New York Film Academy
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New York Film Academy Game Design

Game Design School at the New York Film Academy

Online Workshops at NYFA!

Game Design School in New York & Los Angeles

All MFA, BFA, AFA, and 1-Year programs give you hands-on experience:
  • Leading your own student game studio with classmates each semester
  • Building winning portfolio pieces – games, artwork, stories, other
  • Engaging with game industry leaders who are your faculty, mentors, and guest speakers

NYFA Student Game Design Highlight Reel

A reel of student work from New York Film Academy's Game Design Department in both LA and NYC.

The New York Film Academy strives to be considered amongst the best video game design schools in the world – offering a curriculum that will stimulate you academically and prepare you to pursue your passion. Join other creative students at the New York Film Academy’s Game Design School and learn how to apply your vision and skills to be the best game designer you can be.

Learn From the Masters

Game Design Curriculum


The heart of the New York Film Academy’s Game Design School is our Game Studio course. Unlike other top game design schools, this unique course challenges students to lead their own Game Studio with two other classmates. Throughout the course of a semester, students receive coding support and mentorship from professional game design programmers, developers, and instructors. The game design school program’s unique approach of pairing students with professionals allows students to create their own digital game by the end of the semester. Students pursuing a game design degree will take the class multiple times throughout their tutelage at NYFA’s Game Design School – giving them the chance to make multiple games, work with a variety of different professionals and students, and build their portfolio.

This teaching approach—of teaming students with professional game programmers and developers who code with students on their projects—is unique to NYFA and one of our most popular features.

Mastering Playcentric Design

All students in the New York Film Academy’s Game Design School are immersed in the methodology of Playcentric Design. It is infused throughout the game design curriculum. The student will:

  • Understand Fundamental Theory – See how to deconstruct any game experience into Formal, Dramatic, and Dynamic systems and learn how the three interrelate.
  • Learn Core Development Process – Acquire the skills of game prototyping, playtesting, iteration, presentation, and collaboration. These are timeless skills that can be applied to the full range of existing game types—mobile, browser-based, console, free-to-play, social, location-aware, multiplayer, etc.—and also to new game types in the future.
  • Practice, Practice, Practice – All students will prototype multiple games hands-on regardless of technical skills. Class assignments are designed to provide great additions to a student’s portfolio. In addition everyone gets lots of experience critiquing and analyzing games via playtesting with fellow students.

Story and Narrative in Game Design & Development

Games are the literature of the 21st Century. Students learn to compel audiences via stories in their games. Telling a story with games involves a blend of good system design—e.g. the story emerges from gameplay—and classic cinematic techniques. Students learn established interactive story structure models—such as Emergent versus Embedded Narrative—and gain the tools to expand upon them. Students deconstruct story in seminal narrative games—e.g. Bioshock, Mass Effect, Deus Ex, Final Fantasy VII, Red Dead Redemption, Portal, Uncharted 2, Skyrim, etc.

Learning Industry Standard Tools

Students will be expected to become familiar with the use of a variety of industry standard tools. Throughout their time pursuing a game design degree, all students will get extensive hands-on practice with state of the art digital tools.

Art and Animation Tools:
You will be exposed to art direction and 3D animation via coursework. Tools include Adobe Creative Suite and Maya 3D. You gain hands-on expertise and—equally importantly—you gain an understanding of how to collaborate with and lead artists, animators, and developers.

Programming Tools:
Unlike many other top game designs schools, you do not need to be a programmer to attend NYFA's game design school. Whatever technical skills you have—zero to expert—will be expanded upon and honed during your time as a student. The exact languages you use in your studio classes will be decided by you and your instructor each semester depending on what’s best for your project. Right now Unity is one of the most popular. You will get individualized help and coding support from your studio class instructors—all of whom are professional game programmers and developers.

Agile Tools:
You will conduct Agile Development using industry-standard collaboration tools like JIRA, BitBucket, and Confluence.

Agile Development in Game Design

Your studio classes run exactly like professional game studios. The leading professional game studios follow the Agile software development methodology. Here are some principles of Agile development:

- Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.
- Working software is the primary measure of progress.
- The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
- The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
- At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly. (Source: Principles behind the Agile Manifesto)

Understanding the Business of Games

Digital distribution technologies—such as Steam, the App store, and the Internet in general—have ushered in a new era of game design publishing and marketing. For this reason, it is valuable for students to have an understanding of the business of games. During their time at the Game Design School, students gain exposure to new and evolving methods of publishing and marketing games.

Building a Winning Game Design Portfolio

Graduating students of the game design school in New York will leave NYFA with a portfolio of Game Studio games as well as smaller prototypes, game deconstructions, business analyses, pitches, and stories. Additionally, students will learn best practices for posting portfolios online.

Game Design & Development Courses

Students in the Game Design & Development School can expect to take the following courses depending on the game design degree program in which you enroll. To see the full list of game design courses specific to your program, please click here.

2D Game Design 3D Game Design Game Design Studio I, II, III, IV
Playcentric Design Systems Literacy Narrative Design Workshop
Intro to 3D Art Level Design Art Direction for Game Developers
Mobile Game Design Advanced Level Design Game Coding with Unity and C#, 1
Sound Design for Games History of Video Games Game Coding with Unity and C#, 2
Publishing Video Games Multiplayer Game Design Business of Video Games

New sessions start each semester. A list of program start dates can be viewed here.


Offered exclusively at the Academy’s Los Angeles campus, students may obtain a game design degree through one of the following options.


If a student wishes to enroll in a non-degree game design program, it is advised he or she considers the Academy’s one-year conservatory program or 4-Week Online Game Design.

Game Design Faculty

One of the hallmarks of the New York Film Academy’s Game Design & Development School is its distinguished and experienced faculty. Each member of the faculty has extensive professional experience in the game design industry.

Game design school faculty members work one-on-one with students and the Game Studio faculty provides hands-on coding support for student projects. Each faculty member is dedicated to equipping students with hands-on experience alongside the tools and know-how to succeed in the game industry.
  • Learn more about the Game Design faculty from the New York campus here
  • Learn more about the Game Design faculty from the Los Angeles campus here


Click here to see samples of work created by NYFA student Game Studios.

Contact the Game Design School

If you wish to learn more about the Game Design & Development School at the New York Film Academy, you can call us at +1 (212) 674-4430 or click the below links to receive more information and apply online.

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