I got an Echo Auto pretty early during the testing phase, and was trying to figure out what would make it fun for my family. After a long drive over a holiday weekend, I realized the potential for passing the time without video games or movies, and that's when I started working on Car Games. We really try to avoid screen time in the car, so I concluded that an entertaining skill for in the car might be a fun way to use the Echo Auto to keep the family occupied and having a good time.
What it does
It entertains a group of people who are in the car. The more you play it, the more games are available. Essentially, it is a repository of fun activities an games that you can play while on the road.
How I built it
I used Voiceflow to put this skill together. I researched a variety of games online, and compiled those that I thought would be a good fit to have Alexa (via the Echo Auto or the Alexa app) guide the user or group to do.
Challenges I ran into
The first step was to identify the games I'd include. That was not extremely difficult. Once I had the list put together, I had to decide how I'd make them available. Instead of making all of them available at once, I decided to implement a way to increase the number of games based on the number of visits. This was a bit more complicated to put together; after lots of testing and tweaking, I was able to get it working how I had envisioned.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
The mechanism that allows for more games to be available based on the # of visits to the skill is what I'm most proud of. My skill building experience previously was pretty simplistic, so this added some complexity (and complications) that I'm pleased came out as well as it did. My hope is that it will keep people interested and coming back for more.
What I learned
I learned a lot about the potential and capabilities within Voiceflow, which keeps growing and changing in exciting ways. I also learned that sometimes my ideas are beyond my capabilities, but that's just an opportunity to learn new things.
What's next for Car Games
I've just implemented ISP, which is something I had hoped to be able to add to this skill. I see lots of potential for growing the library of games, and establishing categories of games down the road. I also could see developing some games where cars can play against one another could be fun, with a leader board for each game.