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  1. Computer Games Technology
    1. 2016
    2. 2017

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

Autumn 2016

Duration

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

UK/EU

Full-time: £9,000

Part-time: £4,500 per year

Non-EU

Full-time: £15,000

Part-time: £7,500 per year

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, 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 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 application is 31st August 2016.

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.

In order for your application to be given a full consideration, 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).
  • If you are not a native English speaker, or you have not been taught in English for your first degree subject, please upload Proof of English proficiency if you have already obtained it.
  • If you would require a Tier 4 student visa to undertake master studies 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. It is important you submit your application to us in sufficient time for you to arrange your visa before the start of the course.
  • 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.

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 the below address.

Apply via paper application

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

Contact Postgraduate enquiries.

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

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

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 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 London students.

Find out how to apply

Teaching and learning

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.

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.

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

Our video gallery displays some of our past students work.

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

Tuesday
18.00-20.50
Programming in C++ Tuesday evening Systems Specification Thursday 18.00-20.50
Systems Specifications Thursday evening   
Research, Methods and Professional Issues  Friday afternoon   
Semester 2Semester 2
Digital Signal Processing and Audio Programming Tuesday afternoon Computer Graphics Tuesday
18.00-20.50
Computer Graphics Tuesday evening Games Physics and AI Thursday 18.00-20.50
Computer Games Architecture Thursday afternoon  
Games Physics and AI Thursday evening 

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 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.

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 University London 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 University London 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 the university were (and continue to be) invaluable.
  • Student
    Prior to signing up for the MSc in Computer Games Technology at City University, 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.

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 application is 31st August 2016.

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.

In order for your application to be given a full consideration, 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).
  • If you are not a native English speaker, or you have not been taught in English for your first degree subject, please upload Proof of English proficiency if you have already obtained it.
  • If you would require a Tier 4 student visa to undertake master studies 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. It is important you submit your application to us in sufficient time for you to arrange your visa before the start of the course.
  • 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.

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 the below address.

Apply via paper application

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

Contact Postgraduate enquiries.

Contact details

Programmes Office (room A302)

Request a prospectus

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