/ Jana Völker

The Programming Project - like jumping into cold water


View over the Rhine to the old university in the 80s pixel art style. Screenshot of the game “Deadline Escape” by Daniel Niu, Lukas Vogel, Sebastian Lukas and Rasmus Willi

Strategy, teamwork, collecting points, being one step ahead all the time, or simply being able to cheat cleverly - doesn't every game teach us a few skills on the way to victory...?

What is the programming project all about?

For more than 10 years, students have been designing and developing a computer game in client/server architecture as part of the lecture "cs108 Programmierporjekt". The project is divided into different milestones that the students must reach. No matter whether you want to work out a completely new idea or are a fan of classics such as card games, strategy games, jump and run, or quiz games - everything is possible. In small groups, students program their execution of a new or existing game. They are supported by tutors according to the motto: As much as necessary, as little as possible. "To a certain extent, we have the students jump into the cold water, but we also give them the tools to swim." says Prof. Heiko Schuldt, who heads the programming project.

At the latest during the final presentation, it becomes clear: The programming project is not just about developing a game! Working together, the students expand their programming skills and learn many overarching skills. The programming project provides a framework in which teamwork, time management, good communication, and constructive feedback are required. «I had to make an effort to program so that others can work with my code. That was new.» it is said by a student during the final presentation of his group. "We would not have thought that test runs and troubleshooting would be such a large part of our work." adds a fellow student.

Novelty 2020 - get together in cyberspace

This time, the participants in the programming project had to overcome some extra hurdles. With the suspension of face-to-face events due to the special circumstances surrounding Covid-19 at the University of Basel in the spring semester 2020, the programming project also had to be continued online - including all group meetings and discussions with the tutors. Not only were these hurdles mastered by all students in an exemplary manner, but there was also very little fluctuation this year. "Almost all students who started the project were there until the end, despite the special circumstances" said Prof. Heiko Schuldt. "The presentation of the results at the end of the semester is a highlight every year," is said even outside of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science. It is fun to watch and sometimes there is an old favorite among the games presented, such as Wizard in a brand new Harry Potter look. The final presentation also took place online this time via Zoom.

Get credit points while still at school

At the University of Basel, it is possible to study while still at school. The credit points earned during this time - in the case of the programming project it is 6KP - can be credited as soon as the student regularly matriculates after graduation. «As a student, I had no disadvantages, if only advantages. I was very motivated because on the one hand I only had this one lecture. On the other hand, I also planned to include the programming project in my graduation work, so I was able to invest a lot of time in the project without any worries. My motivation also meant that I ended up with the largest amount of code. » says Daniel Niu, who successfully participated in the 2020 programming project while still in school.

More information about studying at the University of Basel is available here.

What's new?

Some highlights of this year's programming project can be found on the new website of the "lecture CS108 Programmierprojekt". In addition to trailers and screenshots, there is also additional information about the contributors.

If you are interested in programming and tinkering, you are welcome to join the Carolo-Cup group at the University of Basel. Bachelor students of all subjects have the opportunity to build a model car together and present the result at the Carolo-Cup in Braunschweig.