Course Information

MComp Games Computing

MComp Games Computing

MComp 3 - 5 Years School Of Computer Science Lincoln Campus [L] Subject to Validation 320 points G610 MComp 4 - 5 Years School Of Computer Science Lincoln Campus [L] Subject to Validation 320 points G610

Accreditations

Accreditations

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Overseas Applicants


For international students who do not meet criteria for direct entry to this degree we offer the International Year One learning experience. Depending on your English language level you will study 3 or 4 terms then progress directly to the second year of this degree.


Further information about the International Year One

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Graduate's Industry Success

Games Computing graduate, David King, is Technical Director for Criterion Games, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Electronic Arts. He has worked as a Tools Engineer on titles such as the Need for Speed and Harry Potter franchises.

MComp Games Computing specifically aims to develop professional and transferable skills in the selection and deployment of a range of methods, techniques and practices appropriate for a games computing professional.

The course is distinctive in that it provides strong conceptual and methodological groundings in game software design and development, as well as the contemporary approaches to more general software development.

In particular, the Games Computing curriculum gives students exposure to, and the opportunity to develop skills in, core areas of game development. Students are encouraged to develop their own creativity and advanced computing skills, and to recognise that software engineering methodologies and principles are as important as creative design in the success of a computer game product.

Mathematics and programming activities give a firm base on which to develop these principles. Opportunities to develop software within computer games console environments, such as the Xbox 360 as well as within desktop and mobile environments, are designed to encourage students to further demonstrate their skills.

Introduction

The MComp is a four-year programme which enhances and extends the equivalent BSc (Hons) programme. It includes an industry-related project, some optional study modules and a substantial Masters level project. Taking a fourth year of study allows you to study at Masters Level and both deepen and broaden your knowledge and understanding. This can provide you with a stronger CV and give you a distinct edge in the job market.

An emphasis is placed on game programming, mathematics, graphics and game engine programming, game design and other specialist areas such as artificial intelligence and computer vision during this degree.

The curriculum is closely matched to industry standards and trends. As well as specialising in computer game development, you will gain a thorough grounding in all aspects of software development and computer project management.

For those who wish to continue their academic studies, the degree offers a sound basis for research and study at doctoral level.

Accreditations

This course is accredited by the following:

  • Institution of Analysts and Programmers
  • British Interactive Multimedia Association (BIMA)
  • International Game Developers Association (IGDA).

How You Study

Full-time or part-time study available

How You Are Assessed

The course is assessed through a variety of means, including in-class tests, coursework and examinations, although the majority of assessments are coursework based.

Entry Requirements

Applicants should have a minimum of 320 UCAS Tariff points from a minimum of two A Levels (or the equivalent). In addition to the minimum of two A Levels, other qualifications such as AS Levels, the Extended Project and the ASDAN CoPE for example, will be counted towards the 320 point requirement.

We also accept a wide range of other qualifications including the BTEC Extended Diploma, Diploma and Subsidiary Diploma, the European and International Baccalaureate Diplomas, and Advanced Diplomas.

Applicants will also be required to have at least five GCSEs at grade C or above (or the equivalent), including English Language and Maths.

Applications are welcomed from mature students who are studying towards an Access to Higher Education programme. A minimum of 45 level 3 credits at merit or above will be required. We will also consider applicants with extensive relevant work experience.

For international students who do not meet criteria for direct entry to this degree we offer the International Year One in Computer Science. Depending on your English language level you will study 3 or 4 terms then progress directly to the second year of this degree.

If you would like further information about entry requirements, or would like to discuss whether the qualifications you are currently studying are acceptable, please contact the Admissions team on 01522 886097, or email admissions@lincoln.ac.uk.

Level 1

Maths for Computing

This module aims to equip students with mathematical knowledge and skills required to design and develop computer systems and software.

Level 2

Artificial Intelligence

This module provides a comprehensive introduction to the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and highlights application areas of AI, ranging from computer games to robotics. The module first considers the symbolic model of intelligence, exploring some of the main conceptual issues, theoretical approaches and practical techniques. The module further explores knowledge-based systems such as expert systems, which mimic human reasoning performance by capturing knowledge of a domain and integrating it to deliver a performance comparable to that of a human practitioner. Fundamental techniques such as heuristic search and its application to planning are being taught, facilitating problem solving and games AI. To complement the symbolic and deterministic approaches in AI, an introduction to probabilistic reasoning and decision making is given. The learning of the relevant theoretical concepts is facilitated through practical workshops throughout the semester comprising of hands-on implementation and application of AI algorithms. The module discusses the opportunities and limitations of state-of-the-art AI techniques and their potential in solving real-world problems, with references to recent research.

