CS 491 -- CS Skills for Simulation and Game Programming

Fall Quarter 2018


Handouts Classes Grades VHR Piazza

This page was last updated: November 30, 2018


What We Will Be Doing (and Not Doing) This Quarter

This is not a game-design course. It is also not a game-creation course. We will not be creating any games. Game and simulation programming is very much a data-, math-, and physics-intensive activity. A certain number of actions must be produced, and producing them by hand is hard. Also, producing them by hand often leads to sucky-looking content.

It's much easier, and produces better-looking results, if we can convince the computer to do the right things for us. But, it takes special knowledge to do that.

That's why you are here. This is a middleware CS course that will fill in many of those special knowledge missing pieces.

Even if you aren't looking for a job in one of these fields, you will likely find these varied topics useful and enjoyable anyway.

CS 491 topics include:

By the way, this is only a little bit a computer graphics course. We will not be writing graphics programs, but you will sometimes be given graphics program skeletons to test your coding. If you want computer graphics, either in addition to this course or instead of, CS 450 is the class you want.

If you need a place to do your programming assignments, you can get access to the graphics systems in OSU's Computer Graphics Education Lab (CGEL) in Batcheller Hall 244.


Yes, we will be using calculus!


The class is being taught by Professor Mike Bailey.

Office: Kelley 2117 (2nd floor, south side)
E-mail: mjb@cs.oregonstate.edu
Phone: 541-737-2542


Our TA for this class is Ghadeer Al Kubaish, alkubaig@oregonstate.edu . She took this class before and smoked it. We are lucky to have her this year!

The Virtual Hand Raise (VHR)

I recognize that it takes a certain amount of courage to ask a question or express an opinion in class. But, the worst thing of all is to not say anything! So, this class has a feature called the Virtual Hand Raise. Click here to get into it. It will allow you to send me a question or comment, completely anonymously. I will answer questions submitted this way at the start of the next class, or if it's urgent, I will email to the entire class.


There will be no purchased textbook for this class. Instead, the material will consist of my notes and web pages.

Warning! Warning! Warning! Just because you have notes doesn't mean you can skip class! The notes are just enough so that you can listen and discuss more, and write less. They are not meant to be complete. We will add to them in class! Tests will include material not written in the notes, but covered in class.

Every year, some people get an embarassingly bad grade in this class because they don't come to class. That is especially sad for those who envision a career in the gaming world, as this is our only CS class with the actual word "Game" in the title.

Class Note Handouts

Most notes are given in one, two, four, or six slides per page formats. This is so that you can make the readability vs. print-pages trade-off yourself.

2016 Game Career Guide PDF      
The Premise Behind CS 491 Topics PDF      
Parametric Lines 1pp 2pp 4pp 6pp
Vectors 1pp 2pp 4pp 6pp
GLM 1pp 2pp 4pp 6pp
A short GLM primer Here      
Matrices 1pp 2pp 4pp 6pp
Transformations 1pp 2pp 4pp 6pp
Forward Kinematics 1pp 2pp 4pp 6pp
Kinematic Physics 1pp 2pp 4pp 6pp
Newton's Method 1pp 2pp 4pp 6pp
Inverse Kinematics 1pp 2pp 4pp 6pp
Particle Systems 1pp 2pp 4pp 6pp
Keyframe Animation 1pp 2pp 4pp 6pp
Dynamic Physics 1pp 2pp 4pp 6pp
Collision Avoidance 1pp 2pp 4pp 6pp
Meshes of Springs 1pp 2pp 4pp 6pp
Collision Physics 1pp 2pp 4pp 6pp
Collision Detection 1pp 2pp 4pp 6pp
More Information PDF      

Guest Speaker Note Handouts


Class Schedule

To see an academic year calendar, click here.

Class time is: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 9:00 - 9:50. Unless otherwise specified, all classes will be held in Weniger 149.

Cancelled dates: Oct 24, Oct 26, Nov 12, Nov 21, Nov 23

Note: this schedule is my best guess on where we'll be -- it is only approximate.

