• Art + Design

Christopher Aaron Barney

Associate Teaching Professor

Christopher Barney teaches a wide variety of subjects in the GAME and GSND programs at Northeastern, from Level Design and Game Architecture to Generative Design. The unifying thread is his use of Game Design Patterns. In almost all his courses, students transform their own knowledge of games into design theory and practice by applying the principles of Design Patterns and Pattern Languages. He is also the Studio Lab Director for Games@Northeastern.

He obtained his undergraduate and graduate game design degrees in the days before such things were widely available. He contributed his game design and programming skills to Pearson’s web based MMO, Poptropica, for six years, and served as the lead internal game designer for the educational games website funbrain.com. Prior to breaking into the gaming industry, he worked as a live events writer for FunCom’s Anarchy Online MMO through their ARK program and produced dozens of live events.

As an independent designer Chris’ games include Fall of the Last City and Play Me A Story. He also has an extensive background in interactive theater and has worked as a scriptwriter for several large New England theater groups. He has previously spoken at GDC, GDC EU, BFig, ECGC, DevCom, PaxDev, Pax West, and GaymerX. At Northeastern, Chris is teaching Level Design and Game Architecture, and Foundations of Game Design. He has also taught Exploratory Game Design, Spatial and Temporal Design, as well as the Thesis in the graduate Game Science and Design program.


  • BA,Design and Implementation of Virtual Worlds, Marlboro College
  • MS, Conversational Artificial Intelligence in Massively Multiuser Environments

Professional Experience

  • Game Designer and Software Engineer for Poptropica (www.poptropica.com)
  • Internal Game Designer for FunBrain (www.funbrain.com)

Courses Taught

  • Exploratory Game Design
  • Spatial and Temporal Design
  • Thesis
  • Game Concept Development and Production
  • Level Design and Game Architecture
  • Foundations of Game Design

Professional Affiliations

• International Game Developers Association

• Game Makers Guild


Research Interests

  • Diversity in games
  • Games and society
  • Interactive Narrative
  • Paper prototyping