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kunarion

Adventure Lab - Builder Details?

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Where do I find the “Adventure Lab Cache Builder” and how does it work? Is it the same thing as the “Lab Cache Builder”, and if so, I guess my question is about that. Can I “build” myself a “Lab Cache” today and play it, no invitation, no activation, just get a feel for what it does?

 

What is the potential of “Adventure Lab Caches”? That is, what can they do? Is it a text adventure, some pictures that pop up in “zones”? Are there interactive controls in the app “Adventure”?

 

I'm most familiar with “Lab Caches” where you visit a few waypoints, then walk into some store and find a word sign on a themed display. They were OK, kind of underwhelming, and except that you must type a code word into an App, everything could be done within a good old-fashioned cache page and using a handheld GPS.  At least all of the tasks could be outlined on a cache page.  This is not a complaint.  Smartphones are cool and stuff.  I loves me some gadgets.  The Finals in Lab caches tended to be very decorative.

 

I received an “Adventure Lab” invitation to be entered into a drawing. If selected, I guess I could be making an Adventure Lab Cache. How exactly is it “programmed”? The previous kinds of software are beyond what I'd care to mess with (Wherigo, Metaverse, VR stuff, etc.).  If the “Adventure Lab” builder is buggy and nerdy and in Fortran and typing lines of code into a smartphone, I need to know this in advance. Especially if it's instead about as simple as making any ordinary Mystery cache.

 

Edited by kunarion
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Thanks for your questions! Currently only people who receive an Adventure Lab credit have access to the builder tool. The builder tool is a web-based platform that creates Adventure Labs. If you qualified and submitted your name via the Adventure Lab Request page , and are one of the 250 selected, we will email you directly with access to the builder tool. Selections will be taking place from Feb 5 - Feb 26th. 

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3 hours ago, Heather Feather said:

Thanks for your questions! Currently only people who receive an Adventure Lab credit have access to the builder tool. The builder tool is a web-based platform that creates Adventure Labs. If you qualified and submitted your name via the Adventure Lab Request page , and are one of the 250 selected, we will email you directly with access to the builder tool. Selections will be taking place from Feb 5 - Feb 26th. 

 

kunarion brings up a good point.

Since cachers will not be able to experience the Builder unless they're selected, there may be some that are selected but then find the Builder too complicated and decide they do not want to participate after all.  Will it be possible for those cachers to decline and then someone else on the list can be selected in their place?

Perhaps a "waiting list" of sorts, although cachers don't need to know if they were on the "waiting list" - but if 50 of the 250 decide the Builder is too technical for them, then it would be great to see their 'chance' passed on to one of the other invited, opted-in cachers.

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4 hours ago, Heather Feather said:

Selections will be taking place from Feb 5 - Feb 26th. 

Okay, colour me confused. I received an email that seemed to indicate that I was already selected ("You're invited to participate", not "You're invited to enter a draw"). There isn't anything in the email indicating that I'm being invited to enter a draw. Instead, it says to click the button to "check your eligibility and submit your request". That sounds like accepting an invitation, not entering a draw. I also haven't seen anything about the Feb 5 - 26 dates. The email says I need to "submit my request" by Feb 26. It seems like whoever wrote the email has made a number of false assumptions, the most significant being that the recipients already know what's going on. The concerns about the builder tool mentioned by kunarion and noncentric also raise red flags.

 

I think a follow-up email with more detail is warranted, because the email that was sent doesn't seem to say what you intended it to say, and the recipients haven't been provided sufficient information to make an informed decision about whether they want to enter or not.

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3 hours ago, The A-Team said:

Okay, colour me confused. I received an email that seemed to indicate that I was already selected ("You're invited to participate", not "You're invited to enter a draw"). There isn't anything in the email indicating that I'm being invited to enter a draw. Instead, it says to click the button to "check your eligibility and submit your request". That sounds like accepting an invitation, not entering a draw. I also haven't seen anything about the Feb 5 - 26 dates. The email says I need to "submit my request" by Feb 26. It seems like whoever wrote the email has made a number of false assumptions, the most significant being that the recipients already know what's going on. The concerns about the builder tool mentioned by kunarion and noncentric also raise red flags.

 

I think a follow-up email with more detail is warranted, because the email that was sent doesn't seem to say what you intended it to say, and the recipients haven't been provided sufficient information to make an informed decision about whether they want to enter or not.

 

I wasn't confused.  I was signing up for a chance to be 1 in 250.  Kinda like signing up to get a free trackable.  The message above about the selections only being made through the 26th seems a bit contradictory.  My assumption was they would pick all the participants after the sign up deadline of Feb 26.  

 

Did your e-mail have different wording?

 

You're invited to participate!
 

