Our groundbreaking MSc has been developed in response to a pressing need to offer a high quality postgraduate programme serving the industries of computer games and entertainment, with an emphasis on programming, maths and graphics, business, IP, entrepreneurship, team management, 3D animation, AI and physics in games.
The computer games and entertainment business is a fast growing multi-billion dollar worldwide business, with games platforms ranging from Playstation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Wii U, mobile and handhelds including iPhone, iPad and Android phones, PC-based, and massively multiplayer online games (MMOG) involving tens of thousands of people.
With ongoing strong demand for graduate computer games programmers from the UK and abroad, this MSc will produce graduates who are well positioned to get a job in this exciting worldwide industry. Potential employers include EA, Ubisoft, Sony, Activision, Microsoft, Cinesite, Framestore, and many more.
The programme is delivered by a mix of professionals from the industry and from the research world. We work closely with industry leaders to offer internships at studios including Sega and Sony.
In a wider sense, the influence of computer games programming is spreading to other digital media industries outside games, including gamification and the medical sector, games based learning, new forms of social networking and the interactive visualisation of scientific and live financial business data. Computer games are starting to fundamentally change the way people interact with computerised systems.
Our MSc in Computer Games & Entertainment is part of the PlayStation®First Academic Partnership Programme offered by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) uk.playstation.com. Our course provides students with unique access to PlayStation® professional development hardware (dev kits) and software (SDK) to equip students with industry relevant game development skills across PlayStation®3 and PlayStation® Vita. www.worldwidestudios.net/london
Placement: Supermassive Games
"Following two years of successful placements at Supermassive Games, which resulted in full time jobs, we are looking forward to inviting Goldsmiths students to take part in our internship assessment day again this year."
Jonathan Amor, Director of Technology, Supermassive Games
Placement: Reflections - a Ubisoft studio
"We are delighted to announce that Reflections, a Ubisoft studio, will be taking on two Goldsmiths MSc Computer Games and Entertainment Programming students for Internship."
Dr Chris Jenner, Expert Programmer
"Having now placed four interns from Goldsmiths here at Rebellion, two of which have gone on to become permanent members of staff, we are very much looking forward to future applications from talented and creative Goldsmiths MSc Computer Games students”
Jason Kingsley OBE, CEO and Creative Director of Rebellion
Rebellion is one of Europe’s largest independent game developer-publishers, with their own state of the art cross-platform games engine and toolset. Rebellion’s latest number one hit was Sniper Elite 3, and they also publish the legendary 2000AD comic featuring Judge Dredd.
Placement: The Creative Assembly (SEGA)
Following two continuous years of The Creative Assembly (SEGA) successfully taking Goldsmiths MSc Games Programming Students on placements we are pleased to announce that we have reserved a minimum of three placements for Goldsmiths MSc students starting the course in September 2013, on site during the period May to September 2014. Subject to interview/ portfolio process”. Martin Servantes Director of Operations & Finance
Leading UK Developer Creative Assembly is the developer of the hit game series Total War. They are currently working on a new cross-platform title based on the Alien IP. Based in Horsham.
Placement: Jagex Games Studio
"Jagex Games Studio in Cambridge is looking forward to receiving applications from Goldsmiths’ talented MSc Games and Entertainment students for their summer internships in 2014”.
Sue Stather, Graduate Recruitment Specialist, Jagex Games Studio (RuneScape and Transformers Universe MMO Development Studio)
Placement: Roll 7
Roll7 is a New Cross-based indie video games developer and has been offering placements to Goldsmiths MSc Games students for three years. Roll7 is just about to release its first console title OlliOll, exclusively for PSVita, and we are looking for another 1 or 2 Goldsmiths programming interns for 2014 to work on a Sony backed PS4/Vita cross-play title.
Contact the department
If you have specific questions about the degree, contact the Department of Computing
Modules & structure
Main topics covered
(1) Advanced Programming (introduction to and advanced programming for games modules)
This module is designed to give you a strong basis in programming development in the context of the games and entertainment industries. From Z-buffering to lighting calculations, weather effects, curved surfaces, multiple layer Internet gaming, network programming, many of the major techniques needed to develop a competitive game engine shall be covered. Object oriented programming represents the core methodology upon which the module is based using the C++ programming language, scripting (Python or Lua) and other technologies (such as Android or iPhone dev for mobile, casual, on-line games; assembly for debugging). The module also puts an emphasis on special topics of current (and future) concern to the industry: procedural programming, multicore parallel processing and design, computer vision for gesture recognition and tracking.
