Inspiration

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and many other cool text adventures. We were also very excited to work with Alexa following our previous failed attempts with other hardware such as the Sigfox board and Estimote - after attempting to make a device-based hide-and-seek game to no avail, we continued to explore ideas involving different types of games, including a reaction-based buzzer game, but the idea of a text-based game in Alexa quickly won it for us.

What it does

Alexa offers one text-based adventure game dictated between you and your Amazon Echo device, based on our experiences at GreatUniHack 2016, albeit with a little more gruesome death from lack of self-care...if you don't play it right.

How I built it

Initially we experimented with some Bluetooth, GPS and NFC devices with ideas such as a hide-and-seek game and access control for the workplace with some helpful widgets. However, hardware failed us, and we were not able to carry out these ideas, so after a fairly speedy brainstorm we chose to rely on the Amazon Echo for text-based games. The statistics for this are viewable via a web frontend powered by jQuery and PHP, and all information is also retrievable via the Echo, which itself recognises users entered into a database on the website.

Challenges I ran into

The first six and a half hours were pretty much wasted attempting to get the Estimote, Arduino and Sigfox devices to work, though after about half an hour of brainstorming we quickly cemented our next idea. A lot of challenges required close cohesion between team members, such as the implementation of PHP and databases in the otherwise-jQuery website.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

I (Simon) am proud that I've managed to hold my own in what seems to be a set of far more experienced peers, and I'm glad to have both made a positive contribution that has impressed my team and even learnt a little bit for myself.

What I learned

I (Simon) learned some jQuery and an interesting little plugin for it, a terminal emulator by the name of ptty. Also, since this was my first hackathon, I also picked up on some tips and put into practice a few hints I'd already learned from articles, the best of which being to never stop until you feel ready to basically just pass out. Within reason, of course.

What's next for Game Master

We could update it to make it more stable (though error handling is something we're glad to say Michael implemented very late in the hackathon), and we could also devise more games for it.

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