Computer Game Applications Development

Study our world-leading Computer Game Applications Development degree and learn how to create games and script game mechanics.

Course detail

Start Date

September

Duration

4 years

Award Title

BSc (Hons)

UCAS Code

G450

Why Study Abertay's BSc (Hons) in Computer Game Applications Development?

Create games and interactive experiences or script game mechanics and programming tools by choosing a world-leading degree that arms you with the skills you need for a fast-paced and exciting career in the multi-billion pound computer games industry.

Widely recognised as THE place to get a games qualification, this degree will develop your skills in games programming, artificial intelligence for games, network programming, and interface design, making sure you’re adept in the use of industry standard game engines and technologies.

The programme boasts the best teaching in the area (a blend of industry and academic experience) and is designed to evolve as the games industry changes and technology advances. This ensures

you’re well equipped for employment within the creative industries sector.

You’ll graduate with the confidence and skills required to work in one of the most demanding industries in the world, giving you a distinct advantage over other computing graduates intending to pursue a career in the games industry.

Throughout the programme, you’ll be given the opportunity to work closely with local and global games industries, as well as collaborating with other games related courses, including art, media and audio.

This course gained an amazing 95% Overall Student Satisfaction rating in the 2020 National Student Survey.

Abertay really is THE place to study for a games degree. But don't take our word for it:

  • Sunday Times UK University of the Year 2020 for Teaching Quality.
  • Guardian University Guide 2020 Top 10 in the UK for Student Satisfaction with TeachingCourse and Feedback.
  • National Student Survey 2020 Top 10 UK Universities for Student Satisfaction
  • Princeton Review 2020 best in Europe for Video Games Education for the 6th year in a row.

Always-On Online Open Day

We aim to immerse you in student life here at Abertay and give you a true feel for our courses and our amazing academic community.

  • Experience our Always-On Open Day anytime for a mix of:

  • Subject and course presentations and videos.

  • Campus tours, info on applying, funding, student support and accommodation.

  • What the city of Dundee is like to live in.

Take time to soak it all in.

SEE ONLINE OPEN DAY

 

An Abertay Student on a yellow coloured background

How the Course Works

 

Learning and Assessment 

A mixed assessment strategy is used on the programme. Most modules are assessed through coursework, which may include project work and student-led presentations. Some modules use a mixture of coursework and formal examination.

You’ll spend around 12-15 hours per week in lectures, tutorials and laboratories. Lectures are used to present key concepts, theories and techniques. Tutorials and laboratory-based activities increase your understanding of the subject and allow you to develop your competence and confidence in technological and theoretical work.

Throughout your degree, you’ll be required to actively participate in group work, discussions, seminars, and private study.

The course also allows for customisation, which lets you develop a specialisation, such as artificial intelligence, while building a broad foundation in game applications development.

Accreditation

Playstation First Accreditation

Creative SKILLset Accreditation

Entry Requirements

Please note: All applicants must have a pass in Maths - National 5 grade B or GCSE grade B/5 or equivalent. National 5 Lifeskill Maths not accepted in lieu of Maths.

Please visit our Entry from College pages for suitable College courses.

Republic of Ireland applicants, click on the UK tabs and scroll down to find your Entry Requirements.

See information about studying and applying to Abertay for International students.

Qualification Type Grade Requirements Essential Subjects
Higher (standard entry) AABB
Higher (minimum entry) We may make you an offer at the minimum entry grades if you meet the criteria. Find out if you're eligible for minimum entry (see below). ABB
A-Level BBC
Irish Highers H2H2H3H3
International Baccalaureate 30 Points
BTEC Extended Diploma DDM Creative Media Production, Electrical/Electronic Engineering, Engineering, IT, Art & Design
SWAP Access AAB Access to Physical Sciences, Access to Engineering
Qualification Type Grade Requirements Essential Subjects
Advanced Higher AAB Maths and Computing
A-Level AAB Maths and Computing
BTec Extended Diploma D*D*D* Creative Media Production (Games Development) and AS Levels in Maths at B
HNC - Our Entry from College pages list approved HNC courses
Qualification Grade Requirements Essential Subjects
HND - Our Entry from College pages list approved HND courses

Not sure if you're eligible for entry?

If you have the potential and motivation to study at university, regardless of your background or personal circumstances, we welcome your application.

We understand some people have faced extra challenges before applying to university, which is why is why we consider the background in which your academic grades have been achieved when making an offer.

If you expect to receive passes in three Scottish Highers (grades A-C) and have either ...

  • been in care
  • participated in a targeted aspiration-raising programme such as LIFT OFF, LEAPS, FOCUS West, or Aspire North
  • no family background of going to university
  • attended a school or lived in an area where not many people go to university

... we encourage you to submit an application.

Your Journey Starts Here

Computer programmers are the backbone of the games industry. This programme will develop the skills you require to become a highly sought-after games programmer in an exciting and burgeoning sector. 

 

Male wearing Virtual Reality head - display screen in background

About Your Modules

All modules shown are indicative and reflect course content for the current academic year. Modules are reviewed annually and may be subject to change. If you receive an offer to study with us we will send you a Programme document  that sets out exactly which modules you can expect to take as part of your Abertay University degree programme. Please see Terms and Conditions for more information.

Modules

Year 1 Core Modules

You must study and pass all five core modules

Brief description

Learn to plan, develop and test object-oriented computer programs for a range of routine programming problems. 

Indicative content:

  • Object oriented program development: Use an object oriented program development environment, creating source code, compilation, linking, execution de−bugging and development.
  • Introduction to Object Orientation: Read, understand and modify small object-oriented programs.
  • Programming constructs: Make use of declarations, data types, assignment, operators, selection, iteration and functions for a range of programming problems.
  • Aggregate types: Arrays and algorithms − increased programming power. Storage, access and direct access to computer memory (pointers). Classes and structs.
  • Program development and testing: Pseudo-code and step-wise refinement, use of functions as program units for organisation and efficiency.

Brief description

Introduction to the core ideas of computer architecture. Build a mental model of the functioning of a typical computer system that can be used to reason about system (hardware/software) behaviour - and can be extended in later modules.

Indicative content:

  • Computer architecture: Principal low-level components (logic gates, logic blocks) and what they do, bus interconnections, memory, storage devices.
  • Data representation: Bits, integers, floating and fixed point, text, colours, bitmaps, bitwise operations.
  • Machine instructions: The von Neumann architecture, a modern CPU, arithmetic, control flow, the stack.
  • Operating systems: Userspace and kernelspace, drivers, scheduling, memory management, filesystems, use of operating systems (e.g. Linux) to support simple system management, OS level security concepts.
  • Networks: Packet switching; datagrams and streams; programming with sockets.

Brief description

The elementary algebraic and geometric topics  needed in the study of computer games application development.

Indicative content:

  • Revision: Transposition of formulae, indices.
  • Functions: Standard trigonometric, exponential and logarithmic functions and their graphs (sketches only).
  • Coordinate Geometry: 2-D lines – gradient, equation, length, perpendicular lines, intersections. Circles – centre and radius, equation, tangent and normal.
  • Vectors: 2 and 3-D, modulus, unit vector, component form, scalar (dot) and vector (cross) products.
  • Matrices: Dimension, addition/subtraction, transpose, multiplication, determinant, inverse (up to 3 x 3).
  • Solving equations: Solve linear equations by matrix methods – inverse, Gaussian elimination and Cramer’s rule.
  • Matrix Transformations: 2-D transformation matrices – scaling, rotation, reflection and translation using homogeneous coordinates. Composite transformations by matrix multiplication.
  • Kinematics: Use of standard kinematics equations (straight line, constant acceleration) and relation to velocity/time and displacement/time graphical methods. Motion in two dimensions – projectiles from a horizontal plane – range, time of flight, greatest height.

