Building a stock market game in 2008


This is a post I meant to write almost 13 years back, on how I built a stock market game using Ruby on Rails for our B-school flagship event Quadriga (I did release the game source code on Rubyforge, but the site is no longer operational). Like they say, better late than never :). Below is a short screen capture of the game in action from the beta run I had organized, showcasing the different features to give you an idea of what it entailed:

The game itself was a very simplified version of a stock market designed to be played as individuals or as a team with the following features:

  • Simple buy and sell transactions without any short selling, futures or options .
  • The trading would be spread across a period of 12 sessions with the prices changing before the start of each. Each user would get a fixed set of shares for each of the stocks at the beginning of the game so that selling activity can be initiated from period 1.
  • There was an element of randomization in the stock price movement from period to period partially influenced by a set of pre-defined events.
  • A user login feature with public leaderboard to give everyone a view of how they are performing against the competitors.
  • A transaction & stock price history section to view the changes over time.

I have fond memories of this game as it game me an opportunity to try out Ruby on Rails in a real world scenario (this video from 2005 was the inspiration). I had a lot of fun coding the game and consulting classmates & seniors on how the stock market should be simulated. Even more fun was the beta testing round we did over the hostel LAN (the video above is from the test run as you can in the message on the login screen), with most of my classmates participating. We have come a long way on the technological front, and one of the things I do find missing in the game is an element of visualization in the form of graphs. Mobile support was of course not relevant back in 2008, but today it would be a no brainer.

As for the actual event, we brought in an element of security/standardization where we had the competing teams using laptops borrowed from my classmates. To ensure that their personal files were not affected, we setup Linux virtual machines on top of the Windows environment, and the teams were using browsers to access the game running my laptop through a Wi-Fi network we had setup on a router borrowed from another of my classmates (it was 2008 after all).

This nostalgic post would not have been possible had I not backed up the files to an external hard disk and to OneDrive eventually. So, here’s a bit more of throwback with the event posters & other collaterals:

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