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Visual effects in computer games

  • Class 15
  • Practice 30
  • Independent work 105
Total 150

Course title

Visual effects in computer games

Lecture type


Course code






Lecturers and associates

Course overview

This module introduces students to basics of creating visual effects in computer games.

This module is not core to Game Development subspecialisation, but a part of an optional module group that specializes in technical arts knowledge and skills. It uses skills and knowledge gained in two previous modules from the same group. Skills learnt in this module will contribute significantly to students’ development as professionals in respecting fields.

Students will learn:
• About postprocessing in computer games.
• About shaders and shader graphs.
• How to program shaders visually.
• About particle effect components and custom implementations.
• How to implement advanced particle effects.

The module is taught in C
programming language and Unity and Visual Studio software development tools. The module assessment is based on solving a series of smaller practical tasks in the defined programming language and software development tool and on individual student game development projects.


Essential reading:
1. Doran, J.P. and Zucconi, A. (2018) Unity 2018 Shaders and Effects Cookbook. Birmingham: Packt Publishing.

Recommended reading:
1. Halladay, K. (2019) Practical Shader Development: Vertex and Fragment Shaders for Game Developers. 1st end. New York City: Apress.

Download student guide

Minimal learning outcomes

  • Determine the need for post-processing of the visual elements of a computer game and apply the elements of post-processing to achieve the desired visual atmosphere of a computer game.
  • Create a shader based on defined requirements using an integrated visual programming tool.
  • Construct a particle effect using integrated game engine systems.
  • Construct a GPU-based particle effect by visual programming using game-engine systems.
  • Write and optimize a custom particle system in code.

Preferred learning outcomes

  • Implement and modify the behaviour of post-processing by code in an interactive manner, based on the current state of the game.
  • Define the desired visual atmosphere and implement it in a computer game prototype by building complex shaders with the visual programming tools.
  • Construct an advanced particle effect using predefined game engine systems
  • Construct a complex GPU-based particle effect by visual programming using game-engine systems.
  • Optimize custom particle system in code and create sub-systems triggered by different events.