Build an Animal Crossing party line in 5 minutes

April 06, 2020
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Header Animal Crossing Party Line

How did you spend your weekend? When I wasn't feeding my sourdough starter, I spent at least 4 hours playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons and doing chores for my raccoon landlord. For those unacquainted with the game: Animal Crossing is a social game where you build a town on a deserted island full of friendly animals, fruit trees, and homemade furniture. Once you set up your town, other players can visit you, bring you gifts, and help you weed your garden.

On Sunday, my coworker Christine invited me and our coworker Megan to an Animal Crossing party. We exchanged Switch Friend codes and set up a time to play.

Unfortunately in-game communication can be tough: there's no in-game voice chat and saying something specific is a hunt-and-peck nightmare with the Switch keyboard. Video chat seemed like overkill since we'd all be looking at our screens anyway.

Luckily, we work at Twilio, so we knew the best way to immediately set up a conference call.

sms convo

I found a tutorial for setting up a conference line in Studio and responded 8 minutes later with a working conference line. But it's a new day and there's an even faster way to set up a conference line with basically no code.

And don't worry about breaking the bank - we talked for 1 hour and 26 minutes and the total rang up to a bit more than $2 USD.

How to build a conference line with Twilio

You'll need a few things to get started:

  1. A Twilio account. Get an extra $10 when you upgrade using this link
  2. A Twilio phone number, this will be your conference line. Get one here.

Create a TwiML Bin with conference instructions

Next, head over to the Twilio Console to create a new TwiML bin. Paste the following TwiML in the bin, give it a Friendly Name, and hit Create.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    <Conference>Nook Inc</Conference>

TwiML bin

Connect your TwiML to your Phone Number

Head back to the phone number you purchased in the console. In the a call comes in section, select TwiML Bin and the name of the TwiML Bin you just created. Hit Save.

Connect TwiML bin to Phone Number

And that's it! Up to 250 people can now call your party line.

What's next?

Christine hooked me up with pears and oranges, the last of my fruit needs. Megan's just getting started, so I'm excited to check back in on her island in a bit. As for technical solutions? You can add SMS support to your bot, so it can respond to messages with facts about your favorite Animal Crossing characters.

Tom Nook is a capitalist crook

Maybe upgrade this to an SMS responder to share friend codes, or an SMS notification to friends when your airport gate is open, or an Autopilot bot for an FAQ. Questions? Find me on Twitter.