As part of our ongoing experimentation with Adventure Lab, we are inviting a limited number of experienced geocachers to sign up for a chance to become an Adventure Lab creator. Approximately 250 participants will be selected through a randomized process. If selected, you will receive exclusive access to the Adventure Builder Tool to design an Adventure Lab experience with five locations for the public geocaching community.  

Unlike Lab Caches at Geocaching Mega/Giga-Events, these Adventures will remain active for at least six months, or potentially longer, for the community to enjoy. Adventure Lab creators must agree to follow the Adventure Lab guidelines and will need to create the Adventure within 60 days of receiving the credit.

You can read more about the updates on the blog: Geocaching Adventure Lab app FAQ.

How do I sign up?

Follow the link below to check your eligibility and submit your request by February 26, 2019.

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17 hours ago, noncentric said:

 

Will it be possible for those cachers to decline and then someone else on the list can be selected in their place?

 

This is an option, perhaps, and we will discuss. Those who have used the builder tool haven't spoken of it being overly complicated, so we don't anticipate a large amount of issues. 

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On ‎1‎/‎31‎/‎2019 at 5:19 PM, Twinklekitkat said:

Did your e-mail have different wording?

No, mine was worded the same. It just seems like there was some poor choice of wording that changed the tone of the entire email, and that some terminology was inconsistent. For example:

  • "You're invited to participate with Adventure Lab" - As I said earlier, this implies that I've already been selected to participate in the test.
    • Better alternative: "Enter for a chance to test Adventure Labs"
  • "...we are inviting a limited number of experienced geocachers..." - Okay, it's a limited thing, so I guess I was selected if I got this email? I guess this is referring to the eligibility requirements that will limit the members who can enter, but that doesn't come up until the very end of the email.
    • Better alternative: "...we are offering a limited number of eligible geocachers..."
  • "How do I sign up?" and "Sign up now" - One doesn't typically "sign up" for a draw; one "enters". "Sign up" sounds like I'm now gaining access.
    • Better alternatives: "How do I enter?" and "Enter the draw"
  • "...submit your request" - This doesn't sound at all like a draw, but instead sounds like I'm requesting access and therefore accepting the afore-mentioned invitation. It's also completely different from the previously-used "sign up" terminology.
    • Better alternative: "...check your eligibility and enter the draw..."

Now that I re-read the email, there are signs that this is a draw, but there are enough issues that it can easily lead one to believe that they've already been selected. I'm not alone in thinking this. I've already seen comments from many other recipients that indicate that they also thought they were selected.

 

Writing emails for users is tough; I know this from experience in my job doing desktop support and system administration. Most of the time, people skim mass-emails looking for the points that are important to them. Since the writer of the email knows all of the background, it can be hard for them to pass along all of the relevant information to those who have no knowledge of the situation. It's the same kind of issue as the hider of a puzzle trying to determine the difficulty rating; they can't easily put themselves in the role of someone who doesn't know how it works. In the case of this email, it seems like the writer just made too many assumptions of prior knowledge, and this led to important points not being clarified. Longer and wordier emails don't look the greatest, but sometimes it's necessary to do this in order to convey all of the relevant information. It's also a good idea to separate and/or summarize the most important points so those who are skimming will at least get the important information in the right context. In the case of this email, a separate heading of "Who is eligible?" could easily and clearly explain the eligibility requirements and say that those who are eligible can choose to enter for a chance to participate. There wouldn't be any confusion about the process at that point.

 

TL;DR: Writing emails to users is tough, but it's important to make sure that the recipient is provided all of the information relevant to them and in the necessary context to understand what's happening. This email can be used as a learning experience to improve future communications to users.

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I'd also like to say that my posts aren't just general complaints or quibbling about wording. There has been real confusion generated by this most recent email, so the purpose of my posts was to indicate which parts caused confusion and what could be done to alleviate that. It may come off as nitpicking, but my sincere intention is to pass along information that can be used to improve future communications.

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17 hours ago, The A-Team said:

I'd also like to say that my posts aren't just general complaints or quibbling about wording. There has been real confusion generated by this most recent email, so the purpose of my posts was to indicate which parts caused confusion and what could be done to alleviate that. It may come off as nitpicking, but my sincere intention is to pass along information that can be used to improve future communications.

 

Does anyone know what the process is for making a Lab cache in the "Lab Cache Builder"?  I know "it's easy" and all. Pocket Queries are easy, too.  But I'd swear it took me a month to figure out how they work.  And I'm usually OK with computer stuff.

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6 hours ago, kunarion said:

Does anyone know what the process is for making a Lab cache in the "Lab Cache Builder"?  I know "it's easy" and all. Pocket Queries are easy, too.  But I'd swear it took me a month to figure out how they work.  And I'm usually OK with computer stuff.

Until people start getting selected to participate, we really don't know. At this point, we don't even really know in what form the resulting Labs/Adventures might look like. It could be that they look a lot like the old Lab Caches (ie. enter a codeword), but it could also be that there are other elements that will be available and they could look like Wherigos. We just don't know.

