Undergraduate course

Games Development BSc (Hons)

Join the next generation of game developers and gain the programming and design skills that underpin the creation of modern video games.

Laptop and games controller

If you think you could create the next big game then this is the course for you. Our Games Development course will give you the skills necessary to contribute to game development from Indie to AAA. We will thoroughly prepare you for employment in the fast-paced computer games industry.

92% of Graduates from our Computer Science courses were in employment or further study within six months - DLHE 2017

  • UCAS Code – II62
  • Location – York campus
  • Duration – 3 years full-time | 6 years part-time
  • Start date – September 2020
  • School – Art, Design & Computer Science

Minimum Entry Requirements

    88 UCAS points

    3 GCSEs Graded at C/4 or above (or equivalent) including English Language and Maths

Tuition Fees

    UK and EU 2019-20 £9,250 per year

    International 2019-20 £12,750 per year

The York St John Experience

Course overview

The specialist modules we have designed for this programme are taught by our small team of games experts. You will develop excellent practical development skills to make cutting-edge games and prepare you for a career in the games industry, either as a member of a larger team or as an independent creator. As you progress through the programme you can elect to specialise in the aspect of game development that interests you most, such as artificial intelligence in games.

As well as developing a sophisticated understanding of the technical practices that underpin the creation of modern video games, you will learn core programming, design and computational systems which can be applied to a range of industries and situations outside of gaming.

Live projects and work experience are central to our ethos. These will be led by your individual professional ambitions, supported by our specialist staff with additional input from industry experts. Your experience will be further enhanced by our belief in the importance of hands-on and practical teaching within small class sizes. Gaining this vital real-world experience means that you will graduate with both the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the exciting world of Games Development.

Course structure

Level 1

Level 1 gives you the fundamental core knowledge required for your development as a games programmer, providing you with a broad range of opportunities to develop core subject knowledge in the areas of programming, mathematics, software engineering, gaming and the critical discourses surrounding developments in the field of computing. You will become familiar with common computational and game programming terminology and well versed in discipline specific technical practices, methodologies and theories. Teaching at this level comprises of a range of immersive learning experiences such as lecturers, seminars, workshops, teaching laboratories, Supported Open Learning (SOL), guest talks and trips.

Modules

  • Programming 1: This module will provide you with the space to learn, explore and absorb the core concepts, principles and techniques of programming in the context of software development. The underpinning rationale is programming and algorithm design as problem solving endeavours.
  • Mathematics and Problem Solving: Abstraction is fundamental to Computer Science. Hence, a fundamental emphasis of this module is to introduce mathematical techniques and skills to enable you to design and manipulate abstract models of elements from the real-world. These techniques and skills include appropriate mathematical notations and concepts.
  • Computer Games Fundamentals: This module provides you with a broader understanding of the design, structure and mechanics of computer games. It covers basic issues in games development including concept development, game world design, play styles, character development, immersion and narrative structures.
  • Programming 2: This module will introduce you to Object Orientated Programming in the context of software development. Ideas of problem solving through programming and algorithm design are further developed, building on semester one modules. You will learn how to edit, compile, run and test programmes of increasing complexity in procedural and object orientated languages.
  • Software Engineering: You will develop a basic understanding of the fundamental techniques of software engineering by focusing on the design and realisation of a web based artefact. The module will emphasise the acquisition of an appropriate balance of software engineering knowledge and the skills necessary to design a web based artefact.
  • Technology in Context: This module is to introduce core skills required of a computing professional as well as fundamental discursive skills for considering and evaluating the wider philosophical implications of current and emerging computing practices, The module will comprise of information gathering, analysis, discursive debate and presentation. It will introduce you to the relevant professional aspects of computing practice and their wider social ramifications. This includes the role of professional bodies, plus the legal, ethical and social aspects of computing.

Level 2

Level 2 will enable you to further develop your subject knowledge through modules in Databases and Networking, Design Patterns for Games and Mobile Application Development. You will undertake a professional project allowing you to apply your skills in a ‘live’ setting, working for an established company or undertaking a self-initiated, possibly collaborative, entrepreneurial project. This opportunity will enable you to apply and test the knowledge you’ve acquired so far through your degree, affirming your learning through real world experience. In this module you will have the opportunity to work collaboratively with students from the Games Design programme. At level 2 you will also undertake the Philosophies of Technology module which will enhance your knowledge of current relevant subject discourses and qualitative and quantitative research methods, preparing you for your major project at level 3. Teaching at this level incorporates all the previous modes at level 1, but with an emphasis on more self-directed and group project based work.