Brief description

Learn in a practical rather than theoretical way, some of the fundamental ideas of software engineering for you to develop and communicate designs for small and large-scale software systems.

Indicative content:

  • Problem-solving: Capturing requirements, general problem-solving techniques, testing, the idea of a non-programming language.
  • Classes and Objects: Develop software using class definitions, methods, data, constructors and instantiation. Create basic class inheritance structures within a software solution using two classes.
  • Security: Encapsulating objects using public and private access modifiers. Constructors. 
  • OO Analysis Design and Implementation: Identify objects in a system and structure data and information in class definitions. Mapping object oriented design principles to programming constructs.
  • Abstraction: Understand how to work with complexity by using code abstraction, code blocks and control flows.
  • Class modelling: Introduction to UML class diagrams.
  • Data design – an OO approach: Modelling using object-oriented techniques, drawing informal and formal diagrams to describe information and behaviour (including UML), design patterns.
  • Data design – a relational approach: Modelling using relational techniques, theoretical and practical design concerns, constructing and querying a database using basic SQL Modelling using relational techniques, theoretical and practical design concerns, constructing and querying a database using basic SQL.

Brief description

Introduction to the programming concepts and techniques for developing games.

Indicative content:

  • Structure of a Games Program: Explain the structure and architecture of a games program.
  • Development Process: The processes involved in developing games applications.
  • Development Tools: The use of tools necessary for developing games applications.
  • Computer Games System Architecture: Principal components specific to games system architecture and what they do, bus interconnections, graphics card, audio hardware. 
  • Graphic Sprites: The use of 2D sprites, and sprite animation in a games application.
  • Use of keyboard to obtain input.
  • Audio: The use of sound samples and background music in a games application.
  • Game Logic: How to implement game logic fundamentals to create gameplay.

Years 1 and 2 Elective Modules

You must study and pass one elective module of your choosing

Brief description

Introduction of the concept of smart cities - hard infrastructure, social capital including local skills and community institutions, and digital technologies to fuel sustainable economic development and provide an attractive environment for all.

Module content:

  • Social impacts

There is an overall need for theoretical and methodological plurality in how we assess the impact and value of future cities in terms for individual and societal well−being. Gaps in our understanding relate to the complex ways individuals and groups engage with built and natural settings, the cultural goods and consequent benefits that may arise and the inequalities associated with these cultural benefits.

  • Security

Different types of cyber-attacks that could be launched against a Smart City. Impact of cyber-attacks. Approaches to securing the smart grid and critical infrastructure, i.e. improving cyber resilience.

  • Sustainable urban food production

Includes the long established allotments movement to large-scale projects based on sustainability throughout the food chain. Urban food production includes the long established allotments movement. The demand for urban growing also responds to the densification and intensification of living areas, due to population rise, migration and demographic aging with lower housing and ‘garden’ space standards placing greater importance on collective production.

  • Energy, waste and water

At present, water and wastewater facilities are often the largest and most energy intensive responsibilities owned and operated by local governments, representing up to 35% of municipal energy use. Future cities will need to utilise more sustainable methods of water and wastewater management and renewable energy production.

  • Digital technologies

​Digital technologies will play a major role in creating sustainable and resilient cities offering a vehicle for more inclusive decision−making process and promoting dialog amongst architects, urban planners, the public and technologists.

Brief description

Develop a range of skills, knowledge and techniques within the natural, technological and social sciences relevant to the study of environmental sustainability and life in the twenty-first century. Understand the critical issues that confront humanity and begin to discern appropriate responses.

Module content:

The challenge of sustainable development
Problems associated with life in the 21st Century and the relationship to scientific provisionalism and uncertainty.

The genesis of sustainable development concept
Developments associated with the Club of Rome are outlined while Limits to Growth and the Tragedy of the Commons.

Evolution of sustainable development
The Reo Summit and Suitability, and Policy Developments thereof.

Scientific inquiry and sustainable development
Controversial issues like climate change, oil peak, and food production and the role of science in helping delimit them as problematic.

Mainstreaming sustainability
Sustainability and Mitigation, Adaptation and Resilience, as individual and social concerns, and their role in transformation.

Communicating sustainability
Human well-being, Environmental Justice, Environmental Policy and the practicalities of Sustainability in Scotland.

Sustainable development in practice
Community Empowerment associated with Land Reform. Energy Production and Food Production in Tayside.

Ethics and sustainability policy
Active citizenship and globalisation.

Innovating locally, transforming globally
Transformations required to embrace Sustainability.

Active relationship for sustainable futures
Thinking globally, acting locally.

Brief description

How lifestyle can effect physical and mental well-being. This module enables you to reflect on your own lifestyle choices and how to incorporate good health behaviours into your life.

Module content:

  • Sleep and stress
    The impact of sleep and stress on health and performance. Completion of sleep diaries and questionnaires related to sleep patterns and stress.
     
  • Physical activity
    Current physical activity recommendations, components of physical fitness.
     
  • Physical inactivity
    Understanding why people are inactive. The link between physical inactivity, obesity and type 2 diabetes.
     
  • Physical activity and mental well-being
    The effects of physical activity on mental well-being.
     
  • The effect of carbohydrate consumption and exercise on blood glucose
    Measurement and recording of blood glucose in response to the carbohydrate ingestion and exercise.
     
  • Simple health and fitness testing
    Measurement and recording of data. Tests will include blood pressure, strength, endurance and flexibility. Data will be compared with normative values for these tests.

Brief description

Develop critical thinking skills that form the basis for progression across the academic disciplines of the university. Learn how to recognise, construct, evaluate, criticise and defend different forms of argument.


Module content:

•    Potential 'timeless' debates 
Debates delivered by internal and external experts on: e.g. existence of God; privacy and civil society; private property; money as source of 'evil'; nature/nurture; free speech; pornography; capital punishment; prostitution; animal experimentation; meaning of justice; abortion; affirmative action; just war; trade union power; good life/good political community; human nature; monarchy; value of democracy; meaning of equality; citizenship rights.

•    Potential 'timely' debates
Debates delivered by internal and external experts on: eg, Scottish independence, academic freedom; drug legalisation; drug use in sport; immigration; free health care; war on terror; EU membership; euthanasia; progressive taxation; race and gender discrimination; gay marriage; human rights; politics/sport; global warming; internet censorship; nuclear power; education league tables; nuclear weapons; GM agriculture; religion; cloning; fair trade; value of contemporary culture.

•    Critical thinking seminars
Follow-up discursive discipline specific seminar sessions led by teaching staff on topics covered in formal debates. Learn to identify types of argument presented, evaluate perspectives and to reflect upon their own reasoning processes and value assumptions. The debates and seminars facilitate a foundation for the acquisition of graduate attributes.

•    WEB CT Wiki discussion forum
Work in small groups to write a short 800 word indicative "Thinking Summary" online Wiki of the arguments presented in each debate. These summaries will be constructed by each designated Thinking Group of three students using the Wiki facility on Blackboard which will facilitate further discussion on the moderated WEB CT discussion forum.

Brief description

The social, managerial, economic, political, and technical challenges and opportunities associated with emerging renewable energy innovation, production, supply and consumption.


Module content:

•    Renewable energy non-technical challenges and opportunities
Social and political challenges and opportunities of renewable energy production supply and consumption. Economic and environmental challenges of renewable energy production supply and consumption. Strategic and managerial challenges of renewable energy production supply and consumption.


