Want to improve your game design skills?
Believe it or not, you don’t have to attend game design school to learn how to make games. There are plenty of in-depth tutorials and lessons available on YouTube that you can watch for free to learn game design.
YouTube has become one of the biggest resources for both gamers and developers.
So, today we’re sharing our top ten favorite YouTube channels to help you improve your game design skills, spark creativity, and take your game development to that next level. All of the channels on this list features either game design tutorials, lectures, or deep game analysis and reviews.
Let’s jump right in!
10 Cool YouTube Channels on Game Design
Of course, one of our coolest YouTube channels on game design and development is Buildbox. Our official Buildbox YouTube channel has over 100 videos on how to make games and succeed in that App Store. You don’t have to be a Buildbox user either to benefit from this channel. From how to make a 2D platformer game to ways to make more money with your games, every aspect of game development is covered. There are some excellent step-by-step tutorial videos, game reviews, and tons of tips and tricks videos that are a must-watch if you’re interested in making games.
In the video above Buildbox founder, Trey Smith gives a quick rundown on what our channel is all about and why you should definitely subscribe!
If you’re not familiar with RisingHigh Studio, they’ve been crushing it in the App Store for years. The two-person indie dev team, Kevin Wolstenholme, and Jilly Duff have mastered the art of game design. They have a knack for creating polished games that get noticed. Currently, they’ve had 13 games get featured by Apple including hits like Sir Vival, Glide, 99 Moons, Dashy Panda, and Color Maze.
At RisingHigh Academy, they’ve created an entire course teaching other indie developers how to make Apple feature worthy games. Their YouTube channel is an awesome place to find tons of game design tips and tutorials. They also post their weekly podcast episodes of RisingHigh Extended Tea Break where they tackle different game dev topics and answer questions.
Here’s one of their podcast videos discussing what developers should do when they’re designing levels in their game and run out of ideas.
Another cool YouTube channel based on game design is Snowman Gaming. Coined as the ‘Home of Good Game Design,’ this channel breaks down popular games and explains what makes them great. Reverse engineering and analyzing games are one of the best ways to learn game design. The channel also features countdowns, reviews, and a fun “You Need to Play” video series that’s worth watching especially if you’re looking for something new to play.
The video above is from the series and explains how the game Celeste teaches players its mechanics. If you want to learn game design the channel’s Good Game Design series is essential.
Tim Ruswick – Game Dev Underground
For those devs in need of some serious motivation, Tim Ruswick’s Game Dev Underground is for you. This YouTube channel tackles the science, art, and the business-side of making great games. Ruswick’s no holds bar approach to game development provides users with deep insight into the common game dev pitfalls and how to avoid them. You’ll not only learn game design tips on this channel but also how to stay motivated to finish your game and ways to overcome perfection to make progress.
In the video above, Ruswick discusses the nine most common design mistakes that can make or break your indie game.
Mark Brown – Game Maker’s Toolkit
Mark Brown’s Game Maker’s Toolkit is a series about video game design. It attempts to answer the tough questions about games and their design like, How does Half-Life teach without tutorials? Or how does Chinese poetry inspire Nintendo’s level designers? It’s a very engaging channel with deep video game analysis and reviews. Each video is hosted by Mark Brown, a former games journalist for popular publications like Edge, Eurogamer, Wired, Pocket Gamer, and The Escapist.
Here’s a video from his Game Maker’s Toolkit on how to keep players engaged without being an evil game developer.
Another cool YouTube channel on game design to check out is Ahoy. This channel dives deep into the history of gaming. It explores everything from the origins of 8-bit classics to the gems of the present day. You’ll learn the roots of gaming elements like the legendary weapons of FPS history and much more. There’s also a really fascinating series on the brief history of graphics that every game designer should watch.
The video above is part one of a five-part series from the history of graphics on the pixel pioneers.
The Sunder YouTube channel is focused on the appreciation of level design. This channel has a show called Level Head. On the series, the host Sunder picks a stage from a game and then deconstructs it analytically to reveal it’s hidden design secrets. It’s an entertaining show to watch to learn how to analyze games better. Sunder also features game developer interviews and game reviews that are worth a gander as well.
Here’s an episode of Level Head where Sunder analyzes Diablo III and how to make your game’s combat feel good.
The GDC YouTube channel is an excellent resource to find not only clips but full-length videos from the GDC (Game Developers Conference). The Game Developers Conference is a major game industry event, where game designers, artists, programmers and professionals involved in game development meet and exchange ideas. There are tons of videos on this channel on topics ranging from art and graphic design to programming. These in-depth talks and inspirational lectures from experts are definitely worth your time if you’re trying to make your mark in the game industry.
Here’s a GDC session video with developer Zach Gage on his secret to making games that can be understood at a glance.
Extra Credits might be the channel you’re looking for if you want to learn the basics of game development. Every Wednesday they take a closer look at games and break down how aspiring developers can make them better. The channel is centerd on how games are designed, built, and produced. Extra Credits videos feature an animated style, but they’re still loaded with some great content.
The Design Club series on the channel is a fantastic place to start to learn more about game design. In the video above Extra Credits explain how Super Mario Bros mastered the art of level design.
PBS Game/Show examines the relationship between video games and modern life. The channel features big video game debates and a deep dive into games in general. There’s also a Gaming 101 series with insightful game design tips for devs.
Here’s the second installment of the Game Design 101 series, where they analyze the classic Space Invaders and how to make choices matter in your games.
Honorable YouTube Channel Mentions
Al Cox and Bliz Studio are also two excellent YouTube Channels on game design. Al Cox’s channel has a bunch of in-depth reviews of Buildbox made games. He also features cool time-lapse videos and full tutorials on how to make games. The channel is all about learning the mechanics of current games and leveling up skills.
Bliz Studio is a relatively new Devlog for the upcoming game Trixel Rocket. You get to watch as an indie developer; Jerry Berg records his game development journey. Berg placed second place in our recent Game Jam competition. So, it’s interesting to see his game design process in action.
When it comes to YouTube, there’s a never-ending supply of entertaining and informative channels to help you learn how to make better games. You can apply the game design techniques, strategies, and tips from any of these awesome channels on our list to improve your game design skills.