Module details for Game Engines and the Principles of Programming


The module provides an introduction to computational thinking for students who want to work in the games industry. This module is for students who require knowledge of programming for their game design practice, but who are not primarily programmers and who have limited or no previous experience in programming.


The aim of this module is to introduce students to the core concepts of computer programming through practical examples within game engines.

Learning Outcomes

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

1.  Demonstrate the use of core programming concepts.

2.  Write computer programs for a specific purpose.

3.  Demonstrate an ability to develop and implement code within a game engine, and communicate this work to colleagues.

Indicative Content

1 Introduction

An introduction to fundamental concepts of programming.

2 Expressions, variables and statements

Use and syntax of basic programming mechanisms.

3 Conditionals

Checking conditions and changing the behaviour of a program accordingly.

4 Repetition and Loops

Repeating code within a program

5 Functions

Create functions to perform tasks and operations within a program

6 Data structures

Introduce the concept of organising the data within a program through the use of basic data structures such as lists (arrays) and dictionaries (associative arrays)

7 Classes

Write and use program components that encapsulate data and functionality together

8 Modules

Use independently developed modules (libraries) to create additional functionality within a program

9 Files

Create and use data stored in external files

10 Engines

Demonstrate an awareness of available game engines and their applications

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

For session 2020/21 the expectation is that the teaching and learning hours stated in this descriptor will form a mix of synchronous and asynchronous student/staff activity, with the majority of this being online. The exact pattern of this activity is likely to vary from the standard face-to-face hours listed below but the overall student effort remains the same. Up-to-date information on the delivery of the module can be found on the relevant module MLS site and on your student timetable.

Teaching and Learning Method Hours
Lecture 0
Tutorial/Seminar 12
Practical Activity 24
Assessment 80
Independent 84
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 2020/21 , and may be subject to change for future years.