Game Design

Experience the entire game development cycle and develop specialized skills in coding, game art, and level design.

You don't just play games – you create them from concept to completion. You know that a great interactive experience comes from combining unique game mechanics, inspiring graphics, compelling levels, and expert coding. You see high-tech game engines and analog pen-and-paper games as equal ways to create memorable player challenges. You are a game designer.

An Education in Game Design

Physical board game with dice


Develop the theory and fundamentals you need to create great games. You'll start with analog board games to highlight concepts like game mechanics and player rewards.


Game Design student with interactive 2D game


Take your skills to the next level by designing a playable 2D-based interactive game, developed using Unity.


Students present their project to industry guests


Devote your creative and problem-solving energy into collaboratively developing a 3D game. Pitch this to an industry audience to show them what you're capable of.


Program Breakdown

Establish fundamental skills in game theory, pre-production techniques, and storytelling. Engage with basic visual design principles, level design, and coding.

Build on your game design foundation and start to work effectively in teams. Create your own playable 2D game in Unity.

Shift from theoretical to practical with hands-on work on detailed design documentation and front-end interfaces. Start your chosen specialization.

Expand your role as a designer with online, multiplayer design. The core part of this term is dedicated to designing and planning a major team-based final project.

Concentrate fully on the game production cycle. Conceive, plan, and execute a final project that delivers a rewarding interactive experience.

Engage with ongoing play-testing and complete your final project. Develop your presentation skills to prepare for unveiling your work to the industry.

  • Program Length

    12 months

  • Time spent with instructors

    1000+ Hours


Coding / Game Art / Level Design

See program breakdown and full course descriptions for more information.
  • A Diploma in Game Design
  • A professional quality online portfolio
  • Access to the VFS Alumni Directory and Job Board
  • A lifetime network

Student Work

Brian Atuh, Derek Brouwer, Kurin Laing, John Pine
Final Project

Anomaly: Opening Night is a Third-Person thriller created in Unity in collaboration with Programming for Games, Web + Mobile student Bruno Tamer. While investigating a theatre, the player must deal with possessed mannequins, an unstoppable creature and hallucinations which change their perceptions of reality.

Anomaly: Opening Night

Teofilo Gonzalez, Joseph Kazma, Diego Lopez, Jake Waugh
Final Project

Hikari, a 2.5D rhythmic platformer where you play as Hikari, the light keeper of the planet Harmonia tasked with driving off the darkness that engulfs her world. Developed in the Unity 5 engine by a team of four.


Melvin Kwan, Justin Ostensen, Charles Park
Final Project

An anime-inspired isometric card-based tactics game where a squad of four heroes fight robots, developed in the Unity engine in collaboration with Programming for Games, Web + Mobile student Brian Yich.

Zeta Busters

Rafael Andrade, Sebastian Figueroa, Jean Leite, Nigel Sampson
Final Project

Fruit Punch is a 2.5D dungeon crawler for Facebook in which the player must control a group of fruit heroes in order to explore and defeat the insect menaces. Developed by four students using Unity engine.

Fruit Punch

Richard Coburn, Valerio Terreri, Ian Longiaru, Dale Schollen
Final Project

This action-horror, first-person shooter is set in an overgrown, derelict spaceship. Arc is a final project developed by four students using Unreal Engine 4.


Asaf Kasachinsky, Ethan Maddix, Marlon Franz, Kris Lee, Aleah Martin
Final Project

Set in a dystopian futuristic city, “Carrion” is a tactical pseudo-turn-based RPG developed by five students using Unity3D.


Sean Carrick, Leonardo Matsuura Burgatte, Matthew Hoppe, Pauljaun Erichson
Final Project

The Puzzle Guardian is a first-person puzzle adventure game set in a world made of jigsaw pieces. The game was developed by four students using Unity.

The Puzzle Guardian

Key Faculty

Our Game Design instructors come right from the industry, and offer an unparalleled education based on decades of real-world experience, designed to give students the skills, contacts and confidence to kick start their careers.

Peter Walsh

Head of School of Creative Technologies

Peter is a game industry software development veteran with over 12 years' expertise as a technical leader, senior software engineer, and consultant for large projects. He is the author of several books on game engine design.

Game Design Senior Instructor Chris Mitchell first photo
Game Design Senior Instructor Chris Mitchell second photo

Chris Mitchell

Senior Instructor

Chris is an educator and industry veteran with over 10 years' experience as an award-winning writer and game designer. He is one of the first people in the game industry to receive a nomination from the Writers Guild of America.

Project Management Instructor Glen Hamilton first photo
Project Management Instructor Glen Hamilton second photo

Glen Hamilton

Instructor – Project Management

Glen has managed over 20 titles on a wide range of gaming platforms, from first gen Super Nintendo, Xbox 360/PS3 to mobile. He worked at Hothead Games as a producer on the DeathSpank series, which was awarded the IGN Editors' Choice Award and Top 3 Action-RPGs on PS3.

