Gamification. The word sends shivers of revulsion down my spine. Yet, as I stare at the list of claimable accolades for Visual Studio Achievements, a “motivational” extension for Visual Studio 2010 that allows coders to garner points by completing certain excessive programming tasks, I can’t help but wish I owned a copy of Microsoft’s latest IDE.
If you’re looking for the odd laugh to break up your marathon coding sessions, then Visual Studio Achievements is what you want (interspersed with random YouTube videos, of course). Many of the achievements border on ludicrous, with “Complex”, for example, demanding one have 50 projects in a single solution. This is not a situation the average programmer is ever going to find themselves in, so it’s clear the extension is not meant to be taken seriously.
That said, a few encourage good habits. “Go To Hell” rewards you with a badge, but zero points, for using the “goto” keyword and “Equal Opportunist” could introduce some coders to the existence of protected and internal members. But really, if you want to learn about .NET, C# or VB, this extension is not the place to start.
Unfortunately, while the Express editions of Visual Studio 2010’s various programming languages support extensions via the Extension Manager (found in the Tools menu), they don’t work with this particular one. Considering Microsoft’s own XNA Game Studio Express is aimed solely at game developers, you’d think they’d make sure it work with this package.