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Toys Hardware

Modding Laser Tag Gear? 599

digitalsushi writes "With summer here again our thoughts turn to the outdoors, and for two years, my peers and I have tried to find plans online for augmenting our laser tag gear to make it more realistic. We're not engineers, but also figured it can't be that hard to do something with some kind of infrared laser to decrease the beam width. What other sorts of inexpensive things could be added to our gear to make it more interesting? We're using the popular Laser Challenge V2 kits, but any brand at all would be interesting."
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Modding Laser Tag Gear?

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  • the annoying "buzz" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Cruciform ( 42896 ) on Monday July 12, 2004 @03:37PM (#9678236) Homepage
    A bunch of college kids we knew were addicted to playing "Laser Quest, and tried encouraging us (paintball fans) to play.

    What a joke.

    There's no real incentive not to get shot, besides the lack of points. With paintball you know when you've been hit, because it hurts like hell. Laser Quest's hits resulted in your vest buzzing and your gun not working for a few seconds.

    Plus there was no running or ducking in the arena.

    Suggestions of wiring eletrodes to the vest to zap players were met with blank stares and hostility. I still think that's the way to go... modify them from "laser tag" to "pain gun tag" :)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 12, 2004 @03:38PM (#9678259)
    Decrease the beam width? Most laser beams (and I would say all on inexpensive laser tag equipment) are very small width - .8mm less. And if you are thinkg about realism the beam should be more like real ammo... 2.2 mm at a MINIMUM. Making the barrels smaller would be a simple task - and I would think that you would only want that to make the gun look more real. To make it really real, you need full body suit of targets, the guns to make a louder sound when they shoot, and a computer system to manage it all to calculate delays on distance... or you could try paintball?
  • by wwest4 ( 183559 ) on Monday July 12, 2004 @03:39PM (#9678278)
    The "Laser Challenge" sets have a bomb that is ordinarily set off with a toggle switch - one direction for slow fuse, another for long fuse. It's a fairly simple hack to rip out the switch and substitute with an SCR and an IR photoresistor to allow remote detonation of the short fuse option. Then you can set minefields and set them off from a safe distance - Laser Geneva Conventions be damned!
  • by Emot ( 700249 ) on Monday July 12, 2004 @03:43PM (#9678349) Homepage
    As the subline says, I've always wanted to go out in the field with some MILES gear and blank-adapted rifles. It's much more fun when you're stalking around corners with an AR-15 and going BAMBAMBAMBAMBAM at an opponent until his little siren starts to beep. Unfortunately, real MILES gear is GODDAMNED EXPENSIVE and we've been looking for a cheaper alternative which fulfils the same roles (such as, shots fired, which shot from which player hits you, who you've hit, hit percentages, GPS position and bearing tracking, et cetera). If any of you out here in slash-land have any tips, I'd be much obliged.
  • Wide range laser-tag (Score:5, Interesting)

    by darth_MALL ( 657218 ) on Monday July 12, 2004 @03:45PM (#9678375)
    Here's a mod i just thought of. Go about your daily business. Provide each player with a locator and a gun. Rig the locators to let you know when an opponent (also with a locator) is within a certain range (ie. 50 yds.). Begin panicked drawing of gun and be the first to find and kill the opponent. You must carry the gear at all times, and you must play regardless of your location, say in a classroom or at a wedding. This might be sweet as a campus-wide game. Even better if you don't know who the opponents are!
  • Re:How about.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bios_Hakr ( 68586 ) <xptical@@@gmail...com> on Monday July 12, 2004 @03:48PM (#9678420)
    Try airsoft. Paintball is nice, but you don't get the real feeling of airsoft.

    The basic premise is that the guns are VERY realistic, shoot .25g pellets, and are extremely moddable. I have a Walther p-99, a Colt M-4, and a psg-1. People see me walking out from my apartment and they get afraid.

    In the US, most of the guns have red tips. But you can order the gun from overseas and have the red tip removed once it arrives.

    They are also fairly accurate. My M-4 can hit 40 out of 40 at about 20 meters. While not as impressive as paintball accuracy, it gives the game a more in-your-face feel. My psg-1 can hit from 100 meters fairly well...depending on wind.

    The pistols use gas charges and fire about 30 rounds between refils. The rifles use electric and can sustain 50 rounds (the limit of my magazine) with no prob and I have shot close to 1000 rounds between batteries.

