4-Week Video Game Design Camp for Teens

Learn How to Create a Video Game at NYFA

In the 4-Week Game Design Camp, teens develop their own original game concepts into playable digital prototypes. Held at our New York City and Los Angeles campuses, this hands-on camp provides teens aged 14-17 with the opportunity to study and practice the craft of game design, working under the guidance of game design professionals. The program uses simple, experimentation-friendly tools that require no previous experience.

Program Description

Camp Name: 4-Week Game Design Camp for Teens

During the game design camp, students create a story concept, design and prototype core game mechanics, design and build original art assets, and program their own games in a cooperative “Game Jam” setting. Over the course of the camp’s four weeks, students cover a wide range of topics to establish a strong foundation in the fundamentals of game design.

Topics include:

Game Design: Balancing the use of goals/objectives, rules, materials, and space to create a fun play experience for all participants.

Narrative Design: Developing a set of environments, characters, and objects that add depth and texture to the game’s mechanics.
Art Direction: Establishing an overarching aesthetic that conveys the narrative and creates the game’s visual identity.
Sound Design: Building an aural texture that enhances the narrative and provides interaction feedback that supports the game mechanics.

Coding: The foundation that makes all of the game’s elements possible in the digital world.

Students use the Unity game engine to learn how to make games. Each week, campers focus on a different stage of the game production process.

Week One: Focuses on narrative design and game design to help students develop their game concepts. Campers learn to use nonlinear narrative techniques as well as traditional storytelling models to conceive a fictional world, and flesh out characters, and settings. Game design promotes experimentation with game rules and objectives through paper prototyping, and allows for playtesting and refinement before development takes place in the digital realm.

Week Two: Delves into the details of art direction and sound design to create assets that will be used in campers’ digital game. Art direction begins with the creation of concept art inspired by the game’s narrative design, and follows the customization of art assets in one of several digital art programs. Sound design provides ambience, and enhances the game’s design by creating feedback for player actions. Sound effects and music are original compositions, which are created by campers with field-recording equipment and a variety of digital tools.

Week Three: Focuses on building a game in the digital space, applying simple coding skills to translate their game’s mechanics from paper prototype to game engine, solve problems, and iterate the design until it works. Campers begin importing the art and sound assets and refine the look and feel of their gameplay.

Week Four: Devoted to rounds of playtesting and refinement until the game is ready to launch. Campers use the principles of game design to strategize and implement a mini-marketing campaign to promote the publication of their game.

In addition to the guided workshops, campers explore games of all kinds: card, console, board, ball, story, strategy, cooperative, competitive, indoor, and outdoors.

Students leave the 4-Week Game Design Camp with a set of digital materials – such as code modules, artwork, and playable Unity games – that could be used in a personal portfolio. In addition, students will gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of games of all types while also knowing how to excel in the digital realm. They also learn systems thinking, a skill that will help them to excel in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

To learn more about NYFA’s camps, visit the NYFA Camp Brochure.


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