Create Branching Audio Stories With This New Amazon Tool

It may surprise some of you, but interactive audio adventures are on the rise with Alexa users. Annapurna Interactive recently released a “Missing Link” movie tie-in adventure and of course, as we’ve covered here previously, Choose Your Own Adventure publisher, ChooseCo, partnered with Amazon to bring many of their classic books to the audio platform.

Opening opportunity up to everyone, Amazon has just released a new tool for interactive fiction creators that allows them to build branching audio games for Alexa. The new tool is called Skill Flow Builder and it looks to make the lives of both writers and dev teams much better when creating for the platform.

The basic premise of the tool is that it will speed up game/story production time frames by separating content creation (writing) from skill code, which means writers can focus on writing and test on their own without the need to involve too much developer time, leaving both teams to do what they do best.

The tool has two components: an editor desktop application for writers, and the VSCode extension for developers. Both components share a common SFB file format (.abc), which enables more efficient hand-offs between teams.

Writers can easily add visuals, sound effects, and game logic – all without having to involve development teams. The, when ready, they can export and share a new SFB file format (.abc)with their development team or export texts for professional narration to suit the audio platform.

Writers can create and test their audio games with the Skill Flow desktop editor

“SFB lets voice designers focus on what matters: crafting out intuitive voice experience without needing extensive knowledge of code. It’s an amazing tool for building engaging and fun skills. Want to apply game logic without much development experience? Done.” 

– Ray Savvas, designer, Himumsaidad creative agency.

For developers, SFB simplifies the skill building process by offering a content debugger, integration with existing skill developer tools, and extension supports. A full list of features is available on a recent product blog post over at Amazon.

Creating audio adventures certainly sounds like an interesting prospect, especially if companies can figure out the right monetization scheme. In the meantime, Amazon’s Skill Flow looks like a good tool to experiment with.

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StoryFix Media produces interactive fiction games and traditional novels. Our interactive sci-fi adventure The Pulse is out now. Our novels New Horizons and The Blue Moon are also available now.

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