2017-05-03 17:25:29 (edited by jjaquinta 2017-05-03 18:17:58)

TsaTsaTzu is happy to announce the release of it's latest game on the Amazon Echo. You assemble a team of adventurers, explore a fantasy landscape, seek bounties from castles, fight monsters in dungeons, and bring riches back to cities to further equip your team. The game engine is based on OSRIC, an open source version of 1st Edition Dungeons and Dragons. So it will be familiar to any old school gamers.

If you have an Amazon Echo/Dot/Tap/Look, you can say "Alexa, Open Six Swords". This will probably tell you to log in first. You can do that via the companion mobile app, or through http://alexa.amazon.com. Once you've linked your account, you can play the game on your device.

If you do not have an Amazon device, you can still play. Go to http://alexa.amazon.com, as above, click "skills" and search for "6 swords". When you find it, click "enable skill", and then click "link account". Once you have finished that, go to https://echosim.io/ You can log in here with the same identity, and use the push-to-talk button (by mouse or space bar) to say "open six swords".

The game is completely audio, so it should be 100% accessible. I'm very keen on any feedback, as I am adding new features all the time. Let me know how you like it!


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2017-05-03 19:23:13 (edited by arnold18 2017-05-03 20:39:05)

Any solutions why can't the web based alexa open it? I say this: Alexa, open 6 swords but it displays try again.
Edit: Managed to do it, i didn't link to the account. Are there any quest in this game? Feel it a little pointless to wander around.

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2017-05-03 20:45:34

I'm surprised you can do it without linking an account!

A lot of people like exploring. The roads lead to all sorts of places. Each town and village is different. Different people are available in different Hiring Halls. Different shops sell different merchandise. And, you need to vanquish monsters and recover gold to be able to afford equipment. So there's a bunch of work to build up a good team.

As far as quests, in Castles, Forts, and Outposts there is an office (West from the Courtyard) where bounties are posted. They will lead you to a temple, run, or other dungeon. If you clear it out and return then you will get a cash reward.

Over time there will be more interesting (non-generated) locations and quests. I'm actively looking for people who are interested in writing additional content.

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2017-05-03 21:20:41

I don't have a device yet, but I will give the web version a go.  This sounds like the kind of game I'll love.

If I can, I'd love to help out with writing.  I do quite a lot for work, so I'll definitely do all I can to leave feedback.  smile

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2017-05-03 21:45:06

Thanks! Any help is great. Ultimately I want to have both free content and paid content. I'll leave it up to contributors if they want theirs free or paid. Just saying there is planned to be a way to get something out of it.

As far as writing, it's kind of ironic, but it is more about design than writing. I started making long descriptions for locations and then realized that people just tune out when the computer goes on and on. Written text is easy to skim. Spoken text, not so much. So brevity is good.

But people are going to want interesting adventures! So think Skyrim in scope. :-) Linked adventures leading in different directions with different outcomes!

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2017-05-03 21:50:46

I'm very excited to see how this grows.  are there any other rpgs for this thing?  I've actually considered getting an echo, would you recommend?  I am honestly not sure if it's something I'd actually need, as I don't know anyone who actually owns one yet to ask.

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2017-05-03 22:21:01

StarLanes is our other big game. We took a break from that to do this. We wanted to try out some new ideas with Six Swords. If they work out, we'll write them back into StarLanes. It is more of a strategic territory conquest game.

We also have SubWar, which is a real time tactical game. Think Battleship, but in real time.

By other people there are a few narrative adventure games. The Magic Door, Earplay, The Wayne Investigation and Runescape. They are much more slick than mine, but aren't open ended and have limited replay ability. At least that's my opinion, as a competitor!

If you are looking for something "out there", you might try "Mind Maze". It lets you navigate 2 dimension, 3 dimensional, and even 4 and 5 dimensional mazes. It's not the most thrilling but I'm kind of proud of it because it is a game that can ONLY be done in audio. I'm just trying to see in what direction the medium can go.

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2017-05-04 00:44:44

the the game have sounds?

