Locks - Adding Structure to Content

Locks are the logical glue that hold together your objects and allow you to create structure. If you didn’t have any locks, your player would simply see everything all at once (well, at least if your objects are all in the same scene). The idea behind the name is that if you don’t create any locks, everything by default is available to your player.

Locks can be put on almost everything in ARIS. This includes:

  • Object triggers
    • View Plaque
    • Start Conversation
    • Inspect Item
    • View Webpage
    • Run Factory
    • Switch Scene
  • Quests
    • Start Quest
    • Complete Quest
  • Choices in Conversations
  • Player UI Tabs

To add a lock to any of these, look for a yellowish “Locks” button. This will bring up the lock editor.

The basic idea here is to create phrases using a few simple choices to specify what will unlock this bit of content. When you create a lock, you spell out the key to it.

Simple Locks

When you first open the locks editor and hit the (+) button to create a new lock, there are a few drop-down menus that let you choose different bits of your game to use as means for unlocking the lock. You put together the phrase from left to right:

The simple lock 
The simple lock

To begin with, you decide between things your player currently has (items or attributes), or things your player has done or not done (seen plaques, talked with characters, completed quests, created notes, etc). At the leftmost menu, you have the following fours options:

  • Player has at least
  • Player has less than

The above two are for items and attributes, what the player currently has.

  • Player has already
  • Player has not yet

And these above two choices are about what the player has done, pretty much everything except items and attributes they have.

When you make a choice in this first column, the following choices change to be relevant. For example, items will not show up if you choose “Player has already”. Depending on your choice, the other menus may change or multiply to give all the options you need.

Instead of a full listing of all the possible options, a few examples should help make the method of setting locks clear.

Simple Examples

Example 1. Viewing One Plaque Unlocks Another

Say you have two plaques and you want #2 to show up for the player once the player has seen #1. Then you need to put a lock on the trigger for plaque #2:

Player has already — viewed plaque — plaque #1

That’s it.

Example 2. Viewing a Plaque Turns Itself Off

This is the most basic kind of negative lock, when something is available until the player does something. In the most basic and frequent case, let’s say you have a plaque #1, and you don’t want that plaque to remain accessible after the player has seen it, you put a lock on it:

Player has not yet — viewed plaque — plaque #1

Example 3. 99 Luftballoons

Here’s one with items. If you have a conversation with a genie that only should show up once the player has 99 balloons, you make a lock on the trigger for the conversation with the genie:

Player has at least — # of item/attribute — # 99 — balloons

What would you do if you wanted the genie to not show up if the player happened to get 100 balloons?

Grouping Locks for Added Power

You may have noticed there are more (+) buttons in the lock editor. These let you create and combine multiple locks in a really flexible way. You can add more locks either in a group or to create new groups.

Grouping locks together has the effect of requiring the player to unlock all locks inside. Any group can separately unlock the lock. Some examples will probably help.

Example 4. A Simple Group: You Need the Blue Sword and the Blue Shield

Let’s say you want a plaque to appear for the player when they get both a blue sword and blue shield. You need two locks in a group:

Player has at least — # of item/attribute — #1 — blue sword
Player has at least — # of item/attribute — #1 — blue shield

Two locks together in a group 
Two locks together in a group

Example 5. A Key or a Conversation, Either Will Do

Let’s unlock a plaque that serves as a bridge. The player has the option of unlocking the bridge by picking up a key or enduring a long conversation. We will make two locks but not group them:

Player has at least — # of item/attribute — #1 — key

Player has already — exited conversation — long conversation
Two ungrouped locks

... more to come. This is just the beginning of what you can do with Locks.