enable you to understand technical specifications of computing devices.

Topics include the number systems prevalent in computing, algebraic manipulation and equation solving, and the concept of functions – both algebraic and graphical formulations.

The module is delivered through lecture and tutorial sessions. Worked examples illustrate how each mathematical technique is applied. Problem-solving tutorial exercises give you the opportunity to practise each skill or technique.

Introduction to Programming

This module is ideal if you have little or no experience of programming – it uses tools that are easily available, easy to use and familiar to anyone who has used a computer.

You learn how programming language constructs are applied to different problems of increasing complexity. All programming solutions are executed in a web browser although the module is not specifically targeting web development.

Python Game

You practice and develop game-making and team-working skills through an individual game related artefact.

Lectures are delivered on topics to enhance your Python knowledge as well as team-working skills and an introduction to basic game play programming techniques.

 

Year 1 core modules

Algorithms for Games

Complex coding and scripting for a computer game requires an understanding of problem solving, data structures and algorithms needed to define the contents and behaviour of a virtual 3D world. You are introduced to these topics using an informal yet rigorous approach. The algorithms range from simple to advanced, widely used in AAA games. Recreational problems, like games and puzzles, are used to convey the important algorithmic concepts.

C++ Programming

You are introduced to C++ programming, focusing on the learning, development and application of algorithms and data structures within computer games, and the basics of class-based object-oriented programming using C++ language.
You demonstrate conceptual understanding and practical competence of programming by designing and implementing solutions to specific programming problems.

You study standard C++ libraries, and where appropriate one or more 3rd party libraries. You are required to demonstrate an understanding of professional practices and appropriate codes of conduct.

Games Development with C++

You study advanced aspects of C++ language and its continual evolvement, focusing on game development.

You develop your knowledge and practical application of object-oriented programming, including exception handling, polymorphism, design patterns and templates, and the standard library for containers and algorithms.

You are required to demonstrate an understanding of professional practices and appropriate codes of conduct.

Maths for Games

Knowledge of advanced mathematical concepts for building a games engine is essential for a games programmer. You learn basic and advanced mathematics in an applied context.

Systems and Game Technology

The production of a successful, robust, user-friendly system or application begins with the analysis of the stakeholders’ requirements and a detailed design. This module introduces you to the concepts and techniques of systems analysis and design, enabling you to break down and simplify complex systems and represent these visually using industry standard approaches such as Unified Modelling Language (UML). In industry, the resulting models are used to communicate designs to the developers and to the stakeholders prior to implementation.

Games Technology is explored in the context of games development, with reference to the interconnection of hardware and the developmental processes involved in games' creation. You consider the development process and appreciate the various technologies, in both software and hardware that must be brought together in the creation of a computer game.

Visual Scripting

This module develops your introductory level skills in visual scripting using a contemporary game engine.

You consider the fundamentals of visual scripting including variables, functions and operators along with more advanced aspects such as player controllers and game modes. You use these concepts to implement gameplay functionality and interaction using a contemporary game engine.

 

Year 2 core modules

3D Graphics Programming

Essential algorithms and models used within interactive 3D computer graphics and animation are introduced in this module. It is useful for those interested in programming interactive visualisation applications such as computer games.

You will be able to design and implement applications capable of the visualisation and animation of a virtual 3D environment using C++, a graphics library such as OpenGL or Direct3D, and a shading language such as GLSL or HLSL.

Games Engine Construction

You will gain an in-depth view into the design of core computer game architectures and implementation using an Application Programming Interface and object oriented programming. You will develop your own computer game engine, which involves implementing and integrating computer game engine core systems eg graphics, simulation. Subsequently you will extend your existing C++ software engineering skills by integrating design patterns commonly used in game engine development.

You will be required to implement efficient C++ algorithms, both in terms of performance and memory use, and use profiling tools to inform your design choices and demonstrate knowledge of the underlying architecture.

Journeyman

You work in a team to produce a game experience within a current game engine. This provides you with experience of working within a production environment, and also with an opportunity to target specific production skills within your chosen field of study.

Network and Concurrency

You explore the area of networking protocols, their quality of services, and related APIs. You are also introduced to concurrent and distributed programming paradigms.

You tackle issues faced when developing a concurrent or distributed application, including security and synchronization. You explore suitable abstractions, such as design patterns, distributed objects models and architectures.

Case studies are used to illustrate the theory of this module with appropriate technologies, for example, distributed architectures for online games, cloud, AJAX.

Real-Time Simulation

You are introduced to the essential animation and simulation algorithms and mathematics used to program 3D virtual environments. It is useful for those interested in developing interactive applications such as computer games.

Emphasis is on the practical implementation of the topics covered. After completing this module, you will be able to design and implement algorithms to model the plausible motion of point masses within a 3D virtual environment.

 

Final-year core modules

AI for Games Engines

You consider artificial intelligence (AI) and its application in computer games and explore advanced AI techniques.

Beta Arcade

You gain experience of working as a member of a games development team that is as close to industrial practice as possible. Beta Arcade simulates the working criteria and mix of development skills that are required to produce a polished prototype of a computer game concept which would be suitable for publication.

