Intro to Game Design

Anna Pollard
Tuesday 11AM (ET) - Spring 2025



Course Overview

Intro to Game Design includes the latest developments in the game industry. It is aimed at anyone who is interested in designing video games but doesn’t know how to begin.

The game industry has undergone a transformation more profound than any other in its history. The explosive growth of casual games, free-to-play games, and mobile gaming has challenged the traditional console and PC game publishing models. It is now easier than ever to build a video game thanks to middleware such as Unity and the many free tools for making art, animation, and audio.

How we play has changed too. Most input devices have three-axis accelerometers to detect player movements, and the Kinect camera-based motion-capture device from Microsoft is just about to enter its second generation.

In this Intro to Game Design class, students will learn the fundamentals of concept development, gameplay design, core mechanics, user interfaces, storytelling, and balancing. This course does not cover programming.

Students will be introduced to the concept of designing for mobile devices and touch screens, as well as for the Kinect and motion-capture gameplay. They’ll learn how independent developers are testing the limits to succeed and how new business models such as free-to-play are influencing design. In an easy-to-follow approach, this course offers a first-hand look into the process of designing a game, from initial concept to final tuning.

This course also includes engaging exercises, design worksheets, and case studies.


The only prerequisite for this course is some knowledge of video games, especially the more famous ones and having the ability to write in a clearly expressed manner; this skill is an absolute requirement for a game designer, and many of the exercises are writing assignments. Students should be familiar with basic algebra and probability; and will find this especially important when studying the core mechanics and game balancing.

Grade Levels

  • 6th-12th grade


  • No books will need to be purchased.

Course Outline

  • Games and Video Games
  • Designing and Developing Games
  • The Major Genres
  • Understanding Your Player
  • Understanding Your Machine
  • Making Money from Your Game
  • Game Concepts
  • Game Worlds
  • Creative and Expressive Play
  • Character Development
  • Storytelling
  • Creating the User Experience
  • Gameplay
  • Core Mechanics
  • Game Balancing
  • General Principles of Level Design
  • Design Issues for Online Gaming

Anna Pollard

Anna Pollard began her professional career in the graphic and web design industry as a Creative Director in the field of Informational Technology. She has a AAS in Commercial Art and Advertising Design, a BA in Computer Science, and a Masters degree in Business and Marketing.

After 15 years of professional IT work, she made a career change to share her technology knowledge with students and began a career in teaching for many years.

Anna is married, has a 27 year old son whom she also home schooled, and who is now a chef at a French restaurant.

Anna has adopted/rescued multiple cats and two horses. In her spare time, she helps with the horses at Love of Lacey Equine rescue in Bunn Level, NC. She is also a member of the Colored Pencil Society of America and creates colored pencil art work for show at local art galleries.

Learn More

Send a Message

Contact Us - Anna