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  1. Computer Games Technology
    1. 2017
    2. 2016
Courses

Computer Games Technology

MSc |
On City's MSc in Computer Games Technology you can develop specialist technical skills for a career in the Computer Games Industry.

Key Information

Start date

September 2017

Duration

Full-time: 12 months (evening and daytime)
Part-time: up to 28 months (evening and daytime)

UK/EU

Full-time: £9,000 (2016/17 fee; 2017/18 fee to be confirmed October 2016)

Part-time: £4,500 per year (2016/17 fee; 2017/18 fee to be confirmed October 2016)

Non-EU

Full-time: £15,000 (2016/17 fee; 2017/18 fee to be confirmed October 2016)

Part-time: £7,500 per year (2016/17 fee; 2017/18 fee to be confirmed October 2016)

Who is it for?

This course is aimed at students with a passion for computer games and a strong interest in programming. It is designed for students with an undergraduate degree in a numerate subject with substantial computing content, or those who wish to update their skills after a time in industry as a computing professional.

Objectives

The course is designed for you to develop

  • Strong technical skills suitable for professional programming roles in the game industry
  • Specialist knowledge in computer graphics, AI, physics and audio
  • The ability to design and build game engines from scratch in industry standard languages, including C++
  • Knowledge of the games development process, including the pitch, design, and use of a game engine to build a demo
  • Experience of the planning, management and execution of a major games technology project.

Accreditation

British Computer Society logo

TIGA logoMSDN logo

This course is accredited by TIGA, a non-profit UK trade association representing the UK's games industry. It is also accredited by The Chartered Institute for IT (BCS) for partial fulfilment of the academic requirement for Chartered IT Professional (CITP) status.

Requirements and how to apply

Entry requirements

Applicants should hold a lower second class honours degree, the equivalent from an international institution or an equivalent professional qualification. Prior degrees should be in a numerate subject with a substantial computing content.

Previous academic and commercial experience is also considered.

Other suitable qualifications

If you do not qualify for direct entry, you may wish to follow a Graduate Diploma pathway to the programme through one of our partners.

INTO City, University of London

Don't meet the entry requirements? INTO City, University of London offers a range of academic and English language programmes to help prepare you for study at City, University of London. You'll learn from experienced teachers in a dedicated international study centre.

These programmes are designed for international students who do not meet the required academic and English language requirements for direct entry. To prepare for this degree course, learn more about the Graduate Diploma in Informatics - Science and Engineering.

English requirements

For overseas students whose first language is not English, the following qualification is required:

  • IELTS: 6.5 (minimum of 6.0 in all four components)

Due to changes in the UKVI's list of SELTs we are no longer able to accept TOEFL as evidence of English language for students who require a CAS as of April 2014.

English language programmes

Don't meet the English language requirements? INTO City, University of London offers English language programmes to help prepare you for study at university. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for entry to degree courses. Learn more about INTO's English for University Study programme.

Visa requirements

If you are not from the European Economic Area / Switzerland and you are coming to study in the UK, you may need to apply for a visa or entry clearance to come to the UK to study.

The way that you apply may vary depending on the length of your course. There are different rules for:

  • Students on courses of more than six months
  • Students on courses of less than six months
  • Students on a pre-sessional English language course.

If you require a Tier 4 student visa to study in the UK, you cannot undertake any City courses on a part-time basis.

For more information see our main Visa page.

How to apply

Thank you for having decided to apply to study a postgraduate course at the School of Mathematics, Computer Science and Engineering. Please note that the deadline for applications for the 2017/18 academic year is 31st August 2017.

In order for your application to be considered, please ensure that you upload the following documentation with your application:

  • For all applicants, please upload your degree certificate and transcript of marks from your first degree (if you do not have your final results at the time of making your application, please upload a provisional certificate/interim transcript of marks). A transcript is required in order to have your application processed.
  • If your first language is not English, or you require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK, please upload a Proof of English Proficiency if you have already obtained it. A list of accepted qualifications can be found here.
  • If you require a Tier 4 student visa to undertake a Master's programme in the UK, please upload a detailed personal statement outlining why you wish to study this specific course, at City University London, as well as explaining how your past studies have prepared you for this course and how it will help you to progress in your career.
  • If you are applying for a Part-time course, or have relevant work experience relating to the degree you are applying for, please upload a copy of your current CV/resume.

