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Summer Academy

Design, code and ship your own original iPhone game

“I see a day when the traditional four-year college degree will be replaced… which is where [MakeGamesWithUs] comes in.” - San Jose Mercury News

June 23rd to August 16th. Locations in San Francisco, Palo Alto and New York City. Space is limited.
Scholarships available. $200 refer-a-friend bonus.

Apply Now!
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What You Will Learn

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Product Design
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User Testing
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Objective c icon
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Product Development

Experience the full cycle of product development as you build and ship your own iPhone game. The academy emphasizes the coding aspect of game development and explores other topics involved in creating a finished game. Hear industry professionals speak about product development at their companies, and apply these lessons to your game. The experience of shipping a complete product is a great resume builder, and a highly valued skill in the tech industry.

“I wish MGWU was around when I was growing up, their developers are making amazing games at an age when I was just playing them”
- Alexis Ohanian, Founder of Reddit

Alexis Ohanian

Our devs have shipped 28 games, with another 40 in the pipeline, and they've amassed nearly a million plays by gamers all around the world.

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Work Experience

We’ve designed the academy around how startups and small teams within tech companies operate. You’ll be grouped with your peers and will act as a project manager for each others’ games. You’ll also get an inside look at how our company, a VC funded Silicon Valley startup, operates. During the program you’ll be learning Objective-C and various tools used in industry like Cocos2d, Git, and more. Plus, there’s no better demonstration of real world work experience than having shipped a product.

“My MGWU experience helped me get a job at Square this past summer. Career fair recruiters were impressed when I demoed my game!”
- Katie Siegel, MIT ’16

Katie Siegel

“In today’s job market, having shipped a successful app can be more valuable than a college degree”
- Alex Taub, Forbes on MGWU

Maker Mentality

The Maker Mentality is the mentality of building things, whether it's for fun or to solve a problem you have. Makers are fearless, they don't shy away from challenges. Makers are relentlessly resourceful, they use every avenue possible to find a solution to their problem. Makers are self driven, if they don't know how to build something, they figure out a way to learn. Our goal is to unlock the maker in you. The Maker Mentality is a core part of our emphasis on practical learning, a great complement to the theoretical education you get in school and college.

“My MGWU experience helped me get an internship developing an Android app for community health workers in rural India”
- Sophie Sheeline, Dartmouth ’16

Sophie Sheeline

“Thanks to MGWU I developed an iOS game to teach my kids Maria-Laura (6) and Domenico (4) how to speak Italian and French!”
- Donatello Gassi, MIT Sloan, ‘12

Donatello Gassi

Professional Network

During the program you’ll develop relationships with your peers and join the entire MGWU developer network composed of bright engineering minds from top universities. After the program we encourage you to stay involved, helping mentor younger developers and networking with your peers. During the program you’ll visit startups and big tech/gaming companies, and hear their founders and employees speak. After the program you can tap into our recruiting network, we send resumes to and have placed developers at companies like Apple, EA, Zynga, Gameloft, a16z, 500 Startups, etc. We see this as the start of your professional career, and hope the network will stay with you for years to come.

“We were very impressed by the quality and diversity of games we saw at demo day. We hired two interns from the MGWU program who did fantastic work at Gameloft”
- Samir El Agili, VP Production, Gameloft U.S.

Samir El Agili

Our alumni network is composed of developers from universities such as Stanford, Carnegie Mellon, Illinois, from top high schools in Silicon Valley, and developers who took MGWU courses at MIT and UC Berkeley.

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Tuition $5000

Application Deadline: May 3rd

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis, scholarships available, space is limited. $200 referral bonus (see faq).

Calander iconDates: June 23rd to August 16th
9am-5pm every weekday

Apply Now!
  • Program locations / San Francisco

    San Francisco
  • Program locations / New York City

    New York City
  • “The MakeGamesWithUs experience was, by far, the most interesting, transformational,
    academic experience my son has ever had. He can’t stop talking about it!”

    Vibhu Mittal, Parent of MGWU Alum
  • “I learned a lot more in a couple months with MakeGamesWithUs
    than I learned in three years of college.”

    Royce Brooks, SFSU ’14


As used by: MIT, UC Berkeley

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Week 1 - Clone Angry Birds

You'll learn Objective-C, the programming language used to make iPhone/iPad apps, and Cocos2D, an industry-standard 2D game engine. By the end of the week you'll have cloned the most renowned iPhone game ever: Angry Birds.

Week 2 - Study the Mobile Game Industry

You'll study iPhone game success stories and learn about the mobile game industry. We'll visit a game studio and learn about the mobile game development lifecycle. You'll continue to expand your knowledge of Objective-C and game development - how to use a tileset, pathfinding algorithms, AI, using physics engines, etc...