Blindness isn't a disability, but a diffrent way of seeing things

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2017-05-04 03:12:08

There are some audio queues in the game. Not many, and I hope to add more. The only functionally relevant one is a short cut tone that it plays to indicate you can say "more" for additional information. Other than this, everything said should appear on the card in the companion app.

Do you think I should put something like "--more--" in the companion app text?

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2017-05-04 09:18:26

can we meet up with other real players during our adventure, or is this strickly a single player game

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2017-05-04 13:46:08 (edited by jjaquinta 2017-05-04 14:06:01)

Right now it is a single player game. I'm trying to work out how to make it multi-player, and how that would work. Suggestions welcome.

One thing that I am thinking of introducing is an "arena" in large towns. You can choose to fight in an arena and you will face off against another player's team. But not exactly a real time head-to-head fight. More like Pokemon-Go where you fight a copy of their team. However, it would add a different type of challenge than the normal monsters.


Oh, there will be a leaderboard as well, where you can compete against others for top rankings. Say "About" to see the sort of things it tracks. (I'm just adding in that it notes when you clear out a temple to a god and tracks that.) Not exactly multi-player, but a certain amount of passive interaction.

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2017-05-04 14:08:41


I  will be checking out this game in a litle bit using Rever For Allexa, though I do have an Amazon Fire Tablet too.
Any word on bringing more of your games to the google home? Curently the only game on that platform as far as  can see is the underwater sub one.

Keep up the great work!

PS. Also been enjoying the maic door.

2017-05-04 15:24:46

What's temples for in towns and villages?

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2017-05-04 15:41:31

6 Swords should be out on the Google Home shortly. It is currently in the third round of certification. So it could be any day. It is identical to the one on Alexa, and you can play the same team from either device (if you set them both up with the same e-mail address).

As of right now, Temples in towns are just decorative. I'm doing a patch each week and I hope to change that in this week's patch. Already I've added that when you clean out a ruined temple you get a blessing from that god. What I hope to add in tonight (Issue #122) is that if you have had a blessing from a god, that you will get cured if you walk into a temple in a town of that god. (My issue tracker is here: https://gitlab.com/jjaquinta/TsaTsaTzuAlexa/issues but I'm not sure it is visible.) I hope to update the production server with this week's patch tonight if things go well.

Going forward, I want to extend temples a bit more. The more blessings you have won from a god grants you more things, like bringing back party members from the dead. You might also get access to a side room that sells potions. If you have other suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

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2017-05-04 16:32:07

Any way you could put in some kind of a toggle to disable religious content?

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2017-05-04 16:57:08

Hmm. That would cut a fair amount out of the game. I picked the Roman gods because they aren't currently worshiped in the mainstream, yet they are a familiar part of Western culture. They are really just decoration in the game. There isn't any active religiosity.

Is there any particular phrasing that you are finding at issue? I did hesitate briefly over the description in Jupiter's temple of "the god of the highest heavens". I'm happy to tweak descriptions like that.

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2017-05-04 18:15:51

Essentially, my objection is with any kind of "god" being included in a game without either the ability to disable the content or ignore it entirely.

In my opinion, receiving a blessing is more than just decoration, even if it just has a message like "So and so blesses you. You receive 30 HP." As a personal preference I don't play games that force anything to do with any kind of man-made god, and in a culture scattered liberally with atheist fanatics and people that think religion of any kind is evil, it always boggles my mind a bit as to why there are so many pantheons and religions in games, unless it's just a way to add an easy extra feature.

None of the message above is meant to be accusatory toward you or your game, it's just the only way I could think of to explain why I asked for the ability to disable the content.

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2017-05-04 19:10:23

Then this game may not be right for you.
I myself will be enjoying it anyway. Even if I wasn't a Christian, (which I am,) I'm gonna play it regardless.