Professional Practice

Professional Practice aims to develop an understanding of the basic cultural, social, legal, and ethical issues inherent in the discipline of computing; and to promote personal professionalism in the workplace.

Level 3

Business Intelligence (Option)

Business Intelligence (BI) refers to technologies, applications, and practices for the collection, integration, analysis, and presentation of business information. The purpose of the module is for students to understand the issues involved in the use of these 'tools' and how they might be applied to support insightful business decision-making.

Critical Perspectives on Project Management (Option)

Critical Perspectives on Project Management (CPPM) explores the practical issues and challenges of putting technology to work. As technology grows and becomes ever more pervasive, the size, complexity and timescales of related projects grow too. The challenges facing project managers involved in planning, coordinating, directing and implementing technology based projects on-time, to budget and operationally as expected is ever growing.

Entrepreneurship and Innovation 1 (Option)

Entrepreneurship has many meanings but can be thought of as “a spirit of creative thinking and innovation that embraces an entire organisation”*. An alternative perspective is that entrepreneurs “develop innovations, create jobs, and contribute to a more vibrant national and global economy”. Some of the traits which are often attributed to the entrepreneur include: initiative, imagination, flexibility, creativity, a willingness to think conceptually, and the capacity to see change as an opportunity. This module provides the business context for activities supported by and delivered through computing technologies. Students investigate the drivers for modern Electronic Business and consider enterprise applications from a business viewpoint. Students will explore the process of taking a technologically grounded idea and develop a business case to the point where profitability begins at breakeven point. The Entrepreneurial perspective considers business development as a holistic process, students will engage with this notion throughout the module. The module will also draw upon examples and themes from Social Computing which is rapidly growing in importance.

*http://instruct1.cit.cornell.edu/courses/cuttingedge/entrepreneurshi_matl/02_entrep.html

Entrepreneurship and Innovation 2 (Option)

This module builds on the principles of Entrepreneurship & Innovation I and applies formal methods and approaches in the exploration of specific areas of entrepreneurship and innovation. The module will also investigate the application of social computing principles, game theory and cooperation analysis in the development of an entrepreneurial idea.

Image Processing (Option)

Digital image processing techniques are used in a wide variety of application areas such as computer vision, robotics, remote sensing, industrial inspection, medical imaging, etc. It is the study of any algorithms that take image as an input and returns useful information as output. This module aims to provide a broad introduction to the field of image processing, culminating in a practical understanding of how to apply and combine techniques to various image-related applications. The students will be able to extract useful data from the raw image and interpret the image data. The techniques will be implemented using the mathematical programming language Matlab or OpenCV.

Level 4

Business Intelligence (M) (Option)

Business Intelligence (BI) refers to technologies, applications, and practices for the collection, integration, analysis, and presentation of business information. The purpose of the module is for students to understand the issues involved in the use of these 'tools' and how they might be applied to support insightful business decision-making.

Critical Perspectives on Project Management (M) (Option)

Critical Perspectives on Project Management (CPPM) explores the practical issues and challenges of putting technology to work. As technology grows and becomes ever more pervasive, the size, complexity and timescales of related projects grow too. The challenges facing project managers involved in planning, coordinating, directing and implementing technology based projects on-time, to budget and operationally as expected is ever growing.

Entrepreneurship and Innovation 1 (M) (Option)

Entrepreneurship has many meanings but can be thought of as “a spirit of creative thinking and innovation that embraces an entire organisation”*. An alternative perspective is that entrepreneurs “develop innovations, create jobs, and contribute to a more vibrant national and global economy”. Some of the traits which are often attributed to the entrepreneur include: initiative, imagination, flexibility, creativity, a willingness to think conceptually, and the capacity to see change as an opportunity. This module provides the business context for activities supported by and delivered through computing technologies. Students investigate the drivers for modern Electronic Business and consider enterprise applications from a business viewpoint. Students will explore the process of taking a technologically grounded idea and develop a business case to the point where profitability begins at breakeven point. The Entrepreneurial perspective considers business development as a holistic process, students will engage with this notion throughout the module. The module will also draw upon examples and themes from Social Computing which is rapidly growing in importance.

