Computing Science with Games Programming BSc (Hons) 2017-18

This course also available for 2018-19 entry

Want to join us in September? You can now apply via Clearing

 

About the course

The UK has a large and vibrant games development industry and our close links with local and national development companies help us to ensure that the course content matches the skills required to work in the industry.

The aim of this course is support you in becoming a great programmer so that you have the ability to go into almost any programming job, not just games, at the end. This course has been designed to cover general computing and software engineering knowledge and skills that are applicable across the computing industry, whilst supporting you in gaining the specific skills necessary to prepare for a career in the computer games sector.

The course allows you to explore current and developing issues in the computer games industry. It focuses on the technical aspects of games development and you'll be supported in developing a strong knowledge base in computer games programming, games systems and development techniques, alongside a sound understanding of general computing and software engineering skills.

You'll study topics including game engine architecture, computational mathematics and artificial intelligence. You'll also work in a team with other students to complete a computer games project.

This course also provides you with the opportunity to apply your skills to the real-world by undertaking a one year placement. The University has links with a range of leading employers in the UK and internationally to support this. In addition to external organisations, we have a number of placement opportunities available in the University's Canalside Studios, giving you an opportunity to work as part of a team undertaking research and developing games for a range of platforms.

You might like to hear what Joseph has to say about studying Software Engineering BSc(Hons) at the University of Huddersfield.


UCAS code:
I132

Start date:
18 / 09 / 2017

Duration:

3 years full-time
4 years inc. placement

Course type:

Full Time

Course content

You have the opportunity to develop a strong knowledge base in computer games programming, games systems engineering and software development techniques. As the course progresses you will specialise in subjects that are core to the success of the games industry such as graphics, artificial intelligence (AI) and physics simulations.

You‘ll study programming languages including Java and you ‘ll be supported in progressing to C++ later (as it‘s the industry standard). You‘ll also explore game specific technologies, shaders, computer vision, artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR). As the ability to work in a team is a vital skill in the games industry, we support you in developing your team working skills through group project work.

Year 1

Core modules:

Computing Science and Mathematics

In this module we introduce you to basic computing science and mathematical concepts related to software development. Topics covered include set theory, graphs and trees, finite state machines, grammars and languages, propositional logic and searching and sorting algorithms. You’ll put the theory into practice using a programming language, such as Java, and software that lets you directly implement finite state machines.


Project 1

Working as part of a team, this module aims to provide you with an understanding of hardware, software and industry best practices used by businesses. In your teams you’ll be supported in planning, designing and developing a prototype product. This experience has been designed to introduce you to the product development cycle, technology limitations and possible future developments.


Hardware and Networks

This module explores how computers and networks function by introducing you to their components and structures, from the basic building blocks to fully functioning systems. The module covers how computers execute programs, how data is stored, recognised and manipulated, and which hardware and software components are used to achieve this. You’ll also get the opportunity to study how networks are constructed and what techniques (eg cryptography, routing and error detection and correction) are used to ensure that data is transmitted correctly and securely through them.


Software Design and Development

This module aims to provide you with an introduction to the design, development, and testing of large scale software systems. The material covered includes introductory programming (in a language such as Java), program testing (using JUnit testing techniques), systems modelling (using unified modelling language- UML), graphical user interface (GUI) development, and rapid prototyping techniques.


Studio 1

This module is studio based and takes a very practical approach to the work covered. You’ll be offered the opportunity to produce a prototype related to your chosen study path. Through this project based approach you’ll be introduced to the concepts and principles of programming/scripting using an object-based language. You'll be required to plan, design, implement, test and deploy solutions in response to a requirement specification. Ultimately you’re expected to produce a useful software product, whether it is a game, entertainment feature or business or media product. Throughout this module you’ll be supported in acquiring sound development and problem solving skills and be expected to assemble a portfolio of work.

Year 2

Core modules:

Computational Mathematics 1

This module covers the mathematical foundations required for scientific computing. You’ll be introduced to fundamental concepts in algebra and be supported in developing an understanding of both analytical and numerical methods for solving equations in one variable. You'll also be introduced to error analysis and proof.


Algorithms Processes and Data

In this module you’ll be supported in expanding your programming skills to cover a range of standard data structures (eg shared variables, semaphores, monitors and lists, trees and graphs) and algorithms (eg Dekker's algorithm, bounded buffer algorithms and searching, sorting and traversals) for both sequential and concurrent systems. You’ll also study how to analyse systems in order to determine their correctness and safety, and to calculate their efficiency.


Computer Games Studio 2

This module introduces the concepts and practices of modern computer games development through analysing and utilising various common computer graphics application programming interfaces (APIs in an industrial standard C++ programming environment). Our aim is to equip you with knowledge and skills in designing and developing a professional computer game for any targeted platforms through a rigid quality control process.  The main focus is on the graphics engine, and this is supported by a careful study of the theory and practice of game mathematics and computer graphics.


