In 2017 the students did several computer graphics and game development related theses in the Institute of Computer Science, University of Tartu. The topics vary from game development to user interface design. Many of them were improved during the Computer Graphics Project course. This year we also had the Computer Game Development and Design course accompanyng the regular Computer Graphics and Programming Patterns in Computer Games courses.
Of the 6 theses, the first 3 are in Estonian and the rest are in English.
Algorithm for Portals Between Environments and Using it in a Computer Game by Kalle Ever
Mr Ever has created a really cool puzzle platformer game for his Bachelor’s thesis. The game’s unique value is the use of portals, which lead to different environments. There are 5 different environments designed: Reality A, Reality B, 0g, Slow Reality and Alive Reality. The thesis describes the design choices for each of them. Using different realities and a portal device, the players can solve 27 different puzzles to progress. The puzzles include buttons for opening doors, boxes to place on the buttons and also several types of traps to avoid. During the thesis work Mr Ever tested his game on several players and improved the mechanics. The game can be downloaded together with his thesis and includes about 1.5h of play time. You can also check out the development log from his Computer Graphics Project page.
Impossible Geometry in a Node-Based World by Ivo Voika
In this thesis the concept of impossible geometry is explored. Mr Voika describes for example the Penrose staircase and games like Echochrome, which makes use of the impossible geometry as a game mechanic. The majority of his thesis describes how to implement impossible geometries using a node-based approach to describe the game world. Graphs are shown that illustrate 3 different types of impossible geometries: shortcuts between areas, endless corridors and overlaping rooms. All of those are also implemented by Mr Voika in the program accompanying the thesis. Several design and implementation restrictions are described for those who want to create such worlds. Also each impossible geometry type features descriptions of possible game mechanic designs proposed by Mr Voika.
Creating an Artificial Intelligence for a Turn-Based Strategy Game L-put by Mattias Lass
Turn-based strategy games are potential area of use for artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms. In his Bachelor’s thesis Mr Lass has created a small turn-based strategy game – L-put. The game features mechanics similar to that of Heroes of Might and Magic games. The game map is composed of hexagonal grid and in the thesis two possible coordinate systems are described for creating a game on such a structure. Both of the coordinate systems have pros and cons, which are explained in the thesis. After that Mr Lass proceeds to trying out different AI algorithms for creating a computer-controlled enemy to play against the human players. Min-max, alpha-beta pruning and the Monte Carlo algorithms are tested and the results described.
Virtual Reality Game Design Analysis Based on Tribocalypse VR by Jens-Stefan Mikson
Mr Mikson has lead a 14-member development team in the course 6 months in order to create a virtual reality (VR) game Tribocalypse VR. The thesis describes many of the unique challenges of VR and game development for the HTC Vive platform. As the fields are relatively new, Mr Mikson’s thesis provides a very beneficial analysis for anyone aiming to develop a VR game. Important game development areas like environment and level design, user interface and interactable items are explored. Different features and solutions in those areas are analyzed with the important concepts of immersion and clarity. Mr Mikson was in an unique position to tackle the described design problems with his team and the thesis can now serve as a guide for all VR developers (incl Mr Mikson and his team) in the future.
EyeTal – A Fully Eye-Controlled Map Editor by Mark Laane
In this Master’s thesis Mr Laane has created a user interface, which is 100% controlled by the user’s eye gaze. While partially eye-controlled interfaces have been made in the past, creating a fully eye-controlled interface is a novel and challenging goal. The actual solution has restricted access because the application was made for AS Datel and includes trade secrets. Still you can read about the eye tracking and it’s challenges from the first chapters of Mr Laane’s thesis. Furthermore you can follow Mr Laane’s progress for creating a general open-source framework for eye-controllable GUI from his Computer Graphics Project page.
Introductory Game Development and Programming Course Materials by Jaan Janno
Teaching introductory game development and programming in an online course can be difficult. In this Master’s thesis the Let’s Make Computer Games (Teeme ise arvutimänge) e-course is improved. The thesis starts by describing the current learning materials, which have been used to teach game development to thousands of Estonian secondary school students across the country. Next Mr Janno has identified several shortcomings and problems with those materials. For example the use of outdated software or the lack of computer graphics content. Then a number of solutions have been considered and taken into use. The bulk of the work includes 35 new educational videos, which include additional topics like the game loop and update patterns. Mr Janno also created several more engaging exercises. One of which has the pupil implement an adventure game with choices and images. The quality of the materials and the revisions is also assessed in the thesis.