Using AWS Polly to bring our game to life

Screenshot: Askutron - The host lending his name to the game.

When we decided to build Askutron: The Quiz Show Game we had to decide how we would get the voice over for all our questions and answers which are read out aloud by the host. We were planning to have a lot of questions. In fact at this point we have more than 10.000 of them. Being a tiny studio we don’t have a lot of money at our disposal. So we were looking for alternatives to traditional voice over work.

Speech synthesis has improved by a lot in the past decade. These days Siri, Google Assistant and Amazon’s own Echo are used by many people and are speaking quite naturally. So perhaps we can reduce costs by using speech synthesis? Besides the lower cost this would bring another big advantage in that it enables us to have voice overs even for player-generated content in our quiz. Moreover this way our game’s host is able to say arbitrary player names. Sounds good! So how do we do this?

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Integrating Mobile Phones as Controllers Into Our Quiz Game

All Connections Lead to Askutron

Screenshot: Lobby screen of the Askutron Quiz Show game

Askutron is a “Quiz Show” PC game we are building as a classic local multiplayer game to be played with your friends in front of a big screen. As such it supports up to 8 players. 8 players who have to somehow be able to “buzz” in their answers. Our first prototype only supported keyboard and game pads, but who just happens to have 8 controllers lying around? Naturally, adding support for phones and tablets was one of the first things we started working on once the basic gameplay was working. But the development process was not as straightforward as you might expect.

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Preventing Duplicate Posts In FeedWordPress

Recently I had to setup an RSS aggregator for automatically importing posts from an RSS feed into a WordPress blog as a custom post type. The best free option for this seems to be FeedWordPress.

Unfortunately the plugin erroneously duplicated posts in my case for an unknown reason. Even though the same syndicated post with the same GUID / URL already existed in the database, it was re-imported on every feed update, thus leading to dozens of duplicate posts.

To fix the issue I made use of the “syndicated_item” filter hook that is provided by the plugin.

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TIL: Using backticks in highlighted code

If you want to use code fences in a highlighted block of code in a (Github-flavoured) Markdown document you cannot just use code fences themselves to highlight the code.

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Syntax highlighting in ghost

Just add the following source to the header through the Code Injection settings page:

<script src=\"https://google-code-prettify.googlecode.com/svn/loader/run_prettify.js\"></script>

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