Associate Degree of Games Development

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Available at
Adelaide, Brisbane, Byron Bay, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney
FEE Help available
Associate Degree of Games Development
Domestic Fees

Units x Costs ($AUD)
4 x $3,807
4 x $2,728
1 x $5,456
2 x $8,184

Indicative Total Course Fee*
$47,964 AUD
Plus Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF)

* The Indicative Total Course Fee & Indicative Annual Course Fees reflects that students are charged fees on a per unit basis and the fee for a unit may increase.

For more information view the SAE Fee Schedule or visit the Fee & Payment page.

FEE-HELP Available
Associate Degree of Games Development
International Fees

Units x Costs ($AUD)
4 x $4,439
4 x $3,178
1 x $6,356
2 x $9,534

Indicative Total Course Fee*
$55,892 AUD
Plus Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF)

* The Indicative Total Course Fee & Indicative Annual Course Fees reflects that students are charged fees on a per unit basis and the fee for a unit may increase.

For more information view the SAE Fee Schedule or visit the Fee & Payment page.

4 Trimesters Full Time (Fast Track)

Complete your course faster by studying units over 15 months. (4 trimesters)

Associate Degree of Games Development
Course Durations
4 Trimesters Full Time (Fast Track)

Complete your course faster by studying units over 15 months. (4 trimesters)

6 Trimesters Full Time

Whilst still classified as a full-time study load, you will complete the units over two years. (6 trimesters)

Part-time option available

If you want to take a little longer, that’s ok too. We’ll help you work out the best study load to suit your needs.

Note: Part-time is not available for international students.

We understand that things can change, so you'll have the flexibility to change your study load throughout your course if you need to.
Start Date(s)
May 2024
Associate Degree of Games Development
Start Dates
  • May 2024

  • September 2024

  • February 2025

  • May 2024

  • September 2024

  • February 2025

Byron Bay
  • May 2024

  • September 2024

  • February 2025

  • May 2024

  • September 2024

  • February 2025

  • May 2024

  • September 2024

  • February 2025

  • May 2024

  • September 2024

  • February 2025

Entry Requirements
Associate Degree of Games Development
Domestic Entry Requirements
Domestic students must meet one of the following criteria:
Completion of a Australian Senior Secondary Certificate of Education (QCE, WACE, HSC, SACE, etc) (like your Year 12 certificate or equivalent); OR
Completion of a Diploma level qualification issued under the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF); OR
Completion of a Certificate IV level qualification issued under the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF); OR
Experience-Based Entry – for applicants who do not meet the requirements of entry criteria above.
More info
Associate Degree of Games Development
International Entry Requirements
International Entry Requirements
Minimum age requirements
International students seeking admission to SAE must be 18 years of age OR must be turning 18 during their first trimester of studies at SAE.
Academic requirements
Successful completion of secondary school studies (assessed as an equivalent of Australian Year 12 secondary studies). Minimum overall pass is required.
English language requirements
International English Language Testing Sydney (IELTS): An overall score of 6.0 or higher with no individual band lower than 5.5 (only the Academic Test is accepted), OR
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): 73 overall (internet-based test), OR
Pearson Test of English (PTE): Academic score of 46 or higher, OR
Completion of Year 12 English in an Australian secondary school or college or equivalent with a minimum result of “Satisfactory” or equivalent.
More info
Successful completion of an Academic English program with an SAE-approved Australian-based English partner. Please refer to our SAE International Study Pathways for more information.
More info


Make the transition from gamer to a game developer with the Associate Degree of Games Development and explore a range of genres for a range of platforms – roleplaying games, platformers, adventure, PC, FPS, mobile, and VR.

Not only are games becoming some of the biggest entertainment properties in the world, but industries are now also using the positive effects of ‘gamification’ and serious games to encourage behavioural change, particularly in fields of healthcare, training, and safety.

Games have the potential to change the world, and we can give you the skills to help change yours. Our associate degree starts at the base level and builds your expertise in programming and design.

As a student of Games at SAE, we offer small classes and one-on-one mentoring opportunities you may not find in a larger university You’ll develop and apply advanced techniques and strategies to use industry software like Unreal Engine, Unity3D and Maya. In addition to this, you could develop for technologies such as Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Android, and iOS. You’ll also learn to speak how the professionals do with expert mentors guiding you in industry-standard languages C++ and C#.

Your growth and development as a creative practitioner will be assessed through the completion of industry-based projects. This will ultimately help you build up a body of work and a portfolio to share with potential employers or first clients.

In preparation for an industry that commands agility and adaptability, you’ll cut your creative teeth on projects in partnership with your course peers. As your skills develop and you work on more dynamic projects, you’ll apply your capabilities to cross-discipline projects. By the end of your course, you could be collaborating with fellow students across all SAE disciplines.

