New York Film Academy
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New York Film Academy Game Design

8-Week VR Game Design Overview

Futurists, technologists and creatives around the world are investing billions into the rapid development of technologies that put audiences at the center of immersive, interactive story worlds — worlds we've only imagined in sci-fi fantasies, like the holo-deck of "Star Trek" and the virtual dystopia of "The Matrix" trilogy ... worlds truly deserving of the name virtual reality.

Experts are now suggesting that this future — one where we navigate the web like a real life city, or play the main character in a movie like our own version of “The Game” — is only 5-10 years away, with market estimates in the tens of billions for virtual, augmented, and mixed reality content alone. Alternative realities (VR, AR, and MR) are revolutionizing the scope of storytelling in the digital age. With the capacity to take the audience into the story world and engage them physically with a fictional reality, the gap between imagination and experience grows ever thinner.

In NYFA’s VR Game Design Workshop, students practice with the tools used to create computer-generated, 360-degree, interactive virtual experiences — ultimately designing their own interactive VR environment.

Students in the VR game design workshop will create a single-level, playable VR "game" demo, using the HTC Vive headset and Unity 3D. Utilizing the principles of game design, students design VR experiences that aim to give the player a sense of agency. This can be approached from an authorial, film-like narrative vision, or as a reward-driven game mechanic that incentivizes players to reach a predetermined objective. In either case, students are encouraged to put themselves inside the virtual world from the player’s (or audience’s) point of view, and use the foundational design principles of virtual reality to enhance the sense of immersion and willing suspension of disbelief — what VR designers are calling "presence."

As with all NYFA programs, our faculty are working professionals in the field. The animation and game design departments are working with some of the foremost thinkers and creators from the emerging VR and 360-degree immersive industries to design and teach its VR workshops:

Caitlin Burns
Vice Chair of the Producers’ Guild of America’s New Media Council, award-winning transmedia producer, and pioneer in WebVR and 360-degree immersive film-making technologies.

Andrew Garrahan
Founder of Computer Lunch, independent game designer and developer, and creator of the award-winning Swing Star VR game.

George Michael Brower

George Michael Brower
Founder of Always And Forever Computer Entertainment, musician, and creator of the fantasy music VR world, PlaythingsVR.

Isaac Kalsky
Professional 3D Modeler and Animator, with commercial and game credits that include: Cars: Fast as Lightning and Spider-Man Unlimited for Gameloft.

Anders Oscarsson

Anders Oscarsson & Chris Marotta
Anders Oscarsson & Chris Marotta are Product Designers at ustwo New York, specializing in VR. Alongside partners such as Google and Samsung, they're responsible for a long list of current and upcoming VR experiences across multiple platforms worldwide.

Workshop Course Breakdown
VR Game Design
Week 1: Review VR concepts and introduce game design concepts.
Week 2: Intro HTC Vive and develop game mechanic through rapid (non-digital) prototyping.
Week 3: Complete series of tutorials in Unity/HTC Vive and develop game concept.
Week 4: Finalize game concept; complete gray box demo in Unity/Vive (aka project Alpha).
Week 5: Intro animation and complete advanced scripting in Unity/Vive.
Week 6: Playtest and refine interactions in Unity; import art assets.
Week 7: Add music and SFX, playtest, and refine (aka complete project Beta).
Week 8: Playtest and refine in Unity/Vive and project launch.

By the end of the VR Game Design workshop, students will have a playable demo of a VR game that works in the HTC Vive headset. Due to limited time, students will have to focus on a single game mechanic, which may serve as a playable concept for a larger scope VR game. Check out the Vive’s showcase “Job Simulator” for an example of single-mechanic gameplay.

Dates & Tuition


Tuition: $5,480 (USD) +
Equipment Fee: $1,034 (USD)

Location & Available Dates

For New York City:
Jan 8, 2018 - Mar 3, 2018

Please note: Dates and Tuition are subject to change
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