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Associate Degree of Games Development


Start your career ahead of the game.

In the Associate Degree, you will complete the first four trimesters of the Bachelor of Games Development, which consists of six trimesters. This will prepare you to enter the workforce as a highly skilled para-professional employee. The Associate Degree is also designed an excellent pathway into the Bachelor of Games Development.

At SAE you won’t find yourself in a lecture with 300 people or even in a traditional lecture at all. You’ll be in a studio environment using industry-standard software like Unreal Engine 4, Unity3D, Autodesk 3D Studio Max and Maya, developing for technologies such as Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Android, and iOS.

Your growth and development will be assessed through the completion of industry-based projects, not theoretical based essays. This will ultimately help you build up a body of work and portfolio to share with potential employers or first client.

In preparation for an industry that commands agility and adaptability, you’ll cut your creative teeth on projects initially in partnership with your course peers. As your skills develop and you work on more dynamic projects, you’ll apply your capabilities on cross-discipline projects.  

For those wanting to go the extra, and thousands of miles, you can complete up to two trimesters of your course at selected SAE campuses across the planet. Suddenly, real-world experience just went worldwide.

Basically, your epic adventure in gaming starts here.   

Find out more about studying Games at SAE

Enquire Now


 Graduate roles may include

  • Level designer
  • Content designer
  • User interface designer
  • Software engineer
  • Lighting designer
  • Community managers
  • Systems designer
  •  Game play engineer



Game Industry Australia

Industry in Focus
The Australian video game development industry has huge potential as a weightless and 'clean' export industry, an independent survey of local game developers has shown. Australia's game development industry earned $114.9 million in the 2015-16 financial year, with 81 per cent of revenue derived from overseas markets. "The game development industry requires staff who are intensely creative, but who also have a highly technical skill set " *

IGDA - Interactive Games & Entertainment Association

 Industry Associations & Partners

GDAA logoLets Play GamesSiggraph

Tsumea logo

  • NOTE: The Byron Bay Campus offers the Associate Degree of Games Development course in T1 2021.
  • Brisbane
  • Byron Bay
  • Sydney
  • Melbourne
  • Perth


Your learning experience

  • Learn advanced-level industry-standard C++ programming language with a specialised focus on games development.
  • Use industry-standard middleware and development packages such as Havoc, Direct X, Ogre, OpenGL, UDK, Unity, and many more.
  • Experience a course designed in collaboration with industry partners, develop the skills the games industry wants.
  • Learn game play programming, game engine programming and tools development – you will be able to develop your own engines from the ground up and create your own tools including importers/exporters and scene managers.
  • Learn the design and technical skills to be able to articulate and implement high-level games concepts – these are key professional attributes required by the games industry and often not addressed in other HE games courses.
  • Develop high-level skills in games design, programming, 3D pipeline, games psychology, and working prototypes – learn how to make your ideas a reality.
  • Start making games in your first trimester.
  • Work with artists, designers, web and mobile developers, film makers, animators and audio specialists.


The Associate Degree of Games Development program is broken up into discrete stages, each designed to promote different skills.

Stages of Games Degree

Stage I – Foundational Skills Development
In Stage I, students will undertake a number of foundational units which will give students the essential technical skills and knowledge not only relevant to the chosen discipline area, but also give students the skills required to collaborate with other creative media students and professionals in later stages of the Games course.

  • Gameplay Scripting and Gameplay Programming
  • Level Design and Development
  • Principles of Game Design
  • Project Management and Professional Etiquette
  • Critical and creative thinking
  • Contemporary industry overview


1800 SAE EDU


Stage II – Interdisciplinary Projects, Media and Cultural Studies
In Stage II we show students how their work in Games contributes to and interacts with broader culture and media practice. This knowledge will enable students to work with a variety of other disciplines and artists and expand their potential on the global stage.

Students will complete a number of real-world projects with students not only in their own discipline, but also in all other SAE disciplines.

