Wherigo Basics | Building | Playing | Website Basics
- What exactly IS Wherigo?
- Wherigo is a platform that allows you to build location based GPS experiences on your computer and play them in the real world. Think Zork, Secret of Monkey Island or Myst, but in the park around the corner, or on the beach during your family vacation. Rather than clicking the mouse and selecting a location to move your character, you actually walk from one location to the next to advance the story.
- What is a Wherigo cartridge?
- A Wherigo cartridge is a file that contains all the information and media necessary to play a Wherigo experience. We call them cartridges as an homage to the original console-based games, but you don't have to actually purchase a physical cartridge or console to play.
- I'm a geocacher. What does Wherigo have to do with me?
- Wherigo allows cache owners to add virtual characters, puzzles, and other interactions to their hides. It's simply another way to enhance the geocaching experience.
- What is a Wherigo cache?
- A Wherigo cache uses the Wherigo cartridge format (i.e. use of zones, characters and/or items) to lead the player to a physical geocache. If a Wherigo cartridge is used as a requirement to find a geocache, it is considered a Wherigo cache regardless of whether it has a puzzle or multi-cache component.
- What is the difference between a Wherigo cartridge and a Wherigo cache?
- A Wherigo cache includes a physical geocache component and is cross listed on both Wherigo.com and Geocaching.com. A regular Wherigo cartridge contains no physical cache and is only listed on Wherigo.com.
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- What is the Wherigo Builder?
- The Wherigo Builder is an application that allows users to create Wherigo cartridges without knowing any programming code. It uses pseudocode or what is essentially plain English to describe the actions that take place in a cartridge. This means that both the complete beginner and the code veteran can use the same application to create exciting adventures.
- What can I make with the Wherigo builder?
- Adventure games, puzzles, guided tours or anything else you can dream up. It's entirely up to you.
- Do I have to build cartridges or can I just play them?
- You can just play them. However, we encourage all Wherigo enthusiasts to build games in their area or around the world! Leave your mark on a new city by creating a cartridge there. Plan your vacation itinerary by mapping out zones to create a guided tour for your family. The possibilities are endless, so there's really no excuse not to build cartridges.
- What are Wherigo cartridges coded in?
- Wherigo cartridges are written in Lua, a powerful yet light-weight scripting language. Lua is used in games such as Sim City 4 and World of Warcraft to allow users to build on top of the pre-existing game platform. Wherigo is doing essentially the same thing by developing the platform and giving you the tools to build any kind of gaming environment using the world as your playground.
- Do I have to use the Wherigo Builder to create a cartridge?
- Nope! The Wherigo Builder is just an interface designed to make Lua programming easier. If you're an experienced programmer, or you just like to live dangerously, you can open a builder-generated Lua file in any basic text editing application. You can also compile your cartridge without the builder using the web services on Wherigo.com.
- Can I create a Wherigo cartridge without a GPS-enabled device?
- Yes. It's possible to use Google Earth to get coordinates for your zones, or to draw zones directly onto a map in the builder. Nothing else in the builder (characters, zones or tasks) requires location based information.
The downside of being without a GPS-enabled device is that you can't test the cartridge in the field. Many common scripting problems can be solved simply by testing the cartridge in the emulator. However, you won't be able to get everything and will have to rely on feedback from other players, or borrow a GPS device and test it in the field yourself.
- How big should I make my zones?
- Because GPS accuracy can vary greatly depending on device, weather, and location, we recommend making your zones as large as possible to ensure that players are always able to get in. 70-100 feet (21-30 meters) on one side is usually a safe minimum.
- What size should media be?
- In general, it is best to plan cartridges for the lowest common denominator to ensure that your cartridges are playable on the greatest number of devices. For audio files, smaller is better. The Wherigo Player is QVGA-optimized, so while it can support images of any height, you will have to scroll if the image is larger than your device's screen. Below are the height and width specifications that the Wherigo Media Group uses for Garmin devices and Pocket PCs.
- Garmin Colorado/Oregon: 230 pixels wide by 180-250 pixels high
- Pocket PC (QVGA): 230 pixels wide by 130-180 pixels high
- Icons (Pocket PC only): 32 x 32 pixels
- What kinds of media can I use in a cartridge?
