Computer Games and their Development

The Games Industry

The computer games industry is a creative industry which has seen steady UK and international growth. The development of a commercial computer game is a large scale operation.

A computer game usually involves two or more companies:

  • The developer, who actually makes the game
  • The publisher, who funds development, markets and distributes the game
  • The platform holder, for console games (e.g. Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft)
  • The license holder, if the game is taken from a film, book or other media
[Game Scenery]

Some publishers also have their own ‘in-house’ development teams. Some developers are large enough to do their own publishing.

Games are the product of a multidisciplinary team. A development team has four main subgroups:

  • Programmers
  • Artists (Audio & Visual)
  • Game / Level Designers
  • Production / Management


The programmers usually develop in C++ using a standard development environment like Microsoft Visual Studio, or with custom tools for some console development. They will also use game-specific middleware and APIs (Application Programmer Interfaces), e.g. DirectX or the Havoc physics engine.

The collaboration of artists and programmers is unusual to games development. The interaction is complex and each side must understand the other’s work to a degree. This aspect of games development can be a source of inspiration or cause great friction. This Computer Games Development degree is for those students who wish to learn about the programming aspect of computer games.