Inspiration

In the last two years we already created several successful interactive audiobooks for Amazon Alexa. Now, with ISP becoming an option, we choose to create an immersive and joyfull teenage lovestory with seven episodes, because we want to try out if ISP works great for emotional stories that hook the player strongly. The user plays a teenage girl who is dating a teenager named Henry. During the storyline the user will experience the ups and downs as well as the highlights and conflicts of a typical teenager relationship. Ex-girlfriends, family, interesting other boys, parties, school, each of the episodes makes sure to place the user in a different kind of setting with its own choices and several ways to play through the story. There are also different endings for the story, depending on how „successful“ you play.

What it does

We have built two different kind of ISPs into the story:

One-time purchases

The first episode is free to play to enable as many users as possible to try out and start playing the story. After completing the first episode the user is asked if he wants to continue the story. He is informed that he can buy the other six episodes by ISP.

Upsells (Consumable & One-time purchase)

Most of the choices the user does in our story do affect the relationship between the main protagonist and her boyfriend. As it is quite challening for the user to always make the best choices (as in real life ^^), we have included some extra choices which the user can buy by ISP and which help him to achieve the best possible ending. For reasons of immersion and user experience we have made those ISPs part of the story. For example, in the beginning of Episode 3, the protagonists and his friend Leonie are in a shop and Leonie stumbles upon a nice mug. She asks if it would be a nice gift for the boyfrined. If the player agrees, he is asked to buy the mug via ISP, what will lead to increase the boyfriends sympathy.

How we built it

  • EarReality has a home-grown CMS by which you can build awesome interactive audio books easily. For the current challenge we added the ISP feature to the CMS, so that clients can manage their products and use them in their stories.
  • The EarReality CMS runs on AWS EC2 and uses the Camunda process management engine (BPMN) to execute the process definitions behind the stories. Media files are cached in AWS CloudFront.

Challenges we ran into

  • Implementing ISP was actually pretty straight forward once you get used to the ISP features in the ASK.
  • Having too much projects in parallel really made the last days before submission very stressful.
  • Having a complete AWS outage in ourAWS region on the day of the submission didn't help very much either.
  • Also, we thought very intensely about how to implement ISPs best without breaking the immersion of the story and how to make the ISPs an attractive option for the user without disappointing him or feeling him „forced to pay“.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are proud of having created a very long and complex story which hopefully hooks users emotionally for a long period. Also we are proud of our different approaches to ISPs and how we implemented those seamlessly into the skill.

What we learned

We learned a lot about how to build attractive ISPs. This will be a process and it is just our first step on the road. We know that we will have to evaluate the results thoroughly and optimize our measures in future times. But we are really looking forward to that!

What's next for Herzklau - An interactive teenager lovestory

  • Release and see whats happening
  • Evaluate and perfect ISPs
  • Create new content to provide more intriguing stories
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