You can apply in the following ways:

Postal applications and supporting documents

We encourage online applications, however if you are unable to do this, please send a completed paper application form, together with supporting documents, to:

Postgraduate Courses Office, A302
School of Mathematics, Computer Science & Engineering
City, University of London
Northampton Square
London
EC1V 0HB

Contact information for the Postgraduate Team

Tel: +44 (0)20 7040 0248
Email: smcsepg@city.ac.uk

Location
City is in central London, an international hub for activity in computer games.
98%
Since inception, 98% of course graduates are using their course skills in the games or wider IT industry.
Expertise
An Industrial Advisory Board (IAB) provides guidance to the course to ensure students learn the right skills to enable them to work in the games industry.

Funding

Explore up-to-date information about funding options, available financial support and typical living costs.

More about funding

If a student leaves City after commencing but before completing their course, City reserves the right to charge the student the tuition/course fee for the full academic year (or full course for capacity limited post-graduate courses - up to a maximum of 2 years fees) in question. The student may be charged the full fee for that year or course as applicable unless the student is able to present justification that exceptional and unforeseeable reasons for their withdrawal exist.

How to pay

City has introduced an instalment payment scheme which is available to certain categories of students, including taught postgraduate students. For students following the normal academic year, the annual fee may be paid in two equal instalments: the first on registering, the second on 31st January. If you wish to pay your fees by instalment you must pay the first instalment at or before registration, by cheque or credit/debit card. You must also supply your bank details or credit card details for payment of your second instalment which will be deducted automatically from your bank or credit card account on 31st January.

Funding

For up-to-date information about tuition fees, living costs and financial support, visit Postgraduate Fees and Finance.

Future Finance Loans

Future Finance offers students loans of between £2,500 and £40,000 to help cover tuition fees and living expenses. All students and courses are considered. All loans are subject to credit checks and approval for further details please visit the City Finance website.

Benefits of the course

Academic staff and alumni discuss the benefits of the MSc Computer Games Technology at City.

Placements

As a postgraduate student on a Computing and Information Systems course, you will have the opportunity to complete up to six months of professional experience as part of your degree.

Our longstanding internship scheme gives you the chance to apply the knowledge and skills gained from your taught modules within a real business environment. An internship also provides you with professional development opportunities that enhance your technical skills and business knowledge.

Internships delivered by City, University of London offer an exceptional opportunity to help you stand out in the competitive IT industry job market. The structure of the course extends the period for dissertation submission to January, allowing you to work full-time for up to six months. You will be supported by our outstanding Professional Liaison Unit (PLU) should you wish to consider undertaking this route.

Benefits of completing an internship at City are:

  • Develop new skills - Internships offer on-the-job learning that will help enhance your skill set and add to your CV.
  • Exclusive opportunities - The PLU is a dedicated team of internship and professional development specialists. We hold longstanding relationships with a large range of employers and proactively seek out exclusive internship opportunities to suit your needs and interests.
  • Central point of contact - You will be assigned a Work-Based Learning Advisor who will provide help and support throughout the internship process, from applying to roles through to completion of your Masters.
  • Enhance your employability - Organisations are very keen to employ graduates with existing professional experience. It is common for internship providers to offer interns full-time positions on completion of their Masters.
  • Gain an insight into an organisation and industry - This will help you with future career planning.
  • Give you a head start in your chosen field - With the experience you gain, you may be able to enter an organisation at a higher level on completion of your studies.
  • Develop your network of professional contacts - This will be useful when you come to apply for positions and roles within your preferred area.
  • Earn while you learn - The majority of internships provide a competitive salary.

More information on postgraduate internships.

Academic facilities

With over 1,300 workstations, the on-campus computer rooms provide a valuable learning resource and give an opportunity for individuals to do coursework and projects. Computers have games development software including:

  • Unity3D
  • Unreal
  • Microsoft Visual Studio
  • Microsoft XNA Game Studio
  • MonoDevelop
  • MonoGame
  • NShader
  • FMOD Studio
  • FMOD Studio API
  • OGRE SDK
  • WildMagic Geometric Tools
  • Blender
  • Adobe Photoshop.

City has recently invested in a new computer lab equipped with high specification NVidia GPUs.

