COMP01029 Intro to Games Development

SCQF Level: 7 (1st year)
Credit Points: 20 (Scottish), 10 (European)
School: Computing
Module Co-ordinator: Dr John N Sutherland

Summary of Module

This study will introduce students to the general issues around games development, regardless of platform or programming language. The students will learn about aspects of games production management, games media content, games financing, games software components and games development teams. They will also spend some time discussing contemporary events in the games industry as highlighted in the trade press.

The students will work in a small group, supported by tutorials, developing a design document for a game idea either chosen from a provided list or of their own. This will allow them to understand aspects of studio working and idea development.

On their own the students will develop a small game using a simple game development suite or package. This will allow them to see aspects of programming, game flow and balance.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this module the student will be able to:

1. create a game design document, in a group, led by a tutor, using document sharing technologies
2. create a one-level game using a simple programming game-development package
3. present the game

Employability Skills and Personal Development Planning Skills

During completion of this module, there will be an opportunity to achieve core skills in:

Knowledge and Understanding

  • A broad understanding of the issues relating to computer games development from idea, through design to product
an understanding that and how knowledge changes in applied Computing in general and in games development specifically

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding

  • Create a games design & develop a small game using a simple toolset

Generic Cognitive Skills

  • Work in a team and with a tutor on a developing game idea

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills

  • Create a document, in a team, using shared document editing software.
  • Take part in presenting a design document in a team and a personal game

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with Others

  • Work in a team on creating and presenting a document
  • Attend meetings with team and tutor at agreed times.

Learning and Teaching:

Didactic and lectorial styles will be used in scheduled lecture times for one hour per week. During these classes the students will be presented with a range of materiel: a discussion on a current games-related topic, slides on knowledge related to an area of games development, and general discussions on how the class is progressing. In practice this class tends to be continued in corridor, coffee-bar and lecturer-room informal conversations in order to create an early ambience with new students and to get them thinking more widely round this broad subject.

The games design groups are allocated by the lecturer around week 1-2 and spend a few weeks building up a games design document from a group-developed idea. Each group spends around 30 minutes per week with a lecturer or tutor who guides them through the document thinking and preparation process.

After this the students then develop a game from a simple package or dev kit. This game is presented and evaluated at the end of term, probably in week 14.

Learning Activities/Categories:

During completion of this module, the learning activities undertaken to achieve the module learning outcomes are stated below:

Student Learning Hours (Normally totaling 200 hours):
  • Lectures 12
  • Practical lab sessions 36
  • Coursework preparation 60
  • Independent study 92


The assessment for the module consists of three separate parts which form a two categories.
1. the games design document (20%)
2. the developed game (60%)
3. presentation of the game (20%)

Indicative Resources

(eg. Core text, journals, internet access)
The following materials form essential underpinning for the module content and ultimately for the learning outcomes:
  • Newman, J. & Simons, I. (2007) 100 Video Games, BFI Paperbabks (£12 or less)
  • Kent, S.L. (2002) The Ultimate History of Video Games, PrimaLife Publishing (£15 or less)
  • Students will require access to computing facilities and software suitable for the practical tasks (a scripted game development package, an online shared document editing package.)
  • http://www.gamasutra.com
  • trade games magazines