(2) Computing in Geometry, Graphics and Vision (maths and graphics for games, modules 1 & 2)
This allows you to build a strong basis in the mathematics and theory which is fundamental to the development of modern games, special effects, and entertainment systems. The module is divided into various modules.
- Mathematics module: linear algebra fundamentals (vectors, matrices, quaternions), calculus review (tangents, curvature, nth order derivatives, integrals, etc.), interpolation techniques, splines, surface meshing, complex numbers and fractals, etc
- Computational geometry module: Advances cover state-of-the-art issues, such as: flocking behaviors (animation of crowds), space syntaxes (used in architecture and urban development), 3D bucketing and parallel processing
- Computer graphics module: including rendering techniques, 2D and 3D graphics (in interaction, representations). The advances cover the recent issues in graphics, including Non-Photorealistic Rendering (NPR), procedural algorithmics, growth and evolutionary systems, etc
- Perception and Vision module: (mainly visual): computer vision including image processing and pattern recognition, use of OpenCV, kinect platform from Microsoft
(3) Games & Interactive Entertainment Industries (business and practice for games module)
During this module you will develop a solid understanding of the industries of computer games and interactive entertainment, inclusive of special effects for films and animations. It gives an overview of the industries and teaches students the main management methods used in practice. Main topics covered include:
- How the industry works across all the domains
- How games are made: considering games development from concept to shrink wrap; how development is different for different domains; approaches to developing games; the use of middleware and tools
- Team work: the role of the team within development; how to make teams work (Tuckman, Empowerment, psychology, etc.); highlights the positive sides of crunch and the deathmarch, but also highlights the issues of those approaches
- Entrepreneurship; how to do it yourself; IP; marketing and hiring
(4) Additional modules and activities (may vary from year to year)
- Tools and middleware module; AI in games module; physics and (3D) animation module; mobile technology (eg Android, iPhone, iPad, via workshops and special projects)
- Shaders and renderers (typically covered between the programming and maths and gfx modules)
- Audio-visual processing (eg using Kinect, via workshops, coursework)
- Seminars (eg in collaboration with our industry partners)
- Workshops (eg on specific middleware, like Unity, Unreal, Houdini, Maya)
(5) Final Project & Dissertation
During this final project, you will undertake a project towards your dissertation, typically over the Spring-Summer period (May to September). We offer three options to our students:
Individual research project:
This is based on a research theme selected by you and agreed upon by the lecturing team. Recent examples include:
- Building a cheap kinect-like gesture tracking system
- AI (rule-based) platform for game level design
- Software development for our mobile technology projects (iPhone based)
Small team game development:
The project is based on a theme, e.g. 'Myths and Legends'. The goal will be for each student to create a playable game on a common platform (eg a PC, handheld device, console or mobile phone). Working in small teams, students will be required to build a level of a complete 'First Playable' prototype game (or 'The Vertical Slice') for PC, or consoles or mobile platforms of a quality to be suitable to be shown to a publisher.
Placement at a games or post-production studio or at a technology company:
Typically within the greater London area and for a minimum of three months, you will regularly report back on your experience during the placement and provide a final presentation/viva and report as for the other two options, but not necessarily with demos (proof of programming work is ensured via a designated mentor at the studio/company).
All students are required to write a report (alike a thesis format) and present their result/experience at a final viva in front of a small examination committee, usually by mid-September.
Companies offering placements include:
- Creative Assembly
- Ideaworks (Marmalade)
- and more
Mainly based on coursework (involving programming), essays, final project and dissertation; some lecturers may also conduct exams/quizzes.
The taught programme is organised into three terms (full-time). The Autumn term runs from early October to mid-December, the Winter/Spring term from mid-January to the end of March, and the Summer term runs, typically, from late April to mid-September. Taught modules are given during the Autumn and Winter/Spring terms, while the Final Project takes place during a Summer term (in the second year for part-time students).
