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Unit information: Immersive Games Design and Production in 2025/26

Please note: Programme and unit information may change as the relevant academic field develops. We may also make changes to the structure of programmes and assessments to improve the student experience.

Unit name Immersive Games Design and Production
Unit code COMSM0128
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. MacQuarrie
Open unit status Not open
Units you must take before you take this one (pre-requisite units)

COMSM0126 Introduction to Immersive Technologies and Arts
COMSM0124 Virtual Environment Design

Units you must take alongside this one (co-requisite units)

None

Units you may not take alongside this one

None

School/department School of Computer Science
Faculty Faculty of Engineering

Unit Information

Gaming is the largest sector within immersive technologies with many games companies evolving to deliver bigger, better, more detailed, and more immersive experiences for gamers through the utilisation of VR and AR. Immersive games are also not just for entertainment but are also utilised in many other sectors in order to create an engaging an exciting user experience. This unit provides you with an introduction to the immersive games industry by engaging you with developing, pitching, and communicating game concepts, and by requiring you to consider gameplay principles, game development practices, and game production in the creation of your own immersive game. You will be using industry-standard production management tools and techniques that stimulate a professional environment of collaboration to deliver an immersive game.

Building on from the Virtual Environment Design unit students will be able to enhance their skills in developing immersive experiences through targeting their knowledge to create an immersive game. This unit is a core disciplinary competency within the MSc Immersive Technologies (Virtual and Augmented Reality) programme.

Your learning on this unit

An Overview of Content

This unit will equip students with an understanding of the historical and evolving context of the immersive games industry including the fundamental theories of play and gaming:

What Makes a Good Game?

  • Motivational properties - challenge, mastery, social connectivity, freedom, expression, reward
  • Flow and immersion – modulating challenge and success
  • Narrative – characters (playable and non-playable), story arcs, representation, message

Games Design

  • Mechanics – the rules of play, creation of the world
  • Dynamics – portrayal of game events and user interactions
  • Aesthetics – visual and sensory components of the game, player affect

Serious Gaming

  • Integrating skill-based training and gameplay

Challenges for VR Gaming

  • Context for play
  • Social factors
  • Interaction challenges – embodiment, sensory elements, movements, perspective
  • Ethics – interface augmentation, character embodiment, realism

Immersive Game Production

  • Game engines - Introduction to a 3D game engine
  • “World space” - working within 3D environments (camera placement etc)
  • Introduction to commercial games development workflows and methods (e.g. Agile, versioning, collaborative tools etc)
  • Game objects and interactions
  • Game logic

The Structure of the Games Industry

  • Developers, software tools and middleware providers, publishers, hardware manufacturers, distributors and retail outlets.

How will students, personally, be different as a result of a unit?

As a result of this unit you will have the knowledge and understanding of the immersive games development and production process and theories of game and play, as well as the practical skills to design, plan and implement an immersive game prototype.

Learning Outcomes

1. Design, develop and implement an immersive game prototype through an iterative agile process.
2. Utilise game and play theories effectively within their immersive game development and production process.
3. Communicate and evaluate different immersive games design solutions positioning their practice within the immersive games field.
4. Identify, analyse and critically reflect upon the ethical and safety aspects which need to be considered when developing an immersive game.
5. Develop a professional degree of proficiency of the technologies required in designing, developing and implementing an immersive game.
6. Professionally plan, deliver and communicate effectively their immersive games production process.
7. Critically reflect upon effective collaboration within an immersive games production team.

How you will learn

  • Practical & teacher supported hands-on development using commercial games engines and supporting asset development software.
  • Case studies / weekly game critique.
  • Group-based coursework is suited to the unit in order to simulate the format of real-world game development norms of industry.
  • Weekly group-based lab exercises grant the students the opportunity to socially construct their knowledge – reconstructing and discussing ideas together as a team to develop shared mental models of the course content, while staff support can contribute to these discussions and provide regular, incremental feedback.

How you will be assessed

Summary

100% coursework submission:

  • A group produced immersive game and report reflecting on the design, theories, and production techniques utilised. Students will work in small teams (5-6) to create an immersive game prototype. Students will report regularly on their individual contributions which will be used to award individual marks if the contribution of team members is not even: ILOs 1-7

Tasks which help you learn and prepare for summative tasks (formative)

  • Practical sessions run in parallel with theory sessions. These practical sessions will follow a lab format, comprised of a lab tutorial with an activity which helps support the students on their learning trajectory towards completion of their immersive game prototype. As part of their formative assessment, this activity will be validated by one of the unit coordinators or teaching assistants so students get regular feedback on their immersive games development process.

Tasks which count towards your unit mark (summative)

  • Immersive Game Pitch (group presentation + working demonstration) (60%) - Group submission ILOs 1-2, 5-7
  • Immersive Game Design and Development Document (40%) - Group submission ILOs 1-4, 6, 7

When assessment does not go to plan

For students who will be required to undertake a re-assessment if there are enough students a new group will be formed in order to undertake the creation of an immersive game prototype. If there are not enough students requiring a reassessment to form a new team or forming a new team is deemed not possible then the student will be required to individually undertake a pro-rata contribution to a creation of an immersive game prototype, this may mean that a student only completes a specific stage of a full immersive game prototype development.

  • Immersive Game Pitch (individual presentation + working demonstration) (60%) - Individual or group submission ILOs 1-2, 5-7
  • Immersive Game Design and Development Document (40%) - Individual or group submission ILOs 1-4, 6, 7

Resources

If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. COMSM0128).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the University Workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

Assessment
The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. For appropriate assessments, if you have self-certificated your absence, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (for assessments at the end of TB1 and TB2 this is usually in the next re-assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any exceptional circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.

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