We are first year university students it can be very overwhelming looking towards the next three years of university. To help simplify this for us to look ahead we decided to make a game to simulate us getting our undergrad degree. The most important factors in the quality of our university life is our academic, mental health and financial standing so we set out to build a game around those factors. We hope that this tool can help first-years and prospective students see what university life is like in broad terms.

What it does

Are you going to pass all your classes to graduate or drop out early?

In this game you start by setting up initial info such as major, living situation and international vs domestic student. You progress through all 4 years of university life taking classes, managing your time and passing exams!

Courseload Start each semester off right by selecting how many courses you want to take. Watch for harder exams from more courses and that you have enough money!

Time Management Each month you have the chance to fully customize how your spend your daily time. Balance it between school, sleep, relaxation and work. You then get feedback as to you academic, mental health and financial standing after each month. Make sure none of them drop too low!

Exams When exam season comes around you get to participate in skill-testing exams such an anagrams and basic math questions. Hopefully you did good in your time management as a lower academic standing and mental health leads to more difficult exams! Based on your exam performance you then get to pass some (or all!) of your classes.

Skills As you progress through university life you begin to develop skills(good and bad). Occasionally, you will be offered skills to help you progress through the game. Make sure your academic and mental health is strong enough so you don't pick up any negative skills!

How we built it

We worked hard to balance our team between creative problem solving, planning and coding.

Our code was developed in Java with a heavy reliance on JavaFX for our GUI development.

Challenges we ran into

Our project started off rocky with issues in sharing files with Git. But that provided ample time for us to develop our ideas while we sorted that out.

Big coding issues we ran into was a lack in coding knowledge. Only 2/3 of us were familiar with Java and only 1/3 JavaFX. This made it challenging but we worked hard to get around those issues. We quickly learned to use JavaFX on the spot and did our best to make it functional.

We also started off very ambitious but with time we learned to re-adjust our focus and make sure that the base elements were all effective before progressing to more optional design features.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are very proud of our GUI. We went with a rather basic layout but with effects such as sliding transitions and elements you can interact with it turned into a very effective design.

Additionally, we are very proud of working as a team to create an effective design. We managed to form a strong group to balance out our strengths and weaknesses. Some of us focused solely on the code while another member spent most of their time planning a design and making sure we had a comprehensive, unifying product.

What we learned

This was most of our first times competing in a hackathon and it was a very interesting experience learning to work in a limited amount of time. We all developed our coding knowledge and learned to recognize what we can realistically code in a set amount of time.

What's next for the U of C Undergrad Simulator

We may be interested in continuing to develop this in the future to expand the exams, skills and majors.

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