Download the programme specification for this degree to find out more about what you'll learn and how you'll be taught and assessed.
Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.
Computing at Goldsmiths is ranked 17th in the UK for the quality of our research**
The Department of Computing offers a creative, contemporary and pioneering approach to the discipline.
From developing computers that can compose music and paint pictures, to defining and implementing new social media tools and applications, we aim to invigorate computing and the world around it.
Learn by doing
We place a great emphasis on creativity, independence and ‘learning by doing’. Students undertake practical work in real-world situations, carrying out projects in ways that mirror industry practice.
We also promote an interdisciplinary approach to the subject: from computational arts to games and entertainment, and from data science to digital journalism.
You’ll be taught by industry experts – our academics are deeply engaged in current research, with many applying their knowledge and skills to developing cutting-edge technology. And we have close links with industry, too, regularly inviting leading professionals to deliver lectures and talks.
Find out more about the Department of Computing.
**Research Excellence Framework 2014, Times Higher Education research intensity subject rankings
Seminar Series: Games & Entertainment Industries
Each year we bring guest speakers to Goldsmiths from the games and entertainment industries.
This is one of the ways we create more links with the industry and are able to offer to our students help in getting internships in various games studios during the summer term.
In the past our guest speakers have included:
- Steve Goss, Creative Director, Supermassive Games
- Richard Wilson, Head of TIGA
- David Bishop, Head of Game Design, MindCandy
- John Ribbins, Creative Director, Roll7
- Jeff Wagner, Senior Technology and Production Consultant, SideFx
- Russell Clarke, Director of Product Development, Ideaworks Game Studio
- Sam Martin, Head of Technology, Geomerics
Key academic staff that are involved in the programme:
Professor William Latham, Co-director of MSc in Computer Games & Entertainment
William is well known for his pioneering work with IBM (1987-93) in evolutionary art and computing at the IBM UK Scientific Centre in Winchester. He is co-author of the book 'Evolutionary Art and Computers', published in 1992, which covers the work during this period with the mathematician Stephen Todd. His award-winning organic computer animated films were shown at SIGGRAPH and many computer graphics events around the world, and he had major art exhibitions, touring the UK, Germany, Australia, Hong Kong and Japan for four years. During this period his work received much press and TV coverage and a number of IBM patents emerged from this work.
From 1993 to 2003, William was CEO of Computer Artworks Ltd, which initially worked with the music industry for two years (clients included BMG Music) then focused on producing computer games for Playstation 2, Xbox and PC. Employing around 90 people, clients included Microsoft, Nokia, Atari and Sony Computer Entertainment. Hit games developed included the award-winning ‘The Thing’ (PS2, Xbox, PC) for Vivendi Universal which was a number one hit in the UK and Germany. (The game is a sequel to the cult John Carpenter film of the same name.) Other products included the cult PC game Evolva for Virgin Interactive and Organic Art for Warner Interactive and Mattel. The average turnover was approximately £5m per annum, with two development studios in London and Brighton. William was responsible for negotiating and closing contracts valued at $100K to $5m with USA and European Publishers.
William is Director and Founder of Games Audit Ltd (2003), which is an Operational and Technical Due Diligence Company focusing on the development of Playstation3, Xbox360, Nintendo Wii, PC and MMO games for clients which include Banks, VCs and City Investment companies, Games Publishers and Developers. Games Audit clients include:
- Ingenious Ventures, Add Partners and IDG Ventures, ITI Techmedia (Scotland), Imprimatur Capital, IFG (International Film Guarantors), Add Zero, Nesta, NCC (National Computing Center; escrow provider).
On Creative Computing courses provided to international students, and in the context of a flourishing creative industry, William featured in the following video:
Find out more about the making of The Thing in this interview with William in Edge Magazine.