•    Renewable energy technological challenges and opportunities
Geotechnical, Geophysical and Hydrographic information; Knowledge of sources of hydrographic information and interpretation of published charts. Forces on structures; Appreciation of the various forces acting on marine structures. Technical limitations and challenges of energy distribution systems and energy storage. Current technological development trend, collaborative innovation in renewable energy.

Brief description

An understanding of the concepts of tolerance, and the importance of making sound ethical decisions. Develop the qualities, characteristics and skills to meet the aspiration for Abertay graduates to become global and active citizens. 

Module content:

•    Introduction to equality and ethics legislation 

•    Diversity competence and moral/ethical reasoning 
Inclusiveness, equal opportunities, positive action, reasonable adjustment.

•    Attributes for the workplace and for global citizenship.

•    Reflective practice 
Application of models of reflective practice.

•    Contemporary issues

Brief description

Learn how to adjust language to suit context. Analyse a range of linguistic issues, including “proper English”, how language can be used to create moral panics, and the ethics of communication.

Module content:

•    “Good English”
The role of standardisation, dialect and idiolect − how we choose language to reflect our identities and our role in a speech or discourse community.

Language and influence
How the media constructs narratives to persuade or inform the audience (and how to tell the difference).

Creating a narrative across genres
The conventions, freedoms and limitations of different forms; using these forms in new ways.

Narrative changes over time
How authors reinvent old stories to reflect current concerns.

Technical writing
The use and manipulation of data; hearing the author's voice; critiquing "bad science".

The ethics of communication
 (Electronic) media and ownership, attribution and theft.

Brief description

“Personal” digital safety to make computer security fun, practical and eye-opening.  Learn the base knowledge that will continue to be relevant to future generations of devices.

Module content:

•    Current state of computer security
An overview including legal aspects.

•    Cyber-attacks, vulnerabilities and threats
Malware, Network attacks (denial of service, packet sniffing etc.), bots and rootkits. How the bad guys can obtain your password.

•    Information leakage
Recovery and forensics recovering deleted or corrupted files. What your browser knows about you. Web browser forensics.

•    Securing networks, accounts and devices
Defence against malware, honeypots, Secure protocols, intrusion detection, Password security, Mobile device security.

•    Human aspects of cyber security 
The Psychology of Hackers, Social Engineering, identity theft, Usability vs security.

•    Breaking the code
An introduction to cryptography, Encryption and Decryption, public and private keys, the key exchange problem.

•    History of cryptography 
The Caesar cipher, polyalphabetic ciphers, the Playfair cipher, the role of Enigma and the Bletchley Park cryptographers in WWII.

•    Computers and Crypto Diffie-Hellman and RSA encryption
Phil Zimmerman and “Pretty Good Protection". Quantum Cryptography – Provably unbreakable information hiding. Mathematical Underpinnings – Large prime numbers and why they matter.

•    Steganography
 A picture's worth a thousand words when you're hiding the wood in the trees.

•    The law, society and cryptography 
Why you can be imprisoned for forgetting your password. The Civil Liberties Arguments for and against strong-crypto. International perspectives on information hiding, information freedom, the right to privacy and the conflicts between these. Are unbreakable cyphers an unqualified “good thing”?

Brief description

Develop perspectives on the key challenges faced by humankind such as environmental change, pollution, food security, energy provision, conflicts, terrorism, emerging diseases, and changing demographics. Understand the overwhelming complexity of the problems and the need for interdisciplinary approaches to create solutions.

Module content:

  • Interdisciplinary research
    Introductory lectures will discuss the definitions, methods, benefits, challenges, and drawbacks of disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches and the role of public policy influencing research
     
  • Global challenges
    Challenges from different disciplines. Examples include: Climate Change: causes and impact; Serious Games: science and application of visualization and games; Global Security: valuing ecosystems: balancing policy, economics and environment; Contemporary Challenges to Healthy Living; Food Security: global threats and local needs; Energy Poverty: space travel.

Brief description

Design an activity to communicate and present scientific principles to primary school children. Learn about working as a group and how to communicate complex ideas.

Module content:

Developing a science communication activity
Target audience, sources of information to identify suitable activities (CfE documentation etc.), health and safety, issues around working with specific groups, accessibility, ethics, costing and sustainability.

The landscape of engagement and current practice
Types of public engagement activities, target audiences, funding, role of learned societies, universities and other bodies. Public engagement in Dundee and Tayside.

Brief description

Develop the knowledge and awareness required to make good career decisions and the skills and confidence to successfully navigate each stage of the recruitment process for graduate jobs.

Module content:

  • Developing self-awareness
    Profiling of personal strengths, values and priorities in relation to career choice.
     
  • Developing opportunity awareness
    Generating career ideas based on your personal profile; Exploring the range of graduate opportunities within job sectors of interest; Reviewing occupations that are directly related to your own subject discipline.
     
  • Developing a career action plan
    Matching your personal profile with best fit opportunities in the job market; Creating a timeline of actions to improve your prospects of meeting your aim.
  • Developing job seeking skills
    Sourcing suitable job opportunities - both advertised and unadvertised; Creating a professional image online; Identifying the skills and qualities employers look for in graduates; Learning how to produce targeted applications for specific job roles; Practising the presentation of your strengths and motivations in face to face selection activities.

Brief description

Learn about natural disaster such as landslides and flooding, structural disasters such as the Tay Rail Bridge and the system of critical infrastructure (such as road, rail, air and shipping transport networks, power grid, gas and water networks, health system) that constitute the backbone of modern societies.

Module content:

•    Overview of the scope and the content of concept of critical infrastructure failure during natural disasters and resilience against such failures
The consequences of geophysical, hydrological and meteorological disasters on critical infrastructure and critical infrastructure protection capabilities against natural disasters. Interdependencies of critical infrastructures during large disasters, presents a brief review of current research being done in this field, and presents a methodology to address interdependencies.


•    The identification of the vulnerabilities of the critical systems
The critical systems upon which modern society, economy, and polity depend. The identification of the vulnerabilities of these systems threats that might exploit these vulnerabilities. The effort to develop techniques to mitigate these vulnerabilities through improved design.


•     Flooding in Scotland
General overview of fluvial, pluvial and coastal flooding, the structural, economic and societal impact and responses to flooding. Resources will include historical examples, current policies and information (including SEPA flood maps). Case study (with virtual/actual field visit?) the Perth Floods of 1990 and 1993 and the Perth flood defence scheme*


•    Landslide origins, types and mitigations
General overview what landslides are, why they happen and what can be done to prevent them.


•    Structural failure
An example such as why the Tay Bridge failed and what it meant for the Forth Rail Bridge.


•    Reports and investigations
The role of reports in accident and disaster investigations in creating informative reports; case studies of accidents, disasters, learning from history, learning from case studies, learning from common law

Brief description

Introduction to the skills and knowledge needed to launch a small business successfully. This module will define and help you acquire the personal and professional skills needed to develop a professional career and/or to succeed as entrepreneurs in Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs).

Module content:

  • Understanding entrepreneurship.
     
  • Generating successful business ideas.
     
  • Environmental scanning.
     
  • Developing a credible business plan that includes evaluating business ideas.
     
  • Presenting the business idea.

Brief description

An understanding of some of the processes involved in food production. Discuss common misconceptions and ideas which present the food and nutritional industries in a bad light.


Module content:

•    Student led investigations
Student led investigations of the different sectors within the food and drink industry including: prebiotics – and the controversy surrounding the term; if barbequing is a healthy cooking method; and exposing the celebrity chef - common Myths about cooking.


