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2019/20 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

COMP5813M Games Engines and Workflow

15 creditsClass Size: 40

Module manager: Dr He Wang

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

Pre-requisite qualifications

We will assume a good standard of C++ programming, including use of classes, basic templates, and overloading. Knowledge of computer architecture, in particular the memory hierarchy.


COMP5812MFoundations of Modelling and Rendering

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

The module introduces students to the architecture and implementation of games engines, management of game assets, and the workflow of games development. Particular attention will be paid to software architecture and the implementation strategies necessary for securing high performance across multiple elements needed in modern games, including graphics, animation and physics simulation, and audio. A feature of the module will the use of a “live” game engine as an ongoing case study / laboratory for undertaking practical exercises.


* introduce students to the architecture of games engines, the mapping of engines onto games hardware, the rationale for design choices, and future development of software and hardware.
* examine the major games subsystems and strategies for efficient implementation and utilisation within games.
* consider the human-system interface, including the re-emergence of immersive display technologies.
* understand the broader infrastructure needed in games development, including tools for asset creation and conditioning, and methods for resource sharing, communication and coordination within games.
* introduce students to the workflow of games development, drawing extensively on industrial case studies.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, a student should be able to understand the organisation and operation of any existing game engine, navigate through its software architecture, and identify how to deploy the resources of the engine efficiently in the context of games development. They will have sufficient insight into the game development process and underlying technologies that they can assume a leadership role in a game development project team -- or design and implement key components of a new game engine from the ground up.


* Introduction to game hardware and engine architecture, including an overview of existing hardware and software designs.
* In-depth analysis, at source-code level, of a specific game engine.
* Game and asset development tools, and the workflow of games development.
* Approaches to memory management for games, and their implementation in C/C++.
* Object models.
* Major game subsystems, and their interaction with the game loop.
* Interface technologies.
* Strategies for exploiting parallel hardware.

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours70.00
Total Contact hours80.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

Learning in the module will take two forms: (a) lectures that introduce students to the components of game engines, principles of engine design, and high-level examples that illustrate these; (b) the low-level details of how a real game engine in industrial use is actually built. Students’ private study time, approximately 7 hours per week, will primarily be used in developing their understanding of general concepts and principles by studying, analysing, modifying, and experimenting with the running case-study of a real game engine.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Supervised practical classes will provide feedback on students’ ability to deploy the new concepts.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
AssignmentProgramming Task25.00
AssignmentProgramming Task25.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc) (S1)2 hr 00 mins50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 11/06/2019


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