Pre-College Program

Mobile Game Design

May 31 - June 3, 2021

Session #2 - Mobile Game Design

Course Overview:
Great games can immerse us in wondrous, compelling new worlds. And now, with the rise of mobile game technology—rich, compelling interactive experiences are available inexpensively, in your pocket, and at your fingertips. This course guides you through the essentials of mobile game design and development, including such topics as: picking the right engine, building a cross-functional team, developing artwork, integrating sound, prototyping, bug triage, polishing, publishing and marketing. 

 Along the way, we examine the role of the game designer—including the process of generating ideas, writing professional game design documents, and defining core loops, mechanics, dynamics, and systems. Next, we dive into character systems and the mechanics of chance, skill, tactics, and strategy. We define what makes mobile game design unique from desktop or console, including such considerations and affordances as UI (user interface) and UX (user experience), screen resolution, touch and swipe, the accelerometer, and optimizing for performance across operating systems and devices—including iOS and Android, phone and tablet. In addition, students learn to pitch their ideas and explain how their game works—and why users will love it. We look at how to develop a game design portfolio in order to break into the game industry. 

Learning Outcomes:
Students should come away from this course on Mobile Game Design inspired by this fascinating subject; equipped with a balance of theoretical understanding and practical skills; and equipped with the beginnings of a game design portfolio, (which can be built upon). Upon completion of Mobile Game Design, students will be able to:

  1. Analyze game design critically, from the perspective of a maker—and be able to communicate these creative insights clearly, in both written and spoken form.  
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of the state of the art of the mobile game design industry, via playing, researching, analyzing and discussing a wide variety of mobile games. 
  3. Having taken original game ideas from concept to execution: demonstrate practical understanding of the mobile game design process, both individually and in teams.
Spencer Striker, PhD, Northwestern Qatar


  • Cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • 14-19 years of age at the start of the program
  • Applications are reviewed on a rolling weekly-basis and decisions typically released within two weeks via e-mail.
  • There are limited spaces available and students are encouraged to apply early.
  • The deadline to submit an application is May 16, 2021.

Program Costs & Scholarships

  • Program Cost (per seminar): 1,850 QAR
  • A limited number of scholarships will be awarded with preference to students who are currently in their junior year (Qatar/USA Grade 11, UK Grade 12), demonstrate financial need, and hold strong academic and extracurricular achievement.
  • Students can identify if they are interested in a Tuition Scholarship during the application process.
  • All scholarship applicants will be notified of the scholarship evaluation committee's decision at time of acceptance.


Registration is now open