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Associate Degree of Games Development


Start your career ahead of the game.

Make the transition from gamer to a game developer, exploring 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 also now 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 bachelor starts at the base level and builds your expertise in programming and design.

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. You'll also learn to speak how the professionals do with expert lecturers guiding you in industry-standard languages C++ and C#.

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 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 initially 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 SAE’s global network.

Ultimately, this is all about a qualification that will expand your career. There is work placement as part of your course, to provide practical experience and help build your network. We'll also equip you with employability skills, giving you professional strategies in communication and self-promotion.

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.

Your epic adventure in gaming starts here.

*SAE has a range of approaches to learning and teaching that can be activated to provide flexibility in the face of changing circumstances as required, to support student progression regardless of external factors.

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
  • Melbourne
  • Perth
  • Sydney


Your learning experience

SAE has implemented a remote flexible learning option for current and future students. The range of tools developed by SAE will not only allow students to collaborate online but also gain experience in remote working practices widely used within the creative industries.

  • Use industry-standard middleware and development packages such as Unity, Unreal Engine, Direct X, OpenGL, UDK, and many more.
  • Learn advanced-level industry-standard C++ and C# programming languages with a specialised focus on games development
  • Experience a course designed in collaboration with industry partners, develop the skills the games industry wants.
  • Learn gameplay 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 gameplay 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, filmmakers, 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 modules which provide 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 course. Students will also undertake weekly rituals including reflective journaling that will assist students in identifying the skills, knowledge, and behaviours required to develop their creative media practice.

Stage I has one studio module:

1. Games Studio 1
In this module, students will work in a team to pitch, design, plan, and deliver a game in response to a brief. This will include learning and applying a range of teamwork and organisational skills with peers, as well as feedback, testing, and iteration processes for the game itself. It will also extend on students existing skill-sets in design and scripting to allow students to craft a broader range of gameplay systems and features.


1800 SAE EDU


Stage II – Interdisciplinary Projects, Media and Cultural Studies

In Stage II we show students how their work contributes to and interacts with broader cultural and media practice through common and studio modules. This knowledge will enable students to work with a variety of other disciplines expanding their potential on the global stage. Within Stage II, students will work closely with facilitators to identify key learning outcomes needed to complete modules. Deliberate and reflective practice assist students through their studio modules, playing an active reflection role throughout the learning journey. Student projects within Stage II are reflective of real-world scenarios, containing real-world dilemmas - societal issues that require solutions; authentic audiences -simulating professional practice and constraints- understanding how a range of constraints can impact projects within professional practice.

Students complete a number of real-world projects with students not only in their own discipline but also in all other SAE disciplines. At the end of each studio module, students showcase work in a public exhibition. Work placements designed to help them collaborate with peers and clients from different disciplines, geographies, and cultures.

Stage II has two studio modules for both Games Programming and Games Design;

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.

Studio 2:
Game development relies on processes and patterns well known to programmers to solve common problems. Students will undertake these processes and evaluate common programming patterns core to the development of games. Students will also explore more advanced mathematics techniques utilised in common game engine systems.

Studio 3: 
Game development requires the tools to extend existing and new game engines to achieve efficient pipelines. Game programmers are critical in collaborating with game designers to meet the technical needs of the game project. In this studio, students will develop tools, libraries, AI systems, and technical aesthetic optimisations to achieve the aims of the game's project.

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.

Studio 2: 
Game design and development rely as equally on knowledge and skills, as it does on the eureka moment of creative design inspiration. In this studio module, students will ideate and develop one or more game prototypes. Students will test these against criteria for success and identify the best prototype. Students will develop this further by exploring more advanced game design techniques and evaluate with an audience.

Studio 3: 
In this studio, students will focus on developing games with meaning, inquiry, and purpose. As game designer students have an opportunity to tell authentic stories and narratives through gameplay and other mechanics. Students will employ techniques to convey a consistent theme and style throughout your project, and influence plays in outputs and inputs.

Stage III

Stage III of the Bachelor of Games Development is designed to prepare students for entry-level professional industry roles and to undertake post-graduate studies. Stage III develops a student’s capacity to work with the collaborative and geographically diverse world of creative media practice.

To prepare students for this, SAE project supervisors and facilitators work with Stage III students to develop sophisticated, collaborative creative media projects which meet the professional standards of the industry. These final projects are done in collaboration with all other SAE disciplines, either on campus or remotely, enabling students to pursue their most ambitious and creative portfolio pieces yet.

To support this, students in Stage III learn advanced discipline-specific skills and knowledge, experience remote, collaborative practice with their peers across the SAE campus network, broaden their skills and knowledge through studying elective modules in other disciplines, or in creative media business and entrepreneurship and finally, gain industry feedback on their transferable skills through the finalisation of SAE’s creative industries Work Integrated Learning Program.

Stage III is NOT included in the Associate Degree.

SAE Institute Australia Fees and Financing



Vocational outcomes of the Associate Degree of Games Development

Students who have completed the Associate Degree of Games Development would have opportunities in the professional workplace as: 

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


SAE games graduates have been involved with many outstanding creative media companies, including:

  • Ubisoft
  • Gameloft
  • Halfbrick
  • LAI Games
  • Krome
  • Sega Studios Australia
  • THQ
  • 100% Indie
  • Two Bulls
  • Appster
  • Current Circus
  • GrickStar Games
  • Gentrack
  • Torus Games
  • Serious Games Institute
  • Firemonkeys
  • Australian Institute of Mining and Construction
  • SMG Studio
  • Liminal VR


Associate Degree of Games Development (Games Design)
Trimester 1 (1st Year)
Thinking about GamesGame ScriptingGame Mechanics and Dynamics
Trimester 2
Contemporary Industrial PracticesGame Asset ProductionGame Studio 1
Trimester 3
Media StudiesGames Studio 2 - Games Design
Trimester 4 (2nd Year)
Cultural PerspectivesGames Studio 3 - Games Design
  • Creative Industry Unit
  • Discipline Specialisation 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
Thinking about Games
Game Scripting
Game Mechanics and Dynamics
Trimester 2
Contemporary Industrial Practices
Game Asset Production
Game Studio 1
Trimester 3
Media Studies
Games Studio 2 - Games Design
Trimester 4
Cultural Perspectives
Games Studio 3 - Games Design
  • Creative Industry Unit
  • Discipline Specialisation 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


    6 Trimesters Full Time

    4 Trimesters Fast Tracked Full Time


    Sep 2021

    Feb 2022

    May 2022


    Enrol By: 08 Oct 2021

    Trimester Start: 20 Sep 2021

    Trimester End: 27 Aug 2021



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.

Credit and recognition of prior learning

SAE may recognise your prior learning and may grant credit towards satisfying the requirements for a VET or a higher-level program. This is applied where previous learning is considered equivalent to the content and learning outcomes prescribed for modules within the program.

For full details, please refer to SAE's policy on recognition of prior learning and credit transfers.

Find more information on how to apply and the enrolment process here, or call 1800 723 338 to speak with a course advisor.


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