Postgraduate Course

MSc Computer Games

MSc Computer Games

Overview

The details
Computer Games
October 2022
Full-time
1 year
Colchester Campus

Both for entertainment and for more serious purposes such as virtual reality training, computer games, gamification and games intelligences are increasingly important in today’s world. This is your opportunity to turn your passion into a career.

At Essex we specialise in virtual worlds, machine learning, artificial intelligence and high-level games design and development. On our course, you develop both theoretical and practical knowledge of computer games. Our flexible approach allows you to fill gaps in your knowledge and brush up on a variety of languages, making sure you’re ready to bring your designs to life.

You explore topics including:

  • Game design
  • Game AI
  • 3D games development
  • Mobile app programming
  • Physics-based games

Our School is a community of scholars leading the way in technological research and development. Today’s computer scientists are creative people who are focused and committed, yet restless and experimental. We are home to many of the world’s top scientists, and our work is driven by creativity and imagination as well as technical excellence.

More than than two-thirds of our research is rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent' (REF 2014), and you have the opportunity to work with the School's PhD and staff researchers.

Why we're great.
  • Capitalise on our expertise and flexible approach – tailor your degree and bring your designs to life
  • Learn from pioneers – we are the birth place of the ‘virtual world’
  • Our Employability and Careers Centre is on hand to help with careers advice and planning. You will also have opportunities to present your research and travel to international conferences
THE Awards 2018 - Winner University of the Year

Our expert staff

The University of Essex was the birthplace of the ‘virtual world’. Multi-User Dungeons (MUD) – multi-player, real-time virtual worlds – were created by our students, including Richard Bartle, who still teaches Computer Games here today. Richard was also included in Geek.com’s list of the most influential game developers of all time.

Our research staff include Dr Adrian Clark, who works on computer graphics and augmented reality.

More broadly, our research covers a range of topics, from materials science and semiconductor device physics, to the theory of computation and the philosophy of computer science, with most of our research groups based around laboratories offering world-class facilities.

Our impressive external research funding stands at over £4 million and we participate in a number of EU initiatives and undertake projects under contract to many outside bodies, including government and industrial organisations.

Specialist facilities

We are one of the largest and best resourced computer science and electronic engineering schools in the UK. Our work is supported by extensive networked computer facilities and software aids, together with a wide range of test and instrumentation equipment.

  • We have six laboratories that are exclusively for computer science and electronic engineering students. Three are open 24/7, and you have free access to the labs except when there is a scheduled practical class in progress
  • All computers are dual boot Windows 10 and Linux. Apple Mac Computers are dual boot MacOS and Windows 10
  • Software includes Java, C++, Perl, MySQL, Matlab, Microsoft Office, Visual Studio, and Project
  • Students have access to CAD tools and simulators for chip design (Xilinx) and computer networks (OMNet++)
  • We also have specialist facilities for research into areas including non-invasive brain-computer interfaces, intelligent environments, robotics, optoelectronics, video, RF and MW, printed circuit milling, and semiconductors

Your future

Graduates of our School go on to work for giants in the field such as Intel and Panasonic, but the corporate route isn’t for everyone. Some of the most exciting and innovative work in the field is being developed by small start-up companies. Our optional business module focuses on developing your entrepreneurial spirit, teaching you how to apply your technical and creative skills to your own venture.

Our recent graduates have progressed to a variety of senior positions in industry and academia.

We also work with the university’s Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

We will consider applicants with a 2:2 degree in one of the following subjects:

  • Computer science
  • Computer Engineering
  • Computer Networks
  • Computer Games
  • Computing
  • Software Engineering

With at least one other computer related module e.g Database,Web Development, Software Engineering, Operating System, Computer Architecture, Computer systems.

OR

A 2.2 degree in:

  • Electronic Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Telecommunication Engineering
  • Information Engineering
  • Automation
  • Mechatronic Engineering
  • Mathematics
  • Physics

With at least one Maths module e.g. Mathematics, Calculus, Algebra, Differential equations, Probability and statistics, Signal and systems, Control theory, Control systems, Computer systems, Embedded systems, Microprocessors.

And 1 programming module such as C, C#, C++, Java, Python, Object oriented programming, Advanced programming, * 1 math module such as Mathematics, Calculus, Algebra, Differential equations, etc.

International & EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

Sorry, the entry requirements for the country that you have selected are not available here. Please select your country page where you'll find this information.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.0 overall with a minimum component score of 5.5

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

Additional Notes

The University uses academic selection criteria to determine an applicant’s ability to successfully complete a course at the University of Essex. Where appropriate, we may ask for specific information relating to previous modules studied or work experience.

Structure

Course structure

We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of core/compulsory modules, and optional modules chosen from lists.

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field. The course content is therefore reviewed on an annual basis to ensure our courses remain up-to-date so modules listed are subject to change.

Teaching and learning disclaimer

Following the impact of the pandemic, we made changes to our teaching and assessment to ensure our current students could continue with their studies uninterrupted and safely. These changes included courses being taught through blended delivery, normally including some face-to-face teaching, online provision, or a combination of both across the year.

The teaching and assessment methods listed show what is currently approved for 2022 entry; changes may be necessary if, by the beginning of this course, we need to adapt the way we’re delivering them due to the external environment, and to allow you to continue to receive the best education possible safely and seamlessly.

Components and modules explained

Components

Components are the blocks of study that make up your course. A component may have a set module which you must study, or a number of modules from which you can choose.

Each component has a status and carries a certain number of credits towards your qualification.

Status What this means
Core
You must take the set module for this component and you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component but you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
Compulsory
You must take the set module for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
Compulsory with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
Optional
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.

The modules that are available for you to choose for each component will depend on several factors, including which modules you have chosen for other components, which modules you have completed in previous years of your course, and which term the module is taught in.

Modules

Modules are the individual units of study for your course. Each module has its own set of learning outcomes and assessment criteria and also carries a certain number of credits.

In most cases you will study one module per component, but in some cases you may need to study more than one module. For example, a 30-credit component may comprise of either one 30-credit module, or two 15-credit modules, depending on the options available.

Modules may be taught at different times of the year and by a different department or school to the one your course is primarily based in. You can find this information from the module code. For example, the module code HR100-4-FY means:

HR 100  4  FY

The department or school the module will be taught by.

In this example, the module would be taught by the Department of History.

The module number. 

The UK academic level of the module.

A standard undergraduate course will comprise of level 4, 5 and 6 modules - increasing as you progress through the course.

A standard postgraduate taught course will comprise of level 7 modules.

A postgraduate research degree is a level 8 qualification.

The term the module will be taught in.

  • AU: Autumn term
  • SP: Spring term
  • SU: Summer term
  • FY: Full year 
  • AP: Autumn and Spring terms
  • PS: Spring and Summer terms
  • AS: Autumn and Summer terms

COMPONENT 01: CORE

MSc Project and Dissertation
(60 CREDITS)

What fascinates you? Apply your learning in computer science or engineering to solve a problem. Design, implement and evaluate a solution, producing a dissertation on your investigation and giving an oral presentation of your work. Test your knowledge, while gaining practical experience and building your project management skills.

View MSc Project and Dissertation on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 02: COMPULSORY

Game Artificial Intelligence
(15 CREDITS)

This module covers a range of Artificial Intelligence techniques employed in games, and teaches how games are and can be used for research in Artificial Intelligence. The module explores algorithms for creating agents that play classical board games (such as chess or checkers) and real-time games (Mario or PacMan), including single agents able to play multiple games. The course also covers Procedural Content Generation, and explores the techniques used to simulate intelligence in the latest videogames.

View Game Artificial Intelligence on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 03: COMPULSORY

Physics-Based Games
(15 CREDITS)

Many of today’s best computer games rely on realistic physics at the core of their gameplay. In this course, students are taught how these physics engines work, and how to create physics-based games of their own. Students create a physics engine from scratch, and also learn how to use existing industry-standard open-source 2-D and 3-D physics engines. The necessary principles of physics and mathematics are taught, assuming very little prior knowledge. Vectors, matrices, and numerical integration are taught on a need-to-know basis, with code examples to illustrate the methods. Each lecture is followed by a lab session, where the new techniques are programmed by each student. Almost immediately, students will create scenarios where objects are moving and bouncing around the screen realistically. Each lab session ends in creating a small physics-based game. The course is assessed through tests, and a larger game-programming assignment.

