Today’s parents are extraordinarily busy and I wanted to help decrease the stress of finding an activity to keep the kids busy. I have fond memories of playing Freeze Dance and set out to produce a version for today’s tech-savvy kids including my adorable nieces and nephews. A huge plus is that I can now host a freeze dance marathon when they come over to visit!
What it does
The Freeze Dance skill plays upbeat songs that kids can’t help but jam to. It’s a curated dance party, and unlike the original version of the game, there are no losers. No bad feelings or parents negotiating with a child who feels sad because they’ve been eliminated from the game.
How I built it
Challenges I ran into
Finding and curating the music took some time. I hadn't realized how difficult it would be to find quality music with Creative Commons rights.
Voice design is an exciting space that comes with its challenges. What works on mobile does not translate into voice design. My family and I discussed which elements of the original Freeze Dance game worked and which didn't. Ultimately, the app takes the place of the "dj," so we didn't need that person. We also decided to remove the judging, which meant that the person who moves has to sit and wait for a new game. It seems like a good way to simplify an already simple game, but also relieves parents from having to calm a child that feels bad that they couldn't stay completely still.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
I worked on curating the music and figuring out the flow of the skill with my husband and teenage son. Together, we learned a lot about Amazon’s ecosystem and about voice design. I also collaborated with my son on making the demo video.
What I learned
During the process of researching how to make an Alexa skill, I learned so much about the AWS universe of products including Lambda, s3, DynamoDB. I also got acquainted with node.js and learned to prep mp3s to fit Amazon's requirements for Alexa.
What's next for Freeze Dance
I am in the process of resubmitting the skill which includes more music and other interactive elements.