Creative Media Education


Games Programming

"SAE didn't just teach me, they taught me to teach myself."

Rob Turner // Software Developer Engineer, Microsoft Studios

  • Language of Instruction: English
  • Duration: 10 months (full-time)
  • Qualification: Diploma
  • Intakes (International Students) March, June and October

Program Overview

From the latest RPG or massively multiplayer online game, to mobile games or social media apps, there is a real demand for talented, technically able graduates who can turn ideas into reality. From the fundamentals, to advanced modules that cover game programming in detail, graduates of our 2-year programme emerge with highly marketable skills, which power one of the largest sectors of the creative media industries.

Our emphasis on hands-on training, allows you to work on various projects throughout your studies to learn the essential tools and techniques
for games development. You are supported by tutors to guide your experimentation and creative output to ensure you develop skills that prepare you for success. There is a shortage of programmers in the games industry - and the software industry generally - leaving graduates with a wide choice of career prospects. Crucially, you graduate with a portfolio to demonstrate your ability, which is vital in getting your first job as a games programmer.

Career Possibilities
    Graduates from this course have many career options and have gone on to diverse employment destinations which include:

  • Game Engine Programmer
  • Graphics Programmer
  • AI (Artificial Intelligence) Programmer
  • Games Developer
  • Functional Programmer
  • Network Programmer
  • Physics Programmer
  • Audio Programmer
  • Gameplay Programmer
  • Testing and QA

Course Contents

Introduction to Games Programming:

This module will give an introduction into programming fundamentals, with an overview over basic mathematics and physics concepts. The module focuses on the development of knowledge and skills in object oriented programming (OOP), game mechanic basics, object transformation and how user input is handled, in addition to the integration of sound/audio as students learn to programme basic gameplay.

Key areas of study include: Programming Basics, OOP Basics, GUI, Sound/Audio Integration and Object Transformation.

Information, Communication and Professional Media Practice:

This module aims to introduce the student to concepts and routines of academic research, critique and writing and develop tools for good study practice and management. It aims to introduce the student to theories of culture and communication, develop a basic understanding of the creative media industries and the students’ role as professional creative media practitioners.

Key areas of study include: Concepts of and reasons for research, Writing skills, Intellectual copyright and plagiarism, Introduction to culture and cultural movements, Overview of the creative media industries.

Foundations of Game Design and Game Production:

This module introduces students to fundamental concepts in game design theory, game level design practices, common techniques used in game production and provides hands-on experience on designing, prototyping and revising various types of games. Students are introduced to critical/analytical skills used to deconstruct existing games in order to re-create and modify them.

Key areas of study include: Game Mechanics & Machinations, Interactive Storytelling & Narrative Design, Level Design Flow & Mechanics, Game Development Workflows, Assets Importing & Handling and Game Project Management Tools.

Applied Mathematics and Environment Programming:

The aim of this module is to develop students’ knowledge of a wide range of mathematics and physics theories and principles used in games programming. Understanding the principles of artificial intelligence combined with the knowledge of how game worlds are constructed and their environment is simulated, aims to ensure that student’s have the fundamental skills to develop and programme complex world-based games.

Key areas of study include: Math programming, Physics programming, Artificial Intelligence fundamentals, World construction and Environmental simulation.

Network Programming and Tool Development:

This module aims to develop the students knowledge and skills for programming network operations. In addition to the network fundamentals, operations for multiplayer games will be examined and the module aims to encourage the students to develop tools that will aid the game development process facilitating more efficient workflow.

Key areas of study include: Network programming, Server-Client communication, Lag Compensation, Prediction and Writing custom importers. (E.g. 3d mesh files, XML)

Elective Modules:
You are given the opportunity to choose an elective from a bank of modules. Each campus can advise which of the electives may be available to you and provide further advice to assist you in selecting an option that is reflective of your specialisation interest.

Creative Production:
This module aims to further your ability to engage in a reflective process in parallel, with your production practice. It seeks to provide you with the opportunity to explore focused production practice in your own, or other related disciplines and to advance their holistic production skills. Building on previous production management experience, through adhering to specific briefs in larger production situations, the module aims to develop your aesthetic judgement to give you a focussed opportunity to develop advanced production skills in a specific field, on a larger scale.

Key areas of study include :Practical Production Planning, Production Techniques in relevant discipline, specialised digital production software, Innovative use of built-in software features, Production Planning, Methods for evaluation, Reflective and Critical Analysis, Giving, receiving and learning from feedback, Cross-disciplinary production practice.

Practical Mobile App Design:
We provide you with an overview of the mobile app industry, its history, user areas and user culture. We will provide you with an understanding of, and skills in, User Interface Design (UID) and User Experience (UX) specifically for mobile app design. By using a ‘drag and drop’ middleware to be able to, without programming skills, design and develop a viable concept for a mobile app, and produce a working version at completion.

Key areas of study include: Overview of Application (App) industry, Uses, users and user needs, User Experience (UX) and User Interface Design (UID), Key Functions, Application Architecture, Design Process, Legal and Copyright considerations, Testing, Distributing and Selling Apps, Information architecture, Basic Concepts of Coding, Middleware for App creation, Use of Media, Use of device functions (camera, microphone, accelerometer), Prototyping.

Advanced Artificial Intelligence:
The aim of this module is to extend your knowledge of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to an advanced level. You will experiment with scientific AI methods, like neural networks for example, constantly analysing the performance and robustness of practical, advanced AI methods in the creation of new worlds, taking the gaming experience to a new level of engagement.

Key areas of study include: Behaviour Trees, Flocking, Advanced Pathfinding, Neural Networks, Pattern Recognition, Machine Learning.

Game Optimisation, Analysis and Interfacing:
Get ready to examine the internal structure of the operating system’s mechanisms in depth, to enable you to further optimise their applications. You will complete this module by understanding the techniques that the industry uses in order to allow user-generated content to shape games, including the community in their product.

Key areas of study include: Multithreading, Performance Analysis, Graphics Pipeline Optimisation, CUDA and OpenCL, Overview and comparison of scripting languages, Interfacing with a Scripting Language, Disclosure of data structures and interfaces.