    Seriously, check into it.
  • Some random ideas. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NoMoreNicksLeft ( 516230 ) <`john.oyler' `at' `comcast.net'> on Monday July 12, 2004 @03:50PM (#9678441) Journal
    1) Sensors on the gun, that if triggered, disable it for a few seconds.
    2) Somehow, build a bunch of smaller sensors, and by this I mean alot. If every person has to wear coveralls that have a few hundred sensors on them, it's alot harder to cheat and just cover yours with your hand.
    3) Have a wearable computer that interprets the sensor data. Not sure how to have it affect gameplay, but it seems you could tell the difference between a "kill" and a "flesh wound".
    4) If you have an arena of sorts, have sensors on the outdoor lights for night play. Would be cool to "shoot them out".
    5) Have lots of little 4" x 4" mirrors up in odd places, for bank shots.
    6) Have everyone wear GPS. Send the output to a modified quake server... let people from around the world watch the virtual version of the game.
  • by cmowire ( 254489 ) on Monday July 12, 2004 @03:50PM (#9678457) Homepage
    See, I think there's a split in the combat-games folks.

    On one side you've got the SCA, paintball folks, etc, where you have pain.

    On the other side, you've got padded-weapon combat, laser tag, etc. to avoid pain.

    It seems like most folks fit into one or the other, but rarely both. Padded weaponry folks need to really whack SCA folks when they compete because otherwise the SCA person won't acknowlage that they've been hit.

    In any case, I don't know if electrodes in the vest is an especially good idea. The problem is that your skin conductivity changes as it gets wet, increasing the risk that you'd accidentally give somebody too much amperage across the heart. And it gets awfully bulky.

    I think you really need to just accept that laser tag does not involve pain and leave it at that. The real problem is the programming and rules of the particular game you were playing. Even if it's just inconvenient (have to work your way back through the field to the "hospital" if you are killed or some variant) to die, people will be more scared.
  • Laser Challenge V2 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by auburnate ( 755235 ) on Monday July 12, 2004 @03:51PM (#9678473)
    The Laser Challenge V2 is known to have a wide beam width. It means you could hit a target 50 ft away by aiming anywhere from ~15 feet to the left of the target to ~15 feet to the right of the target. Definitely not realistic. A simple mod would be putting tape across the IR diode with a pin-sized hole in the tape. Play around with the diameter of the hole for best results.

    But as a side note, Laser Challenge V2 makes you wear the receiver on your chest, and its an easy thing to cover the receiver with your arms as you shoot at your opponents. You almost need multiple receivers which can monitor hits from all directions, but who wants to buy multiple Laser Challenge V2 setups for one person.

    Paintball turns your entire body into receivers. If you crank down the velocity of your markers, you increase the number of people than can stand ( pain threshold ) to get tagged by a paintball. Remember, safety first ( googles and cups? for our male /.ers ).

  • Leyden jars (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Rei ( 128717 ) on Monday July 12, 2004 @03:52PM (#9678486) Homepage
    Yeah, but what if their option is just to make it more fun? I say: Batteries + leyden jars + an electromagnetic switch triggered by a hit. Make those hits count!

    What I'd love to see is an Ender's Game type of thing in which the clothes freeze up in the areas they're hit in, but that would probably be too difficult.
  • by Octorian ( 14086 ) on Monday July 12, 2004 @03:55PM (#9678525) Homepage
    Oh, you mean those guys over at Ft. Irwin, CA, running around with MILES gear on their M16's, M1A1's, and vests....
  • by kabocox ( 199019 ) on Monday July 12, 2004 @03:55PM (#9678532)
    Start a company that uses a cell phone to do this. You could have a radar map with the "nearest" targets. Of course, it would freak some folks out to have people sneaking around with their cell phones pointed like guns.
  • Graveyards! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jonas the Bold ( 701271 ) on Monday July 12, 2004 @03:58PM (#9678575)
    We used to play laser tag at night in a nearby graveyard. We'd duck behind gravestones, which was always fun. Also, we had a rule that you're not allowed to shoot unless your chest plate was visible to whoever you were shooting at. Also, lasers bouncing off of glossy gravestones made things interesting.
  • by mrwonton ( 456172 ) on Monday July 12, 2004 @04:00PM (#9678614) Homepage
    I prefer the concept from Ender's Game, with the suits that freeze up when hit.
  • by ksa122 ( 676905 ) on Monday July 12, 2004 @04:01PM (#9678623)
    We actually played a similar game to this when I was a freshman in college. We all had to buy waterguns, and were all given the name of another person who was playing. We had to figure out who the person was and shoot them when they were not in a "safe zone" (ie the dorms or the dining commons). Once you eliminated someone, you would get their piece of paper and their target would become your target. This would go on til there was only 1 person left.
  • Cut LQ some slack (Score:3, Interesting)