Week 3 - Come up With A Game Idea

Applying what you now understand about the mobile game industry, you'll brainstorm game ideas with your peers and the program staff, build paper prototypes of your game concepts, and play each others' prototypes. By the end of the week you'll start building your very own game!

Week 4 - Start Building Your Game

You'll form a team with three peers who will serve as the project managers for your game and vice versa. You'll continue working on your game while helping your teammates write a design document, form a development schedule, and stick to it.

Week 5 - Industry Skills

You'll learn how to use Git, a form of source control, to manage your project. You'll learn advanced debugging techniques that will be tremendously helpful and applicable to any future software development you'll do. You will learn how to correctly implement, analyze, and improve your game based on data you'll collect from users. And of course, you'll continue working on your game.

Week 6 - First Playable Version

This week represents a major milestone: completing the first playable version of your game. You'll learn proper playtesting protocol and play your peers' games to give each other feedback. You'll also learn how to build and test a tutorial.

Week 7 - Industry Feedback

You'll visit a game studio and get professional feedback on your game from a panel of experienced game developers. You'll learn what makes games go viral and integrate these elements into your game, and learn how to best monetize your game.

Week 8 - Iterate on Your Game

As we near the end of the program, you'll iterate on your game based on feedback you've received from us, professional game developers and your peers. This will be a week of tough decisions, as you'll be forced to decide which features to cut in order to meet the deadline.

Week 9 - Demo Day!

During the final stretch, you'll lock down and polish off your game in preparation for Demo Day. Demo Day will be a chance for you to show off your hard work to your peers as well as attendees from the tech industry. Our past demo days have been attended by companies such as Apple, Facebook, Electronic Arts, GameLoft, as well as renowned Silicon Valley investors like Andreessen Horowitz and 500 Startups. This will be a great chance for you to show off your skills and network, whether you'll be looking for a job immediately or will be in a few years.


How does the $200 referral bonus work?

If you refer a friend to the Academy, simply have them put down your name in the "Who referred you" field on their application. If they get accepted and join the Academy, we'll contact you through them and send you a check!

Are scholarships available?

We'll be offering a few need based scholarships to cover tuition, you can mark that you're interested in the application and we'll chat with you about it if you're accepted. If you're ambitious, you can take matters into your own hands and set up a Crowdtilt to raise money from friends / family / people who'd like to see you succeed. We love the idea of Crowdtilting your tuition, so if you're planning to do this then let us know!

My city isn't listed, can I participate?

Apply anyways! If we get enough interest from your city, we'll strongly consider setting up a center there. If not, we've had developers move for the summer in order to participate, if you plan on doing this let us know so we can help you make arrangements. If cost is an issue, try setting up a Crowdtilt (see above).

What are the prerequisites?

Introductory level computer science knowledge is required, self taught or having taken a basic programming class are both fine. These concepts should be familiar: Objects, Classes, Class inheritance (subclasses, superclasses), Class vs. Instance Methods and Variables. You'll also need a mac computer running on OSX Mavericks.

I've done some programming, is it enough?

You should apply anyways, some of our best developers came in with limited experience, but were able to learn fast and catch up. If you're worried about this, just ask us directly, email [email protected].

Can I use a PC?

Unfortunately Xcode (the software used to build iPhone apps) only runs on Macs, so our hands are tied here. The good news is, since macs are unix based, they're ideal for all sorts of software development and will serve you well in the future.

Where are the exact locations?

We're still ironing out the exact locations in each city, but locations will be easily accessible by public transportation. If you're worried about this, just talk to us, email [email protected].

How many spots are available?

We have 100 spots available in the SF Bay Area (50 in San Francisco, and 50 in Palo Alto), and 50 spots in New York City.

Is room and board included?

No, the program will run from 9am-5pm on weekdays, we expect you to figure out your own housing and transportation, though we're happy to help out.

What age do I have to be?

Last year we ranged from 13-25, 13 is the minimum age (for legal reasons) but there's no upper age. Whether you're post grad looking to dive into programming, or in high school looking to build an awesome game, you should apply!

What happens after I apply?

After you apply we'll review your application, if you're a good candidate, we'll set up a personal skype interview with our founders to decide whether you'll be accepted. We might also email you if we have follow up questions (feel free to email us for updates on your application as well).

Can I do this part time?

No, we expect you to commit to this full time and for this to be your primary focus over the summer, otherwise you won't get the most out of it.

My family usually takes a vacation during the summer, what if it conflicts?

We're happy to work with you to deal with this, we'll have a way for you to follow along with the program remotely, but the burden will be on you to avoid falling behind. If you have more questions related to this, just ask us, email [email protected].

Who owns the game that I build during the Summer Academy?

You do! You retain 100% of the rights to all the work you do during the program.

More Questions?

Contact [email protected]!

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