View Physics-Based Games on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 04: COMPULSORY

Mobile and Social Application Programming
(15 CREDITS)

A huge industry has grown up in the last few years delivering a wide range of apps for mobile devices, including application areas such as games, social networking, information, and productivity. Given the power of modern mobile devices coupled with their range of inputs (audio, camera, GPS, motion sensor, touchscreen) this creates an exceptionally interesting platform to develop applications for. Furthermore, these platforms come complete with their own marketplaces meaning that successful applications can achieve a large market share based largely on their merit. The purpose of this module is to teach the main aspects of programming applications for such devices. Such a course could be taught at an abstract level, independent of the particular type of device in question, but the approach taken on this module is to explore one particular platform (Android), in a hands-on and in-depth manner. This is a popular platform with a range of excellent devices (including low cost ones) from a variety of manufacturers. The platform is well designed and well documented, and has the significant advantage of being Java based, meaning that students can get up to speed relatively quickly and concentrate on the interesting issues involved in developing a high quality app without having to learn a new language at the same time.

View Mobile and Social Application Programming on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 05: COMPULSORY

Professional Practice and Research Methodology
(15 CREDITS)

This module aims to prepare students for conducting an independent research project leading to a dissertation and to provide them with an appreciation of research and business skills related to their professional career. As a precursor to their project students, individually select an area of Computer Science, or Electronic Engineering, or Computational Finance and perform the necessary background research to define a topic and prepare a project proposal under the guidance of a supervisor. The module guides them by a) introducing common research methods b) creating an understanding of basic statistics for describing and making conclusions from data c) helping to write a strong proposal including learning how to perform literature search and evaluation and d) giving an in-depth view into the business enterprise, financial and management accounting and investment appraisal.

View Professional Practice and Research Methodology on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 06: CORE

Group Project (Incorporating a Game Jam)
(15 CREDITS)

Teamwork skills are essential for employability. The aim of this module is to provide students with the opportunity to apply their specialised knowledge to a realistic problem and gain practical experience of the processes involved in the team-based production of software. Wherever possible, teams are organised on the basis of shared interest, and the problem is designed to exercise their understanding of their area of specialised study. The students in each group will take part in a global game jam together, which may lay the foundations of the group project. Each team is required to develop a fully implemented software solution using appropriate engineering and project management techniques.

View Group Project (Incorporating a Game Jam) on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 07: COMPULSORY

Game Design
(15 CREDITS)

This module examines the nature of fun and engagement in the context of game design, and includes the study of how to integrate narrative into gameplay and how to criticise game design. This module also covers how to design and deploy objective measures of player experience and how to apply these to analyse game logs in a number of case studies. The effects of game AI on player experience are also considered.

View Game Design on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 08: OPTIONAL

Option(s) from list
(30 CREDITS)

Teaching

  • Courses provide a thorough and up-to-date knowledge of the theory, methods and applications of computer science
  • Core components combined with optional modules, to enable you to gain either in-depth specialisation or a breadth of understanding
  • Our postgraduates are encouraged to attend conferences and seminars, as well as engage with the wider research community

Assessment

  • Courses are assessed on the results of your written examinations, together with continual assessments of your practical work and coursework

Dissertation

  • Your research project allows you to focus in depth on your chosen topic from April
  • Close supervision by faculty staff

Fees and funding

Home/UK fee

£10,480

International fee

£20,350

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

What's next

Open Days

We hold Open Days for all our applicants throughout the year. Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex, and give you the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing tours@essex.ac.uk and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.

2021 Open Days (Colchester Campus)

  • Saturday, October 23, 2021
  • Saturday, November 13, 2021

Applying

You can apply for this postgraduate course online. Before you apply, please check our information about necessary documents that we’ll ask you to provide as part of your application.

We aim to respond to applications within two weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.

For information on our deadline to apply for this course, please see our ‘how to apply’ information.

Colchester Campus

Visit Colchester Campus

Home to 15,000 students from more than 130 countries, our Colchester Campus is the largest of our three sites, making us one of the most internationally diverse campuses on the planet - we like to think of ourselves as the world in one place.

The Campus is set within 200 acres of beautiful parkland, located two miles from the historic town centre of Colchester – England's oldest recorded town. Our Colchester Campus is also easily reached from London and Stansted Airport in under one hour.

 

Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.

Exhibitions

Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.

At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.


Find out more

The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

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