Spring 2024


This is a team and project-based course on video game design and development using Unreal Engine. Topics covered will include geometric modeling, game physics and AI, shader programming, and software and engineering practices within the game industry. The central focus of the course will be the design and development of a game by teams of 3 to 5 students.


It is your responsibility to stay engaged with the course…at a minimum this means:

  1. Checking CampusWire every Tuesday for weekly announcements
  2. Watching the Course Calendar for assignment due dates
  3. Engaging with your project group and contributing significantly to the project.
    Failure to do so can result in failure in the course.

You should also attend the live discussions…but we understand that conflicts come up and will not make attendance mandatory. You definitely should watch all the posted videos in order to successfully complete the Homework and Exams.


We will use CampusWire for answering questions and administering the course.

  • Click this link to join/view the forum.
  • Use the passcode 6781.
  • For any question involving a grade you should select the tag Post to instructors and TAs.

Course Staff

  • Professor Eric Shaffer, shaffer1@illinois.edu
  • Janelle Domantay TA
  • Jason Situ TA
  • Tyler Lee TA
  • Archna Sobti TA
  • Bohan Liu TA
  • Kyo Hyun Kim TA
  • Eunice Leung TA
  • Alex Stettner CA
  • Abdul Maaieh CA
  • Chen Yang CA
  • Jeff Liu CA
  • Ruchika Biswas CA
  • Sambhav Gupta CA
  • Timor Averbuch CA
  • Violetta Dabros CA
  • Jingyang Ye CA
  • Anish Jampana CA
  • Elio Lin CA
  • Nan Kang CA
  • Adnan Noorullah CA
  • Yousef Dardir CA
  • Zhengqi Hou CA
  • Rachel Huang CA
  • Atharva Jain CA
  • Zhao Li CA
  • Victor Lu CA
  • Nisha Prasad CA
  • Boyao Wang CA
  • Encheng Xie CA

Instructional Content

The course will be taught using online lectures along with additional reading materials. Everything you need to attend, read or watch will be linked on the Lectures page.


  • Live discussion on Zoom will be held Tu at 11am Central Time.


  • If you do miss the occasional discussion…no worries. The lectures will be recorded and available on the Lectures page.

Development Resources

You will need to have access to a computer capable of running Unreal Engine.

  • You can test your computer by downloading and installing Unreal vesion 5.X from here
  • You should choose the publishing license.

If your computer is not capable of running Unreal, see the Resources page for ways you can find a computer on campus running Unreal Engine.


Assigned work will include 6 homework assignments, 2 exams, 2 programming assignments, and a final project.


There will be 6 short homework assignments on PrairieLearn. This homework will be based on the lecture material.

  • You should budget an hour to complete a homework assignment.
  • Each homework can be retaken as many times as you wish for full credit.
  • The homwork is open web.
  • Each homework will be available for 2 weeks at full credit.
  • After that week, the homework can be submitted for half credit.


There will be two exams. They will:

  • Be on PrairieLearn
  • Be very much like the homework…sometimes will even have the same questions!
  • Have a strict time limit of an hour
  • Will be scheduled for a morning and evening (conflict) session on the exam date.
  • Are open web
  • The questions are randomized…no two exams will be the same.
  • You should not collaborate or share information about the exams.
    The sanction for doing so will be failure in the course

The exam dates will be March 5 and April 30

The exams are not meant to be difficult…do the homework to prepare and you will be fine.
There’s really no need to cheat.

Programming Assignments

There will be 2 machine problems (MPs) that will serve as an introduction to Unreal. You will use Unreal 5 and Blueprints to implement the MPs.


The course project will be team-based with teams of 3 to 5 people working on a project. You will have a choice of what to implement, but your proposed project is expected to be related to game development in some way…typically it should be a game. The grading citeria and development process are described on the Project page.

