22 Courses & Bootcamps Helping Launch Careers in Game Development

Whether you want to learn programming from scratch or elevate your portfolio, these training options for game development have you covered.
Hal Koss
December 18, 2019
Updated: February 14, 2020
Hal Koss
December 18, 2019
Updated: February 14, 2020

Kerry Allen was just a boy when he started fighting demons.

In the video game Doom, that is.

Living on the Isle of Man, Allen would frequently boot up his family’s 56k modem and play the first-person shooter with his buddies, slaying eight-bit infernal foes as they swarmed across the computer screen.

Little did Allen know, he would eventually become a game developer and write UI code for the 2016 version of — you guessed it — Doom.

Getting there was (ahem) a hell of a journey. But, according to Allen, the journey of being a game developer never ends. 

“You never stop learning,” Allen said on a panel of fellow game developers. “There’s a lot less difference between a student and a professional than I imagined at first.”

If the key to being a successful game developer is to never stop learning, then the best time to start learning is always now.

9 Game Development Courses to Know

  • BitDegree
  • Ed2Go
  • Game Art Institute
  • Game Institute
  • General Assembly
  • Harvard University
  • Michigan State University
  • University of California San Diego
  • University of Colorado

Carving out a role in the gaming industry can be a competitive endeavor. But the good news is that there are more resources than ever before to equip aspiring developers with the tools they need for success.

Here’s a roundup of 22 game development courses, classes and bootcamps that are worth a closer look.

 

BOOTCAMPS

game art institute gaming development course
Game Art Institute

GAME ART INSTITUTE’S “GAME DEVELOPMENT BOOTCAMP”

This 16-week bootcamp, which meets twice weekly online, begins with an introduction to C# on the Unity engine and concludes with a capstone project and individualized lessons. In between, students create a game design document, delve deep into programming languages and iterate versions of their own game. The program offers industry guidance and is designed to help students build a job-ready portfolio.

Cost: $4,997
 

general assembly gaming development course
General Assembly

GENERAL ASSEMBLY’S “GAME DEVELOPMENT BOOTCAMP”

General Assembly offers in-person and online training in topics ranging from data science to digital marketing — and game development, too. Students can browse General Assembly’s site to see when their city is scheduled to offer a game development bootcamp, during which they’ll dive deep into 3D game graphics, scripting and rigging.

Cost: Varies by location and course type
 

code coven gaming development course
Code Coven

CODE COVEN’S “INTRODUCTION TO UNITY & PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT”

Founded by London-based game designer Tara Mustapha, this online-only bootcamp focuses on helping women break into the gaming industry. Over the course of 12 weeks, students are introduced to game development using the Unity engine and are equipped with “the tools to negotiate a better future for themselves and their peers.” Those interested in details about pricing and how to join should contact Code Coven.

Cost: TBD
 

Game Development Terms

  • AAA – Industry term for major game productions
  • C# – Programming language used with Unity and many mobile games
  • C++ – Programming language preferred by many AAA game publishers
  • Game engine – Software development environment for creating games
  • Indie – Industry term for games made independent of studio system
  • Unity – Popular game engine powering many mobile and VR games
  • Unreal – Popular game engine used by the hit game Fortnite


MULTI-CLASS COURSES

ed2go gaming development course
Ed2Go

ED2GO’S “VIDEO GAME DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT”

This fully online, self-paced course, which clocks in at around 500 hours, focuses on four major areas: programming, math, asset creation and game engines. It concludes with an independent study in which students design, document and build their own game. Newcomers and budding developers can expect to master C++, the Unreal engine, modeling and texturing.

Cost: $1,995
 

harvard gaming development course
Harvard University

HARVARD’S “INTRODUCTION TO GAME DEVELOPMENT”

Over the span of 12 weeks, at a suggested pace of six to nine hours per week, this edX course equips students with the basics of game programming and design. Through various projects and lectures delivered by Harvard University instructors, students learn the underlying principles of game design. They also get hands-on experience making their own games using popular frameworks like Unity and LÖVE 2D, and work with programming languages like C# and Lua. Prior programming experience, or taking Harvard’s Introduction to Computer Science, is required.

