Dev Simulator is an upcoming, free browser based coding RPG game where you can simulate what it’s like to work in a real development team, and play through a fun storyline.
The gameplay revolves around completing common developer tasks in a real web app, things like:
Each task closely resembles the kinds of tasks a professional developer would work on, and tests you in a variety of web development skills.
Throughout the game, you complete tasks in a single web app, which, by the time the game is finished, resembles something that a large tech company might build.
When you sign up, you’ll create a developer avatar that will be your character throughout the game. You can customize their appearance, gender, and even aspects of their personality.
In the game, you play as a developer at a startup company who’s part of a development team that is building out the next big app.
The development team consists of one other developer (who’s code you’ll often have to fix), a UI/UX designer, a crazy CEO (your boss), a salesperson and a customer service person. Throughout the game, each character will have different tasks for you to complete, and you’ll all work together to grow the company.
The story begins on your first day of work, just after the company has launched version 1 of their web app. They’ve hired you as an intern to help develop the app further and fix existing problems in the code.
Initially you’ll be doing small tasks in the codebase, fixing bugs, changing little things here or there, cleaning up messy code, just getting your feet wet.
Once the app is relatively bug free and the code is nice and clean, you’ll start doing some more advanced stuff; adding new features, reimplementing parts of the app so they can scale better, writing extensive tests, etc.
As the app grows and you start to establish yourself at the startup, you’ll level your character up and climb the corporate ladder all the way to CTO.
As you progress through the storyline, the team will be hard at work building out different parts of the app. Things like building out a user authentication flow, adding in the ability to accept payments, designing beautiful user interfaces or tightening up security.
All of these large pushes are called epics, and it’s the epics which are the main building blocks of the game’s storyline.
During each epic, different team members will ask you to do things for them like fix bugs, write algorithms, build out user interface components, review code, write tests, or any number of other things. These are called sprints.
Each sprint has a series of tasks that need to be completed, and completing one sprint may unlock others which need to be completed as well. Certain sprints chain together bringing you deeper and deeper into a particular topic.
Depending on the size of the epic, there could be any number of sprints which you need to complete to finish it. Each epic in the storyline introduces a bunch of new challenges and gives you a chance to practice your coding skills!
Different sprints deal with different aspects of web development. One sprint might have you building out user interfaces and styling the site, another might deal with storing data in a database or building out an API endpoint.
You can choose to complete all the sprints in an epic, or just the one’s you're interested in. For example if you don’t want to practice working with databases, you can skip the sprints that deal with them, and potentially come back and complete them at a later time.
As you progress through the game, you’ll gain experience by completing tasks, sprints and epics. This experience will contribute to your developer level, which is your main progress indicator throughout the game.
Your avatar starts at level 1 and can progress up to level 20. At different levels you’ll be promoted within the company:
In addition to the developer level, you can also gain progress in a number of developer skills:
Each of these skills represents something that a professional web developer needs in the industry, and skills that will be tested throughout the game.
All of the sprints and their corresponding tasks have different skills associated with them. So, for example, you might complete a sprint which has 5 tasks in it where you’re fixing bugs in the code related to styling. These tasks would upskill you on the Bug Fixing and Styling skills.
The more tasks you complete in a particular skill, the more you increase your progress in that skill. As you progress in each skill, you can gain special titles for your avatar indicating your level of mastery. For example if you complete 25 tasks related to Bug Fixing, you might unlock the “Bug Slayer” title, which will be displayed on your profile.
Depending on your goals, you can progress through the game in a number of ways, and different players gain different combinations of skills on their journey to CTO!
Each sprint has a forum section where users can talk about each of the tasks, ask questions and participate in community discussions. There is also a general forum for suggesting new game features, connecting with other developers, or just hanging out.
Initially, the social aspects of the game are limited to forums as the user base grows. Once a critical mass of users is achieved however, additional social features like player vs player challenges, in game messaging, and even pair programming functionality may be introduced.
The goal is to foster a tight knit community of players who are all helping each other learn to code and grow as developers.
Dev Simulator takes place 100% in the browser, absolutely no setup required, nothing to configure, no room for weird environment issues, no outdated dependencies.
You do all of the coding in a state of the art, in-browser IDE, and can save your code as well as jump between different tasks depending on what you want to work on.
Using a series of sophisticated testing methods, the game is able to verify that the user has completed each task, while allowing for a variety of solutions. In other words, you can write the code however you want, and as long as it works you’ll receive credit for completing the task.
Each epic, sprint and task is meticulously designed and organized to get progressively more difficult as the game goes on. They also build on each other and allow the player to go deep into one or many areas of web development.
The focus is on testing real world skills and providing players with development challenges that resemble the type of things actual web developers do everyday.
Basic concepts are tested as the user fixes small bugs, refactors code and writes tests in the beginning stages of the storyline. Eventually these concepts will compound as the player begins to build out more complex parts of the app and gets more comfortable in the codebase.
Dev Simulator is good for both beginning and advanced web developers. The initial stages of the storyline are suitable for someone with little to no experience coding at all, while later stages of the game test skills that a senior developer might need.
To appeal to as many developers as possible, Dev Simulator is based on the popular MERN stack, which is made up of MongoDB, Express JS, React JS and Node JS. The MERN stack includes technologies for both frontend and backend development, and is widely taught in bootcamps, colleges and online.
The tasks are designed and progress in such a way, where someone without experience in the MERN stack could easily come in and learn it as they go. All while being presented with realistic challenges.
On the surface, Dev Simulator is a fun and entertaining way to challenge yourself and test your web development skills. Below the surface, it’s a meticulously designed and expertly organized coding bootcamp that is a one stop shop for learning how to code and getting a job.
