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Computer Games Technology with a Foundation Year - BSc (Hons)

Currently viewing course to start in 2024/25 Entry.

BSc (Hons) Computer Games Technology is a course that focusses on the technical expertise required to develop computer games. The core modules deep-dive into 2D and 3D graphics rendering, physics, artificial intelligence and human-computer interaction required for the development of high-end computer games platforms....

  • Level Foundation
  • Study mode Full Time
  • Location City Centre
  • School School of Computing and Digital Technology
  • Faculty Faculty of Computing, Engineering and The Built Environment

This course is:

Open to International Students

Overview

I'm a third year Music Technology student. When I was looking for Music Technology courses, Birmingham City University really stood out to me. I was keen on attending a Bachelor of Science and the course really focussed on the science aspects as well as maintaining the artistic elements of music and sound production. The support of the tutors has been fantastic. The professional standard and the facilities on campus are great due to their accessibility around the clock. The easy access to studios has been extremely helpful in completing my work and keeping on top of deadlines. At BCU, there's been a heavy focus on employability and what I could do with all aspects of my degree. The university has organised the industrial mentor forum, a space where students can communicate with alumni and people within the industry. The Acoustics Special Interest Group also consisted of more bespoke talks from people within the acoustics industry about different aspects of the work and how individual companies run. This is how I developed contact with an acoustic consultancy to complete my placement year. I act as an Acoustic Technician at Dragonfly Consulting. It went so well that I'm returning upon my graduation to continue working with them. The university has given me opportunities I don't think I would have received anywhere else.

I'm a second year computer science student studying at Birmingham City University. As a Computing student, there are plenty of computer labs available. There's entire rooms filled with Cisco networking equipment, as well as laptops that can be rented out to complete your work. Several of the facilities have now moved over to STEAMhouse, which is a £70 million build that is now the new home for Computing and Digital Technology students. One of the main things for me was getting employment at the end of my university degree. And Birmingham City University offers a wealth support for moving into the work environment. The course is a very important focus and a very industry focussed as well. I've been offered roles as a student demonstrator for Python programming. I found that the best way to show that you've understood something is to be able to teach somebody else.

I'm studying Computer Networks and Security. So far, I've really enjoyed my time at BCU. I felt really included within the student community. For the past two years, I've been involved in Innovation Fest. This is an annual event that showcases student work from the faculty. A lot of employers visit this festival, which allows us to widen our professional network. Throughout my time at BCU, I've had some time to

develop a relationship with the Careers+ team and go through tailoring my CV and my cover letters with them. Because of this, I have been presented with many opportunities which they have tailored to me and my needs. Through this, I was encouraged to apply for the women in tech competition.

So it was a one week program and I was working with the team from Cyferd. It's a software company,

and I successfully won and have taken up the placement year with them as a Junior Development Lead.

I look forward to coming back and applying the skills I've learnt throughout my placement and applied them within my studies.

BSc (Hons) Computer Games Technology is a course that focusses on the technical expertise required to develop computer games. The core modules deep-dive into 2D and 3D graphics rendering, physics, artificial intelligence and human-computer interaction required for the development of high-end computer games platforms. The course will also involve working in small and large multi-disciplinary (creative and technical) teams for the development of computer games.

While studying your computer games degree, you will use our state-of-the-art computer games technology lab, which is kitted with high-performance PCs with dual monitors and cutting-edge GPUs, Sony PlayStation, Nintendo Switch and XBox development kits, as well as a variety of industry standard software.

Our collaborations with Microsoft, Unity and Sony, coupled with our state-of-the-art technology will help you develop the skills you need to be successful in the games industry and beyond.

About the Foundation Year

The Foundation Year course option enables you to study for our BSc (Hons) degree over an extended full-time duration of four years by including a Foundation Certificate (year one of four). The Foundation Certificate provides a broad study programme that underpins the follow-on degree. In order to progress to the next year of your degree, it is necessary to achieve a pass in all of the modules of the Foundation Certificate.

STEAMhouse building exterior

Introducing STEAMhouse

STEAMhouse is a centre for technology, innovation, creative thinking, prototyping and business development. Our brand new £70 million pound building is the new home for the School of Computing and Digital Technology.

Find out more

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

On the course, you will learn a range of technical and professional skills, including understanding fundamentals and advanced coding practices, graphics programming, network communications and artificial intelligence. You will work independently and in teams, as well as develop strong written and oral communication skills.

The course philosophy highlights the importance of going beyond your studies – therefore, we encourage you to participate in many extracurricular activities. As we are located in the heart of Birmingham City Centre, we are close to many independent game studios, who host events throughout the year. We also regularly participate in international game development competitions such as Global Game Jam and Microsoft’s Imagine Cup, all of which give you the opportunity to showcase your talent on a wider stage, and network with others in the industry.