Cost: Free ($90 with certification)
 

university of colorado gaming development course
University of Colorado

UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO’S “C# PROGRAMMING FOR UNITY GAME DEVELOPMENT SPECIALIZATION”

In this series of four Coursera courses, a University of Colorado computer science instructor introduces students to the Unity engine using the C# language. This online-only class offers a flexible schedule so students can level up at their own pace — though five months of work at six hours per week is recommended. Another upside: no prior programming experience is required.

Cost: Free (with Coursera account)
 

michigan state gaming development course
Michigan State University

MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY’S “GAME DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT SPECIALIZATION”

Led by a pair of seasoned game producers from Michigan State University, this Coursera sequence guides students through both game development and design. Two of the four classes, plus the capstone, focus specifically on game development. Students get plenty of hands-on experience with the Unity game engine and the C# language, among other tools, and develop their own 2D platformer.

Cost: Free (with Coursera account)
 

unity gaming development course
Unity

UNITY’S “EXPERT GAMEPLAY PROGRAMMER CERTIFICATION PREPARATION SPECIALIZATION”

This series of five Coursera courses prepares students for Unity’s Gameplay Programming certification exam. At a suggested pace of five hours per week across five months, students tackle programming projects that range from prototyping gameplay mechanics to designing level logic. Not for newcomers, this program is recommended for developers with advanced C# skills and at least two years of experience developing games in Unity.

Cost: Free (with Coursera account)
 

unity learn gaming development course
Unity Learn

UNITY LEARN’S “CREATE WITH CODE”

An official offering from the company that makes Unity, this course invites students to create their very own game using C#. Aspiring gamemakers get their feet wet through quizzes, programming challenges and more than three-dozen hours of video lessons covering gameplay mechanics, sound and effects and user interface. 

Cost: Free (with Unity Learn subscription)

 

CLASSES

gamedev tv gaming development course
Gamedev tv

GAMEDEV TV’S “COMPLETE C# UNITY DEVELOPER 2D”

Packed with articles, downloadable resources and 35 hours of on-demand video, this project-based Udemy class guides beginners through the ins and outs of using C# to build games on the Unity engine. No prior coding experience is necessary.

Cost: Check website
 

gamedev tv gaming development course
Gamedev TV

GAMEDEV TV’S “COMPLETE C# UNITY DEVELOPER 3D”

Students hoping for a 3D-game-version of the class listed above are in luck. This one, also on Udemy, similarly helps students get acquainted with the C# language. They can immediately start applying what they learn to create their own games on the Unity engine.

Cost: Check website
 

game institute gaming development course
Game Institute

GAME INSTITUTE’S “C++ PROGRAMMING FOR GAME DEVELOPMENT”

This online class from the Game Institute is spread across 21 modules. Students begin by learning the basics of the C++ programming language and conclude by analyzing, designing and implementing their very own air hockey game. In between they’ll have a chance to master object oriented programming, sprite animation and much more.

Cost: $19 for Game Institute’s monthly membership ($96 yearly)
 

bitdegree gaming development course
BitDegree

BITDEGREE’S “MAKE YOUR OWN GAME WITH PIXEL ART USING THE UNITY GAME MAKER”

Those who love retro games and want to build one of their own can sign up for this class offered through BitDegree. Throughout 13 hours of video material, students learn how to build a side-scrolling pixel game using the Unity engine and the C# language. No previous coding experience is necessary.

Cost: Check website
 

jonathan weinberger unity technologies gaming development course
Jonathan Weinberger and Unity Technologies

JONATHAN WEINBERGER AND UNITY TECHNOLOGIES’ “ULTIMATE GUIDE TO GAME DEVELOPMENT WITH UNITY”

Designed in partnership with Unity Technologies, the Udemy class offers newcomers an introduction to C# programming. As students progress through 21 hours of on-demand video lessons, they’ll have access to interactive challenges that help them practice the concepts they’re learning. They’re ultimately given the chance to build a 2D galaxy shooter and a 3D first-person game, which they can deploy to several web or mobile platforms.

