Inspiration

I have 3 crazy kids, and they love it when I tell them stories. Lately I've been letting them get in on the action by influencing the direction of the stories. It sparks their imagination and makes them happy to know they were involved. I thought I could take that idea and incorporate some of the things they've been learning in preschool, like rhyming words, basic addition, and some riddles.

What it does

Save the Princess is an adventure game with infinite possibilities. Right now there is one main storyline, prepped for two more forks. It guides the user through a series of questions and obstacles and eventually leads them to the princess if they make the right choices along the way.

How I built it

I first tried to build this based off of a basic skill I wrote months back called "The Bedtime Game." That game was a series of yes or no questions that ultimately led to Alexa telling my kids to go to bed (on most occasions). I came across some challenges with that (more on that in a minute), and decided to scrap that old code. I don't have coding experience other than that, and an HTML class over 10 years ago, so I decided to look around for some inspiration. Turns out Amazon has already solved many of the challenges for us with their Interactive Adventure Game Tool. That was it! Because of that guide I was able to answer more than yes/no questions and had a visual representation of each decision along the way. That is, once I got it to work on my PC...

Challenges I ran into

I'm going to be honest. I've been working on this skill off and on for many weeks now. First it was just a concept, and I even let my kids come up with the ideas for most of the scenes. Then once I had some of the main ideas down I jotted the whole thing down in LucidChart to keep it organized and map the flow. That's when I ran up against my first problem. How the heck do I code this thing?? I mentioned earlier that I tried to use my old code, but that was decided for only yes/no questions and I thought an entire adventure game of only yes or no questions would get old real fast. So after exploring, I found the Interactive Adventure Game Tool, only to have it fail on me during my first FIVE attempts. Turns out that tutorial was based on having a knowledge of code and a machine pre-setup to handle everything involved with writing an Alexa Skill....which I didn't have set up. So piece by piece I got everything installed until one night around 2am it FINALLY worked! The mysterious errors disappeared and I was able to save my code. Just a few evenings of Netflix and Code later and I have a working game!

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

I'm just excited that I got the thing to work in the first place. I'll be more excited if even a few people decide to download it.

What I learned

You can solve any problem with enough time, perseverance, and Googling. Chances are if you're having an issue with Node, somebody else has come across it before and documented it.

What's next for Save the Princess!

More adventures! I've already written in hints at two more main story forks, but that's just the beginning. I want to continue expanding this with more and more stories, and eventually add in pictures for the Echo Show.

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