Game Engine Architecture

This module aims to familiarise you with the major non-graphics components of modern game engines including the collision system and physics engine. It also covers the game object model and the various tools used to build a game, such as level editors. The module covers both the theory and implementation of these typical components, as well as the overarching architecture of the game engine. You'll be supported in using a games industry standard programming language (eg C++) to explore approaches to game engine development. You'll also study middleware used by industry (eg Havok, PhysX, Open Dynamics Engine, Autodesk® Gameware Navigation, Morpheme with Euphoria) to help you gain an understanding of the challenges facing professional game engine programmers.


Team Project (Games)

This module gives you the opportunity to work as a team to design and develop a prototype computer game. You’ll be supported in exploring theories and principles of team working and project management through the development of your chosen game. Weekly tutorial sessions will be held to allow your team to get regular feedback and guidance on the progress of your project. Alongside this you’ll also explore important legal and professional issues relevant to people working in the IT industry.

Year 3 - optional placement year

Final year

Core modules:

Artificial Intelligence

Can machines (in particular computers) be intelligent? And what does that mean precisely? These are the main questions that we try to answer in this module. We will explore how machines can achieve intelligent tasks in a variety of settings. In term one we consider settings with full observability and determinism, these are like laboratory conditions or puzzle games. In this setting, we will look at knowledge representation, problem solving, and planning. In term two the settings are relaxed, and we will study how to deal with the uncertainties that arise from this. In particular, we will see how to deal with opponents, with incomplete and/or uncertain information, and how intelligent agents can learn.


Individual Project

This module is driven by you. You are asked to select a problem to solve which is relevant to your degree, and of appropriate scope and depth to be tackled within a timeframe of 30 weeks. Carrying out the project enables you to develop and demonstrate your ability to undertake research, manage time, use your initiative, learn independently, discuss and write convincingly on a subject requiring independent learning. A supervisor will support you throughout your project. You’ll use your existing knowledge and be encouraged to acquire additional skills as you carry out your project. The aim of the project is to suggest a solution to an identified problem. Your final report should describe the aims, scope and motivation of the project, the research you have undertaken, and the technical solution provided, including justification for design and development decisions.


Advanced Computer Games Development

This module aims to develop your advanced specialist skills in computer games development. It covers advanced games programming technologies and techniques, particularly relating to gaming interface systems such as Kinect, Emotiv, Novint Falcon, Oculus Rift or HD WebCam.  The module will explore the advancements in, and potential of, novel human computer interface (HCI) technologies for future developments in games and new game genres. It also introduces technologies and tools for defining and measuring software quality through adopting software metrics, software quality models and process maturity model.


Team Project (Games)

In this module you'll work in a group to simulate a company environment. You’ll be supported in working as a team to design, code and implement a small computer game. The module covers software development, team working, team management, company structures, professional issues and ethics. This aims to help you develop business and entrepreneurial skills and provide you with experience of software development in a group environment working alongside other game industry professions.

Important information

We will always try to deliver your course as described on this web page. However, sometimes we may have to make changes as set out below.

We review all optional modules each year and change them to reflect the expertise of our staff, current trends in research and as a result of student feedback. We will always ensure that you have a range of options to choose from and we will let students know in good time the options available for them to choose for the following year.

We will only change core modules for a course if it is necessary for us to do so, for example to maintain course accreditation. We will let you know about any such changes as soon as possible, usually before you begin the relevant academic year.

Sometimes we have to make changes to other aspects of a course or how it is delivered. We only make these changes if they are for reasons outside of our control, or where they are for our students’ benefit. Again, we will let you know about any such changes as soon as possible, usually before the relevant academic year. Our regulations set out our procedure which we will follow when we need to make any such changes.

When you enrol as a student of the University, your study and time with us will be governed by a framework of regulations, policies and procedures, which form the basis of your agreement with us. These include regulations regarding the assessment of your course, academic integrity, your conduct (including attendance) and disciplinary procedure, fees and finance and compliance with visa requirements (where relevant). It is important that you familiarise yourself with these as you will be asked to agree to abide by them when you join us as a student. You will find a guide to the key terms here, where you will also find links to the full text of each of the regulations, policies and procedures referred to.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England is the principal regulator for the University.

Placements

This course offers you the chance to undertake an optional placement in Year 3. This opportunity helps you to build on the knowledge and skills developed on the course. You will be employed by the company for 12 months, but the actual number of weeks worked will be dependent on the annual leave entitlement you are given in line with the placement company's policy.

The placement year is a valuable tool that can enhance your employability and help you to develop as an individual. It is acknowledged that graduates with industry experience are generally much more attractive to employers.

Our Placement Unit will be on hand to support you in finding suitable placement opportunities. They will assist you with preparing your CV and with interview techniques. They'll also be in contact with you during your placement so that you'll be fully supported while you gain the experience that employers value so highly.

The Placement Unit team are regularly in contact with local and national companies. Previous students have spent their placement year at companies including Sega Europe Ltd, Rebellion Studios, Rockstar Leeds and Red Kite. In addition to external organisations, we have a number of placement opportunities available in the University's Canalside Studios, giving you an opportunity to work as part of a team undertaking research and developing games for a range of platforms.