With an Associate Degree of Games Development, you’ll be ready for cutting-edge industry roles using modern creative business concepts and strategies. Career options include Mobile App Developer, Level Designer, Systems Designer, or UX Designer.

Ultimately, a qualification from SAE in Games will expand your career. As part of your course, you will be provided practical experience and work with others to help build your network. We’ll also equip you with employability skills, giving you professional strategies in communication and self-promotion.

Your epic adventure in gaming starts here.


Career Outcomes

What jobs will this course lead to?

  • Level Designer
  • Product Manager
  • Producer
  • Developer
  • Unity Developer
  • Quality Assurance
  • Games Writer
  • User Interface Designer
  • User Experience Designer
  • Lighting Designer
  • Gameplay Programmer
  • Community Manager
  • Localisation Manager
  • Software Developer
  • Tools Developer

Why study an Associate Degree of Games Development at SAE?

Games student using computers
Learn and apply advanced-techniques and strategies to use industry software like: Unreal Engine 4, Unity3D and Maya
Practical, immersive training Learn as you collaborate on real-world projects and briefs. Build a portfolio to share with an employer or first client.
Cross discipline collaboration Apply your skills and work with other students on film, audio, and animation projects at SAE.
Flexible course options Completing two of the three stages of the Bachelor of Games Development, this course provides an excellent pathway into the Bachelor.


Tools & Software

Games skills

Gameplay programming Game engine scripting Game design Advanced-level C++ and C# programming language Tools development

Course Structure

The Associate Degree of Games Development has two stages that provide foundational learning and applied skill.
Red. Infographic explaining Trimesters 1-6 for the Diploma, Associate Degree and Bachelor Games courses at SAE.
Stage 1: Foundations
Develop the essential technical skills and the knowledge required to collaborate with other creative media students and professionals.
Credit points: 10

Beyond technical and craft skills, expert practitioners also have an understanding of the historical, scholarly and cultural context of games. Through developing your ability to identify scholarly and authoritative resources, your skills in research, and your capacity to argue, present and write academically, you will become a more literate creative. You'll be able to apply these skills in industry to build better outcomes for your project and company with strong links to both the past and future of Games.

Potential projects: Working in a team, you'll develop a paper and digital presentation in the style of a Games Developer's Conference.
Credit points: 10

Game scripting is a common method of controlling the behaviour and sequencing of events and interactions within a game or scenario. Scripting can be thought of as a discrete language that uses principles of mathematics, combined with rules of syntax and patterns, to provide instructions for a computer to follow.
In this unit, you will implement a range of basic game functionality by utilising data manipulation, formulas, object creation, defining of behaviours, and working with event systems. You will also build an awareness of how to use these elements within common game scripting languages and environments.

Potential projects:
Build a simple game from scratch using an existing game engine such as Unity with C#.
Credit points: 10

In order to design and create games we need to be able to understand game systems and how they generate player experience. Games are complex, sitting at the intersection of art, technology, and psychology. To be able to become an effective game developer, it's important to start at a point where you can experiment and see the immediate outcomes of your decisions upon a product. It's for this reason that most game developers start off with small, rapidly developed games or modifications to check their thinking. In this module you will learn how to analyse existing games to identify and describe their core elements and interactions. You will apply this understanding to manipulate existing games in addition to designing new ones, and then check the effectiveness of your work through playtesting and player feedback.
Credit points: 10

This unit will introduce you to 2D Game Development and is designed to equip you with foundational knowledge and skills necessary for creating 2D games. The course is structured to guide students through the process of planning and developing 2D game assets, laying the groundwork for the creation of a fully realised 2D game concept.

By the end of this unit you will have created the necessary 2D assets required to convey the mood and tone of your own game. With these assets, you will have several fully realised scenes, built in a game engine that depict your vision and demonstrate your understanding of the 2D asset production pipeline.
Credit points: 10

This unit will introduce you to the mindset and skillset of the creative entrepreneur, and transform your approach to problem-solving. You will analyse historical and contemporary models of leadership and best practice in entrepreneurship, and use tools for project design that include ideation, problem framing, and pitching. The skills in this unit will assist you in developing your creative thinking, exploration, and experimentation methods, allowing you to experiment with project design and content for creative media.
Credit points: 10

Game systems increase in importance and complexity in proportion to the size of a project. This relationship requires modular and reusable systems within game development pipelines, which can be applied to other projects. In this unit, you will extend basic scripting principles by implementing event-systems and applied mathematics in the form of modular game systems. This will involve reviewing good code design by developing or modifying fundamental game systems driven by geometry, vectors, and physics, such as input systems and character controllers, as well as researching, designing, and developing a complex game system, such as a 2D boss battle system, RPG dialogue system, or action-adventure inventory system.
Credit points: 10

In this unit, introduces students to the planning, design and construction of 3D models using industry standard software and techniques. This unit introduces students to concepts of workflows and pipelines in order to develop 3D assets for a number of purposes for games, animation, VFX and real-time applications. Students will develop their understanding of theoretical concepts and the practical application of 3D modelling through a hands-on approach. By planning and creating a number of 3D assets, students will develop their skills in using industry standard 3D modelling software including Maya in addition to being introduced to Substance Painter. 