Game Programming Project

You undertake a large scale piece of work, supervised by a member of academic staff. You also produce a substantial computing artefact and compile a report and a viva with a presentation, demonstration and discussion of the artefact. You develop work-discipline and a professional outlook. You are responsible for the planning and execution and consider legal, social, ethical and professional issues. You explore a chosen subject and analyse, synthesise, and creatively apply what you have studied on the programme, demonstrating critical and evaluative skills and professional awareness.

Mobile and Gaming Devices

You expand your knowledge and skills of games programming, computer architecture and software development to include native development on mobile or gaming hardware. You build upon existing programming skills in C/C++ and knowledge of computing architecture and expand your games software programming skills, focusing on developing, analysing and optimising code for limited gaming devices.

Physics Simulation

You explore the physical laws and numerical methods necessary for the development and enhancement of physical realism in 3D games, and are introduced to new concepts such as rigid bodies, moment of inertia and soft body dynamics, with an emphasis on physics realism versus computation speed, stability and accuracy.

 

Modules offered may vary.

 

How you learn

It is essential for you to gain experience in being a programmer. Your modules use a combination of lecture sessions to study the theory, computer lab sessions to put theory into practice with tutor guidance, and controlled studio environments to practice your professional and teamwork skills.

In your second year you take part in our unique Journeyman module, highly praised by industry, in which all games art students work with games designers in a simulated game studio experience, outsourcing various essentials such as assets and animation to specialist teams. You work on games in Unreal and Unity to strict milestones in a scenario that is as close to industry practice as possible within an academic environment.

Learn using our industry-standard facilities including multiple games development labs, virtual reality lab, and state-of-art Vicon motion capture facilities.

How you are assessed

Our course focuses on the application of the knowledge and skills you acquire. Most of your modules require you to design and develop software to demonstrate your new abilities. Your assignments are set by your tutor and you work on them throughout the academic year whilst receiving valuable feedback to guide your work.


Our Disability Services team provide an inclusive and empowering learning environment and have specialist staff to support disabled students access any additional tailored resources needed. If you have a specific learning difficulty, mental health condition, autism, sensory impairment, chronic health condition or any other disability please contact a Disability Services as early as possible.
Find out more about our disability services

Find out more about financial support
Find out more about our course related costs

 
 

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Call us on 0800 952 0226 about our entry requirements

For additional information please see our entry requirements

International applicants can find out what qualifications they need by visiting Your Country


You can gain considerable knowledge from work, volunteering and life. Under recognition of prior learning (RPL) you may be awarded credit for this which can be credited towards the course you want to study.
Find out more about RPL

 

Employability

Work placement

Being able to include work experience on your CV makes you a much more attractive applicant. You have a much higher chance of improving your degree classification and the boost in confidence will give you the edge in job interviews.

98% of our students who complete a work placement achieve a high level degree classification and are offered a graduate job within six months of graduating.

We have established excellent long-term relationships with businesses giving you the opportunity to apply for summer, year-long and graduate placements with key organisations such as: Microsoft, Rare, Team 17, ZeroLight, R8 Games, Hammerhead VR, Dojo Arcade, Schlumberger, Sumo Digital and Coastsink.

Student selection is carried out by the employers through competitive interviews and often skills tests. Placements are not compulsory but are assessed and contribute to your final degree award.

Our placements team gives you help and support throughout the placement process, including guidance on applications and interviews, to help you get a placement that suits you.

Career opportunities

You are ideally suited for employment in the games development industry and similar creative industries. A variety of programming roles exist within these industries such as gameplay programmer, tools programmer, middleware developer and mobile application programmer. The course gives you a strong foundation in computer programming, also allowing for a career in mainstream software development.

Our graduates are highly sought after in the games industry securing roles in AAA studios across the country and the globe including Accenture, HMRC, Zerolight, Ubisoft, Creative Assembly, Double 11, Microsoft, Traveller's Tales and many more.

 

Information for international applicants

Qualifications

International applicants - find out what qualifications you need by selecting your country below.

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Useful information

Visit our international pages for useful information for non-UK students and applicants.

Talk to us

Talk to an international student enrolment adviser

 
 

Full-time

Entry to 2020/21 academic year

Fee for UK/EU applicants
£9,250 a year

More details about our fees

Fee for international applicants
£13,000 a year

More details about our fees for international applicants


What is included in your tuition fee?

  • Length: 3 years (or 4 with a work placement) or 4 years including foundation year (or 5 with a work placement)
  • UCAS code: GGK6 BSc/CGP
    I614 BSc/CGPFY for Year 0 entry
  • Semester dates
  • Typical offer: Call us on 0800 952 0226 about our entry requirements

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UK applicants
EU and International applicants

 

Part-time

2020/21 entry

Fee for UK/EU applicants
£4,500 (120 credits)

More details about our fees

  • Length: Up to 6 years
  • Attendance: Daytime
  • Enrolment date: September
  • Semester dates

Apply online (part-time)

 
 
 
 

Facilities

ExpoTalent is a unique opportunity to meet businesses to secure placements, internships and future employment opportunities.

 

Choose Teesside

iPad

Are you eligible for an iPad, keyboard and £300 credit for learning resources?

 

Accommodation

Live in affordable accommodation right on-campus

 

Campus

Study in our town-centre campus with over £270m of recent investment

 

Industry ready

Benefit from work placements, live projects, accredited courses

 

Get in touch

 

Open days

 
 
 

Foundation year

Part-time

Part-time DiscoverUni data