Designing a call-center game

by Kim Aarnseth August 17, 2019

Designing a call-center game

We had a little game jam!

You know the horrible call center ques you end up in, for example when you get stuck at an airport or need to get connected to some sort of helpdesk or support.

How about making a game using the same techniques?
We designed a little story game based on two of them:

  • IVR systems (Interactive Voice Response)
  • DTMF tones (Dual-Tone Multi-Frequency Tones)

Custom Recordings

IVR systems usually have a robotic voice declaring your choices and presenting information. However, we used one that supported custom sound files, played back in glorious mono (you could almost taste the cassette tape being played when you heard it). We could mix in sound and voice to create the mood. 

The Game Loop

We split up the story into main chunks depending on branching and input. 

The Game loop

The Server

When a player calls the number they're connected to a small server we created.
The server will then trigger different modules based on where in the game loop the player is.

phone server

Player Choices and Input

When the story branch reaches a player choice we present the available choices and await the player's DTMF tones. "Press one for choice A". 

player choice

The story then continues to the next module

story module

end module

With some help from a Dungeon Master, we made a proof of concept story with branches.  

classical DnD

We didn't share any of the soundbites here as we might want to finish this into something later. We made the concept in Swedish and a light taste of Dalecarlian dialects accompanied by some classic folk music from Dalarna. 

adventures on the field

Kim Aarnseth
Kim Aarnseth