Text START to 7473224659 to play


The inspiration for our project originated during the team building session at the start of the hack-a-thon. The three of us hadn't even thought of joining a team until Patrick Caroll, our team leader, approached us. He had been walking around the team building area pitching several of his project ideas (kind of like he was a Shark Tank contestant), trying to get people to help him make his ideas a reality. It was his pitch for a telephone-like social game that drew us together as a group and gave us the idea for TeleTag. We brainstormed out the specifics of the program design and here we are now.

What it does

TeleTag is a social game that allows you to do a fun activity with several of your friends. To begin using TeleTag, a user would text "START" to 17473224659. This would send them a short explanation of the game, asking the user to confirm if they want to play by texting back "OK". The program then sends the user a voice call asking them to record a 15 second (or less) voice message. The program saves their response, and then sends a text asking the user for their alias (game name) and the phone number of a friend to play with. Each successive person who's phone number is provided to the program in this manner will receive a phone call from our program, during which they have to listen to a message left by their previous friend and replicate it to the best of their ability. When the final person in the TeleTag chain record's a voice message, every participant of the game will receive a unique url to a webpage displaying the results of their game. They will be able to see the original message, as well as how their message evolved over time.

How we built it

(Through blood, sweat, and tears,) Our team has traversed the many-faceted world of the Internet to find the valuable tools we needed to build this game. Many hours of sleep were lost in exchange for the materials we used.

We built the program using Node.js in combination with the Twilio API. The Twilio API was very important in the creation of our project, and TeleTag would not have been possible without it. We used Twilio provided phone numbers, and many of the API's Programmable SMS and Voice functions to make calls to our user's and record their speech. We also built TeleTag using Amazon-Web-Service servers and databases. The amazon servers are used to actually run the code, and any data collected during the game (voice recordings, phone numbers, etc...) is stored into an amazon database.

The logo was created using Microsoft Powerpoint graphics (something Kastur is very proud of).

Challenges we ran into

We ran into many challenges, given that two of our group's members were very new to the JavaScript language. We were lucky to have a very strong JS programmer to help us overcome that, however. We also had trouble trying to implement the Twilio API into our project, however Twilio's representative was incredibly helpful, assisting us with our problems.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are proud of how much we were able to learn as a team. Learning to use a software API that was new to us, like Twilio, was a very exciting experience. Using new technology is something that is very important to be comfortable with as a hacker, and we are proud that we accomplished that with some of the API's at this hack-a-thon.

What we learned

This entire project was a huge learning experience, especially for Keiran Glynn and Kastur Koul. We had very minimal experience using JavaScript and setting up servers, but Patrick taught us all about the language and server creation. We are now a lot more comfortable using a dynamic language like JS and will likely use it in more projects in the future.

What's next for TeleTag

As of this Devpost entry, the main feature to be implemented for TeleTag is the option to scale the number of players. Right now, the maximum number of players that can be added to the call chain is set a maximum limit that can not be changed. We have plans to make this a dynamic setting in the future.

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