    by addie ( 470476 ) on Monday July 12, 2004 @04:10PM (#9678736)
    I was an employee for two years when I was in high school, and I have heard many of the same complaints before. The fact is, LQ is not the same as paintball by any stretch of the imagination. It's a much simpler game, and that is so kids of ALL ages can play. I would not expect anyone over 15 or 16 to really enjoy LQ, it's the little ones that get a kick out of it. To respond to a few of your points:

    The incentive to not getting shot is points
    Well, the ONLY goal of the game to win, and winning is based on points... So losing points is bad, therefore one should avoid being hit

    No running or ducking
    Again, this is a game for kids AND teens. Imagine a fourteen year old running top speed with his hard plastic laser out front, and turning a corner. Smack into the head of an eight year old. Switch that to an eight year old running full speed, smack into the crotch of an adult. It hurts. Trust me. As for ducking, it's a dark maze, and we want to avoid injuries as much as possible. You may think it's lame, but again, this is not a hardcore game.

    Electrodes on the vest
    Again, see above points. We wouldn't have too many birthday parties coming back if all the kids were bawling their eyes out because of electrical shocks, whether they hurt or not.

    The fact is, LQ and Paintball have thier own audiences, and you should be aware of that before slamming the game. If you want something fast paced, mature, and semi-dangerous, then play paintball. If you want to take 30 ten year olds to a birthday party game that all of them can enjoy safely, go to LaserQuest. These points of course also apply to the original posted question.

    As a final point, if you want to win at LaserQuest, then move slowly, and stay quiet. Sound is the single most important factor in that game. You may note the hardcore players covering the speaker on their gun...
  • Re:How about.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Wog ( 58146 ) on Monday July 12, 2004 @04:12PM (#9678775)
    The ones he's suggesting are, but my college friends and I got in for cheap by buying the spring-loaded ones. They're not semi-automatic, so you have to pull the slide before each shot. The upside is that they cost about $25 for a gun and clip, and usually under $10 for extra clips. Ammo is cheap when purchased in bulk and shared.

    Not to mention that they don't have nearly the potential for injury as gas and electric weapons at close range.

    The airsoft games in the forrest were absolutely fantastic. The problem came when a few of the students with scholarships started buying the gas pistols and electric rifles. Then one of them went on a rampage in the dorm parking lot, and the school cracked down. No more airsoft for us...
  • by SteveAstro ( 209000 ) on Monday July 12, 2004 @04:12PM (#9678778)
    I actually built a commericial laser tag system in the early 1990s with a lot of the ideas in your post. We used early laser diodes (670nm) and had sensors on the gun and on jackets covering the front and back of the players. The system couldn't use RF in those days, so the scores, and who had shot who were downloaded through a neat beam modulation scheme, a PC displayed the rankings of all the players in the game.

    Unfortunately the people we developed it for were the kind of folks that might carry violin cases and made us an offer we couldn't refuse to go away and abandon the system when it failed to make them as much money as they had planned. We were pressured into building it too soon and after too little (destruction) testing. The development got so punishing I can vividly remember breaking down in the middle of the workshop when something went wrong during the deployment.

    I still have the plans and the code somewhere, though I could do all of it with much less gear than I had to use last time.

    And it worked in full sunlight too.

  • Ender's Game (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Rei ( 128717 ) on Monday July 12, 2004 @04:14PM (#9678795) Homepage
    Hmm... actually, do you think this would work?

    For each joint, do the following:
    Take a small-diameter piece of pipe, and wrap it with heating coil. Seal off one end. Wrap around the pipe with insulation to prevent burns, but not so much that heat won't be able to escape. Fill most of the inside of the pipe with sauter, leaving just enough room for a large diameter nail to be inserted. Insert the nail, which should be long enough to not be completely enclosed when fully inserted. Seal off the opening enough to prevent sauter from leaking when melted. Weld the nail's outside end to a hinge, which is in tern welded structure that can be fitted firmly around one side of the body's joint. Do the same with the pipe. Further insulate the whole thing.

