CIS4900: A Course Built Just For You

Posted on Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Written by Dan Gillis

Are you interested in game development? If so, you should probably chat with School of Computer Science undergrad Justin Carvalho. He has spent the past semester developing a simple 2D game engine that is limited only by your imagination.

Justin, a senior undergraduate student studying Computer Science, chose to explore his interests in game engines in the CIS4900 Senior Undergraduate Project course. Guided by professors Judi McCuaig, Pascal Matsakis, and Denis Nikitenko, he explored game engine history and identified the typical problems associated with game programming. Two weeks ago he presented those results and his engine to Dr. McCuaig's CIS2500 class.

"I've built a simple 2D game engine which provides an easy to use framework that wraps around SDL ( It targets game developers, preventing them from having to write troublesome, and tedious code, allowing them to focus on gameplay rather than graphics, sound, or input loading."

To ensure the engine works for all users, Justin says the engine "allows beginners to write games in less than 50 lines of code, without any dynamic memory", while at the same time providing advanced programmers "methods to extend the game engine, and customize it to their specific needs."

Justin plans to continue development on the engine.

When asked about his experience in CIS4900, Justin replied "Professors in SoCS are really supportive. If they see you are interested in something, they'll let you pursue it. I'd recommend every student seize the opportunity. I think you learn a lot more if you program something you actually want to build."

If you're interested in pursuing a project of your own, chat with a professor about the CIS4900 or CIS4910 course options.

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