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Explore the Milky Way (Virtually) With This Alexa Game

2 min readJoe Hanson on Mar 5, 2018
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Elite Dangerous Ship Assistant is a voice-controlled space exploration game that combines Amazon Alexa and PubNub to enable gamers to explore the depths of the Milky Way.

Want to really feel like a ship captain? Hands behind the back, in uniform, yelling out commands to crew members and your lieutenants to carry out?

This week, we’re excited to feature a project from maker Austin Wilson who built exactly that. Dubbed Elite Dangerous Ship Assistant, the game is a voice-controlled space exploration game that combines Amazon Alexa and PubNub to enable gamers to explore the depths of the Milky Way.

Inception

In researching how he would achieve this, Austin found a third party product that used voice recognition to trigger keystrokes to control specific functions of the ship. However, the functionality was limited – it wasn’t a true conversation. Austin was looking for a way that he could speak with the ship, ask it questions, and get a response back.

So he grabbed his Alexa and built one himself. And luckily for you, Austin wrote a deep dive, comprehensive tutorial on how you can build it yourself. Check it out, or read our overview below.

Components

The project is divided into a couple different parts: Alexa, the application, and configuration. The underlying technologies powering the application include:

  • Amazon Alexa Echo, Dot or Tap – the hardware that receives the voice commands.
  • Alexa Skill – the AI that processes and analyzes the voice commands and turns them into actions or insights
  • PubNub – the communication layer between the Alexa Skill and the game.
  • Elite Dangerous Star Map API
  • Elite Dangerous In-Game Events API

Wired up, the VUI diagram:

Wired up, the VUI diagram

The game won the Amazon Alexa API Mashup Contest as well! A well-deserved award. Not to mention, lots of media love.

Hackster.io is a great resource for roboticsAlexa, and other embedded use cases like Elite Dangerous Ship Assistant. If you’re looking for any help building the messaging layer, or are interested in getting started with PubNub, feel free to reach out to us, we’re here to help!

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