    Repeat with each joint, and for tougher joints, use several.

    Then, modify the laser tag system so that when it's been started, it activates the heating system for all joint limiters. When a hit is detected, the heating coil is shut off for a joint. In seconds, the limiter should become stuck. At the end of a game, they could be reactivated, heating back up and thawing the joint, or simply removed by removing the parts that wrap firmly around the sides of your joints.

    Would this work, or not? And more importantly, would it be a lawsuit waiting to happen?
  • by ChipMonk ( 711367 ) on Monday July 12, 2004 @04:20PM (#9678873) Journal
    Back when I was in college, and Laser Tag was relatively new, some smart-aleck wag figured out that it was nothing more than a glorified remote control.

    He got a programmable remote (a real one, that read another remote's signal, then duplicated it), put the Laser Tag signal into it, and voila! He had the Laser Tag equivalent of a sawed-off shotgun. He could take out several players at once with it. And often did.
  • Re:How about.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by whiplash ( 19493 ) on Monday July 12, 2004 @04:21PM (#9678887)
    I agree, Airsoft is quite a bit of fun. Recently there was a game in California that had over 300 attendees. [oplionclaws.com] Many states have growing Airsoft communities [airsoftretreat.com] that educate players how to have a good time playing the game, without getting thrown in jail for walking around in public with what looks like at best, pistols, and worse, machine guns. Plus, these communities allow members to post local Airsoft Events, there is even a website [airsoftevents.com] dedicated to advertising events regardless of location.

    As far as price goes, in the US, you can buy a fully-automatic, 1:1 replica (ex: AK47, M16, etc) for $250-$300, add in another $50 for a battery, and then $50 for a good pair of goggles and your major expenses are over. Ammo for Airsoft is typically $15 a bag for 3000-3700 BB's. Quite a bit cheaper than buying cases of paint, and you'll never have to pay for gas refills.
    Airsoft *might* be more expensive initially, but the only ongoing expenses are ammunition, which is very cheap compared ot paintball.
  • by Teancum ( 67324 ) <[ten.orezten] [ta] [gninroh_trebor]> on Monday July 12, 2004 @04:28PM (#9679007) Homepage Journal
    No kidding.

    I was having problems with the police back in the 1980's. I can't even imagine what would happen now.

    One instance I know of was when a couple of kids in our "Assassin" group put on ski masks and had a shoot-out in a local mall. One of the shop owners called in the police, thinking we had just "killed" one of the other members of the group. The police were actually clueful enough to track down who the game admin was (a close friend of mine), and quitely had the game shut down without making it onto the evening news.

    Routinely we would have "shootouts" during the break between classes at school. Somehow I doubt that even a Supersoaker would get clearance today, because of similarities as a "weapon", or worse yet, it could have some sort of "biological" agent. I prefered a small cap gun that fired off rubber bullets. I know that would have been confiscated today by most police liason officiers, even before you got into the building. I even remember "concealing" the gun in an old book that we bought in a thrift store, by glueing the pages together and cutting out a hole in the pages for the shape of the gun. We left a few pages unglued so it could even be "read" if you were forced into using it as a book.

    Still, it is a fun game, and under a more controlled environment it still might be fun.
  • Re:How about.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by armyofone ( 594988 ) <armeeofone@hotmail.com> on Monday July 12, 2004 @04:32PM (#9679057)
    Ok - I know I'm veering a bit off-topic but what's the point of including the word 'black'? Doesn't the phrase '...a young kid was shot dead...' carry the same weight?

    Not trolling - just genuinely wondering why people do this?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 12, 2004 @04:32PM (#9679069)
    The military's MILES would probably be the ultimate in realism since it uses real weapons (personal weapons from the M-16 family all the way up to the barrels of M1A2 tanks!) firing blanks. And the lasers and receivers are all networked so that a hit on a soldier's vest (whether from an M-16 or a Bradley's 25-mm gun) disables his personal weapon but not vice-versa (a soldier can't knock out a Brad or an M1 with his trusty M4.)

    As such, you can imagine that the system is NOT available for civilian use. But apparently someone's trying to create their own MILES setup -- and it's open sourced!!!!

    MilesTag Open Source Project [8m.com]

    Failing that, simunitions as suggested previously would be another good option -- that is if you can afford the ammunition. And if you feel like shelling out an additional few thousand dollars to equip yourself and all your buddies with REAL handguns/rifles to shoot the ammo.

