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Quick links: game website (Sankofa.cc), video from our Oct'2014 launch, and stub on our public website.

Technical specification:

  1. Recruiting of players on the street using the audio mic and spectacular lights of Sankofa Red -- including a "rap the phone" public spectacle!
  2. Information about the game in person: When the mic is not in use, passersby can lift the handset to hear an audio recording about how the game works, the design goals, and how to sign up. This functionality uses our Raspberry Pi hacking
  3. Signup: With their own cell phones, players register by calling or SMS. Both send them an SMS with instructions. This system uses Twilio via OpenVBX with custom plugins.
    1. Each player is tracked via Wordpress user tables (so we can use the editor functions of wordpress for GUI, etc.)... so registration essentially includes creating a new user, and associating the user with their cell phone for tracking.
    2. Players must agree to the game Terms and Conditions via SMS, and provide a first name (so the game can greet them and attribute scores)
  4. Activity announcements are sent via OpenVBX by scheduling SMS blasts to players who have signed up for the game. For mass communication, we tracked players via a Google spreadsheet, periodically importing new game signups... yet retaining the flexibility to add people to blast by hand or remove people from communication without removing them from the game.
  5. Points come when players engage in a rally, mostly by meeting at a landmark at a set time.
    1. Players call in by cell phone (to OpenVBX). Their numbers are recognized. They are greeted by text-to-speech. They can then "join" a rally that is underway, or initiate a new rally at a different location. (Technically, the existence of a rally is determined by checking the wordpress blog entry for that rally, and seeing if there are any comments in the past 15-30 minutes, since checking in generates comments.)
    2. Every player is given a trivia challenge over the phone. Audio was recorded in advance for multiple questions, and players are assigned questions sequentially. Some questions benefit from players asking others near them for ideas. More points for getting it right.
      1. A blog comment is posted every time a question is answered, right or wrong. The comment appears under the blog post for that rally... leading to a live public display of which sites are being visited. See http://sankofa.cc/landmarks/
    3. (Total score for a group rally at a location will eventually be determined by the number of players who join in a 30 minute period. See below.)
    4. A group photograph is required by MMS to validate that everyone was there. This photograph is automatically posted by wordpress on the backend. For example see: http://sankofa.cc/invisible-box/#comment-195
  6. Top scores for the game are calculated by a PHP script that reviews all relevant wordpress comments and determines which were legitimate rallies, the relevant group scores for each rally, and how those scores trickle down to individual players. See final scores page here: http://sankofa.cc/scores/
  7. (Thank you and follow-up SMS messages are similarly broadcast to players using our OpenVBX SMS scheduler.)

Source code

Forthcoming, I hope!