Zelda: Breath of the Wild


Interactive Computer Graphics is about the techniques and technologies used to generate synthetic digital imagery in real-time. The main focus of the course will be 3D photorealistic rendering and the current rendering methods used in games and other interactive applications.

The topics we will cover include:

  • Geoemetric modeling
  • Mathematics for animation and rendering
  • Shading and programmable shaders
  • Rasterization
  • Physics simulation
  • Physically-based rendering

We will learn how to implement 3D web applications using WebGL and JavaScript. WebGL shares many of the same characteristics as Vulkan, Direct3D, and other popular low-level graphics APIs, so the skills you learn should be transferable.


We recommend the following courses and skills:

  • CS 225 - prior general programming experience
  • Math 225 or Math 415 - basic linear algebra, especially 3D transforms

Instructional Content

The course will be taught using online lectures along with suggested additional reading materials


  • You can attend live lectures at 9am Central Time on Wednesdays at this Zoom link. We will focus on actively working through problems and doing code walkthroughs. These lectures will be recorded and available on the course schedule.

  • Additional lectures will be available as asynchronous video links posted on the course schedule.

You can expect new lectures to be posted by the end of the day on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

We know attending online synchronous lectures can be difficult, so there is no required attendance. If you can attend the Wednesday lecture, please do so.


There is no book for the class. Notes and other materials will be posted online on the course schedule. We do have some suggested books:

Fundamentals of Computer Graphics 4th Edition by Steve Marschner, Peter Shirley

Fundamentals of Computer Graphics 4th Edition by Steve Marschner, Peter Shirley
Deals with the theoretical and mathematical aspects of computer graphics. Very readable.
UIUC Library E-book link

WebGL Programming Guide: Interactive 3D Graphics Programming with WebGL by Kouichi Matsuda and Rodger Lea

WebGL Programming Guide: Interactive 3D Graphics Programming with WebGL
by Kouichi Matsuda and Rodger Lea
A bit old now, but pretty easy to read with decent example code.
UIUC Library E-book link


Assigned work will include 10 quizzes, 4 programming assignments and 3 exams. there will be an additional project for students taking the course for 4 credits.

Weekly Quizes

There will be short weekly quizzes on PrairieLearn. These quizzes will be based on the lecture material and will serve as practice for the exams Each quiz can be taken repeatedly..you can retake it till you get all the questions correct

  • They are due by Friday at midnight of the following week (e.g. Quiz 1 is due by Friday of Week 2).
  • They can be completed late for 50% credit at any time before Dec. 9.

Programming Assignments

There will a series of four programming assignments. We will drop the lowest MP score and base your total programming assignment grade on the 3 highest scores. See the Assignments page for more details.

4 Credit Project

If you are taking the course for 4 credits, you will complete an extra project implelementing a ray-tracer.


This class will have three midterm exams and no final exam. Each exam is on the PrairieLearn platform.

  • Exam 1: 9am-10am, Sept. 30, 2020
  • Exam 2: 9am-10am, Nov. 11, 2020
  • Exam 3: 9am-10am, Dec. 9, 2020

The exams will be online using Prairielearn. They will be synchronous and available from 9am-10am Central Time on the day of the exam They are open web - you can use any reference material you wish while taking the exam. You should not collaborate with other people. Any instances of collaboration will be considered a violation of academic integrity and will result in a 0 on the exam and a letter grade reduction in the final course grade. Also, the nature of the exam will make collaboration unhelpful - you will get a better grade working on your own rather than wasting time trying to work together.


We will post grades on Compass 2g.

We weight grades as follows:

  3 credits 4 credits
MP 1 10% 5%
MP 2 10% 10%
MP 3 10% 10%
MP 4 10% 5%
Weekly Quizzes 15% 15%
Exam Grade 45% 45%
4 Credit Project   10%

The course grade cutoffs can be expected to be:

Percentage lower bound Grade
98% A+
93% A
90% A-
87% B+
83% B
80% B-
77% C+
73% C
70% C-
67% D+
63% D
60% D-
0% F



We will use Piazza for answering questions and administering the course.

Click the header to join/view the forum. You do not need a passcode.

Course Staff

See the schedule for office hours.

  • Professor Eric Shaffer, shaffer1@illinois.edu
  • TA: Rizky Welllyanto wellyan2@illinois.edu
  • TA: Huai Wu huaiwu2@illinois.edu
  • TA: Yichen Yang yy18@illinois.edu

Mental Health

Diminished mental health, including significant stress, mood changes, excessive worry, substance/alcohol abuse, or problems with eating and/or sleeping can interfere with optimal academic performance, social development, and emotional wellbeing. The University of Illinois offers a variety of confidential services including individual and group counseling, crisis intervention, psychiatric services, and specialized screenings at no additional cost. If you or someone you know experiences any of the above mental health concerns, it is strongly encouraged to contact or visit any of the University’s resources provided below. Getting help is a smart and courageous thing to do – for yourself and for those who care about you.

Counseling Center: 217-333-3704, 610 East John Street Champaign, IL 61820 McKinley Health Center:217-333-2700, 1109 South Lincoln Avenue, Urbana, Illinois 61801