    Naturally, this might not even BE an option since your local government might have "problems" with a group of yahoos running around the woods (or any other area) with REAL weapons. ([sarcasm on] After all, the Second Amendment only applies to SOME people who live in the "right" places or know the right people. [sarcasm off])

    As for paintball... Yeah it's "fun" but HARDLY anymore "realistic." As a gun owner and avid shooter of "real-steel" guns, I've played paintball and it isn't a totally satisfying experience. Paintball ballistics aren't anywhere close to true bullets. (Hitting something at 20- or even 10 yards requires mortar-like aiming techniques in my humble experience.)

    Airsoft guns look closer to the real deal (which again may get you in trouble with the local law enforcement types) and supposedly the 6-mm pellets (as opposed to the .68-cal, or roughly 17-mm, paintballs) have a flatter, more realistic trajectory.

    But I have no experience with them, so I really couldn't say either way.

    Perhaps the ultimate would be to outfit airsoft guns with laser emmitters and players with harness that shock you when hit by a laser?

  • Realistic modding (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jim Hall ( 2985 ) on Monday July 12, 2004 @04:33PM (#9679085) Homepage

    Back in the day when LazerTag was really popular, someone sold a "GI Joe" knockoff that was compatible with the LazerTag gear. The only down-side was that the "GI Joe" receptor didn't count to 5 like LazerTag receptors (minor mod required.) And the whole thing looked fugly.

    So, I went to Radio Shack and picked up a plastic kit casing, and re-housed the modded board in the new casing. It was just a plain black box with a round receptor window, but it did the job.

    The really cool mod was the gun. I took it apart and put it in a water gun housing that looked exactly like an M4A1 carbine. [world.guns.ru] (You may think of it as a "short M16.) Yes, it really looked like that! It was even the real size and everything. I instantly became the cool guy at LazerTag parties, although I had to keep the gun out of sight until after dark. (And we only played in empty fields owned by people we knew.) Other guys painted their LazerTag rifles to look cool (camo was popular) but I had a freaking M4!

    My M4 had a decent range, but I didn't try to keep the beam tight. As a result, it acted like a high-power shotgun. Great for open fields, not so great when I followed one guy into a barn. :-(

  • by karniv0re ( 746499 ) on Monday July 12, 2004 @04:41PM (#9679183) Journal
    I'm in the National Guard and I've played with the MILES gear before. I hate it. Mostly because mine never works right... Then again, they might be doing that to me on purpose... Come to think of it, they do make me wear that big red bullseye and walk in front of the group everywhere we go... Hey!

  • I have two children and my wife feels pretty much the same way you do about guns and children.

    My own view is a little more realistic. We live in a world where violence, whether we like it or not, is a reality. While I have never owned an actual projectile weapon (what purpose would it serve in suburbia other than to get into trouble shooting holes in things?) I did however have plenty of toy guns growing up. Later, I fired weapons (M-16s) while in the Air Force.

    Amazingly enough, though I've never been sat down and explained the nature and dangers of guns, my exposure to such things (including the main topic of laser tag guns) hasn't yielded a psychotic lunatic nor even a mild gun fanatic. To be honest I'm with the crowd that was able to figure out what a gun was on his own (kids really aren't stupid if you give them half a chance) and will take them one way or the other. A weapon in the hands of someone with no morales is a bad thing. A weapon in the hands of a responsible person is a good thing. A toy in the hands of anyone is still just a toy.

    I suppose the question is, do you fear weapons or do you fear your children can't make correct decisions on their own?
  • With a sophisticated laser tag system, you get real time stats, game rules enforced by the equipment itself, etc. etc.

    Paintball _is_ fun, but it's a different type of gameplay.
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Monday July 12, 2004 @05:20PM (#9679731) Homepage
    The military has a more realistic system called MILES [army.mil], which they use for war games. It works much like laser tag, but their rules are tougher.
    • MILES uses real weapons with blank rounds. The MILES laser transmitter clamps into the barrel, so if you do manage to load a live round, you destroy the transmitter and the weapon, but not your target. The "bang" of the blank round triggers the laser transmitter. So you have to lug ammo and magazines around. All the real-world problems of jams and misfires occur, too.
    • If you're hit, it beeps. Loudly. Continously. And you can't turn it off. Only a referee can turn it off.
    • If you're hit, you're dead. You're carried off to the "dead" pen. Often, becoming "dead" means an extra 20-mile march or some similar unpleasant detail.
    • In the newer versions, beams are coded, and you can tell who hit whom. Soldiers who miss too much get sent to the rifle range for extra training.
    • Scores affect your real-life Army career. Why send losers to war?
    The latest generation gear uses GPS and data links so that indirect fire weapons can be simulated. But you probably don't need that.
  • by burdicda ( 145830 ) on Monday July 12, 2004 @05:26PM (#9679806)
    In the Air Force we where using "MILES" gear
    a commercial industrial strength laser tag, and
    after some rather rugged encounters...dropped
    weapons, banging around...etc

