For one of my pieces of coursework I have to make a game engine and I wasn't completely understanding what my lecturer was going on about. So I looked online and found a tutorial on how to make one and its been really useful and I understand better how it all works but my coursework is basically just the tutorial code.

I submit it in a couple of weeks so it may be a bit late to start thinking this but isn't it just plagiarism? I'm not copy and pasting the code but I'm writing it practically word for word. But on the other had there only so many ways you can use OpenGL and make it look different and do what you want it to do.

  • 4
    Talk to your instructor about this. Your instructor (not strangers on the Internet) can tell you what the course policy is on situations like this (e.g. whether it's OK to submit what you have and just credit the tutorial appropriately, or whether you must submit something that goes significantly beyond what's in the tutorial)
    – ff524
    Apr 5, 2016 at 1:27
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    The fact that you are worried about this tells me that most likely you know the answer to your question.
    – The Guy
    Apr 5, 2016 at 2:00
  • At this point, can you write the code from the beginning, without consulting the tutorial? If so, I'd say you've earned it, and that it wouldn't be plagiarism. But if you can't do so, you're likely hurting your foundation and won't get very far in this area of study...
    – User001
    Apr 5, 2016 at 5:00
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    "I'm not copy and pasting the code but I'm writing it practically word for word." You need to get the notion that there's any distinction here out of your head ASAP. Apr 5, 2016 at 5:19

2 Answers 2


Yes, in this sort of situation (writing your first application with a graphics library), it is plausible for your code to look a lot like whatever tutorial or teaching materials you learned it from. Typically there will be some setup that has to be done in a particular order. I suggest you do all of the following:

  • Add comments to your code. This will also come in handy for the next opengl assignment you do.

  • Add an extra feature to your code, just to show you went that extra step. Maybe change the default background or font, or move some of the code to a separate function, or something like that.

  • Let your instructor know what tutorial you followed, and the steps you took to make sure you understood your code rather than just copying it. I suspect in this case the instructor will understand.


General Rule: Make it clear what your own contributions are, and where the other stuff is coming from.

Simply adding an explanation to your coursework on how you followed the tutorial, how far your modifications went, etc makes sure that you are not committing plagiarism. However, it is still perfectly plausible that your lecturer decides that the extent of your own contribution is insufficient. Thus, I would recommend checking in advance of the deadline.

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