Automatic Login for Your ARIS Games

If you make a game where voluntary informal participation is the main mode of play, like a museum exhibit or at an event, getting new players set up through the usual process of creating an account, logging in, and finding the game can be tedious and get in the way. Luckily, there is an alternative. You can create a QR code that can be scanned immediately after launching ARIS for the first time to take care of these chores all in one fell swoop. This QR code

  • Creates a new player account (and either defines or adds to a group of players)
  • Logs that player in, and
  • Takes them into the game you specify
ARIS launch screen (QR code is a button!)

ARIS launch screen (QR code is a button!)

You may have even already noticed this QR code on the ARIS launch screen. It is in fact the button the new player uses to scan the QR code you prepare.

How to Create an Auto-Login QR Code for Your ARIS Game

Overall, this is pretty simple. You will need the gameId of your game and a way to generate QR codes from strings.

Finding your gameId

The gameId is not prominently displayed in the ARIS editor, but it is not too difficult to find either. As I explained in my post about creating urls for your ARIS games, you can

  1. Open your game in the ARIS editor.
  2. Add object > Web Page. You don’t really need a webpage, but a little bit of help text in the web page’s options will show you you game’s id.
  3. Double click the webpage in the sidebar and look for the gray help text with your game’s id. Screenshot below.
"Where to find your gameId in the ARIS Editor

Where to find your gameId in the ARIS Editor

Creating the Magic String

Now that you have the gameId you need to encode it, along with a few optional parameters into a string that will be used to create a QR code that ARIS knows how to use. For example, this summer a student wanted to make a game at the ABQ Museum and we used the following string:

1,unm,10398,0.

Here are the essential rules for the parameters in this string. There are 4 comma separated sections:

  1. The first section is either a 0(login to an existing player account) or a 1(create a new player account), which informs the content of the second section.
  2. A. If first section is 0, the second section is username,password (<- note that there is a comma in the middle of this section) . B. If the first section is 1, the second section is just a group name (this can be any word, mine was “unm”).
  3. The third section is optional: a gameId to automatically enter a specific game.
  4. The fourth section is also optional, and can only be included if the third is also included: a 0 (default) is just business as usual. A 1 makes it so the player cannot leave your game (museum mode).

Here are a few examples of encodings- all valid:

  • 0,phildo,totallynotmypasswordphildo is an existing player with a password. This simply logs him in.
  • 0,phildo,totallynotmypassword,1234 – This code additionally takes him into game 1234.
  • 0,phildo,totallynotmypassword,1234,1 – The extra 1 makes him unable to leave the game 1234.
  • 1,uw_test_class – This creates a new player account, with random username and password, who is a member of the uw_test_class group.
  • 1,uw_test_class,1234 – This creates a new player and logs them into game 1234.
  • 1,uw_test_class,1234,1 – This creates a new player, logs them into game 1234, and puts them in museum mode.

A couple tips about making this string:

  • Your strings cannot have spaces.
  • Using 0 as your first parameter is a pretty different use case than using 1. 1 is what you want to use to make it easy for drop-in participants to get started because it creates a new player account. 0 is for logging in existing players and so is useful in other situations.
  • Specifying groups is not currently very useful to you as the author. You can’t yet do anything with them once they exist.

Creating a QR Code

There are many options for creating a QR code from a string. Just google “qr code generator”. You just want to make sure you use one that does not

  • Specify only urls, beginning with say “http://”. You want to be able to encode arbitrary strings.
  • Add any extra crap into the string you use. Some generators do this I think as a way to monetize their services. If you are encoding a typical url and using it in a browser, the user won’t notice, but it doesn’t work for this.

I used this site, but like I said, there are plenty others. Here is the QR code that we used, encoding 1,unm,10398,0.

Login QR code for Quest for the Cities of Gold

Login QR code for Quest for the Cities of Gold

If you scan this from the title screen QR code scanner in your ARIS client app, ARIS will create an account for you and log you into the game Quest for the Cities of Gold. We dressed it up a bit when testing the game in the museum.

Quest for the Cities of Gold

Quest for the Cities of Gold poster

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