While conducting user research for which games we should build for Voice Arcade we noticed that many users wanted to test and improve their math abilities but struggled to find a game on Alexa that could help them do so.

In fact, math-based games are common on Alexa and users were giving them a try but they mostly lacked the variety and depth of gameplay to keep users coming back.

Our goal with The Number Games was to build a math-based game for Alexa that players would want to return to again and again while exploring the limits of what's possible using Alexa for Games WebAPI.

What it does

The Number Games consists of a series of math-based minigames themed on various sports that athletes might compete in. It's designed to be played with up to 4 players and it contains NPCs (non-playable characters) for when fewer than 4 people play.

The Number Games can be played with and without a screen and we've focussed on tailoring the prompts to each of those use cases so you aren't told superfluous information by the TTS when it is visible on the screen.

How we built it

At labworks we're big fans of Jovo so we used that as our primary framework plus some in-house tooling we use to quickly build dialog. We deliver the audio via the WebAPI web-app on screened devices and APLA on non-screened devices. We also provide an APL holding screen for devices that can't handle WebAPI.

Challenges we ran into

Animating the characters proved to be much trickier than we expected and testing was a struggle as the developer console doesn't support WebAPI.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

The Number Games contains 9 different minigames which provides a huge amount of variety that will keep users entertained for a long time.

What we learned

WebAPI works well though it would be helpful if the TTS transformer supported audio files natively.

What's next for The Number Games

Letting users create accounts so they can store their medals across sessions.

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