If you are a Sims fan, you might know already what Sul Sul means. For those who haven’t played the Sims, this means “Hello” in Simlish, the Sims official language. Yes, this is a project related to the Sims. We are Team Koe, and we are developing a voice experience tied to the Sims using Amazon Alexa. The first week We also had our first faculty meeting and client Kickoff meeting. We also start to get the project running by setting up Slack, establishing core hours and dividing the role. 

Pacific Time, Eastern Time

The first challenges the team face are distance and time difference. Half of our team are based in Bay Area and half are based in Pittsburgh. The means 2,600 miles and three hours time difference. However, the distance cannot stop us engaging as a whole team. We have faculty advising the team from both locations. (Thanks Carl, Melanie and Ricardo!) Also, we are all second year students at ETC so we all know each other. Some of us have been in the same team before! Special thanks to modern technology, the team can communicate through Slack and have regular meetings via Zoom. This largely facilitates our internal communication.  

What is Sims Alexa Project?

You might have Alexa at home and have used it to play music while you are cooking. You might also have played Sims before or even better, you are playing it right now and absolutely love it. How about Sims Alexa? You may be wondering, does that mean you can play the Sims using voice control? Yes and no. You cannot control your Sims in the game through Alexa but you can engage it through other ways such as playing Sims playlist, Sims themed Trivia or interactive stories from The Sims franchise. The Sims Alexa project started as a side project of an Electronic Arts(EA) employee and gradually EA gets brought on the project. Now Sims Alexa has a team working on it, and this team is our client!

Getting to know the client needs

We have our first client meeting on Wednesday and had the chance to meet the team from the EA side. We ask our client what defines a successful project. This is what we get from our client:

  • A shippable quality product tied to the Sims
  • An entertaining and novel voice experience that provides accessibility to people

We also get some valuable suggestions and prompts from the team. 

  • The skill should be standalone but linked somehow with other skills
  • What are the ways to personalize the right skills to the right person?
  • Alexa has the ability to link accounts. How can the team use Origin account to the experience?
  • The skill should bring people good experience even if they don’t have Origin account.
  • Use Amazon’s Blueprints as a fast way to test ideas
  • Having engaging and fun experience is the most important. For time length, the team can start with 8 to 10 minutes.  

Our client also recommends a list of voice experiences that we can research and learn from. Next week the team will do more research and start to brainstorm the ideas. 

Categories: Blog