•    Consumerism
Does the food industry listen to us? Understanding consumer and sensory science to better understand why you buy the products you buy.  How food/public health is reported by the media? The French paradox / Mediterranean diet.


•    Future of food
Ethical food production and the future of foods, and what’s waste got to do with it?


•    Debunking myths
Debunking food myths, more science than science fiction in our food today, like the science behind getting sauce out of a bottle and what to drink – Whisky or Beer?


•    Facts from fiction
Finding facts from fiction, investigating the three-second rule – should I eat things that have fallen on the floor? What’s so super about super-foods? Fat or sugar: Which is worse?

Brief description

Learn how we approach and understand mental health, from historic, social, therapeutic, and individual perspectives. Explore questions such as ‘what is madness?’, ‘how does society position people with mental illness?’, and ‘how do we best respond to challenges to our mental health?’

Module content:

  • Historical and cultural perspective on mental illness
    How do we ‘think’ about mental health, and mental ill health?
     
  • Diagnosis and the anti-psychiatry movement
    Who holds the power to decide what is normal in terms of psychological well-being and behaviour?
     
  • Gender, culture and mental health
    How gendered cultural expectations and representations influence how we respond to mental health issues.
     
  • Media representations
    The impact of film and literature on attitudes and understandings of mental health.
     
  • Resilience, treatment and recovery
    Common mental health problems in the UK, treatment and management, and frameworks for enhancing well-being and resilience.

Brief description

An introduction to the wide range of disciplines in forensic investigation. Learn how crimes are investigated from the moment of reporting through to the presentation of the evidence in court. A hypothetical case study provides an over-arching framework in which to explore the critical aspects of forensic investigations. It involves not only physical and electronic evidence, but also statements from witnesses, suspects and victims which requires cross discipline collaboration of professionals.


Module content:

Crime scene investigation
How a crime scene is examined in the context of incomplete contextual information and to avoid loss or contamination of evidence and the maximising of the value of evidential material.

Media involvement
Positive and negative effects of the media/public interest in the crime.

Forensic biology
Examination and evidential value of body fluids, DNA, hairs and fibres.

Forensic chemistry
Analysis for drugs, toxicological analysis, firearms, explosives, and trace evidence.

Digital sources
Evidence from CCT, mobile phones, computer hardware, on−line behaviour.

Forensic reasoning and practice
An introduction to forensic problem solving, thinking styles, case assessment and interpretation.

Psychology of witnesses and suspects
False confessions, offender profiling, effects and avoidance of cognitive bias in forensic science through process design.

Year 2 Core Modules

You must study and pass all five core modules

Brief description

Build on your knowledge of programming taught in earlier modules (e.g. arrays, structures, simple collections). Gain an introduction to the standard data structures and algorithms that form the core of algorithmic thought in computer science and to the idea of reasoning about the behaviour and performance of a computer program.

Indicative content:

  • Reasoning about performance: The idea of an algorithm, time and space complexity, abstract data types.
  • Basic data structures: Linked lists, stacks, queues, hash tables.
  • Sorting and searching: Exhaustive and binary search, common sorting algorithms.
  • Trees: Simple trees, tree search algorithms, tree representations (XML, JSON).
  • Graphs: Simple and directed graphs, graph algorithms.

Brief description

Build on the earlier module, Mathematics for Application Development 1, and learn the mathematical building blocks required for 3-D graphics programming.

Indicative content:

  • Viewing Transformations: 2-D viewing transformation matrices, scaling factors, aspect ratios, windows, normalised device screen, viewports.
  • Lines and Planes: Vector (using parameters) and Cartesian equations of 3-D lines and planes. Distances from points to lines and planes. Projection of line onto a plane, intersection of lines and planes.
  • Matrix Transformations: 3-D matrix transformations of scaling, rotation, reflection and translation (homogeneous coordinates). Composite transformation by matrix multiplication.
  • Projection Matrices: Standard orthogonal and perspective matrix transformations.
  • Ray Tracing: Collision detection methods of rays with boxes and spheres.
  • Newtonian Concepts: Newton’s laws of motion. Momentum and impulse, collision of bodies (1-dimensional, elastic and inelastic). Kinetic and potential energy, elastic strings. Work and Power.

Brief description

Introduction to the principles of 3D graphics programming. Design and develop real-time 3D graphics applications.

Indicative content:

  • The graphics pipeline: Hardware and software functionality and performance.
  • Graphical Primitives: Points, lines and polygons.
  • Coordinate systems: Transformation, projection and hierarchical transforms.
  • Geometry ordering: Depth sorting, Z-buffering and blending.
  • Lighting: Types of lights and related calculations.
  • Texturing: Applying 2D image data to 3D objects.
  • Model processing: Loading and rendering geometry from an external source.
  • Data storage: Techniques for generating and storing 3D geometry data.

Brief description

Build on the earlier module, Data Structures and Algorithms 1. Gain an introduction to parallel programming on shared-memory and GPU architecture, and the design techniques underpinning parallel applications. Use a range of case studies drawn from typical real-world applications.

Indicative content:

  • Measuring performance: Basic techniques, sources of error (round off, range, instability, discretisation), profiling, analysing and presenting results.
  • Parallel programming: Why to parallelise, Amdahl’s law, high-level approaches to parallelisation, parallel design.
  • Low-level programming with threads: Starting and joining threads, sharing data safely, mutual exclusion, synchronisation objects, lock-free.
  • High-level parallel programming: Task-based parallelism, data-parallel problems, exploiting locality.
  • Instruction-level parallelism: SIMD instructions, automatic vectorisation.
  • GPGPU: GPU architectures, appropriate algorithms for GPUs, GPU profiling.
  • Application case studies: Awareness of common sorting, numerical, image processing and searching and optimization algorithms (and associated data structures) and a recognition as to which are relevant for chosen field of study e.g. Spatial trees, pathfinding and AI, database indexing, password hashing, simulation, file carving] and which can benefit from parallelisation.

Brief description

The necessary components to develop a 3D physics-based game application considering the console hardware. 

Module content:

  • Games console hardware: Device Memory and CPU/ GPU architecture characteristics - Cache architectures, locality, alignment, virtual memory, memory allocation techniques, CPU/GPU architecture: Pipelines, superscalar architectures, branch prediction, out-of-order execution, hyperthreading, multicore, NUMA.
  • User interfaces: Methods to exploit touchscreen and controller pads user inputs.
  • Audio engines: 3D positional audio – considering the position, orientation and velocity of the listener and the position, orientation and velocity of the emitter.
  • Physics engines: Collision detection, Rigid Body Dynamics using Box2D.
  • Character animation: Types of character animation and techniques of character animation.
  • Putting it all together:  How – where to parallelise recognising console architecture.
  • Multithreading: Cross referencing Memory architecture and CPU architecture.

Years 1 and 2 Elective Modules

You must study and pass one elective module of your choosing

Brief description

Introduction of the concept of smart cities - hard infrastructure, social capital including local skills and community institutions, and digital technologies to fuel sustainable economic development and provide an attractive environment for all.

Module content:

  • Social impacts

There is an overall need for theoretical and methodological plurality in how we assess the impact and value of future cities in terms for individual and societal well−being. Gaps in our understanding relate to the complex ways individuals and groups engage with built and natural settings, the cultural goods and consequent benefits that may arise and the inequalities associated with these cultural benefits.

  • Security

Different types of cyber-attacks that could be launched against a Smart City. Impact of cyber-attacks. Approaches to securing the smart grid and critical infrastructure, i.e. improving cyber resilience.

