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jjaquinta asked

Colossal Cave

Demo: I think there is a lot of scope for interactive fiction via the Echo. Ideally I'd like any sort of fiction to be read through the Echo, but we need some feature requests addressed for that. In the meantime, I figured a popular text adventure game would be a good place to start. Lessons learned: * Vocabulary generation is challenging. You don't just want to get the "right" thing, but also the "wrong" ones. Otherwise you end up steering the user. Even in a relatively small game like this, I easily ran out of the 200000 characters allowed for utterances. A lot of manual pruning had to be done. * Recognition needs some work. About 50% of content was clipped out from the video above. The rest was Alexa failing to understand me, dropping the app, and me having to start the app again. In the original game, the obtuseness of the interpreter was part of the gameplay. The reconnect penalty with Alexa is too painful and it is a barrier to gameplay. The only alternative would be to just use a generic intent, and do all the parsing on the app side. * Specialized vocabulary is difficult. For game you often want new or unique words like XYZZY or PLUGH. But for text, you never have to worry about exactly how you pronounce XYZZY. I had to substitute this qurky gems for one Alexa knows better like "shazam" and "plug". It would be nice to know a bit more about the underlying fundamentals of how Alexa recognizes and pronounces words. (Or have it support the International Phonetic Alphabet like in one of my feature requests.) Then we could "make up" words that have a high percentage of Alexa pronouncing and recognizing consistently. * Timeouts are way too short. (Another frequent feature request.) It puts a time pressure on you to make rapid decisions which was not an intended part of gameplay. But, for the right game, this could be a benefit.
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1 Answer

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memo@amazon answered
Thanks for posting your "Lessons Learned" jjaquinta, we're paying close attention to all the feedback we get from the forums.
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