Finally got around on releasing the code for Clone Capitalist, a clone of Adventure Capitalist I did for a coding challenge back in 2020. You may find it here: https://github.com/stefandee/clone-capitalist
The GitHub project description should walk you through the ins and outs of this project.
I just feel on writing a few words on the recruiting process of the company I’ve done this challenge for. Also, you can read my previous takes on coding challenges/take-home assignments here and here.
If you are going to give coding challenges to candidates, make sure you show a minimal respect for their time and effort. Ask them at least one question about it; show them you took the time to read through their code.
Interview with a vampire
A browser game development company called PlayCo approached me on Linkedin and my skills seemed to match what they were looking for. Did a bit of research on them and found an interview where they said they had a couple of projects under development that are going to revolutionize the world of browser games. Well…tell me more (who doesn’t want to work on revolutionizing something or anything?)
This followed with a 30 minute “get to know you” phone call by one of their HR people.
A week later, got an email from another of their HR people, that went like “this is the coding challenge, you have 7 days to finish it”. Whoa, hold on there, I’m not working for you yet. How about you ask me when I’m available to do it?
I was kind of confused about this approach, so asked them about it. They confirmed that the coding challenge started when they sent the email and if I want to post-pone it, I have to bring good justification.
If this is how you treat a candidate, I wonder how an employee would be treated? 🙂
Anyhow, the challenge wanted to create an Adventure Capitalist clone with the basic functionality of an idle game. It also explicitly forbid the use of Cocos Creator. This kind of made sense, because they seemed to have a in-house game engine that is similar to Phaser and the likes. I didn’t know Phaser (I’m mostly a Cocos Creator developer)…but I said to myself, screw it, I’m going to learn Phaser and make a game with it just for the lulz.
Another “fun” part of the challenge guide was they required the graphics to be polished and beautiful. Are you hiring a programmer or an artist?
Anyhow, 16 hours later, I’ve learned Phaser and produced Clone Capitalist.
This was followed by 2 technical interviews over the course of 5 hours. Guess how many times the coding challenge subject was brought in these discussions? Zero. Yup. Zero.
Now, you may ask what is the purpose of issuing a coding challenge to a candidate, if you don’t follow up during the techical interviews. I do not know. It’s probably for the HR to tick a checkbox somewhere.
The process ended up with an interview with one of their CEOs, where I found out that they don’t work on any revolutionizing games and the project they wanted me to work for was a thing I had no interest in. Eventually, they sent the standard “we found somebody more suitable for the job” response.
To be honest, since I’ve got to learn a game framework and make a game with it, I feel the interview benefited me even if the company recruitment practices raised a couple of red flags along the way.
Now, seriously, who issues a coding challenge and never ask the candidate about it?!?