- The Pocket PC Player currently supports JPG and static GIF images as well as MP3, WAV and Ogg Vorbis sound files. The Garmin Colorado and Oregon support JPG images, but can not play audio files. However, they can play sound in the form of system beeps.
- Does the Wherigo Builder support non-English characters?
- Currently the Wherigo Builder only supports the English alphabet. We hope to have international support in the near future.
- How do I compile a cartridge?
- There are several ways to compile a cartridge - either to play or to test the experience:
- Through the Wherigo Builder - This is a good place to compile and test your experience without sharing it with the rest of the community. With the lua file open in the Builder, select Tools > Publish to My Machine. Choose your device type and click "Create Playable Cartridge."
- With a Web Service - For those who are more technical we have exposed a web service you can use to upload your creation and compile without creating a cartridge listing.
- Via a web form - If you have a GWZ file handy you can use a web form to compile your cartridge. This will generate a playable cartridge without requiring you to use the Builder or upload your cartridge to the website. Confused about file types?
- Do I need to test my cartridge before publishing it online?
- Yes! It's important to get all the bugs worked out of your cartridge before you make it available for download. The Wherigo Builder has a built in cartridge emulator that is helpful for hunting down code errors, but it's difficult to tell how well a cartridge plays in the field unless you go outside and test it. If you're having problems completing your own cartridge, you can be virtually certain that someone else will experience issues as well.
- Does the Wherigo Builder run on Windows Vista?
- While Groundspeak has not officially tested the Wherigo Builder on Windows Vista, many users have been able to install and run the Builder on their Vista machines without issue.
- Does the Wherigo Builder run on Mac/Linux/another OS?
- Not natively. For the majority of computer users, Windows is the product of choice. That makes it Groundspeak's product of choice - at least for now. However, if you have experience with Lua programming, you can write code on any non-Windows operating system using any text editor. You can look at open source cartridges to get a feel for how the Wherigo code is handled, and you can compile a cartridge just by uploading a zip file of your creation.
Additionally, if you have an Intel-based Mac, you may be able to run the Builder under Parallels or VMWare Fusion.
- Do I have to uninstall the old version of the builder in order to install a new one?
- In most cases, the new version of the Builder will install right over the old version, so you shouldn't need to. If you have any issues, just uninstall the old version (Start > All Programs > Groundspeak > Uninstall Wherigo Builder) and then install the new version.
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- What is the Wherigo Player?
- The Wherigo Player is a GPS-enabled application that allows you to play interactive games, tours and other experiences in the real world.
- How does the Wherigo Player work?
- The Wherigo Player application uses GPS to guide the user through interactive games, tours, and other experiences in the real world. The main screen of the Wherigo Player is divided into 4 sections:
- Locations - All the visible locations you can navigate to. When you walk into these areas you can interact with the items and characters that appear in the "You See" section.
- You See - Virtual or real-world items and characters you can interact with at your current location.
- Inventory - Items that you currently have with you.
- Tasks - A list of current and completed tasks to help you decide your next step. Tasks are essential for keeping you on track during game play.
- How do I set up my Garmin Colorado or Oregon?
- No setup is necessary! Just download a cartridge from Wherigo.com and go!
- How do I set up my Pocket PC?
- Check to see if the Microsoft .NET Compact Framework 2.0 is installed on your computer. If not, download and install it. (Find it here)
- Download the Wherigo Player from Wherigo.com and install it on your Pocket PC.
- Copy your cartridge(s) to the Groundspeak/Wherigo/Cartridges folder.
- It's a good idea to let the GPS "warm up" to ensure optimum reception. You can do this by opening up the Wherigo Player and letting it run for a few minutes before starting a cartridge.
- How do I install the .NET Framework?
- To install the .NET Compact Framework (required to run the Wherigo Player):
- Download the .NET Compact Framework 2.0 Redistributable from Microsoft.com. (Find it here)
- Install the .NET Compact Framework 2.0 Redistributable, following any instructions onscreen. Your computer will automatically synchronize to your Pocket PC.
