Hello from the Learn to Code RPG dev team! We are Lynn, KayLa, and Nielda. And we've been hard at work building out new adventures for our characters.

I'm excited to announce the launch of Learn to Code RPG v1.5, a year after the launch of Learn to Code RPG v1. (Fun fact: we're calling it v1.5 instead of v2 because we have grand plans for v2, which we plan to release in early 2023.)

What is Learn to Code RPG?

Learn to Code RPG is an interactive visual novel game where you will teach yourself to code, make friends in the tech industry, and pursue your dream of working as a developer. ๐ŸŽฏ

The game features:

  • Hours of gameplay ๐ŸŽฎ
  • Original art and music ๐ŸŽจ
  • 1,000+ Computer Science quiz questions ๐Ÿ“š
  • 50+ achievements you can unlock ๐Ÿ†
  • 6 different endings ๐Ÿ‘€
  • 10+ characters you can make friends with, and an adorable cat ๐Ÿฑ
  • Minigames ๐Ÿ‘พ
  • A renown system, a money system, and fun items you can buy for your cat and to customize your room ๐Ÿ 

Learn to Code RPG v1.5 Game Trailer

You can also watch the game trailer below and share the YouTube video with your friends:

You can download the game and play it for free. It's available for PC, Mac, and Linux on itch.io. And on Android from the Google Play Store.

If you'd like to learn more about the game itself and the development process, read on.

We'll walk you through the story, characters, graphics, and code. I'm sure you'll enjoy it. And it may even inspire you to code your own video game.

How LearnToCodeRPG Went From v1 to v1.5

The Team

When Lynn created v1, she was working solo on the game, juggling writing, coding, and some asset creation.

With this release, to give Lynn more time to focus on coding, KayLa took care of the writing. Nielda helped brainstorm features and create art assets.

Want to see a teamwork showcase? Here's one for the item shop. After purchasing furniture from the shop, the player will see the furniture in their room.

  • Lynn programmed the shop, the items, and the room customization
  • KayLa and Nielda came up with ideas for the items
  • KayLa wrote fun flavor text for the items
  • Nielda created all the assets โ€“ the room and the items โ€“ by tracing over 3D assets and applying textures over them

The Learn to Code RPG Main Story

In v1 (or what we call the Prologue), the story started as our protagonist, Lydia, decided to get a job in the tech industry. She needed to learn to code, make friends in the industry, find mentors, tackle technical interviews, and eventually arrive at her goal โ€“ a shiny new developer job.

Building from the Prologue story, in v1.5 (or what we call Arc I) Lydia starts working as a full-stack developer. She now needs to interact with her new colleagues on a day-to-day basis and react to events that arise.

She will be faced with all the things a real-world software engineer faces โ€“ changes in project requirements, communicating with project managers, learning from senior developers, and so on.

Does this look like a familiar scene from working in tech to you?

Outside of work, Lydia can also go hang out at Hacker Space with friends she made back when she was first learning to code.

At Hacker Space, Lydia might run into old acquaintances who are also looking for a job. She can decide whether or not to give them a referral.

She can also give back to the community by mentoring high school students with their projects.

There is never a shortage of fun things to do at Hacker Space. ๐Ÿ˜„


The Characters

To give the characters more depth, we brainstormed using the character card format shown below. Here's the character card for Lydia:


Lydia meets many new colleagues in this arc and our character list has been greatly expanded.

When designing the characters, sometimes our artist Noa will experiment with hair color and style variations until we land on a design that we are happy with:

Mala's different designs. Which is your favorite?

Here's also a sneak peek into one of the many characters and their many expressions:

Darius's many faces

Of course, everyone's favorite, Mint the kitty, is still the key emotional support for this story arc. ๐Ÿฑ


The Graphics

Now moving on to other graphics besides character sprite art. Just like in v1, we again created background images by applying a watercolor-like filter to real-world images.

Since a lot of story takes place at the company Lydia is working at, we also tried to find stock images that are coherent in color scheme, like the ones below:

Background images for the company Lydia's working at

The Code

Just like in v1, I used the game engine that I'm most familiar with, the Ren'Py Visual Novel Engine.