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I saw the first email from a selected geocacher yesterday on Facebook. Seemed legit but I am wondering why this should happen almost three weeks before the end of the application process...

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On 2/5/2019 at 10:33 AM, The A-Team said:

I'm not alone in thinking this. I've already seen comments from many other recipients that indicate that they also thought they were selected.

You're definitely not alone.

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On 2/7/2019 at 6:52 AM, St.Jocosa said:

I saw the first email from a selected geocacher yesterday on Facebook. Seemed legit but I am wondering why this should happen almost three weeks before the end of the application process...

I got an e-mail yesterday from GS, saying "You won an Adventure Lab", with a few links to documentation, and an invitation to log into the "Adventure Lab Builder".

 

I had a semi-quick look through that "Builder". As far as I could see (but maybe I overlooked something), there is nothing substantially new which I couldn't also do in a normal multi-cache. The main difference seems to me that there is no need for a physical final container. There are some options for "visual sugar", like e.g. optionally displaying a video whenever a "stage" is completed. There is no complex game play like in Wherigo. One restriction is that the players need good cellphone reception all the time (at least at the exact coordinates of each "stage", to enter the "find code"). In my area, that excludes many of the more interesting rural locations.

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Interesting! Did you apply right away or just prior to your selection?

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37 minutes ago, St.Jocosa said:

Interesting! Did you apply right away or just prior to your selection?

I applied a few hours after receiving the first invitation e-mail. I admit, that I had no firm idea what I was up to, and thought that with only 250 "rewards", I most likely wouldn't get one anyway.

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8 hours ago, baer2006 said:

I applied a few hours after receiving the first invitation e-mail. I admit, that I had no firm idea what I was up to, and thought that with only 250 "rewards", I most likely wouldn't get one anyway.

Congrats.  I'm impressed that you already have a plan for how to use your "reward" - you're not wasting any time.  :D

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I got one of the 250 and I made it public yesterday. It took a couple of visits to set it up and then a test run. It was not difficult and kind of fun. The invites says Selections will be taking place from Feb 5 - Feb 26th  so it was no surprise to get the offer before the end of the selection period. When it comes up in the Adventure lab app the distance to the adventure is shown and my adventure  does have the name of our city to further assist people in determining if the location is one that works for them. 

 

While you can still download the gpx one of people had issues with that while the phone, an android worked like a charm. 

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1 minute ago, 5beatriff said:

I got one of the 250 and I made it public yesterday. It took a couple of visits to set it up and then a test run. It was not difficult and kind of fun. The invites says Selections will be taking place from Feb 5 - Feb 26th  so it was no surprise to get the offer before the end of the selection period. When it comes up in the Adventure lab app the distance to the adventure is shown and my adventure  does have the name of our city to further assist people in determining if the location is one that works for them. 

 

While you can still download the gpx one of people had issues with that while the phone, an android worked like a charm. 

To further expand on the gpx. That is being phased out. While the player who tested with a gps was able to go through the locations I imagine there is no way to upload the answers and so get awarded the adventure lab cache. At least that is the way it appears to be at this point. 

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On 3/1/2019 at 5:28 PM, 5beatriff said:

The invites says Selections will be taking place from Feb 5 - Feb 26th  so it was no surprise to get the offer before the end of the selection period.

 

So if you didn't hear anything by now you are not selected?

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That is my guess but they are really good at answering questions if you ask them directly. 

 

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Posted (edited)
On 3/2/2019 at 2:28 AM, 5beatriff said:

I got one of the 250 and I made it public yesterday. It took a couple of visits to set it up and then a test run. It was not difficult and kind of fun. The invites says Selections will be taking place from Feb 5 - Feb 26th  so it was no surprise to get the offer before the end of the selection period. When it comes up in the Adventure lab app the distance to the adventure is shown and my adventure  does have the name of our city to further assist people in determining if the location is one that works for them. 

 

While you can still download the gpx one of people had issues with that while the phone, an android worked like a charm. 

I didn't get selected for the promo, but I am organising some labs for an upcoming Mega event. I was curious, is there a word limit for each location within the adventure? I haven't been able to find this information online and do not yet have access to the builder. 

Edited by EatSleepCacheRepeat_

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3 hours ago, EatSleepCacheRepeat_ said:

I didn't get selected for the promo, but I am organising some labs for an upcoming Mega event. I was curious, is there a word limit for each location within the adventure? I haven't been able to find this information online and do not yet have access to the builder.  

The description for each location is limited to 1024 characters. The question for the find code is not included in that total (the question goes into a separate data field).

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On 4/11/2019 at 5:42 PM, baer2006 said:

The description for each location is limited to 1024 characters. The question for the find code is not included in that total (the question goes into a separate data field).

Thank you!

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