Game Design and Interactive Storytelling in Downtown Los Angeles

Program Description

Offered at Cal State Los Angeles Downtown, the intensive certificate program in Game Design and Interactive Storytelling offers an in-depth overview of the fundamentals of game design, mobile games, interactive storytelling, Unity-based game programming, visual design, animation and creative entrepreneurship. Students will understand the basics of video game development and how to position their narrative, social and artistic practice in an entrepreneurial setting. Structured as a writers'/makers' workshop, students will work in teams and actively participate through discussion and feedback. Classes are taught by industry professionals representing respected game design studios including Riot Games and MGM Interactive, in addition to independent producers, designers, and award winning art and design faculty from Cal State LA. No prerequisite knowledge or experience is necessary.

Upon completion of this program, students will be able to: 

  • Understand the process of video game development, and identify roles within a game development team and the gaming industry
  • Employ techniques of interactive storytelling and writing for games
  • Better grasp visual communication and design choices in the context of games and play, and have a basic understanding of 2D and 3D animation working with Cinema 4D
  • Apply hands on experience with the Unity game engine
  • Develop a game concept, including a core mechanical loop and narrative framework, both individually and within a team environment

Who Should Enroll?

This game design program is ideal for the following audiences: 

  • Screenwriters, writers, filmmakers and media professionals interested in expanding beyond their medium to explore interactive media storytelling
  • Creative start-ups that would like to incorporate participatory game design and interactive storytelling in their business communications
  • High school students and game aficionados enthusiastic about turning their passion into a profession

Tuition & Fees

Cost Per Module $749
Total Program Cost $3,745 (5 modules)

 

Financial Assistance

Federal financial aid is not currently available for the Game Design and Interactive Storytelling Certificate program. However, you can apply for a private student loan here.

Course Schedule 

Spring 2020: February 6 through May 9

Module Dates Time Instructor(s)
Module 1:
Unity Programming
Thursdays,
February 6 - May 7
(11 weeks)
7 to 9:30 p.m.
Megan Reynolds
Module 2:
Introduction to Interactive Storytelling and Game Design
Saturdays,
February 8 - 29
(4 weeks)
8:30 a.m. to
4:30 p.m.
Juli Logemann
Sylke Rene Meyer
Megan Reynolds
Module 3:
Games and Narrative Design
Saturdays & Sundays
March 7 - March 15
(2 weeks)
8:30 a.m. to
4:30 p.m.
Shawn Main
Michael Yichao
Module 4:
Visual Design and Animation
Saturdays & Sundays
March 21 - March 29
(2 weeks)
8:30 a.m. to
4:30 p.m.
Zachary Zezima
Module 5:
Introduction to the Industry: From AAA to Indie
Saturdays
April 18 - May 9
(2 weeks)
8:30 a.m. to
4:30 p.m.
Anne Marie Williams
Michael Yichao
Zachary Vernon
Juli Logemann

Enroll/Register

To earn a certificate, participants must complete all 5 program modules and have an attendance of 80% or better for each module. Follow the links below to see complete module descriptions and to register for individual modules. To enroll for all 5 modules, please follow this link.

An introductory overview of the video game development process with an emphasis on writing for narrative games.
 
An overview to the business of game design and development; the basics of linear storytelling and story arc; and spatial story design for interactive narrative.
 
An introductory on the game engine UNITY with hands-on game design in 3D game genre and styles, and 3D engines and their components, scripts, GUI, models, textures, sound and music.
 
An exploration of how to combine creative passion and versatile skills to shape your media career while creating sustainable, scalable public value.
 
An explanation of workflow in the game industry with an overview of all the different jobs and roles within a company, as well as how a game gets made.
 
To enroll for all 5 modules, please follow this link.

About the Instructors

Sarah Beeby

Sarah is a mixed media animation artist and educator. She received a First-Class degree in Fine Art from Wimbledon College of Art in 2009 and a Master's Degree in Animation from the Royal College of Art in 2011. Sarah's 30 animated independent film works have been screened internationally and have received multiple awards. Sarah is currently an Assistant Professor of Animation at Cal State LA. 

Juli Logemann

Juli loves video games. From her sister's Atari to her best friend's Nintendo to her own first console (Super Nintendo), her love goes way back. Professionally, she began her career in video games working for LucasArts in the QA department. She continued on in QA for Psychonauts at Double Fine before finding her home in the production department at Crystal Dynamics. After two Tomb Raider projects at Crystal Dynamics, in addition to projects at Capcom and Electronic Arts, Juli landed at MGM Studios where for the past nine years she has been responsible for interactive video game licensing and production. Her credits include mobile games, virtual reality games, and titles for console platforms. Selected titles include: Star Wars Republic, Commando, Tomb Raider Legend, Tomb Raider Underworld, and most recently Creed: Rise to Glory. 

Shawn Main

Shawn is a senior game designer at Riot Games. Prior to that, he worked for six years on Magic: The Gathering, leading the design of Conspiracy, Battlebond, Kaladesh, and Magic Origins, among others.

Sylke Rene Meyer

Sylke is a writer, director, media artist, performer, educator and co-founder of the performance group Studio206. She studied theater, philosophy and law at the Free University of Berlin. She also studied screenwriting and dramaturgy at the Konrad Wolf Potsdam-Babelsberg Film and Television University, and graduated from the Munich Screenplay Workshop at the University of Television and Film Munich in 2000. She has been assistant director to Judith Malina at the Living Theater and worked as a film editor, production designer, writer, and director in New York, Los Angeles, and Paris. Her work has garnered numerous awards including an Emmy, and Best Film honors at festivals in Seattle, Chicago and Montreal. Her works have been theatrically released, broadcast on public television channels worldwide and shown at exhibitions in Istanbul, Los Angeles, Berlin, London, Manchester, and Warsaw.

Megan Reynolds 

Megan Reynolds currently teaches game design at Cal State LA. She has previously taught game design and development for Unreal at iD Tech. In her free time she pursues innovative technologies, creating VR videos, and video games.

Zachary Vernon

Zachary is a graphic designer, storyteller, and educator specializing in advertising, branding, and creative strategy. He received his Bachelor's Degree in Advertising from the University of Texas at Austin and his MFA in Communication Design from Texas State University. He has worked at agencies large and small in Australia and the U.S. for clients that range from global to local brands and has won numerous industry awards. In 2014 he started his creative agency, Drawn This Way, where he and his partner have worked on projects for nonprofit organizations and entrepreneurial ventures. Zachary is currently an Assistant Professor of Art - Graphic Design at Cal State LA.

Anne-Marie Williams 

Anne-Marie Williams received her BA in Theatre Arts from Cal State LA and began her career working at the Mark Taper Forum and the L.A. Opera where she served as an Assistant Director with the L.A. Opera's community programs. She has been active in cause-driven work, where she has been part of the leadership team for organizations such as APLA, UCLA, Jordan Rustin Coalition, Greenlight Giving Foundation, The Don Cornelius Foundation, and Eisner Health. She also created the Young Women in Power Program in West Hollywood. As her career and invovement in causes expanded, she began to use digital arts to improve messaging, communication, record-keeping, and fundraising. Her passion for digital art led her to join LATech4Good where she advises nonprofit leaders on utilizing digital practices to serve communities. 

Michael Yichao

Michael is a narrative designer at Riot Games. Previous to that, he wrote for ArenaNet (Guild Wars 2), Wizards of the Coast (Magic: The Gathering), and Disney Imagineering. His plays have received awards from the Kennedy Center and the O'Neill Theater's National Playwriting Contest.

Contact

For more information and questions, please contact: pageprograms@calstatela.edu.