Game Design Platforms

Video game expectations

Define the expectations for the video games to be created, for example: original content, original design, individual or team (up to 4), target audience, game design document & playable game. If students will be creating a game for a specific subject area, these expectations should be set now.

Intro to game design platforms

Gamestar Mechanic @

A game design platform available online. Students play games to learn how to create games. It provides pre-programmed sprites and the ability to layout a game design. Teachers can sign-up for free educational account to keep track of student progress. Teachers will need to provide a link for students to use to create their accounts. No e-mail address is needed by student.
  • Students playing on this beginner-friendly platform will use computational skills, but get less exposure to programming concepts.
  • Gamestar Mechanic Learning Guide

Scratch @

A game design platform created by MIT. A new online version just launched in May. There is also a free download for PC, Mac or Ubunto. It uses a drag and drop block-based programming interface to program sprites for gameplay and animation.

Stencyl @

Stencyl has a Scratch-like drag and drop programming interface with more intermediate features and mobile support. Recent update from Stencyl 2.1 to 3.0 may mean some tutorials are out of date (3.0 on Mac requires 10.8 or later).


Create a text-based choose your own adventure game with images, sound and videos to supplement (beginner-friendly)

Game Salad @

Game design engine for multiple platforms including mobile. This is an intermediate platform similar to Stencyl.

Python @
Python is an interactive, object-oriented programming language. It's a great first step in learning a command-based programming language through game making.

TouchDevelop @

TouchDevelop is a beginner-friendly game design platform to create games for mobile devices.

Other game design platforms

There are many cool game design platforms out there. Here are a few more that you might want to check out, especially if you are ready to move on to more advanced everything.
  • Alice (open source) - a 3D programming environment from Carnegie Mellon to create an animation for telling a story or playing an interactive game (intermediate)
  • Codea (iPad) - create games and simulations (intermediate)
  • Corona SDK (PC & Mac) - game design platform for mobile devices (advanced)
  • Craftyy (online) - learn about making games with HTML 5 by remixing games (intermediate)
  • Game Maker Studio (PC & Mac) - game design platform to create casual, social games (advanced)
  • HTML5-based game engines - check out the variety of game engines available (advanced)
  • Processing (open source) - learn programming fundamentals within a visual context (intermediate)
  • Quest (online) - create your own interactive text-based adventure game or interactive fiction (intermediate)
  • Unity (PC & Mac) - 3D game design platform. This advanced platform will require much more time up front learning how to use its features (advanced)