1.  Collaboration

Computer graphics is (usually) a team sport. In fact, learning computer graphics (and, arguably, learning in general) is best done in collaboration with others. Unfortunately, in a university class setting, we have the unfortunate constraint that we must grade individuals independently, so we need to have people work independently on graded assignments so that we can assess them. Therefore, there is a fine line between "collaboration" and "academic misconduct".

For CS559, we want to encourage collaboration. However, we also need to make sure that each individual gets appropriate credit for there work.

Students are encouraged to discuss class topics and assignments with other students, subject to the following rules.

  1. If you are unsure if something is collaboration or academic misconduct, please ask the instructor or TA for clarification.
  2. No collaboration is allowed on the exams.
  3. Ultimately, each student is responsible for the material. Projects and exams will require you to understand the assignments, so be careful not to rely on help since at some point you might need to do it your self.
  4. Collaboration must be a two way street. The person giving help must OK it. (e.g. don't look at someone else's work without their permission).
  5. It is not OK to broadcast help. Its OK to answer someone who asks for a hint, but its not OK to post a hint to a mailing list. If you have something that you would like to offer to the class, please send it to the instructor.
  6. Every student must turn in their own assignment, and is responsible for it.
  7. Projects must be "substantially" written by the student handing it in. In particular, the "meat" of the project must be completed by the student handing in the project.
  8. Any code that you didn't write must be given proper attribution. If you grab a piece of code from the web (including the class sample code!), another student, some book, ... - YOU MUST SAY SO! It is OK to use pieces of sample code - providing that you give proper credit to the author.
  9. We will give you large amounts of example code to work with for various assignments and projects. Be sure to give it proper attribution.


2.  Computing Policies

This class has been assigned to the "Storm" laboratory in Room 1366 Computer Sciences. CS559 (Computer Graphics) and CS679 (Computer Game Technology) students have priority on these machines except during CS302 scheduled labs.

You are free to work on other machines (such as your home computer or laptop) subject to the following caveats:

  1. Your code must build and run on the Storm machines. As far as we are concerned, if it doesn't compile and run on a Storm, it doesn't run.
  2. Working in the lab can be a good collaborative experience, and we encourage this kind of collaboration (see below).

Your programs must be written in C++ (since C is a proper subset of C++, that's OK too). For some thoughts on C++, see the C++ hints page.

The compiler provided by the CSL for the storm labs is Microsoft Visual Studio .NET 2005. The department has a site license for Visual Studio that allows you to install it on your home machine/laptops. Contact theTAs to borrow the disks.

Note: that if you choose to develop your software using another compiler (or on a different machine), you still need to be able to compile your code in the storm labs. We cannot provide any help to you if you choose to use other tools.

We cannot support the sample code on machines other than Windows.

Please see the FAQ as well.

3.  Turnin and Late Policies

Projects will be graded in three parts: the check-points and preliminary written assignments, an in-person demo (where the student will demonstrate their programs to the instructor or TA) and a grader's "reading" of the project.

Students are responsible for coming to their demo appointments. If you cannot make your appointment, make an arrangement before the day of the demo. Students who simply do not show up for the demos will get half credit at most.

The turn-in deadline is strictly enforced. Late turn-ins are accepted at a penalty. Each late day will cost you 20% of the total score; that is, after first day, you get 80%, second day, 60%, ... fifth day, 0%. The penalty is prorated hourly. There is one situation you can recover the penalty: if an assignment is an intermediate step toward a big project, you can recover the late penalty of the intermediate assignments by finishing ALL the basic requirements of the final project ON TIME. During the semester, you also have one chance of being late free of penalty. However, under no circumstances should you be later than the demo deadline, which is usually a week after turnin deadline.

4.  Some Standards on Project Evaluation

It is MUCH more important to do the basic/required parts of the assignment correctly than to have bells and whistles. It is very depressing to give someone an F for failing to meet the basic requirements when they have written 5000 lines of code to make a spiffy user interface.

You must be able to use your program. Generally, the main part of grading projects will be a demo session where you drive your program to show us what it can do.

We will look at your code. Therefore, it is important that it is well documented. For example, we might check to see if we can find the place where you implement a certain operation.

A program that dies gracefully (prints an error message) is much better than one that crashes. Do everything you can to make sure your programs do not crash.

Your programs should be robust in the face of bogus inputs. Expect us to test this.

5.  Turning in Programs

Programming assignments and projects are to be handed in by placing them in a specified directory. The exact name of this directory will be given in the assignment, but it will generally have the form:


where "yourid" is your CS login id, and "a1" is the name of the assignment (a1 = programming assignment 1, p2 = project 2). If your directory does not exist, or if the permissions are set incorrectly (such that either you cannot write files in it), please contact the TA.

You must turn in all files required to build your program. This includes the source files, the header files, the visual studio project files, and the visual studio solution files. If you use some libraries other than the ones we provide, please make arrangements with us.

You are NOT to turn in executables. Just the source code (and the project files), documentation, and any extra things explicitly asked for in the assignment.

You must document your code. Everything you hand in should have a "readme.txt" file explaining what each file is. Every file should have a "head" comment explaining what's in it. If you use code written by others as part of your program, you must give proper attribution in both the readme file and the code files themselves.

If you do use code written by someone else (including the instructor or TA or web resource), you should be sure to give that person credit in both your readme file and mark the borrowed code clearly.

Do not work in the handin directory. Copy your files there once the program is working. (there won't be enough disk space for everyone to put all of their working files in the handin directory). You should only copy the following files into the directory:

In short, we need all the files necessary to build your program (and a readme file). We do not want the executable, the debugging information, the .obj files, ...

Also, you need to configure things so they will compile in the CS environment. If you build your programs at home or somewhere besides a CS machine, you will probably need to change your project settings.

6.  Extra Credit

We encourage students to work above and beyond the minimum requirements. For example:

Extra credit does not directly affect your grade. You cannot score better than an "A" on any project or exam (or a "check" on an assignment). Doing something extra on one thing will not make up for a deficiency on another.

You should do extra work because you want to learn more and gain more experience with the topic. Not because it will help with your grade. We will (usually) note extra work and thank you for doing it (since it makes our lives more interesting).