Mark June 5th on your calendar. That's when five teams of students taking the CSE 125 capstone course on software system design and implementation -- better known as "the videogame course" -- will present their final projects and give audience members an opportunity to play the 3D, networked and multiplayer games in real time.
Friday, June 5, 2015
4pm - 5:30pm
Calit2 Auditorium, Atkinson Hall
The course has been taught since 2001, making this the 15th class to reach the finish line and produce their games from scratch. The final presentations in the Calit2 Auditorium are usually a standing-room-only celebration, as students from across campus flock to see how the teams spent their 10 weeks (for many, the hardest 10 weeks of their entire undergraduate careers at UC San Diego, even though they also had fun). While creating a game adds excitement and motivation, CSE Prof. Geoffrey Voelker told students at the outset that "by the end of the course, you'll hopefully realize that what you learned in doing the project will apply to any large software project that is distributed, has performance constraints, has real-time constraints, has actual users other than developers, and so on." In short, CSE 125 gives seniors an opportunity to apply everything they should have learned in their major.
Each team is usually broken into sub-teams to handle different parts of the challenge. For example, for Team 5, which is developing a "3D, multiplayer, player-vs.-player (PvP), team-based, territorial world conquer game," the entire six-person team is working on game play, while sub-teams are handling graphics (Robert Maloney and Sanjana Agarwal), networking (Kyle Parkinson and Benigno Baclig), as well as controls and art (Mimi Liu and Beth Yue Shi). While most of the games are first-person shooter games (including one where you kill your opponent by shooting bananas), there is also Battle Blocks, a sandbox building game where the player builds and customizes a battle robot to fight other bots, and a PvP fantasy combat game where each team of mechs (vampires/crusaders) is given a certain objective to complete in order to win each round.
For the final presentations, which are open to the public and recorded for later on-demand viewing on the Internet, each team will demo their game, which must be played by four players drawn from the team and from the audience. A written project report is due at the end of finals week, but the final test is the June 5 demo. "The last thing you want," Voelker warned, "is a blue screen of death" when it's time to start playing the game in front of a real audience.