Game Lab Summer Institute


Participants of the Game Lab Summer Institute will receive UCLA credit for the following course(s):

  • Design Media Arts 3 – Game Design (4 Units)

During the two-week program, the UCLA Game Lab Summer Institute will introduce students to the art and technology of game development through a four-course curriculum. These courses are designed to complement each other, providing students a comprehensive introduction to making games and games art. This includes learning the fundamentals of game design; creating characters and avatars that express personality and identity through animation or movement; building unique and compelling game worlds to navigate or explore; and developing programming skills to create interactive, gameplay experiences.

Game Design

This course will introduce students to the fundamentals of game design, such as creating playable characters, designing conflicts and choices, and giving players compelling motivations and goals. Students will work to create their own tabletop game with a focus on game systems, game flow, creativity, and aesthetics. It is the goal of this course for students not only to produce an original game, but also to develop an understanding of how game design really works, and to explore the potential of games for creative expression.

Character Animation

Computer games give us avatars to control, and this course provides an introduction in how to create playable characters through modeling and animation. Students will develop a character or avatar, which they will learn how to bring to life through stylized visualization and movement. This emphasis allows students to learn various aspects of modeling and animation as applied through After Effects, a state-of-the-art modeling and animation application.

World Building

Videogames rely on world building to give game environments narrative potential and playful motivation. In this course, students will learn about the concept of world building, and then put this concept into practice by creating a game environment in the Unity game engine (a leading development platform for creating indie/professional games). Students will create multiple environmental elements, such as buildings, plants, terrain, and lighting to build the geography of a game world. The end result will be a navigable environment that expresses the creative decisions of each student.

Game Programming

Videogames rely on programming or code to express movement and collision, provide spaces for interaction, and capture player input. This course introduces students to the fundamentals of game-related coding while developing a playable videogame. Using a creative graphics programming toolkit and library for creating games, students will finish building a videogame, playtest the results, and make refinements as part of an iterative design process (a common approach to game design in indie and professional game development). 

Schedule and Syllabus

Daily Schedule

Faculty and Instructors

Program Instructors

The Game Lab Summer Institute curriculum is developed by Eddo Stern, professor and director of the UCLA Game Lab at UCLA. It is based on materials covered in the department's undergraduate curriculum. Instructors for the Game Lab Summer Institute are graduate students and alumni of the UCLA Game Lab. Each class is taught by one instructor and at least one teaching assistant.



Participants of the Game Lab Summer Institute will be awarded 4 units of Pass/No Pass credit after the successful completion of the program.

As a participant, you are expected to complete all assigned coursework, take all examinations, attend class regularly, and submit all required work by the end of the program. No part of the coursework may be continued beyond the close of the program unless prearranged by the student and the instructor.

The program instructor is required to assign a final grade for each student enrolled in a course. This program is offered on a P/NP grading basis. The following grades are used to report the quality of student work for this program:

PPassed (achievement at grade C level or better)NPNot Passed (achievement at grade C- or lower)

Courses in which students receive a P grade may count toward satisfaction of degree requirements but will be disregarded in determining a grade-point average.

Credits / Units

UCLA is on the quarter system. While some schools are also on the quarter system, most colleges and universities are on the semester system. As a general guide to transferring quarter units to a semester system school, one semester unit or credit is worth 1.5 quarter units (e.g., 4 quarter units = 2.5 semester units).

UCLA courses are generally accepted for transfer credit, but all decisions on transferability rest with the home institution. Students should get advance approval of their UCLA Summer Sessions course selections from the home institution prior to registration.

For more information on grades, see the UCLA General Catalog.


The transcript is a permanent record that reflects all undergraduate and graduate work completed at UCLA. It lists courses, units, grades, cumulative grade-point average, transfer credits, total units, and work in progress in chronological order.

Ordering a transcript can be done online through MyUCLA. Those requiring expedited or special delivery can submit a Transcript Request Form.

Requests are not processed if students have outstanding financial, academic, or administrative obligations to the University.

NOTE: Current or newly admitted UCLA students will have their grades appear on their UCLA transcript immediately after grades are submitted by the course instructor. Current or newly admitted visiting UC students will have their grades appear on their home UC campus's transcript in October or November.










Program Dates

JULY 12 - JULY 23, 2021

JULY 26 - AUGUST 6, 2021

Important Dates

FEBRUARY 15 - APRIL 1: Summer Scholars Support for California High School Students Application Period

FEBRUARY 15: Registration Opens

MAY 1: Payment due in full

JUNE 15: Refund Deadline - Refund Deadline for Summer Institutes

JULY 12-23: Game Lab (A) - Session A

JULY 26 - AUGUST 6: Game Lab (B) - Session B

UCLA Summer Sessions 2021 will be remote. Learn More.