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GAME DESIGN WITH UNREAL ENGINE 5

DATES: 12 JUN 2024 - 29 JUL 2024
DURATION: 7 WEEKSMONDAYS & WEDNESDAYS5:30 PM PT / 8:30 PM ET
CAMERON WILLIAMS
INFINITY WARD, EX-ROCKSTAR GAMES
LIVE ONLINE COURSE
LIVE ONLINE COURSE
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ON GAME DESIGN WITH UNREAL ENGINE 5
DATES:
12 JUN 2024 - 29 JUL 2024
DURATION:
7 WEEKS
MONDAYS & WEDNESDAYS
5:30 PM PT / 8:30 PM ET
Create robust game systems that guide players seamlessly from the opening scene to the final credits.

Join Cameron Williams, who’s worked on top games like GTA 6 & Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III, to develop a standout portfolio tailored to highlight your skills.

THIS COURSE IS FOR YOU, IF...

  • YOU ARE A FRESH GRADUATE ASPIRING TO BREAK INTO THE INDUSTRY

     

    Turn your aspirations into career opportunities. Gain practical expertise in game design, create a compelling portfolio aligned with your skills, and receive career guidance that will help you land your dream job in top game companies.

  • YOU ARE A CAREER SWITCHER INTERESTED IN GAMING

     

    Whether driven by personal interest or a desire to create your own games, you will gain essential insights into game design roles and acquire the fundamental skill set. Our approach will empower you to step into the new field confidently.

  • YOU ARE LOOKING TO BOOST YOUR CAREER AS A DESIGNER

     

    If you want to fortify your existing skills, this course is the perfect launchpad. Learn from industry leaders. Create market-ready games and understand the intricacies of game design in both large companies and collaborative team settings.

YOUR ASCENT STARTS HERE

Build games that hook players. Learn by doing.

Ideate and refine video game concepts, construct comprehensive GDDs, craft production milestones with HacknPlan, and elevate your level design with Unreal Engine 5. Prototype core game mechanics and weave engaging narratives into your gameplay.

Gain the latest industry insights in a few clicks.

Take a sneak peek into the dynamics of the design team, receive expert feedback & interview tips, and align your expectations for a successful entry into the world of junior game designers – all live and online.

 
ABOUT THE COURSE / WHAT YOU'LL DO
01
HANDS-ON PRACTICE
Gain practical experience in every facet. You'll tackle real-world challenges through home assignments, case studies, and demos, including testing, prototyping, debugging, pitching your ideas, and exploring the key functionalities of Unreal Engine 5.
02
PORTFOLIO BOOST
This course yields tangible results. As a final project, you'll tackle a real-world game design test, culminating in the creation of a basic video game prototype using Unreal Engine. You’ll be fully prepared for the challenges of the industry.
03
CAREER GUIDANCE
Tailor a job application package for junior roles. Learn how to ace interviews and build impressive portfolios, CVs, and cover letters. Gain a deeper understanding of the expectations for aspiring game designers in the field & present yourself professionally.
INSTRUCTOR
CAMERON
WILLIAMS
LINKEDIN PROFILE
  • Senior Game Designer at Infinity Ward, ex-Rockstar Games
  • Spearheaded diverse projects and served as a technically-focused game designer at Rockstar Games and Infinity Ward, contributing to titles like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III, and content for Red Dead Online
  • Co-founded the indie game company Dark Road, steering projects like "Take a Seat" and the distinctive narrative game "Stumberg Cay" before venturing into the AAA scene
  • Co-owned and operated AVR Studio, pioneering unique VR experiences using Unreal Engine
  • Driven by a primary passion for executing technical feats in narrative and storytelling, especially with the creation of unique and relatable characters.
CAMERON WILLIAMS
COURSE INTRODUCTION
syllabus
00
MON (6/10), 5:30 PM PT/8:30 PM ET
Meet Your Instructor & Course Overview
  • Instructor introduction
  • Course objectives & flow
  • Q&A
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01
WED (6/12), 5:30 PM PT/8:30 PM ET
Your First Test in a Game Design Interview

The hardest and most rewarding part of an interview is the test. Study typical game design tests. See what industry opportunities await. Learn how your course project will prepare you and demonstrate your applicable skills.


  • Games industry & studio types
  • Game design roles & pipeline
  • Studio testing methods
  • Case study: Game design test example
  • Course project introduction

Assignment #1: Game Concept
Craft a concise game concept (1-3 sentences) in alignment with the third-person shooter or third-person action-adventure genre. Ensure it adheres to the scope constraints of the test while reflecting your preferred role in game design.

