Division of Games Technology and Mathematics

Our centre for degrees, research and knowledge in applied computer science, games technology and mathematics.

About us

Learn all the skills you need to become a games programmer in one of the most rewarding industries in the world.

Abertay was the first university to offer Computer Games Technology degrees. We are the best school in Europe to study game design and development, and consistently feature in the Princeton Review’s list of the world’s top games courses. The School is designated the National Centre of Excellence in Computer Games Education. 

We aim to develop your technical and creative skills, and where possible, give you opportunities to work closely with industry. We are a leading partner in Sony’s PlayStation First initiative, and home to the largest PlayStation teaching lab in Europe.  

Our staff have extensive games and computing expertise in areas such as:

  • Computer graphics and visualisation
  • Real-time animation
  • AI and Data Analytics for Games
  • Games Programming
  • Virtual and Augmented Realities
  • Procedural content generation
  • Physics-based gameplay
  • Complex Systems
  • Parallel programming (GPGPU and concurrency)
  • Applied Games

There are specialist laboratories for working on games, networking and the Internet of Things. We pioneered cross-disciplinary practice-based learning through our 'workplace simulation' approach. Lecturers and students from different disciplines work together to design and develop game prototypes, and playable or interactive experiences.

It will come as no surprise to learn that our degrees have an excellent reputation for employability, and our alumni work all over the world.

Head of Division

Professor Ruth Falconer

 

Study with us

We teach the following degrees in Games Technology and Mathematics:

Postgraduate Taught Degrees

We run an MSc Computer Games Technology course that gives you the skills and expertise needed to enter the Video Games Industry. Topics includes:

  • Mathematics & Artificial Intelligence
  • Procedural Content Generation
  • Programming for Games
  • Network Programming

Postgraduate Research Areas

Please see below for our areas of research focus in this Division.

Or, if you are looking for something specific, visit the full list of university-wide research opportunities in our course list.

Facilities

The Division of Games Technology and Mathematics has specialist game development laboratories and access to R&D facilities for teaching and research. These include:

  • The Playstation Lab
  • Emergent Technology Centre & 5G Testbed
  • Usability Lab
  • Professional grade sound and audio recording studio

The learning spaces are a combination of dedicated development studios and project spaces facilitating 'workplace simulation'.

Ethical Hacking Laboratory - room full of Desktop computers

Our Research

Central to the Division's research activity is our expertise in computer games technologies, in particular, the computer science and mathematics at the core of those technologies. 

The aim is to broaden the range of interactive experiences possible within the realm of computer games or to unlock the wider economic benefits of game technology. Staff contribute to the University’s Creative Industries & Cultural Vitality Challenge Space.

In partnership with the Division of Games and Arts, our research drives new forms of game-based interactions and simulations. We have also exploited games technologies in food and energy security and in healthcare as part of the Sustainable Development & Inclusive Living and Health & Care Across the Lifespan Challenge Spaces.

The School of Design and Informatics hosts: (i) InGAME  (Innovation for Games and Media Enterprise) the UK Creative Cluster for Computer Games, which provides a R&D environment for new and experimental creative content, products, services and experiences; (ii) the Emergent Technology Centre which will house a 5G network core (part of a £4M 5G R&D Testbed partnership with Dundee City Council and Scottish Futures Trust) - the first Scottish innovation hub to support R&D on enabling technologies for applications where mobile plays a key role (e.g., service delivery, Internet of Things); and (iii) cyberQuarter (£18.2M Tay Cities Deal) which brings together academia and industry to: create new products, markets and services; catalyse the growth of a Cybersecurity cluster that will retain and attract talent and investment; and make businesses and citizens more cyber-resilient.

Real-Time Animation

Our research develops real-time animations for use in games and in virtual and augmented realities. In the computer games context we are drawing on methods from mathematics and physics to create physically based and realistic real-time interactive fluid simulations.

The physics-based characteristic can be linked to gameplay mechanics to enhance the user experience.

A physics-based animation framework has been developed to facilitate the creation of interactive deformable characters. This allows the movement of the deformable character to be controlled in a predicable manner, but also facilitate the creation of deformation-based behaviours.

Virtual and Augmented Realities

Virtual and augmented realities present unique challenges and opportunities for interactive experiences and the Division is exploring modes of interaction with these technologies and their convergence with e.g. film and artificial intelligence. With industry partners we are exploring the enterprise applications of Augmented and Virtual Realities for real-time data visualisation.

