COSC360 - Computer Game Design
This course takes a practical, hands on approach to making games. We will design, prototype, implement and polish complete games over the six week course. How do we implement a game in a set timeframe? How do we ensure its quality? What sets successful developers apart from everyone else with a good idea? What do fluffy buns have to do with critiquing a design? Topics covered will include, but are not limited to: programming, project management, game design, visual and audio design and case studies from the industry.

Teaching mode

This paper is taught in the Distance Learning mode. This means all the lectures, labs and tutorials will be given online. For more details on the paper offering, including the course outline, see the COSC360 course description from the catalogue of the University of Otago papers.

Teaching team

The nature of this paper

The computer games industry is very competitive and the work load is very high. This paper can only give an introduction to the field of computer game design and the reality of work in this area. We certainly do not suggest that graduates of this paper will walk into a job in the industry. Much like careers in music or art, it will be by a combination of skill and dedication that you will earn your place in a company. We will try to help you focus your efforts by learning appropriate skills and building a portfolio. It is by demonstrating your ability that you will succeed in an interview.

The major task for COSC 360 students is to work in a team of 3-4 to design, build and polish a complete game. The games are built in Unity and are playable in the browser. Students are free to choose their own mechanics and theme for the game. We have games covering a range of genres: shoot 'em ups, platformers, puzzle games, tower defence and more.

Games reel 2024

Frequently Asked Questions

"I like playing computer games, will I be able to play games a lot in this course?"

Probably not. This course is about the creation of computer games rather than how to get good at playing them. There will be a lot to learn and the assignments will take up most of your time during this six weeks. There will however be a bit of testing that needs to be done, so there will be a small amount of play.

"How do I get into this paper?"

The first question is how much computer programming have you done, and what qualifications do you have. The prerequisite for this paper is COSC202 Software Development, so most students doing second year computer science can enroll. However, if you are at high school then you will need to do two years of computer science papers before you can do this course. These would include, COMP161 Computer Programming, COMP162 Foundation of Computer Science, and COSC202 Software Development. If you are currently studying at another University you need to contact our course adviser and discuss the equivalent papers.

"I have done COSC202 (or equivalent), when can I enroll?"

Summer school enrollment usually starts in August.

"Can COSC360 be one of the four 300-level COSC papers required for a major in Computer Science?"


"I am doing a COSC minor - can this be my 300 level paper?"


"When does summer school start?"

Usually in the first full week of January - check the summer school page for details.

"What language are you using?"

We are going to use C# and Unity engine for quick development.