9 Free Game Design Courses

Game design is becoming more popular every day and if you wish to become a part of this wonderful world and make it your profession, here is a list of free game design courses you can sign up for right now.

1. Introduction to Game Design

Platform: Open edX.

Start of the course: To be announced.

Duration: 7 weeks.

Organizer: Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Language: English.

A practical introduction to game design from one of the largest educational online platforms Open edX.

What are the main elements of a game? What methods are used to create them? What are prototyping and iterative design? How does an idea scribbled on a piece of paper become physical or digital reality?

The course is easy to understand and thoroughly answers these and many other questions, introducing the basic tools of game development. The participants are to develop a board game or a computer one (programming skills are not required) as a final project.

Enroll now!

2. Concepts in Game Development (GamesDev)

Platform: Open2Study.

Start of the course: Started on November 21.

Duration: 4 weeks.

Organizer: Swinburne University of Technology.

Language: English.

The program is designed for a wide audience, from programmers and artists interested in working in the game industry, to simple video game fans of all genres. The course doesn’t teach programming (except the basics), modeling or painting, but it gives a basic idea of what the main role of a game designer is. You will find out what game mechanics and architecture are, how physics and balance of the game affect the feelings of the player and how product testing is conducted. The final part is devoted to the implementation of artificial intelligence technology for enhancing options of the game experience.

Even though the current course already started, stay tuned, there might be a new one when this course is finished.

Enroll now!

3. Character Design for Video Games

Platform: Coursera.

Start of the course: Started on December 5.

Duration: 4 weeks.

Organizer: California Institute of the Arts.

Language: English.

The course is one part of the whole specialization in game design at Coursera. It is obvious that holistic and developed game characters are an important aspect of a successful game project, no matter what genre the game belongs to. In this course, the construction of the game (or cartoon or cinema) character is inspected from different aspects.

The course is interesting not only to game designers, but to screenwriters, too, as well as fans of movies and comics.

Check if you can still enroll and have fun.

4. Online Games: Literature, New Media, and Narrative

Platform: Coursera.

Start of the course: December 26.

Duration: 6 weeks.

Organizer: Vanderbilt University.

Language: English.

The course is designed for students interested in video games in general and for passionate and advanced MMO-players. What happens with the plot of a literary work or a movie when it becomes the basis for a massively multiplayer online game? In the heart of the analysis is Tolkien’s trilogy “The Lord of the Rings”, as well as famous works of romanticism. Of course, the creators of the course will thoroughly disassemble other important issues, too, such as history of the industry, features of online gameplay, originality of the game narrative and so on.

Enroll now!

5. Video Game Design History

Platform: Open edX.

Start of the course: Self-paced.

Duration: 5 weeks.

Organizer: Rochester Institute of Technology.

Language: English.

Video games have existed for more than 50 years, even when computers filled a whole room and the word “bug” meant nothing more than a violation of the electronics functionality by an insect!

A good game designer must be in touch with the history, even for a bit. The course will describe the appearance of the very first game, the invention and evolution of genres, VR-technology and the future of the industry in general.

The creators of the course are experts from the National Museum of Play in Rochester, containing the world’s largest collection of video games and related materials.

Enroll now!

6. Begin Programming: Build Your First Mobile Game

Platform: FutureLearn.

Start of the course: To be announced.

Duration: 7 weeks.

Organizer: University of Reading.

Language: English.

The very first step in Java-programming for future game developers. A course for absolute beginners: learn about the basic principles, algorithms and code structure in a fun and entertaining way and incarnate your undoubtedly ingenious, but somewhat hazy ideas. Google’s Android Studio is the main programming platform.

At the end of the course, you will have a simple mobile game you have created all by yourself that can be played on a computer, smartphone or tablet. You just need to decide whether to continue creating games or stop there.

Enroll now!

7. Advanced JS: Games & Visualizations

Platform: Khan Academy.

Start of the course: Self-paced.

Duration: 36h.

Organizer: Khan Academy.

Language: English.

Advanced programming in JavaScript from the famous Khan Academy. At the beginning of the course, participants become familiar with the basic components of video games and visualization process, they learn to work with a variety of programs, use buttons, sliders and menus. By the end of the course, you will be able to create animations and implement a 3D-model, and your programming skills will be enhanced in the process.

Enroll now!

8. Creating a 2D Game in Unity 4.5

Platform: Udemy.

Start of the course: Self-paced.

Duration: 38 lectures /17h.

Organizer: 3D Buzz.

Language: English.

Specialized course, the name of which fully reflects the content. In addition to exploring the advantages and features of nowadays extremely popular Unity engine, the participant is to expect the creation of a variety of controllers, basics of level design and development of XP and health system, building a simple AI to control enemy units, the implementation of animation and eventually the establishment of two fully functioning levels of your future game.

The course is recommended for beginners, but you do need a minimal knowledge of C#.

Enroll now!

9. Gamification

Platform: Coursera.

Start of the course: Started on December 5.

Duration: 6 weeks.

Organizer: University of Pennsylvania.

Language: English.

Gamification is the use of game elements or techniques usually in non-game processes, such as building a business strategy or solving social problems. The course introduces the basic mechanisms of gamification and demonstrates the effectiveness of their correct use.

Thanks to a digression into the game history as a cultural phenomenon, the analysis of the game procedures and the description of players’ psychological motivation types, the course is extremely useful to a computer games developer, too, especially if one wants to create commercially successful products.

Check if you can still enroll and have fun!

Source: Lifehacker

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