    The strength of the beams got out of hand and
    when shot with them, the intensity was such as to
    create quarter sized bruises .. just like paintball
    but with infrared spectrum light beams you can't see. Good way to lose an eye and the range was
    way beyond any paint gun.....hehehe
  • by EngMedic ( 604629 ) on Monday July 12, 2004 @05:32PM (#9679878) Homepage
    If you want a better campus wide game, try Assassin, the classic "hunt your target with a squirt gun" game. rules vary, but the ones that prove very fun are these:

    a. get a bunch of people to play, preferably 30+

    b. assign a judge, and everyone else draws a name from a hat. The person drawn is your target

    c. you can only make kills when there are no witnesses : this means when either you and your target are alone, or when you're in a large crowd and nobody's looking. Once squirted/tagged/shotz0red with a paintball gun/whatever, the dead man gives the live one his target, and the field winnows. There are no "safe" zones.

    d. everyone chips in $5 to play.

    At a SUNY school (state univ... ny), there were several games going at once -- apparently, the professors/grad students got into the action and would call students into their office to "discuss something" ....
    no, it doesn't physically hurt if you're using squirt guns, but the psychological pain of mind-bending paranoia (especially when you don't know how many people are playing) and the mental wrench at not winning the $5*n (where n= people playing) more than make up for it -- and it lasts a lot longer. With a properly chosen number of players (200 or more ?) games can run the entire semester.
  • by andersa ( 687550 ) on Monday July 12, 2004 @05:56PM (#9680157)

    I have played both Laser Tag (Q-zar) and Paintball and I enjoy both, but I don't think you can simply compare the two on the basis of what incentive there is not to get hit.

    The variety of gameplay possibilities the realtime scoring and rules management system in laser tag games offer, make the experience completely different from Paint Ball.

    If you want an incentive not to get hit in laser tag, then I suggest a game of Q-Zar Eliminator. When you get tagged, you loose one of your preset amount of "lives", and when you have lost all of them you are simply out of the game. You loose. You can steal lives from other players if you shoot accurately enough, a game rule which would be completely unenforcable in Paint Ball. You have to watch your ass, if the arena is well designed and set with the right ambient sounds and lighting, this can be a truely nerve wrecking experience. I have never experienced the same amount of suspence in any game of Paint Ball I have played.

    If the reason you prefer Paint Ball is that it hurts when you get hit (which supposedly would give you an incentive not to get hit), then I must question your understanding of the game.

    Paint Ball is NOT about not getting hit. Paint Ball is about winning the game. To win the game you sometimes have to make sacrifices and take casualties. Get the flag and take it to the goal. If one of your team survives and accomplishes this, the victory is yours. Paint Ball is not a war simulation. I have seen plenty of trained military personel get their asses thouroughly spanked by more sports oriented teams, because they don't understand that it isn't a problem if you take a couple of casualties on you way to the goal. In Paint Ball pain is temporary, honor is forever, and there are no points for second place.

  • Re:Ender's Game (Score:3, Interesting)

    by wooley-one ( 634162 ) on Monday July 12, 2004 @06:46PM (#9680766)
    The way you describe seems really cumbersome and frankly, dangeous as hell.

    It might be useful to look at what is known as a vacuum mattress. This device is used to immobilize patients at accident scenes. It works by pumping air out of a sleeve filled with styrofoam pellets. The sleeve then becomes rigid.

    A similar device could be fashioned by creating a sleeve that is worn around a joint, when not under vacuum it would bend relatively easily. Then when a hit was registered, the air could be pumped out renering the joint immobile.