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02
MON (6/17), 5:30 PM PT/8:30 PM ET
The Pillars of a Game & The Pitch

Perfect your pitch. How can you showcase your idea without going overboard? Jump into the various parts of a pitch and game design to understand what elements you need to incorporate to be successful.


  • Core loop, mechanics & fail/win state
  • Dramatic elements, visual target & target audience
  • The MDA framework:  pros & cons
  • Case study: Pitch deck
  • Demo: Reference gathering in Miro

Assignment #2: The Pitch
Prepare to pitch your game concept next class. Highlight key class elements and your unique game features in a brief, impactful manner. Keep text minimal on each slide. Aim for brevity!

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03
WED (6/19), 5:30 PM PT/8:30 PM ET
Game Design Document

Put your ideas into a comprehensible text. Help developers engage with your ideas by clearly documenting what aspects of your design are the most important. With case studies, turn “aha” moments into, actionable changes.


  • Workshop: Pitch the current version of your game concept in small groups of 2-3
  • Case Study: Game design documents for GTA 1 & Dirty Bomb
  • Demo: Creating a design document from a template.

Assignment #3: Game Design Document
Develop a design document for your game concept, completing the categories in the template. Provide necessary details, adding sections only if aspects of the game are not covered by existing categories.

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04
MON (6/24), 5:30 PM PT/8:30 PM ET
Game Engines

There are over 100 game engines, but we’re using Unreal. Today we’ll discuss the scope of game engines, why we’re using Unreal, and compare its advantages.


  • Intro to game engines & order of operations
  • How Unreal Engine (UE5) stands out
  • The components of creating an experience in Unreal Engine 5
  • Demo: Creating a project & putting together a quick level
  • Demo: Creating a Blueprint Actor using BSP converted into Static Meshes
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05
WED (6/26), 5:30 PM PT/8:30 PM ET
Level Design

Learn level design lingo. Put design principles into play. Craft a 2D layout for your levels, and then upgrade it to 3D in Unreal Engine 5. Pay attention to all of the demonstrations to level up!


  • Terminology
  • Demo: 2D layout in Photopea
  • Demo: Creating a metrics zoo/gym in UE5
  • Demo: From 2D to 3D

Assignment #4: 3D Level Blockout in Unreal
Produce a 3D blockout from a 2D layout for your test, aligning gameplay with the specified 3-5 minute duration. Ensure grid-aligned and properly named actors. Address testing impediments with level warps based on lesson insights. Include spawn closets as needed.

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06
MON (7/1), 5:30 PM PT/8:30 PM ET
Game Systems

Let’s advance your final project. Learn how to bring players from the beginning to the end of your level with core progression. As we engage more with Unreal Engine 5 Blueprint, you’ll take on technical concepts and AI systems that fill out the game space.


  • What is a game system?
  • Demo: Use enumeration & data structures in Unreal Engine 5
  • Demo: Set up AI systems using Unreal Engine 5 Blueprint
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07
WED (7/3), 5:30 PM PT/8:30 PM ET
Prototyping

Plan to enhance the player experience. Consider the pros and cons of paper vs. digital prototyping. Practice prototyping a traversal mechanic and core combat systems. We have more demonstrations prepared and ready to explain the how-tos.


  • Different types of prototyping
  • Demo: Creating core combat systems
  • Demo: Creating a traversal mechanic

Assignment #5: Mechanics
Integrate playable mechanics into your level for testing core aspects such as combat, traversal, progression, AI, etc. Meet production plan goals to achieve the minimal game loop and progress from start to finish.


Extra Credit:
Develop an AI movement system in Unreal Engine 5 Blueprint, applying class insights. Implement AI movement based on patrol or idle behaviors in your prototype.

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08
MON (7/8), 5:30 PM PT/8:30 PM ET
Production Plan

Hack the process. Plan your production with precision. Your production plan will outline the steps to realize your game design. Let’s use HacknPlan to create it and lay it out.


  • Making your production plan “just right”
  • Demo: Creating a production plan in HacknPlan
  • Breaking down the mechanics from your design doc
  • Case Study: Showcasing a detailed production plan
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09
WED (7/10), 5:30 PM PT/8:30 PM ET
Scripting

Progress your prototype even further. Keep your players informed through scripting, helping them to understand the rules and how to play. Sit tight through several demonstrations and prepare for your game to be tested.