Professor Frederic Fol Leymarie, Co-Director of MSc in Computer Games & Entertainment
Frederic was previously the director and founder of the former MSc in Arts Computing at Goldsmiths, before joining William Latham to create the new MSc in Computer Games and Entertainment. He received his BEng in Electrical Engineering, with honors in aeronautics, from the Polytechnic School of Montreal, his MEng from McGill University in Computer Vision and Biomedical Imagery, and his PhD from Brown University (in 3D shape representation). In the mid-nineties he was leading R&D projects in the industry of 3D Geographical Information Systems, with Thales – part of Thomson-CSF – based in Paris, France.
His current research interests incorporate ideas from computer vision, together with the physics of waves and shocks and their modelling in modern mathematics via singularity theory. Frederic is also working on perceptual models grounded in geometry, based in part on Gestalt theory. Frederic has initiated several 'shape-based' projects mixing the arts, humanities, social sciences, and computing, including CyberCity and CyberMonument, digital sculpting (with the Mid-Ocean Studio), digital archaeology (co-founder of the SHAPE lab at Brown University), and FoldSynthProtein Folding Visualisation Project (with William Latham and Stephen Todd at Goldsmiths and the Bioinformatics group at Imperial College, London).
- YouTube: Creative Computing @ Goldsmiths, April 2011
Andy Thomason, Leader of the Programming, Tools and Middleware, and AI courses
Andy is a games industry veteran – from his involvement in computer chess and console games in the 1970s through Psygnosis technology group, Rage games, Confounding factor and now Sony Computer Entertainment. He's now split between SN Systems, Sony's console tools specialist, and Goldsmiths. Andy has contributed to many recent triple-A game titles by troubleshooting performance issues.
Andy holds a half time senior lecturing position with us, and keeps a half time position at Sony, SN Systems in Bristol, as a Compiler Engineer (since 2004). Previously he was Technology programmer at Confounding factor (2003-04), on the game "B-17 Flying Fortress: The mighty 8th" (1999-2003), at Psygnosis (1994-99).
Andy has experience with every aspect of computer science from video codecs, speech recognition, game engines, mathematics, geometry processing, operating systems to compilers.
Andy is a contibutor to the Game Programming Gems series and has given talks at GDC and other conferences. He has been featured in IT Nowmagazine and on Gamasutra:
Andy holds a BSc with Honours in Physics and Electronics from the University of Manchester, and an MSc in Mathematics from the Open University.
Dr Mick Grierson, Leader of the Audio engineering and Mobile technology courses
Mick Grierson specialises in applied real-time audiovisual interaction and cognition research. He has over 15 years' experience working in film, television and music, creating motion graphics, music, sound and interactive installations for the arts, games and entertainment industries. He is currently principle investigator on a £300,000 three-year industry fellowship, developing a range of interactive audiovisual software for platforms including iPhone, iPad and PS3. This work continues his previous fully-funded research in experimental audiovisual interaction within commercial gaming environments.
As a software developer and artist, clients range from traditional broadcast (BBC, Channel 4, Universal), to public institutions and researchers (Beau Lotto, Science Museum, soundandmusic.org), to world-leading musicians and artists (Christian Marclay, Greyworld, Vernon Reid). Throughout 2005-06 he designed motion graphics and digital audiovisual installations for the hit TV show Derren Brown: Trick of the Mind, including the now classic "Zombie" experiment. In 2007 he released the Mabuse Audiovisual Composition environment, which has been downloaded by tens of thousands of VJs and performers. In 2008 he collaborated with the Sonic Arts Network and the South Bank Centre to create a freely available interactive audiovisual interface for use by people who are deaf and hard of hearing, and received considerable international press attention after demonstrating his Brain Computer Interface for Music to the BBC. In 2009 he released the open source C++ audio DSP library, Maximilian. Maximilian consists of professional level C++ DSP code for interactive audio, game and application software development.
Mick holds a PhD from the University of Kent. He is Director of Creative Computing at Goldsmiths.
Suggested preliminary reading:
- “Game Programming Gems,” Vol. 1-6, Mark DeLoura, 2000-6.
- “Massively Multiplayer Game Development,” (vols. 1 & 2), T. Alexander, 2005.
- “Death March,” E. Yourdon, 2nd ed., 2003 ( www.yourdon.com).
- “Waltzing with Bears: Managing Risks on Software Projects,” T. Demarco & T. Lister, 2003.