We are developing AR and VR experiences on a range of technology platforms and are testing these platforms in different contexts. We are especially interested in combining games technology and play with virtual and augmented platforms. We are also evaluating qualitatively and quantitatively, through psychophysiological measures, the user experience to measure how users engage with AR/VR experiences.

Modelling and Simulation

Modelling and Simulation explores complex phenomena over multiple scales and interactive visualisation in engineering, physics, health and computer games. Our overarching agenda is the construction of interactive, real-time and playable simulations, i.e. simulations of complex systems drawing on game technology e.g. explorable game-based interfaces, customisation, aesthetics and optimisation via hardware acceleration. This playability allows domain experts to investigate complex systems in an intuitive way and supports discovery of new insights.  A key area of focus is emerging technologies (machine learning, high-performance simulation, dynamical systems models) linked to interactive experiences (games, games engine technologies and both entertainment and applied games contexts (e.g., manufacturing).

Within InGAME, Modelling & Simulation is playing a leading role in technology experimentation and diversification.

In the environment, a central challenge is to safeguard the UK’s water, energy and food security – three of the UK’s most valuable resources that are rapidly running out. We are using our expertise in complex systems modelling and interactive visualisation and simulation to help stakeholders determine the impact of different sustainability initiatives and policies across water, energy and food, that might interact to deliver solutions that will work for the system as a whole. We collaborate with stakeholders and a range of discipline experts to provide interactive visualisations that underpin sustainable decision-making and improved understanding of complex interactions and relationships: for example, of the water-energy-food nexus. Physics research focuses on high-precision simulation of multi-scale dynamical systems: for example we exploit games engine efficiencies for molecular dynamics simulations for plasma processing, have procedurally generated clouds and lightning in games, and our lightning model is being used in planetary Global Circulation Models.

For health, our collaborative and cross-disciplinary approach with life scientists and health practitioners has enabled us to characterise tumour tissue and cell signalling dynamics in response to therapeutic interventions and oncological mutations. We use games technologies to enable life scientists to conduct virtual experiments exploring the impact of anti-cancer drugs on cell behaviour. Drugs and cancer-causing mutations can be added, allowing for exploration of the dynamics of cell signalling pathways in a way that has not been possible before. We have built a cancer cell signalling visualisation toolkit able to convert existing computer models of cell behaviour into dynamic, colour-coded animations. This real-time interactive visualisation of a cancer cell has led to a new partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support, to use network visualisation to improve cancer support provision across the UK.

Parallel and Concurrent Programming

In our games programming research, we also make use of the rendering and compute functionalities offered by the GPU to increase spatial and temporal scale of simulations. Interpretation of simulation output can be challenging and we advocate the 'built-in' visual simulation afforded by GPGPU implementations that employ optimisations that are standard in the production of real-time interactive scenes. We are extending our cancer cell signalling research, to implement a virtual tumour using a distributed approach that permits more complex responses to drugs because of interactions with other cells, the cell microenvironment, and oxygen and nutrient availability.

Our expertise in programming also extends to design patterns and in partnership with the Division of Cyber Security we have been developing design patterns to improve computer system security.

Game AI and Analytics

We are exploring how AI and deep learning can generate content for games, and how data analytics can improve the player and learner experience – the latter for applied games and educational tools. We are also applying affective computing techniques and emotion modelling to improve game AI and player immersion.

Our expertise is broadening its reach into areas including Health, Community and Social Care. Almost all of our research projects are rooted in real-world problems and are client facing, e.g. games companies, charities, Innovation centres etc.

3D Graphics & Visualisation

Building on our GPGPU expertise we are exploring GPU efficiencies for high fidelity real-time games and simulations across diverse hardware. Of interest is how new raytracing technology and GPGPU programming may be leveraged, creating new acceleration structures and rasterization formats. This includes applying continuous functional representations and grammars with raytracing instead of traditional polygonal rendering. Applications include the cancer research work and the rendering of the 4D virtual tumour.

 

Job Opportunities

For Job Openings, including Research Fellowships in our School, view the job search section on our website.

For PhD Studentships in any of our Subject areas, check out the Funded research projects and Postgraduate Research Funding sections.

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