MSP Video Game Design


Welcome to the course website for the 2014 Video Game Design Camp! It was an intensive two-week summer class (9a-5p) for Middle Schools that was taught through the Continuing Studies department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The class was co-taught by Kayla Lewis and Michael Hadley. Below, you will find an overview of the course. On the left, you will find links to student work and resources for making games.

Course Description

Games are an interactive medium for telling stories and creating engaging systems of play. Students explored the potential of games by creating three different types of games with three different tools. They made platformer games using the Stencyl game engine, hand-drawn exploration games with HTML & CSS, and interactive text games in JavaScript.

While all the games were digital, the process for making them was a hybrid of both non-digital ("offline") and digital ("online") techniques, including: sketching, storyboarding, writing, diagramming, simulating, scanning, digital drawing and programming.

Because presenting work and receiving feedback is integral to any artistic practice, students regularly presented their work - both finished versions and works-in-progress - to the rest of the class. On the last day, we held an exhibition for family and friends which showcased both the process and final works.


    • Day 1: What can a game be?
    • Offline: Defining a "game" and talking about experimental games that push on the boundaries of our definition of what a game can be.
    • Online: Stencyl crash course by designing a level (Nyan Cat themed) from a provided template.
    • Presentation: Nyan Cat levels.
    • Day 2: Planning Stencyl Platformers
    • Offline: Storyboarding and planning individual Stencyl platformer games.
    • Online: Fundamentals of Stencyl demonstration and activity.
    • Presentation: Work-in-progress Stencyl game designs.
    • Day 3: Stencyl Platformers & Digital Drawing
    • Offline: Finishing Stencyl game designs and getting feedback; Introduction to HTML & CSS with pencil and paper.
    • Online: Introduction to Photoshop for creating game graphics for Stencyl platformers.
    • Day 4: HTML Game Paper Prototypes
    • Offline: Designing an exploratory HTML game on paper by drawing individual scenes and a flow chart of how they all fit together.
    • Online: Begin work on coding HTML games, using scanned images of drawings.
    • Day 5: HTML Exploratory Games
    • Offline: Feedback on HTML game designs; Exquisite corpse link as a way of brainstorming characters.
    • Online: Continued work on HTML games.
    • Day 6: HTML Exploratory Games & Stencyl
    • Offline: "Exquisite Corpse" as a way of brainstorming stories.
    • Online: Finish HTML games; Work on Stencyl platformers.
    • Day 7: Javascript Game Paper Prototypes
    • Offline: Learning JavaScript with pencil and paper in order to construct an interactive text game; Planning JavaScript games on pencil and paper.
    • Online: Back to working on Stencyl platformers.
    • Presentation: Finished HTML games.
    • Day 8: JavaScript & Advanced Stencyl
    • Offline: Revisiting original Stencyl designs.
    • Online: Creating and finishing JavaScript text games; Continued work in Stencyl with demos of advanced topics.
    • Presentation: Finished JavaScript interactive text games.
    • Day 9: Finishing Stencyl Platformers
    • Offline: Writing an artist statement; Discussion of how to present yourself as an artist making games.
    • Online: Incorporating sound; Finishing Stencyl Platformers.
    • Day 10: Student Showcase
    • Presentation: Collecting and organizing all sketches and work to illustrate the creative process. And then, EXHIBITION!