Inspiration

Our introduction to college was shrouded with mystery. We wanted to shed light on the cloud of doubt that is present in many incoming freshman students. This messenger chatbot allows us to take you through real-life scenarios and walk them through their first year of college.

What it does

It simulates important events that occur for first-year Rice students. It also allows a varying degree of self-choice. Your decisions impact your future.

How I built it

First, in python, we created an endpoint by using Flask; second, we use pymessenger to link our code to Facebook messenger to allow communication between the user and the bot by integrating webhooks. Then, we expand on our code and make our chat more dynamic.

Challenges I ran into

First, we encountered some problems while trying to set up a host (ngrok). There were sporadic occasions where the host would succeed and fail. It was also a challenge to find an efficient and reliable way to simulate our desired scenarios. Figuring out how to handle unexpected inputs from users also proved to be quite the challenge. However, utilizing our resources provided by Professor Rixner, in our most recent lecture, we learned to use the default dictionary. Thus, we were able to apply that asset to resolve our challenge.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

After hours of debugging, we were able to create a reliable and interesting scenario bot. We were also able to effectively create a functioning bot with the limited knowledge that we had.

What I learned

We learned effective debugging skills while trying to implement our code into messenger. We also learned how to create a messenger chatbot on Facebook (set up a host, integrate webhooks, etc) through the Facebook developer page.

What's next for OwlSim

We can add more detail along with more events to thoroughly flush out the first year experience. In addition, we can add more choices to allow for greater divergence and choice. We would like to create more scenarios to make decisions more impactful to the story.

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