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Microsoft gamifies Visual Studio with achievements
Microsoft gamifies Visual Studio with achievements
January 19, 2012 | By Mike Rose

January 19, 2012 | By Mike Rose
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    28 comments
More: Console/PC, Programming



Microsoft has added gamification elements to its Visual Studio development tools, enabling developers to unlock achievements and compete on leaderboards to see who writes the most sophisticated code.

The Visual Studio Achievements plug-in, which has launched as an open beta, awards users with badges based on the code that they write, and the features of Visual Studio that are used.

Microsoft software development engineer Karsten Januszewski explained that the new plug-in is "intended to be a humorous community-building game as well as a path to the many, and, to some, unknown features offered in Visual Studio."

The plug-in analyzes a background thread whenever code is compiled, and awards badges whenever particular events or actions are detected.

There are 32 achievements in total, with names such as "Regional Manager" (have more than 10 regions in a single class) and "Interrupting Cow" (have 10 breakpoints in a file). Developers are able to display earned badges on their profile page, and share achievements to Facebook and Twitter.

Leaderboards are also available, showing how your coding skills compare to other Visual Studio users, says Microsoft.

Jeff Sandquist, senior director of developer relations at Microsoft, explained, "We talk to developers every day because their work and ideas fuel our products, projects and services."

"Now there's a fun factor as well as a healthy, competitive environment for Visual Studio developers to show off their everyday contributions that are otherwise unnoticed."


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Comments


Christian McCrea
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The dignity-devouring festival continues.

Charles Durham
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IMHO Visual Studio is slow enough already.

Vincent Ravier
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I can see at least 53 ways this can go wrong... let's start with adding achievements related to everything we can find on thedailywtf.com and we will have some fun!

Mathieu MarquisBolduc
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Can we have a visual studio that supports large projects instead? I strongly refute the idea that their silly plug-in can evaluate my coding skills.

Benjamin Quintero
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Dear Microsoft,



Before you consider delivering gamification plugins; how about you focus on the 1k+ known issues with Visual Studio and stop locking up my machine, crashing, or otherwise consuming all valued resources. I will happily reward YOU with an achievement if you manage to not release an IDE that is 2x slower than the version prior. Can you do that much? Do you have what it takes to earn that achievement? I didn't think so...



Useless expenses like this boil my blood. These were resources, warm bodies that could have been assigned to fix real issues. Instead we get some meta-game to consume yet more cycles from my already burdened machine? Useless...

Jane Castle
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I had to purchase a more powerful computer in order to be able to use their latest version of Visual Studio. Granted my computer was over 8 years old (I like to get long term value for my money... :) But an IDEcompiler should not bring any computer to its knees....

Luis Guimaraes
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Biggest bullshit ever...



EDIT: Funny part is how it's called "gamification", like games are about extrinsic nonsense.

E McNeill
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This initiative was inspired by a lighthearted suggestion on Reddit, where it now enjoys some popularity. I agree that it's not the most serious or rigorous use of resources, but we should give them credit for good intentions. This was more about responding and interacting with the community in a fun way, and it was less about cynically tapping into the trend of gamification. It's misguided, but well-intentioned.

Nick Harris
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How much lost global productivity can be attributed to Facebook / Twitter / Gamification / IM?



Project milestones should be the only achievement.

Simon Ludgate
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It can't be April already, can it? Maybe their calendar app broke.

Paul Szczepanek
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Here's a proposal for an addition to their achievements:



"Are You A Wizard? (100 points)



Rather then coughing up the thousand dollars for Visual Assist X you managed to get Intellisense to work! But seriously, please email us and tell us how so we can break it properly, itís bad for business having it working."

John Rose
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I can't wait to see these "achievements" on incoming programmer resumes!

Victor Reynolds
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wow, some of you guys need to relax!

Jane Castle
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I am as gullible as the next person but is this really serious? An early April Fool's joke?

Timothy Barton
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I can't beleive the venom being spewed in here over a light-hearted plugin. The reality of the matter is that many of their warm bodies have worked many hours putting in a ton of great features that the vast majority of people don't use. I highly doubt this took them very long to write as it sounds like they are mostly just keyword scraping the code files. I am not trying to defend M$ or Visual Studio, but holy cripes are you guys angry about peas. Nobody blames Google for designing fun banners every day instead of enhancing their software, I don't see the problem here. I personally think it is a great way to expose new features, and applaud them for making it into something fun and informative at the same time. Don't let personal issues with the product previously tint your view of a simple plugin that you can choose to ignore.

