My next project is a Laser tag system

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victor_pv
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My next project is a Laser tag system

Post by victor_pv » Tue May 05, 2015 6:49 pm

Just wanted to post it here. Haven't started it except for reading about similar projects I have found.

I forked on github one that was done with Maple minis, and plan to start off that, and then probably rewrite most of the code. That one used blutooth devices to connect to the players cellphones, that would then connect to a server. I plan to get away from needing any phone.

My goals are:

1.- Be able to configure several guns in several teams.
2.- Have good enough noise immunity to play outdoors.
3.- Good range to play outdoors.
4.- Have an LCD display to show hits, ammunition left etc.
5.- Have a few sensors in a vest. To start at least a couple of sensors in the gun itself.
6.- Have to guns report the scoring to either a computer or one other board thru wifi or nRF24 (wifi with ESP8266 will probably be it).
7.- Self contained. To play you don't need an internet connection or any other device than the guns and whatever will be the central system.

I have been reading about the MilesTag protocol, and believe should not be too hard to implement it, but I don't really care for any standard, I'd rather use whatever works best for me as this is not a commercial project. I will make a few guns for my kids and friends, and done with it.

If anyone has done something similar, I would like to learn.
My plan of action is like this:

1.- Pick an IR transmisster and a sensor, and start implementing the IR protocol to shoot and get hit.
2.- Then write the functions to shot and keep track on who hit you at the same time.
3.- Then an LCD interface to show hits, ammo left, etc.
4.- Finally write the code to update all the data to whatever is the central point at the end of the game.

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Luc_Exe
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Re: My next project is a Laser tag system

Post by Luc_Exe » Tue May 05, 2015 10:50 pm

whoa, this project sounds really cool!

I have a question: how you going to make difference between a target (other player) and any other object in the field? maybe special clothes?

mrbwa1
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Re: My next project is a Laser tag system

Post by mrbwa1 » Wed May 06, 2015 2:37 am

Interesting. I was thinking actual lasers and and LDR array as a target.... Probably a bit dangerous for eyesight though.

victor_pv
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Re: My next project is a Laser tag system

Post by victor_pv » Wed May 06, 2015 4:12 am

My plan was for the guns to have a couple of target sensors, and then a vest or jacket with a few more sensors in back and front, but had not thought on other targets in the field. Could be interesting for some games to have some field target you can hit, like the enemy base or something like that, but I think once the essential is done, the rest should be much easier.

About lasers, I have read about some systems using actual lasers. The beam is move out of focus so it does not concentrate the energy in a single point, much like IR laser illuminators, but I am planning to just try to use high power IR leds, and see if I get enough range with the right lens. May give enough range without any health risk of the laser.

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Luc_Exe
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Re: My next project is a Laser tag system

Post by Luc_Exe » Wed May 06, 2015 1:44 pm

Yeah, when refering to targets I was talking about the players and not the field objets.

I've never been in a laser game like this, so initially though the same gun was going to send the laser beam and sense where it hits. Something like color recognition modules plus some optics to aim just the same area the laser hit (something similar to light gun sensing in old videogames, like NES or arcades, I thinkl they are only sensing color). From there came my confusion on how to differentiate between a target (other player) and any other area being hit by the laser, I missed the point 5 on your goals list.

mrbwa1
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Re: My next project is a Laser tag system

Post by mrbwa1 » Wed May 06, 2015 2:43 pm

The old NES zapper was essentially an LDR with a lens over it. when you pulled the trigger, the screen blacks out and a white box shows where the "target" sprite is for 1 frame. If the "gun" detects high enough light level, it registers as a hit. If you aim the "gun" at a really bright light, you get a hit every time.

I have built laser trip wires with a cheap 5v laser module pointed at an LDR with a simple voltage divider as an ADC. It's essentially the same principle, but with a laser instead of a lens on the LDR like the NES Zapper.

I still miss the "toy" laser tag set I had back in the day. It was basically the same idea presented here and I would love to have the ability to hack it now.

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Luc_Exe
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Re: My next project is a Laser tag system

Post by Luc_Exe » Wed May 06, 2015 10:49 pm

@mrbwa1
you killed my childhood. Now I know what were doing the Duck Hunt masters on youtube.

@victor_pv
which board/MCU you plan to use?

victor_pv
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Re: My next project is a Laser tag system

Post by victor_pv » Thu May 07, 2015 2:29 am

I think a maple mini (cbt6 mcu) has plenty of resources for that, probably much more than needed.
If I run out of ram, I will see about using an RET6 mcu instead.

mrbwa1
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Re: My next project is a Laser tag system

Post by mrbwa1 » Thu May 07, 2015 3:33 pm

I had an idea about this project this morning:

What about encoding the different user "guns" with a different IR pulse pattern? Basically, each gun is using a different pulse sequence like various remote controls from different TV manufacturers?

The targets would only need to look for the pulses and be able to decode the signals for X number of players. It would essentially be a rehash of the IR receiver examples that allow you to decode remotes. The TX in the guns would be a rehash of universal remote software.

You still need to tune a lens somehow on the RX,plus you would have a neat easter egg if you happen to program your own gun to be the same as one of your remotes :D

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ahull
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Re: My next project is a Laser tag system

Post by ahull » Thu May 07, 2015 7:58 pm

There are a number of existing IR libraries for Arduino for example...
http://shirriff.github.io/Arduino-IRremote/
- Andy Hull -

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