Goggles2114
Posts: 83
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2011 8:43 pm
Contact: Website

How do I make laser tag equipment?

Mon Feb 09, 2015 3:10 am

See I've been fascinated by lasertag since it was biggish in the 90s, but I've never really lived anywhere they are a thing, and the whole visually gimped thing never helped.

Fast forward to now and I've got a nephew, niece, and neither like getting up and doing because they face the same middle of nowhere problem.

Except now there's the internet so things like stat tracking, using gained exp to buy upgrades for gear logged to as yours, and so on can be done to augment ye olden laser tag.

My problem is I have no idea how to make either the hardware or software. I just have an idea.

What I want:

Setup anywhere and have a quick preselect timer match. Users can register with the score keeping device so who killed who can be tracked, or at least to keep some pbody trolling by using a laser pin or other thing won't count.

Would like a way to keep people from covering the receiver/sensors to keep from cheating via aluminum foil or mesh.

Something other than straight up shooting to do. Have a medic class that can revive fallen allies or patch them up. An engineer that can temporarily strengthen weapons or armor.

I want the equipment to not look like crap. I seriously don't since I don't want adults to feel embarrassed or feel like it's just a kid's toy. I think that's part of the problem is it's hard to want to play when you're self conscious about it.

Objects that can serve as grenades. Tripwire mines, shield generating notes, areas to defend or else you lose, and so on.

Software side of things:
I want users to be able to collect points not just from direct kills, but assists if they revive people that get kills, or people buffed that get kills, plus team wins.

Would be nice to have a website that can do a global leaderboard. However confining it to just the portable stat tracker/judge would be more immediately doable.

A fps game where those bought upgrades for your real life antics upgrade yr in game character. That way even people who prefer fps games have incentive to get up and move.

Other:
I have no idea what is involved and I feel overwhelmed just thinking about it and fear this is something as a project nobody would care about. It's just I see my nephew and other kids engrossed in their phones and tablets and the like and want to try getting them to get up and go.

ame
Posts: 3172
Joined: Sat Aug 18, 2012 1:21 am
Location: Korea

Re: How do I make laser tag equipment?

Mon Feb 09, 2015 5:40 am

Did you consider typing 'DIY laser tag' into Google?

Goggles2114
Posts: 83
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2011 8:43 pm
Contact: Website

Re: How do I make laser tag equipment?

Mon Feb 09, 2015 7:08 am

First I wanted to see if anyone else would care before bothering.

Second. I want to do more than just 'bing. Your vest made an annoying noise when I hit it with an IR thinggie.' Figured that might take a bit of doing.

Third: this is a huge maker community. I put this in off topic because I'm still kicking things around and there's too much I don't know. Using the Pi as local score keeping/team assignment seems logical. Trying to do so for the equipment seems a bit overkill, but given what I want is more, the A+ might be a good candidate for what each person's equipment talks to.

Fourth: Have I forgotten to mention I have no idea what I'm doing? Even building test units that won't fall apart is going to be interesting if not frustrating. Look I might be in the wrong place, and if so I'm sorry. I just figured smarter people than me on the issue could do something other than 'Google it' since what's the bloody point if I'm the only one that thinks this is kinda neat?

ame
Posts: 3172
Joined: Sat Aug 18, 2012 1:21 am
Location: Korea

Re: How do I make laser tag equipment?

Mon Feb 09, 2015 7:23 am

The simple answer is that the Pi is nothing more than a Linux computer. There is nothing it can do that hasn't already been done on a PIC or Arduino, or almost any PC with a parallel port.

People seem to think that the Pi is the first time any electronic project could be built, but the truth us that it's all been done before.

And the cool thing is that the web's been around for 20 years*, so all of these projects have been documented and get a new lease of life on the Pi.

So, what you want to do has been documented a hundred times. If you started reading about it now you'd get a good grounding in what is possible, and from there, you'd know what you need to learn more about to get started.

* no pedants, please.

BMS Doug
Posts: 3824
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2014 2:42 pm
Location: London, UK

Re: How do I make laser tag equipment?

Mon Feb 09, 2015 8:19 am

Goggles2114 wrote:First I wanted to see if anyone else would care before bothering.

Second. I want to do more than just 'bing. Your vest made an annoying noise when I hit it with an IR thinggie.' Figured that might take a bit of doing.

