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Getting Started - 1 Stop Tour

"How do I make an ARIS game?"

There’s a lot that an ARIS game can be, many, many options. It can be overwhelming. A good way to deal with this is for newcomers to first learn how to make something really simple that works. Once, you’ve got that, you can start playing around to dig deeper.

This brief tutorial will give you what you need to make a very simple (just one stop) but functional geolocational tour in ARIS. You will create a bit of information and place it in the world. A player will be able to go to that place in real life and their device, through the ARIS app will display the information you uploaded. Alternately, you can have the player touch the map in ARIS, or scan a QR code to display the information.

Along the way, we’ll introduce the basic structure of how ARIS games work and the vocabulary to describe them.

(Step 0) Get Ready

You will need to be on a computer with an internet connection. Find and login to the ARIS Editor. Come up with a name.

For those who like them, here's a video version of the tutorial below.

ARIS 2.0: Getting Started, Objects and Triggers from Chris Holden on Vimeo.

(Step 1) Make a Scene

The first thing every ARIS game needs is at least one scene. After you log in and come up with a game name, you will be at a screen that looks like this.

Where every ARIS game begins. A blank Scenes tab. Where every ARIS game begins.

The main window is blank when you start because you don’t have any scenes.

(Step 1) Click the “add scene” button to add a scene.

  • Until you learn more about scenes, it's best to just use one.

If you want, more about Scenes.

Objects and Triggers

The two main categories to think about when starting an ARIS game are

Objects - The stuff you want your players to see or otherwise interact with in your game.

Triggers - How a player accesses an object.

Generally, the objects you create for your players will need triggers to get your players to them. In the Scenes tab, you can see and create both objects and triggers.

Objects show up on the left sidebar. You can add them with the little (+) buttons. But other ways too.

You add triggers to a scene using the (+) button on the scene itself.

If you want, more about other objects: items, and conversations.

(Step 2) and (Step 3) Create a Plaque and a Trigger for It

A plaque is a simple object. It displays media (image, audio, video) and text (html, javascript) to the player.

(Step 2) Click the (+) button next to the word “Plaques” in the left sidebar. Give your plaque a name and description. Hit “Save” when you’re done.

(Step 3) Add a trigger for your plaque: Click the (+) button on the scene you created. Choose “view plaque” and then pick the plaque you made.

Now, you have some information for the player to see (your plaque) and a way for them to see that information (location trigger).

  • Notice that you could choose “New Plaque” instead of the one you already made. You can create objects when you make their triggers too.
  • The name of the trigger is the object being triggered.
  • If you notice the icons for your trigger, it tells you the type of object and the type of trigger you are using.
    • Lines icon — looks like information — plaque
    • Map marker icon — location trigger (a location trigger is the default type, more on location type below)

(4) Set the Location

Your player could already fire up the ARIS client, go to the location of your plaque and see it. But odds are that plaque’s trigger is not where you want it.

(Step 4 v1) To edit your trigger, click on it. In the right sidebar, you will see many details. One detail is a little map with a marker and a blue circle around the marker. * Move around the marker to change where your trigger is located. * Change the size of the circle by moving the handles. This is how near your player needs to be to your trigger to access your plaque, the range of the trigger.

Trigger Details Trigger Details

It’s nice to have access to the location of your triggers right here in the Scenes tab, but that little map is pretty hard to work with. You’ll have a much better time setting the locations of your triggers in the Locations tab.

(Step 4 v2) To see and edit all your triggers’ locations, click on the Locations tab. There is a much bigger map to work with, and you can set details numerically too if you want.

  • You will only be able to use the Locations tab to move a trigger after you create the trigger in the Scenes tab.

Trigger Types: Location, QR Code, Sequence

Extra Credit. You already have enough to go and do some damage in the ARIS Editor. You can likely figure out how to upload media and attach it to your plaques. Enough to make a real tour. Maybe you could even play around with other objects, lie conversations. But before this tutorial ends, I want to show you the other types of triggers, especially QR codes because if you’re making stuff in a museum or other indoor space, location triggers won’t help you much. This will also help you see something fun and flexible about how triggers and objects work together.

(Step 5) Go back to the Scenes tab if you left it. Make a new trigger to the same plaque. That’s right, objects can have multiple triggers! (Step 6) Click your new trigger. In the right sidebar, where the trigger’s details show up, click “QR Code”. Then hit “Save”.

Now, a player could use the Scanner in your game in ARIS to scan that QR code. When they did, they would see your plaque. They could also use the Decoder to enter that string of numbers.

  • You can change the string of numbers to anything you want (for example “puppies”). The image will change too. Remember to click “save”!
  • Sequence is a third type of trigger. An object with a sequence trigger will show up for the player as soon as they do something else (you decide what) in your game. But you need to know about locks to make sequence triggers work.

What’s Next?

Congratulations, you now have enough working knowledge to use ARIS to create information for your players by the way of a plaque and have your players trigger that plaque via their physical location or QR Code Scanner or the Decoder. With just this much you could rinse and repeat and have a nice little tour maybe. But ARIS can do much more. With this basic knowledge you can start to dig in deeper.

There’s no next step, but here are some directions you may want to look:

  • New Object Types
    • Conversations - Simulated conversations for your players.
    • Items and Attributes - The plaque you just made can give a virtual item to your player, or you can have your player gather items from the map.
    • Webpages - You don’t need a tutorial for these. It’s just a webpage that you can put into your ARIS game and put a trigger on.
  • Media - That plaque you made would be better if there was a nice image inside it. Getting media into ARIS and your objects is pretty simple—just use the media tab to upload files like anything else—but things get a little hairy when you start trying to optimize that media to look good and download efficiently in the field.
  • Locks - Locks are the logical glue you can use to give your games structure. Any trigger (and lots of other things) can be locked, meaning your player will need to do something before they can see the locked object.
  • Scenes - Scenes can help you organize your larger games into meaningful, memorable chunks.