1 Sept 21 Introductions. Discussion of class objectives and how we will go about it.
Project #1.
Using the parametric line equation.
2 Sept 24 Vectors, I
Project #1
3 Sept 26 Vectors, II
Here is a short GLM primer
4 Sept 28 Matrices
Project #2
5 Oct 1 Transformation matrices
Project #2
6 Oct 3 Forward Kinematics
7 Oct 5 Kinematic acceleration physics -- projectile motion
8 Oct 8 Kinematic acceleration physics, II
9 Oct 10 Solving nonlinear equations -- Newton's Method
10 Oct 12 Inverse Kinematics
11 Oct 15 Test #1 review.
Inverse Kinematics, II
The Networking Night is tomorrow tonight!
12 Oct 17 Dan White, Pipeworks, speaking on:
"Engineering at a Games Company: What do we do?"
The Engineering Career Fair is today!
13 Oct 19 Particle systems
14 Oct 22 Test #1
15 Oct 24 Prof. Bailey out of town -- no class today
16 Oct 26 Prof. Bailey out of town -- no class today
17 Oct 29 Brian Apgar, Zynga-Eugene, speaking on:
How Running A Live Game Impacts Your Code
18 Oct 31 Particle Systems
Keyframe Animation
19 Nov 2 Go over test answers
Keyframe Animation
20 Nov 5 Mechanical dynamics
21 Nov 7 Mechanical dynamics
22 Nov 9 Functional Animation, Collision Avoidance
23 Nov 12 OSU Veterans Day observance -- no class today
24 Nov 14 Meshes of Springs
25 Nov 16 Meshes of Springs
26 Nov 19 Thanksgiving Holiday -- no class today
27 Nov 21 Thanksgiving Holiday -- no class today
28 Nov 23 Thanksgiving Holiday -- no class today
29 Nov 26 Collision Physics
30 Nov 28 Test #2 review.
Collision Detection
31 Nov 30 Class Evaluations.
Where to find More Information.
T2 Dec 3 Test #2 Monday, December 3, 2:00 - 3:30.
(You can confirm this for yourself by going here.)


Project # Points Title Due Date
1 60 Using GLM to manipulate 3D Vectors October 5
2 80 Using GLM to Manipulate Matrices and Transformations October 15
3 100 Forward Kinematics October 22
4 100 Collisions and Bouncing November 5
5 100 Particle system November 14
6 100 Keyframe Animation November 21
7 100 Mesh of Springs December 5

Projects are due at 23:59:59 on the listed due date.

Life Events

As {John Lennon? Allen Saunders?} has said: "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans". I care about you as a person. When life happens to you, send me an email and come see me. I might be able to help, I might not. But I surely can listen. You are not alone.

And, Speaking of Having Some Control Over Your Life Events: Bonus Days and Late Assignments

"I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make when they fly by."
-- Douglas Adams

Each of you has been granted five Bonus Days, which are no-questions-asked one-day extensions which may be applied to any project, subject to the following rules:

  1. Up to 2 Bonus Days may be applied to any one project
  2. Bonus Days cannot be applied to tests
  3. Bonus Days cannot be applied such that they extend a project past the start of Test #2 during Finals Week

Click here to get a copy of the Bonus Day Submission Form. Fill this out and turn it in the next class period after turning in your project.

Project Turn-In Procedures


Grades will be posted through this web page. To protect your privacy, they will be posted by your alias that you give me in Project #1.

Click here to see the current grade posting. CS 491 will be graded on a fill-the-bucket basis. There will be 7 projects, 10 quizzes (weeks 0-8, 10), and two tests. You get to keep all the points you earn.
The quizzes will be done via Canvas. They will open each Friday morning at 10:00 AM and close Sunday night at 23:59:00. Canvas is very unforgiving about due times -- don't push it.

... with the exception of Weeks #0 and #9:

Quiz #0 is due to me by 4:00 PM on Friday, September 28. Fortunately, it is not too hard:

  1. Get a 3"x5" index card (I'll give you one the first day of class).
  2. Print your name neatly at the top (holding the card horizontally).
  3. Print the course number (CS 491) neatly next to your name.
  4. Also, printing neatly, tell me why you are taking this class. What do you hope to get out of being here?
  5. Be honest -- no sucking up!
  6. Bring the card to my office (Kelley 2117: second floor, south side) sometime when I am there. (Don't throw it under the door.)

If you are taking both of my classes this quarter, please fill out an index card for each.

There is no quiz for Week #9 (the week of Thanksgiving).

There are 2 Guest Speakers, and you get 5 points each for attending their lectures.

Your final grade will be based on your overall class point total. Based on an available point total of 950 grade cutoffs will be no higher than:

Points Grade
900 B+
850 C+
800 C-
775 D+

You will notice that these cut-offs are not 90-80-70-... This is because I am going to do a "soft-grade" on your programming projects, i.e., if it works, you get full credit. A "hard-grade" would look at your programming style, etc., which would allow more of a traditional grading scale.

Class Rules

Students With Disabilities

Accommodations for students with disabilities are determined and approved by Disability Access Services (DAS). If you, as a student, believe you are eligible for accommodations but have not obtained approval please contact DAS immediately at 541-737-4098 or at http://ds.oregonstate.edu. DAS notifies students and faculty members of approved academic accommodations and coordinates implementation of those accommodations. While not required, students and faculty members are encouraged to discuss details of the implementation of individual accommodations.

Religious Holidays

Oregon State University strives to respect all religious practices. If you have religious holidays that are in conflict with any of the requirements of this class, please see me immediately so that we can make alternative arrangements.

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