Through City's Interaction Lab and the Department of Computing, there is hardware that can be used for student projects, including:

  • Oculus Rift VR Headset
  • Emotiv Epoc EEG Headset
  • Neurosky Mindwave EEG Headset
  • X-Box One Kinect Sensor
  • X-Box 360 Kinect Sensor
  • Leap Motion (Gestural input device)
  • Affectiva Q Band Galvanic Skin Response sensor
  • Tobii X-60 Eye Tracker.

Learn a language for free

We offer a free language course for City, University of London students.

Find out how to apply

Teaching and learning

The teaching and learning methods we use mean that your specialist knowledge and autonomy increase as you progress through each module. Active researchers guide your progress in the areas of Games Development, Computer Graphics, Artificial Intelligence and Audio, which culminates with an individual project. This is an original piece of research conducted with academic supervision, but largely independently and, where appropriate, in collaboration with industrial partners.

Taught modules are delivered through a series of 20 hours of lectures and 10 hours of tutorials/laboratory sessions. Lectures are normally used to:

  • present and exemplify the concepts underpinning a particular subject;
  • highlight the most significant aspects of the syllabus;
  • indicate additional topics and resources for private study.

Tutorials help you develop the skills to apply the concepts we have covered in the lectures. We normally achieve this through practical problem solving contexts.

Laboratory sessions give you the opportunity to apply concepts and techniques using state-of-the-art software, environments and development tools.  In addition, City’s online learning environment Moodle contains resources for each of the modules from lecture notes and lab materials, to coursework feedback, model answers, and an interactive discussion forum.

We expect you to study independently and complete coursework for each module. This should amount to approximately 120 hours per module if you are studying full time. Modules are assessed through written examination and coursework, where you will need to answer theoretical and practical questions to demonstrate that you can analyse and apply computer games technology methods.

The individual project is a substantial task. It is your opportunity to develop an autonomous research-related topic under the supervision of an academic member of staff. This is the moment when you can apply your learning to solve a real-world problem, designing and implementing a solution and evaluating the result. At the end of the project you submit a substantial MSc project report, which becomes the mode of assessment for this part of the programme.

Our video gallery displays some of our past students work.

Take a look at our Facebook page to keep up with events, alumni, students and academics.

The course has been designed in conjunction with games industry experts. An Industrial Advisory Board (IAB) provides guidance to the course to ensure students learn the right skills to enable them to work in the games industry. Current IAB members include:

  • Rahul Dey, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
  • Blair Trusler, Rockstar Games
  • Nicolas Chemin, Codemasters
  • Rupert Ward, Stick Sports
  • Mike Barwise, Marmalade
  • Alexander Dudok de Wit, Rewind.co
  • Shahed Aziz, KPMG.

Modules

The programme is composed of eight taught modules and a final project.

The eight modules provide you with a firm grounding in computer games technology, including mathematics, programming, and game engines and architecture along with specialist topics in computer graphics, physics, AI, and audio.

The project component gives you an opportunity to carry out an extended piece of work under the supervision of one of our specialist academic and research staff, at the cutting edge of games technology, in an industrial or academic context.

Core Modules

There are eight Core Modules.

Games development process

  • Develop a game design, pitch, and prototype using Unity and C#
  • Use industry standard software engineering practice (Agile) in games development
  • Follow the stages of games development in creating a prototype
  • Study principles of game design and apply them in practice.

Computer game architectures

  • Develop a game engine from first principles using C# and MonoGame
  • Create and deploy a cross-platform game using the game engine
  • Understand the principles of network gaming in the context of game engines
  • Optimise game engines by understanding the specialist nature of games hardware.

Computer graphics

  • Develop a graphics demonstration using C++, OpenGL and GLSL, the OpenGL Shading Language
  • Apply mathematical concepts such as vectors and matrices underlying computer graphics
  • Apply mathematical concepts such as vectors and matrices underlying computer graphics
  • Appreciate the real-time graphics pipeline and how shaders can be used to achieve graphical effects by taking advantage of the graphics processing unit
  • Apply algorithms for practical graphical tasks in games.

Game Physics and Artificial Intelligence

  • Develop an application in C++ using the Bullet 3D physics engine combined with artificial intelligence techniques
  • Appreciate how physics and artificial intelligence can enhance the gaming experience
  • Apply the mathematical concepts underlying game physics
  • Implement artificial intelligence technologies in a gaming context.

