Exam in a new format: TSU students are creating computer games

Students of the Software Engineering bachelor's program of the Higher IT School (HITs) have completed the first academic year of the program’s existence. 42 bachelor's students, 12 of whom are international students, created their own computer games during the final unit, and they passed their programming exam in this format.

Software engineers were first admitted in 2017 to the program, whose main principle is that modern software engineers are developing if they solve real problems in a modern IT environment.

- If you look at professional training, then in one year our students have overcome the path from “Hello, world!” to the development of neural networks and genetic algorithms - said Professor Oleg Zmeev, Vice-Rector for IT Development and head of the Department of Software Engineering.

Disciplines in the program are built in the program unit format - four in each semester. The emphasis in developing courses is on practical work. For example, in the course on programming in the second semester, students encountered algorithms of applied mathematics and intellectual systems, examined those that are the basis of Yandex and Google, and developed mobile applications and computer games.

- This year, as the final program unit, our students created computer games from scratch, - says Denis Zmeev, Assistant of the Department of Software Engineering. - This project is creative, without strictly fixed requirements and terms of reference, except for the time limit, which is one month. In the initial stages, when the ideas of the games were discussed, our teachers worked with the students, but the technical difficulties were solved by the students themselves.

As a result, the freshmen divided into teams, independently chose the format of a game, and created full-fledged projects. Among the best is a fighting game, which was presented by Denis Sharapov, Igor Romin, and Vladimir Melnikov. It focuses on smartphones: instead of keys on the joystick or keyboard, they used a phone that responds to movements and the character moves with them.

- It's great that in the last month of study, we were given the opportunity to develop games. On one hand, we learned to program, solve nonstandard problems, and organize work in a team. At the same time, we could relax a little from strict rules, give freedom to creativity, and do things that many who go into programming would in the depths of their heart like to deal with, - Denis Sharapov shares his impressions. - Since it had not been necessary to work with such mechanics before, there were difficulties with the technical part, with using the phone as a controller and making a game on the network, because it involves two players-rivals. But with the team, we worked well, so in the end we got a pretty interesting demo of the game.

The games created were assessed not only by the teachers but also by the students: they gave likes, which were later converted into a final grade for the module.

In the second year, in the innovative module, HITs students will have the opportunity to continue working on their projects.

- Our program is based on the students’ solving professional tasks and problems, with access to all the tools that a modern programmer has,- says Denis Zmeev. - As a result of this year, they really learned to deal with new and unknown topics and overcome new difficulties for themselves, without waiting for help or prompts.