Stage II has three studio modules with projects based on the following areas;

1. Games Programming

The SAE Games Programming degree is a highly focused program that delves deep into game-play and game engine programming. Students will build skills in existing software packages and frameworks such as Unreal Engine and Unity, to build technical skillset and develop game tools, libraries and engines. Students will also enhance their knowledge of C++ and object-oriented programming to build complex games and tools.
Throughout the program, students will cross-collaborate from all other disciplines to build a rich and high quality portfolio of work.

2. Games Design

In the Game Design specialisation students will work on a range of projects with peers and SAE Facilitators, which will build skills and knowledge within the diverse scope of Game Design.

During the program students will be able to pursue all facets of Game Design such as level design, systems design, economy design, combat and AI design, balancing, player psychology and much more. Best of all, SAE will provide the tools to be able to articulate design ideas into real working games, explore complex artistic ideas that lead to original, personal games that are artistically and meaningful to the student. Students have the opportunity to work alongside other like-minded students and staff from all SAE disciplines to build a massive portfolio of projects.

Stage III
Only students who progress to the Bachelor of Games Development will be eligible to undertake Stage III. In Stage III, students undertake a project of their own design. Students also undertake work placement to finalize the development of their professional skills in a real work placement setting.  

Stage III is NOT included in the Associate Degree.

SAE Institute Australia Fees and Financing



Graduate Destinations (Associate Degree):

  • Level designer 

  • User interface designer 

  • Lighting designer 

  • Systems designer 

  • Content designer 

  • Software engineer 

  • Tools engineer 

  • Game play engineer 

  • Back end and network engineer 

  • Security engineer


Associate Degree of Games Development (Games Design)
Trimester 1 (1st Year)
Employability Skills in the Creative IndustriesGame ScriptingGame Mechanics and Dynamics
Thinking about Games   
Trimester 2
Employability Skills in the Creative IndustriesCommunicating with PlayersGame Production
Contemporary Industrial PracticesGame Programming  
Trimester 3
Media StudiesGame Studio 1 (Games Design)
Trimester 4 (2nd Year)
Cultural PerspectivesGame Studio 2 (Games Design)
  • Creative Industry Unit
  • Discipline Specialisation Unit
  • Multi Discipline Unit


  • C++ programming
  • Middleware packages
  • Game play programming
  • Tools development
  • Game design
  • Game psychology
  • Working prototype development
  • 3D pipeline
  • Level development
  • Maths, statistics and logic
Trimester 1
Employability Skills in the Creative Industries
Game Scripting
Game Mechanics and Dynamics
Thinking about Games
Trimester 2
Employability Skills in the Creative Industries
Communicating with Players
Game Production
Contemporary Industrial Practices
Game Programming
Trimester 3
Media Studies
Game Studio 1 (Games Design)
Trimester 4
Cultural Perspectives
Game Studio 2 (Games Design)
  • Creative Industry Unit
  • Discipline Specialisation Unit
  • Multi Discipline Unit


  • C++ programming
  • Middleware packages
  • Game play programming
  • Tools development
  • Game design
  • Game psychology
  • Working prototype development
  • 3D pipeline
  • Level development
  • Maths, statistics and logic

Key Info


    4 Trimesters


    May 2020

    Sep 2020

    Feb 2021


    Enrol By: 11 Jun 2020

    Trimester Start: 25 May 2020

    Trimester End: 21 Aug 2020



Entry requirements

Applicants for degree courses must satisfy one of the following minimum entry criteria:

  1. Completion of an Australian Senior Secondary Certificate of Education (SSCE) or equivalent, OR
  2. Completion of a diploma level qualification issued under the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF), OR
  3. Experience Based Entry for applicants who do not meet the requirements above. 'Enquire Now' or call 1800 723 338 directly for more information.

Fees and Payments

Fees: view our current Fee Schedule for information on SAE course fees.

Payment options: Fee-Help, or upfront trimester instalments.