Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2010-2011 (archived)

Module COMP41015: Efficiency and Optimization in Game Programming

Department: Computer Science

COMP41015: Efficiency and Optimization in Game Programming

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2010/11 Module Cap None.
Tied to G5K509


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To provide students with an understanding of the techniques for improving and optimizing the performance of computer games, and will develop their ability to apply these techniques.


  • Low-level game programming across gaming platforms.
  • Hardware behaviour, including that of graphics cards and specialised input devices.
  • Optimization, including use of middleware technologies.
  • Profiling in the context of system specification and throughput.
  • Complexity and performance analysis.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • An advanced level of understanding of the theory, principles and practice of software engineering and directly related technical topics.
  • Obtain a good understanding of the "low-level" details of game programming.
  • Obtain an understanding of the hardware of game programming.
  • Understand the engineering of games for optimization.
  • Be able to understand and apply different gaming systems technologies where suitable.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Practical experience of efficient and optimized game programming.
  • The ability to demonstrate systematic and advanced-level design, development, test and maintenance abilities using modern software techniques and tools.
  • The technical process and industry-standard software lifecycle-based approach to designing and constructing large scale gaming systems.
  • Advanced theoretical and practical appreciations of modern approaches to the software engineering required for gaming applications, including process technologies.
  • Apply current best technical practices of software engineering in a manner appropriate to a given problem domain.
Key Skills:
  • Written communication skills to an appropriate professional standard.
  • Apply research and problem solving.
  • Achieve a practical solution through the integration of a number of technologies, many of which may be very rapidly changing.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Teaching will be a combination of lectures, tutorials, individual development work in practicals and laboratory exercises. All these activities will be customised to support the requirements of the summative report.
  • Summative report demonstrating the mastery of (i) "low-level" game programming, (ii) hardware in game programming, (iii) optimization engineering and (iv) different gaming systems technologies.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 6 In weeks 1 and 2 2 hour 12
Tutorials 4 In weeks 3 and 4 2 hour 8
Preparation and Reading 130
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Laboratory Report Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Report and code 2,500 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

Staged written feedback and/or formative exercises.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University