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Best Game Development Courses

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Game development courses can equip you with the tools you need to build your own games from scratch. Or you might want to turn your passion as a gamer into a lucrative career opportunity and launch your own gaming company.

Either way, there are several online course options at different price points to help you get started.

Quick Look: The Best Game Development Courses

Here’s a quick glance at Benzinga’s top courses:

What Makes a Game Development Course Great?

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you explore game development course options. There are many to choose from, but the best classes include the following features. 

Begins with the Fundamentals 

Game development newbies must learn the basics before building their first game. If you’re a bit more experienced, the course should briefly revisit the fundamentals in the first module before diving into more complex concepts. 

Includes Demonstrations

Aesthetics are everything in the gaming world. So, the instructor should provide real-life examples that demonstrate the concepts taught in the lessons. That way, you’ll know what you should be aiming for visually when you start developing your own games. 

Offers a Hands-On Learning Experience

Does the course include assignments that require you to apply your skills using software or build your own game? You want to make sure the course offers a hands-on learning component to get the most out of it. 

Our Top Picks

We’ve included our top picks for game development courses from Coursera, Udemy and LinkedIn Learning. Each course is accompanied by a description and the price point to help you get a better feel for what it offers and make a smart decision. 

You’ll find the courses organized by level for beginner, intermediate and advanced students. 

Game Development Course for Beginners

Are you new to game development? These beginner courses will introduce you to the basics. 

1. Introduction to Game Development by Michigan State University

  • Who it’s for: Beginners
  • Price: Free

This free beginner-level course is a part of the Game and Design Development Specialization offered by Michigan State University. 

Instructor Brian Winn, an associate professor in the department of media and information, begins the 4-module course with a discussion on how to transition from a gamer to a developer. In modules 2 and 3, he discusses Unity3D Development and how to create games using this tool. The course wraps up with a lesson on designing and coding gameplay systems. 

Each module includes supplementary reading material and quizzes. You will also need to complete 3 projects. By the end of the course, you will have the skills you need to develop basic video games. 

Allocate 2 to 5 hours each week to complete the entire course in 1 month. 

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2. Introduction to Game Design by the California Institute of the Arts 

  • Who it’s for: Beginners
  • Price: Free

Learn the essentials of game design through this free course from the California Institute of the Arts. It includes 4 modules that delve into the inner workings of video games and proven game design methods. 

The class also requires you to complete 4 assignments and apply the knowledge you gain throughout the course. Once you reach the finish line, you’ll have the skills to design and build your own fascinating game concept from the ground up. 

Led by Fran Krause, a faculty member in the school of film and video, this class is the first component of the Game Design: Art and Concepts Specialization. 

Enrollment is free and all you need is a notebook and pencil to get started. 

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3. Create Your First Video Game from Scratch without Coding by Udemy 

  • Who it’s for: Beginners
  • Price: Free 

What if you could create a video game without the hassle of coding it all on your own? This free course introduces a straightforward step-by-step approach to do just that with Stencyl, a free game toolkit. 

You’ll have instant access to 54 lectures condensed in 7 hours of on-demand video, 1 article and 20 downloadable resources that will teach you how to design and build your own games without developing any code. Even better, you will learn how to market and sell your video games so you can turn a profit from your hard work. 

The class is taught by author and IT Trainer Innes Borkwood. He works with several national and multinational companies and specializes in game development, Microsoft Office and Microsoft SharePoint. 

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Intermediate Game Development Courses

Move beyond the basics of game development into more advanced techniques with these intermediate-level courses.

4. Game Development for Modern Platforms by Michigan State University

  • Who it’s for: Intermediate students
  • Price: Free

Game Development for Modern Platforms is another component of the Game and Design Development Specialization from Michigan State University. 

You will discover how games are developed on many of today’s popular platforms, including Android, iOS, Mac OS X, Web and Windows in this free intermediate-level course. Once you have a grasp on the material, you’ll need to build out your own sample game using the Unity game engine. 

