With TwilioQuest, you learn to code by playing a video game

There are many methods to learn to code: taking courses, learning books, and dealing by on-line tutorials.

Another choice, created by the cloud-based communications firm Twilio, is by playing a video game. Since 2013, the corporate has been releasing variations of a game it calls TwilioQuest, which it initially designed for demos at its developer convention. A task-playing game harking back to 16-bit classics from the Tremendous Nintendo period—although the primary model regarded a bit extra like the unique Nintendo Leisure System—it permits gamers to degree up their abilities at languages like Python and JavaScript and programming instruments just like the supply code administration system Git as they degree up their characters.

“Being a fellow nerd who undoubtedly did play a bunch of Chrono Trigger and different classics of the 16-bit period, the metaphor of a role-playing game the place you may sort of degree up at your personal tempo appeared like a helpful factor to construct upon for coaching,” says Kevin Whinnery, the game’s creator and head of the TwilioQuest group.

[Image: courtesy of Twilio]

Now Twilio is rolling out model 3.2 of the game, which is free for Home windows, Mac, and Linux techniques. The brand new model boasts improved graphics courtesy of pixel artist Kerrie Lake, in addition to a new degree the place gamers can learn to use the appliance programming interfaces that permit their code discuss to cloud techniques corresponding to that supplied by Twilio. That degree, referred to as The Arcane Academy of API Arts, takes some inspiration from fantasy magic faculties in sequence like Harry Potter, The Magicians, and Earthsea, however the focus is of course on writing code, not spells, to harness the ability of present on-line assets.


“Builders get to stand on the shoulders of giants now,” says Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson.

The brand new model of the game additionally contains instruments to let gamers construct their very own downloadable extensions into the game, which the TwilioQuest creators envision will let folks create their very own ranges to educate further programming abilities and probably even different sorts of materials. Extension creators can write JavaScript code to run on Node.JS that validates solutions gamers present to puzzles, and people could possibly be used to educate something from shell scripting to English punctuation. Twilio is already working with the media processing software program firm Cloudinary, which is growing extensions to educate folks to use its video-processing APIs, Lawson says.

[Image: courtesy of Twilio]

“There are a lot of coders on the market and a lot of individuals which can be interested by coding,” says Arthur Tham, a game designer and up to date school grad who works on TwilioQuest after working with Twilio as a pupil.

The game is utilized in some faculties, from the center faculty to college degree, as a enjoyable means to educate coding abilities, and a few college students used it as a enjoyable means to research whereas saved house through the pandemic. The corporate estimates that pupil periods on TwilioQuest greater than doubled through the previous yr.

However some energetic customers are additionally working professionals wanting to add new programming languages to their repertoires, sometimes main to teasing from coworkers or pointed questions from bosses after they’re seemingly playing video games within the workplace.

“Considered one of our most energetic members is a man who’s been writing C# code for years,” says Whinnery, who makes use of the game to observe JavaScript and Python.

TwilioQuest’s recognition is of course helpful for Twilio–which offers a platform for programmers to automate duties like dispatching texts, emails, and telephone calls– as builders familiarize themselves with utilizing such techniques. And the game’s considerably tongue-in-cheek storyline captures the spirit of web upstarts difficult incumbent gamers, whereas spreading by phrase of mouth and serving to to woo up-and-coming builders like Tham.


[Image: courtesy of Twilio]

“The ability of code is so potent, it has attracted the eye of those that search to greedily increase and jealously defend their very own energy,” reads a plot abstract on the Twilio website. “A shadowy group, recognized solely because the Legacy Methods, plans to exploit their hoarded wealth and privilege in a sinister plot to dominate the free folks of The Cloud.”

However the firm says the game—which finally is produced by a lean group of not more than six folks—additionally furthers its mission of empowering builders.

“Our mission is to unlock the creativeness of builders,” Lawson says.