- “Computational Geometry,” M. Overmars & O. Schwarzkopf, 2nd rev. ed., 2000.
- “Texturing and Modeling: A Procedural Approach,” D. Ebert et al., 3rd ed., 2002.
- “The Animator’s Survival Kit,” R. Williams, 2002.
- “Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art,” S. McCloud, 1994.
- “Creating Emotion in Games: The Craft and Art of Emotioneering,” D. Freedman, 2003.
- “3D Game Engine Design,” D. Eberly, 2006.
- “3D Game Engine Architecture,” D. Eberly, 2005.
- Graphics Gems Series
- GPU Gems Series
- ShaderX series, W. Engel.
- “Agent-Based Software Development,” M. Luck, R. Ashri & M. d’Inverno, 2004.
- AI Game Programming Wisdom series, S. Rabin, 2002-6.
- “Creating Music and Sound for Games,” G. W. Childs, 2006.
- “Fundamentals of Audio & Video Programming for Games,” P. Turcan & M. Wasson, 2003.
- “Real-Time Collision Detection,” C. Ericson, 2004.
- “Game Physics,” D. Eberly, 2003.
- “Effective C++,” 3rd edition, S. Myers, 2005.
- “More Effective C++,” S. Myers, 1996.
- “Effective STL,” S. Myers, 2001.
- “C++ Coding Standards,” Stutter & Alexandrescu, 2004.
- “Exceptional C++,” Stutter, 2004.
- “Code Complete,” 2rd rev. ed., S. McConnell, 2004.
- “Peopleware,” 2nd ed., T. DeMarco, 1999.
- “Software project Survival Guide,” S.McConnell, 1997.
- “Professional software development,” S.McConnell, 2003.
- "Beyond the C++ Standard Library -- an intro. to Boost," B. Karlsson, 2006.
- "Mathematics for 3D game programming & Computer Graphics," E. Lengyel, 2nd edition, 2003.
- "3D Math Primer for Games & Graphics Development," F. Dunn & I. Parberry, 2002.
Skills & careers
This programme is focused on providing you with the skills and experience needed to secure a job in the computer games industry.
You'll develop excellent games programming skills. These skills are highly transferrable, as games programming is viewed by other industries as being very demanding and requiring a high level of technical ability.
The global computer games industry is valued at 60 billion USD and is predicted to continuously grow in years to come. It's a mature industry with companies such as EA, Ubisoft, and Blizzard Activision giving long-term career prospects, shares, and benefits. There is a big skills shortage in this growing sector.
You should have (or expect to be awarded) an undergraduate degree of at least upper second class standard in computing, engineering or mathematical sciences, and an interest in - and capability for - working in interdisciplinary contexts.
You might also be considered if you aren’t a graduate or your degree is in an unrelated field, but have relevant commercial experience and can show that you have the ability to work at postgraduate level.
We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.
English language requirements
If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to meet our English language requirements to study with us.
For this programme we require:
IELTS 6.5 (with a minimum of 6.5 in the written test and no individual test lower than 6.0)
If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.
How to apply
You apply directly to Goldsmiths using our online application system.
Before submitting your application you'll need to have:
- Details of your education history, including the dates of all exams/assessments
- The email address of your referee who we can request a reference from, or alternatively an electronic copy of your academic reference
- A personal statement – this can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF, or completed online
- If available, an electronic copy of your educational transcript (this is particularly important if you have studied outside of the UK, but isn’t mandatory)
You'll be able to save your progress at any point and return to your application by logging in using your username/email and password.
When to apply
We accept applications from October for students wanting to start the following September.
We encourage you to complete your application as early as possible, even if you haven't finished your current programme of study. It's very common to be offered a place conditional on you achieving a particular qualification.
If you're applying for external funding from one of the Research Councils, make sure you submit your application by the deadline they've specified.
Late applications will only be considered if there are spaces available.
You will be required to demonstrate sufficient proficiency at programming in a major language, such as C, C#, C++ or Java, before being accepted on the programme. This may take the form of text or – during an interview – a practical challenge to programme a well-known method or algorithm. A portfolio of relevant work (such as programming samples, art-based/sketch book, games assets, or games programmed/designed) will strengthen your application.
Find out more about applying.