The Echo show is a fantastic device which has the potential to be a very beautiful interface that is a combination of voice and visual screens. Such a device can really teach kids something very useful and make a mark on their minds. In this information age, basic coding skills are a must for people of all ages. We thought it would be a really interesting idea to create an engaging game that can teach coding to kids between 7-13 years.
What it does
Our skill helps kids learn the basics of coding while engaging themselves in a very interesting game. The Earth is in danger in the year 2054 and the player is the chosen one to save the earth from the Alien invasion. However, in order to do that we must follow instructions sent to us in the form of code by the Alexa Super satellite built by mankind to deal with scenarios like alien invasion.
How we built it
We built it by leveraging all the features that Alexa Echo show provides. We have used node.js to build the code, dynamodb for the database and photoshop, maya for designing the characters and videos. We have used Alexa SDK and implemented Save game facility as well. Since the session time out is very small for Echo show, the session needs to be maintained if somebody wants to pause and resume the game from where they have stopped
Challenges we ran into
We had difficulty in maintaining the states of the game. And figuring out how to enable two intents that have similar sample utterances. Also since the entire system works in cycles of request and response, we had to cleverly insert our prompts and instructions to make sure the experience is seamless.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We used session attributes, video directive and created a very engaging game both with voice and visuals that can teach the basics of coding to a young kid. We are really proud of the entire package and especially the story and context in which we are teaching them code.
What we learned
We learnt end to end the process of building a skill for echo show devices. Alexa SDK framework is a very handy one for us to develop skills on echo show.
What's next for Code To Save
The game ends on a cliffhanger. There is going to be a sequel to it. ;)