Football Mania (for the Amazon Alexa) - one month in.

Published on 2018-01-04

It's officially been a month since I released the first version of Football Mania for the Amazon Alexa. When I first put it into the store, I had hopes that it would hit 100 unique users within the first month - but it blew past those hopes and ended up with just over 600!

If you haven't played it yet - you TOTALLY should (and tell your friends about it too)!

I had promised (mostly myself) some updates and upgrades when it hit 500 users, so I'm already overdue on that front and will be spending some of the next week or so fulfilling that promise.

My ideas for upgrades at the moment include:

Training: The idea is that once a day you'll be able to 'train' on either offense or defense, and that training will allow you to improve your success rates within each game. To do it well, I think I'll also implement some level of daily atrophy as well (so you can't just forget to train forever and keep your training bonus). Also, my plan for training is to simply ask the player a question or two about whatever side of the ball they are currently training (i.e. Who was the rushing leader for the NFL in 2016?)

Penalties: I actually built the initial version with penalties in mind, so all the hooks are ready to go within the code - but when it came down to it, I thought it might be too complex (and annoying) to users to have to deal with occasional penalties. I'm still not sure people will love having penalties yet, but it is a big part of the real game so I kind of feel like it should go in at some point.

Saved games: Right now the system starts a new game each time you start a new session. Most of the time I think that's prob. OK since games are designed to be pretty short anyway, but I thought there might be some players that need to quit mid-game and so giving them a way to save and then continue in a later session seems like a good idea. The challenge will be in how they resume a game (prob. only be able to have one saved game to start, so that just saying "continue" can easily load that one game).

Improved statistics/info: Right now the game actually logs every play for every game. I did this initially so that I could use the information for debugging (seeing what breaks when) and for identifying the weak areas (seeing where most people drop out of the game)...but it also means, at scale, I can start to give people a lot more information about highlight plays and tendencies. I plan to also let users know things like their QB rating and other commonly referenced stats.

So - that's the short list of potential upgrades and improvements at the moment. What do you think? What upgrades would you add to the list? Which ones would you like to see?

I'm also thinking about running some contests for it's super fans (maybe some football stickers or other small swag for the winners) - so if you've got ideas or requests on that front, I would love to hear about them as well.

In the meantime, I hope you're having a great start to 2018. I look forward to digging into all sorts of fun apps and ideas, like Football Mania, with you throughout the whole year!