During this year of development, a really exciting piece of news for the Ren'Py community is that Ren'Py 8 now supports Python 3. This is exciting to me.

Compared to Python 2.7 (which we used in Ren'Py 7.4 when we developed Learn to Code RPG v1), Python 3 brings in a lot of new features that positively impact our development.

This also means that I had to spend a little time to migrate from Python 2.7 to Python 3 in our project. (It was a small Git commit, trust me ๐Ÿค“).

Now some exciting stats โ€“ Ren'Py's built-in linter is perfect for gathering stats for comparisons between v1 and v1.5:

# v1
Ren'Py lint report, generated at: Fri Dec 17 22:11:43 2021
The game contains 1,335 dialogue blocks, containing 15,390 words and 85,105 characters, for an average of 11.5 words and 64 characters per block.
The game contains 40 menus, 20 images, and 49 screens.

# v1.5
Ren'Py lint report, generated at: Tue Dec 20 19:22:05 2022
The game contains 3,339 dialogue blocks, containing 41,214 words and 220,501
characters, for an average of 12.3 words and 66 characters per block.
The game contains 68 menus, 19 images, and 51 screens.

From the stats we can see that we've nearly tripled the story content. Woohoo! ๐Ÿคฉ

Next Steps for LearnToCodeRPG: From v1.5 to v2

Hooray! After a whole year of development, we've taken v1 to new heights and are now presenting you with Learn to Code RPG v1.5.

What's more exciting: we are only just getting started. Just as Quincy always likes to say, the sky is the limit. โœˆ๏ธ

Here are some things you can look forward to in v2, or even sooner, between v1.5 and v2:

  • ๐ŸŒŽ Localization: All the text in v1 has been fully translated into Portuguese, and we have an active community working on translating the game into other world languages. You can help too, by starting here.
  • ๐ŸŽญ More story and characters (shhh... we have 10+ characters planned and some drawn already)
  • ๐Ÿ“š Expanded bank of quiz questions and spaced repetition to help you learn more efficiently.
  • ๐Ÿ’ป Auto-update from inside the game so that you can stay up-to-date with the latest bug fixes, features, and storylines.
  • ... and more on our holiday wishlists! ๐ŸŽ

Last but not least, we hope you enjoy playing this game as much as we enjoyed developing it! ๐Ÿฅณ

You can find the game on itch.io here:

Learn to Code RPG by freeCodeCamp.org
Learn to code and get a dev job ๐ŸŽฏ

And here's the GitHub repo with all the code:

GitHub - freeCodeCamp/LearnToCodeRPG: A visual novel video game where you learn to code and get a dev job ๐ŸŽฏ
A visual novel video game where you learn to code and get a dev job ๐ŸŽฏ - GitHub - freeCodeCamp/LearnToCodeRPG: A visual novel video game where you learn to code and get a dev job ๐ŸŽฏ

If you haven't read about how v1 of the game took shape, here's an article for you:

Learn to Code RPG โ€“ A Visual Novel Video Game Where you Learn Computer Science Concepts
Learn to Code RPG is an interactive visual novel game where you will teach yourself to code, make friends in the tech industry, and pursue your dream of becoming a developer.

And here's the official press kit for the game:

Learn to Code RPG โ€“ Press Kit
This is the press kit for the game, Learn to Code RPG.

If you are interested in building a Visual Novel Game yourself, check out this article of mine:

How to Make a Visual Novel Game in 10 Minutes โ€“ Python Renโ€™Py Tutorial
Do you have a story idea that youโ€™d like to turn into a novel? How about addingvisual appeal and interactivity to that novel? A Visual Novel [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visual_novel] might be the gamegenre you are looking for. And this tutorial is here to help set you up in 10minutes, with mโ€ฆ

We hope you enjoy learning what it's like to work in tech by playing the Learn to Code RPG. ๐Ÿง‘โ€๐Ÿ’ป