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Developing Amazon Alexa Games: A Game Designer’s Handbook

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Initially released in mid-2015, the Amazon Echo is a breakthrough device from a new class of products, Intelligent Virtual Assistants (IVAs). Powered by the Alexa Voice Service, the Echo is designed to sit in your home, passively waiting for you to talk to it.

As a gaming console, the Amazon Echo has a remarkably simple interface. It makes for an interesting departure from the current trend of investing in increasingly resource-heavy graphics to enhance the gaming experience. It flies in the face of demand for virtual reality (VR) gear and investments by top-shelf games companies in fleets of GUI designers. Alexa-enabled games do not require players to scrimp and save for graphics cards capable of handling resource-hungry, visually focused games. They are, to quote a prominent indie games developer, “Old School.”

The Amazon Echo presents a simple, parsed-down gaming experience that amounts to a level playing field in an industry controlled by titans. The market barriers to entry are quite low. The API is free and publicly available. The audio interface is limited enough for tiny gaming houses, with some ingenuity, to out-maneuver deep-pocketed competitors. Of the few big names to produce games for Alexa–D.C. Comics, Warner Bros, Runescape–none were drawn by the ROI. They see a marketing tool in the Echo, a means for free publicity, without concern for financial gain.

Our company, TsaTsaTzu, consults for enterprise companies interested in developing skills for Alexa. We also produce dozens of our own skills. Among our gaming catalog are award-winners (SubWar, StarLanes), blockbusters (21BlackJack, Knock Knock) and innovative “game-changers” (MindMaze, Six Swords). We are a tiny firm that manages to be a top Alexa game developer, and we’ve published this book to give you a roadmap and ideas for your own game Alexa development.

This book is not a beginner’s guide to programming; you can find lots of those kinds of books (on that go step-by-step through programming examples. You can program Alexa in many languages with examples literally strewn across the Internet. You would also be wise to keep Amazon’s authoritative documentation close at hand as you begin developing for Alexa. Amazon has done a good job laying the groundwork to get started. The Alexa Forums are vocal about common pitfalls and coding traps. And, of course, there are the development kits for AVS.

Instead, this is a book of strategies and suggestions for developing games in this new medium. Each chapter introduces a new game type, arranged in order of increasing complexity. These sections discuss the game’s specific design and architectural challenges, with direct references to games currently available on the Alexa Skills Market. We also provide some game ideas for you to develop on your own. Our hope is that you find this information useful, and as a result, better quality skills will become available. That would be a great outcome for everyone involved.

ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0739N4MJH
Language ‏ : ‎ English
File size ‏ : ‎ 15824 KB
Simultaneous device usage ‏ : ‎ Unlimited
Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
Print length ‏ : ‎ 95 pages