Course Exam – COMP 369: Practical Game Programming

Another brand new learning opportunity is being served up on the smorgasbord of AU courses: COMP 369, Practical Game Programming. If You’re a computer programmer, have interest in computer science, or just want to know a little more about how your favourite computer games work, You’re in luck! This three-credit course opened in January 2011 and is brimming with hands-on experience that will allow you to ?develop platform-independent computer games? using C++ with Allegro.

Course Highlights

Practical Game Programming (COMP 369) teaches students the basic fundamentals of C++ game programming, as well as more complex programming features and applications?including how to create programs with sound and music. Additionally, students will develop proficiency in using timers and game loops in their programs and in working with scrolling backgrounds. And the instruction goes beyond mere theory: course professor Harris Wang notes that the ?game development and programming skills learned through this course are widely applicable to the projects in the real world.?

The highlights of the course? According to Wang, there several. First, It’s practical: programming, he indicates, is ?one of the computing skills very much needed in the current IT industry.? And not only does COMP 369 fulfill this need, it is also a good blend of both hands-on programming and ?real-life? situations. As a result, students become proficient in C++ game programming, and gain knowledge about current industry trends. Plus, COMP 369 incorporates Allegro with C++; this library does not restrict to only one platform like Windows but can be used with others like Mac and Linux.

Practical Game Programming (COMP 369) is offered through individualized study, online. While most of the course information is provided via a physical textbook, assignments and coding practice are all done online. And the rest of the course content is, Wang notes, ?open source based,? meaning that all ?programming tools and libraries used are freely available on the Internet.?

Student Evaluation

Student evaluation in COMP 369 is derived from four assignments (worth either 15 per cent or 20 per cent of the final grade) and one final exam, worth 30 per cent of the final grade. Each assignment consists of two parts: one written and one practical. In the written report, students research ?certain topics related to computer games and game industry,? says Wang. The second part of each assignment gives students the opportunity to use the programming skills they’ve learned in the course?by developing games. The benefit to such assignments, Wang says, is that they are ?projects-driven, so that students learn not only the fundamental concepts and knowledge of computer game construction and development, they will acquire practical game programming skills as well.?

Course Author

Course author and professor, Hongxue (Harris) Wang, is an associate professor with AU’s School of Computing and Information Systems. In addition to COMP 369, Dr. Wang has authored six other AU computer science courses, and is working on another. He has also written for several publications, and is a two-time recipient of AU’s Mission Critical Fund, a grant for research projects.

For More Information

COMP 369 is worth three science credits and has COMP 306 as a prerequisite. For more information, check out the COMP 369 course syllabus here.

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