Students will also be introduced to the principles and concepts of transferring 3D models between applications including real-time engines and other 3D software. Through iteration and refinement, students will build their understanding of the technical and aesthetic considerations for 3D asset development for a range of contexts.
Credit points: 10

Creating games requires that we manage the complexities of art, design, and programming. Successful games need teams that communicate and collaborate, who have clarity on their progress and objectives. This requires common languages and structures that support the variety of disciplines involved. Everybody on the team needs familiarity with the toolsets and industry practices in order to formulate and execute clear plans for delivering high-quality game assets and features on time. Developers formalise the lessons they learned during development through reflective retrospectives and post mortems.
In this unit, you will learn about project management techniques and work in a team to pitch, design, plan, and deliver a game in response to project briefs. This will include learning and applying a range of teamwork and organisational skills, as well as applying iteration processes to your game design. It will expand upon your existing skills as you work on a larger scale game over the course of the unit with a group of your peers.
Stage 2: Refine & Expand
Broaden your scope to work on complex multidisciplinary projects in accordance with industry standard practices.
Credit points: 10

In CIM210 you will be working on interdisciplinary projects that relate to some of the most important concepts in contemporary media production. You will learn practical and analytical skills in order to help you develop your creative powers and meet briefs that take you out of your comfort zone. You will need to bring all of the skills you have learned so far: technical skills, research skills, communication skills and a growth mindset, and be prepared to encounter new concepts and new ways of working.
Credit points: 10

Media and culture are not simply entertainment, but something that affects the “real world”, our everyday lives, and our worldviews. As such, we will not ask whether media accurately reflect the real world but instead ask how media shape, reinforce, and challenge power structures that influence our understanding of the world and ourselves. This unit takes a ‘critical theory’ approach to analyze media and culture. In this unit, you will explore media texts, contexts and meaning, society and subjectivity, pop culture aesthetics, and critical cultural discourses that inform creative media practices.

Drawing on a range of creative content and analytical frameworks, you will be encouraged to develop ways of thinking about media and culture that demonstrate a broad awareness of aesthetic principles and stylistic trends; subjectivity, agency, ethics, and relations of power; contexts, disciplines and discursive formations. In support of this exploration, you will produce a range of media artifacts that explore and contextualize the relationship of media to culture through individual analysis, collaborative and interdisciplinary creative practice, and critical reflection.

Credit points: 10

Game development is a long and complicated process. But how do game developers know what ideas to pursue and which ones to give up? This is why we develop rapid prototypes: to test a theory or idea before we lose months or years of time to a concept that is simply too challenging to develop to the standard we desire. These prototypes are created purely to test a concept or tool. They are developed, analysed, and disposed of once we have learned what we can from them.

In this unit you will bring all your lessons learned so far to bear as you scope and design prototypes to test your ideas over short periods of time. You will perform testing and analysis on these ideas to check their viability and identify the ways in which they could be improved.
Credit points: 10

This unit explores game systems featured in popular computer games across various genres. It builds upon existing design and programming skills through design activities and technical overviews of common 2D and 3D game systems, such as sprite managers and character controllers, as well as genre-specific systems, such as adventure game inventories and role-playing game progression systems. In this unit you will evaluate, design, and implement common game systems through design activities, and choose a game genre for a group project, with each member contributing a different  game system.
Credit points: 10

This course covers the basics of designing different types of environments for animation, film, and games. Students learn perspective, composition, and research techniques as they apply to environments for believable detail, clear tonal reads, and lighting. Lectures and demonstrations stress the importance of the expressive differences between interior and exterior environments.
Credit points: 10

In this unit you will explore the core principles and techniques of reading and writing of data as well as optimisation of code and assets. You will learn to utilise various file management techniques to efficiently load assets and ensure seamless gameplay transitions. In your projects, you will explore and gain proficiency in procedural generation techniques, in particular using common techniques such as reading from textures to generate environmental elements.