Digital Signal Processing and Audio Programming

  • Develop audio software using the FMOD audio rendering engine
  • Explain the mathematical and physical concepts underlying games audio
  • Appreciate how audio can enhance the gaming experience
  • Use advanced music informatics techniques in a games setting.

Programming in C++

  • Design and create classes and programs in C++ that are correct, robust and capable of being understood, reused and modified by others
  • Apply various object oriented features, including inheritance, multiple inheritance and genericity, to enhance software quality
  • Demonstrate a systematic understanding of the core features of C++ and their application to programming problems
  • Analyse substantial well-written C++ programs and adapt them to new requirements.

Systems Specification

  • Apply the principles and concepts involved in object-oriented analysis and design and build models using the constructs of the Unified Modelling Language (UML)
  • Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the changing nature of software intensive systems and the range of new methods, tools and techniques available to develop these systems
  • Demonstrate a systematic understanding of the challenges of requirements elicitation
  • Demonstrate a systematic understanding of the fundamentals of software quality assurance techniques.

Research, Methods and Professional Issues

  • Understand important principles in performing research-based projects
  • Develop a games related project proposal to be used for the final individual project
  • Learn evaluation, testing, and statistical techniques to analyse project outcomes.

Recommended reading

You may wish to undertake some preparatory reading.

  • McShaffry, M. (2012) Game coding complete - 4th edition (Charles River Media)
  • Nystrom, R (2014) Game Programming Patterns (Genever Benning)
  • Rabbin, S. (2009) Introduction to game development -2nd edition (Charles River Media)
  • Gregory, J. (2014) Game Engine Architecture, Second Edition (A K Peters/CRC Press)
  • Millington, I. and Funge, J. (2009) Artificial Intelligence for Games (Morgan Kaufmann)
  • Wolff, D. (2013)  OpenGL 4 Shading Language Cookbook - Second Edition (Packt Publishing)
  • Sellers, G. and Wright R. (2015) OpenGL Superbible:  Comprehensive Tutorial and Reference, Seventh Edition (Pearson)
  • Hocking, J. (2015) Unity in Action: Multiplatform Game Development in C# with Unity 5 (Manning Publications)
  • Marks, A. and J. Novak Boer, J. (2008) Game Audio Development (Celmar Cengage Learning)
  • Millington, I. (2010) Game Physics Engine Development, Second Edition  (Morgan Kaufmann)
  • Dunn, F. and Parberry, I. (2011) 3D Math Primer for Graphics and Game Development - 2nd Edition, (CRC Press)
  • Oates, B.J. (2006) Researching Information Systems and Computing (Sage Publications).

Note: module leaders may choose to use different or additional texts to those listed above.

  • Academic expert
    'I chose City mainly because I was impressed by the content of the Computer Game Technology Masters degree as well as the success of past students.'
  • Student
    The portfolio I created during the course has been especially helpful in taking my career further.
  • Student
    As someone who has always wanted to work in the games industry, taking the Computer Games Technology MSc course at City was one of the best choices I could have made. All of the course content was important and relevant to games and was taught by some of the best lecturers I have ever had. Their passion really shone through and it made the learning process that much more enjoyable. In addition to the lectures, the coursework and practical labs further enforced the content being taught, and built up my portfolio of work that I used in the career hunting process. The skills I acquired on the course are invaluable and helped me to get my dream job in the industry as a junior programmer at Rockstar North. If you are looking to get into the games industry, this is definitely the course for you.
  • Student
    My motivation for studying Computer Games Technology at City was to learn more about software development in a creative and challenging domain, which is just what I got out of the course. The initial course units placed some focus on theory, whilst the final project offered a generous opportunity for hands-on exploration. The camaraderie of the cohort offered a strong support network and encouragement throughout the part-time degree, whilst the visiting lecturers presented very industry-relevant material with hands-on and tangible exercises. Overall I had an extremely enjoyable and rewarding experience at City University London.
  • Student
    I applied for this course because I wanted to build up targeted experience in programming computer games. The course helped improve my knowledge in computer graphics, 3D audio and dynamic music, physics and AI and provided ample opportunity to apply these skills in creating game engines and prototyping game ideas. All this was invaluable when applying for and taking part in Dare to be Digital 2011, where my team won the Team Choice Award for our game PaperQuest. Since finishing the course I have started work as a programmer at Criterion Games, and I feel the course was a valuable stepping stone into the games industry.
  • Student
    I came to City to gain valuable experience programming, designing, and creating games and their underlying systems (AI, physics, graphics, etc). These expectations and more were met, as I not only learned about the entire development process but also about the more technical aspects of not only games but any software business. Also, the lecturers and staff at City were superb, and the contacts I made while at City were (and continue to be) invaluable.
  • Student
    Prior to signing up for the MSc in Computer Games Technology at City, my day job was as a developer working on Microsoft CRM customisation, mainly using .Net C# and Javascript, so without any formal experience in games programming beyond some small games prototypes written in my undergraduate course. The course has been fantastic for allowing me to consolidate my knowledge as well as teaching me plenty of new things that I thought I knew, but realised I didn't! Being on the course part time meant I could carry on working, and although it meant a lot of hard work in the evenings I have no regrets. It has allowed me to build up my portfolio and built up my confidence in being able to design and write my own games. Most importantly though, I met a lot of people who share the same interests, and that network will be priceless for all of us in building our future games.
  • Student
    The MSc in Computer Games Technology has the perfect balance between well prepared staff, great module structure, accurate organisation and deep academic theory with the right materials. I would recommend this MSc to anyone interested in a career in game development, as it helps to improve your knowledge in the matter, as well as build the confidence you need to lead you to the industry.

