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Create Expressive Videogames

Take your first steps towards constructing your own games by exploring game design, play, and experience creation.

4,755 enrolled on this course

woman playing a videogame

Create Expressive Videogames

4,755 enrolled on this course

  • 4 weeks

  • 2 hours per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Introductory level

Find out more about how to join this course

Explore the theory and practise of independent videogame creation

On this course, you’ll learn both the artistry and technique needed to create brilliant games. You’ll discover how to critically analyse decisions made in published games, and code along while we make small games each week to build your toolbox.

By the end of the course, you’ll have the skills to start constructing your own project, and take your videogame making further.

This courses uses an explicitly intersectional feminist framework of game design and analysis. It emphasizes the creation of small independent games that allow developers to talk about their experiences.

Skip to 0 minutes and 19 seconds Hello, I’m Phoenix Perry. I am a installation artist and a game designer, and I’m one of the creators of this course. My research focus is human interaction, and I’m really interested in the way we interact with each other in spaces, and fostering communication between people in public environments. My most recent project, Forest Daydream, is an interactive sound environment. It looks like a low poly videogame. When you walk into it, it looks like a forest, except it’s been built in the real world. There are interaction points and games spread out across a quite large space and you have to work with other people to activate the entire forest.

Skip to 0 minutes and 57 seconds The soundscape, which was designed by Ben Kelly, is all sound recordings done in endangered ecosystems. The whole space kind of feels like a giant light and sound forest bath. And, I’m encouraging people to think about disappearing ecosystems, their role in that, and how they can work together to help fix the situation we are finding ourselves in today. I’m really interested in play because it has a really subversive nature in society. It can kind of undo cultural norms and the way that we are expected to be in public space.

Skip to 1 minute and 32 seconds Normally, you wouldn’t pull back the curtain in the gallery and try and hide behind it, or stack a bunch of curtains in a pile and jump off them to attack your friends. You just would not do these things. But because play has this kind of magic circle where we create a safe space for each other, people feel free to bend and question the rules of society. And I feel like play can really offer a way to reflect about our culture in a way that no other medium can. That’s why I build physical environments. So, in 2013 I got really motivated to create this organisation called Code Liberation.

Skip to 2 minutes and 7 seconds And it happened because I had been working in the digital advertising world and I had done really well in my career and gotten myself to the position of Creative Director and Associate Creative Director. And I looked around and there just were not a lot of women. And at that time, I was really integrating my art practice, which was heavily play and games based, with my design practice, which was really focussed on understanding brands and clients and strategy. And, I just was really sad that there were not a lot of other women in a position of power able to make that kind of work.

Skip to 2 minutes and 38 seconds And as someone who grew up, kind of, in Silicon Valley and making projects, my ability to code always really demarcated me from others because I also was able to speak to the technical team as well as the art team. And I really wanted to help other women be able to express their vision and express their creativity the way that I could. And the easiest way for me to do that was help teach a bunch of women to programme videogames for free. I really wanted them to be able to express their stories and their narratives and the way they experience the world. As we grew, we began to support non-binary and genderqueer people. And it’s been a truly life changing experience.

Skip to 3 minutes and 18 seconds I never thought mentoring would do that to me, but it did. I would recommend everyone consider how they can help empower other people around them. So the reason I made this course was to help you get a, kind of, sense of what you needed to learn to make a game, wrap your head around some very basic programming fundamentals for how to code, and start creating your own games about your own experiences.

What topics will you cover?

  • Principles of intersectional feminist game design
  • Game development in Unity
  • The process of creating a game
  • Diverse perspectives on working in and producing games

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Discuss and analyse existent games and their design decisions
  • Design and refine game ideas
  • Develop a game in Unity
  • Explore and express ideas and emotions through the medium of games

Who is the course for?

This course is perfect for anyone looking to create games to express themselves and their experiences. It’s also for anyone who understands the important role games play in today’s society, and wants a critical framework for their cultural context. It acts as a starting point for someone wanting to make larger independent games - regardless of how much programming ability they have to begin with.

This course was made by the Code Liberation Foundation. You may be interested in our other workshops and projects too - news about which is available on our website or our twitter.

You might also be interested in the other courses in the Essential Creative Technologies collection from UAL Creative Computing Institute, Lancaster University and the Institute of Coding.

What software or tools do you need?

During the course we’ll be using Unity and Fungus. We’ll spend a bit of time on the Code Liberation Github, too.

Who will you learn with?

Phoenix Perry creates embodied games and installations. As an advocate for women in game development, she founded Code Liberation Foundation. She leads an MSc in Creative Computing at UAL.

Charlie Ann Page is a freelance... everything. She's a game developer, teacher, educational designer, AI researcher, and game tournament official.

Who developed the course?

UAL Creative Computing Institute

The UAL Creative Computing Institute (CCI) offers innovative new courses, research opportunities and a public platform to explore computer science and creative practice.

Institute of Coding

The Institute of Coding is a family of learners, businesses and educators creating a new way to develop the digital skills needed at work and beyond.

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Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

Subscribe & save

$349.99 for one year

Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Buy this course

$134/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 16 Jul 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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