Team Project

A major component of this course will be the execution of a team project. Each team will use Processing to create a game based on a college scenario where players try to win by creating the most effective balance of grades, happiness, and wealth. Ideally, one would want to maximize all three. Not suprisingly, these three outcomes tend to compete with one another. Projects will be done by teams of approximately five students. Except under extra-ordinary circumstances, all members of a project team will receive the same grade on the project; team participation will be reflected in a separate component of the final course grade. This project description gives the initial format and functional specification for the project. We will further develop some expectations and requirements together through class discussion. We may even fine-tune some of the details of the game given here through a class discussion and negotiation process. This sort of successive refinement of requirements is common in the real world. Try to design and develop your prototype in a way that allows for easy modification.

The Game

The game will simulate a fifteen week semester. During each week, the player will make choices about how to spend their time. Each choices have potential advantages and disadvantages in the effects on the outcomes. Most choices commit a certain amount of time to that activity. There are a total of 168 hours available in each week, so time spent on one choice is not available for another choice.

Grades potential starts each week with a value of 90% and is increased or decreased by the effects of choices. Happiness potential starts each week with a value of 50% and is increased or decreased by the effects of choices. The wealth outcome starts at a value of $0 at the beginning of the game. During each week, information about choices, events, and potentially random factors are used to compute new values of each outcome. Grades and happiness potential cannot go below zero or above 100. At the end of the game, the grades and happiness outcomes for each week should be averaged and the result should be reported out. The weekly wealth outcomes will be summed to create the final semester wealth outcome. The grades potential should be converted into a GPA (by rescaling 90 to a 4.0 GPA and 40 to a 0.0 GPA). Final happiness potential values should generate a response of your team's choice.

The Choices

Students have a great potential to influence the outcome of their semester, through the choices they make. These choices have been shown to be important through research, but the specific numerical impact is not usually known. For the purpose of this game, the specific impact of the different choices on resulting success is given below. These impact relationships are inspired by the discussion we had in class on Sept 20.

Two choices made at the beginning of the semester and remain the same through the whole semester: number of credits of classes and number of hours worked at a job. Eight more choices are made each week: hours spent attending class, percentage of class spent actively participating (and not surfing, texting, sleeping, etc.), hours spent studying and working on assignments, hrs spent participating in study groups, hours spent on visits to academic resources (professor/TA office hours, help center, LRC, etc), hours spent on taking care of yourself (sleeping, eating, exercizing, etc), hours spent on solitary leisure activities, and hours spent on nonacademic activities with other people (time with family, church, clubs, etc.).
Choice Name Expected range Impact
number of credits of classes 0-21 no direct impact
number of hours worked at outside job 0-168 for each hour worked, increase wealth by $5 (after taxes and expenses)
hours spent attending class 0-#credits if hrs < #credits, decrease grade potential by (100*(credits-hours)/2*credits) for each hr of class missed; increase happiness by 1% for each hr of class missed
percentage of class spent actively engaged 0-100 if percentage < 100, reduce effective value for hours attending class by percentage missed before using it in grades and happiness calculations described above
hours spent studying and working on assignments 0-168 if hrs < 3*credits, decrease grades potential by (100*(3*credits - hrs)/(3*credits)); if hrs > 4*credits, decrease happiness by 20%
hours spent participating in study groups 0-5 for each hr (up to a max of five), increase grades potential by 2%
hours spent on visits to academic resources 0-3 for each hr (up to a max of three), increase grades potential by 5%
hours spent taking care of self 0-168 if < hrs 70, reduce grades and happiness potential both by (100*(70-hrs)/(4*70))
hours spent on solitary leisure activities 0-168 for each hr, increase happiness potential by 2%
hours spent on activities with other people 0-168 for each hr, increase happiness potential by 3%

The Interactions and Displays

For each week, you should solicit input from the user about the allocation of time and attention and calculate the outcomes for the week. Display these outcomes in a visual form, showing the history of outcomes over the course of the semester. Design a display for the representation of semester final outcomes.


The project will be structured as a sequence of phases. Completion of one phase is not required for initiation of the next. In many cases, it will benefit you to be working on multiple phases at the same time. For instance, you might be working on the implementation of an initial prototype concurrently with conducting preliminary evaluation.


Describe your plans to meet these requirements in a proposal of approximately 1-2 pages. Your proposal should describe:

Prototype Demo

By prototype demo, your team should be a complete prototype with all of the functionality that you have proposed. You will give a 10 minute demo of your prototype to the class. Your demo should be accompanied by a 1-2 page written description of your system and any remaining bugs you plan to fix and enhancements you plan to make.

Prototype Evaluation

Your evaluation will assess the performance of your game according to a rubric that we will develop together in class. Further directions for prototype evaluation will be distributed later.


The poster deliverables will be both a draft of the poster with individually-written sections (each section written a by single, named team member) due on Nov 9 and a final revised poster due Nov 29. Further directions for poster construction will be distributed later.


Prepare and present a poster session presentation of your project. Dress appropriately for a job interview or technical conference. Be prepared to answer questions. Attend the poster presentation of at least one other group. Be prepared to ask questions.


Each phase of the project has a due date. In this way, as in others, this project mimics work in the real world. Deadlines are hard. Project phases will not be accepted late except under extraordinary circumstances.
Phase Due Date
Design Oct. 4
Prototype Demo Nov. 15
Prototype Evaluation Nov. 27
Poster Nov. 29
Presentation Dec. 11

Contributions to Grade

Each phase of the project will make a contribution to your grade. If a phase is missed, that portion of the grade will be a zero. Your team should consider this a compelling reason to start your project early and work steadily throughout the semester, rather than making a grand push at the end of the semester.
Phase Percent of Final Grade
Design 5
Prototype Demo 10
Prototype Evaluation 5
Poster 5
Presentation 5
Total for Project 30