Due: Fri 26-Nov at 10:00pm (no late submissions accepted)
Note: this is a long document. But: you really need to read all of it, very carefully, before starting any of it. You are about to invest serious effort creating the capstone project for this course. You need to take the time to carefully read and understand everything in this document before you get started.
Also, this project is meant to be educational but also good fun. Enjoy, and work hard!!!
Your task is to design and implement a program of your choosing. Your project may be graphical, text-based, or even file-based. It may be a game, or a math or science application, or a baseball statistics package, or a productivity application (think Word or Excel, only very “lite” versions), or a shell script, or anything else you choose. This is a wide open assignment, and you are expected to be creative in your approach to it.
Each of you will have a Mentor CA for your term project. While every staff member is happy to help you at any time, it is expected that your Mentor CA will provide most of your support and guidance during the course of your term project. You are encouraged to discuss your project with your Mentor CA during the last weeks of the semester, so you know where you stand and what additional work may be required to improve your grade.
You have an extended period to finish this assignment, with no other required assignments during the last three weeks. You are expected to invest at least 32 total hours into this project in this time, and it is further expected that your project will clearly reflect the quantity and quality of design and craftsmanship that goes along with that much time on this task. Many of you will exceed the 30-hour bar, but this is a minimum expectation for passing the term project.
The term project is very open-ended, but there are a few restrictions:
Many events happen during Term Project Season! This is your guide to all of them.
Sun 7-Nov - Mon 8-Nov: Meet with your mentor for TP0. In this meeting you will discuss your final TP idea with your mentor, and they will either approve the idea or suggest how to change it to make it feasible. If necessary, they will also assign you a tech demo. This meeting is very important- do not miss it!! If you miss your TP0 meeting, you will receive a 2.5 point penalty on your final term project score.
Thu 11-Nov: If you were assigned a tech demo, your tech demo needed to be presented to your mentor by this day; if you fail the tech demo, you will need to restructure your project to work without the tech.
Last Week 13/Week 14
Fri 26-Nov 10:00pm: Submit the TP3 deliverable on Gradescope. TP3 should be your completed final project, including a readme file, a video demo, and all design files related to the project.
Sat 27-Nov before 12:00pm (noon): Meet with your mentor for your TP3 live demo. You may only present work that was completed before the TP3 deliverable deadline. Note that the TP3 meeting is very important, as it is where your mentor will decide what your grade should look like. Your mentor will send an email with sign-ups for time slots. Your demonstration should take no more than five minutes so that your mentor has adequate time to ask you questions. This meeting is your chance to make sure your mentor understands the project so that they can explain it to the course staff during grading.
Sat 27-Nov 5:00pm - Sun 28-Nov 8:00am: Keep an eye on your email inbox; sometime in this period, we’ll email a select few students and ask them to present at the Term Project Showcase the next day. You are not required to present, but it is highly encouraged.
Sun 28-Nov 2:30pm: Attend the Term Project Showcase in class and watch demos of amazing projects by your fellow students!
Throughout this document you’ll find references to Minimum Viable Project (MVP). Minimum Viable Project is that state you need to get your project to by TP2. An MVP has all of the basic features of the project, is mostly bug free, and has a usable interface. Assuming your project is sufficiently complex, an MVP project is worth 70% of the TP3 points. To get higher than this, we’re looking for additional features and polish above and beyond the basics.
What sort of things are we looking for to go beyond the basics?
Remember: Your goal is to get to MVP by TP2. It would be wise to focus on your core experience before striving for advanced features. A non-functional project that tried to do lots of things will not receive an MVP score. After you’ve reached MVP, then spend time on the advanced features to further raise your score.
The term project is different from the other assignments and exams in 15-112. Therefore, it has its own special set of policies and rules. Note that the main course policies still apply, unless they are overruled by the policies described here.
Collaboration: This project is solo, in that every student must do their own independent project. However, unlike other solo assignments, you may be richly collaborative in terms of helping each other, including viewing other students’ code to help them debug, openly discussing designs and algorithms, etc. Using resources wisely is an important aspect of this term project. However, you still must conceive and understand your entire design of your project, and you must personally write every line of code that you submit for credit.
Office Hours and Piazza: TAs and the instructor will still provide help, but they will not know precisely how your term project works, so you will need to be prepared to ask specific questions. During Term Project season, you may also ask public questions on Piazza and respond to other students’ questions, so that students with module-specific problems can help each other out.
