Tic Tac Tailgate

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One of the things I work on at Vibes Media are large-scale visualizations that people at a venue can interact with via SMS. For example, at a concert people can send text messages that will then appear on a big screen everyone to see.

I built Tic Tac Tailgate as a prototype of a SMS-driven multiplayer game where large teams can alternate texting in their moves (each square corresponds to a number from 1 to 9).

Try out the Prototype Click the numbers to make moves as both sides. Use Firefox!

How’s it work?

Guys and girls play against each other. Each turn, while the turn timer is running, players from that team text the number corresponding to square they’d like to place their piece. Each team has a unique shortcode assigned to it to make texting easier. Every time a vote comes in, a small puff of fire appears in that square to help the rest of the team clue in to what other people are doing.

Once the turn timer runs out, the game figures out the most voted for square and makes the appropriate move. In case of a tie, the game randomly chooses between the tied squares. If there are no votes, the game chooses a random square for the team.

The game continues until there’s a tie or a winner.

How’s it made?

It’s all a bunch of HTML/CSS driven by some messy JavaScript. The animations are powered by jQuery with a little bit of help from Spritely for the smoke and fire sprites.

What’s next?

I’m planning to finish the prototype and have some folks at the office give it a try. Text-based interactions are kind of limited, and we’ve also started to experiment with web-based UIs that people can use on their smartphones. This would dramatically increase the depth of interactions available. I’d like to take a crack at making some more elaborate games.

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