Paul Szczepanek
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Relax, MicroSoft can take a few jibes. We're all forced to use it at work whether we want to or not so letting off steam is a coping mechanism.



The google analogy fails because google's search engine actually works. You're allowed to have fun then ;)

Eduardo Jimenez
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I completely agree with you Timothy. I think Visual Studio is the best development environment nowadays in the market by far (which doesn't mean it's perfect). Adding achievements to encourage people to write clean code or to discover new features of the tool seems like a good idea to me.



What I can't get my head around is why so many of you are so unhappy with Visual Studio, yet you seem to go on using it. Are you really forced to use it at work? What do you use at home instead (if I may ask)? And can't you really convince your managers that you'd be so much more productive using (let's say) emacs?



Where I used to work Visual Studio wasn't enforced, yet a 95-97% of us used it leaving 2-3 people out who liked emacs better and they actually used it. I don't see the point of enforcing a tool, particularly if you hate it so much.

Matthew Mouras
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It's the end of the world as we know it... and I feel fine and will have the most VS achievements.



( ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED 0g - Code Analysis feature still useless )

John Rose
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Common misconception: more is better. Visual Studio is already so bloated, slow, and broken that more "features" can't help but pull the product down. For many of us who have to battle it every day, distractions like this only make it seem like the team has lost its focus and pride in VS. I seriously hope it's a joke, and not a bone thrown to some eager code interns.

AJ S
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Personally I love the idea... although I hate the buzz word "gamification"

Lance McKee
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Just want to put in my humble two cents and say that I personally like the idea (although it does sound a lot like an early April Fools joke). I've been using Visual Studio for six years now and have had fewer problems with it than any other software I've used. It definitely makes my life a lot easier, and if it started displaying humorous little Achievements while I worked that wouldn't be so bad.

Dave Weatherton
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This is greatly saddening. MS is now incentivizing creation of code for purposes *other than* to perform its intended function? Isn't the goal of coding to be simple, clear, concise? 'But oh, if I write my code this way, I will score higher!' logic will only lead to less robust programming, not more.

Eyes on the prize. Let's keep the prize being the end-product, not the by-games littering the path.

R. Hunter Gough
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as usual, I blame Dan Cook. :)



http://www.lostgarden.com/2010/01/ribbon-hero-turns-learning-offi
ce-into.html

Kathy Sierra
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What do you call a developer who earns the new Visual Studio "achievements"?



SO fired.



The idea of awarding badges for worst-practices is hilarious, though.

Vincent Ravier
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Wow, like some other people, I'm quite surprised that people came here to whine about VS and all its flaws.

From my own experience, I've been using VS for several years in a game studio (50 to 100 people). And not just social games written in 1 or 2 months. I'm talking about 1 to 2 years production. I've never had big issues. We were developing and debugging on PC/XBox/PS3 without problems. By the same time, on project we were also developing for Wii/PS2, we had to use CodeWarrior to run the game. And, omg! This, is a crappy IDE! At such a point that I preferred alt-tab to VS, edit the code, alt-tab to CW, compile and run!

I think that if you have problem with a software, you might first take a look at your configuration. And if you can't finally get it working, just move to something else. I bet nobody requires you to use it if you're more efficient with another IDE.



BTW, I've always liked stuff like Easter Eggs, so I like the idea.

Mathieu MarquisBolduc
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We would like to remind everyone that just because you didnt encounter a problem doesnt meant its imaginary for other people. It goes for bugs in games as well as issues with tools.

Pieterjan Spoelders
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Funny :) It's probably another one of those moves to get youth more interested & students more motivated in using the VS IDE (since there are quite a few alternatives). I know a few people hell-bent on getting every damn achievement on the xbox console.



As for machine load, as a developer you should have a super shiny system anyway, to cut back on compiling & rendering times etc. ... One should go with the times (while this can be a costly affair, it is unfortunately so)

I never really had any issues with visual studio, even for bigger projects. Although it got a little slow from time to time and required some project maintenance to set things straight again.

Rodrigo Ferreira
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come on guys, don't take it so serious, its just a plugin, and it's funny somehow. Of course there was plenty of other possible(and more useful) plugin that should be created but i like it anyway. And fwasn't created to evaluate coding skills, u can still be good/or bad with or without it. :)


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