More artistically-minded members of the team set about coming up with the imagery for ‘Hot Spots’, and red and hot pink colours where chosen for the theme. The logo was created, which is used in the skill icon and in the welcome video. The main character ‘Fit Fox’ was also designed in Blender and animation loops added to the model.
Notion was used to organise the content for the skill – the different exercise movements, circuits, body regions etc. Notion was really helpful and we used this to write responses before they were translated into JSON APLA responses. Once everything agreed, the content was added over to the skill repository and utility functions created to choose an exercise routine based on users’ preferences.
This is the first time any of the team has used the Alexa Web API for Games in an Alexa Skill, and the first time using a WebGL model outside of a standard Web browser. It was great to involve a diverse group of colleagues from different departments, giving exposure of Alexa development across the team. Further, it was great to build a voice app as a team and working on the same skill at the same time; development on voice apps has often been very linear in the past. Voice design and development courses have now been added to our internal learning academy.
We’re proud of the visual identity of the skill and icons and we’re proud of creating something that parents as well as their kids can use every day, as user retention is really important in voice apps. We’re tremendously pleased about how good it looks on Fire TV, on the big screen.
What’s Next for Hot Spots
We want to introduce rewards for completing daily challenges. The points you earn will go towards unlocking cool badges to give users an even better reason to come back and play each day.
Logging the time a child spends exercising each day could be sent to the parent’s smart phone using a card in the Alexa app for future reference. With this data, we could track a user’s progress and anonymously compare them against their peers.
There’s also more logic we could add to the skill – for example comparing the request timestamps to see if the user has actually completed 2 minutes of exercising before rewarding them with points.
We plan to give the user more choice by introducing new characters, with Racing Rabbit and Super Squirrel set to join the Hot Spots crew soon and already modeled in Blender. Characters could also converse with the user instead of Alexa.
Along with more characters, we plan to keep adding more exercises to keep the skill fresh and interesting for the user and keep the user learning new exercises and ways to stay fit and active. This brings in the potential for ISP in the future.