Program Overview

Get a head start! Explore game majors. Make a game prototype.

The Champlain Game Academy offers two intensive pre-college programs for high school students in grades 10-12. Students who have graduated from 12th grade in the spring are also welcome to attend. Our programs are designed to explore what it is like to study game development in college while learning how to make games. Using the learning model of the acclaimed Champlain Game Studio, students in these programs will work in a creative cohort that stresses the importance of teamwork and creative collaboration.

Each program offers students a residential or online option. Detailed descriptions of each option are on our Student Experience page.

NEW for this year the Champlain Game Academy will be offering an online introductory program for 7th-9th grade students. See details below.


Curriculum Overview:

LEVEL ONE:  The Champlain Game Academy

Program dates:
Session 1: July 12- 23, 2021
and Session 2: July 26-August 6, 2021

The Champlain Game Academy curriculum was created using the award winning learning model of The Game Studio at Champlain College. Like The Game Studio, our program emphasizes teamwork and creative collaboration across all the game development disciplines. In order to understand how a professional game development team works, students will be introduced to all aspects of game development - including game art and animation, design, programming, sound, testing, and production. Then, under the direction of professors and industry professionals, students will gain real-world experience in their areas of special interest in this field by working together across game-development disciplines to build original game prototypes.

By the end of this program students will have an understanding of the behind-the-scenes operations of the world's professional game studios, a game prototype which could be used in a portfolio for college applications, and first-hand experience of what it will be like to study game development in college.

LEVEL TWO: The Advance Game Academy*

Program dates:
Session 2: July 26-August 6, 2021

The Advanced Academy curriculum delves deeper into the field of game development. Students learn advanced skills in their fields of interest through higher level classes. This additional knowledge, combined with hands-on guidance from our faculty, creates an opportunity for students to produce more complex game prototypes in a team environment. By enrolling in this advanced program students gain more experience in the collaborative skill sets needed to be successful and prepared for the rigor of college level courses.

* The Champlain Game Academy is a prerequisite for this program.

NEW for 2021:

Introduction to Game Development: A virtual program for 7th - 9th grade students**

Program dates: August 2-7, 2021

If you are a 7th, 8th or 9th grade student who wants to know what it takes to make a game- this is the program for you!

This exciting six-day synchronous program offers a curriculum inspired by our Level One pre-college program, but re-designed for students in grades 7- 9 who are eager to get started in this field.  Introduction to Game Development will be taught by the same world-class faculty who teach our pre-college program. Just like in our pre-college programs, students will be introduced to all aspects of game development and will also work on a team to make a game prototype.

** This program will only be offered virtually for 2021.

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In order to participate in our virtual program all students will need the following:

  • High-speed internet connection
  • Either a Windows PC or a MAC
  • Webcam
  • Microphone

The two main pieces of software we use are Unity 3D and Maya 2020. All of the software can be downloaded for free, and the system requirements for these particular pieces of software can be found here:

We will provide registered students with specific set-up instructions before the start of their session.

Link to this FAQ

The virtual format utilizes the same curriculum and has the same learning outcomes as the residential option offered for each program. The virtual format provides students with the ability to experience our exciting curriculum without traveling to Vermont. This format may appeal to students who, for a variety of reasons, cannot travel to Vermont for our on-campus experience, but would like the opportunity to delve into the world of game development with a group of peers who share their passion for the game industry.

Link to this FAQ

Our pre-college programs will benefit students who are seriously considering studying game development in college and/or are considering the game industry for a career. Previous experience is not necessary as our curriculum includes instruction for how to use the tools needed for game development. However, students with some background will also find themselves challenged by this college level curriculum. Our new Introductory to Game Development program will benefit younger students who are curious about what it takes to make a Game, but aren't quite ready for the intensity of the pre-college curriculum.

Link to this FAQ

In the Champlain Game Academy you will learn how to use a 3D game engine to develop interactive games. Depending on your interests, you can focus on creating 3D art and animations, designing games (emphasis on level design), programming, creating music and sound effects, or testing and the production process. At the end of the Academy, you will have a finished portion of a game that was created by you and students from other disciplines working together as a team. The game can serve as the centerpiece of your game portfolio (many schools require portfolios for admission into their game development programs). Most importantly, you will have your love of games and interest in how they are made confirmed before you embark on your college search.

The Advance Program will build on the foundation you have gained from your first program to build a more complex level of understanding and experience. You will be able to create more complex art and design features. You will also be able to focus in more depth on a preferred area of concentration.

The Introduction to Game Development gives students the opportunity to make a game while learning what game development really is.

Link to this FAQ

The program director is Dean Lawson. Dean is a professor of Game Programming at Champlain College and has been a game developer since 1994. He has worked on over 15 published games for PC, PS2, Nintendo DS, Web and iPhone. 

Bridget Ryan is the administrative director and is the contact person for all questions regarding registration. Contact Bridget Ryan at gameacademy@champlain.edu or 802-383-6287.

Link to this FAQ

All classes are designed and instructed by professors of game development at Champlain College.  In addition to years of teaching experience, our professors are industry experts with professional experience in the industry. (See our World Class Faculty page for more details.) Current and recently graduated game development students will assist in the classroom as teaching assistants.

Link to this FAQ

We do not have a day student option at this time.

Link to this FAQ