You will not only learn about mainstream and traditional video game development, but also explore allied and emerging disciplines such as serious and educational game development, augmented and virtual reality, as well as simulations.

You’ll have the opportunity to execute a 30-week work placement in the industry, which you can complete at home or overseas. The experience allows you to place the specialist knowledge and skills acquired on the course in a real world working context. The experience will allow you to create a network of professional contacts, and build your CV, both of which are essential for entering the job market.

Upon graduation, you could progress into a range of careers in the game industry, for example game or graphics programmer, tools programmer or QA tester in either larger companies or independent studios. You will also have the skills to enable you to work in allied disciplines such as a serious or educational game developer. Alternatively, you could work in more traditional computing or software engineering roles, start your own company or progress into further education.

Accredited By

This course is accredited by:

  • Tiga Accreditation

The state-of-the-art hardware and software combined with astounding teaching, has fast tracked my games development skills, I am now going into my second year with an independently published title.

Nadia Nadeem

Why Choose Us?

  • Brand new facilities at STEAMhouse - This state-of-the-art building will become the new home for its School of Computing and Digital Technology from the start of the 2022 academic year. Based at our expanding City Centre Campus, this unique centre will give you access to outstanding facilities and teaching spaces, as well as opportunities to collaborate with people and businesses across multiple sectors and work on real industry-based projects
  • We are a TIGA accredited course - The TIGA (The Independent Game Developers Association) accreditation is awarded to the very best undergraduate and postgraduate university courses that produce industry ready graduates
  • Access to developer kits - We are proud to be one of the first University's that can offer access to developer kits from the three major video game platforms - PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo
  • We work in partnership with Unity and Unreal - This means that we have met strict standards of excellence and are authorised to offer training courses and Unity Certification Exams on behalf of Unity Technologies
  • State-of-the-art facilities  - Our computing facilities include a dedicated computer games development lab which houses high specification game development PCs, VR and AR headsets, Sony PlayStation Dev Kits and Xbox controllers

    Open Days

    Join us for an on-campus Open Day where you'll be able to meet us in person. Booking for the next event isn’t open yet. Register your interest below and we’ll email you as soon as booking goes live.

    Next Open Day: 29 June 2024

    Register your interest

    Entry Requirements

    These entry requirements apply for entry in 2024/25.

    All required qualifications/grades must have been achieved and evidenced at the earliest opportunity after accepting an offer to help confirm admission and allow for on-time enrolment. This can also include other requirements, like a fee status form and relevant documents. Applicants can track their application and outstanding information requests through their BCU mySRS account.

    80 UCAS tariff points

    If you have a qualification that is not listed, please contact us.

    Fees & How to Apply

    Please select your student status to view fees and apply
    • UK Student
    • International Student

    UK students

    Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

    Award: BSc (Hons)

    Starting: Sep 2024

    • Mode
    • Duration
    • Fees

    International students

    Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

    Award: BSc (Hons)

    Starting: Sep 2024

    • Mode
    • Duration
    • Fees
    • Full Time
    • 4 years
    • £16,085 in 2024/25

    Access to computer equipment

    You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.

    Printing

    You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.

    Field trips

    All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.

    Access to Microsoft Office 365

    Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.

    Key Software

    You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.

    Key subscriptions

    Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.

    Free Adobe Creative Cloud licence

    Students studying on this course can request a free licence to install the entire suite of applications on up to two personal devices, including access to Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, XD, Premier Pro and After Effects.

    Learning Tools

    Free access to LinkedIn Learning, which offers over 5,000 in-depth and bite-sized courses. This course also provides free access to Pluralsight, which offers a wealth of courses, guides and tutorials aligned to the digital creative industry.

    Specialist Software

    You will be able to access free licences for game development specific software such as Unity, Unreal Engine, Substance Suite, Maya, Mudbox, Motion Builder and Houdini.

    Microsoft Certifications (optional)

    The exams required to gain Microsoft Office (MOS), Microsoft Technical Certification (MTC) and Microsoft Technical Associate (MTA) certifications are currently free for our students. We also provide free self-paced resources and access to practice exams via dedicated Moodle pages. Find out more about the exams available, and the objectives covered.

    Unity Academic Alliance Certifications (optional)

    At BCU CEBE we are part of the academic alliance with game development engine provider, Unity. This allows for students to take exams to accredit and officially certify themselves as Unity approved users. Find out more about this scheme.

