CS 426/490     SPRING 2020

Time:               Friday 1:30 – 4:10 pm

Location:         Buchanan Hall D023

Instructor:       Dr. Pearl Wang

Final Projects:       Final Projects





This class is a capstone class for making a functioning complete computer game.  This is a demanding class and most activities for the class need to be carried outside the classroom.





This class provides CS majors with an opportunity to work on a semester-long project or research paper that is more substantial than projects or papers assigned in regular CS classes.



·       C or better in CS 425

·       You should already

o   Be an expert in programming and debugging

o   Understand basic game design flow and framework

o   Be an expert in using cvs/svn or similar methods for revision control

o   Understand basic data structures and algorithms

o   Be extremely hard-working and self-motivated



·       C or better in CS 321, 483, and two other CS 400-level classes

·       Completion of CS 390 is highly recommended

·       You also need to be extremely hard-working and self-motivated

Course Outcomes

·       Gain ability to complete the development of a functional game

·       Become familiar with the resources for developing games

·       Deepen the understanding of the current techniques used in the game

·       Realize the manner with which teamwork may be achieved in a programming environment

·       Exhibit skills that demonstrate the ability to present a video game appropriately

Course Outcomes

·       Students will complete an original scholarly or creative project by:

o   articulating and refining a scholarly question by following ethical principles

o   choosing an appropriate discovery process for scholarly inquiry

o   gathering evidence appropriate to the question  
applying scholarly conventions appropriate to inquiry and reporting

o   assessing the validity of key assumptions and evidence

o   and situating the inquiry within a broader context

·       Students will communicate knowledge from an original scholarly or creative project


Samples of Previous Course Projects:


CS 426:  2015  2017  2018

CS 490:  2019



Course Requirements and Grading:

·       Class Presentations & Homework


·       Project (CS 426 section)


·       Project/Paper (CS490 section)


25% (Topic, Progress Updates, Final Presentation)


75% (Final software, video, and report)


75% (A final project report that must include documented software and/or project-generated artifacts if a project is to be implemented.   For a research paper, a final document must be submitted containing evidence of an original contribution that includes comparison to previous work in the literature.)

·       Class attendance is mandatory for all students. For each missed class, a student will be penalized 2% of the final grade. No late work will be accepted.

·       Milestones throughout the semester must be met for the successful completion of each class.  These include submission of initial project specifications, regular written report updates, weekly oral presentations, development of assessment criteria to measure student success, final project or paper report with accompanying software artifacts, and a formal presentation of the game/research project or paper at the end of the semester.


Tentative Timetable (with updates reflecting extension of semester):




Deliverables to MyMason

Jan 24

Introductions & Goals

Homework 0

Jan 31


Proposal Description & Presentation

Homework 1 (template on MyMason)

Feb 07

Progress Updates


Feb 14

Group Work


Feb 21

Progress Updates

Homework 2

Feb 28

Progress Updates


Mar 06

Group Work


Mar 13 +20

Spring Break


Mar 20

Mar 27

Progress Updates

Homework 3

Online Sessions

Mar 27

Apr 03

Progress Updates

Presentation and demo

Online Sessions

Apr 03

Apr 10

Group Work


Apr 10

Apr 17

Practice Run: presentation, demo, and results

Presentation and demo

Homework 4

Online Sessions

Apr 17

Aor 24

Group Work

Presentation and demo

Online Sessions

Apr 24

May 01

Practice Run: presentation, demo, and results

Group Work


May 01

May 08

Public Presentations & Demos (Part I)

Online Sessions

May 08

May 15

Public presentations & Demos (Part II)

Online Sessions

All Final Reports and Software



·       All coursework must be performed in accordance to Mason and CS Department Academic Integrity and Honor Code Policies at https://oai.gmu.edu/mason-honor-code/ and  http://cs.gmu.edu/resources/honor-code/. These policies will be strictly enforced.

·       Please note that plagiarizing will be penalized by maximum negative credit and cheating will earn you an F in the course.  Any submitted work which shows too much commonality with others' work to be completely original, or any plagiarized work, will receive a grade of 0. Any code which is presented in class or provided to you as part of the project may be included in your programs.



Accommodations for Disabilities:

If you have a documented learning disability or other condition that may affect academic performance you should: (1) make sure this documentation is on file with the Office of Disability Services (SUB I, Rm. 4205; 993-2474; http://ods.gmu.edu/) to determine the accommodations you need; and (2) talk with the instructor to discuss your accommodation needs. All academic accommodations must be arranged through Disability Services.



Privacy and Email:

Student privacy is governed by FERPA (See ferpa.gmu.edu).  Students must use their MasonLive email account to receive important University information, including communications related to this class. The instructor will not respond to messages sent from a non-Mason email address.



Other Useful Information:

·       Library Infoguide for CS 490

·       University Libraries (Ask a Librarian)

·       University Policies (See Mason Catalog- General Information)

·       GMU Academic Calendar

·       Student Support on Campus [Counseling, writing, career services, etc.]



Important Dates:

Last day to add:  January 28, 2020
Last day to drop: February 5, 2020 (no tuition penalty)
Final day to drop: February 11, 2020 
Last day for Self-Withdrawal: February 24, 2020 
Spring break: March 9-15
22, 2020 
Last day of Selective Withdrawal: March 30, 2020 
April 6, 2020
Last day of classes: May 4
11, 2020

Final Examination: May 8 15, 2020



Created: 15 January 2020

Updated: 20 March 2020
P.Y. Wang