Frequently Asked Questions
and Frequently Answered Answers
Who can take the course, and what are the prerequisites?
CIS 3000 takes many different kinds of students. Each "track" (art, music, programming) has
its own prerequisites:
CS 2110. While the programming in this course is in C#, and not Java, these
languages are similar enough that you should be able to get up to speed
quickly. See the course resources or the programming TAs if you need more help.
Drawing skill at the level of ART 2501, and experience with Photoshop and/or
MUSIC 1421, CS 1110, and familiarity with digital music creation software.
How is the course graded?
This course is project-based. Therefore, the majority of the grading is going
to be at the group level. However, to make sure that individuals are assessed
fairly, we have a sophisticated assessment policy to determine your contribution
to the team.
The following portions of your grade are determined for your entire group:
- Game Grade (25%)
The game grade is determined entirely at
Showcase, and reflects the quality of your finished product on the following scale.
D's and F's are for extreme problems and handled on a case-by-case basis.
- A: Game is well-made and fun to play
- B: Game is stable, but less fun than it could be
- C: Game is not fun at all, or too buggy to play
- Course Documents (20%)
As part of the development cycle, you will write many specification documents. These are
graded writing-seminar style, with many opportunities for revision.
- Presentations (5%)
Every two weeks, your group will present an the progress that you have made on your game.
Initial presentations are graded pass-fail. Later presentations are graded according to how
your group responded to earlier feedback.
- Organization (5%)
This grade is for progress reports and other group exercises. It is graded pass-fail
to make sure you are making doing steady work.
The following portions of your grade are determined for you as an individual:
- Individual Grade (25%)
By default this is the same as your game grade. However, it may be adjusted by your
peer evaluations. Individuals that contributed the most work or the most vision may receive
a higher grade. Individuals that cause conflict or create "negative work" will
receive lower grades. D's and F's are reserved for individuals that abandon their group
in the middle of the project.
- Game Labs (20%)
These labs from the first four weeks of class serve as a "boot-camp" for the game development
issues in your area of expertise. They also help us gauge your individual ability as we give
your group guidance throughout the semester.
Who owns the games made in this class?
Your group retains all ownership of any game that you make in this class. It is Cornell policy
that students own their own work. You are free to make derivative works and commercialize any
project that you create.
However, as a student in this class, you agree to give Cornell a non-exclusive license for the game
as it is submitted at
Showcase. Cornell has the right to distribute that version of the game (and only that version)
for promotional and non-commercial purposes.
How does the academic integrity policy apply to this class?
All students are reminded that they are expected to adhere to the
academic integrity policy for any
course at Cornell. The primary concern in this course is the improper use of copyrighted
materials. You may not use any material -- such as software libraries, art, or music -- that
prohibits Cornell from distributing your game non-commercially. Improper usage of copyrighted
materials is a violation of the code of academic integrity, and will be treated as such.
When and where does the class meet?
Lectures and labs meet at separate times; this is because many of our labs are
space limited due to campus fire codes. Lectures are MWF 10:10-11:00, in Phillips 403.
Labs, on the other hand, are assigned by section; they are TuTh 12:20-1:10 or
1:25-2:15 in CL3, unless
How do project teams work?
Students usually work in teams of about 4-6 people. The course staff picks the
teams by matching people according to the interests they indicate. The staff
also tries to accommodate "pre-made" teams, but we cannot guarantee that you'll
always be able to work with a particular person. Artists, in particular, are a
precious commodity and often need to be reassigned to balance out teams.
Does this course fulfill the technical writing credit?
CIS 3000 does fulfill Engineering's technical writing credit. However, you
must submit the appropriate forms in order to get credit. This will be discussed
during the Communication Labs.
What does CIS 3000 count for?
The course is the primary course for the
minor at Cornell. It is one of the special electives for the
graphics vector in the computer
science major. Otherwise, this course simply counts as an elective.
Can I be a TA?
We employ undergraduates TA as staff to help us deal with the course. Because
of budget pressures, we are trying to reduce the number of TAs that we use
(previous semesters used upwards of 10). Currently we are looking at 2-3 programming
TAs, 1 or 2 art TAs, and a music TA. As our TAs graduate, we need to fill
these spots. In order to qualify for a TA position, you must have taken CIS 3000
and CIS 4002. Check back with the course staff at the end
of the semester for TAship opportunities.
For other questions, please check out the labs, homeworks, and past projects on
this site and the GDIAC site, or
contact the course staff.