How to Write Interactive Fiction and Interactive Audio Stories – 013 – Technical and Textual Requirements

Before you can publish your interactive story, you will have to submit it to Amazon, Google or Samsung for certification where the technical functionality of your story and its contents will be reviewed. In the latter case, the Player Choices and their consequences in particular will be judged.

During this process it is possible that your story or parts of your story will be rated as problematic and thus denied publication. Below we will explain the guidelines on which Amazon, Google, and Samsung base their certification, and we will show you their application with specific examples so that you may shape the content of your story in such a way that the certification process is hopefully as smooth as possible.

Be aware, though, that all of these requirements may change over time, since Amazon and Google are constantly updating their own guidelines. Also, textual requirements may differ between countries and language regions, depending on their individual laws and on how Voice providers wish to observe them. The textual requirements presented here are based on the German language region, but they should be mostly identical for the English language region. If in doubt, opt for the safer choice.

Technical Requirements

Technical Requirements for Amazon Alexa

There are two ways to present your interactive story on a Voice assistant. For each you will have to observe specific requirements regarding the length of story segments between two user interactions.

Text-to-Speech: Maximum of 8,000 Characters

One option is to use the text-to-speech (TTS) feature. In this case, the Voice assistant will read your text to the player. Depending on the language, the quality of the voice in terms of pronunciation and intonation, can vary. It is true that huge improvements have been made by Voice assistants on this front. English speech output is of course the most advanced.

If you choose text-to-speech, story segments between two user interactions may not be greater than 8,000 characters.

Activation text-to-speech feature in TWIST

TWIST Image: Activation text-to-speech feature in TWIST

Audio Files: Maximum of 240 Seconds

The other option is to upload audio files to TWIST that have been recorded by a voice actor. They will be played by the Voice assistant. The total length of all audio files (!) between two user interactions may not exceed 240 seconds.

Technical Requirements for Google Assistant

Google Assistant limits the total length of all audio files between two user interactions to 240 seconds.

Technical Requirements for Samsung Bixby

Samsung Bixby limits the total length of all audio files (!) between two user interactions to 120 seconds.

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