Module details for Network Systems for Game Development


This module develops a critical understanding of the principles of computer networks as they are applied to the development of various types of networked computer games. Students will develop and evaluate the techniques used to implement networked computer games with a particular emphasis on real-time fast action games.


The aim of this module is to provide the student with: the ability to design, develop and critically evaluate network computer game applications as a distributed interactive environment.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module the student should be able to:

1.  Critically evaluate network architectures and protocols for use in games development.

2.  Assess and select development methodologies for networked computer games.

3.  Assess and critically evaluate methods for dealing with the unpredictability of network conditions.

4.  Describe common security problems in network game applications, and apply basic secure software engineering practices to mitigate them.

5.  Design, develop and critically evaluate a fast-action network computer game application.

Indicative Content

1 Background to Network Computer Games

Review of network computer games with a particular emphasis on network functionality and performance issues.

2 Network Protocols

Review of the main protocols within TCP/IP and their relevance to the development of various types of networked computer games.

3 Network Architectures for Games

Review and evaluate the main network architectures and their relevance to network games: Client-Server, Peer-to- Peer, Hybrid, Multi-Server.

4 Distribution of Functionality

Critically evaluate methods for distributing the functionality and processing requirements of a network computer game between participating hosts on a network.

5 Message Passing Structure

Review and evaluate methods for passing data between hosts in network games.

6 Latency MItigation

Critically evaluate the effects of, and potential solutions to dealing with latency in network computer games.

7 Prediction

Critically review dead reckoning, prediction and smoothing techniques and approaches for implementing fast action network computer games with a particular emphasis on maintaining the user experience.

8 Testing

Methods for testing the functionality and performance of networked computer games in order to evaluate robustness against network variations.

9 Security

Understanding the attacker: attack models and implications for network game applications. Common vulnerabilities in network applications. CVE, CWE and other sources of information. Secure software engineering techniques: code review, static and dynamic analysis, testing for security. Practical examples of attacks on game applications.

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Teaching and Learning Method Hours
Lecture 10
Tutorial/Seminar 20
Practical Activity 24
Assessment 80
Independent 66
Total 200

Guidance notes

SCQF Level - The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework provides an indication of the complexity of award qualifications and associated learning and operates on an ascending numeric scale from Levels 1-12 with SCQF Level 10 equating to a Scottish undergraduate Honours degree.

Credit Value – The total value of SCQF credits for the module. 20 credits are the equivalent of 10 ECTS credits. A full-time student should normally register for 60 SCQF credits per semester.


We make every effort to ensure that the information on our website is accurate but it is possible that some changes may occur prior to the academic year of entry. The modules listed in this catalogue are offered subject to availability during academic year 2021/22 , and may be subject to change for future years.