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Computer Games Technology  MSc

Overview

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The course aims 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++
  • experience of the planning, management and execution of a major games technology project
  • knowledge of the games development process, including the pitch, design, and use of a game engine to build a demo.

Scholarships and bursaries

The School offers a range of generous scholarships and bursaries to applicants for this course:


Developed by Games Industry Experts

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, Unit 9
  • Shahed Aziz, Green Hippo.

Getting hands-on industry experience is key to our students' career developments. Lectures are developed and delivered by industry experts. Through our strong links with games companies, students find internships and placements as part of their courses. We source opportunities, help students with applications and support them while they are on internships and placements. Companies that have offered these opportunities to City students in the past include Sony, EA, Criterion, Jagex, Playfish, Eutechynyx, Beefjack, Ideaworks, Playpen, and Green Hippo.

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

Course overview

MSc Computer Games Technology is designed for graduates of computing-related degrees who want to develop their career in the games industry by further specialising their existing undergraduate education or who wish to update their skills after time in industry as a computing professional, and for those with equivalent experience.

This computer games development course is delivered in the evenings for part-time students and has a mix of day-time and evening lectures for full-time students

In particular, the project component gives students 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.

You can find other student work in our games technology video channel.

This course is accredited by The Chartered Institute for IT (BCS) for partial fulfilment of the academic requirement for Chartered IT Professional (CITP) status.

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.

More...

Course Fees:

  • Full-time EU: £9,000
  • Part-time EU: £4,500 per year
  • Full-time Non EU: £14,500
  • Part-time Non EU: £7,250 per year
More...

Start Date:

Autumn 2015

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.

Pre-requisites

Other Suitable Qualifications

INTO Postgraduate preparation Programmes

If you do not qualify for direct entry, our partner INTO City University London offers academic preparation programmes which focus on the skills you need. Successful completion of the Graduate Diploma in Science and Engineering at INTO City University London means guaranteed progression to this degree.

English Requirements

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

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

Please note that 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.

INTO English Language Programmes

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, our partner, INTO City University London offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for entry to this degree. Please click the links below for more information.

English for Postgraduate Study

Pre-sessional English

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 6 months
  • Students on courses of less than 6 months
  • Students on a pre-sessional English Language course

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

For more information see our main Visa page.

Course Content

In particular, the project component of the Computer Games Technology MSc gives students 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.

Course Structure

At the end of the course, students are equipped with advanced knowledge and skills in a range of topics in games technology in preparation for a career in computer games development.

8 Core Module(s):

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 LanguageApply 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.

Read the full Computer Games Technology programme specification

Teaching and Assessment

The Computer Games Technology course is available full time (12 months; evening and daytime study) and part time (up to 28 months; evening and daytime study).

Computer games programming students successfully completing eight modules and the dissertation will be awarded 180 credits and a masters level qualification. Alternatively, students who do not complete the dissertation but have successfully completed eight modules will be awarded 120 credits and a postgraduate diploma. Successful completion of four modules (60 credits) will lead to the award of a postgraduate certificate.

Each module is assessed through a combination of coursework and examination. The timetables below are for guidance only and are subject to change.

FULL-TIME study timetablePART-TIME (evening) study timetable
Semester 1Semester 1
The Games Development ProcessThursday morning
Programming in C++

Tuesday
18.00-20.50
Programming in C++Tuesday eveningSystems SpecificationThursday 18.00-20.50
Systems SpecificationsThursday evening

Research, Methods and Professional Issues Friday afternoon

Semester 2Semester 2
Digital Signal Processing and Audio ProgrammingTuesday afternoonComputer GraphicsTuesday
18.00-20.50
Computer GraphicsTuesday eveningGames Physics and AIThursday 18.00-20.50
Computer Games ArchitectureThursday afternoon
Games Physics and AIThursday evening

Read the full programme specification

Recommended Reading

You may wish to undertake some preparatory reading.

  • McShaffry, M. (2012) Game coding complete - 4th edition (Charles River Media)
  • Rabbin, S. (2009) Introduction to game development -2nd edition (Charles River Media)
  • Rollins, A. and Morris, D. (2003) Game architecture and design - a new edition (New Riders)
  • 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. (2011)  OpenGL 4.0 Shading Language Cookbook (Packt Publishing)
  • Sellers, G. et al. (2014)  OpenGL Superbible:  Comprehensive Tutorial and Reference, Sixth Edition (Pearson)
  • Thorn, A. (2014)  Unity 4 Fundamentals:  Get Started at Making Games with Unity (Focal Press)
  • 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.

Fees

  • Full-time EU: £9,000
  • Part-time EU: £4,500 per year
  • Full-time Non EU: £14,500
  • Part-time Non EU: £7,250 per year

If a student leaves the University after commencing but before completing their course, the University 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 to the University that exceptional and unforeseeable reasons for their withdrawal exist.

Scholarships available

  • UK/EU: £2,000.
  • International (Non EU): £2,000.
  • UK/EU City University graduates: £2,500 (full time)/ £1,250 per year (part time)
  • International (Non EU City University Graduates): £2,500 (full time)/ £1,250 per year (part time)

Find out more about Computer Science scholarships and funding.

Funding

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

Scholarships and bursaries

The School offers a range of generous scholarships and bursaries to applicants for this course:

Placements

Internships offer an exceptional opportunity to make you stand out in a competitive job market place. We have extensive experience in helping students to secure placement employment in the IT and video games industry.

More information on Internships in the Computing 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.

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.

This course will enable you to...

After successful completion of the Computer Games Technology MSc course candidates may consider a PhD degree, towards an academic/ research career.


Apply for MSc Computer Games Technology

We invite all suitable applicants living within a 200-mile radius of London to an open and/or interview session; these are held monthly between March and July. Overseas and more distant applicants are sent a questionnaire, which may be supplemented by a telephone interview or email discussion. Such students are welcome to visit the Department if they are in or near London at some stage.

You should submit your application by one of the following two methods:

1. Completing the online form; or

2. Completing a hard copy of the application form and sending this to the address below.

Please ensure you include your supporting documentation with your application. If you are applying online you should note that confidential references are only acceptable as originals sent in signed and sealed envelopes by post to the address below. References attached as supporting documentation to an online application cannot be considered.

International students: it is important you submit your application to us in sufficient time for you to arrange your visa before the start of the course.

We encourage online applications. However, we ask that you also send two references and your original transcript by post as soon as possible after submitting your online application to:

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