Game Design Essentials

Online game design course for beginners taught by expert game designers


Learn game design fundamentals

Take the first step towards your career as a game designer

This fun, in-depth course gives you a great taste of what it's like to design a video game at an AAA game company. Mentored by a professional game designer, you'll discover what makes a game 'fun' and build practical job skills in system and level design to help kickstart your career in games.

Why study game design at CG Spectrum:
  • Learn to design games even without prior knowledge
  • Gain confidence using industry software Photoshop and Unreal Engine
  • Be mentored by a world-class game designer
  • Private 1-on-1 or small group classes (max 4 students)


Over the course of 12 weeks you'll learn the basics of game design through systems and mechanics; understand different job roles and team structures; deconstruct your favorite games to reveal intricate design decisions; and start designing and building your own game world!

You’ll be personally mentored by an industry expert who will show you the latest tools and techniques used by top game studios. 

Expect highly personalized training with small class sizes and 1-on-1 private tuition. Classes are 100% online, so you can learn from the comfort of your own home, in your own time.

After completing the course, you have the option to continue your journey with the full Game Design Foundations



Study duration

12 weeks


20 hrs weekly

Skill level



Basic computer skill and a passion for games


Weekly online classes, feedback and support


Unreal Engine, Photoshop

Start date

Jun 3, 2024

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Industry-approved curriculum to help launch your career as a game designer

Term 1: 12 weeks

Foundations 1: Essentials of Game Design

Before you can begin building a game you need a basic understanding of game design theory. We'll look at HOW things should be designed, WHY they work, and WHAT you need to do to make a compelling game. See how a platform can change the game design in fundamental ways, and how the differences must be adapted across genres.

Expect to play a LOT of games in the name of research. Every great designer must know how to analyze, deconstruct and understand how each game differs and why. You'll achieve this by learning how to paper design and concept, getting the hang of writing a level design specification, and ensuring level functionality and other technical needs are met.

  • Understand what a game and game systems are and how to design them
  • Design compelling game systems, quests & objectives
  • Design core gameplay mechanics
  • Add visuals to enhance levels
  • Start learning the Unreal game engine and building simple prototypes

Portfolio projects: Game pitch document, game design document, UE gameplay prototype.

*This short course is a prerequisite to the more advanced Game Design Course. It will give you the foundational skills you need to continue on your educational pathway.

  1. Introduction to Game Systems
  2. System Design
  3. Communicating
  4. Visual Design
  5. Game Genres
  6. Core Systems
  7. Development Process
  8. Single Player Design
  9. Technical Design
  10. Level Design
  11. Prototyping
  12. Creating a Prototype

Small Class

The most affordable way to learn from top industry mentors in a fun, collaborative environment, while still getting plenty of personalized feedback.

  • Max. 4 students per course
  • Affordable high-quality education
  • Network while you learn

1-on-1 Private

Progress faster and enjoy more flexiblity with private mentorship. Ideal for busy schedules, career-changers, or artists upgrading skills or changing specialties.

  • Maximum level of mentor interaction
  • Greater flexibility to schedule classes
  • Customized learning experience


Choose your class size

$1,185 USD

(3 x payments)

$1,750 USD

(3 x payments)

Essentials + Foundations Bundle

Add the Foundations of Game Design and save up to 20%

We understand the unique needs of students pursuing careers in creative industries. That's why we offer curated course bundles that align with specific career paths or skill development goals. These bundles are designed to provide comprehensive training while offering cost savings compared to enrolling in individual courses.

Pathway illustration for Career Track (12 months)

Get direct access to seasoned game designers with years of experience

To be the best, learn from the best. Game design classes are taught by mentors who have worked with major game studios all over the world.

Frequently asked questions

Introduction to Game Design course FAQs

For this game design course, you will need basic computer skills and a computer that meets the minimum specifications (see next question).


Students are required to use Unreal Engine, which is free to download. 

We also recommend that you purchase Photoshop/Illustrator (photography plan only) for the duration of your course. Free alternatives to Photoshop include GIMP/Inkscape.


Students will need a dedicated graphics card and a computer that meets the minimum requirements for Unreal Engine and Photoshop

Please note: as the software we use is regularly updated, please check the specs against the latest available version at the time of enroling.

At CG Spectrum it is VERY occasionally possible to skip the initial Introduction to Game Design Course and start studying in the 9-month full Game Design Foundations. We HIGHLY recommend that most students do NOT skip the Essentials Term as it covers a tremendous amount of information and skills which will be used throughout the entire program and will require some catching up if skipped.

This introductory course is still incredibly difficult and covers a LOT of material. It includes over 25 hours of lecture videos and over a dozen assignments students need to complete. ALL of the future course material will build upon this foundation.

The course will cover some basic concepts, teach the basics of using the Unreal Engine, teach the fundamentals of system and level design, and teach you how to deconstruct games properly and design using a systemic approach. 

If you have not released an indie game or worked professionally to design PC/Console AAA games, we highly recommend you do NOT skip the Intro term. Even if you have designed mobile games, VR or other genres or platforms of games we do not recommend skipping it as the nuances are different in each.

IF you want to be considered for skipping the introduction term, you must submit a portfolio to be reviewed and considered. The portfolio must include:

  • Example Pitch Deck, Game Pitch, and a Game Design Document (GDD) for a major action, adventure, role-playing, shooter or other mainstream AAA PC/console game.
  • Whitebox level prototype in Unreal Engine or Unity.
  • Example PLAYABLE level or game built in Unreal Engine or Unity. Must also be action, adventure, role-playing, shooter or other mainstream AAA PC/console game.

This will ensure that you are familiar with the right material, concepts and tools to both design new game concepts and build them in a game engine.

If you are unsure if your skills are sufficient, send us your portfolio and we'll arrange a review by the department head and a possible student interview, depending on circumstances.


This short game design course will get started on your journey, but in a highly competitive industry, knowing the basics is not enough.

Continuing your studies with the 9-month Game Design Course will better prepare you for a job in the industry.

The full 9-month course covers far more complex techniques and includes personalized career services and 1-on-1 time with our Career Development Manager which can help when applying for junior game design jobs such as:

Discover more about these game development jobs, tips, and salary expectations on our careers page: