Gaming — just as much as it’s a competitive hobby — is a competitive industry. Breaking into it requires serious experience and skills.
Luckily, there are more resources than ever that aspiring game designers and game developers can use to set themselves up for success.
These 22 game development bootcamps and courses can help you get started.
Game Development Courses & Bootcamps to Know
- Game Institute
- General Assembly
- Harvard University
- Michigan State University
- University of California San Diego
- University of Colorado
Game Development Bootcamps and Programs
Bootcamps offer a holistic and accelerated education, and they are often guided by an instructor. They also tend to follow a structured schedule, with designated meeting times and section due dates. Those seeking a traditional classroom experience may do best in a bootcamp setting.
Code Coven’s Game Development Programs
Founded by London-based game designer Tara Mustapha, this online gaming accelerator focuses on helping women and non-binary individuals break into the industry with multiple programs and courses. Students can elect to participate in programs like its “Game Developer Program,” made in collaboration with Facebook Gaming, or its “Solstice Program,” which highlights how to develop games sustainably.
Cost: Varies by course type.
General Assembly’s “Game Design Bootcamp” and “Intro to 3D 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 enroll in an online game design bootcamp based on design fundamentals or attend an in-person game development bootcamp where they’ll dive into 3D design with the Unity engine.
Cost: Varies by location and course type.
Holberton Tulsa’s “Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality” Program
Holberton Tulsa, a branch of Holberton School, hosts a 20-month program for designated education in AR and VR technology. Students will gain knowledge of the Unity engine, 3D assets, C#, interactive design and more, providing education for areas of gaming and even beyond. Projects like building a VR game and designing a personal VR/AR experience are offered, along with a diploma of completion.
Cost: Contact course provider for information.
Vertex School’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.
Game Development Courses
Courses offer an in-depth, flexible education that tend to focus on specific areas of expertise, and can include multiple related classes. They are often self-paced and given a longer time frame of completion in comparison to bootcamps. Those seeking asynchronous, specialized education will likely do their best learning in courses.
Awesome Tuts’ “The Complete iOS Game Course Using SpriteKit And Swift 3”
If you’re looking to develop mobile games, this Udemy course by Awesome Tuts covers the basics of game creation using the Swift 3 programming language and SpriteKit framework. Students are walked through the fundamentals of coding and functions with each, and are put to the test with quizzes and interactive projects.
BitDegree’s “Complete Guide on How to Make a Video Game Like ‘The Legend of Zelda’”
Through 164 video lessons, this BitDegree course teaches students how to make a 3D role-playing game akin to a “Legend of Zelda” experience that can help burnish their portfolio. Its curriculum includes portions on how to use Unity, code in C# and model characters and environments with Blender. Instructor John Bura, a game developer, has more than two decades of programming experience.
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 course offered through BitDegree. Throughout 72 video lessons, students learn how to build a side-scrolling pixelated shooter game using the Unity engine, C# and Adobe Photoshop. Students can even elect to earn an NFT certificate upon completion. No previous coding experience is necessary.
Brackeys and Sesbsatian 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, enemy AI and character rigging in Blender.
Dragan Neskovic and Jasmin Skamo’s “The Complete Unity Indie Game Developer Course”
Want to become an indie game developer within one day? With five hours of on-demand video and nine downloadable resources, this Udemy course 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.
Ed2Go’s “Video Game Design and Development”
Ed2Go’s 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.
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 2D games on the Unity engine. Students can build their portfolio or just gain some practice with follow-along project guides. No prior coding experience is necessary.
GameDev.tv’s “Complete C# Unity Developer 3D”
Students hoping for a 3D-game-version of the class listed above are in luck. This 3D-focused course, also on Udemy, similarly helps students get acquainted with the C# language from a different scope. They can immediately start applying what they learn to create their own games on the Unity engine.
GameDev.tv’s “RPG Core Combat Creator”
This course from Udemy is designed for developers who have intermediate C# and Unity skills. In nearly 28 hours of video material, instructors walk students through how to create and code an RPG combat game in Unity 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.
GameDev.tv’s “Unreal Engine 5 C++ Developer”
In this bestselling Udemy class, which provides about 30 hours of on-demand video tutorials, students master the Unreal game 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.
Game Institute’s “C++ Programming for Game Development”
This online class from the Game Institute is spread across 14 self-paced video modules. Students get to cover C++ programming all the way from the basics to object-oriented programming, polymorphism and number systems, and test their knowledge with a final exam. As an optional module, students can also learn how to transfer their skills from C++ to C#.
Cost: Available with Game Institute membership.
Game Institute’s “C# and Monogame - Intro to 2d Game Development”
During this 65-module, project-based course — offered online through the Game Institute — students learn the basics of making a game with C# and the Monogame framework. That means creating multiple games of the slot machine, car racing, side scroller and canon shooter variety. Students also learn how to add backgrounds, animate characters, implement sound effects and more.
Cost: Available with Game Institute membership.
Harvard University’s “Introduction to Game Development”
Over the span of 12 weeks, at a suggested pace of six to nine hours per week, this Harvard 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 ($199 with certification).
Jonathan Weinberger and Unity Technologies’ “The Ultimate Guide to Game Development with Unity (Official)”
Designed in partnership with Unity Technologies, the Udemy course offers newcomers an introduction to C# programming. As students progress through over 30 hours of on-demand video lessons, they’ll have access to interactive challenges and projects that help them practice the concepts they’re learning. Students are 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 and add to their portfolios.
Michigan State University’s “Game Design and Development with Unity 2020 Specialization”
This Coursera sequence, led by Michigan State University professor Brian Winn, 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).
UC San Diego’s “Creating Virtual Reality (VR) Apps”
Aspiring gamemakers looking to specialize in virtual reality may be interested in this edX course, which takes about six weeks to complete at a pace of at least five hours per week. In addition to guidance on building a VR environment from scratch using the Unity 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 verified certificate).
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 learn the basics of the Unity engine through quizzes, programming challenges and several hours of video lessons covering gameplay mechanics, sound and effects and user interface.
Cost: Free (with Unity ID account).
University of Colorado’s “C# Programming for Unity Game Development Specialization”
In this series of 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 seven hours per week is recommended. Another upside: no prior programming experience is required.
Cost: Free (with Coursera account).