  • Let's get scripting!
  • Demo: Creating tutorials using UMG UI Designer & level scripting
  • Demo: Spawning AI dynamically throughout the level
  • Demo: Creating a timeline & animating a platform
  • Packaging your project for playtesting

Assignment #6: Production Plan & Tutorials in Unreal


Part 1: Generate a production plan from your design document, incorporating "vertical slice" and "polish" milestones. Populate relevant tasks into HacknPlan under the appropriate milestones.


Part 2 (Extra Credit): Integrate clear tutorials into your project, verify changes through external playtesting, and submit an updated build with a brief write-up on tutorial placement and purpose.

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10
MON (7/15), 5:30 PM PT/8:30 PM ET
Iteration

Playtesting makes perfect. Polish your game by checking for bugs with the Unreal Engine debugger. Then use HacknPlan to take note of the existing bugs.


  • Playtesting, gaining valuable insight & tasking
  • Demo: Finding a bug & reporting it
  • Demo: Debugging Unreal Engine Blueprints
  • The polish phase

Assignment #7: Vertical Slice Build
Complete the vertical slice of your test, ensuring alignment with production plan goals. Shift unfinished or less critical tasks to the "polish" milestone for refining before the course ends. Submit a playable build as your vertical slice.

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11
WED (7/17), 5:30 PM PT/8:30 PM ET
Game Narrative

Make your narrative shine with limited time. Work with narrative frameworks that’ll captivate your audience and express them through mechanics and systems. It’s your turn to create event-based narrative moments.


  • Framework: three-act structure, the hero’s journey & other formats
  • Types of game narrative
  • Roles within narrative
  • Characters
  • Demo: Implementing narrative with events in Unreal Engine Blueprint

Assignment #8: Narrative Design Document (Extra Credit)
Write a brief narrative design document based on the supplied course materials to complement your game design test.

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12
MON (7/22), 5:30 PM PT/8:30 PM ET
Putting It All Together as a Portfolio

You have all of the pieces to the puzzle. Now it’s time to put it all together into a comprehensible portfolio. Format your creation, include gameplay capture, and learn how to present.


  • Cleaning up the project & portfolio building tools
  • Demo: Taking portfolio-worthy screenshots & using cinematic cameras
  • Writing & explaining a contribution breakdown
  • Case Study: Showcasing portfolio breakdown
  • Playable demos debate
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13
WED (7/24), 5:30 PM PT/8:30 PM ET
Career Fireside Chat with a Guest Speaker

Discuss the difference between leading and implementing. Take the skills you’ve learned till now and figure out where they fall in the development spectrum. Welcome your guest speaker and take in as much as you can from their experiences. Apply tips to outshine your competition and get hiring managers’ attention.


  • Introductions & guest speaker’s career path
  • What makes a good designer & what is expected from juniors?
  • Differences in roles within the design team
  • Interview tips
  • The ideal candidate for interviews
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14
MON (7/29), 5:30 PM PT/8:30 PM ET
Design Your Path to Employment

Hack the hiring process. As a game designer, you have limited time to impress studios. You have to present yourself and your work in the most marketable way. Take this final opportunity to learn how to land interviews at different studios and then ace them. Good luck!


  • Creating, maintaining & showcasing your resume
  • Creating a useful & sustainable cover letter
  • Social media presence
  • Additional skills to gain a competitive advantage

Assignment #9: Job Application Package
Build or update your portfolio using platforms like WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, or a custom host. Refine your game design resume and craft a template cover letter. Submit your finalized game design test, along with your resume, cover letter, and portfolio, for comprehensive feedback, treating it as a "job application."

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What our students say

Carlos Andres
BECOME AN ART DIRECTOR
"The group activities, they allow us to interact and exchange ideas, plus the way it is structured is challenging and mind twisting as we collaborate in different parts of the ideation."
Hayley Smith
BRANDING 101
"Overall I'm impressed with the level of detail and explanation around particular topics and subjects. There's a real depth to each module which for learning allows the information to stay in your brain."
Rebecca Kouwe
HUMAN RESOURCES ANALYTICS
"I really enjoy the format of the course. Lectures with real life examples and an ongoing case study. Also built in 20 minutes at the end of each class for questions is helpful."
Courtney Fulton
WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP
"I enjoyed the structure of the class. I like how we learned about a topic and practiced it in the workshops. It’s helped me to apply what I learned!"
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