*http://instruct1.cit.cornell.edu/courses/cuttingedge/entrepreneurshi_matl/02_entrep.html

Special Features & Research Highlights

Students have access to specialised development laboratory provision providing access to industry standard software development environments, 3D modelling software and game distribution platforms, such as the Steam Café.

In addition, console development environments are provided such as Xbox 360 systems and PlayStation 2 Linux development kits. A motion capture research system is available for project work.

Overseas study visits have been a feature of our courses in recent years. Visits to locations within the United States provide students with a unique insight into games development issues in overseas territories.

Student as Producer

Student as Producer is a development of the University of Lincoln's policy of research-informed teaching to research-engaged teaching. Research-engaged teaching involves more research and research-like activities at the core of the undergraduate curriculum. A significant amount of teaching at the University of Lincoln is already research-engaged.

Student as Producer will make research-engaged teaching an institutional priority, across all colleges and subject areas. In this way students become part of the academic project of the University and collaborators with academics in the production of knowledge and meaning. Research-engaged teaching is grounded in the intellectual history and tradition of the modern university.

Please visit the Student as Producer website for further information. [http://studentasproducer.lincoln.ac.uk/]

Career Opportunities

Graduates go on to work as game, tools and physics/AI programmers, level designers, mission scripters, games testers, web designers and IT project managers.

Careers Service

While you are at the University of Lincoln, you will have different services at your disposal that will help you best prepare for your future career.

The University's Careers & Employability Team offers qualified advisors who can work with you to provide tailored, individual support and careers advice during your time at the University and once you graduate.

This service includes one-to-one coaching, CV advice and interview preparation to help you maximise your future opportunities. Having achieved new knowledge and skills, you will be fully supported to fulfil your career ambitions.

The service works closely with local, national and international employers, acting as a gateway to the business world. It advertises a range of graduate positions around the country.

Visit our Careers Service pages for further information. [http://www.lincoln.ac.uk/home/campuslife/studentsupport/studentcareersservice/]

What's Included?

At the University of Lincoln, we provide access to excellent teaching and learning facilities, library materials, laboratories, laboratory equipment, consumables and IT equipment that you would expect to find included in your tuition fee.

In addition, we cover other necessary costs associated with modules which are a compulsory part of your course. These compulsory items are included in your tuition fee.

Introduction

The global video games industry is worth more than $80 billion annually. It has, in terms of sales, overtaken the film industry. New releases of games and consoles are no longer just product launches but international news events.

Games Computing degrees at the University of Lincoln are closely aligned with industry practices and trends to ensure that you are prepared for a successful career in this evolving and innovative sector.

Our Games Computing courses are distinctive in that they provide a strong conceptual and methodological grounding in games design and development, as well as a contemporary approach to more general software development and computer science. Throughout the course, you are encouraged to recognise that software engineering is as important as creative design in the success of computer game products.

You develop software within console environments, as well as in desktop and mobile platforms. The course also explores games programming, mathematics, games engine programming and other specialist topics such as artificial intelligence and social gaming.

Accreditations

This course is accredited by the British Computer Society and the Institution of Analysts and Programmers.

Lincoln’s School of Computer Science is a member of the British Interactive Media Association and Tiga, the UK games industry association.

How You Are Assessed

The course is assessed through a variety of means, including in-class tests, coursework and examinations, although the majority of assessments are coursework based.

Entry Requirements

Applicants should have a minimum of 320 UCAS Tariff points, and at least three GCSEs at grade C or above, including Maths and English Language.

For international students who do not meet criteria for direct entry to this degree we offer the International Year One in Computer Science. Depending on your English language level you will study 3 or 4 terms then progress directly to the second year of this degree.

Level 1

Computer Systems

This module introduces students to computer hardware, the history of computing, data representation and manipulation at the byte level, basic machine instructions, the operation of the fetch-execute cycle, the characteristics of main and cache memory, I/O control and the inner working of disk storage. This module also presents the more popular hardware architectures and provides a basic introduction to microcontrollers.

Data Structures

The module provides students with an introduction to the techniques for representing data, and fundamental data structures. No particular programming language is adopted to support the module; exemplars are given using a range of common languages to further the broad application of the principles discussed.

Introductory Games Studies

This module considers different aspects of the contemporary computer game industry, including an overview of the game development process, introductory ideas on games design, and cultural aspects.

