Game Design: Art and Concepts Specialization

Starts Oct 17

Game Design: Art and Concepts Specialization

Create Imaginative Games. Design a video game for independent distribution in just four courses.

About This Specialization

Stemming from the principles of storytelling and design established in CalArts’ renowned Animation programs, this Specialization lays a primary foundation for experimentation and exploration of video game design, story, character development, and winning gameplay before programming begins. These four courses emphasize the self-reliance and personal expression of the gaming artist, and encourage you to take conceptual risks and develop new modes of expression and form through gaming. In the final Capstone Project, you’ll put your creative skills to work by generating an engaging game design document for a personal game project, outlining the conceptual, narrative and aesthetic elements of your game.

Created by:

5 courses

Follow the suggested order or choose your own.


Designed to help you practice and apply the skills you learn.


Highlight your new skills on your resume or LinkedIn.

Beginner Specialization.
No prior experience required.
  1. COURSE 1

    Introduction to Game Design

    4 weeks, 2-3 hours/week
    English, Russian, Chinese (Traditional), Chinese (Simplified)

    About the Course

    Welcome! This course is an introduction to the primary concepts of gaming, and an exploration of how these basic concepts affect the way gamers interact with our games. In this course you will understand what defines a “game” and the mechanics a
  2. COURSE 2

    Story and Narrative Development for Video Games

    English, Chinese (Simplified)

    About the Course

    In this course, you will examine how storytelling acts as a vital mechanism for driving video gameplay forward. Looking at several historical and contemporary games, you will be asked to evaluate and interpret different story styles with the goal of ide
  3. COURSE 3

    World Design for Video Games


    About the Course

    Start creating your world. A game world is not just a backdrop for your game—be it minimal or detailed, contained or part of a much bigger universe, it provides the context for your player. Ultimately, a game world should feel alive and wholly u
  4. COURSE 4

    Character Design for Video Games

    4 Weeks, 4 - 6 hours per week

    About the Course

    In this course you will explore concepts and approaches involved in creating successful character designs that can be applied to video games. Following a first week delving into some foundational concepts for successful character design, each of the r
  5. COURSE 5

    Game Design Document: Define the Art & Concepts

    Current session: Oct 15
    6 weeks of study, 2-4 hours/week

    About the Capstone Project

    The Capstone project is a place for you to develop your game idea into a fully-fleshed proposal. A game design document is your game bible, the go-to document that defines the genre of your game, its look and feel, and the evolution of gameplay. This f


  • California Institute of the Arts

    The California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) School of Film/Video is one of the world’s foremost colleges for the study and practice of the art of the moving image.

    CalArts has earned an international reputation as the leading college of the visual and performing arts in the United States. Offering rigorous undergraduate and graduate degree programs through six schools—Art, Critical Studies, Dance, Film/Video, Music, and Theater—CalArts has championed creative excellence, critical reflection, and the development of new forms and expressions.

  • Dariush Derakhshani

    Dariush Derakhshani

    Faculty, Character Animation
  • Théotime Vaillant

    Théotime Vaillant

    Instructor, Experimental Animation
  • Fran Krause

    Fran Krause

    Faculty, Character Animation