Minimize Clutter While Notebooking with ARIS

ARIS is most often used to author content for players to experience. But it also holds functionality for you to send players out to experience the world and share what they find with each other and you. This can be data collection, photo mapping, etc. The Notebook allows players to record geolocated media (video, audio, photo, text) and together to build a collaborative record of their explorations. This functionality has broad potential and combining data collection features with the other affordances of ARIS (making games, telling stories, etc.) is a truly unique thing. Being able to richly establish a context for those who you are sending out to do the collecting is a fantastic opportunity.

Buuuuut, if you’ve actually used the ARIS Notebook, if you really had people go out there and collect some pictures, etc. then you know that clutter is a problem, especially when there is a good deal of non-Notebook content you need players to see. After a bit, the map just looks like a mess.

Notebook Clutter in Chrono Ops

In ChronoOps, by the 503 Design Collective, notes left by players obscure the map and authored content.

Clutter exists because every note is marked on the game map for all players. This can be useful for viewing notes later, but it can really get in the way too. ARIS will continue to evolve, so this clutter may eventually be less of a problem. But there are some things that you can do right now as an author to clean things up for your players. Continue reading


The Button – New AR Paradigms Using World Items and ARISjs

Giving an item to the world and to the player in ARIS

Giving an item to the world and to the player in ARIS

Over the summer, ARIS gained some new features that vastly expand the kinds of game that can be built with it. The uses of HTML, Javascript, and ARISjs to extend ARIS are just beginning to be explored; my previous tutorial about Leaderboards is just scratching the surface. Another addition to ARIS is world items. 

World items are items possessed by the game world, not a player. They can be used to define the state of the game world and have it respond to players. This makes ARIS far more capable as a multiplayer engine.

This post is an intro to world items: how they might be useful, how to use them, and the ARISjs you need along the way to get the most out of them. We will do this by looking at the design of a concrete example, The Button, an experimental game Jim Mathews put together for the recent ARIS Global Game Jam.

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Introduction to ARISjs – Leaderboards in ARIS 2

In this post, I’ll show you how to add a leaderboard to your ARIS game. Since this requires a bit of code—which thankfully we can pretty much just copy and paste—this post will also serve as an introduction to ARISjs, a javascript library baked into ARIS and accessible from many parts within. Even if you—like me—never thought of yourself as being able to build with code, all it takes is a little copy-paste to extend ARIS to be able to do amazing new things.

Strap in, let’s go for a ride!

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Algorithmic AR – Part 2

In Algorithmic AR Part 1 I outlined the concept of Algorithmic AR and gave a brief tutorial on how Factories work in ARIS to make games based on place-based algorithms. The tutorial made use of an existing game Rupee Collector to illustrate those features.

In this follow up, I show some ideas for how to take Factories further through a couple other examples, one of which is an early game design assignment I give my students each year. There’s also a brief discussion about Algorithmic AR in the broader world, where we might begin to think of it as a general interactional paradigm through existing designs and the ones we learn to create.

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ARIS 2.0 Documentation and Tutorial Update – New Manual and Video Tutorial Content

Objects, triggers, and a scene as seen in the Scenes tab of the ARIS Editor (click to embiggenate)

I stayed up late last night to crank out a couple new bits of help for newcomers. I’m really excited about ARIS 2 being out of beta, and want to find ways to give as much help as I can to newcomers and those making the transition from ARIS 1.

Right now, the manual is here, and my tutorial videos are here.

New in the manual

New videos

An illustration of a very basic tutorial already in the manual: How to Make a One Stop Tour. If you’re making your very first ARIS game, this tour will help you build knowledge to get something small working. The videos let you see how to get there as an author in the Editor and what this tour looks like to a player in the App. On the way, it goes through some of the very basics and UI of both.

Early Thoughts on Ingress

Ingress Screenshot

I’ve known about Ingress since it first launched on Android. No surprise there, I’ve been in AR games since 2006. But I hadn’t really played until today. Why not? For a long time, it was Android only and that was a class of device I just didn’t have access to, but a while back (July 14, 2014 according to Wikipedia) an iOS version came out. But even though I was in a rush to download and try it, I found that the game confused me quite a bit. As a result, I didn’t push through until this week.

I teach classes about games, mobile games, AR, and the like, and one student found this game in the fall and really got a lot out of it. This semester she suggested we play as a class. She went to the trouble of putting together a very nice presentation to try and onboard us, and we went on our way. Of course, even this wasn’t enough—well, now that I’ve got little kids and too much email—but after a week and seeing other students catching on, I put off some of that office work to really give it a try this morning. I did indeed get somewhere, and even though I’d still say I’m not very far from being a total newb, I’d like to try and share those stepping stones in case you too are on that other side.

Crossing over, that is sticking with the game enough to get over the initial learning curve is worth it. The game is fun and has something to contribute to the evolution of AR gaming.

Continue reading

ARIS 2.0 Basics Slide Deck

ARIS Basics

Hey everybody!

I put together some slides as an intro to the new ARIS. They don’t substitute for full documentation, or a direct tutorial, but I hope they are enough to help newcomers get a toehold to know enough about what ARIS is to explore further on their own without too much frustration, so at least they know what words to begin asking about or look up.

Since I’ve already been working on documentation, and made some video walkthroughs, I wanted to make something whose use might fit into a new scenario, like maybe giving a presentation or a quick reference.

The slides cover a lot of topics very briefly, from the basic conceptual model of ARIS, logging in, objects, scenes, triggers, quests, and especially, locks. Plus there’s a couple little hints about getting your game ready for players. For this first pass, I left out everything about the Notebook. It’s not really done being designed yet anyway. The links are below.


Google Slides

I hope you enjoy them.