BSc (Honours) Games Software Development
Four years full-time (including one year work placement) or three years full-time
UCAS code • G611 | Location • City Campus
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Games Software Development degree overview
Learn the skills required to pursue a career as a software developer in the competitive games industry on this respected course. Designed in collaboration with top national and international games companies, it is one of only a small number of industry-accredited undergraduate courses in game programming in the UK.
• Benefit from established relationships with top games companies.
• Access the world's largest Playstation® teaching facilities (PS3, PS4 and Vita)
• One of only a small number of industry-accredited UK undergraduate game programming courses.
• Gain a competitive advantage with a one-year placement at one of our partner organisations.
This course is one of only a small number of industry-accredited undergraduate technical courses in game programming in the UK.
It is accredited by Creative Skillset (The Creative Industries' Sector Skills Council), TIGA (The Independent Game Developers Association) and the British Computer Society (The Chartered Institute for IT), and counts towards the academic requirements for registration as a Chartered IT Professional and / or partially meeting the requirements for Chartered Engineer.
Fees – home and EU students
We do not charge course fees during a placement year.
Course fees may be subject to annual inflationary increase.
For the course fee and further information on scholarships and bursaries please visit our fees and funding pages.
Fees - international students
We do not charge course fees during a placement year.
2015/16 academic year
Typically £11,500 a year
2016/17 academic year
Typically £12,250 a year
We are one of only a handful of universities in the world with their own commercially-licensed game studio (Steel Minions) and we were the first UK-University to release a commercial title for Sony’s games consoles in the form of Bounceback for PSP minis.
There are two distinct types of careers in games development – the technical programming side, and the creative art and design side. This course prepares you for the first type of career, giving you all the skills you need to work as a software developer in the competitive games industry.
If you are interested in the more artistic side of games development, see our BA (Hons) Games Design course.
What you study
You study the skills and techniques demanded by the industry, such as programming, especially in C++, software engineering and mathematics, optimisation and the use of games hardware on desktop, consoles and mobile platforms.
If you do well in the first two years, you will be eligible for transfer to our related MComp course, an integrated masters course that provides additional depth of study and increased industrial involvement. You may also be selected to work within Steel Minions, our own commercially licensed game development studio, and take part in small-scale commercial development projects.
You graduate with a personal portfolio that you can show prospective employers and we advise you how to maximise its potential.
Key areas include
• advanced programming skills, using C++ as the core language throughout the course
• 3D mathematics
• industry standard APIs such as Microsoft’s DirectX, Unity, Marmalade, Corona, Android SDK, iOS
• programming for the PlayStation® platforms
• technologies and hardware architectures for games software
• project management techniques and tools used within the games industry
• interdisciplinary team game prototype development • introduction to game design, ethics, game industry business models, 3D graphics and modelling packages.
Links with industry
We work in close partnership with games companies such as Sumo Digital, SN Systems and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE). They provide equipment and input into the design, development and delivery, ensuring we teach the very latest topics. For example, industry speakers give talks on specialist topics and offer employability advice.
We have been awarded PlayStation®First status by Sony (SCEE), providing unique access to PlayStation® professional development hardware (dev kits) and software (SDK), and equipping students with industry relevant game development skills across PlayStation®3, PlayStation®4, PlayStation®Vita and PlayStation®Portable. We have the world's largest PlayStation teaching lab.
You also work on web and mobile platforms such as iOS and Android. As well as benefiting from an emphasis on DirectX, you gain experience with cross platform tools like Marmalade and Unity, which can target any device.
Placements and work experience
In your third year, we help you secure a 12-month placement, allowing you to apply your skills and gain real world experience before you graduate. In previous years, students have taken placements at • Sony (SCEE) • Team17 • SN Systems • SI Games • Autodesk on salaries of up to £18,000. Sumo Digital offers a one-year placement to two students on track for a first-class honours degree.
• individual coursework • presentations • group work • examinations • final year project
2016 entry requirements
GCSE English language at grade C or above and mathematics at grade B or above, plus one of the following
• 280 points with at least 160 from two GCE/VCE A levels or equivalent BTEC National qualifications. General studies and AS levels may count towards these points.
• Access – an Access to HE Diploma with at least 45 credits at level 3 and 15 credits at level 2. At least 15 level 3 credits must be at merit grade or above, from a QAA-recognised Access to HE course, or an equivalent Access to HE certificate.
The evidence that you provide in your personal statement and references will influence whether your application is successful. So plan what you want to say and take your time completing the application form.
If English is not your first language you must have an IELTS score of 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in all skills or equivalent. If your English language skill is currently below IELTS 6.0 we recommend you consider a Sheffield Hallam University Pre-sessional English course which will enable you to achieve an equivalent English score.
We welcome applications from people of any age. We may be flexible in our normal offer if you can show a commitment to succeed and have the relevant skills and experience. This must show that you will benefit from and finish the course successfully.
International and European entry qualifications
If you are an International or non-UK European student, you can find out more about the country specific qualifications we accept on our international qualifications page.
Year one modules
• fundamentals of programming • fundamentals of computer architecture • introduction to game development • mathematics for graphics • professionalism and communication skills • introduction to requirements and systems modelling
Year two core modules
• object-oriented programming • software-hardware optimisation techniques • programming for games • mathematics for modelling and rendering • web application development • professional development project
Final year core modules
• 3D games prototypings • real-time 3D techniques for games • games software project management • project
Final year options
• effective C++ programming • animation and special effects • mobile applications
You gain the necessary skills for a career as a programmer, software development engineer or project manager in the games and visual media industry. These skills enable you to develop careers in areas such as • graphical software design and visualisation • applications programming • software engineering.
Many graduates from this course work as game programmers or lead programmers, also referred to as engineers in the game industry. Some specialise in roles such as • toolchain programmer • special effects programmer • AI programmer • script programmer. Others become indie developers, involved in every stage of game production.
Previous graduates have also gone on to work as software engineers in other areas of IT.
In year three we recommend you take a paid work placement. In 2012, about half of all students secured a placement in the game industry. Our dedicated professional employment team will provides you with help in preparing and securing a placement and a tutor will visit you and stay in touch during your placement.
Prepare for your future career
We can help you gain the skills and experience employers are looking for and prepare you for your future career. We offer you
- opportunities to become more employable by gaining hands-on experience and developing work-ready skills that will impress employers
- expert careers advice and guidance through one-to-one adviser appointments, workshops, events, recruitment fairs and literature
- specialist support with becoming self-employed including free access to specialist business advice and office resources to improve your chances of success