2017-05-04 20:32:07

I identify as a Christian, but I attend a Unitarian Universalist "church", so I do try my best to be sensitive to other views and perspectives. It is a bit challenging to create a fantasy setting with no references to the supernatural. A game is fiction, a story, or, at best, a metaphor. I think maybe the anti-religious tolerate the prevalence of "god" in games in the same way a very religious person tolerates "not-my-god" in games. There will, certainly, be people at the far ends of that spectrum (some related to me!) who can't make this mental accommodation. And that's why it is hard to please everyone.

Thanks for your input. It is worth hearing opinions like this. I don't think I can put in a switch exactly as described, but I take your point. I'll do what I can within the genre to keep the religious aspects thematic and "fairy tale" like.

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2017-05-04 23:13:54

some what agree with david, what turns me off about a lot of games/muds is the religious aspect, when talking about "gods, demons, blessings, curses" etc......we see this in almost all games, so you are not doing anything wrong, just pretty much following a standard trend, but note this can turn some gamers off.....having a toggle feature would be great, or just rewording certain things can also work.....I will still play the game since it is not entirely based around religion, but I do see where david is coming from

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2017-05-04 23:25:37

Hmm. Leave this with me. I've been thinking on this off and on over the day. I think there are only two places in the code where temples-in-cities and ruined-temples are generated. I've created an issue (#123) to spend a bit of time looking at this when I'm home. If I can put in a switch in that time frame, I'll do it. It will have to be manually requested for now, but it is a start.

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2017-05-05 00:26:54

Really looking forward to giving this a whirl, even if only emulated. smile

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2017-05-06 00:04:44

I did my big update today. I put release notes here: http://starlanes.freeforums.net/thread/94/release-notes

I was able to put in the "no religion" switch. Right now it's manual and done by admin request. So if anyone wants it turned on for their account, drop me a line with the e-mail address your account is set up with and I'll flip the switch.

It has been approved for Google Home, but isn't published yet. Hopefully it will appear over the weekend.

Let me know about any bugs!

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2017-05-07 11:19:39 (edited by smoothgunner 2017-05-07 11:26:25)

ok guys and gals I finally had some spare time to enable the skill and play the game. I will admit, I like it. to give you all a perfect example of what it is, just imagine alter eon with voice commands. yes that's right, think of 6swords as a mud, and alexa as your screen reader. if you are one for questing, exploring, and leveling your char, this is definitely the game for you. if you don't have a amazon device, if its possible to play the game on a smart device or pc, I would highly recommend you to do so if you are into muds.

they are a couple things alexa couldn't understand what commands I was giving her. for example, when I made it to the fighting guild, I said "hire hasan" she couldn't understand

also when I was trying to switch my party around to make a certain player active, I said "diane" and alexa didn't understand

if its possible, I would say add some background music to the game while alexa is talking, and definitely some sounds while battling.

is there a voice command that I can say that will tell me what I can do at a certain area? when I went to the shop and the guild, alexa told me what I can do there, but when I went to the temple she didn't tell me anything.

how do I leave a review for the game? inside the app I only seen an option to hit to say if that particular review was helpful or not

lastly, great game

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2017-05-07 14:57:01

Alexa isn't always the best, especially when it comes to names. I use fuzzy matching internally to resolve when a direct match does not work. So a tip is to say a more common name that starts with the same letter. If you say "hire harold", then it should match "hasan" (if there are no other names beginning with "h").

Sadly Alexa does not have the feature to have "background music". I kind of cheat in the into to StarLanes for this, but it isn't really possible to add that in across the entire application. I'd love to, and have been asking for the feature for two years.

More battle sounds can definitely be done. (Tracked as issue #130)

You can say "help" to get general help. I have an issue (#97) to give better contextual help. I will see if I can do this as part of this week's batch.

You can review the game from it's page in the companion app, or on the Amazon web site: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01GVGVSM0
Reviews are greatly appreciated, as they directly influence the applications ranking. Unfortunately their ranking is very primitive and is strictly based on the average. So a skill with 99 5-star reviews and one 4-star review gets ranked behind a skill with one 5-star review. So anything less than a 5-star review can tank a skill. It is annoying and a source of grief between Amazon and the developers. But they haven't budged on that. You should give the skill an honest review you think it deserves, but keep that in mind.

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