Game Art Instructor Mike Hayes photo

Mike Hayes

Instructor - Game Art

Following more than a dozen years as an artist in games production, Mike has now transitioned to teaching his craft at VFS. Working on game franchises such as Need For Speed, Sleeping Dogs and Battlefield, Mike has had the opportunity to work with some great teams and amazing people. His passions include a love of automotive culture (racing, tuning and lifestyle), animation (Pixar, Disney and Miyazaki) as well as a long history of playing and designing games.

See more Instructors and staff

Faculty Career Highlights

The DeathSpank Series poster, Game Design staff credits

The DeathSpank Series

Chris Mitchell — Writer, Designer

Harry Potter game poster, Game Design staff credits

Harry Potter game franchise

Peter Walsh — Software Engineer

Simpsons: Hit & Run poster, Game Design staff credits

Simpsons: Hit & Run

Chris Mitchell — Writer, Designer

Medal of Honor poster, Game Design staff credits

Medal of Honor franchise

Peter Walsh — Software Engineer

Advanced 3D Game Programming with DirectX 9.0 poster, Game Design staff credits

Advanced 3D Game Programming with DirectX 9.0 (2003)

Peter Walsh — Author

Electronic Arts logo, Game Design staff credits

Electronic Arts

Brent Disbrow
Derek Isley
Glen Hamilton
Graeme Jahns
Ivan Allen
Jonathan Falkowski
Peter Walsh
Todd Batty
Vincent Chi

Propaganda Games logo, Game Design staff credits

Propaganda Games

Glen Hamilton
Vincent Chi

EA Black Box logo, Game Design staff credits

EA Black Box

Jack Kelley
Vincent Chi

Backbone Entertainment logo, Game Design staff credits

Backbone Entertainment

Glen Hamilton
Ivan Allen
Rick Davidson
Zoe Curnoe

Whitebox Games logo, Game Design staff credits

Whitebox Games

Peter Walsh

Cohort Studios logo, Game Design staff credits

Cohort Studios

Peter Walsh

Campus Life

The VFS Game Design campus looks and feels just like the professional game developer studios you'll find throughout downtown Vancouver. Surrounded by some of the city's best cafes, restaurants, and cultural attractions, you'll have all the resources you need at your fingertips: a massive game library, arcades, screening theatres, and your own dedicated workspace.

Outside the VFS Game Design Campus

Program Events

Students present their work to industry members at Pitch and Play event

Industry Night: Pitch + Play

Towards the end of your year in Game Design, you will complete your team-based final project and pitch it to an invite-only audience of professional game designers and industry recruiters from 30 to 40 companies.

Industry Night: Pitch + Play

Panel of industry members speak to Game Design students

Guest Speakers

Gain valuable career insights from industry guest speakers who will give demonstrations or answer questions about their specialties. Recent guests include Game Director Tuomas Pirinen of Slant Six Games, Level Designer Chris Haluke from 343 Industries (Halo 4), and Ubisoft's Creative Director Patrick Plourde.

Guest Speakers

Students working on a game during Hat Jam event

Hat Jam

You will have the opportunity to participate in extra-curricular game design competitions that rely on your growing skills for productive collaboration. One of these events is known as a “Hat Jam”, in which student teams create playable games within a 48-hour time frame.

Hat Jam


As a graduate of Game Design at VFS, you’ll be trained to perform in a variety of roles across the entire industry – from AAA console games to indie games, mobile games, social games, and web-based games. 

Game Designer

Game designers are often the originator of the game's concept. Depending upon the project, company, or production style, your responsibilities may include creating the core gameplay elements, writing a game's story and/or dialogue, specializing in a single aspect of game design, or supervising the entire game project.

Feature Designer

As a Feature Designer, you'll report to the lead designer or producer and take on the very specific task of conceptualizing and designing a component (or a group of components) for a game's play system. Normally, this includes features, modes, or even mini-games.

Level Designer

In games that utilize different levels or distinct areas of gameplay, you'll outline and create an entire level or to execute the level-building targets established by the game designer. Knowledge of 3D modeling is generally a requirement for this position.

Explore Your Other Career Options

Quality Assurance (QA) / Assistant Producer

Alumni Success

Vancouver Film School grads are some of the most successful professionals in the Video Game industry. Take a moment to browse some of their accomplishments and achievements. Grad Career Highlights offers a glimpse at some of our amazing alumni credits and contributions to the industry.

