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Microsoft adds Achievements to Visual Studio software

Gamification ruling the nation.

Get ready with your "slow news day?" comments, because Microsoft has introduced an Achievement system to its Visual Studio programming environment and this is indeed a news story highlighting that fact.

Achievements were originally introduced with Xbox 360, but quickly popped up in all sorts of other applications from other outfits. From iOS Game Center and PlayStation 3 Trophies to World of Warcraft, people and companies far and wide saw the logic of incentivising competitive gamers to plug more time into their products.

More recently, the wider concept of "gamification" - using game design ideas to keep users interested - has spread beyond the borders of the gaming world and Visual Studio Achievements are just the latest of several new examples.

According to Microsoft's official blog, the idea sprang from a "what if" blog post by a Visual Studio user, which then spawned a huge discussion on Reddit.

In what we can only assume is the very first example of the Redmond giant seeing a good idea elsewhere and deciding to borrow it, Microsoft's Visual Studio team then set about drawing up the 32 Achievements it introduced this week.

"Visual Studio Achievements, a Visual Studio plugin, enables developers to unlock badges and compete against one another for a place on a leaderboard based on the code they write, its level of sophistication, and the Visual Studio capabilities they use to do so," the Microsoft blog explained.

"Visual Studio Achievements is both playful and pragmatic. Built on ideas from the developers themselves, it 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."

You can check out the Achievements yourself over on Microsoft's Visual Studio developer site. Here are some examples along with Microsoft's descriptions:

  • Go To Hell (0 points) - Use of the goto keyword. Um, I heard it was a best practice that you weren't supposed to do that anymore.
  • Lonely (5 points) - Code on a Friday or Saturday night. Coding? Tonight? Ouch.
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (5 points) - Invoke the 'Close All But This' menu option 10 times. I mean, who invented those damn tabs anyway?

Those certainly ought to have them rolling in the aisles. However, it appears not even Visual Studio is immune to the sort of whorish and low-hanging Achievements that gamers have been decrying ever since the system was first introduced:

  • Extensions Junkie (5 points) - Install five extensions to Visual Studio. Extensibility rocks!
  • Scroll Bar Wizard (0 points) - Write a single line of 300 characters long. Who needs carriage returns?

Oh well - they can't all be as good as Pacifism, eh?