Online Resources: You may use any materials whatsoever, including source code, designs, images, text, sounds, or anything else, from any sources you may discover online. However, you must very clearly cite each such use, so it is very clear what is yours and what is not, and in the latter case where the materials came from. We will grade you only on your original contributions, and we will penalize use of external materials without citation. Note that you must also clearly cite code that comes from the course notes! Non-cited external code will receive a penalty on TP1, a severe penalty on TP2, and will be investigated as potential cheating cases in TP3.
Prior Work: You may use code that you’ve written for past assignments this semester, or code that you’ve written for projects outside of this course, but you must clearly cite this code as having been written for a different purpose. We will only grade you on code developed specifically for the term project. Additionally, all term project code must be completed within the current semester.
Weekly Meetings: You’ll have weekly meetings with your mentor to demonstrate the progress you’ve made and to receive advice. These meetings will be quick (often only ten minutes), but should greatly help you in making progress in the project. We expect you to treat your mentor with respect by responding promptly to scheduling emails, arriving at meetings on time, and never missing scheduled meetings. There will be point deductions when you miss meetings.
Data Backup Plan: You must have a plan (and implement it!) for backing up your project as you work. Computers die, often at very inconvenient times. If your only copy of your project is on your laptop, and your laptop breaks, then you have lost everything. The prevent this, you should be backing up your project frequently. We recommend that you use a tool like Dropbox or Google Drive (with their desktop clients) to automatically backup your project as you work. If you are unable to submit your project because you lost everything, you will receive a 0. So make sure you backup your project!
Submission: You will submit each deliverable as a zip file on Gradescope. If you don’t know how to zip a file, learn how here. Please note that Gradescope will not accept submissions larger than 10 MB. If your zip file is larger than this, submit the core part of your project to Gradescope, and submit the rest to your mentor via some other means (Google Drive, USB drive, email, etc).
Extensions: We generally do not allow students to submit the deliverables late, and you may not use grace days on the term project deliverables. That having been said, if you have a medical or personal/family emergency, email the instructor to see if an extension can be arranged.
Your project idea may be helped my using external Python modules that have advanced functionality. You are not required to use an external module in your project.
Over the years, 112 students have used a number of external Python modules to help them with their projects. Here are some modules and initial information about how to use them:
|A module designed to help you make games. Lots of online resources, and fairly easy to use.
|Playing audio, like music and sound effects.
|Produce 3D graphics.
|Computer Vision. Helps to detect things in a camera view, such as faces and hands.
|How to write basic networking code. The most likely use of this is for a multiplayer game that is playable over the internet.
|Machine learning. Train the computer to recognize and identify things.
If you do wish to use a module, you will need to pass a tech demo first. Check the schedule for details of the timing of this. A tech demo is where you use the module you are interested and demonstrate that you understand how to use the basic functionality. This is not simply a matter of you getting tutorial code from the internet to run. This is you demonstrating that you can produce your own functional code that makes substantial use of the module. If you are unable to complete an adequate tech demo before the tech demo deadline, then you will not be permitted to use the module in your project.
You will have 3 weekly deliverables for this term project, each graded separately.
Grading will be done in person with your mentor, though they will not assign you a number grade until after consulting with the course staff after the meeting. Each of the deliverables comes with a rubric, but these rubrics are fairly general, as projects vary so widely. In general, we expect a large amount of effort to go into the design, writeup, implementation, and presentation of your project.
The TP1 deliverable consists of two main components: a design proposal and preliminary code. You should finish these components before meeting with your mentor, so that you can present them to your mentor in full. You can submit all the required files within a single zip file on Gradescope, under the TP1 assignment. If your file is larger than 10MB, read here for info on how to submit.
Project Description: The name of the term project and a short description of what it will be.
Competitive Analysis: A 1-2 paragraph analysis of similar projects you’ve seen online, and how your project will be similar or different to those.
Structural Plan: A structural plan for how the finalized project will be organized in different functions, files and/or objects.
Algorithmic Plan: A detailed algorithmic plan for how you will approach the trickiest part of the project.
Timeline Plan: A timeline for when you intend to complete the major features of the project.
Version Control Plan: A short description and image demonstrating how you are using version control to back up your code. You must back up your code somehow!!!