To install the .NET Framework (required to install the Wherigo Builder):
- Download the .NET Framework Version 2.0 Redistributable Package from Microsoft.com. (Find it here)
- If you have the .NET Framework Version 2.0 SP1 installed, uninstall it.
- Install the .NET Framework Version 2.0 Redistributable Package, following any instructions onscreen.
- Reinstall the .NET Framework Version 2.0 SP1, if applicable.
- How do I download a cartridge?
- If you are using a Pocket PC:
- Download a cartridge from Wherigo.com and save it to your desktop.
- Plug your Pocket PC into your computer. Microsoft ActiveSync should automatically connect your device.
- From your desktop, navigate to the cartridge directory on your Pocket PC. This is normally Groundspeak/Wherigo/Cartridges.
- Copy and paste your cartridge into this directory.
If you are using a Garmin device:
- Download the cartridge file to your desktop.
- Attach your Colorado device to your computer with a USB cable.
- From your desktop, copy the downloaded file to the Wherigo directory on the device.
- Detach the cable, power up and go!
- My downloaded cartridge isn't showing up in the Player!
- There is a known Pocket PC issue where some cartridge names don't show up in the Wherigo Player cartridge load screen. Try renaming the file and keeping the extension [filename].gwc.
- How much does a cartridge cost?
- Nothing. The entire Wherigo experience, including the Builder, Player and cartridges, is digital, downloadable and free.
- How do I play a Wherigo cartridge?
- The best way to learn is by doing, so download the Wherigo Player and a cartridge (if you're just getting started, we recommend the Player Tutorial) and go outside and play!
If you don't have a GPS-enabled device, you can also download the Wherigo Builder and play through a cartridge in the emulator. It won't be quite the same as going outside and playing, but it should give you an idea of what to expect.
- What do I need to play Wherigo?
- The Wherigo Player currently runs on select Garmin devices and most GPS-enabled Pocket PCs, although any platform that has GPS and supports the C programming language can most likely run the Player application. If you aren't sure whether your device will run Wherigo, check out the Wherigo Hardware forum. Here are a couple of specific device-related threads to help get you started:
- I don't own a GPS or a Pocket PC. Are there any alternative ways to play?
- The easiest way is to make friends with someone who owns a GPS-enabled device! You could also load Wherigo on a GPS-enabled Windows Mobile cell phone.
Alternatively, you could take a laptop with you and use the emulator in the Wherigo Builder to play. This will not work for all cartridges, however, as some authors put code in the cartridge to prevent people from completing a cartridge using the emulator.
While Groundspeak is working to make Wherigo available on a larger number of devices, it will be a while before this happens. The best option for now is to make friends and share experiences with those who have the technology.
- Can I use an iPhone to play Wherigo?
- Not currently, but we're looking into it.
- Where can I play a cartridge?
- That depends on whether the cartridge is location based or play anywhere. If it's location based, just go to the specified starting place and begin. If it's play anywhere, you'll need to find a park or other wide open space where you can play.
- There are no cartridges in my area. Can I still play?
- Absolutely! Play anywhere cartridges are special Wherigo experiences that don't require a specific location as a starting place. Instead, these cartridges generate zones based on your location when you start the game. There are more and more play anywhere cartridges popping up every day so chances are there will always be something new to play until someone (maybe you?) gets around to building a cartridge in your area.
- Can I save my game and finish it later?
- Yes, you can. However, you should be aware that if there are countdown timers running in the game, they continue to run even after you save and exit the cartridge. So if you have a certain amount of time to rescue a maiden before she is eaten by a dragon, you can't simply save the cartridge and come back later to rescue her. The maiden is still in distress, after all.
Note: Your saved game is connected to your individual device and to the player that downloaded the cartridge. Sharing your saved game with another player won't work.
You'll also need to save your experience if you want to unlock the cartridge on Wherigo.com.
- How do I know when I've completed a cartridge?
- Generally, you will receive some kind of message alerting you that you have reached the end of the game and completed all of your tasks. Some authors provide a completion code to be entered when the completed cartridge file is uploaded to Wherigo.com.
- What does it mean to "unlock a cartridge"?