    Project materials (mandatory)

    This course includes project work that requires you to develop and produce a portfolio or collection. You'll be expected to provide the materials for use in your individual major projects; costs will vary depending on the materials selected.

    Excess printing (optional)

    Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.

    Books (optional)

    Some modules may suggest that you purchase a key textbook. All module key texts will be in the University library, but in limited numbers. Many students choose to purchase a copy.

    Placement expenses (optional)

    If you choose to undertake a placement, you'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst living or working away from home.

    Accommodation and living costs

    The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.

    Guidance for UK students

    UK students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.

    The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.

    Applying through UCAS

    1. Register with UCAS
    2. Login to UCAS and complete your details
    3. Select your course and write a personal statement
    4. Get a reference
    5. Pay your application fee and submit your application

    Course in Depth

    Year One

    In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

    Year Two

    In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

    Year Three

    In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

    Professional Placement Year (optional)

    In order to qualify for the awards of Bachelor of Science with Honours Computer Games Technology with Professional Placement Year or Integrated Masters of Science Computer Games Technology with Professional Placement Year, a student must successfully complete all of the modules listed as well as the following Level 5 module:

    Final Year

    In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

    Download course specification

    Download now

    This is a practical ‘hands-on’ course, which will encourage you to develop a wide range of technical skills needed to develop computer games for mainstream game studios, small ‘indie’ companies or develop your skills as a researcher or entrepreneur in emerging applied game technology fields. The technical and professional skills are also transferable to other computing disciplines.

    As the course progresses, you will learn the fundamental principles through to advanced concepts behind computer game and graphics programming. You will learn to use a range of commercial game engines and how to manipulate different game assets. You will also learn about computer communication networks and game distribution, as well as how to implement artificial intelligence.

    As you progress through the years you will become more independent in your approaches to learning. You will work both individually and within teams, with the tutors providing expert guidance and mentoring, all of which is designed to develop your confidence so you can undertake progressively more complex and challenging technical tasks.

    Our assessment strategy is very reflective of industry needs and therefore will predominantly be coursework based - approximately 70 per cent. You will learn to present your ideas confidently and showcase your work to a variety of audiences, both as members of a team or as an individual. You will also learn to communicate your ideas and findings through written pieces of work, for example by formulating proposals and technical reports.

    Guidance in your academic studies will be provided in the form of a range of support mechanisms. This will include formative feedback from tutors, as well as having access to a wide range of excellent support services that exist within the University.

    The first year of the course focuses on developing your fundamental skills in designing, developing and programming simple 2D and 3D games. As you progress through to the second year the emphasis moves to developing more sophisticated 3D games and learning to develop more complex solutions to technical problems. The third and fourth year focus more on the fundamental technologies behind how games and game engines are made.

    You will also be expected to become more independent in your problem solving, undertaking larger individual and team projects, where you will be required to develop novel and innovative ‘game-based’ solutions to a range of different and diverse scenarios.

    Attendance requirements

    For more information on attendance requirements, course contact time and suggested self-study hours, download the course specification.

    Tiga Accreditation
    Accredited by TIGA (The Independent Game Developers' Association)

    This course is accredited by TIGA (The Independent Game Developers' Association). TIGA  Accredited courses teach skills required by the games industry. 

    Employability

    Enhancing your employability

    Engaging with industry and gaining work experience during your studies is essential if you are going to be taken seriously in the job market. Getting work experience in the games industry can be challenging, so we encourage you to take advantage of as many of the extra-curricular activities available. These may include industry sponsored talks and events, game jams, voluntary work, internships and placements.

    The University is eager to recognise you have made the effort to gain industry experience and stand out from the typical graduate, so we offer a range of options for you to get extra awards and recognition for your work in industry and attain employability skills. All of this has been incorporated into an additional University programme called Graduate+.

    You have the option to undertake an assessed sandwich year between your second and third year, which will provide you with valuable work experience and give you the real-life skills you need. It may not always be possible to get a placement in the game industry, so we actively encourage you to broaden your interests to allied sectors, for example software development companies. We also encourage you to gain relevant work experience by taking on short-term internships with local companies.

    The second-year Collaborative Practice and Game Studio Production module, as well as the first-year Professional Practice for Game Development module, are all devised to promote employability. These modules give you the opportunity to work on live projects, working across disciplines where you use games to help solve problems in other fields which are not normally associated with games. These modules also encourage you to develop your skills and learn how to commercialise your own game ideas.

    Placements

    There are a range of opportunities for you to gain industry experience during your studies examples of activities our students have done include:

    • Game developer for local indie studios
    • Web programmer
    • QA in game development
    • Software engineer
    • IT support and administration
    • Internal placements within the University

    Some students visit local game studios for tours or tour the Interactive Futures conference in Leamington Spa each year, and these have a profound effect on their personal practices.

