Computer Games Technology  MSc

Overview

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This Computer Games Technology course is accredited by the British Computer Society for partial fulfilment of the academic requirement for Chartered IT Professional.


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:

Last year, over 80% of UK/EU postgraduate students received one of our scholarships, bursaries or prizes and over one third of international (non-EU) students received financial support from the School.


Developed by Games Industry Experts

Getting hands-on industry experience is key to our students' career developments. Lectures are developed and delivered by industry experts. We also have strong links with games companies, helping our MSc and BSc students to 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 and Playpen.

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Course overview

The Computer Games Technology course 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.

Videos - you can find other student work in our games technology video channel

A group of our postgraduate students who won the team prize at Dare to be Digital, the UK's premier video games competition for students

Postgraduate Open Evening

Come and talk to course directors at one of our informatics postgraduate open evenings.


Course Fees:

  • Full-time EU: £9,000 (2014 fees)
  • Part-time EU: £4,500 (per year) (2014 fees)
  • Full-time Non EU: £13,500 (2014 fees)
  • Part-time Non EU: £6,750 (per year) (2014 fees)
More...

Start Date:

22nd September 2014

How to Apply

Entry Requirements

The minimum entry requirement is a good second class  Honours degree from a UK university in a numerate subject, plus substantial prior computing coverage, a recognised equivalent from an accredited overseas institution or an equivalent professional qualification. Previous academic and commercial experience will also be considered. Applicants should have good professional English.

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, one of the following qualifications is also required:
  • IELTS: 6.5 (minimum of 6.0 in all four components)
  • TOEFL (internetbased): 90

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

City University London retains Highly Trusted Status from UKBA, enabling us to sponsor international students to study in the UK.

The way that you apply may vary depending on the length of your course at City, 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

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

8 Core Module(s):

The Games Development Process

  •  Develop a game design, pitch, and prototype using a game engine
  • Use good software engineering practice in games development
  • Appreciate the stages of games development and how it relates to the business model of the industry
  • Show awareness of the dynamics of teams of creative and technical professions

Computer Game Development Architectures

  • Show how a well-designed games engine can support development
  • Relate the structure of games engines to what tasks they perform
  • Explain the specialist nature of games hardware
  • Account for and exploit differences in hardware when developing high-performance games software

Computer Graphics

  • Apply the mathematical concepts underlying computer graphics
  • Appreciate the graphics pipeline and how this is realised in software
  • Apply algorithms for practical graphical tasks in games
  • Develop graphical software in a gaming context

Game Physics and AI

  • Apply the mathematical concepts underlying game physics
  • Appreciate how physics and artificial intelligence can enhance the gaming experience
  • Apply artificial intelligence technologies in a gaming context
  • Develop software that uses physics and artificial intelligence concepts

Music Technology for Games

  • Explain the mathematical and physical concepts underlying games audio
  • Appreciate how audio can enhance the gaming experience
  • Develop audio software using industry applicable standards
  • Use advanced music informatics techniques in a games setting

Programming in C++

  • Analyse substantial well-written C++ programs and adapt them to new requirements
  • 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

Research, Methods and Professional Issues

Systems Specification

  • 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
  • Apply the principles and concepts involved in object-oriented analysis and design and build object-oriented analysis and design models using the constructs of the Unified Modelling Language (UML)

Read the full Computer Games Technology 2014 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.

FULL-TIME study timetable: 2014/2015 PART-TIME (evening) study timetable: 2014/2015
Semester 1 Semester 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 2 Semester 2
Music Technology for Games 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

   

Read the full 2014 programme specification

Recommended Reading

You may wish to undertake some preparatory reading.

  • Oates, B.J. (2006) Researching Information Systems and Computing (Sage Publications)
  • 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. (2009) Game Engine Architecture (A K Peters/CRC Press)
  • Millington, I. and Funge, J. (2009) Artificial intelligence for games (Morgan Kaufmann)

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

Fees

  • Full-time EU: £9,000 (2014 fees)
  • Part-time EU: £4,500 (per year) (2014 fees)
  • Full-time Non EU: £13,500 (2014 fees)
  • Part-time Non EU: £6,750 (per year) (2014 fees)

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

Find out more about Masters Informatics Scholarships.

School of Informatics postgraduate fees and funding information:

How to pay

The University 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 31 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. Further details about the payment of fees Please Note - Applicants who already hold a HE qualification and are applying for another HE course at an Equal or Lower Level Qualification (ELQ) UK/EU students who already hold a Higher Education qualification and are applying to start another Higher Education course at an equivalent or lower level (ELQ) should note that they will have to pay higher fees for their course from 2009/10 onwards. The exact fee will vary by course. You are advised to contact your admissions officer to discuss the fees. The new rules and regulations have been introduced by the Government and not City University London. The Government instructed the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) to withdraw institutional funding for ELQ students (both Home and EU) - those studying for an equivalent or lower level qualification. This means that UK Universities will no longer receive any government funding to support Home/EU ELQ students. The additional fee for students has been introduced by City University London to help recover some (but not all) of the withdrawn funding. If you already hold an MA qualification, this means that you are classed as an ELQ student.

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:

Last year, over 80% of UK/EU postgraduate students received one of our scholarships, bursaries or prizes and over one third of international (non-EU) students received financial support from the School.

Scholarships


We provide a comprehensive list of masters funding sources, such as Career Development Loans, Research Council Studentships, Access to Learning Funds, and Charities and Trusts. here. There are no mandatory awards (direct government grants to students) for postgraduate study. Applicants should consider carefully the cost of fees and maintenance at an early stage in the application process. 

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 Informatics Industry.

Career Prospects

Graduates of this course will be equipped with advanced knowledge of, and skills in, a range of topics in games technology in preparation for a range of games development jobs.

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.


MSc in 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.

Please read through the application guidance notes before you apply.

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.

Online applications

Apply online for an MSc (full-time, part-time)

You will be able to attach electronic copies of your supporting documents. However, you will be required to submit your confidential references in hard copy (in signed and sealed envelopes) to the address below, together with any supporting documents you do not attach when applying online.

Postal applications

You can download and print off the paper application form here.

Alternatively, to receive an application pack in the post please contact the Programmes Office:

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7040 0248
Fax: +44 (0) 20 7040 0233
Email: compsci-pg@city.ac.uk

(The application pack includes the application form, application guidance notes and the School's postgraduate prospectus)


Please send your completed paper application form, together with supporting documents, to:

Programmes Office
School of Informatics
City University London
Northampton Square
London EC1V 0HB