Overview

Learn game design from the experts

Uncover what makes a video game compelling and build foundations in designing game systems. Gain confidence in navigating industry-used software, including Unreal Engine and Photoshop, and explore essential game workflows. 

Why study game design us:

  • Learn from game experts with real-world experience
  • Choose from private 1-on-1 or small group classes
  • We are an Unreal Authorized Training Center and Academic Partner 
  • Blizzard Entertainment training partner

Using AAA case studies, learn to build immersive game levels and interfaces, combine different gameplay systems to create more engaging experiences, and discover what it takes to launch a successful game.

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Qualification

Industry Certificate

Duration

9 months

Commitment

20 hrs weekly

Skill level

Beginner to
Intermediate

Start date

August 5th, 2024
September 9th, 2024
October 7th, 2024

Tuition

Group Class: $9,999 USD
Private Class: $13,999 USD
Ask about our payment plans

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Why study with us

Our comprehensive game design curriculum will help get you studio-ready

Our expert-led courses help prepare you for the video game industry. Turn your passion for games into a career and build practical job skills studios are looking for.

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Flexible Scheduling

Plan your studies around your work and family commitments

Industry Mentors

Learn from mentors who have worked on best-selling games

Job-Ready Skills

Build practical, relevant job skills that studios are looking for

Payment Plans

Options to help you pursue your passion and start working sooner

Curriculum

Industry-focused online course to 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.

  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
Term 2: 12 weeks

Foundations 2: Core Game Design Principles and Prototyping

It's very easy for game designers to get wrapped up in design theories and ideas. But most game ideas need to be touched, felt, played and tested sooner rather than later. In this term, you’ll learn how to bring your ideas to life and find out what goes into making a fun and compelling game.

Great ideas are a dime a dozen, being able to execute them well is more important. Using the concepts, processes and theories you’ve learned so far, you’ll learn how to validate and express your ideas then apply your new skills and knowledge of level and game systems design to tackle more complex level design problems and areas by creating your own playable game prototype in Unreal.

How to:
  • Design advanced game systems, maps and assets
  • Create a compelling game pitch
  • Use the Unreal Engine to design and build games
  • Whitebox a level in Unreal Engine

Portfolio project: UE beautiful corner prototype

  1. Core Systems
  2. Player Systems
  3. Level Design
  4. Implementing Gameplay
  5. Systems in Levels
  6. Whiteboxing
  7. Combat Systems
  8. Characters & Animations
  9. NPCs
  10. Advanced Level Gameplay
  11. Detailing Levels
  12. Polishing
Term 3: 12 weeks

Foundations 3: Professional Game Design and Implementation

Action and combat are an important part of many different games and genres. This term is about learning how to design and create great AAA combat and action games for PC and consoles. You'll take all of the theory and basic understanding of the Unreal engine which you have learned in previous terms and really learn how to apply it to make an incredible game that you can show off in your portfolio.

Take your game from idea to designing the game systems, to designing a fun level, to implementing it in Unreal so that others can play it using our custom toolkit for Unreal. You'll have all the assets and tools you need to build a game, even if you are not an artist or programmer.

How to:
  • Create a compelling shooter project in Unreal Engine
  • Design and create amazing combat in action games
  • Implement complex AI in Unreal
  • Design complex objects in the game which players can use

Portfolio projects: Shooter project GDD, and UE shooter project prototype

  1. Worldbuilding
  2. Stories to Quests
  3. Map Layout
  4. Combat in Levels
  5. Landscapes
  6. FPS Prototyping
  7. A.I. in Levels
  8. FPS Mechanics
  9. Object Systems
  10. Interactions In Levels
  11. Implementing Quests
  12. Player Gameplay
Course structure

Your pathway to the video game industry

The 9-month Foundations Course is the first half of our Career Track, helping you pave your pathway into the creative industries. Gain foundational skills and knowledge that will prepare you for advanced industry training.

Pathway illustration for Foundations 9 Month Course

 

Want to Take Your Education Higher?

Did you know that the subjects you complete in the career track courses can be used to apply for credit toward our accredited degrees and diplomas in the same discipline? 

The skills and knowledge you build in any industry-certificate course can be transferred into academic credits through our Advanced Standing and Credit Transfer process. So, if you decide to take your studies to the next level, know that your prior learning will be recognized.

Compare your options and find out which course is right for you.

FIND OUT MORE

Mentors

Training and support from film and game industry experts

Learn game design guided by professional developers. These experts have the skills, knowledge, and industry insights to support you throughout your studies.

Studios that hire our students

Our commitment to job outcomes and a focus on career development has helped graduates find work at studios all over the world.
Frequently asked questions

Game Design Course FAQs

Age Minimum
T
he general minimum age to be able to enroll in our industry certificate courses is 16. We require parent or guardian consent during the enrollment process for applicants under 18.

Students under 16 will require a further assessment before they can officially enrol. This may include an interview with a course advisor and the creation of a study plan to ensure they have considered how they will manage a college-level workload.

English Proficiency
We expect our students to have a good understanding of written and spoken English. There’s no specific ’level'; however, you must be able to understand video tutorials in English (no subtitles) and speak with your mentor in English during your live Q&A session.

Computer Literacy
To be successful in this program, you will need basic computer skills and a computer that meets the minimum specifications (see next question).

At CG Spectrum, occasionally, it is possible to skip ahead and start studying in later terms. We highly recommend that most students do not skip ahead as each subject covers a tremendous amount of information and skills that will be used throughout the entire program (and will require some catching up in your own time if skipped).

Term one is still incredibly challenging and covers a lot of material. It includes over 25 hours of lecture videos and there are 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 first 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 platform.

If you want to be considered for skipping the first 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. It 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 materials, concepts, and tools to design new game concepts and build them in a game engine.

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

Software:

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.

Hardware:

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.

This course gives you an excellent understanding of game design fundamentals. Depending on your level of commitment, skills, and portfolio pieces, you may be ready to start applying for entry-level artist positions.

To further hone your skills and increase your hiring potential, the Game Designer Specialization course (available early 2025) is recommended. It covers more complex techniques and includes an entire term dedicated to career development and building your portfolio to prepare you for junior game design jobs such as:

Students also gain access to additional career services to support them in their job hunt. The CG Spectrum community is another great resource—you can network and find out about game development job vacancies through graduates and mentors already working in the industry. 

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