4 Credit Option

Students taking the course for 4 credits will complete the following additional work:

  1. Watch a set of pre-recorded lectures on Virtual Reality
  2. Complete 2 additional homework assignments on PrairieLearn
  3. Complete 1 additional programming assignment focused on Virtual or Augmented Reality

The Material on VR will start being available during week 3

The additional programming assignment is typically a VR game, but you can propose your own project instead. Any proposal will need to be reviewed by the course staff and you will be notfied if it acceptable. Full details of the procedure will be available on the Assignments page when the assignment is released.


We will post grades on Canvas.

We weight grades as follows:

  3 credits 4 credits
MP 1 10% 5%
MP 2 15% 10%
Homework 15% 5%
Exams 24% 24%
Project 36% 36%
4 Credit Homework NA 5%
4 Credit MPs NA 15%

The course grade cutoffs can be expected to be:

Percentage lower bound Grade
93% A
90% A-
87% B+
83% B
80% B-
77% C+
73% C
70% C-
67% D+
63% D
60% D-
0% F

How to get an A+

To earn an A+, you must earn an A numerically and do something that stands out as exceptional to the course staff. For example, you could do an exceptional job at answering questions on Campuswire or you could do a great job at asking good questions on Campuswire or your submitted game could truly exceptional in terms of creativity or gameplay.

Extra Credit

We will have 2 guest lectures this semester, attendance on zoom during these lectures is worth 0.25% of the total course grade. If you have a time conflict which can be verified (e.g. you have another class at the same time), you will be given an alternative option for obtaining the extra credit.

Mental Health

Diminished mental health, including significant stress, mood changes, excessive worry, substance/alcohol abuse, or problems with eating and/or sleeping can interfere with optimal academic performance, social development, and emotional wellbeing. The University of Illinois offers a variety of confidential services including individual and group counseling, crisis intervention, psychiatric services, and specialized screenings at no additional cost. If you or someone you know experiences any of the above mental health concerns, it is strongly encouraged to contact or visit any of the University’s resources provided below. Getting help is a smart and courageous thing to do – for yourself and for those who care about you.

Counseling Center: 217-333-3704, 610 East John Street Champaign, IL 61820 McKinley Health Center:217-333-2700, 1109 South Lincoln Avenue, Urbana, Illinois 61801

Statement on anti-racism and inclusivity

The intent of this section is to raise student and instructor awareness of the ongoing threat of bias and racism and of the need to take personal responsibility in creating an inclusive learning environment.

The Grainger College of Engineering is committed to the creation of an anti-racist, inclusive community that welcomes diversity along a number of dimensions, including, but not limited to, race, ethnicity and national origins, gender and gender identity, sexuality, disability status, class, age, or religious beliefs. The College recognizes that we are learning together in the midst of the Black Lives Matter movement, that Black, Hispanic, and Indigenous voices and contributions have largely either been excluded from, or not recognized in, science and engineering, and that both overt racism and micro-aggressions threaten the well-being of our students and our university community.

The effectiveness of this course is dependent upon each of us to create a safe and encouraging learning environment that allows for the open exchange of ideas while also ensuring equitable opportunities and respect for all of us. Everyone is expected to help establish and maintain an environment where students, staff, and faculty can contribute without fear of personal ridicule, or intolerant or offensive language. If you witness or experience racism, discrimination, micro-aggressions, or other offensive behavior, you are encouraged to bring this to the attention of the course director if you feel comfortable. You can also report these behaviors to the Bias Assessment and Response Team (BART) (https://bart.illinois.edu/). Based on your report, BART members will follow up and reach out to students to make sure they have the support they need to be healthy and safe. If the reported behavior also violates university policy, staff in the Office for Student Conflict Resolution may respond as well and will take appropriate action.

Statement on CS CARES and CS Values and Code of Conduct (Approved by CS CARES Committee, January 13, 2022)

All members of the Illinois Computer Science department - faculty, staff, and students - are expected to adhere to the CS Values and Code of Conduct. The CS CARES Committee is available to serve as a resource to help people who are concerned about or experience a potential violation of the Code. If you experience such issues, please contact the CS CARES Committee. The Instructors of this course are also available for issues related to this class.