Where Can I Find Free Online Game Design and Development Courses?

Through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Utah State University's respective OpenCourseWare (OCW) platforms, online game design and development courses are available. These online courses are accessible at your convenience. Schools offering Game Production degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Free online game design and development courses are not offered for credit, but they use the same content and materials as past on-campus courses. You'll learn how to analyze video games, and you'll be given opportunities to complete optional projects in which you design, develop and test your own original video game. Your course may also include readings, lecture notes and optional assignments. These courses are self-guided and include no interaction with instructors.


Utah State University

Utah State University's Instructional Games course is available to you via the school's OpenCourseWare (OCW) collection, which provides educational materials to the public at no cost. This 2005 class includes exams and assignments geared toward game design that can be studied at your convenience.

What Will I Learn?

You will learn to design and create instructional games that motivate users to learn. The course also covers game design history and research.

What Assignments Will I Complete?

One of the highlights of this free course is the game project, which allows you to design and create an instructional game. You could also create a design brief that tracks each stage of the game's development. The assignments aren't required to complete because you will not interact with instructors, but they are beneficial for beginner or current game designers.

What Materials Are Provided?

The course includes links to reading assignments in textbooks, papers, journals and other sources. You can access summaries of readings, links to instructional games and an outline for the design brief. You may also download documents and other tools to help you design the instructional game.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The game design class is based on a for-credit course that four professors taught to undergraduate and graduate students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). You can view all of the course's content for free. MIT's game theory with engineering applications course is a graduate-level class also available through OCW for free. While you won't receive credit or interact with the school's staff, you can read lecture notes and complete assignments online.

What Will I Learn?

The first free course covers the history of game design, development and mechanics. You can study various game genres, including digital games, board games, gambling games and game shows. The second course is a 2010 class that explores basic game theory, development and design based on ideas used in applications, such as wireless communications networks, supermodular games and dynamic games. Topics include mechanism design and cooperative game theory.

What Assignments Will I Complete?

While the assignments are optional, you could write an essay on a game that is at least 100 years old. You could design a game using poker cards and chips, a board game version of a non-board game or a game that meets several specific requirements. You could also write an essay on each of the last three games. In the game theory course, there are five problem sets without solutions. You could also write a paper on a course topic of your choosing. You aren't required to complete assignments because instructors will not review your work. Four midterm exams are also available in PDF format from four separate semesters.

What Materials Are Provided?

The game design course includes notes from more than 20 lectures, links to readings in textbooks and journal articles and a guide to writing about games. You can also view examples of essays and photos of games designed by students who took the original class. For the game theory course, in addition to assignments, potential projects, and exams, lecture notes are available that discuss myriad topics, including computing equilibrium in games, strategy and learning in games, and mechanism design. Recommended textbooks and other useful resources are offered, such as additional readings from books and textbooks.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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