- Unlocking a cartridge is a way to confirm that you've completed it. This is particularly useful for authors who want to create adventures with multiple stages or chapters, where only players who've completed the first cartridges can move on to the next level.
- How do I unlock a cartridge after I have completed it?
- Save your cartridge after completing it.
- Locate the .GWS file in the Wherigo folder of your GPS device (If you can't see the file extension, right click on the file and select Properties. It should be visible under "Type of file").
- Go to Wherigo.com and find the cartridge that you just completed.
- Click on the "Unlock" button.
- Choose Option 1 and click the link "Upload your save game." Alternatively, if you have a completion code you can enter it in the box and click "Submit Unlock Code."
- GWC/GWZ/GWL/GWS...What do all these different file extensions mean?
- GWC - A compiled Groundspeak Wherigo Cartridge file that can be opened with the Wherigo Player. This is what you get when you download a cartridge from Wherigo.com.
- GWZ - This is nothing more than a zip file containing the Lua code and all media objects for a cartridge. In fact, if you manually rename the file extension from .gwz to .zip, the file can be opened by any extraction program.
- GWL - A cartridge log file. If a cartridge has logging enabled, this file will be automatically generated whenever the cartridge is played. It contains a record of every action performed by the device and is useful for debugging purposes.
- GWS - A Groundspeak Wherigo Save file. This stores a player's current progress and allows the cartridge to be resumed at a particular point. It's also a way to unlock a completed cartridge.
- How do I completely uninstall the Wherigo Player?
- First, make sure you don't have the Wherigo Player running. On your Pocket PC, choose Start > Settings > System > Remove Programs. Then, in the list of programs, choose Groundspeak Wherigo Player. This will remove the Wherigo application from your device.
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- How do I upload my cartridge to Wherigo.com?
- There are two ways to upload a cartridge to Wherigo.com. You can either use the Wherigo Builder or the Upload a Cartridge feature on Wherigo.com.
In the Wherigo Builder:
- With your cartridge file open in the Builder, select Tools > Publish Cartridge...
- Click "Yes" when asked if you want to log in.
- Enter your username and password and click "Ok."
- A message will pop up to notify you when your cartridge has been published. Click "Ok."
- Your web browser will automatically open a page where you can edit the details of your cartridge. Make sure these are all to your liking and click "Save Cartridge Details."
- How do I upload my Wherigo cache to Geocaching.com and Wherigo.com?
- We don't yet have a way to publish the cartridge and the cache on each site simultaneously. However, we recommend the following steps:
- Upload the cartridge portion of the cache to Wherigo.com, but don't activate it yet. This way, the cartridge will be stored on the site, but its listing won't show up in anyone's search results.
- Submit your cache for review, making sure to include a link to the cartridge on your Geocaching.com cache page.
- After your cache is approved, activate your cartridge on Wherigo.com so it shows up in the search results. Don't forget to include a link back to the cache page in your cartridge details!
- Can I edit/update my cartridge after publishing it to Wherigo.com?
Of course! Sign in with your Wherigo.com username and password and click "My Home." Locate your cartridge in the "Cartridges You've Created" section.
- To edit your cartridge's name, type or description or change whether it is active and listed in the directory, click "edit."
- To update your cartridge file, click on its name to go to the cartridge's detail page. Look for the "Upload GWZ File" link on the left. You will be taken to a form where you can upload an updated file for your cartridge.
- How do I make my cartridge open source?
- Wherigo cartridges can be open sourced under a Creative Commons license. By choosing to open source your cartridge, you can make your Lua code file and any media available for other users to download and view.
- On your cartridge's detail page, click the "Creative Commons" link on the left side of the screen.
- Select whether to allow commercial use and/or modification of your work.
- Under "Download Settings," check the box marked "Make the GWZ file downloadable (no permission required to download)." This will allow users to download your cartridge's content.
- Click "Update my Creative Commons Settings."
- How do I compile a cartridge online?
- See How do I compile a cartridge?
- Can I delete a cartridge that I have published to the website?
- Not currently. However, you can make the cartridge inactive, which means that it won't show up in anyone's search results. It will be visible only to you and anyone you share the URL with.
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