CMU 15-112 Fall 2017: Fundamentals of Programming and Computer Science
Lab 11 (Due Friday 10-Nov, at 10pm)

  1. Group Form [5 pts]:
    Fill out one form found here. This is due Friday by 11:59pm. Even if you work on the lab alone (which you shouldn't do), you should still fill out the form, and simply enter your name without any partner scores.

    If you need a new group, fill out this form to be assigned to one.

  2. Term Project Mentor Selection [5 pts]:
    Fill out the form found here to register your top three choices for Term Project mentors. We will use your ranking when we assign mentors on Monday. This is due Friday by 11:59pm.

  3. Competitive Analysis of Breakout [45 pts] [manually graded]:
    In this assignment, you'll practice project design by pretending to be a developer who wants to make a brand-new version of the game Breakout. As a first step, complete a competitive analysis of Breakout by identifying 3 variations on the game (online, on mobile devices, or on game systems) and completing the following steps:

    1. Describe the planned project [5 pts]
      Briefly describe the project you're planning to work on (in this case, the game Breakout). What is the goal of the game? What are its main features?

    2. Evaluate the competition [15 pts]
      Identify 3 similar projects that already exist. For each competitor project, write a few sentences that describe what the project provides to the user and what makes the project unique.

    3. Identify Dimensions for Comparison [10 pts]
      Come up with a list of at least five attributes or features that you want to compare between the competitor projects. These dimensions should be user focused (i.e., something that the user can directly observe or experience). For each dimension (rank ordered from most to least important), provide both the dimension name and why the dimension is important.

    4. Generate a Comparison Table [10 pts]
      Create a table where each row is associated with a competitor and each column is associated with a dimension. Fill in the table based on how well each competitor fulfills each dimension. This can be a numerical ranking (1-10) or a more qualitative ranking (bad, average, good).

    5. Summarize your findings [5 pts]
      Using the results from your comparison, provide a summary of your findings. You should concentrate on the features that your project will need to be competitive, and any identified gaps that your project can take advantage of.

    You may start with the Competitive Analysis template if you'd like, though this is not required. Your work should be submitted as a PDF file.

  4. Storyboarding of Breakout [45 pts] [manually graded]:
    In the second stage of your design practice, you'll create a storyboard of the intended user experience of your Breakout game based on the summary from the Competitive Analysis. This storyboard should focus on the identified feature that would make the new version of Breakout competitive.

    We will not grade you on the quality of your drawing (though we do require that the drawings be legible). Instead, we will check for:

    • A clear story throughout the panels [10 pts]
      The panels should summarize a user experience that begins with the user in one state and ends with their state having changed. There should be continuity between panels, so that they can be strung together to read like a story.

    • At least two panels describing the user's context [10 pts]
      The first panel should help the reader see who the user is and what context they're playing the game in. The last panel should demonstrate what the user's reaction to the game is.

    • At least three panels showcasing the game's user experience [15 pts]
      The middle panels should demonstrate the main features of the game, including at least one feature (identified in the competitive analysis) that sets the game apart from the competition. There should be at least one example of how a user's action changes the game state in the panels.

    • Captions on each panel with text that adds to the story being told [10 pts]
      You should be able to understand the core story of the storyboard without the captions, but the captions may add additional nuance to what's happening in the game. Captions should be short and to the point.

    You should draw your storyboard either on paper or on a tablet. Either way, you should submit your work as a PDF file. Please make sure your submission is clearly visible and legible! You may start from the Storyboarding template if you'd like, though this is not required.