Module List: A list of all external modules/hardware/technologies you are planning to use in your project. Note that any such modules must be approved by a tech demo. If you are not planning to use any additional modules, that’s okay, just say so.
Preliminary Code [3 pts]
In addition to the design proposal, you should also submit code artifacts showing some early work on the project. This does not need to be a working demo; it should just be a real start towards solving the core problems of your project. For most students, 200-400 lines of decent code would indicate a good start.
TP0 Meeting [0 pts]
You’ll meet with your mentor to finalize your idea. If you miss this meeting, you will be penalized 2.5 points.
TP1 Meeting [0 pts]
You’ll meet with your mentor to check in and demonstrate what you’ve accomplished so far. If you miss this meeting, you will be penalized 2.5 points.
Your TP2 deliverable consists of two components: a working demo and updated design docs. You should submit all the files in a single zip file to Gradescope, this time under TP2. If your file is larger than 10MB, read here for info on how to submit.
Working Demo [5 pts]
At this point, you should have a working demo of your project that meets your project’s version of MVP (Minimal Viable Project). This generally requires that the core features of the project should almost all be implemented such that they more or less work. The code may be missing features, it may have a less-than-polished user interface, it may have bugs, it may even crash more often than desired, but it has to basically work for some reasonable definition of “work”. A project that reaches MVP status is guaranteed to get 70% of the “Project Codebase” points from TP3 next week
TP2 Meeting [0 pts]
You’ll meet with your mentor to check in and demonstrate what you’ve accomplished so far. If you miss this meeting, you will be penalized 2.5 points.
Updated Design Docs [0 pts]
Many students update their design plans due to unforeseen problems or new ideas. You must add a new section to your design proposal, ‘TP2 Update’; in this section, you should list any design changes you have made. If you made no changes, simply say so in this section. If you do not add this update section, you will be penalized 5 points.
Timesheet [0 pts]
Fill out another timesheet to include the hours worked in the period between TP1 and TP2. If you do not fill this out, you will be penalized 1 point.
TP3 is your final term project deliverable, and should be your completed term project. The main deliverables are the project codebase and source files, a readme file, a demo video, and your updated design docs. Place all of your files into a single zip file and submit on Gradescope, under TP3. If your file is larger than 10MB, read here for info on how to submit.
Project Codebase [85 pts]
The codebase should include all your python files and any other files (images, music files, etc.) required to help your project run. Your project should run robustly, should be algorithmically complex, and should have decent user experience. It may also have a well-designed user interface, depending on the project.
When grading your project code, we also consider effort. The term project should take up the majority of your 15-112 time in the last three weeks of the semester. The class is 12 units, which means 12 hours a week or 36 hours in three weeks; after subtracting 4 hours (for three additional lectures), this leaves 32 hours which you should spend on the term project. This means you need to spend at least 10 hours a week. Spending this time and showing real effort and progress in mentor meetings will factor into your score.
A short description of the project’s name and what it does. This may be taken from your design docs.
How to run the project. For example, which file the user should run in an editor. If your project uses data/source files, also describe how the user should set those up.
How to install any needed libraries. If you can include the library in the submission, that is preferred.
A list of any shortcut commands that exist. Shortcut commands can be used to demonstrate specific features by skipping forward in a game or loading sample data. They’re useful for when you’re testing your code too!
A competent programmer should be able to run your project after reading the readme file, so make sure to include all necessary files in your submission!
If you do not include a correct Readme file, we will deduct up to 5 points.
Project Demo [5 pts]
There are two parts to the project demo: the video demo and the live demo.
The quality of the video and audio does not need to meet any particular standard (as long as it meets YOUR standards such that you’d be happy to include it in your own portfolio). Feel free to use a video camera or a screen capture program to record: Zoom, Quicktime, Jing, and Screencast-o-Matic, OBS Studio are all good and free options. Parts of your video are very likely to appear in the TP Lightning Round video.
Design and Documentation [0 pts]
Your submission should include the design directory from the previous deliverables. The proposal should have a new section, ‘TP3 Update’, which includes any design modifications made since the previous update (or says that no changes were made if no changes were made). You will not be penalized if this section is not included, but it may negatively impact your mentor’s ability to grade your project, as they may not be aware of new features you’ve added.
Timesheet [0 pts]
Fill out one final timesheet to include the hours worked between TP2 and TP3. We will not apply a deduction to your grade if you forget to fill out this timesheet, but we will withhold your TP3 grade until you do so.