On top of using file systems, you will learn general optimisation techniques and discover how to fine-tune your games for optimal performance. You’ll have the opportunity to explore rendering and memory optimisation strategies, ensuring smooth gameplay experiences for your players.

Finally you will explore the concept of data serialisation, enabling users to save and load game states seamlessly. By understanding and implementing serialisation techniques, you’ll be able preserve user progress and recall it for users to pick up where they left off.
Credit points: 10

Welcome to Mobile Applications and Interfaces! In this unit you will delve into the exciting world of mobile game development, building upon your existing knowledge of game design and scripting.  You'll learn effective mobile game programming techniques with a focus on design patterns, and work with powerful tools that can improve the efficiency, maintainability, and scalability of your code.

What you'll learn:
- Mobile Game Design Principles: Master the art of designing engaging and intuitive games specifically for mobile devices, considering touch controls, UI/UX best practices, and level pacing for bite-sized gameplay sessions.
- Intermediate Game Programming: Take your scripting skills to the next level by exploring techniques for mobile game development, including optimisation strategies for smooth performance.
- Design Patterns for Mobile Games: Dive into the world of design patterns, a collection of reusable solutions to common game development problems. You'll learn how to leverage these patterns to structure your code efficiently, making your games easier to maintain and expand in the future.
- Building a Mobile Game: Work in teams to create two mobile games. You'll start with a focused mini-game, and then progress to a full-fledged mobile game, with the opportunity to integrate features from external API’s.
- App Store Preparation: Learn the essentials of preparing your mobile game for submission to app stores, including crafting compelling descriptions and understanding submission guidelines.

This unit equips you with the skills and knowledge to embark on a successful journey as a mobile game developer, allowing you to create polished and engaging games that stand out from the crowd.
Credit points: 30

In this studio unit, you will focus on developing games with meaning, inquiry, and purpose.

As a game designer, you have an opportunity to tell authentic stories and narratives through gameplay and other mechanics. You will employ techniques to convey a consistent theme and style throughout your project, and influence play in outputs and inputs.
Credit points: 30

Game development requires the development and implementation of tools that extend existing or new game engines in order to achieve efficient pipelines. Game programmers, in collaborating with game designers, are critical to meeting the technical needs of the game project. In this studio module, you will develop tools, libraries, AI systems and technical-aesthetic optimisations to achieve the aims of the game project.
CRICOS Course Codes
103291E (4 TRIMESTERS) 080183C (6 TRIMESTERS)
Australian Qualifications Framework
We consult closely with industry professionals so you can expect a course that’s highly relevant and equips you with sought-after skills.


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SAE has three intakes per year: February, June and September. Short courses and certificates courses may have different intake timings. View our academic calendar for trimester start dates or contact your campus for further information.

We carefully design and deliver all our units to help you develop the knowledge you need to be successful in your chosen field of study. Courses and course units at SAE follow best practice teaching and learning.

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A certificate course serve as an introduction to an area of the creative industries. Potentially a small number of principles or specific skills can be covered during the course. A certificate can also provide broad contextual learning in the creative industries.

Certificates are a great way to gain an introduction to a field of study or learn a skill. Certificate courses can add to your knowledge and your career.


A diploma is niche skills focussed. By undertaking an SAE diploma in animation, audio, film or games, you will develop foundation skills in these specific discipline areas. Students can use the SAE diploma as a pathway to degree level study at SAE and at other Australian tertiary institutions.

Diplomas are a great option for people who haven’t studied before and/or those looking for an alternative pathway to degree level studies.

Associate Degrees

An associate degree offers a combination of niche skills combined with a greater depth and breadth of theoretical knowledge and analytical skills. An associate degree offers portable skills and develops sustainable, lifelong learning.

Students can use the SAE Associate Degree as a pathway to degree level study at SAE and at other Australian tertiary institutions. SAE associate degree courses attract Fee-Help for Australian students.

Bachelor Degrees

A bachelor degree offers a rigorous combination of niche skills combined with a greater depth and breadth of theoretical knowledge and analytical skills. This knowledge is applicable to both your creative media discipline and the professional world more broadly.

A bachelor degree offers you an entry point to professional work, builds portable skills, and develops sustainable, lifelong learning. Key high learning skills are a requisite of the bachelor degree and graduate study options are available upon completion.

Bachelor degrees are suitable for people looking to develop professional skills and knowledge and to build long-term, successful careers in their industry of choice. SAE bachelor degree courses attract Fee-Help for Australian students.


SAE may recognise your prior learning and may grant credit towards satisfying the requirements for a higher-level program. This is applied where previous learning is considered equivalent to the content and learning outcomes prescribed for units within the program.
For full details, please refer to SAE's policy on recognition of prior learning and credit transfers.
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