    Hear from our students

    Daniel Hind

    Computer Games Technology student Daniel Hind is working as a Code Intern at Rebellion. This is a traditional C++ games industry programming role.

    Read about Daniel's placement

    Nadia Nadeem

    Nadia landed a placement with well-known, Microsoft games studio, Rare. Her gaming passion along with her degree, created a platform for her to take that first step into her dream career of joining an AAA studio as a games developer.

    Read about Nadia's placement

    International

    Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

    The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

    Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

    Facilities & Staff

    [00:00:02] Speaker 1 Hello and welcome to the computing tour for Birmingham City University.

    [00:00:05] I'm Alex, a second year Computer Science student sitting here today, and I'll be taking you around the facilities here at BCU.

    [00:00:11] Right now we're in STEAMhouse. If you're coming on to a computing course, you may be spending time here doing your Innovation Fest project, where you'll be presenting your project that you worked on to industry professionals. So STEAMhouse is a £72 million conversion of the old bike factory that used to be here.

    [00:00:31] This is one of the larger learning spaces that we have here at STEAMhouse, completely built around computing. The entire building is modular. All these walls can be opened up and these classes can be made gigantic.

    [00:00:43] So here's another space here at STEAMhouse for, sort of like, breakout rooms or for independent learning places you can go as a group to work on projects. To the left of us, there is the business space where visitors come in and they can work on projects there and also allows for students and staff members to integrate with the tech industry. If you'd like to learn more about STEAMhouse, the video link in description. And now I'm going to take you over to Millennium Point.

    [00:01:13] Here we are at Millennium Point. This is the level four project space, the space you'll be using in term time to work on things such as the Innovation project. It is also the home of the Maker's Lab, which I'll be showing you in a little bit. It's a completely transformative and modular space.

    [00:01:28] Recently, Birmingham City University has spent six and a half million pounds in revamping their Millennium Point building. It's also the area where we will be holding industry events. One of the things that I want to show you very quickly is the Lapsafe here. So Birmingham City University has one of the largest collections of Lapsafes in Europe. And they're not just here in the Millennium Point building. There's also ones over in Parkside and Curzon as well as STEAMhouse. You're allowed to take a laptop out if you haven't got one personally, and you can use it while you're at university for about six or so hours at a time. We also not only have Windows laptops, but also MacBooks.

    [00:02:10] So here we are in the Makers Lab, and this is where you'll be spending time as a first year student working on the Innovation facilities there. Basically, this is where the magic happens, right? So in this room is a bunch of component parts and things to work with your systems such as 3D printers.

    [00:02:24] So what you can do is you build a schematic up in the software. We send it to the machines and they can print out component parts for your project. It's also a bunch of different other components here at the university that it offers to students that they can use for their projects, such as Arduino, Mark Controllers, and Raspberry Pi is sort of like the heart of your system. You write some code, you flash onto the microcontroller, then it can control the system that you've attached it to. Over here, we've also got a bunch of component parts even using such as light sensors and motion sensors and buttons and keypads and things like that as well.

    [00:02:59] So we've got a bunch of previous projects here as well. Here's Sign Genie which is a sign language interpreter, you sign in front of it and it will send back the sign language on the screen here. You can find out more about this project in description below, showing you how they built it from start to finish.

    [00:03:16] We also have laser cutting services at University, so if you need, you know, a frame cut out for your project, for example, that we've got here, you can use the laser cutter and cut out little component parts that all fit together as a housing for your project. Okay, So now I think we're going to head down to level one, which houses the network labs and the games lab.

    [00:03:42] This is one of the games labs here at BCU. This is more of a high spec facility to help with rendering animation and, you know, running the games that you create as a games development students as well as that. We've also got the different component parts. You need to build a project VR here so you can experiment with VR within the game called events such as Games Jam where students from across Birmingham City University come together to create a game within 24 hours or 48 hours and present it to a panel.

    [00:04:14] So this is one of our networking labs here at BCU. It is a Cisco networking lab. All the hardware in here is industry standard and the majority of it is Cisco related. This entire room and several other rooms on this floor are complete separate LAN network from the rest of university. And you can, you know, run tests and simulations and try and configure and connect to of computers within the labs. The software that we use here is called Cisco Packet Tracer or Nethercutt. This is what we use to prototype our networks. And then you can actually physically build them using the hardware in the room to see how it works in practice.

