Learning how to create a game doesn’t mean years of expensive school anymore. You don’t need any money, or need to be a certain age. You only need to have dedication and time. Right now there are a lot of options for free internet courses. These classes do not count as college credit, but many are taught by college professors. I’m talking about places like Coursera which is a “little” website that offers a vast amount of classes you might expect to see at college, taught by professionals, and utterly and completely free. It’s a fantastic website, and it’s not the only of it’s kind. Even universities themselves–like MIT–now offer non-credit courses online to anyone for free. Welcome to the age of the internet and information!
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Among all the many types of classes such as humanities, business, math, science and more, there is indeed courses aimed towards programming. Also, there are even classes that are specifically about game development! That means you can get yourself some college education on game creation for free, from home right now! It’s a fantastic opportunity and a smart move if you really are considering venturing into the indie game market. Smart because every penny counts when you start your own business and saving a truckload of money on education is a good way to start.
Let me preface by mentioning if you have no programming experience that certain general programming classes would be a great start. For instance, Introduction to Computer Programming and courses about learning C# and Python. These courses are available at all the places I mention below when talking about game developing classes. For instance, here is the Coursera page with their programming courses. Also here is the Class Central programming page of courses.
Now there are many places you can find the courses you are looking for on your journey to being the proud creator of a game. First, as mentioned above, there is Coursera. What’s exciting is they have a class starting next week (October 16th) for game design! You guys, it’s so easy! I’ve used Coursera before and don’t be afraid to sign up because you can drop out anytime if you can’t (or don’t want to) continue.
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Here is the course starting soon that I mentioned. It’s titled Introduction to Game Development and is a class created by Michigan State. This class is part of a whole series. Check out the list of other classes in that series here. If you check it out you’ll notice there is actually a second class starting at the same time, Principles of Game Design.
Now, one point you should understand is that you can choose to pay for these courses, but it isn’t necessary. There are some bonuses for paying like getting a grade and receiving a Coursera certificate. However, if you take the class for free you still get full access to the class and its materials.
That is far from the only classes offered on Coursera for game development or games in general. I did a quick search for “video game” and came back with a ton of hits. Some of these courses started this week (October 9th). However, you can still sign up and you won’t have lost much time since it’s still the first week. I doubt there would be any catching up to do since most the courses have a lax schedule where the learning and assignments are for the entire week, not specific days.
Coursera isn’t the only fish in the sea. Another good website to check out is Class Central. This is a website that allows you to search for online courses offered at many different places online. Here is the page that shows classes for game development. Watch out for the ones with dollar signs next to the name, they cost money!
There is a wide amount of places this place will show you classes from. It clearly states the start date next to the title, as well as where the class is being offered and the rating (if it has one). The options are extensive! There is Story and Narrative Development, Introduction to Virtual Reality, and even a few video game history classes.
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If you aren’t afraid to drop a few dollars for a class then those options are there too. The ones from Udema aren’t too pricey. However, the paid ones from Kadenze, like Game Design: Into the Silent Water, Under the Rocks and Stones, are a whopping $500. Something that you should probably give some thought before spending the money on.
Class Central doesn’t cover all the sites though. Another one worth checking out is Lynda. What is offered here isn’t really classes but in-depth videos. Here is their game development page and it has a lot of tutorials to offer. Now, this site is not free! You can get a one-month free trial but after that, it’s $20 a month for their basic membership. Which is still not too bad if you are serious about taking advantage of all the cheaper resources you can.
Are you set to start or advance your game creating skills? Even if you still aren’t sure if that is the path you want to take, this is a sound way to try it out without wasting too much time and no money.