Maths for Computing

This module aims to equip students with mathematical knowledge and skills required to design and develop computer systems and software. Topics covered include: sets, relations and functions, logic, basic calculus, algebra, basic statistics, introduction to probability theory.

Operating Systems

In this module students will study both the theoretical design concepts which underpin all operating systems and, through case studies, the practical implementation techniques of current operating systems. Special attention will be given to shell programming languages and examples, to practically implement concepts and techniques at the basis of the various operating systems.

Software Development

Students will learn the concepts and practice of simple computer programming, and also cover quality and testing issues. Following on from this fundamental base, students will extend their knowledge of computer programming, enabling them to create systems, consisting of multiple classes and objects. Fundamental principles of discrete mathematics are also explored and developed.

Level 2

Advanced Software Development

This module provides a comprehensive analysis of the general principles and practices of advanced programming with respect to software development. Software development issues and techniques are considered from a high-level perspective and notions of advanced programming are emphasised in the context of analysis, design and implementation. Great importance is placed upon the Object-Oriented paradigm and related concepts applied to software development.

Computer Graphics and Games Programming

This module introduces the student to the fundamentals, theory, principles, methods, and techniques of 2D and 3D Computer Graphics and Computer Generated Imagery which will be delivered through a games programming context. Students will be encouraged to develop game code to utilise the graphics algorithms and techniques.

Game Design

This module covers theory and practice of game design, including level design. Students engage in a range of group-based practical exercises, including the design of paper-based and computer-based games. The relationship between game mechanics and player experience is considered and investigated.

Group Project

Working in a team of people on a single project which lasts for both semesters of the year, students will tackle a significant problem. It will be up to the members of the group to design, specify, and implement a significant artefact which is directly relevant to their course. Students will apply skills and knowledge drawn from all aspects of the course, and subsequently find this a challenging and rewarding experience.

Level 3

Computer Vision and Robotics (Option)

This module aims to provide students with a broad introduction to the closely related fields of Computer Vision and Robotics, culminating in a practical understanding of how to apply and combine techniques from these fields in intelligent systems such as robots. The first part of the module concentrates on interpretation of digital images by computers, providing an understanding of the range of processing components involved from pixel-level to pattern recognition. The latter part of the module concentrates on applied Artificial Intelligence techniques from the field of Mobile Robotics, providing an understanding of the range of processing components required to build physically embodied robotic systems, from basic control architectures to human-robot interaction.

Game Engines

This module is concerned with the structure of game engine design, and other components of engines including physics simulation and artificial intelligence. Students will learn about current physics programming techniques, developing controlled non-player characters, and the structure and development of contemporary game engine software.

Professional Practice (Computer Science)

The module aims to develop an understanding of the basic cultural, social, legal and ethical issues inherent in the discipline of computing, and to promote personal professionalism in the workplace. It also allows students to develop essential skills in CV writing applying for jobs and presenting themselves at interview.

Project (Computer Science)

This module provides students with an opportunity to demonstrate their ability to work independently on an in-depth project with an implementation element that builds on their established knowledge, understanding and skills. Students will normally be expected to demonstrate their ability to apply practical and analytical skills, innovation and/or creativity, and to be able to synthesise information, ideas and practices to provide a problem solution. Self-management is a key concept here, as is the ability to engage in critical self-evaluation.

Project Preparation (Computer Science)

This module provides students with the skills necessary to conduct an independent study project. The output of this module will form the foundation for the Project module. At the conclusion of this project students should have formed a clear understanding of the aims and objectives of their final level project.

Social Applications Development (Option)

This module explores the issues that emerge when developing systems with separate components distributed across multiple computing and operating platforms. The module will focus on the development and usage of applications on mobile platforms and, in particular, smart-phones. This will include an analysis of the technological capabilities of these devices, how mobile systems and devices differ from conventional ones, and how these differences must be taken into account during the design process. The module aims to give a solid grounding in developing networked applications using C# and Java, and an appreciation of contemporary issues facing internet applications developers, including the development of devices and applications for pervasive and ubiquitous computing scenarios.

Software Engineering (Option)

The module covers advanced topics of software engineering. In the first semester students will concentrate on the analysis and improvement of software processes. In the second semester, focus will be on the analysis and improvement of software products. indicative topics include Software Evolution, Software Reuse, the Agile Paradigm and the use of Empirical Studies in Software Engineering research, Software Architectures, Design Patterns, Refactoring and Software as a Service.

