Inspiration

I always enjoyed word games as a kid and when I first experienced Alexa, I thought that it was a perfect platform for a phrasal template game. When the Echo came out that was even better. I haven't seen a good implementation amongst skills so far, so I decided to make it. The competition accelerated my schedule.

What it does

Original Jest is a competitive party game of rewriting stories. The twist is that you provide the words before knowing the story. The result is a pair of hilarious rewrites or Original Jests. The best jest of each pair wins a point for that team.

How I built it

I have developed a few skills so far, so I had a grasp of the structure of Alexa apps. For this, I wrote a few sample stories and tested them with people, then I tried "wireframing" an interaction pattern (storyboard) that worked better on Alexa. I also tried out a few similar skills to see if anyone had done it right. I then started building it up in pieces.

Challenges I ran into

The biggest challenge was time. Due to other commitments, even though I had this idea for months, I wasn't able to start digging into the API until January with a full workload of other stuff on my plate.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

I have not had enough time to implement all the features I think are essential, but I have managed to get something useable done in time. I was pleased to get to learn & use APL finally, but I still haven't gotten to adding a Fulfill Intent interface.

What I learned

APL, improved my Javascript and Node Skills and got more comfortable with the Alexa dev environment and API. I also refined my thinking about how the screen and the voice interface can be combined more elegantly.

What's next for Original Jest

Giving it more polish, adding a Fulfill Intent Interface and properly implement in-skill purchasing. With in-skill purchasing, people can add more stories to their library (free or paid) and I could generate some income that would support further development.

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