Deep Space D-6 Alexa Development Log #4

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This is the fourth Deep Space D-6 for Alexa development log post that was published for my patrons on Patreon on June 5th 2020.

The Development Log

Hope you are all doing well. For some reason it felt like the past week flew by pretty fast with everything that is currently happening around the world.

This development diary entry is going to be a shorter one as we are almost ready for a public version 1.0 release of the game. Last night I pushed an update to the beta with some minor fixes and tweaks to prepare for the public release.

One of the new additions in this version is the ability to ask for status reports of individual components, rather than having to listen to the whole ship status report. You can now ask Alexa about the locked threats on your scanners, the ship’s shields and hull, and crew status. Just like in Dungeon Roll, I’m assuming these helper commands to get information about your crew will be frequently used.

Next, I added a few more sound effects and a short intro music track when you launch the game. I also added some flavor text when you start a new game to give you some information about how you end up in the trap when your ship encounters the first threats. None of these changes impact the actual gameplay, but for newcomers it should give an impression of higher production values. I’ll consider adding short intro tunes to both Dungeon Roll and Desolate, too.

I also ended up playing more rounds this past week to see if I run into new bugs. I noticed that sometimes the assign tactical crew to the weapons command can misfire and not be recognized. I am not sure why this happens because usually it works just fine and other times it doesn’t get recognized as an actual command. Besides that I did not notice any other issues.

I failed to beat the game in all of my test runs this week. Everything seems under control and suddenly you get a couple of threats that move your crew to the infirmary, followed by rolling threat dice that get locked in your scanners and before you know what the actual bleep happened, your whole crew is incapacitated and you’re dead! The game was determined to prevent me from testing that victory sound effect I added, but what it didn’t know was that I am in charge here, darn it! So, what did I do? I cheated, of course! I just wiped 90% of the threat deck to simulate a victory. You can give me bad dice rolls, but I have the power to cheat!

Anyway, jokes aside, the game can be brutal with two or less panic cards in the threat deck. So, I highly recommend trying to beat the game at a harder difficulty. However, make sure you can beat it at an easier difficulty first, just to get familiar with all the cards that are in the deck.

I was browsing the BGG forums to look at other fanmade ships and I am considering adding one of the Star Trek Enterprise variants that are out there. There also are some fanmade boss encounters which could also be an interesting addition for future updates.

Finally, I have been considering whether I should change the name of the game to Deep Space Dice for the public release. I got in touch with the designer to ask whether he’s interested in trying the beta out, but he stopped responding after he asked me whether he needs an Alexa speaker to try it. Also Deep Space Dice should be easier to discover in the Alexa skill store. If you have any thoughts about this, let me know!

After the public release, I will need to decide whether I’ll be starting work on adapting a new game, hopefully this time around a game that doesn’t start with the letter D; or whether I should update Dungeon Roll with some new heroes. Personally, I would like to try and code a Yahtzee game that you could actually play against other people, similar to how Song Quiz has implemented online play. The way this works is, you are basically playing against someone who has recorded their scores because playing online in real time with others is not really possible with Alexa. I am leaning towards this mostly due to the new programming challenge, and not because of Yahtzee. Though, it is weird that there isn’t a Yahtzee skill out there, yet. Since this game is in the public domain, I would also be able to monetize it and indirectly it could support my work for some more interesting stuff, like Friday, the card game!

Another idea would be to work on a game with local multiplayer as this is also something that I haven’t done. One person already asked whether I can add the ability to play Dungeon Roll with two players, so that is also something to think about.

As always, feel free to drop me a message if you have any comments or ideas.

Thanks for reading and take care!

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