Creating an Alexa Game: From Idea to Code and Beyond

A Multipart Series about Number Spies; a voice-first game for Amazon Alexa

Number Spies promotional ad for social media

History

In the Fall of 2019, I officially started the journey of creating Number Spies for Amazon Alexa. The idea for the game started at least a year earlier, but I finally had the skills needed for the core functionality. I spent hundreds of hours over many months writing code and expanding on the game idea.

It was a one-person operation that was at times both exhilarating and exhausting.

In the Spring of 2020, I released Number Spies. What started out as an idea for a Flash Briefing and companion game expanded to include some last minute scrambling to create a website and additional integrations.

Why a Series of Posts?

A shout out to my Twitter followers who responded so positively when I proposed the idea of sharing my experience with creating a voice-first game for Amazon Alexa.

This series is ambitious in itself. There are so many parts to cover and as a developer who has written many hundreds of pages of technical documentation over the years, I want to break this up into smaller pieces. Smaller so that you don’t have to spend a hour reading each post and smaller so that I am better able to share in a timely manner.

As this series evolves, I will be updating this Table of Contents so that you can access the different posts. Here is an outline of the topics that we will explore together.

Creating an Alexa Game — Table of Contents

  • Intro — From Idea to Code and Beyond (this post)
  • The Spark of Inspiration for Number Spies
  • Number Spies — System Components Overview
  • Content Management with Sanity.io
  • Number Spies Alexa Flash Briefing
  • Number Spies Alexa Skill — Language Model
  • Number Spies Alexa Skill — Why I Chose the Jovo Framework
  • Number Spies Alexa Skill — Text-to-Speech and Speech Markdown
  • Website Domain Name and Skill Invocation Name
  • Number Spies Alexa Skill — Code (multiple parts)
  • Number Spies Alexa Skill — Unit Testing with Bespoken
  • Number Spies Alexa Skill — Skill Store Info
  • Number Spies Alexa Skill — Analytics with Dashbot
  • Number Spies Alexa Skill — Exception Monitoring with Sentry
  • Number Spies Alexa Skill — User Acquisition with Voxalyze Then Not
  • Number Spies Website
  • Game Promotion & Social Media
  • Is the Game a Success?

What do you want to know?

Are you a player of Number Spies and have a question about a specific feature or how it is implemented? Do you have questions about the process of writing a game for smart speakers?

Let me know what you want me to share and I will do my best to address it in this series.

You can leave a response below or contact me on Twitter of LinkedIn.

About Me

Greetings! I am Mark Tucker and I’ve been developing and architecting software for decades. I started learning about Amazon Alexa and creating Alexa Skills in 2016 and was selected as an Alexa Champion in 2017. Now with thousands of hours of hands-on voice app development experience, I focus on cross-platform development for Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Samsung Bixby and am a big fan of the Jovo Framework.

You can reach me on Twitter at @marktucker or through my LinkedIn profile.

Alexa Champion 🏆, Bixby Premier Developer, Software Architect, Speaker 🎙️, Author

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