Clement Melendez Experiences Games Mods Essays Resume
Experiences Games Mods Essays Resume

at Hexagram.io
for Meow Wolf
as Technical Experience Designer
since July 2018

MEOW WOLF

Immersive experiences in artistic exhibitions

Information about my work will be available when projects are released to the public
More about Meow Wolf at meowwolf.com/about

at Hexagram.io
for Netflix/Baskin Robbins
as Technical Experience Designer
for 7 weeks
in June-July 2019
with Chatscript & Javascript

OPERATION SCOOP SNOOP

80s-inspired ARG for the release of Stranger Things Season 3

Integration into a high-profile marketing campaign

About 6 weeks before the launch of the Season 3 of Stranger Things, we were contracted to design and implement an ARG for the event. It was integrated into Baskin Robbins' Scoops Ahoy marketing campaign, during which they remodeled multiple stores and introduced new ice-cream flavors.

The ARG itself began with TV commercials providing a phone-line number, and involved a Telnet application, a chatbot, mini-games and digital challenges, faxing, morse code and ciphers present in Baskin Robbins stores... It ran from the 4th of July to the 15th, with new content and challenges unlocked daily.

Chatbot, game-logic scripts, network/database library



I wasn't the main designer on the ARG, only contributed to the design. My main responsibility was to build the chatbot and to connect our back-end service (SAGA) with the Chatscript server and the front-end interface to allow the whole experience to work.

I built an extensive Javascript library to allow the Telnet application to connect to and cache the state of the back-end database and chatbot, and worked with the front-end developer to allow game state and progress to be saved on our servers. What would have been hundreds of lines of codes for him to write, ended up being a few library functions to call that handled all the required networking/caching, so he could focus on the front-end.

Without the Chatscript library I had created for Skype Originals, this project wouldn't have been possible in that timeframe -- it allowed me to build an advanced chatbot in a few weeks, and connect it to game progression and a calendar of daily unlocks. I also created the chatbot architecture and all Chatscript patterns to ensure that the chatbot could respond to users appropriately.

Overwhelmingly positive feedback from the community

The community congregated on Discord and Reddit to theorize about the mysteries introduced in the ARG and help each other through its challenges. Information and red-herrings planted in BBS messages and files kept them involved, speculating about the wildest theories in the Stranger Things universe. The response from users was very positive towards the ARG itself, as well as the overall marketing campaign. Players ended up designing their own logos, stickers, certificates, t-shirts, memes... to celebrate the ARG.

Thousands of users participated in the experience that week, and half a million messages were sent/received by the chatbot. Hundreds of players completed the ARG, and the first 11 ended up winning free ice-cream at Baskin Robbins, from a lifetime to a year's worth. We enventually participated in an Ask Me Anything session on Discord, as participants were eager to learn more about the whole project.

Online coverage includes Mashable, AdWeek, ARG Network, The Ghost In My Machine and All Hallows Geek

at Hexagram.io
for Microsoft Skype
as Designer / Software Developer
for 8 months
in 2017 - 2018
with Chatscript & Javascript
on all Skype platforms

SKYPE ORIGINALS

Interactive storytelling on Skype using advanced chatbots, audio, video and images

Demo pitch to Microsoft

The narrative designer and I learned how to develop chatbots and created a demo in a month, pitched to Skype leadership in San Francisco, unlocking funding for 2 projects: a crime-solving mystery and a romantic comedy, using chatbots and featuring videos/photos/images of live actors shot by our team in New York. One involved 3 different but inter-connected chatbot characters, which introduced a lot of technical challenges.

Chatbot design, systems and implementation

Chatscript was too limited for the needs of this project, so I developed a library of macros to add functionality like bot emotions & inventory, story structure management, back-end service integration... I designed and wrote an advanced control script, which dictates how the chatbot parses inputs then generates an output, to support multi-chatbot setups, simplification of sentences, detection of emotions, advanced prioritization of answers, identifying and memorizing subjects in sentences, the ability for chatbots to go offline...

I also assumed many design responsibilities in helping flesh out the experience/story, and define/integrate/create the required assets. I also worked with the narrative designer/writer to structure all narrative scripts: templates, conditional logic, branches...

Back-end interface scripts

Hexagram's interactive storytelling platform (SAGA) acted as a bridge between the Chatscript servers and Skype, allowing us to execute Javascript code each time a message was received from Skype or returned from Chatscript. I wrote all those scripts as well: handling delayed messages, queueing of inputs and outputs, breaking the chatbots' responses into sequences of messages, cleaning up and formatting messages, sharing updates between connected chatbots, storing user progress in database...

Skype integration

We worked back and forth with the Skype team to integrate with their fairly-new API, report bugs with said API and integrate Skype features still under development on various platforms. We delivered regular test versions to get feedback and bug reports from Microsoft. By the time we were done though, the Skype leadership team had been transfered to other projects at Microsoft and momentum behind our project stopped, so the chatbots weren't released.