Cost: Check website
 

neskovic skamo gaming development course
Dragan Neskovic and Jasmin Skamos

DRAGAN NESKOVIC AND JASMIN SKAMO’S “COMPLETE UNITY INDIE GAME DEVELOPER COURSE”

Looking to make an indie game right now? With five hours of on-demand video and nine downloadable resources, this Udemy class walks students through how to make and publish an indie RPG game. Enrollees can expect to come away with a solid understanding of object oriented programming and how to use C# on the Unity engine.

Cost: Check website
 

gamedev tv gaming development course
Gamedev tv

GAMEDEV TV’S “UNREAL ENGINE C++ DEVELOPER”

In this bestselling Udemy class, which provides more than 40 hours of on-demand video tutorials, students master the Unreal engine. Along the way, they learn C++, object oriented programming, design best practices and much more. Toward the end of this project-based class, students get to put their newly acquired skills to work by building their own tank game and first person shooter.

Cost: Check website
 

gamedev tv gaming development course
Gamedev tv

GAMEDEV TV’S “RPG CORE COMBAT CREATOR”

This class from Udemy is designed for developers who have intermediate C# and Unity skills. In nearly 70 hours of video material, instructors walk students through how to create and code an RPG combat game using more advanced C# techniques. Participants learn how to build combat mechanics, pathfinding systems and detailed levels as they also absorb advanced game design strategies.

Cost: Check website
 

game institute gaming development course
Game Institute

GAME INSTITUTE’S “C# AND MONOGAME (INTRO TO 2D GAME DEVELOPMENT)"

During this 65-module, project-based class — offered online through the Game Institute — students learn the basics of making a game with C#. That means creating multiple games of the slot machine, car racing, side scroller and canon shooter variety. Students also learn how to add backgrounds and animate characters.

Cost: $19 for Game Institute’s monthly membership ($96 yearly)
 

awesome tut gaming development course
Awesome Tut

AWESOME TUTS’ “UNITY GAME DEVELOPMENT”

This Udemy class is designed to appeal to beginners and intermediate game developers alike. In 75 hours of video, it covers how to create 2D and 3D games using the Unity game engine. The class first introduces students to coding in C# before getting into the nuts and bolts of building a platformer, shooter, FPS survival game and more.

Cost: Check website
 

bitdegree gaming development course
Bitdegree

BITDEGREE’S COMPLETE GUIDE ON HOW TO MAKE A VIDEO GAME LIKE ‘THE LEGEND OF ZELDA’”

Through 29 hours of video lessons, this BitDegree class teaches students how to make a 3D role-playing game that can help burnish their portfolio. Its curriculum includes portions on how to use Unity, code in C# and model with Blender. Instructor John Bura, a game developer, has more than two decades of programming experience.

Cost: Check website
 

uc san diego gaming development course
University of California San Diego

UC SAN DIEGO’S “CREATING VIRTUAL REALITY (VR) APPS”

Aspiring gamemakers looking to specialize in VR may be interested in this edX class, which takes about six weeks to complete at a pace of six hours per week. In addition to guidance on building a VR environment from scratch using the Unity 3D engine, students are taught how to fill it with interactive functionality to create a realistic VR experience. Some prior programming experience with C, C++ or C# is recommended.

Cost: Free ($99 with certificate)
 

brackey lague gaming development course
Brackey and Sebastian Lague

BRACKEY AND SEBASTIAN LAGUE’S “HOW TO MAKE AN RPG IN UNITY”

Attention autodidacts: Students who prefer watching online tutorials at their own pace may benefit from this two-hour YouTube video playlist that outlines how to make an RPG using the Unity engine. Some of the covered topics include movement, items and enemy AI.

Cost: Free

 

Images via social media, Shutterstock and screenshots of company web pages.

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