Level 4

Industrial Project (M)

This module integrates the skills and knowledge students will have gained so far in their programme of study. It provides an opportunity for students to gain confidence in working independently on a substantive real world project. The Industrial Project is conducted in conjunction with a (usually external) client, and focuses on the production of a deliverable appropriate to students’ programme of study.

MComp Project (M)

This module presents students with the opportunity to evaluate theory and its application in a practical context through the development of a report and normally a substantive implementation. The research project is an individual piece of work, which enables the students to apply and integrate elements of study from a range of modules.

Research Methods (M)

This module supports students in their individual task of a research-led project, and enables them to pursue independent reasoning and be conscious of the difficulties and challenges of research in modern social and scientific contexts.

Special Features & Research Highlights

Overseas Visits

Overseas study visits have been a feature of our courses in recent years. Visits to locations within the United States provide students with a unique insight into games development issues in overseas territories.

Student as Producer

Student as Producer is a development of the University of Lincoln's policy of research-informed teaching to research-engaged teaching. Research-engaged teaching involves more research and research-like activities at the core of the undergraduate curriculum. A significant amount of teaching at the University of Lincoln is already research-engaged.

Student as Producer will make research-engaged teaching an institutional priority, across all colleges and subject areas. In this way students become part of the academic project of the University and collaborators with academics in the production of knowledge and meaning. Research-engaged teaching is grounded in the intellectual history and tradition of the modern university.

Please visit the Student as Producer website for further information. [http://studentasproducer.lincoln.ac.uk/]

Facilities

The University of Lincoln has a specialised development laboratory, industry-standard software development environments, three-dimensional modelling software, motion capture systems and games distribution platforms. Console development environments are available with systems including Dreamspark, Rift and Unity Pro software.

Career Opportunities

Games Computing graduates work as tools programmers, artificial intelligence programmers, level designers, mission scripters, games testers and many other roles in the wider IT industry. Lincoln graduates have gone on to work for some of the computer games industry giants as well as for niche companies in the sector. These include Electronic Arts (EA Games), Criterion Games, Rockstar, Sumo Digital and Team 17.

Games Computing graduate, David King, is Technical Director for Criterion Games, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Electronic Arts. He has worked as a Tools Engineer on titles such as the Need for Speed and Harry Potter franchises.

Careers Service

While you are at the University of Lincoln, you will have different services at your disposal that will help you best prepare for your future career.

The University's Careers & Employability Team offers qualified advisors who can work with you to provide tailored, individual support and careers advice during your time at the University and once you graduate.

This service includes one-to-one coaching, CV advice and interview preparation to help you maximise your future opportunities. Having achieved new knowledge and skills, you will be fully supported to fulfil your career ambitions.

The service works closely with local, national and international employers, acting as a gateway to the business world. It advertises a range of graduate positions around the country.

Visit our Careers Service pages for further information. [http://www.lincoln.ac.uk/home/campuslife/studentsupport/studentcareersservice/]

What's Included?

At the University of Lincoln, we provide access to excellent teaching and learning facilities, library materials, laboratories, laboratory equipment, consumables and IT equipment that you would expect to find included in your tuition fee.

In addition, we cover other necessary costs associated with modules which are a compulsory part of your course. These compulsory items are included in your tuition fee.

Fees

2014 Entry UK/EUInternational
Full-time £9,000 per level £13,648 per level
Part-time £75 per credit point £114 per credit point
Placement (optional) Exempt Exempt

 

2015 Entry UK/EUInternational
Full-time £9,000 per level £14,522 per level
Part-time £75 per credit point £121 per credit point
Placement (optional) Exempt Exempt

 

For further information and for details about funding your study, please see our UK/EU Fees & Funding pages or our International funding and scholarship pages. [www.lincoln.ac.uk/home/studyatlincoln/undergraduatecourses/feesandfunding/] [www.lincoln.ac.uk/home/international/feesandfunding/internationalscholarships/]

The University intends to provide its courses as outlined in these pages. Occasionally provision may be altered in order to meet changing circumstances or to keep courses up to date with trends and developments in subject areas. Specific programme queries should be directed to the teaching department. Fees for all our courses may increase each year in line with government regulations and are subject to change.


Always check our website for the latest information about entry tariffs, fees & funding before making your application to the University.