Comp 160 - Intro to computer gaming

Overview The structure of Comp 160 Class information Late policy


Class logo:  Broadway (2007)
Class logo: Broadway (2007)

Computer gaming is a vibrant multi-billion dollar industry that offers exciting career opportunities for computer scientists as well as visual artists. The Rice Computer Science department and several local independent game developers are offering a full-year program designed to expose Rice students to the theory and practice of computer game creation. The first class in this sequence, Comp 160, is designed to provide a hands-on introduction to the basic math and programming skills necessary to build computer games.

The structure of Comp 160

The first part of Comp 160 will consist primarily of taking and completing a Rice-only version of the on-line course "An Introduction to Interactive Programming in Python" that is being offered under the auspices of the educational consortium Coursera . This Rice version of the class will be offered using Canvas and begin in late August and finish in mid October. All Comp 160 students are required to sign up for this class as part of their class requirements. To sign up, login with your NetID here. Then, visit the course here. You should automatically have access to the class site after you have registered. (If you don't, we can manually add you.)

Once you have enrolled in Canvas version of this class, we suggest that you spend a few minutes familiarizing yourself with the class site since all of your classwork for the first half of Comp 160 will be submitted through it. Our first class will meet on the first Tuesday of classes at 1pm in Symonds II. The material from Canvas will also be supplemented by regular lab sessions Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1pm to discuss and work through the min-projects that form the bulk of the material in the on-line class.

Concept art from Bomberman 3D (2005)
Concept art from Bomberman 3D (2005)

The second part of Comp 160, stretching from mid-October to Thanksgiving, consists of each student proposing and implementing their own custom-built game in Python. The expected level of complexity for these games will be at the level of a classic 1980's arcade game such as Robotron 2084 . Each student will give a short presentation and demostration of their games to the instructors and several local game professionals before Thanksgiving.

With the approval of the instructor, some student groups may then take Comp 460 (Advanced computer game creation) in the spring. In Comp 460 group of Computer Science students will work with Visual Arts students and develop more substantial games that includes in-game art and a complete user interface. At the end of the semester, each group will demo their games for a spring jury consisting of local game professionals. (For Visual Arts students interested in taking Comp 460 as a Visual Arts elective, please contact for more information.)

Logo and screen shot from Beasts (2002)
Logo and screen shot from Beasts (2002)
Click here for a low-res video clip or here for a high-res one

Class information

Syllabus: A syallbus for the Coursera version of this class can be found here .

Time and Location: TTh 1-2:20, M 4:30-6:00 Symonds II Lab (outside Duncan Hall)

UI sketch from McGee/Broadway (2007)
UI sketch from McGee/Broadway (2007)
Joe Warren
Duncan 3114
Lab Assistant:
Nick Sabo
Lab Assistant:
Melinda Crane
Lab Assistant:
Avery Whitaker

Grades: The class assignments will be weighted as follows:

      Grade from Coursera course 50%
Development of arcade game 35%
Final evaluation of arcade game 15%

Note that there is no final exam for the course.

Late policy

Since all of your classwork (quizzes and mini-projects) will be submitted on-line via Canvas, we are following a strict late policy. Quizzes and mini-projects can not be turned in after the deadline. We have adopted this policy due to the fact that the assessment of your mini-projects is a time-coordinated activity on Canvas that cannot be delayed to accomodate late submissions. If you are ill, please let us know ASAP and obtain a written note/email from a physician. If you feel that any other situation merits consideration, please contact us BEFORE the assignment is due. Excuses provided after the assignment is late are very unlikely to be accepted.