Inspiration

With Christmas coming up, I wanted to make a Christmas skill where one would guess where Santa is on that day. I also wanted to make a daily use skill, where the user would be encouraged to come back. I wanted to develop something different from a trivia game and target people who like quick games, which they could do before going about their daily activity.

Unfortunately, the Santa idea fell through because it was deemed a kids skill so I amended it to be a non-seasonal.

What it does

Where's Alex is a game where the player needs to find out which country Alex is in. Alex will give a clue based on the nearest landmark. If the player guesses correctly, they have a chance to earn bonus points by guessing which city Alex is in as well.

After 7 locations have been completed, the player is then upselled to get access to more landmarks and countries Alex could visit.

How I built it

I developed Where's Alex using the ASK-CLI, Alexa SDK, AWS Lambda, S3 Bucket, DynamoDB, Alexa Presentation Language and Node.JS.

Challenges I ran into

Originally I wanted to make this a Christmas skill where one would need to Find Santa and guess which country he's in. The reason I chose to do Santa was to target the seasonal market since Christmas was so near but it was deemed as a kids skill despite the questions not being aimed at kids. I didn't have time to cater the skill as a kids ISP, so I changed it to Where's Alex and removed all traces of Santa and Christmas.

During development, Alexa was having voice recognition difficulties with cities. I knew this would cause a lot of angry, frustrated users if their answers were not being recognised. To tackle this issue, I enabled the confirmation dialog but during testing, the confirmation dialog would only allow a maximum of 2 confirmations and would end the session after that. This is not a good user experience, so I made my own confirmation intent, which would allow the user to keep trying until they were satisfied with there answer.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

This was a skill I really enjoyed developing. I thought the concept was exciting and would be a great way to learn about the world and all the beautiful places you could visit.

What I learned

Where's Alex has allowed me to try out a different ISP approach. I am looking forward to seeing if this ISP approach is a good model for future ISP skills.

What's next for Where's Alex

Add images of the landmarks into the game as that would aid the user on working out where Alex is.

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