As struggling second-semester seniors, we face the impending reality of college debt. We wanted to make an educational and interactive choose-your-own-adventure game that helps students like us explore their options for paying for college.

What it does

The game sets up a scenario for you as a middle-class student who needs to pay for college. It presents several options and scenarios along the way that can impact your happiness level, your GPA, and your debt, with the goal being to minimize your debt by the end of the game.

How we built it

We built this as a Google Action using jovo, so it could run through the built-in Android Google Assistant app as a text-based or audio-based game. To direct the flow of the game based on user response to the scenarios, we coded various intents and states to flow into different consequences.

Challenges we ran into

We had trouble structuring our story at first, since directing which intents should happen where relied on the structure of our scenarios and on where we wanted to receive user input.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We're proud of how many intents we were able to code, as coding could get somewhat tedious and sometimes required a bunch of rerouting intents when we wanted to change the flow of the game or add a new feature.

What we learned

We had to do a decent amount of research on different financial options- some of those options didn't make it into our game because we didn't have time to code it, but we did learn more about different loan and investment options. We also learned how to code states, so that we could have multiple Yes and No intents; this was very useful, as we had many scenarios that warranted a yes/no response.

What's next for GetDebt: A College Financial Adventure

In the future, we'd like to make this much more comprehensive, adding options such as different housing/dining plans, getting a part-time job that's not work-study, or options for taking college classes part-time, so that people can be fully aware of all their options and be prepared for taking on the burden of student loans.

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posted an update

In addition to working on devices with Google Assistant, GetDebt is now an Alexa Skill! To enable cross-platform functionality, we built an Alexa Skill using Alexa Developer Console. There, we created all of the same intents that were on DialogFlow and worked out a few bugs. Both the Alexa Skill and Google Action use the same code.

Additionally, we deployed our code to Microsoft Azure! Previously, the voice app ran off a local web server (my computer). If my computer were turned off, the app would no longer work. Now that it is on the Cloud, both the Alexa Skill and Google Action can work at any time.

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