Amazon released a new tool and source code Tuesday to encourage people to build voice-oriented, “choose your own adventure” games using Alexa, the company’s AI digital assistant.
In a blog post, Amazon detailed the step-by-step process for building an adventure game using Alexa. The base code was written in Node.js by Thomas Yuill, a designer and engineer with the Amazon advertising team.
“This tool provides an easy to use front-end that allows developers to instantly deploy code for your story, or use the generated code as a starting point for more complex projects,” according to the blog post.
The new tool and code fits with Amazon’s initiative to crowdsource development of Alexa skills. Last year, Amazon opened up Alexa to developers, and Amazon said in its latest earnings report the brain behind Echo and other Amazon smart speakers now has more than 1,900 third-party skills. Developers who want to add to Alexa’s abilities can write code that works with Alexa in the cloud, letting the smart assistant do the heavy lifting of understanding and deciphering spoken commands.
Amazon said games make up 20 percent of Alexa’s top skills. Users spend more time on the Wayne Investigation skill, a Batman-themed choose-your-own-adventure game, than any other Alexa skill. The game puts users in the shoes of a detective trying to solve the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents, the iconic Batman origin arc.
Users interrogate key characters and Alexa guides players through virtual rooms, presenting choices and helping find clues. The game includes 37 different decisions that take users down various paths.
The game was created using Alexa Skills Kit, and it is collaboration between Amazon, Warner Bros., head writers at DC Comics, and the film studio established by Batman Vs. Superman director Zach Snyder.