  • Sustainable urban food production

Includes the long established allotments movement to large-scale projects based on sustainability throughout the food chain. Urban food production includes the long established allotments movement. The demand for urban growing also responds to the densification and intensification of living areas, due to population rise, migration and demographic aging with lower housing and ‘garden’ space standards placing greater importance on collective production.

  • Energy, waste and water

At present, water and wastewater facilities are often the largest and most energy intensive responsibilities owned and operated by local governments, representing up to 35% of municipal energy use. Future cities will need to utilise more sustainable methods of water and wastewater management and renewable energy production.

  • Digital technologies

​Digital technologies will play a major role in creating sustainable and resilient cities offering a vehicle for more inclusive decision−making process and promoting dialog amongst architects, urban planners, the public and technologists.

Brief description

Develop a range of skills, knowledge and techniques within the natural, technological and social sciences relevant to the study of environmental sustainability and life in the twenty-first century. Understand the critical issues that confront humanity and begin to discern appropriate responses.

Module content:

The challenge of sustainable development
Problems associated with life in the 21st Century and the relationship to scientific provisionalism and uncertainty.

The genesis of sustainable development concept
Developments associated with the Club of Rome are outlined while Limits to Growth and the Tragedy of the Commons.

Evolution of sustainable development
The Reo Summit and Suitability, and Policy Developments thereof.

Scientific inquiry and sustainable development
Controversial issues like climate change, oil peak, and food production and the role of science in helping delimit them as problematic.

Mainstreaming sustainability
Sustainability and Mitigation, Adaptation and Resilience, as individual and social concerns, and their role in transformation.

Communicating sustainability
Human well-being, Environmental Justice, Environmental Policy and the practicalities of Sustainability in Scotland.

Sustainable development in practice
Community Empowerment associated with Land Reform. Energy Production and Food Production in Tayside.

Ethics and sustainability policy
Active citizenship and globalisation.

Innovating locally, transforming globally
Transformations required to embrace Sustainability.

Active relationship for sustainable futures
Thinking globally, acting locally.

Brief description

How lifestyle can affect physical and mental well-being. Reflect on your own lifestyle choices and how to incorporate good health behaviours into your life.

Module content:

  • Sleep and stress
    The impact of sleep and stress on health and performance. Completion of sleep diaries and questionnaires related to sleep patterns and stress.
     
  • Physical activity
    Current physical activity recommendations, components of physical fitness.
     
  • Physical inactivity
    Understanding why people are inactive. The link between physical inactivity, obesity and type 2 diabetes.
     
  • Physical activity and mental well-being
    The effects of physical activity on mental well-being.
     
  • The effect of carbohydrate consumption and exercise on blood glucose
    Measurement and recording of blood glucose in response to the carbohydrate ingestion and exercise.
     
  • Simple health and fitness testing
    Measurement and recording of data. Tests will include blood pressure, strength, endurance and flexibility. Data will be compared with normative values for these tests.

Brief description

Develop critical thinking skills that form the basis for progression across the academic disciplines of the university. Learn how to recognise, construct, evaluate, criticise and defend different forms of argument.

Module content:

•    Potential 'timeless' debates 
Debates delivered by internal and external experts on: e.g. existence of God; privacy and civil society; private property; money as source of 'evil'; nature/nurture; free speech; pornography; capital punishment; prostitution; animal experimentation; meaning of justice; abortion; affirmative action; just war; trade union power; good life/good political community; human nature; monarchy; value of democracy; meaning of equality; citizenship rights.

•    Potential 'timely' debates
Debates delivered by internal and external experts on: eg, Scottish independence, academic freedom; drug legalisation; drug use in sport; immigration; free health care; war on terror; EU membership; euthanasia; progressive taxation; race and gender discrimination; gay marriage; human rights; politics/sport; global warming; internet censorship; nuclear power; education league tables; nuclear weapons; GM agriculture; religion; cloning; fair trade; value of contemporary culture.

•    Critical thinking seminars
Follow-up discursive discipline specific seminar sessions led by teaching staff on topics covered in formal debates. Learn to identify types of argument presented, evaluate perspectives and to reflect upon their own reasoning processes and value assumptions. The debates and seminars facilitate a foundation for the acquisition of graduate attributes.

•    WEB CT Wiki discussion forum
Work in small groups to write a short 800 word indicative "Thinking Summary" online Wiki of the arguments presented in each debate. These summaries will be constructed by each designated Thinking Group of three students using the Wiki facility on Blackboard which will facilitate further discussion on the moderated WEB CT discussion forum.

Brief description

The social, managerial, economic, political, and technical challenges and opportunities associated with emerging renewable energy innovation, production, supply and consumption.


Module content:

•    Renewable energy non-technical challenges and opportunities
Social and political challenges and opportunities of renewable energy production supply and consumption. Economic and environmental challenges of renewable energy production supply and consumption. Strategic and managerial challenges of renewable energy production supply and consumption.


•    Renewable energy technological challenges and opportunities
Geotechnical, Geophysical and Hydrographic information; Knowledge of sources of hydrographic information and interpretation of published charts. Forces on structures; Appreciation of the various forces acting on marine structures. Technical limitations and challenges of energy distribution systems and energy storage. Current technological development trend, collaborative innovation in renewable energy.

Brief description

An understanding of the concepts of tolerance, and the importance of making sound ethical decisions. Develop the qualities, characteristics and skills to meet the aspiration for Abertay graduates to become global and active citizens. 

Module content:

•    Introduction to equality and ethics legislation 

•    Diversity competence and moral/ethical reasoning 
Inclusiveness, equal opportunities, positive action, reasonable adjustment.

•    Attributes for the workplace and for global citizenship.

•    Reflective practice 
Application of models of reflective practice.

•    Contemporary issues

Brief description

Learn how to adjust language to suit context. Analyse a range of linguistic issues, including “proper English”, how language can be used to create moral panics, and the ethics of communication.

Module content:

•    “Good English”
The role of standardisation, dialect and idiolect − how we choose language to reflect our identities and our role in a speech or discourse community.

Language and influence
How the media constructs narratives to persuade or inform the audience (and how to tell the difference).

Creating a narrative across genres
The conventions, freedoms and limitations of different forms; using these forms in new ways.

Narrative changes over time
How authors reinvent old stories to reflect current concerns.

Technical writing
The use and manipulation of data; hearing the author's voice; critiquing "bad science".

The ethics of communication
 (Electronic) media and ownership, attribution and theft.

Brief description

“Personal” digital safety to make computer security fun, practical and eye-opening.  Learn the base knowledge that will continue to be relevant to future generations of devices.

Module content:

•    Current state of computer security
An overview including legal aspects.

•    Cyber-attacks, vulnerabilities and threats
Malware, Network attacks (denial of service, packet sniffing etc.), bots and rootkits. How the bad guys can obtain your password.

•    Information leakage
Recovery and forensics recovering deleted or corrupted files. What your browser knows about you. Web browser forensics.

•    Securing networks, accounts and devices
Defence against malware, honeypots, Secure protocols, intrusion detection, Password security, Mobile device security.

•    Human aspects of cyber security 
The Psychology of Hackers, Social Engineering, identity theft, Usability vs security.

•    Breaking the code
An introduction to cryptography, Encryption and Decryption, public and private keys, the key exchange problem.

•    History of cryptography 
The Caesar cipher, polyalphabetic ciphers, the Playfair cipher, the role of Enigma and the Bletchley Park cryptographers in WWII.

•    Computers and Crypto Diffie-Hellman and RSA encryption
Phil Zimmerman and “Pretty Good Protection". Quantum Cryptography – Provably unbreakable information hiding. Mathematical Underpinnings – Large prime numbers and why they matter.