Grad Career Highlights

Witcher 3 Wild Hunt poster, Game Design alumni credits

Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Shadi Dadenji —​ Technical Designer

Mortal Kombat X poster, Game Design alumni credits

Mortal Kombat X

Melissa Borda —​ Associate Producer

Marvel Contest of Champions poster, Game Design alumni credits

Marvel Contest Of Champions

Waylon Snedker — Game Designer
Tim Molyneux — Game Designer
Thomas McLain — Game Designer
Shane O'Connor — Game Designer
Pedro Cardial — Associate Software Engineer
Andre P Gross — QA Analyst
Luke Takeuchi — Producer Associate
Kenneth Banadyga — QA Analyst

FIFA 14 poster, Game Design alumni credits


Garrett Metcalf — Senior Quality Assurance Tester
Ignacio Vallejo — QA
Luc Labelle — Lead QA Analyst
Matheus Pitillo — QA
Melissa Stacey — QA Team Lead
Noushin Bardi-Chaharmahali — Assistant Test Coordinator
Warren Zahari — Assistant Modeller

Company of Heroes 2 poster, Game Design alumni credits

Company of Heroes 2

Andres Molina — Technical and Campaign Designer
Karl Buckley — Senior Surfacing Artist
Lance Mueller — Associate Designer
Maxwell Hannaman — Associate Designer
Peter Qumsieh — Balance Designer
Piero Herrera — Balance Designer
Zach Williams — Design Intern

NHL 14 poster, Game Design alumni credits

NHL 14

Ching-Chien (Jack) Lin — Software Engineer
Clayton Paakspuu — QA Tester

SSX poster, Game Design alumni credits


Elliott Walton — Level Designer
Gord Cooper — Designer
Harold Hung — Level Designer
Landon Nguyen — Designer
Scott Morin — Designer/Scripter

Resident Evil: Raccoon City poster, Game Design alumni credits

Resident Evil: Raccoon City

Chris Lee — Game Designer
Darryl Spratt — Design Support
Nguyen Tran — Mission Scripter

Sleeping Dogs poster, Game Design alumni credits

Sleeping Dogs

13 grads from Game Design worked on Sleeping Dogs.

Prototype 2 poster, Game Design alumni credits

Prototype 2

Grayson Scantlebury — Design Scripter
Kevin Maloney — Design Scripter
Miko Wilson — Mission Designer
Scott Morin — Design/Scripter

Halo 4 poster, Game Design alumni credits

Halo 4

Armando Troisi — Narrative Director
Cory Hasselbach — Mission Designer
Paul Parsons — Senior Sandbox Designer

Mass Effect 3 poster, Game Design alumni credits

Mass Effect 3

Corey Gaspur —​ Lead Gameplay Designer
Samuel Irwin — Cinematic Designer
Luc Labelle — Designer

Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine poster, Game Design alumni credits

Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine

Billy Lind — Dev. Support
Brock Robin — Game Designer
Chris Savory — Dev. Support
Clinton Ma — Development Tester
Francois Chaput — Mission Designer
Joey Song — Development Tester
Nick Halme — Development Tester
Sara Moore — Development Tester

Star Wars: The Old Republic poster, Game Design alumni credits

Star Wars: The Old Republic

Tyler Hitchings — Associate Writer
Samuel Irwin — Cinematic Designer

Need for Speed: World poster, Game Design alumni credits

Need for Speed: World

Azlan Mustapha —​ Game Designer
Ted Carefoot —​ Project Manager

ModNation Racers poster, Game Design alumni credits

ModNation Racers

Brennan Massicotte —​ Artist
Chris Savory —​ Dev Support
Nick Letizia —​ Game Designer

Mass Effect 2 poster, Game Design alumni credits

Mass Effect 2

Armando Troisi —​ Lead Cinematic Designer
Corey Gaspur —​ Gameplay/Systems Designer
Guilherme Ramos —​ Cinematic Designer
Kenneth Banadyga —​ QA Tester
Matthew Resmini —​ Level Designer
Samuel Irwin —​ Cinematic Designer

Dead Rising 2 poster, Game Design alumni credits

Dead Rising 2

Adrian Audet —​ Assistant Producer
Boris Wong —​ Assistant Producer
Jeffrey Chang —​ QA

League of Legends poster, Game Design alumni credits

League of Legends

Jimmy Steorts —​ Associate Game Designer

Age of Empires: Age of Kings poster, Game Design alumni credits

Age of Empires: Age of Kings

Armando Troisi — Design Assistant
Chris Klein —​ Design Assistant
Ian Becking —​ Design Support

Admissions Info

To make sure you have accurate admissions information please select your region based on country of citizenship.


Select Your Region

Start Dates

Select Your Region


You will be asked to submit one of the following along with your application. Your advisor can help with selecting the best option.

Explain the concept, vision, or idea. Include the genre of game you would utilize. Make references to other games to explain how you would make your game (one page maximum).

In addition, provide an outline detailing your story, possible levels, and characters (one page maximum).
Provide diagrams explaining any features or game mechanics (one to two pages maximum) and a simplified map of the game world described in your synopsis.

You'll find information on how to send your synopsis in the application form, or you can ask your Advisor.

*Intermediate computer skills are a requirement, including the ability to use Microsoft Word and Excel.

When you talk to your Advisor, let them know that you've completed the Foundation program and they will put a copy of your diploma in your file for you.*

*Intermediate computer skills are a requirement, including the ability to use Microsoft Word and Excel.

For more about language requirements and other information for international students, visit the International Students page.

We Can Help

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