Strokes: new features have arrived

The Strokes project is still ongoing and several interesting new features have been added by my Danish friends! For those unfamiliar with this project (have you never read this blog???) , simply put: Strokes a Visual Studio 2010 extension that allows users to gain achievements while programming. It is mainly targeted to students who are learning C#; however some interest from the development community, especially VB.NET devs, also exists. Read this post for a full overview of the project.

The new features that have been added since my last post, in no particular order, are:

  • Achievement tree: It is now possible to define what achievement needs to be unlocked before the user can unlock a particular other achievement. For example, the user can’t unlock the “Create a foreach loop”, if he never ever unlocked the “create a for loop”. This allows us to prevent students from accidently unlocking things they never heard of before.
  • Localization: If anyone ever feels like using the Strokes extension in a particular language/culture, this can now simply be done as the achievement titles and descriptions can now be localized (currently supported languages are : English 100%, Danish 5%, Dutch 5%, Russian 0,01% )
  • More than 150 achievements and counting: Currently there are more than 150 achievements defined that the user can unlock. These are categorized in 13 categories. Yours truly is especially having fun in writing achievements in the Funny category (though your definition of what is in fact funny might differ a bit), especially the “What if Visual Studio had Achievements” post was a great inspiration.
Many achievments

Lots of new achievements and categories.

If you wish to contribute in any which way, don’t hesitate to contact us on our github page. Suppose you wish to write achievements, make fancy art, translate stuff, etc. join us and let eternal glory be yours!

Strokes: achievements while programming!

Ok, so I’ve already hinted about this several posts before: an actual implementation of achievements-based programming in Visual Studio is being made as we speak. In this post I will humbly and proudly present the Strokes program that is rapidly evolving into something I’m eager to use in my own classes. Humbly because the work Jonas Swiatek has done is, in my opinion nearly epic, for each component in the project that I understand, there’s about 3 others that I don’t. Proudly because, it being a googlecode project, I in fact have made several small contributions to the project, not in the least dozens of mails in which I describe my ultimate wishes on how the program should behave.

Explaining how the whole shebang works internally is not what this post will be about, instead, I’d like to simply throw around some pretty screenshots and show of the program the way the end-user might see it. Since this program was written to be as extendable as possible, in the end of this post I’ll give a brief overview on how others can use the Strokes-code to write new achievements.

Before reading on, I’d like to point out this project is still a work-in-progress. So if you are a) disappointed or b) excited, there’s 2 things you can do: you can help us out and contribute in any which way you see fit (provide ideas for challenges and achievements, contribute code or art, give basic feedback) or you can simply nod with your head sympathetically, leave and do other things *grin*.

If you want to see how it all works or make some contributions, all information can be found here: https://github.com/jonasswiatek/strokes. Make sure you read the wiki on how to setup your Visual Studio if you wish to test the current version of the project. And of course, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Update (24/08): An early beta can be downloaded of the strokes program so people can test the application themselves. Let us know what you think of it. Download here. Read more of this post