Microsoft adds achievements to Visual Studio, turns programming into a game
Every gamer knows about achievements, those virtual badges designed to provide a sense of accomplishment for actions successfully completed in a video game. Now Microsoft has extended the concept to the actual process of developing the games themselves.
Visual Studio is Microsoft’s integrated development environment, a fancy techie name for a computer program that helps people make other programs. Thousands worldwide use it to create the software you use on different platforms, including Windows PCs and the Xbox 360 gaming console.
Video games achievements are designed to make players feel like they’re doing something important, like how teachers give out stars in class to keep students working hard. They’re a way to keep people playing, even if they’ve explored every aspect of the game and no genuine novelty or fun aspect remains. And in most cases, you can’t exchange your virtual achievement badges for a real-world reward, while some of the achievements reward even the most basic tasks (like making your character jump a certain way).
Microsoft hopes the same system will make Visual Studio more “fun”. As promised on the website listing what achievements can be earned: “Impress your friends! Earn achievements while you code! Code while you earn achievements!” Developers can win badges for working on a “Friday or Saturday night” and printing out the source code (the instructions they’ve typed into the computer), among other things.
To be fair, a significant part of the new Microsoft Visual Studio achievements system rewards good programming practices. Users gain badges worth some inconsequential points by formatting their code in a clean and efficient way; other badges are awarded for violating conventions such as using over-complex data structures and even typing in curse words. These 0-point achievements only serve to highlight the programmer’s lack of proper software development skills.
Yet the idea of turning programming into an achievement-based game of sorts still sounds a bit wacky. On the other hand, Microsoft may have just found the best motivator for Visual Studio’s target market. A chance to show off your skills to the programming community? What kind of respectable programmer would pass those up?
This entry was posted on Friday, January 20th, 2012 at 5:01 am and is filed under Featured, Gaming, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.