Code Defenders! Gamification and assessment of software testing

Project Team

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Arjan Marway (Digital Associate)
Jose Miguel Rojas (Digital Innovator)
Richard Craggs (Digital Advocate)

Department: Informatics



Software Testing is challenging to teach, as students find it boring. Here, the experience has been turned into a game, where one students creates mutants within the code, whilst their opponent develops tests to detect these bugs and defend the code.

How it works

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Code-defenders is an open-source programme previously developed by Rojas et al. (2017) to make software testing more enjoyable for students, and better develop their test writing abilities. As part of the DIP scheme, this game was embedded as an assessment within a module worth 10% of the mark. When an attacker wins over a defender, it doesn’t rank students, it only tells us who was stronger in that pair. To make grading fair, after the game, all tests were run against all mutants, including a pool of known mutants. This enables a fair comparison across the board of all test designs.

Image of attacker and defender interface in Code Defender game.


Students enjoyed the software code testing more, and also learnt to create tests of higher quality. For more information access the podcast here.