All MFA, BFA, AFA, and One 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
Review Of The Game Design Program
Game design and development is dynamic and exciting. As one of the best game design schools in the world, the New York Film Academy, offers students the remarkable opportunity to study under leading game designers and developers from the industry. Follow your passion for games and learn the art and technology of making them hands-on. Join passionate, creative people like you and gain invaluable practice.
Running Your Own Student Game Studio
At the core of the NYFA Game Program is the Game Studio course—repeated multiple times in each degree. In this course students lead their own game studio with 2 or more classmates. Student studios build a functioning digital game in one semester with mentorship and hands-on coding from professional game programmers, developers, and instructors. Inclusion of a professional programmer on student teams is unique to NYFA. The programmer both codes as part of the student team as well as educates the team members on how to code and how to manage using Agile software development.
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 are immersed in the Playcentric Design methodology. It is infused throughout the 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 Games
Games are the literature of the 21st Century. Students learn to compel audiences via story 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
All students 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 in the industry.
You do not need to be a programmer to attend NYFA. 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 A-list professional game programmers and developers.
You will conduct Agile Development using industry-standard collaboration tools like JIRA, BitBucket, and Confluence. These skills alone will differentiate you in interviews with game studios and amongst other developers.
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 an era where small teams of designers and developers can compete on a level playing field with giant game publishers. For this reason it is valuable for students to have an understanding of the business of games. Students gain exposure to principles of publishing and marketing, as well as how to break into the game industry as an individual.
Building a Winning Portfolio
Graduating students will leave NYFA with a portfolio of Game Studio games as well as smaller prototypes, game deconstructions, business analyses, pitches, and stories. These portfolio pieces are crafted to provide the NYFA graduate the best foundation for breaking into the game design and development industry and enjoying a career as a game professional. NYFA will teach you best practices for posting your portfolio online and getting attention with it in industry.
Game Design Courses
Students in the Game Design & Development School can expect to take the following courses depending on the degree you enroll in. 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
Narrative Design Workshop
Intro to 3D Art
Art Direction for Game Developers
Mobile Game Design
Intro to Game Analysis
Usability Testing for Games
Sound Design for Games
History of Video Games
Multiplayer Game Design
Publishing Video Games
Marketing Video Games
New sessions start each semester. A list of program start dates can be viewed here.
GAME DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT DEGREES
Offered exclusively at the Academy’s Los Angeles campus, students may obtain a game design degree through one of the following options.
One of the hallmarks of the New York Film Academy’s Game Design & Development School is the distinguished and experienced faculty. Faculty members work one-on-one with students and the game studio faculty provide hands on coding support for student projects. Each faculty member is dedicated to providing students with hands-on experience alongside the tools and know-how to succeed in the game industry. The Academy’s game design faculty includes:
Chris Swain: An industry leader for over twenty years, Swain co-founded the Electronic Arts Game Innovation Lab at USC. He has led over twenty award-winning games and products for companies that include Microsoft, Disney, Sony, Acclaim, BBC, Activision, and many more. He is an in-demand speaker and writer on the game industry and innovation.
Matt Plotecher: Matt has been leading games in the NYC game industry since 2007. He has worked with Microsoft, Nokia, Lionsgate, Konami, the NFL, and other companies. Plotecher has worked with a diversity of game types including casual, core, Facebook, mobile, and alternate reality games. In addition to having articles published in leading game publications, Plotecher has occupied roles that include Lead Game Designer, Producer, Audio Design, Writer, Q&A, and Happiness Officer.
Naomi Clark: With over twenty years of creating games, Clark is an in-demand professional game designer in New York City in addition to teaching aspiring game designers. She has designed games for a variety of platforms and players, including the early multiplayer web games Sissyfight 2000, Lego World Builder, Gamestar Mechanic, and Trash Tycoon. She is an active blogger on the topic of games and feminism and is a member of the independent group the Brooklyn Game Ensemble.
Richard Wyckoff: As CEO and co-founder of Reverge Labs, LLC and Reverge Studios, Inc., Wyckoff has been an active player in the video game industry since the 1990s. He worked at such leading companies as Electronic Arts. Pandemic Studios, Vivendi Universal, and Dreamworks Interactive and worked on such notable titles as Full Spectrum Warrior and Fight Unlimited.
GAME DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT STUDENTS
Click here to see samples of work created by NYFA student game studios.
The game industry is growing four times faster than the US economy and annual compensation for game industry employees is around $95,000 (Source: ESA Video Games in the 21st Century: The 2014 Report). The Academy’s superior training prepares students to achieve professional success in addition to building essential skills. Academy students practice honing skills prototyping and playtesting games, practice honing skills with industry-standard software tools, and practice honing skills being a creative leader. Successful completion of the program comes with a personal digital portfolio of games for you to post online. Academy programs prepare students for a variety of career opportunities for numerous companies in game design and development.
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.