Third: this is a huge maker community. I put this in off topic because I'm still kicking things around and there's too much I don't know. Using the Pi as local score keeping/team assignment seems logical. Trying to do so for the equipment seems a bit overkill, but given what I want is more, the A+ might be a good candidate for what each person's equipment talks to.

Fourth: Have I forgotten to mention I have no idea what I'm doing? Even building test units that won't fall apart is going to be interesting if not frustrating. Look I might be in the wrong place, and if so I'm sorry. I just figured smarter people than me on the issue could do something other than 'Google it' since what's the bloody point if I'm the only one that thinks this is kinda neat?
You will find people here willing to help you with just about any project you can dream about but you need to have a clear approach and be asking for assistance with a specific problem. If you do the research on what has already been done then you will have specific questions on how you want to modify parts of it or implement other parts.

Reading your first post I was thinking that a WIFI network could link all the players equipment, you could have checkpoints that confirm operation of all sensors to reduce cheating.
Doug.
Building Management Systems Engineer.

Goggles2114
Posts: 83
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2011 8:43 pm
Contact: Website

Re: How do I make laser tag equipment?

Mon Feb 09, 2015 2:06 pm

On the one hand building a simple 'IR Signal hits vest that buzzes' setup looks fairly easy. On the other I want to do something more elaborate.

Sure I could start with a pair of $20 chepos from target (or wherever) and try adding on, but if I'm going to have to something like an arduino or some other board to make these things a little smarter, why not build from scratch?

I like the idea of WiFi from the control unit acting as general range and such. That part seems easy.

The part is how to have each player's equipment talk to their vest/belt/etc. Does the gun even /need/ to 'talk' to the vest or can it be synched at the start of a match? Thinking is each player has a unique ID and maybe that ID can be transmitted with each shot/action? Figure it's like hitting different buttons on a remote,

Fire would be like hitting one button, Heal another, and so on with my ID transmitted in the same pulse that transmits the action the vest needs to react to. Then the vests talk to the central scorekeeper so there's a running record of who's doing what.

So it'd be:
Group shows up.
Each person's vest/black box is registered with the central scorebox/reff and assigned an ID for that match.
Guns/grenades/etc get paired with players so their actions are tagged with that player's ID.
Match occurs. Only equipment registered for that match reads as valid. So I wouldn't be able to use my TV remote to tag people, or something else silly like that.
At end of play all gear is deregistered from the scorekeeper's list of active players. This would keep anyone bringing weapons from the last match working in the current or future matches.

As for 'it's all been done before.' Of course it has. Nothing is new under the sun. However I'm doubtful the approach I'm thinking of is the same as everyone else's.

My concerns are how to make the actual vests/guns/etc sturdy enough to take getting rattled around and smart enough to do what I want without being ridiculously expensive. Also. Ideas on being able to pair gear to vests? I can see each vest having WiFi to talk to the scorekeeper, but how to easily, and cheaply have the vests and guns 'talk'?

Also, what does this setup have that airsoft wouldn't bring to the table? Sure you don't have a blow by blow of who shot who but hard to argue scoring when you're getting hit by little plastic pellets.

Not needing to clean up? No risk of 'oh crap ralphie just shot his eye out?' Being able to define actions beyond 'bang bang?' Sure I'm wanting. DiY it to learn how and because project, but thinking on 'what if I've got something here and could find a way to do more?' I want to keep theoretical users not my niece/nephew/friends of theirs in mind, so want to keep it reasonable.

Edit: Maybe a better idea on focusing on the vests/personal boxes and the scorekeeper. Have the scorekeeper register 'gun's pulse + user ID' for that match. They're having to keep track of stats, health, and so on so why not make the focus that and the central score unit? That way players can bring whatever gun they like, be it home made, cheapo, expensive. Whatever.

I am sorry. Just kinda in an odd point in personal things, plus I shattered a tooth here lately. Doesn't excuse me acting grumbly. Just... Yea, moving on.

BMS Doug
Posts: 3824
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2014 2:42 pm
Location: London, UK

Re: How do I make laser tag equipment?

Mon Feb 09, 2015 4:07 pm

I have no idea if the following is practical:

for some reason I am thinking of RF radiation. 433 MHz transmitters and receivers are cheap, guns will use shielding to focus the transmission in a single direction whereas grenades will broadcast it.

Signal strength would have to be the determining factor as to whether any shot is a hit or miss. Signal spread will be a problem.
Doug.
Building Management Systems Engineer.

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