•    Steganography
 A picture's worth a thousand words when you're hiding the wood in the trees.

•    The law, society and cryptography 
Why you can be imprisoned for forgetting your password. The Civil Liberties Arguments for and against strong-crypto. International perspectives on information hiding, information freedom, the right to privacy and the conflicts between these. Are unbreakable cyphers an unqualified “good thing”?

Brief description

Develop perspectives on the key challenges faced by humankind such as environmental change, pollution, food security, energy provision, conflicts, terrorism, emerging diseases, and changing demographics. Understand the overwhelming complexity of the problems and the need for interdisciplinary approaches to create solutions.

Module content:

  • Interdisciplinary research
    Introductory lectures will discuss the definitions, methods, benefits, challenges, and drawbacks of disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches and the role of public policy influencing research
     
  • Global challenges
    Challenges from different disciplines. Examples include: Climate Change: causes and impact; Serious Games: science and application of visualization and games; Global Security: valuing ecosystems: balancing policy, economics and environment; Contemporary Challenges to Healthy Living; Food Security: global threats and local needs; Energy Poverty: space travel.

Brief description

Design an activity to communicate and present scientific principles to primary school children. Learn about working as a group and how to communicate complex ideas.

Module content:

Developing a science communication activity
Target audience, sources of information to identify suitable activities (CfE documentation etc.), health and safety, issues around working with specific groups, accessibility, ethics, costing and sustainability.

The landscape of engagement and current practice
Types of public engagement activities, target audiences, funding, role of learned societies, universities and other bodies. Public engagement in Dundee and Tayside.

Brief description

Develop the knowledge and awareness required to make good career decisions and the skills and confidence to successfully navigate each stage of the recruitment process for graduate jobs.

Module content:

  • Developing self-awareness
    Profiling of personal strengths, values and priorities in relation to career choice.
     
  • Developing opportunity awareness
    Generating career ideas based on your personal profile; Exploring the range of graduate opportunities within job sectors of interest; Reviewing occupations that are directly related to your own subject discipline.
     
  • Developing a career action plan
    Matching your personal profile with best fit opportunities in the job market; Creating a timeline of actions to improve your prospects of meeting your aim.
  • Developing job seeking skills
    Sourcing suitable job opportunities - both advertised and unadvertised; Creating a professional image online; Identifying the skills and qualities employers look for in graduates; Learning how to produce targeted applications for specific job roles; Practising the presentation of your strengths and motivations in face to face selection activities.

Brief description

Learn about natural disaster such as landslides and flooding, structural disasters such as the Tay Rail Bridge and the system of critical infrastructure (such as road, rail, air and shipping transport networks, power grid, gas and water networks, health system) that constitute the backbone of modern societies.

Module content:

•    Overview of the scope and the content of concept of critical infrastructure failure during natural disasters and resilience against such failures
The consequences of geophysical, hydrological and meteorological disasters on critical infrastructure and critical infrastructure protection capabilities against natural disasters. Interdependencies of critical infrastructures during large disasters, presents a brief review of current research being done in this field, and presents a methodology to address interdependencies.


•    The identification of the vulnerabilities of the critical systems
The critical systems upon which modern society, economy, and polity depend. The identification of the vulnerabilities of these systems threats that might exploit these vulnerabilities. The effort to develop techniques to mitigate these vulnerabilities through improved design.


•     Flooding in Scotland
General overview of fluvial, pluvial and coastal flooding, the structural, economic and societal impact and responses to flooding. Resources will include historical examples, current policies and information (including SEPA flood maps). Case study (with virtual/actual field visit?) the Perth Floods of 1990 and 1993 and the Perth flood defence scheme*


•    Landslide origins, types and mitigations
General overview what landslides are, why they happen and what can be done to prevent them.


•    Structural failure
An example such as why the Tay Bridge failed and what it meant for the Forth Rail Bridge.


•    Reports and investigations
The role of reports in accident and disaster investigations in creating informative reports; case studies of accidents, disasters, learning from history, learning from case studies, learning from common law

Brief description

Introduction to the skills and knowledge needed to launch a small business successfully. This module will define and help you acquire the personal and professional skills needed to develop a professional career and/or to succeed as entrepreneurs in Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs).

Module content:

  • Understanding entrepreneurship.
     
  • Generating successful business ideas.
     
  • Environmental scanning.
     
  • Developing a credible business plan that includes evaluating business ideas.
     
  • Presenting the business idea.

Brief description

An understanding of some of the processes involved in food production. Discuss common misconceptions and ideas which present the food and nutritional industries in a bad light.


Module content:

•    Student led investigations
Student led investigations of the different sectors within the food and drink industry including: prebiotics – and the controversy surrounding the term; if barbequing is a healthy cooking method; and exposing the celebrity chef - common Myths about cooking.


•    Consumerism
Does the food industry listen to us? Understanding consumer and sensory science to better understand why you buy the products you buy.  How food/public health is reported by the media? The French paradox / Mediterranean diet.


•    Future of food
Ethical food production and the future of foods, and what’s waste got to do with it?


•    Debunking myths
Debunking food myths, more science than science fiction in our food today, like the science behind getting sauce out of a bottle and what to drink – Whisky or Beer?


•    Facts from fiction
Finding facts from fiction, investigating the three-second rule – should I eat things that have fallen on the floor? What’s so super about super-foods? Fat or sugar: Which is worse?

Brief description

Learn how we approach and understand mental health, from historic, social, therapeutic, and individual perspectives. Explore questions such as ‘what is madness?’, ‘how does society position people with mental illness?’, and ‘how do we best respond to challenges to our mental health?’

Module content:

  • Historical and cultural perspective on mental illness
    How do we ‘think’ about mental health, and mental ill health?
     
  • Diagnosis and the anti-psychiatry movement
    Who holds the power to decide what is normal in terms of psychological well-being and behaviour?
     
  • Gender, culture and mental health
    How gendered cultural expectations and representations influence how we respond to mental health issues.
     
  • Media representations
    The impact of film and literature on attitudes and understandings of mental health.
     
  • Resilience, treatment and recovery
    Common mental health problems in the UK, treatment and management, and frameworks for enhancing well-being and resilience.

Brief description

An introduction to the wide range of disciplines in forensic investigation. Learn how crimes are investigated from the moment of reporting through to the presentation of the evidence in court. A hypothetical case study provides an over-arching framework in which to explore the critical aspects of forensic investigations. It involves not only physical and electronic evidence, but also statements from witnesses, suspects and victims which requires cross discipline collaboration of professionals.
 

Module content:

Crime scene investigation
How a crime scene is examined in the context of incomplete contextual information and to avoid loss or contamination of evidence and the maximising of the value of evidential material.

Media involvement
Positive and negative effects of the media/public interest in the crime.

Forensic biology
Examination and evidential value of body fluids, DNA, hairs and fibres.

Forensic chemistry
Analysis for drugs, toxicological analysis, firearms, explosives, and trace evidence.

Digital sources
Evidence from CCT, mobile phones, computer hardware, on−line behaviour.

Forensic reasoning and practice
An introduction to forensic problem solving, thinking styles, case assessment and interpretation.

Psychology of witnesses and suspects
False confessions, offender profiling, effects and avoidance of cognitive bias in forensic science through process design.

Year 3 Core Modules

You must study and pass all five core modules

Brief description

The principles of formalising, implementing, testing and iterating on functional game mechanics applied in the context of a game engine.

