Trigger Types

ARIS has many ways of connecting game objects together and providing access to those game objects to players. In general, we call these triggers. Here, we list the currently available trigger types and show how to use them. To understand how triggers, objects and scenes come together to create an experience, the basic conceptual model of how ARIS works, check out the description here.

There are currently Five types of trigger in ARIS. Most of these are a way of connecting actions in the physical world to objects in ARIS. Each provides access to any object in ARIS or can be used to accomplish other actions, like switching scenes.

Location (AKA GPS) - ARIS places a trigger at a location in the world using geospatial coordinates. A player can access the object pointed to by being close enough to this location.

QR code - Players can scan an image to access an object in ARIS using their scanner (in ARIS). Alternatively, they can enter a corresponding string into their decoder.

Locks - Internal game logic. Things that a player has done before, not yet done, their current state, or the state of their team or the game world as a whole (that's a lot of options) alone can trigger further interactions. No action in the physical world is needed.

Timer - A self-refreshing timer that triggers an object each time it counts down to 0.

Beacon - Another form of location detection. Instead of GPS coordinates, this trigger works on player proximity to small devices called ibeacons or Bluetooth beacons.

AR View - This is like QR codes on steroids, and is what many people associate with AR. You choose views or images in the real world, and ARIS will recognize them through the device's camera. You can trigger game objects and also replace the "target" view with custom media like images of video right there on the screen atop the existing camera feed.

Location (triggers)

There are many options when you make an object available to players via location. Starting with the basics:

Where - There is a minimap to situate the location of this object in the world. Just drag the dot in the center to move. Don’t worry, the Locations Tab gives more room to work than this little window.

Distance - A blue circle indicating how near a player needs to be. This is in meters. Yay metric system! Notice that this is a visual interface instead of numeric. You can draw how near the player needs to get by dragging a point on the edge.

The map title and icon options deal with what your player sees on their map to represent the object.

Finally, there’s a toggle representing how the player views the object once they are actually in range:

  • By touch - The player can view the object by tapping on its map icon.
  • Immediately - The object will immediately trigger upon the player entering its range on the map, like a trap door.
    • Note- if the trigger is not removed from the map via a scene change or lock after it is triggered, the player will be required to leave the trigger's range and re-enter before the object is again triggered. (This is to prevent the object from continuously triggering itself while the player is in range.)

QR Code

Switching these access toggles can be a little disorienting at first. The numerous location options disappear, leaving the spartan ones for QR codes. There is an image and a text entry area. If you change the text, the image changes with it. The QR code image is a direct encoding of the text you enter. Your player would either scan this image or enter this text into the decoder to access your object.

  • Saving the QR code for printing is as simple as right click on your mouse or track pad (ctrl+click on one button Mac mice).
  • The text field was originally a backup for QR code image recognition, but it can also be used creatively in its own right. How about asking the player the “the price of a cheese pizza and large soda at Panucci’s Pizza”?


The third option for accessing objects is Locks. This allows you to send a player immediately to an object as soon as it is unlocked.

This replaces all the hacks for infinite distance and auto display we had to use to stack objects in ARIS 1. For example, if you want an item to be picked up immediately after the intro plaque is viewed, this access option together with an appropriate lock, is how to do it.


The final option for accessing game objects is a Timer.

Timer type trigger UI

Notice that the timer is by default a looping timer. Each time the timer reaches zero, the player will be confronted by the game object.


Though still under development, basic functionality is in place. ARIS uses the iBeacon protocol within iOS. Using whatever software you use to manage your particular brand of beacon, you will need to bring a couple pieces of information into ARIS:

  • UUID
  • Major value
  • Minor value

Make sure to typeset the UUID very carefully. Errors here may cause your game to not load. Insert dashes and for the hexadecimal codes, make sure you use upper case letters.

Beacon trigger settings

You have three choices of how near the player needs to be to the beacon to activate the trigger:

  • Immediate ~ within 1 foot
  • Near ~ within 6 feet
  • Far - whenever the mobile device can actually communicate with the beacon, maybe even up to hundreds of feet.

So far, we have had many people try out RadBeacons successfully, but as time goes on, we will see if other brands or particular models work better/worse. Check the forums for any updates or to share your experiences.

AR View

I know it's weird to have a part of ARIS called AR, but there we are. We started doing AR back when it could mean lots of things and since then, the world has changed to equate AR with a single mechanic, a layering of visual fields. One layer comes from what the device's camera sees, and then software can layer more atop that. Both are presented together on the screen, constituting a hybrid view. In ARIS, AR views can both be used as a hybrid visual experience and as a way to trigger game objects, like QR codes on steroids.

Right now, it is a bit convoluted to get AR views in your ARIS game. You will need to use a 3rd party website to create and download the target images (what ARIS sees and replaces in the real world) in a .zip file that you then upload to ARIS.

David Gagnon, of Field Day, created a video tutorial for AR Views here. Do note however that you need to set the size parameter in Vuforia to 500, not 1 as he says there.

Step 1 - Plan your AR View

If you know how QR codes work in ARIS, this is similar but better. Instead of one kind of image, ARIS can use the AR view to recognize pretty much any visual pattern and use it to

Trigger game content

Create a hybrid view, where the player sees what the camera sees plus what other media you choose atop that camera feed.

So to plan the AR view, you need to find something in the real world (or make something for the real world) that can be recognized/replaced in the visual field. Not everything works. Art mounted with reflective glass is pretty bad as the reflections change constantly, but the view need not necessarily be 2D. 2D art or posters are probably a good bet. Next imagine what the player will see with the help of ARIS. Maybe a secret message hidden in invisible ink, maybe make an inanimate object come alive. The possibilities are myriad, but try to make it interesting.

Take a photo of the view, as is. You will upload this to Vuforia in step 2 and also may want to use it as the base image for your altered view.

example 1

Base view - a wall in my school's library

Altered view - a secret message atop the base view

Step 2 - Create image targets in Vuforia

You need to create and use an account at to create the AR targets that ARIS recognizes. You do not need to pay. ARIS has its own account that you can use unless your needs go beyond 100 players. If so, contact Field Day about terms.

There are many places where you need to choose among a few different settings. The only one that you change from default is size. This should be 500.

  1. Create account at Vuforia
  2. Go to traget databases
  3. Create and name a new database
  4. Upload target images to your database
  5. Check likely quality levels
  6. Download zip file

Step 3 - Add targets to ARIS and configure them

  1. Go to the AR Targets tab at the top of the editor
  2. Upload the zip file from Vuforia (do not rename it)
  3. Create an object to trigger
  4. Create a trigger for that object
  5. Choose that trigger and set its type to AR
  6. Specify which target to use from the Vuforia database
  7. Choose media to replace the target in the player's view
  8. Add the "AR" tab to the player's interface in Game > Tabs

To View AR as a player

  • There is a new tab in the player interface (as long as the author remembers to add it), called AR
  • When in AR, ARIS will show the camera feed on the screen and be looking for possible targets. Once recognized, ARIS will replace the target image with the media you specify in the feed the player sees.
  • To trigger the object, the player needs to tap the screen at the place where the target is.
  • Any locks attached to the player having seen the object are based on the player tapping through.