Modules

  • Programming 3: This module develops your programming skills by exposing you to intermediate and advanced programming concepts and methods. Combining formal methods from software engineering with practical software development tasks, students will enhance, evolve, test and consolidate their programming skills, through a series of lecture and practice based labs.
  • Databases and Networks: The aim of this module is to introduce and explore the essential principles and concepts of databases and networks. You will gain practical experience of designing, implementing and managing database systems, as well as the technical detail that underpins the operation of networked and internetworked systems.
  • Design Patterns for Games: This module introduces you to reusable approaches to the design for game software. It will consider architectures, sequencing patterns, behavioural patterns, optimization patterns and decoupling patterns.
  • Mobile Application Development: This module aims to give you a comprehensive understanding of the technologies used for developing applications for mobile computing devices. It will explore the characteristics of mobile devices and how they affect software engineering decisions; preparing you to work in the area of mobile and ubiquitous software development.
  • Professional Project: The growing focus on work-related learning reflects a clear understanding and appreciation of the relationship between technical knowledge of an area and the need for computing and employability skills. This module provides you with an opportunity to experience work related learning through a range of self-initiated options including self-initiated or collaborative entrepreneurial projects, or working with businesses to develop computer based solutions to real world problems.
  • Philosophies of Technology: This module exposes you to key philosophical discourses significant to their field of study eg ethics, ontology, aesthetics, sustainability, ecology of technical systems, post-humanism and virtuality. Through exposure to these discourses you will be encouraged to reflect upon and evaluate the wider ramifications of computer science within a social and political context.

Level 3

Level 3 includes advanced modules in your field, allowing you to specialise and accent your learning via a choice of optional modules, for example: Artificial Intelligence for Games, iOS Games Development, Game Engine Development and Serious Games. The specific optional modules offered each year will vary based on student numbers and available resource thus not all listed modules may be available each year. Accompanying this you will undertake a major year-long independent research project of your own design, agreed by and supported by an academic supervisor. This project may be in any existing or emerging field of games research. There will also be opportunity in this module to collaborate with students from the BA Hons Games Design programme. You are encouraged to consolidate technical learning and professional research interests through this major project. Teaching and learning at level 3 again incorporate the modes of delivery and activity encountered at levels 1 and 2, however the emphasis at level 3 is on independent self-directed work that responds to learning within and across modules.

Modules

Compulsory modules include:

  • Major Project: The aim of this module is to give you the opportunity to bring together the theoretical understanding and the practical skills you will have acquired from other modules. The projects typically involve producing a software product from conceptualisation through to successful evaluation and the production of a well crafted, substantial report to demonstrate the output of the research.
  • Human Computer Interaction: This module is concerned with designing, evaluating and deploying usable, effective and interactive technologies. The aim of this module is to allow you to focus on key areas, approaches and developments in the field of the user experience.
  • Internet of Things: The Internet of Things is a term used to describe an internet comprised of networked objects. The term incorporates but is not limited to concepts of ubiquitous computing; ambient intelligence; Machine to Machine communication (M2M). What unites these discourses is the question of how the deployment of ‘smart’ technology in public and social spaces will affect not only how we relate to each other but also how we understand ourselves as human beings. This module seeks to open up these questions for exploration through a practical project developing Internet of Things technology for deployment in public and/or social contexts.

Optional modules include:

  • Game Engine Development: Games engines are developed and deployed to make the development cycle of computer games faster and more economical. This module aims to introduce you to the core components of game engine development including, but not limited to, graphics rendering, animation, game physics and collision detection.
  • iOS Game Development: This module will provide you with the space to learn, explore and absorb the core concepts, principles and techniques of creating games for apple mobile devices. The module will guide you through the core principles of programming in apple specific languages. Starting with an introduction to the apple programming environment, the module will progress delving into the various specifics of apples games related frameworks and languages.
  • Artifical Intelligence for Games: The aim of this module is to understand and utilise artificial intelligence concepts and techniques for game environments and game development. The module will cover the basic theoretical issues in artificial intelligence and computing science, and to practical techniques for designing and implementing intelligent systems using a variety of high-level languages.
  • Serious Games: This module investigates Serious Game Design and Development. It will look at the game design process considering game mechanics, game play as well as associated concepts such as gamification and how this relates to game design. It will also consider pedagogy and learning theory and how pedagogy and game elements need to be combined to enable the design of serious games.

 

Teaching & Assessment

Delivery

All modules are taught in small classes in the form of combined lecture and practical sessions. Classes are small, typically limited to thirty students. Each module is given in a four hour block, once a week, during which material is presented, discussed and worked on in the labs. We have a dedicated classroom for each year of the degree programme, used only by our students.

Contact Hours

Each module has four hours of contact time, between lecturer and student, per week. Tutorial sessions may also be booked with lecturers.

Self-study time

It is expected that students will spend about the same amount of time in self-study as they do in classes, which is about four hours per week per module. To aid this we run supported open learning sessons. These day-long sessions are year specific and students are able to come along and work in the labs, supported by a member of staff.

Staffing

The department is staffed by highly qualified staff. All our lecturers have PhDs and bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the department and their teaching.

Placements

All of our degree programes can be taken witha year-long placement between second and third year. The University has a wealth of experience and resources to help find a good placement for you. Additionally, all students will undertake a two-week placement as part of the Professional Project module in year two.

Assessments

A variety of assessments are used across the modules. We generally use course work-based assessment, either through a portfolio of work or specific coursework assessments. A couple of modules use exams as part of their assessments. Modules in year one generally assess a broad level of general knowledge of topics, with depth and detail being assessed increasingly throughout the second and third years.

Entry Requirements

Qualifications

The minimum entry requirements for this course are:

88 UCAS Tariff points

3 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above (or equivalent) including English Language and Maths

Terms and conditions

Our terms and conditions, policies and procedures contain important information about studying at York St John University. These can be accessed through our Admissions webpages.

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