Indicative content:

  • Modern game functionality programming: Review of modern game development with regards to use of game engines and methods and levels where game functionality can be implemented.
  • Aspects of game design: Theoretical and practical aspects of the game design process derived from established conventions. Analyse a game system from a game theoretical perspective and construction and upkeep of documentation.
  • From design to function: Design interpretation and extrapolation. The process of going from written design to design suitable for engine implementation. Consideration for correct game engine OO standards in visual scripting as well as code.
  • Maintainable design: Review and evaluation of the aspects of game functionality relevant to the iteration and evolution of game mechanics and how this integrates with other personnel in the development team.
  • Hardware integration: Dealing with hardware integration and aligning hardware to work with a game engine and specific game functionality.
  • Data logging, debugging and testing gameplay: Practices and specifics related to gameplay functionality.
  • Numerical analysis and data for game balancing: Review and evaluation of mathematical techniques and their application to aid in the balancing of gameplay parameters.

Brief description

The computer graphics programmable pipeline and various graphics techniques. Develop and evaluate techniques used to manipulate 3D graphics in real-time.

Indicative content:

  • Graphics programming: Introduction to the graphics programmable pipeline.
  • Shaders: Creation and use of shaders within the context of the programmable pipeline.
  • Development: Develop applications and shaders which include topics such as lighting, vertex manipulation, post processing and tessellation.

Brief description

The principles of computer networks as applied to the development of various types of networked computer games. Develop and evaluate  techniques implementation with a particular emphasis on real-time fast action games.

Indicative content:

  • Background to Network Computer Games: Review of network computer games with a particular emphasis on network functionality and performance issues.
  • Network Protocols: Review of the main protocols within TCP/IP and their relevance to the development of various types of networked computer games.
  • Network Architectures for Games: Review and evaluate the main network architectures and their relevance to network games: Client-Server, Peer-to- Peer, Hybrid, Multi-Server.
  • Distribution of Functionality: Critically evaluate methods for distributing the functionality and processing requirements of a network computer game between participating hosts on a network.
  • Message Passing Structure: Review and evaluate methods for passing data between hosts in network games.
  • Latency Mitigation: Critically evaluate the effects of, and potential solutions to dealing with latency in network computer games.
  • Prediction: Critically review dead reckoning, prediction and smoothing techniques and approaches for implementing fast action network computer games with a particular emphasis on maintaining the user experience.
  • Testing: Methods for testing the functionality and performance of networked computer games in order to evaluate robustness against network variations.

Brief description

Work together on an interactive media project as part of a multidisciplinary team. Contribute to the team by taking on a professional role suited to your area of study. Expect to: communicate with clients and relevant stakeholders; participate in pitching and presentations; research and test technical pipelines; create project documentation and planning materials; and contribute to the iterative design and development of a final interactive prototype.

Indicative content:

  • Team Organisation and Management: Attend and participate in team meetings, keep meeting minutes, and assign roles and responsibilities; Identify and overcome team problems, understand conflicts and approaches to conflict resolution, and engage with team building.
  • Communication and Professionalism: Demonstrate the ability to communicate within the team, with tutors, with clients/mentors, and with other stakeholders in a professional and respectful manner.
  • Development Methodologies: Understand and apply appropriate development methodologies framed by the requirements of a project and balance of a team, e.g. agile, scrum, lean, spiral, feature-driven, waterfall/traditional.
  • Research and Concept Development: Research similar products and competitors; Research and interpret the product marketplace, considering platform, user profiles, costs, regional differences etc; Conduct visual and audio research; Iteratively develop design concepts in response to a given brief.
  • Technologies and Pipelines: Research software and hardware technologies; Develop a technical plan for game development; Research, develop, test and document production pipelines.
  • Style and Branding: Develop a brand for the team and the project; Research, develop, document, and communicate a defined visual and audio style; Produce marketing and promotional materials.
  • Pitching and Presentation: Use appropriate software, hardware, game engines, and other tools to deliver a working digital prototype; Engage with regular user testing to inform design iteration, demonstrating an appreciation of user experience.
  • Prototype Development, Testing, and Iteration: Use appropriate software, hardware, game engines, and other tools to deliver a working digital prototype; Engage with regular user testing to inform design iteration, demonstrating an appreciation of user experience.
  • Release Management: Manage the software development process using source control, defect tracking, and build processes.
  • Project Delivery: Consider the methods for delivering products to the market, including market cycles, digital distribution, and the publisher-developer relationship; Deliver a complete prototype with accompanying press kit.

Brief description

Introduction to some of the many Artificial Intelligence techniques which are currently, or could in the near future, be used to enhance the development of intelligent game systems.

Indicative content:

  • ‘Traditional’ AI: Pathfinding, including A* and its derivatives, Flocking and Steering, Rule Based Systems, Finite State Machines.
  • AI Techniques: Fuzzy Logic and Fuzzy State Machines, Genetic Algorithms, Artificial Neural Networks.
  • Applications of AI: Combining AI techniques to produce A-life and Intelligent Agents in games.
  • Machine Learning: The ability of a machine to learn from its environment.
  • Mining: Knowledge discovery and the process of finding hidden patterns in data.
  • Intelligence on the Internet: Analyse the emergence of intelligent agents on the internet.

Brief description

The principles of formalising, implementing, testing and iterating on functional game mechanics applied in the context of a game engine.

Module content:

  • Modern game functionality programming: Review of modern game development with regards to use of game engines and methods and levels where game functionality can be implemented.
  • Aspects of game design: Theoretical and practical aspects of the game design process derived from established conventions. Analyse a game system from a game theoretical perspective and construction and upkeep of documentation.
  • From design to function: Design interpretation and extrapolation. The process of going from written design to design suitable for engine implementation. Consideration for correct game engine OO standards in visual scripting as well as code.
  • Maintainable design: Review and evaluation of the aspects of game functionality relevant to the iteration and evolution of game mechanics and how this integrates with other personnel in the development team.
  • Hardware integration: Dealing with hardware integration and aligning hardware to work with a game engine and specific game functionality.
  • Data logging, debugging and testing gameplay: Practices and specifics related to gameplay functionality.
  • Numerical analysis and data for game balancing: Review and evaluation of mathematical techniques and their application to aid in the balancing of gameplay parameters.

Year 4 Core Modules

You must study and pass all five core modules

Brief description

Introduction to the theory and practice of digital audio and music for games programming students.

Indicative content:

  • Introduction to Audio: How the ear works, frequency and pitch, amplitude, phase, sampling, aliasing, Nyquist, time vs. frequency representations, sinusoids, effects of basic operators.
  • Digital Audio: Digital representations, sample rate, bit depth, numerical computation concerns for audio ADCs and DACs, processing latency.
  • Audio Processing: Basic processing techniques and their implementations: normalisation, mixing, distortion, digital fillers, IIR/FIR, pitch and frequency shifting, ring modulation, reverb.
  • Audio Design for Games: Putting the above into practice: how audio is used in the design and implementation of games.
  • Audio Compression: Lossless codecs, perception and masking, perception of quality, perceptual codecs, streaming audio, audio processing for real-time chat, producing audio assets for games.
  • Audio in Game Engines: Audio facilities in real-world game engines and middleware.
  • Digital Music: How music theory relates to audio basics, structure of music and basic compositional techniques, sequencing and MIDI, streams of notes, streams of control messages, synthesis vs. sample playback, waveforms, envelopes.
  • Spatial Audio: Perception of spatial audio, multichannel audio, binaural audio, environmental audio design, characteristics of materials, reproducing an environment through processing, audio for virtual reality.
  • Interface Design with Audio: Delivering information effectively, user comfort and fatigue, how to improve accessibility through audio, current developments in audio for games interfaces.

