Singpolyma

Technical Blog

Generic Achievement System

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I’ve been thinking a bit recently about generic achievement systems. Basically what I want, is a web service where I’ve got a profile showing off the achievements I’ve unlocked in different ways. This could have some scraping of well-known social web achievements (StackOverflow, FourSquare), but that doesn’t really scale so I’d want an API that any service or application could tie into to publish unlocked achievements to my profile. I’d also want read APIs so I can put achievements I really want to show off on my actual profile page at singpolyma.net. Achievements should be able to take any image+text form, from high scores to badges.

If social web sites can publish achievements to the site and read them back out, that’s great, but there are already a couple of services that sort of serve that purpose (though I’m not sure either serves their own local profile pages). The real benefit here is that applications (especially including games) could easily tie into this as well.

Of course, now that I’ve described it you can see I don’t necessarily want a web service at all. I want an API specification and a reference implementation. Web apps and games should be configurable with my actual “achievement host” (or discover it over LRDD/Webfinger) so that I can just host my own list and not sharecrop on someone else.

Now, on top of all this, I want the same protocol (or something very close to it) to work with a local on-my-machine service that serves a similar purpose: storing scores and achievements for local users. One could then build nice local scoreboard/achievements unlocked display dashboards, which could be very useful in a gaming-heavy environment (some games already do shared local highscores, this is just one up on that).

The right way to build something like this, probably, is to use Activity Streams concepts and publish the content over HTTP as an “achieved” or “scored” event.

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