How to Write Interactive Fiction and Interactive Audio Stories – 003 – Creating and Playing Interactive Audio Stories

Creating and Playing Interactive Audio Stories

Interactive Audio Stories are immersive narrative experiences driven by virtual assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

TWIST is a simple and convenient tool for crafting immersive experiences without investing the time and effort on programming applications yourself. You can easily build tree diagrams, writing your text straight from your browser. You can then publish your story at the touch of a button on Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or Samsung Bixby. It’s that simple.

The Dialogue Between Voice Assistant and Player

To play your interactive story, the player starts by addressing the Voice assistant. For our story “Iron Falcon” the command on Amazon Alexa would be: “Alexa, open ‘Iron Falcon’.”

The audiobook starts with the Voice assistant reading the first text segment or playing the corresponding audio file. After offering the Player Choices, the Voice assistant falls silent. Now the player has 8 seconds to continue the story with a Voice command (Player Utterance).

The Successful Dialogue

If the command the player speaks is one of the stated choice and is connected to a subsequent text box, the next segment of the story and the next Player Choices will be read.

The Failed Dialogue

If the player does not answer at all, or if they speak an unknown command, the Voice assistant will tell the player that it did not understand and does not know how to continue.

After that, the player has another opportunity to continue the story with a valid Voice command. If the dialogue fails again, depending on the platform, the Voice assistant will read the available Player Utterances stated by the author to the player..

Thus, the player does not have to remember all of the Player Choices to know what options are possible, because they will be explicitly told. If, after that, it still doesn’t work, well, sometimes the fault is simply on the player’s side…

Do not worry too much about this rather technical chapter. It is enough to imagine your interactive story as a dialogue between the player and the Voice assistant, with the limitation that the Voice assistant can only tell the player what you have specified previously as story texts, the Player Choices and the Player Utterances. What you have to watch out for with these three elements when telling your story will be explained in the next chapter.

GLOSSARY

Fallback Intent: the Voice assistant reads the stated Player Utterances or plays back the corresponding audio files after the player repeatedly failed to say one of the stated words or synonyms.

Reprompt: the Voice assistant prompts the player to make a decision or tells them that it could not understand them if the player does not answer within a certain amount of time or did not answer with one of the stated Player Utterances.

Summary – Building an interactive story

  • An interactive story begins with a text box in which you present a Player Choice.
  • By stating Player Utterances you decide which valid options the player has for these choices. The keywords from these utterances should be included in the Player Choices to let the player know which terms they can use to trigger these options. Synonyms help you to handle deviations in the player’s answer.
  • For each Player Choice you state you have to create a subsequent text box with the next Player Choice at the end. This way, an interactive story emerges step by step.

 

Technical aspects:

  • If the player does not voice one of the stated utterances or synonyms when answering a Player Choice, or if their words cannot be understood by the speech recognition, the Voice assistant will, after two failed attempts, read out the utterances you set.
  • TWIST is a simple and convenient tool that allows you to create interactive audio stories for Voice and publish them on Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Samsung Bixby.
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