Alternatively, if you are a student from within the UK or the EU, you could consider starting your own small business by applying for the Enterprise Placement Year in conjunction with the University's Enterprise Team. You'll have the opportunity to benefit from business advice, mentoring and networking sessions. You can find out more information on the Enterprise Placement Year here.

Career opportunities

Whilst this is a new course and therefore no graduate statistics for this specific course are available, 82% of graduates from courses in this subject area go on to work and/or further study within six months of graduating (Destinations of Leavers Survey).

Previous graduates from courses in this subject area have gone on to work in a variety of roles such as games designer, graphic designer, technical infrastructure analyst, lead user interface designer, test analyst, and senior program manager in organisations including Rockstar Games, Lloyds Banking Group, Microsoft Xbox, Sky, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe and EA Games*.

*Source: LinkedIn

Professional links and accreditations

This course is accredited by the British Computer Society (BCS), the Chartered Institute for the IT industry. BCS accreditation is awarded to courses that provide a solid foundation in computing. It provides an indicator of quality to you and potential employers. Accreditation is independent recognition that this course meets the high standards set by the IT industry and meets industry needs.

Courses are accredited for Chartered IT Professional (CITP) status, BCS's own Chartered qualification.This course is accredited to also partially meet the requirements for CEng and/or CSci status. Accreditation also gives you a potential advantage when looking for a job as some employers may ask for graduates with accredited degrees.

Please visit the BCS website for further details about accreditation.

Teaching and assessment

You will be taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials and practical sessions; in subjects such as software development and modelling, applied in practical games studio sessions. 19.7% of the study time on this course is spent in lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical sessions etc. Assessment is through a combination of coursework (both written and practical) and exams.

Your module specification/course handbook will provide full details of the assessment criteria applying to your course.

Feedback (usually written) is normally provided on all coursework submissions within three term time weeks – unless the submission was made towards the end of the session in which case feedback would be available on request after the formal publication of results. Feedback on exam performance/final coursework is available on request after the publication of results.

Huddersfield is the only university where 100% of the teaching staff are Fellows of the Higher Education Academy.*

*permanent staff, after probation: some recently appointed colleagues will only obtain recognition in the months after their arrival in Huddersfield, once they have started teaching.

Facilities

Our facilities are contemporary and we use software and equipment that you will encounter in industry.

Facilities include mobile, wireless and fixed computing facilities with Windows and Linux workstations, as well as industry-standard design and development facilities. You'll use professional software including Adobe Suite and Autodesk 3ds Max, as well as the latest game engines such as Unity and Unreal 4, whilst working on high-end PCs with dual monitors. You'll also be able to book out graphics tablets via our Technical Team. If that's not enough, you'll also be able to use video and photographic equipment. You will have access to an excellent range of industry standard equipment including:

•  Industry standard design and development facilities

•  A compositing suite

•  Full motion-capture facilities

•  The opportunity to gain real world experience in the student-run Canalside Games studio

•  IT resources

How much will it cost me?

In 2017/18, the tuition fee for UK and EU students at the University of Huddersfield will be £9,250.

Tuition fees will cover the cost of your study at the University as well as charges for registration, tuition, supervision and examinations. For more information about funding, fees and finance for UK/EU students, including what your tuition fee covers, please see Fees and Finance. Please note that tuition fees for subsequent years of study may rise in line with inflation (RPI-X). If you are an international student coming to study at the University of Huddersfield, please visit the International Fees and Finance pages for full details of tuition fees and support available.

Please email the Student Finance Office or call 01484 472210 for more information about fees and finance.

Optional field trips may be offered during the course to destinations in the UK, which you would need to pay for if you choose to attend. Previous trips in recent years have included a visit to a regional game arcade for 1 day at a cost of £20.00 per student. Other field trips may cost more.

Further study

Progression to a postgraduate course is dependent on successful completion of your undergraduate studies, there may also be minimum qualification requirements such as a first class or higher second (2.1) degree. Please check the course details to confirm this.

We currently offer a number of taught Master's courses in the subject area of Computing and details of these, including the entry requirements you will need, can be found on Course finder. You could also consider further study in the form of an MSc by Research (MRes) and ultimately if you're successful you could potentially progress onto PhD study.

International

If you are an international student (including EU) you can check if you meet our entry requirements (both academic and English language) by visiting our country pages.

If you do not meet the entry requirements you can consider completing a degree preparation programme (if you are from a country outside of the EU) at the University's International Study Centre (ISC) or you can call the ISC on +44 (0) 1273 339333 to discuss your options. You can also complete the online application form or to ask a question please fill in the enquiry form and talk to one of our multi-lingual Student Enrolment Advisers.

If your English language is not at the required level (IELTS 6.0 overall), we have a range of Pre-Sessional English programmes that you can enrol on before starting your degree programme. You will not need to take an IELTS test after completing one of our Pre-Sessional English programmes.

How to apply

Research community

Research plays an important role in informing all our teaching and learning activities. Through research our staff remain up-to-date with the latest developments in their field, which means you develop knowledge and skills that are current and highly relevant to industry. For more information, see the Research section of our website.

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