Trade Bots How-To Guide

Welcome! We recommend you check out the table of contents and breakdown video below to get started. Documentation for bots is available here


Gameplay Upgrades

Indicator Upgrades

Overlay Menu (graph points icon)

External Indicators Menu (line graph icon)

Leading Indicators Menu (signpost icon)

Automation Upgrades

Bots Menu

Bot Documentation


On the Title screen, the default option will be Stocks. Exchange-

Traded Funds (ETFs) and Crypto versions are also offered.

Note that you are starting on a day in Year 1, with no Cash or Holdings (value of your investment). You will soon get cash via quizzes, loans, and trading. Cash is used for investing, paying down loans, and buying upgrades. Only the candlestick chart is shown. Year and Price data will become available for purchase when your cash has grown sufficiently.

The tutorial begins with the Upgrades Menu.

You will choose the first FREE upgrade, Step Forward, to begin play.

The tutorial prompts you to take a few steps.

You are then introduced to Learn & Earn, educational resources with Investopedia articles and YouTube videos. Each quiz you pass gives you a specified amount of money to invest. You can choose to learn from the resources or go straight to a quiz.

You will also borrow funds to invest, because you won’t get far with the $20 from the first quizzes.

Click LOANS and follow the prompts. The maximum loan to start is $100 at a high interest rate. Upgrades will let you increase that amount and lower your interest rate.

Use the slider to change the loan amount, and then CONFIRM LOAN. Margin interest is automatically withdrawn from your cash balance after each 30 in-game days.

Now your cash is visible at the top left of the screen:

You can enter a trade up to the amount of your cash minus trading fees. Later, you will have opportunities to purchase upgrades to see the price and to place more advanced types of trades.

On the candlesticks, you can see your purchases (upward arrows) and sales (downward arrows).



At this point, you are only given the percentage and direction of the price change. Review your remaining cash to invest and the value of your Holdings in the investment.

Again, step forward to see where your investment is trading.

The Price $??? will show an increase or decrease, and your Holdings value will change.

The Net Worth is your portfolio value minus loans/interest. Clicking on the Net Worth icon brings up a box with valuable information about your gain/loss, fees, and margin interest paid.


Paying down your loan: after you take a loan, the box shows your interest instead of the word “LOANS”. Click on the same box to pay down what you have borrowed. Use the slider to reduce the amount. Your cash balance will be debited for the loan payment and any accrued interest.

Note that the loans in the game work differently than in real life. In an actual investment account, your securities would be collateral for a Margin Loan. You would not be able to borrow on margin when starting with nothing. Later in the game, after advanced upgrades, you will get more involved with this concept -- Margin Call will be introduced. If the value of your Holdings declines past a certain maintenance requirement, you will have a Margin Call. That means “Game Over”!

Gameplay Upgrades

Bank Funds at Restart

These upgrades permanently add funds to your starting capital on future game runs.

Brush Menu

Engaging the Brushing Menu opens a section of line graphs under the main window.

Stock Price: The price of your investment will be graphed on the brush.

S&P 500 Index: Market Index is a non-tradable group of securities to help measure a market's performance. Reveal S&P 500 data in the brush section and compare it to the individual investment’s movements.

Show Gains Brush (Your Gains): Compare your performance to the asset price shown on the Brush. Use the slider to see gain data over the past X days.

Idle Progress

This is a major feature for excelling in Trade Bots. As the name suggests, this upgrade unlocks the ability to continue the simulation while the game is closed.

Margin Loans and Interest

Margin Loans start at $100 and a high interest rate. The maximum loan to start is $100 at a high interest rate. Upgrades will let you increase that amount and lower your interest rate. See the Introduction section for more on taking out and paying off loans.

The Margin Call means GAME OVER! You will be forced to restart your run. Initially, the Margin Call will occur if you lose more than 10% of your loan amount. Upgrades may adjust the percentage. You can toggle on Margin Call Warnings and define your warning threshold percentage. Your Portfolio Breakdown screen will then give you the choice to select Margin Status or Current Stock.

Modes, Advanced - selected on the home screen

Crypto: Play the game by trading various cryptocurrencies.

ETF: Change your campaign to trading Exchange-Traded Funds instead of individual stocks.

Sandbox: Control all aspects of the simulation. Change the dates, amount of cash, stock ticker symbol, and other factors.

Play/Pause (Step, Sim, and Speed Functions)

The game opens with STEP, meaning that you have to click to move ahead one day at a time. When you upgrade to SIM, the time will automatically progress. Note that the icon changes from SIM to STOP, and you will stop to enter trades or create bots. As you gain funds, you can buy upgrades for more acceleration.

 You will pause by clicking on STOP to enter trades or create bots.


Short Selling

Short selling or “shorting” has an in-game tutorial. In a short sale, an investor borrows shares of a stock, betting on the price to decline. If the shares are bought back at a lower price before being returned to the lender, the investor has a profit.

Show Leaderboards

See how you and your friends rank against other players.

Transaction Fees

Trades begin with high transaction fees. Each trade will tell you the fee in advance.

Note that you can reduce your trading fees by buying upgrades.

YouTube Picture-in-Picture (PIP)

This is automatically engaged when you reach $1,000.

The icon is found at the top right, next to the topic, when you are in a Learn & Earn box.

You can view the YouTube video without stopping the game, and the box can be moved around the gameplay area.

Indicator Upgrades

Adding Indicator upgrades will make new menus visible at the top right. You can turn the indicators on or off. The menu items appear in alphabetical order as you upgrade; the list below is not in order of availability.

