‘Code Hunt,’ free game for anyone interested in coding, released by Microsoft Research

“Code Hunt,” a free, browser-based game for anyone who is interested in coding, was released Friday by Microsoft Research.

The game uses puzzles that players explore using clues presented as test cases, then modify their code to match the functional behavior of secret solutions, writes Judith Bishop, Microsoft Research Director of Computer Science, and Guobin Wu, Microsoft Research Asia Research Program Manager. Once players’ code matches, lights flash and sounds play, letting players know that they have “captured” the code. “Players then get a score, which depends on how elegant their solution is, and are encouraged to move on to the next puzzle or level.”

Microsoft Research Asia used “Code Hunt” in April during its annual Beauty of Programming competition, which attracted thousands of students in the Greater China Region.

“Instead of giving students a problem and comparing their solutions to a set of fixed test cases, Code Hunt does the opposite: it presents an empty slate to the user and a set of constantly changing test cases,” write Bishop and Wu. “It thus teaches coding as a by-product of solving a problem that is presented as pattern matching inputs and outputs. The fun is in finding the pattern. Fun is seen as a vital ingredient in accelerating learning and retaining interest during what might be a long and sometimes boring journey towards obtaining a necessary skill— or in this case, winning a competition.”

To learn more, head over to the Microsoft Research Connections Blog.

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Suzanne Choney
Microsoft News Center Staff