Starting Computer Games Programming @ The University of Teesside

by Mark Skyzoid

I recently started studying Computer Games Programming at the Teesside University, and I’ve just got through the first teaching week!

I think I’ll be able to make an overview of the whole thing…

Starting with the lecturers, I think they are by far the best lecturers around…Some of them comes directly from the Game Industry(Keith Ditchburn, the course leader, is an example of this), so I think the quality of teaching is, well, professional-oriented(which is good), and I think the university has good links with the Game Industry, which is the damn-good thing I was looking for!

It’s hard to get in the Industry, but well, with this kind of education and a personal hard(and I say HARD) work it’s really possible. Also Teesside has the Skillset accreditation for its Computer Games Programming Course, and this is by far a good thing. Skillset accreditation means that the course offers a real good preparation to the real working life, and this is a plus on your CV, trust me.

Talking about the modules we are going to study on the first year, well, I can start talking about the Programming Module: it’s about programming in C++. Nothing more. Programming in C++, with a focus on good programming habits, data structures, algorithms and OOP. Well, this is by far the best programming module I have ever seen. You have to use(almost every time) C++ when working in the Industry, so don’t lose your time with any other language, learn C++ and everything else will come natural to you.

Another module we are studying is System Design and it’s about software engineering, or generally speaking, it’s about the software life cycle. So we are going to learn UML, and all good software development practices. I think we are going to study also some business aspect, but I am not sure about this. This module is shared with other courses(Computer Science, Computing) due to its generic nature.

Now comes the Maths 😀 We are also studying maths, of course…and which kind of maths? 3D Maths mainly, but also discrete maths and calculus! That sounds good, and that’s good believe me…The lecturer is a very funny person, and I think he can make is lectures quite interesting, because of his personality 🙂 I am really happy with this, ’cause I think maths is essential to game development, and if you want to work in the industry you have to have a strong understanding of it…just go check any companies’s websites and u will see “Strong 3D Maths skills” as requirements 🙂

The other 2 modules I am going to talk about are Games Middleware and Games Technology. I had the first lectures of these today.

Games Middleware is about using a professional Game Engine to make a game…We are going to use Unreal Engine 3(UDK which is free, but it’s almost the same). This sounds real funny because we can work on a real 3D game, using industry-standard development tools! And this goes directly in to your portfolio! Also I think it’s very funny implementing gameplay mechanics and AI, without having worries to develop a game engine by yourself!

Games Technology is mostly about the hardware used for gaming, from PCs to Consoles…I think I’ll find it interesting too! But I have already studied almost everything about this! However, I am interested in see how it all applies to gaming!

We also have a lot of cool facilities, from gaming lounge(where you can freely play games for pc, ps3, xbox, ecc), to games studios equipped with SDKs for consoles(GPX32 and, soon, PS3\PSP), to the library open from 8 am ’till midnight!

I think I am going to have a lot of fun here and also a great learning period! Stay tuned to receive more infos about my adventures! XD

I’ll leave you with a demential game prototype I am making! Have Fun!

Play Pigeon War! (Space to shoot)