All of the epics, sprints and developer tasks the player completes throughout the game, are created and organized to act as the skeleton of a full stack web development curriculum.
Players who want to learn how web development works from the ground up, develop good coding habits, and receive the support and guidance of an expert mentor can join the Dev Simulator Bootcamp!
Using the game as a scaffold, the bootcamp walks users through the massive and often confusing web development landscape, bringing them from zero coding experience, to being at the level of a professional developer.
Throughout, you'll be learning in an environment which closely resembles the real world, and learning only those things which are relevant for building apps.
The bootcamp is self paced and built directly into the game, it’s also flexible and modular, meaning you can choose to focus on only certain areas of web development or learn the full stack.
The core of the curriculum are video walkthroughs, which hold the player’s hand through each development task, explaining the concepts, discussing best practices, and tying everything together in a way that makes sense.
Just like the game’s tasks, these videos go progressively more in depth as the player levels up, and build off of eachother to paint a comprehensive picture of how real web development is done.
All walkthrough videos are seamlessly integrated into the flow of the game and allow the viewer to easily compare their own code to the code in the video, and copy and paste code whenever necessary.
In addition to detailed task walkthroughs, the curriculum is also full of mentorship videos and articles which give context to the concepts being taught, and help bootcamp students to navigate the industry and get jobs.
Becoming a developer isn’t just about learning to code. The software development industry is massive, there’s all sorts of traps and pitfalls that will prevent you from achieving your goals. By working through an expertly designed curriculum like the one in Dev Simulator, you’ll have a clear path to the skills you need!
By signing up for the bootcamp, you’ll also immediately get access to a tight knit community of fellow budding developers and be welcomed into a safe and creative space for discussion and growth.
Coding is a unique skill in that it has to be practiced. You can’t learn to code by just watching lectures or reading a book. Coding also needs to be taught in the right context.
Most tutorials and online courses teach you the basics of one technology, or have you build out tiny “play” apps which are limited and incomplete. They also rarely go into any significant depth on a topic, choosing instead to show you the same beginner level examples over and over.
Courses that do go in depth, or have you build something real, are often just hours of staring at someone’s code editor as they drone on, and almost never discuss things like testing, system architecture, working with code written by someone else, or security.
100% of the code you write in Dev Simulator takes place in the context of a real codebase, and integrates technologies together in a realistic way. The boot camp also goes deep on all aspects of building a website, leaving you with code that resembles something a senior level developer might write.
Because it’s all taking place in the context of a game, the learner is almost never bored and is continually motivated by progressing their avatar.
The Dev Simulator Bootcamp is based entirely on completing real world challenges in a real world environment. You learn to code the right way, you’re continually challenged to try things on your own, and are automatically prepared for anything the industry will throw at you.
One of the worst parts about learning to code online is the inconsistency of instructors. You’ll find an instructor on YouTube or Udemy who you really like, but once their course ends you’re left wanting more. Their course was good, but it didn’t get you all the way there, it didn’t cover everything you needed.
The Dev Simulator bootcamp covers everything you need from no experience to the point where you can get a job, and it’s all taught by one of the world’s most popular instructors and curriculum developers, Mike Dane.
Over 20 million people have learned from courses and curriculums that Mike designed, and he’s taught every popular programming language and many popular frameworks and libraries.
Mike is also an industry veteran who’s taught in person coding bootcamps and worked with several different companies as both a full time developer and as a freelance consultant.
Mike has your back
You’ll step through the entire Dev Simulator curriculum with Mike by your side. His explanations, along with the game’s fun storyline, will slowly introduce you to all the core concepts of web development. All you need to do is sit back and learn!
Mike also does regular Q&As, live streams, and is an active participant in the Dev Simulator community.
The base subscription price is \$49 USD per month, with options for purchasing several months together for a discount.
To put price into perspective, the average 3 month coding bootcamp costs roughly \$10,000. The Dev Simulator Bootcamp will teach exactly the same concepts, but in a more efficient, consistent and user friendly way, and will cost what you’ll make for about an hour's work in the industry.
The game will require quite a lot of initial development. The game engine & systems will need to be built out, as well as the interactive code editor. We’ll also need to design the storyline and all the coding challenges.
The goal is to build the game and launch with the first “Epic” only. After launch additional parts of the story will be released regularly.
Instead of designing and implementing the entire storyline and all the challenges before launching, we feel it will be better to get something out quickly so user’s feedback can be integrated as much as possible into the content.
A small open beta will be run before the official launch to find and fix bugs and get early feedback.
The optimistic release date for the first version of the game is summer 2021, but depending on how development goes this may be pushed back to the fall.
Regular development updates will be posted on Mike Dane’s YouTube channel and as blog posts on this website.
The good thing about the dev simulator platform is that it’s extensible.
Initially the story will walk user’s through building out a web app, but in the future we can add expansions for any other areas of development including:
Player vs Player
Once the user base is large enough, we’d like to add in some PVP elements. Players can potentially compete to finish tasks, answer interview questions, write algorithms, or style elements with CSS.
One of the cornerstones of Dev Simulator is the codebase where all the tasks will be performed in.
We’d like to open source these projects so that once you’ve worked your way through all 20 levels you can go out and contribute to the project you’ve been learning in.
The codebase players will be working in for the game will be written in the most popular technologies in the industry.
This means that Dev Simulator will be an amazing breeding ground for top notch developers. I can see companies posting job listings on Dev Simulator, and the site providing a nice pathway into the industry.
The goal is to help all our players get jobs!