Overview

The UCLA Game Lab Summer Institute introduces high school students to game-making as a form of artistic practice, teaching them the techniques and tools that will help them develop analog and digital games that reflect their own creative voice and vision. No previous game-making skills are required, but students with an interest in games and in the visual arts in particular will find the curriculum especially stimulating and rewarding.

Students in the program develop a solid aesthetic and technical foundation in various aspects of game design--but just as importantly, they begin learning how to express their own, personal ideas through game-making and game projects.

 

Classes

Taught by alumni of the internationally renowned UCLA Game Lab, the two-week program leads students through four, hands-on courses in game development. These workflow-oriented classes focus on:

  • Game Design : Learning the fundamentals of game design
  • Chracter Animation : Creating compelling game characters
  • Worldbuilding : Building game worlds
  • Game Programming : Programming games
By the end of the two weeks, students will have created complete games or game assets in each of the four classes. This work is exhibited on the last day of the program in a gallery-like installation at UCLA, and students leave the program with game art they can include in their college-application portfolios.

Game Design

Taught by Nick Crockett

About the course

This section focuses on the fundamentals of game design for tabletop game forms. Through in-lab instruction, students will learn the essential elements of making compelling games, such as meaningful player choice, multiplayer dynamics, chance, and rule design. The final project will be a board or card game built around a personal experience or point of view.

 

About the instructor

Nick Crockett makes computer games, animation, theatrical game-shows, toys, and costumes. He is currently working with Eddo Stern and Steven Amrhein on Vietnam Romance, a computer game, collectible card game, live puppet show, and video installation. Along the way he's also helped develop virtual reality applications for space exploration, and taught kindergarteners how to make arcade machines out of cardboard and duct tape. Features include giant monsters, awkward touching, buttons that poke back, software that relies on people behind curtains, and hardware that runs on masking tape and hope. Nick holds a BA in Design | Media Art from UCLA and is an alum of the UCLA Game Lab. He is currently pursuing an MFA at the Carnegie Mellon College of Fine Art.
Airplane
Asylum
Bicyclette
Exoevo
Franchise Fiasco
Korea vs Japan
Night Meal
Pizza Panic
Sharbel's House
Space Volcano
Tyrant
Unfortunate Beasts

Character Animation

Taught by Sara Drake

About the course

Games give us avatars to control; this section provides an introduction in how to create playable characters through 3D modeling and animation. Students will use Maya, a state-of-the-art 3D modeling and animation application, to learn essential 3D skills like rigging, weight painting, UV mapping, modeling, and animation.

 

About the instructor

Sara Drake is an artist, writer and current graduate student studying in the Design Media Arts program at UCLA. She is formerly a columnist for the contemporary arts blog, Bad At Sports and writes infrequently about game music for The Wire magazine. She is currently developing a simulated animation that explores automated agricultural robots in a near future wrecked by climate change.

World Building

Taught by Stalgia Grigg

About the course

Videogames rely on worldbuilding to give game environments narrative potential and playful motivation. In this section, students will create a game environment in the Unity3D game engine and fill it with environmental elements such as buildings, plants, terrain, and lighting. The end result will be a navigable environment that expresses the creative decisions of each student.

 

About the instructor

Stalgia Grigg is an artist living and working in Los Angeles. He uses game engines to build generative systems that speak to alterity and political change. His work engages the viewer through pattern recognition, ambient interaction, and unresolved agency. He has exhibited work at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Hammer Museum, and Coaxial Arts Foundation.
Sanskar Agrawal
Shlok Anand
Jake Andrews
Julian Benson
John Branca
Noah Brantingham
Alex Caldwell
Solomon Casarez
Sharbel Challita
Lauren Cho
Jayden Craig
Riya Duddalwar
Alfredo Dunbar
Alex Dyce
Zhenglin Feng
Hasmik Galstyan
Patrick Hastings
Cole Hennig
Jessica Ibarra
Jadyn Iinuma
Neil Chatterjee
Rasmus Jegeus
Spencer Jones
Rahim Karmally
Sam Kwiatkowski
David Lee
Tobin Lee
Justin Li
Hanzhong Liu
Raymond Liu
Xochitl Munoz
Alejandro Okun
Richard Park
Daniel Quintana
Diego Ramos
Rohan Ranjith
Nicholas Rivelle
Quinn Rocklinone
Reagan Schmidt
Clay Searcy
Roshan Sevalia
Zirang Shao
Adam Silberman
Maximilian Tang
Alex Tseng
Ioannis Tsotras
Shailin Vaid
Ruiqi Wang
Ty Wenrick
Xavier White
Joseph Yeh
Tony Yin
Kaijun You

Game Programming

Taught by Carlos Garcia

About the course

The last section guides students through the process of creating a playable game for a mobile device. Using p5.js, students will build a videogame, playtest the results, and make refinements as part of an iterative design process. Students will engage with specific coding exercises, which will introduce them to the fundamentals of programming for games.

 

About the instructor

L05 (Carlos Garcia) is an artist, performer, designer, and engineer. He has performed and exhibited work individually and as part of award winning Detroit-based artist collective Complex Movements. L05 is a vocalist and producer in hip hop/electronic duo Celsius Electronics and a co-founder of the Branch Out Collective. He lead creative research and design at the University of Michigan's Duderstadt Center, where he managed the GroundWorks Media Lab. L05 is currently an MFA candidate at UCLA Design | Media Arts.
Sanskar Agrawal
Shlok Anand
Jake Andrews
Julian Benson
John Branca
Noah Brantingham
Alex Caldwell
Solomon Casarez
Sharbel Challita
Lauren Cho
Jayden Craig
Riya Duddalwar
Alfredo Dunbar
Alex Dyce
Zhenglin Feng
Hasmik Galstyan
Patrick Hastings
Cole Hennig
Jessica Ibarra
Jadyn Iinuma
Neil Chatterjee
Rasmus Jegeus
Spencer Jones
Rahim Karmally
Sam Kwiatkowski
David Lee
Tobin Lee
Justin Li
Hanzhong Liu
Raymond Liu
Xochitl Munoz
Alejandro Okun
Richard Park
Daniel Quintana
Diego Ramos
Rohan Ranjith
Nicholas Rivelle
Quinn Rocklinone
Reagan Schmidt
Clay Searcy
Roshan Sevalia
Zirang Shao
Adam Silberman
Maximilian Tang
Alex Tseng
Ioannis Tsotras
Shailin Vaid
Ruiqi Wang
Ty Wenrick
Xavier White
Joseph Yeh
Tony Yin
Kaijun You