    The tricky part would revolve around routing of tubing to a central pump, or the usage of seperate pumps for each joint.
  • Microcontrollers (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dan East ( 318230 ) on Monday July 12, 2004 @06:53PM (#9680834) Journal
    Technology has changed drastically since the 80's when I used to play Laser Tag, Photon, etc. These days you can buy fully programmable microcontrollers (Microchip PIC16F628A [microchip.com]) for less than $2 a pop. I'm currently in the middle of a couple different IR projects with microcontrollers, so the potentials of this type of project are fresh in my mind.

    I would create the entire thing from scratch, as opposed to modding existing equipment. The circuit would be extremely simple (a PIC, a transistor, a few resistors, IR emitters and detectors, and push buttons for firing, reloading, resetting, etc).

    You could either just use IR LEDs, or get emitters that already modulate at some frequency. If you also encode data on your carrier then you could enable options like friendly fire, varying weapon damage, etc.

    Some ideas that come to mind:

    Use FM RF transmitters to relay all data back to a central data collection point to show game progress real-time.

    Use an IR transmitter modulated with a special code to reset each player. This would reduce cheating.

    Similar to above, use an IR transmitter (with a different code) that can be used to heal people. This unit could be placed in a fixed location, or you could have a medic type player that only has a weak weapon.

    Use virtual ammo, implemented as above. Once your weapon is out of ammo you have to pick up additional ammo, which recharges your weapon.

    Just like Medics in TFC, you could allow medics to infect enemy players. If a player is infected then they constantly emit a signal that would infect their teammates. Anyone infected will gradually loose health until they die. This could be implemented with a couple weak IR transmitters directly on the player. Of course medics on your own team can heal infections.

    Put a IR receiver in the weapon and not just on the player. Thus if it is possible to shoot at someone, it is possible to be shot. That has always been my biggest gripe about laser tag - people holding their gun around a corner where you can't see their sensor.

    I could go on and on, but I suppose that's enough rambling for now.

    Dan East
  • by Jouster ( 144775 ) <[moc.qaflegna] [ta] [todhsals]> on Monday July 12, 2004 @07:20PM (#9681077) Homepage Journal
    Paintball is not army recruitment, any more than Cops and Robbers is police recruitment, or holding your kid up in the air and playing "Airplane" is Air Force recruitment.

    Paintball is a game designed to elicit adrenalin rushes. Put a football linesman up against the opposing team, then send him onto a speedball (tournament paintball) field. It's the same feeling--you know you're going to get hit, but you're trying to avoid it, and even if you do get hit, you'll make the other guy pay for the right to hit you.

    Paintball has gotten a bad rap. Go out and play a game. I play at Skyline Paintball [skylinepaintball.com]; I'll gladly loan you a tournament-class gun (er, sorry, political correctness setting in, "a tournament-class marker"). You'll very quickly see that anyone who plays paintball understands better than the average kid entering an Army recruiter's office that war is hell, and there are times of utter hopelessness in a battle when you have no hope of surviving and are simply awaiting the round that will seal your fate. If that's recruiting for the Army, they'd better come up with something better, quick.

  • by codegen ( 103601 ) on Monday July 12, 2004 @07:41PM (#9681219) Journal
    When I was an undergrad back in the early 80's we had a different version of assassin. The rules are similar with one major difference, The assassince are not limited to squirt guns. The assasin could use different weapons provided the umpire approved of it in advance. A buddy of mine was on the escalator in the student center when a group of ballons was dropped on him from above. Taped to the balloons was a card that said "10 ton safe". Crushed ACME style!!

    Another aquaintance was pegged by one of the females in the group that came up and kissed him. Then said, "poison lipstik"!

    It could get crazy, but the umpires did a good job of keeping things at least comic book real.

  • Re:How about.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Lord Kano ( 13027 ) on Monday July 12, 2004 @09:28PM (#9682021) Homepage Journal
    With a gun, you'd just end up killing/maiming someone or, more likely, getting killed/maimed yourself; even if you have a gun they don't expect,

    The statistice don't support your assertion. To resist a criminal with a gun makes you LESS LIKELY to be harmed than if you offered no resistance at all.

    My friends (that I mentioned earlier) still draw breath because some criminal decided not to kill them. I am not willing to bet my life that the criminal that I encounter is not a two strike felon who will kill me to keep me from identifying him.

    Personally, I'd rather lose my wallet than kill someone,

    Being that I never keep cash in my wallet, I could replace its contents with just a few hours of work. It's not my wallet that I'm prepared to defend, it's my life.

    I guess that makes me a peace-loving hippy (I'm actually not, and I strongly uphold people's right to own guns).

