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Online Game Design Courses and Classes

Online game design courses teach students how to develop video games for personal recreation or commercial use within a growing virtual entertainment industry. Courses may be offered as a single elective or as part of a certificate or degree program.

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Online Courses in Game Design

The descriptions below are for some game design-related courses commonly offered online.

  • Computer Graphics and Animation Course: Training in computer graphics allows a game designer to build items using basic geometrical concepts and make them user-friendly. Computer animation and application skills help students create realism within a virtual environment.
  • 3D Video Game Development Course: Students are introduced to software programs that create, build and animate characters in a 3D video game world. An understanding of 3D concepts allows designers to add visual depth to characters and the overall game environment. Courses may require students to develop a basic 3D game, such as a first-person shooter game.
  • Game Programming Course: All video games rely on programming to perform as intended. In this course, participants experience hands-on training on the various programming and script languages used in the game engine. The goal is for designers to craft game play that is both entertaining and compelling.
  • Game Art Course: Digital artists create the aesthetics of a video game. This class teaches prospective professionals to merge technical and artistic skills to create the desired lighting, texturing, animating and 3D modeling. Lessons may also touch on the business aspects of running a game design business.
  • Perspective Drawing Course: Students in this course will learn to use various drawing tools and methods to create perspective in their own animations. The course will emphasize rendering 3-dimensional objects in from a variety of perspective points. Students may also study different types of art and media to enhance their foundational understanding of perspective.
  • Virtual Game Environment Design Course: Interface design, human-computer interaction, rules design and even cybernetics are discussed in this course. Students learn to perceive digital games as virtual environments, and they also study things like integrating audio and tactile elements to create an immersive environment. The use of play-testing in game design is another course topic.
  • Information Technology and Digital Games Course: Students in this course will learn about online platforms, game genres, and business economics of the game industry. In some courses, students may design their own digital game. Artificial intelligence and interface design is also covered.

Program Information

Online game design courses cover a broad technical field, from video game development, computer animation, graphics design and game architecture to software engineering and game programming. Most of these options are introductory and present the fundamentals of creating a particular aspect of a video game. Some require the development and production of a single- or multi-player video game as part of the course. Students can also learn about the history of video games and their psychological impact on players, as well as what it's like to work in the video game industry as a programmer, computer graphic artist or game engineer. Many of these programs are offered through bachelor's degree programs. However, associate's degrees are also available in addition to individual courses and online tutorials.

Prospective game design students must have a good understanding of computer technology and secondary school math training. They'll be expected to own a computer that includes ample hard drive memory. The purchase of specialized software applications may be required.

Students can learn about game design through distance-learning courses offered via associate's and bachelor's degree programs. Standalone courses are also available, and free online classes in game design exist as well.

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