Brief description

Emerging technology trends used in computer games development. Develop and apply techniques using existing technologies to explore these trends.

Indicative content:

  • Human Computer Interface: Input devices and methods of interaction with gaming platforms.
  • Visualisation: Programming techniques applicable to modern video graphics hardware.
  • Platform: Emerging hardware platforms used for computer games development.
  • Innovation: Enquiry based activity into technologies beyond that which is currently used for computer games development.

Brief description

Undertake the practical and development work for a major, in-depth individual project in an aspect of your programme. Devise the idea for the project and proof of concept to support the specification of a well-researched project proposal document.in Term 1. Carry out and complete the main development work for the project in Term 2.

Indicative content:

  • Investigation, Research and Selection: Initial investigation of project topic, Background research of project topic and Selection of project topic.
  • Evaluation: Methods of evaluating a project.
  • Legal, Social, Professional and Ethical Issues: Consideration of Legal, social, ethical and professional issues.
  • Proposal: Production of a project proposal.
  • Project Feasibility and Proof of Concept: Demonstrate feasibility of project.
  • Self-Directed Problem Solving, Originality and Creativity
  • Self-motivation, Initiative and Insight
  • Software Design Skills
  • Recording, Reporting and Communication Skills
  • Employability and Professional Development

Brief description

Present as a dissertation, a major, in-depth individual project in an aspect of your programme. Normally, you devise the project drawing from current industry and/or research based problem areas. Undertake the work and present it in a structured and coherent manner which allows for critical and insightful review and evaluation. Write the dissertation in academic style appropriate to your domain of study.

Indicative content:

  • Introduction: Introduce the topic of the project and the problem area, and appropriate research question.
  • Investigate: Investigate previous work in the chosen project area and show how the work of the project relates to it.
  • Justify: Demonstrate a sound justification for the approach and methodology adopted.
  • Document: Document the output of the project with some originality.
  • Evaluate: Critically evaluate the output, using third party evaluation where appropriate, and recognise the strengths and limitations of the work.
  • Communicate: Communicate your work professionally in the required academic format/style. Demonstrate an ability for independent learning and linkage to future work and career aspirations.

Brief description

The principles, practices and techniques in tools development. Develop and evaluate software tools with particular emphasis on addressing the needs of the game industry.

Module content:

  • Background to Tool Development: Review of games development tools with a particular emphasis on real world examples and applications.
  • Legacy Codebases: Review of working practices and techniques associated with dealing with legacy code in tools.
  • Databases: Review of databases relevant to games and how they are inter-faced with tools.
  • Tool Design and UX: Aspects of producing a tool fit for purpose and functional for the user. The importance of  user centred design.
  • Application Programming: Review of platforms, API’s, languages and processes to build tool applications with industry examples.
  • SE: Review and application of established software engineering practices.
  • Tool creation: Bringing aspects of 3D graphics, data management and user experience together to make a cohesive and functional tool.
  • Code review: Practices of Code review and team discussion on programming.

Brief description

Introduction to the theory and practice of digital audio and music for games programming students.

Indicative content:

  • Introduction to Audio: How the ear works, frequency and pitch, amplitude, phase, sampling, aliasing, Nyquist, time vs. frequency representations, sinusoids, effects of basic operators.
  • Digital Audio: Digital representations, sample rate, bit depth, numerical computation concerns for audio ADCs and DACs, processing latency.
  • Audio Processing: Basic processing techniques and their implementations: normalisation, mixing, distortion, digital fillers, IIR/FIR, pitch and frequency shifting, ring modulation, reverb.
  • Audio Design for Games: Putting the above into practice: how audio is used in the design and implementation of games.
  • Audio Compression: Lossless codecs, perception and masking, perception of quality, perceptual codecs, streaming audio, audio processing for real-time chat, producing audio assets for games.
  • Audio in Game Engines: Audio facilities in real-world game engines and middleware.
  • Digital Music: How music theory relates to audio basics, structure of music and basic compositional techniques, sequencing and MIDI, streams of notes, streams of control messages, synthesis vs. sample playback, waveforms, envelopes.
  • Spatial Audio: Perception of spatial audio, multichannel audio, binaural audio, environmental audio design, characteristics of materials, reproducing an environment through processing, audio for virtual reality.
  • Interface Design with Audio: Delivering information effectively, user comfort and fatigue, how to improve accessibility through audio, current developments in audio for games interfaces.

Fees and funding

The course fees you'll pay and the funding available to you depends on factors such as your nationality, location, personal circumstances and the course you are studying. 

More information

Find out about grants, bursaries, tuition fee loans, maintenance loans and living costs in our undergraduate fees and funding section.

 

Scholarships

We offer a range of scholarships to help support your studies with us.

As well as Abertay scholarships for English, Welsh, Northern Irish and international students, there are a range of corporate and philanthropic scholarships available. Some are course specific, many are not. There are some listed below or you can visit the Undergraduate scholarship pages.

Abertay International Scholarship

This is an award of up to £12,000 for prospective international undergraduate students.

Abertay rUK Scholarship

This is a £4000 award for prospective undergraduate students applying from England, Wales or Northern Ireland.

Ninja Kiwi

The Ninja Kiwi Scholarship is a one-year scholarship of £1,500 and is open to students who are entering Year 4 of Games courses.

The Robert Reid Bursary

Two £1,000 awards for students who have overcome challenges to attend university.

Dare Academy

Every year, we run the prestigious Dare Academy project, where teams of students are given a unique month-long summer hot-housing experience with games industry mentors to build and polish an industry-standard game.

We then showcase the games at EGX, the UK's biggest games event, and the top three teams are flown out to visit international games partners and to be profiled.

This is a unique offer for Abertay games students and it ensures you stand out from the crowd.

If you’re applying from overseas or from outside Scotland, we have scholarships available to make your studies more affordable.

Group of Dare Academy contestants

Careers

As the computer games industry continues to grow, so does the demand for first-rate game programmers and computer programmers with knowledge of developing applications using middleware such as game engines.

Upon graduation, you’ll possess a games-orientated programming degree, which is directly relevant to the needs of industry. The programme was created in response to industry requirements and is Skillset and PlayStation first accredited.

 

Animated warrior character with red hair

Choose Your Path

We work with leading game developers such as Electronic Arts, Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe, Codemasters, 4J Studios, and Denki, making graduates from the degree highly employable within these industries.

Graduates have found employment as games programmers in a wide variety of different areas, such as creating console games for …

  • Sony PlayStation®
  • Nintendo
  • Microsoft

… as well as programming the latest mobile devices.

While pursuing their studies, some students have even created their own startup companies.

 

Female wearing a Virtual Reality headset

Industry Links

Abertay has strong links with a wide range of companies including Sony, Microsoft, Ubisoft, FuturLab and Tag Games.

Industry engagement is an essential part of the degree. You’ll hear from industry speakers and receive mentorship from industry professionals as part of your group project work – this is as close as it gets to working for a games company. 

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Get inspired

Meet some of our Computer Game graduates and find out what they've gone on to do.

A picture of Steven Taarland

Steven Taarland

Co-Founder of the Rainbow Jam, Steven helps to celebrate and promote LGBT+ themes in games.

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Isabella Wang smiling

Isabella Wang

Isabella's Abertay degree gave her a significant edge in the job market in China. She's now a Chief Designer in Beijing.

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David Hamilton

Ninja Kiwi's Executive Vice President shares his journey from Abertay to over 100 million downloads.

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Unistats

Unistats collates comparable information in areas students have identified as important in making decisions about what and where to study. The core information it contains is called the Unistats dataset (formerly the Key Information Set (KIS)).