Overlay Menu (graph points icon)

Bollinger Bands: Bollinger Bands use Simple Moving Average plus standard deviation lines above and below the SMA. Price approaching the upper band indicates an overbought condition; approaching the lower band, oversold. On the price chart, SMA is the middle line, with standard deviations above and below it. Use Settings to change the period and standard deviation multiplication factor.

Ichimoku Cloud: It is a multipurpose indicator showing support, resistance, trend and momentum. The cloud indicates where future prices could have resistance or support. The entire indicator consists of five lines, with the shaded cloud showing the trend. Three of the periods can be changed in the Settings.

When you have progressed far enough to enable Ichimoku Advanced, you can customize Ichimoku Cloud intervals.

Pivot Points: Activating this function adds multiple lines of Support and Resistance. Support acts as a floor, pausing a downward trend. Resistance acts as a ceiling, pausing an upward trend.


In a later upgrade, Custom Pivots allows you to choose different algorithms and Fibonacci Retracements.

7-Day SMA: Simple Moving Average is the average stock price plotted over a given period. It is the easiest indicator to calculate and can be used to spot trends.

The EMA upgrade will appear on the same menu line as SMA. Exponential Moving Average gives more weight to recent prices. A price above EMA is more likely to rise and below EMA is more likely to fall.

After you have upgraded to SMA/EMA, buying the Custom Length MA allows you to change the periods in the Settings. Click on the Settings wheel in the menu.

Further along in the game, you can upgrade to Multiple Moving Averages. Plotting Moving Average lines of different periods on one chart helps define trends and changes. Add SMA or EMA and define periods.

Trailing ATR: In an ATR Trailing Stop, use Average True Range to set stop loss points based on price volatility. This helps to protect capital and profits.

Volume: Trading volume, the total number of shares traded during a period, is shown as a bar graph under candlesticks.

External Indicators Menu (line graph icon)

ADX: The Average Directional Movement Index is a trend momentum line with values between 0 and 100. 0-25 is a weak trend; 75-100 is very strong. It is derived from the negative and positive Directional Movement Indicator lines.

ATR: Average True Range indicates price volatility. A high ATR shows a period of high volatility; with a low ATR, there is little price variation.

Aroon: When the Aroon Up line (periods since a high) is above the Aroon Down (period since a low), the price is in an uptrend. If Down is above Up, the price is in a downtrend. A very high Aroon Up may indicate an overbought condition.

MACD: Moving Average Convergence Divergence is calculated by subtracting a longer-period EMA from a shorter-period EMA, and uses a signal line. MACD crossing above the signal line indicates a time to buy, and crossing below, to sell.

MACD Advanced: Customize the periods in the MACD graph.

RSI: Relative Strength Index oscillates between 0 and 100. When moving up, gains are outpacing losses. A stock may be overbought above 70 and oversold below 30.

Stochastics: Stochastics Indicator is another 0 to 100 oscillator, often used with RSI. Stochastics are based on price history and measure price momentum. A stochastic line above 80 indicates overbought, and below 20, oversold.

Williams %R: Williams Percent Range is 0 to -100. Above -20 is overbought. Below -80 is oversold.

Leading Indicators Menu (signpost icon)

Dollar Index: The USDX Index is also called “DXY”. A stock index tends to rise when the US Dollar increases, but individual stocks may not have a correlation.

Housing Starts: The economy and stock market often experience a consumer ripple effect with housing starts.

Industrial Production: View the Industrial Production Index (IPI) data from the Federal Reserve Board. IPI measures US real output in manufacturing, mining, electric, and gas. The index is strongly correlated to the market but not necessarily to individual stocks.

Recessions: Periods of US economic recession appear as a shaded background. While markets may have high volatility in an economic recession, stock prices commonly rally before the economy does.

S&P 500: Activating this will show the S&P 500 on the main candlestick screen, in addition to viewing it on the Brush.

10Y2Y Spread: A yield curve indicates economic expansion or contraction based on interest rates of equally-rated bonds of different maturities. Generally, stocks do better when the yield curve is positive to steep. Here, the 10-year bond rate is compared to that of the 2-year bond.

Unemployment: In periods of economic expansion, stock prices often rise when unemployment is high, because companies may be paying less for wages. In economic contraction, there may be more volatility.

VIX Index: CBOE Volatility Index is based on implied volatility of options, not historic. A high VIX suggests increased market risk.

Automation Upgrades

Bots Menu (robot icon)

Basic: This is the original gameplay, before you can upgrade to using additional trading bots.

Limit/Stop: Upgrade to use Limit/Stop orders.

See the new menu under the robot icon. The Limit/Stop Mode is now available in addition to placing Basic trades at the market price.


Toggle to enter buy or sell prices.

These trades will automatically execute at your price targets, although you can cancel by clicking the “trash” icon next to the order.

You can have up to four limit/stop orders active at one time:

Simple Bots (with Tutorial): Create simple bots to automate your trades. Engage automated logic to buy (entry) and sell (exit). Additional Simple Bots upgrades become available as you advance, enabling unlimited conditions, more complex indicators, and parentheses. You may also choose to halt the simulation if your losses exceed your selected percentage.

Node Bots (shown in video): Craft complex trading bots using a node-based editor. The Node Bots Menu includes a link to a usage guide and examples. Your nodes may include Values, Operations, Actions, and Customization.

Detailed documentation is available at the link below:

See Bot Documentation >