CSC 551: Web Programming
Spring 2003

JavaScript Project

For your class project, you are to write an interactive Web page that allows the user to play the game Dots and Boxes. In the game, an 8x8 grid of dots appear initially, and two players alternate drawing a horizontal or vertical line to connect two dots. If a player is able to draw a line that completes a square, then they capture that square and get another turn. The player with the most captured squares at the end of the game (when all lines have been drawn) is the winner.

Your page is to pit the user against the computer in playing the game. The user is allowed to go first, then alternates turns with the computer (i.e., your program). Your logic for playing the game may be as sophisticated as you like. However, it should ensure the following:

Your page must provide a reasonable interface for the game. It should also be robust. Illegal moves such as selecting a line that has already been drawn or trying to move while it is the computer's turn, should be caught and handled. To make the page user-friendly, it should provide help facilities that describe the rules and give instructions on how to interact with the page. Part of the grade for the project will be based on the elegance of the page design and its overall usability.

You may work with a partner in developing this project. In fact, working as a team is encouraged, since discussions about design and debugging often lead to a more robust, user-friendly application. If you do work in a team, only one program need be submitted for the team. To allow plenty of time for collaboration and feedback from the instructor, this assignment will be spread over the rest of this semester.

Part 1: Design, due 3/26 (25 pts.)
At this point, you must turn in an on-paper design for your page. You should draw a picture of your page, with comments to describe the interface and the behavior of each of the page elements. You do not need to provide implementation details -- simply describe the behavior of each page element and the interactions that must occur with the user as a game is played.

Part 2: Prototype, due 4/14 (75 pts.)
At this point, you must have a working prototype. That is, the game must alternate between moves selected by the user and those selected by the program. Your prototype should recognize captured squares, maintain and display a running score, and recognize when the game is over. If a player captures a square on a given move, their turn should continue as long as they continue to capture squares. However, the logic of the computer's move does not need to be complete at this point: for example, a random move is acceptable. The prototype does not need to be robust: you may assume that moves entered by the user are legal.

Part 3: Final Version, due 4/30 (100 pts.)
At this point, the page must fully implement the game. The computer strategy must meet the requirements listed above, and all illegal moves should be caught and handled by the page. In addition, help facilities should be provided.

For EXTRA CREDIT, you may add additional features to your page. For example, you might add a best score feature to the game, so that the best score for an individual player is remembered (using cookies from

Reminder: You are expressly forbidden to look at anyone else's source code for a comparable game.