Another significant benefit of this course is that it teaches you how to modify, polish and property package your game for distributions across the top platforms. 

The course is self-paced. But you can expect to spend a little over 1 month working through the course if you work at a pace of 4 hours per week. 

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5. Making Your First Virtual Reality Game by the University of London

  • Who it’s for: Intermediate students
  • Price: Free

Do you want to learn how to build your first virtual reality game from scratch? The University of London can help you with its free self-paced course that includes game concepts development lessons, prototyping, testing and refining your game. 

Dr. Sylvia Xueni Pan and Dr. Marco Gillies share a proven step-by-step approach to help you successfully complete your first virtual reality. Each of the 5 modules includes in-depth videos, readings and quizzes to facilitate your comprehension of the key concepts taught in the class. 

Enrollment is free and you can work through the course material at a pace that’s most comfortable for you — there are no deadlines. Expect to spend at least 23 hours as you complete the class. 

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6. Game Development by Udemy 

  • Who it’s for: Intermediate students 
  • Price: $19.99

Just $19.99 gets you a seat to this intermediate game development course from Udemy. It covers essential gaming concepts, including image processing, game asset management, physics, collision detection, event logic and so much more. 

Your enrollment fee includes lifetime access to 40 lectures condensed into 4 hours of on-demand video, 1 article and 33 downloadable resources. You’ll receive a certificate of completion when you finish the course. 

It’s offered by Framework Television Inc. and is facilitated by Kevin O’ Flaherty, a seasoned programmer and game developer. 

Make sure you have basic knowledge of the Python programming language and access to the program on your Mac or PC before you enroll. 

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Advanced Game Development Courses

These advanced courses will help your skills soar so you can pursue a more rewarding career in game development or start a gaming business.

7. Data Structures and Design Patterns for Game Developers by the University of Colorado

  • Who it’s for: Advanced students 
  • Price: Free

This free course teaches developers how to build video games on Mac, the Unity game engine or windows using the C# programming language. 

Facilitated by Dr. Tim Chamillard, associate professor in the computer science department, this course includes the following modules: 

  • Module 1: Explore a dynamic array data structure and learn the basics of algorithm analysis,
  • Module 2: Learn about and use the common linked list and graph data structures.
  • Module 3: Learn about and use several additional data structures — stacks, queues and trees.
  • Module 4: Learn about why design patterns are so useful and discover a number of design patterns useful in game development.
  • Module 5: Complete final peer review.

It’s a good idea to complete the other 3 courses in the C# Programming for Unity Game Development Specialization before you enroll. 

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8. Start Your Own Game Company with John Romero by LinkedIn Learning (Formerly Lynda.com)

Taught by John Romero, an award-winning game designer, programmer and artist, this course is ideal for developers who are interested in founding a gaming startup. It provides the framework to set your company up for success.

You’ll learn the mechanics of forming, estimating costs, funding and growing your gaming company. There’s also a lesson on contracts and legal paperwork to help you understand how to minimize liability and protect your company. 

Enrollment is included with a $29.99 per month LinkedIn membership or you can grab a seat for free by registering for a 1-month trial membership. 

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9. Business of Games and Entrepreneurship by Michigan State University

  • Who it’s for: Advanced students 
  • Price: Free

Business of Games and Entrepreneurship is another excellent course by Michigan State University for those who want to work in the industry or build a profitable gaming company. 

Core topics covered in the class include the economics of games, the fundamentals of game production and teamwork, practical project management tools and techniques and pitching. There’s a final lesson on starting a gaming company. 

The course is facilitated by Associate Professor Casey O’Donnell. Thousands of students have gained invaluable knowledge and skills or launched new careers after completing the course. 

There’s no cost to enroll, and you can expect to spend 16 hours working through the course material. 

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Choose the Best Game Development Course for You

Game development courses are ideal if you want to learn how to develop games with all the graphics and features that gamers love. If you’re interested in launching a gaming company, there are also affordable courses that can help you lay a solid foundation that will position you for long-term success.