    [00:04:55] So this is one of our many computing labs here at Birmingham City University at the College of Computing. We have about 20 computing labs here at the University of all kinds of different software. And then depending on the course that you're doing, we have experts here from industry working as lecturers to have that real world experience and incredibly helpful with helping you to complete your coursework as well as get any additional advice and sort of guide you in the right direction.

    [00:05:22] This is one of the big open communal spaces where you can come and catch up on work, but New Macs here that you can work on as well as Windows PCs out at the back can also see that there's more lab space here. So if you want to use a laptop, you can get those as well. Along with that, there's also the main I.T help desk here where you can come in and ask questions if you've got any issues.

    [00:05:43] That was just a taste of computing at BCU. If you'd like to experience it yourself, come along to one of our Open Days or applicant taster days in the future. As well as if you'd like to know more about the computing experience. You can watch this video right here.

    [00:06:03] You still here? Go watch the video.

    Our Facilities

    We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities. This course will be taught at Millennium Point at the City Centre Campus.

    The course is supported with a wide range of cutting-edge facilities in the City Centre Campus. We have a state-of-the-art computer games technology lab which contains high-performance PCs, Sony PlayStation development kits and a range of industry standard software including Unity, Unreal and a suite of professional Microsoft development tools.

    We also have many open access areas where students can study together and even hire out laptops for use in these spaces and others within the university.

    Within the University there are many internationally recognised research teams giving you the opportunity to collaborate with them on exciting interdisciplinary projects.

    Computer networking

    The laboratories are well-equipped for all our computer networking courses, as well as specialist areas for practical work such as voice-over internet protocol (VoIP), forensic and ethical hacking technologies, wireless and mobile technologies and radio frequency identification technologies to name but a few.

    Software development and computer programming

    There are a number of open access, software development and computer programming laboratories that can be used to develop systems and programmes, including database management systems such as MySQL, to name but a few.

    Systems laboratories

    Our embedded systems laboratories are used to develop real-time systems, such as specialist hardware training and development resources, and industrial-standard software development and simulation tools. These include microcontroller software and robotics design and development, to name but a few.

    Electronic systems

    To underpin the basic principles of electronic systems, we have a well-equipped laboratory of general and specialist test and measurement kits, including powered prototyping development boards, dual power supplies, frequency generators and counters and digital multi-meters to name but a few.

    Forensic computing

    Our successful development of forensic computing has led to a specialist forensics laboratory that is fully equipped with essential hardware and software for this sensitive area of study. The laboratory includes high-spec PCs with built-in multi interface Tableau write blockers, EnCase and FTK computer forensic software and steganography detection and analysis software, to name but a few.

    More on our facilities

    Our staff

    Dr Carlo Harvey

    Associate Professor, Director of Future Games and Graphics

    Dr Carlo Harvey is an Associate Professor in Computer Games Technology at Birmingham City University, in the School of Computing and Digital Technology. He teaches C++ for Games, Computer Graphics and Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning. He is the Director of Future Games and Graphics overseeing the research arm for Games and Graphics within...

    More about Carlo

    Dr Andrew Wilson

    Associate Professor

    Andrew is an Associate Professor in the Department of Computing and Data Science,School of Computing and Digital Technology. He has developed and led many undergraduate and post graduate courses. As well as teaching he is an active researcher in the field of digital health,  working across faculties, NHS Trusts and European...

    More about Dr Andrew

    Dr Xi Guo

    Senior Lecturer in Computer Games Technology

    Dr Xi Guo is currently a Senior Lecturer in the Centre of Digital Media Technology in the School of Computing and Digital Technology of Birmingham City University. She is the course leader for BSc Computer Games Technology, and she leads the Web Game Development and 3D Game Programming modules.

    More about Xi

    Nathan Dewell

    Assistant Lecturer

    Nathan Dewell is an Assistant Lecturer in Computer Games Technology at Birmingham City University, in the School of Computing and Digital Technology. He teaches Game Studio Production and Game Asset Pipeline. He is part of the research arm for Games and Graphics within the DMTLab at BCU.

    More about Nathan

    Lianne Forbes

    Senior Lecturer and Course Leader in BSc Visual Effects

    Lianne has 14 years of high-end VFX film industry experience. Her focus is on forging strong links between the University and industry. She plans to develop student awareness of industry practices and produce more opportunities for them to engage with industry professionals.

    More about Lianne

    Mathew Randall

    Senior Lecturer

    Dr Mathew Randall is a Senior Lecturer at Birmingham City University in the UK, where he lectures in visual effects and computer graphics. He is a member of the Graphics and Vision Research group, specializing in real-time analysis and manipulation of motion captured performances and applications of virtual production technology. He is a senior...

    More about Mathew