1) Engaging MegaPhone
- What countries is MegaPhone available in?
- MegaPhone offers its service in the following regions/countries:
*** THE AMERICAS ***
*** EMEA ***
*** ASIA PACIFIC ***
- What if my country is not in the current service list?
- In that case, a regional partner may be able to obtain their own phone service and connect it to the MegaPhone platform. Please contact us if you have the ability to buy wholesale phone service in a country that we don't currently offer service in.
2) MegaPhone Platform Capabilities
- Does MegaPhone make SMS controlled games? Why would I use MegaPhone instead of an SMS based solution?
- No, MegaPhone currently does not offer any experiences where players SMS text in.
MegaPhone was developed specifically to allow faster communication, and therefore more diverse types of interaction, than SMS allows. For example, a car racing game where each player steers a car around a track is not possible with SMS.
However, even for a game such as trivia, where SMS based solutions exist, there are still two very important reasons you might choose to use MegaPhone.
First: Interaction Speed.
With an SMS based trivia one must wait for each response to come back from players. This involves a player getting out their phone, opening a new SMS, typing a shortcode and a keyword, and then waiting for the message to get to your SMS server. Depending on the factors, this can take between one and two minutes to answer a single question, and then another minute or two to gather all the results. With the MegaPhone platform, each button press arrives at our servers less than a quarter of a second after the user presses, guaranteed. This means that instead of asking a single question over a few minutes you can easily conduct a fast paced game with multiple questions in a row in the same amount of time. This provides a much richer and competitive experience, a true game.
Second: prizing and scoring regulations with respect to games of skill/chance.
Because the MegaPhone system operates in realtime, we gauge the speed of each button press down to the millisecond. In our trivia product, this lets us measure both the accuracy and response time of a player and reward points for speed. Thus, the winner is determined as the person who answered the most questions correctly and quickly, unlike in an SMS system, where the "winner" is randomly selected from all the players who had the correct answer. Thus, MegaPhone games can be categorized as "games of skill" for prizing purposes, and are therefore not subject to many laws regarding "games of chance" or "sweepstakes."
However, many MegaPhone experiences do end with an SMS sent *to* the player, telling them things such as their score, a message from the game's sponsor, and an option to opt into a mobile mailing list. We view SMS as an important part of the experience, which closes the loop between the on screen experience and something a player takes with them on their mobile device.
- How many players can join a MegaPhone game at the same time?
It's only limited by the game mechanic that one chooses. Right now, our TV trivia games have thousands of simultaneous players calling in and battling it out at the same time. We can have that many players join because they don't all have to appear on screen.
However, if you're developing an action game for a smaller audience, such as at a racing game that's going to run on a 52" plasma screen, then the maximum number of players will be limited by the screen space.
So a good rule of thumb is about 20 players max for games where each player has an avatar, and hundreds or thousands where they don't.
3) Technical and Deployment Issues
- How do I integrate MegaPhone into my arena or stadium environment?
- If you have a laptop or desktop connected to your jumbotron now, then there is no further integration needed.
Just open up a web browser on that computer, go to your MegaPhone URL, and your game will load.
If you do not currently have a PC that can be displayed on your jumbotron, then you will need to source one. Any Mac or PC made in the last 3 years will work just fine, and the only other thing to remember is that you may need a scan converter to connect the computer to your video board. MegaPhone can recommend some scan converters that are less than $500.
- How do I integrate MegaPhone into my broadcast or cable television environment?
- To use MegaPhone's DialPlay TV system, all you need is a computer with a web browser connected to your video system.
For example, if you are running in a live environment (such as a news or sports show), then your production team can use any laptop or desktop machine connected to your video mixing board. Typically, you will have a scan converter or frame sync device that captures the output of this PC and makes it ready for your video system in a format such as HD-SDI.
If you are running in a non-live environment then MegaPhone will work with you to integrate with whatever titling, triggering, broadcast information, or carousel system you may have (such as Chyon, Deco, or VizRT).
- What hardware, software, and network are required to run MegaPhone apps?
Hardware: Any modern laptop or desktop machine that can run Flash games will work fine. For PC's, we recommend a minimum of a P4 1.8ghz, and for Mac's we recommend a Core Duo 2ghz minimum.
Network: A stable internet connection with at least 128kbps is needed, although games usually only require 10kbps while they run. Any regular cable modem or DSL works fine, and MegaPhone apps are even frequently run off a mobile 3G card!
4) SDK Developer program questions
- How many callers can the free non-commercial developer SDK support?
- By default the free SDK supports 5 callers. If you are testing something that needs more callers than that, or working in a non-profit or educational situation where you need more callers to demonstrate your app, please contact your MegaPhone representative to request a short term increase in your caller limit.
- How many simultaneous games does the free SDK support?
- You can have two copies of your game running with two separate phone numbers at a time.
- What are the limits on the use of the free non-commercial SDK? Can I use it for internal company demonstrations? What about for apps for schools?
- The gist of it is this: If you are getting paid for, or directly profiting from, your use of the MegaPhone platform, then you must pay MegaPhone our license fee.
The exact terms and conditions are listed in the legal documents on the SDK sign up page, but if you aren't getting paid, then don't worry about it. For example, if you're doing an internal demo for your company, developing something for your personal use (such as an art show or free concert where you don't receive any compensation), or making something for a non-profit (where you are not a paid contractor), then have at it!
However, if you are doing anything where you are getting paid for your services, then you'll need to contact us for a commercial license. For non-profit and educational institutions there is a reduced-fee license option.
- What countries is the SDK program available in?
- Please see the list of countries above in the section titled "Engaging MegaPhone."
In some cases we will not have existing phone numbers in your region or country, and will ask you for a small fee to cover the setup of a new phone number in your country, or will assign you a US phone number if you choose.
- What programming languages are supported by the MegaPhone SDK?
- The official MegaPhone SDK is written in Flash ActionScript 3.
However, there are unofficial SDKs in Java, OpenFrameworks, and Unity 3D.
Depending on your uses, the Java SDK source code can be used as a template for building an SDK in your favorite language (and in fact, that is how the OpenFrameworks SDK came about).
If you are working in a language other than Flash, drop us a line and let us know what you're thinking.