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 3D Games Development

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. With colleagues in the Division of Cybersecurity we are evaluating qualitatively and quantitatively, through psychophysiological measures, the user experience to measure how users engage with AR/VR experiences.

Linked to our AR/VR research is our work in virtual production, which sits at the interface between film and games. We have designed and developed a custom 3D camera rig to speed up in-game asset generation from film and eliminate 3D stereo artefacts which arise from using an off-the-shelf stereo camera. We are part of VIPROS (an Erasmus+ project) to develop educational material for the next generation of creative industry professionals on developing content with Virtual Production technology. In addition, VIPROS will define the cost and environmental sustainability benefits of virtual over physical production processes. Our SmartView project (see Systems Modelling) is using AR (Microsoft Hololens) for real-time information provision.

Linked to Systems Modelling is the exploitation of computer graphics technologies for interactive visualisation of large-scale cloud-based simulations. Building on our GPGPU expertise we are exploring GPU efficiencies for high fidelity real-time games and simulations across diverse hardware. Our focus 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 virtual cancer spheroid visualisation and, more generally, any digital twin visualisation at any scale.

Games Networking and Distributed Computing

Modern computer games supported by networks provide a rich ecosystem of social interactions. Within-game and beyond-game social mechanisms are often developed with the aim of increasing in-game purchasing and deepening user data collection. This data collection exercise prompts questions that we are exploring, including whether players know what data they are sharing and why, how data might be leveraged and whether algorithmic manipulation mechanisms of controls drive particular player behaviour.

Network technologies also afford opportunities for distributed computing through cloud computing and compute-clusters. Our research enables us to simulate models of complex systems, and in particular cancer cells, at spatial scales that far exceed what is possible on a single machine. Our approach uses message passing (MPI) and results show good scaling on both local area networks and the high-performance compute resource ARCHER. This distributed computing capacity combined with our GPGPU interactive visualisation allow us to simulate and visualise complex models of real-world systems and provide a foundation for the implementation of sophisticated large-scale digital twins.

Abertay’s Emergent Technology Centre houses a 5G pilot core and Abertay has access to a 5G R&D Testbed in Slessor Gardens at the Dundee Waterfront. Working with colleagues in the Divisions of Cybersecurity together with Games and Arts, we will explore the possibilities afforded by 5G connectivity in games and interactive experiences. Key areas of investigation are machine learning for network management, dynamical systems modelling, the Internet of Things and 5G-backed interactive experiences.

Systems Modelling

Systems Modelling explores complex phenomena over multiple scales and interactive visualisation in computer games, environmental science, physics, and health. Our overarching agenda is the construction of interactive, real-time and playable simulations in both entertainment and non-entertainment contexts that bring to life systems models through simulation, i.e., digital twins. This playability allows domain experts to investigate complex systems in an intuitive way and supports discovery of new insights.

We combine game engines and physics research, focusing 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. 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 have used 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.

For health, we have worked with psychologists to develop an app (Tapology, on the App Store) to introduce tablets and smartphones to individuals who find touch screens intimidating in a playful way to help people build confidence and share good practice in internet use. 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. Our games technologies enable life scientists to conduct virtual experiments exploring the impact of anti-cancer drugs on cell behaviour, 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.

A growing area of research is the combination of systems modelling, data analytics and artificial intelligence. For example, in a partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support and the Digital Health and Social Care Innovation Centre we are using a combination of artificial intelligence and interactive visualisation to improve cancer support provision across the UK. We are using generative adversarial networks to automatically generate user interfaces and how models of game play and data analytics can improve the player experience, including game balancing. Finally, we are working with AgriEpi Innovation Centre and Pocket Sized Hands to develop an AI-powered Augmented Reality tool underpinned by machine learning to improve animal health and productivity.

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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