There’s an online game for coders that lets you program your units

IF bad guy THEN boom boom

Massively multiplayer online (MMO) games are created by countless programmers coding away to create an inviting universe. In contrast, the players simply control avatars or command units in real-time and the game ends for them when they log-off. Screeps is a game that throws out the rulebook and asks the players to become programmers.

Screeps is a real-time strategy game where players control units to form colonies, gather resources, trade with neighbours, and defend against intruders. It’s played in a single, persistent universe that exists 24/7. In any other game this would mean your base could be under attack while you’re offline and helpless, but Screeps players control their units by writing real code in the Javascript programming language. This means that your units can be given rules and actions to carry out even when you’re offline.

Most MMOs take hours upon hours of grinding to be successful and reap rewards. Screeps is more about your intelligence and the quality of your scripts than the time you put in. You don’t have to know any Javascript to start playing as the basics are taught, but the best programmers will have the most success in the game and perhaps take over entire regions of the persistent universe!

The game already exists and you can play it now. The creators have started an Indiegogo campaign to take the game further. One goal is to open-source the server engine so anyone can start their own persistent universe with their own rules. More importantly, they want to create a Steam client that will let players share their local world with friends online. They’re already over halfway towards their $8,000 target with 2 months remaining.

Screeps looks like it could be a fun way for Javascript programmers to keep their skills up to scratch. It should help Javascript newcomers too as it always helps to have an engaging goal when learning a new language.

All images © IP Chivchalov