Career prospects

Graduates are equipped with advanced knowledge and skills in a range of topics in games technology in preparation for a career in computer games development.

Alumni of the course are working in companies including Rockstar, Sony Computer Entertainment, Electronic Arts, and Codemasters, as well as start-ups and independent studios.

City has a dedicated incubation space, called the Hangout, located in the heart of Tech City that is specially designed for student entrepreneurs from City, University of London who want to get their idea off the ground.

Professional roles include:

  • 3D Graphics Programmer
    Specialist 3D graphics programmers often work on custom graphics engines that will be used across multiple games.
  • Audio Programmer
    Audio programmers specialise in the generation, mixing and playback audio content, often having to work at a low-level with the audio hardware.
  • Physics Programmer
    Physics programmers require a strong background in maths to write the software to simulate physical forces in real-time in a game.
  • Artificial Intelligence Programmer
    Game AI is a combination of 'real' AI as studied in universities and 'clever tricks' that make a game appear intelligent.
  • Simulation and Game Engine Programmer
    Specialist programmers in simulation must develop complex systems of interacting components.
  • User Interface Programmer
    User interface programmers must implement GUI systems and input control systems that are appropriate for a game world.
  • Tools and Utility Programmer
    An important specialisation for programmers is to develop the programs that can be used by artists and designers to generate game data.
  • Scripting Languages Programmer
    Some programmers specialise in developing scripting languages for use in game engines to support the scripting of game events.
  • Networking Specialist
    The need for networking and server programming specialists is growing as the popularity of online gaming increases.
  • Porting Programmer
    Programmers who specialise in porting games to new platforms require intimate knowledge of the target platform to get the most of it.

Thank you for having decided to apply to study a postgraduate course at the School of Mathematics, Computer Science and Engineering. Please note that the deadline for applications for the 2017/18 academic year is 31st August 2017.

In order for your application to be considered, please ensure that you upload the following documentation with your application:

  • For all applicants, please upload your degree certificate and transcript of marks from your first degree (if you do not have your final results at the time of making your application, please upload a provisional certificate/interim transcript of marks). A transcript is required in order to have your application processed.
  • If your first language is not English, or you require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK, please upload a Proof of English Proficiency if you have already obtained it. A list of accepted qualifications can be found here.
  • If you require a Tier 4 student visa to undertake a Master's programme in the UK, please upload a detailed personal statement outlining why you wish to study this specific course, at City University London, as well as explaining how your past studies have prepared you for this course and how it will help you to progress in your career.
  • If you are applying for a Part-time course, or have relevant work experience relating to the degree you are applying for, please upload a copy of your current CV/resume.

You can apply in the following ways:

Postal applications and supporting documents

We encourage online applications, however if you are unable to do this, please send a completed paper application form, together with supporting documents, to:

Postgraduate Courses Office, A302
School of Mathematics, Computer Science & Engineering
City, University of London
Northampton Square
London
EC1V 0HB

Contact information for the Postgraduate Team

Tel: +44 (0)20 7040 0248
Email: smcsepg@city.ac.uk

Contact details

Programmes Office (room A302)

Request a prospectus

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