We'd always wanted to make a game together, both of us inspired by sci-fi stories as children. As I dipped my toes more into Alexa development I thought it would be a great opportunity for us to create something unique that also had a set of constraints around it in terms of voice input.

What it does

It's an immersive story that plays on the fact input is via voice only and this is carried into the story. You take on the role of someone on a damaged spaceship. Unfortunately your visor is blacked out. But luckily your spacesuit accepts voice commands. This helps to transport you into the story as you try to uncover what happened.

How we built it

After an initial discussion around what we could and couldn't do on the Alexa platform, Charlie setting about writing the story. In the meantime Tom worked out how to break it up into sections and how to handle the myriad of ways that someone might try and play the game. Working as a team we iterated on each section, build up the story chapter by chapter.

Challenges we ran into

The biggest challenges were working around the constraints of the Alexa platform such as maximum response length and the limit of the number of audio files. This meant tweaking the story to fit those constraints but still being true to the story as a whole. Thankfully the advent of APLA has allowed us to revisit this and make the game more immersive in terms of sound effects.

Another challenge was getting the structure right to handle the myriad of options a user might say as well as try to guide them down the right path and make the challenges unique!

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Creating such a great immersive story with unique challenges including time based ones and puzzles. Making the answers to these puzzles random and different endings also increases replayability.

What we learned

It's actually good to work within the boundaries and constraints of a platform as it really helped us to focus on our core idea and the story. We also had a great time working on it together and hopefully it will inspire more games!

What's next for Last Flight of the Icarus

To continue to keep an eye on new Alexa features such as APLA so we can continue to adapt the story and make it more immersive. Possibly looking at creating new puzzles for some sections to introduce more randomness of perhaps different levels of difficulty.

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