    To be honest, it wouldn't bother me in the least if you were a peace-loving hippy, as long as you don't try to force me to be one as well.

  • Re:How about.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tylernt ( 581794 ) on Monday July 12, 2004 @09:41PM (#9682109)
    even if you have a gun they don't expect, you're still at a huge disadvantage if they already have one pointed at you.

    This is certainly true. But carrying a gun is only a small part of concealed carry. The biggest part is situational awareness -- don't let THEM get the drop on YOU. You must be able to ACT, not REACT. When you are reacting, you are behind the power curve and carrying a gun is useless.

    If someone pointed a gun at me, I'm not going to draw mine. It would be suicide. But if I'm aware enough to see him starting to go for his before he can draw, THEN I have time to go for mine.

    I would also rather lose my wallet than kill someone. Problem is, even after he has my wallet, he might still shoot me. It happened to a gas station clerk not too long ago. The clerk was the perfect victim, complied with all requests, handed over the money, kept his hands in the air... then he got shot for no reason other than the bad guy felt like it.

    Always carry chambered! If you're trying to beat the bad guy to the draw, the extra half a second it takes to rack the slide WILL cost you your life.
  • Re:How about.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by welsh git ( 705097 ) on Monday July 12, 2004 @10:53PM (#9682539) Homepage
    Am I missing something here ?

    "Red coloured tips" on your non-guns to say "this isn't a real gun, honest officer?"

    What's stopping criminals with REAL guns putting a 'red tip' on the end of them ?

  • by $ASANY ( 705279 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @12:49AM (#9683118) Homepage
    I've lived in europe as well as in the US. It's probably unrealistic to expect that american notions of what society is/should be like would apply well in europe, but it is tragically misguided to think that somehow european societal norms would apply better in the US than what's currently in place. Would the US be a better place if we just acted more like Germany or France? No. No more than the world would be a better place if it was just more like america.

    Firearms ownership is a cultural legacy in the US that can't be wiped out. And in a real world where bad guys are armed regardless of the law, that legacy is actually useful to society. It permits citizens to be personally responsible for their own safety if they so choose. Additionally, and probably more importantly, it allows citizens to have the means to resist the sort of tyrants that in the past have made a large number of countries into horror shows of citizens being abused and murdered by their own governments. Law-abiding citizens who own firearms have caused nothing near the mayhem that governments have historically wrought on their own peoples. So the man who legally carries a firearm and has never harmed anyone isn't the bane of society.

    Those of us in the world who have entrusted our governments with the sole power of lethal force are in far more danger than those places where good citizens are trusted to have the ability to defend themselves and their families. History is pretty clear on this.

  • Re:How about.. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Nadesico_God ( 546337 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @01:02AM (#9683167)
    I live in missouri which has just recently passed a concealed carry law, but this incident happened about 2 years ago. I had been out hunting and as per usual in addition to my rifle i was also carrying a handgun (because you never know...). It got to be about 1pm and I decided to go back to town for lunch. On my way through town i decided it might be a good idea to stop and check on something at the sheriff's building. (See where this is heading?) I hoped out of my car and went into the building. I walked up to the reception window only to be met with the window being slammed shut and 3 deputies running out of various doors in the lobby. It was then that i realized where i had made a critical mistake. I had forgotten to remove the holster from my thigh and beyound that i had forgotten to remove the contents of said holster. It was all cleared up with in a few short minutes, but does bring up an interesting point. It is not illegal to carry a weapon in any state (IANAL, check before you try if you do, i do not garuntee this information to be true) as long as the weapon is not concealed and you have the right to own the weapon. This may not be correct but i know it is here because all they did was escort me out of the building after things were explained and allowed me to secure the weapon in my vehicle. As far as airsoft weapons go if they can not be easily distinguished from a real firearm and they are used for a crime they will be treated as a real firearm in court. The above is what i believe to be true, I am not a lawyer, in case of mistakes, refer to the sig.
  • Re:How about.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tylernt ( 581794 ) on Tuesday July 13, 2004 @07:48PM (#9692147)
    Just let me ask you this. Did Bill Hazen need a gun?

    http://www.healylaw.com/self-def.htm#1990 [healylaw.com]

    Bill Hazen was in his cabin near Bakersfield, Calif., shortly after midnight when an intruder forced a sliding glass door. The Los Angeles minister was armed and ordered the man outside. During an ensuing scuffle the attacker ran, but an accomplice appeared in a pickup truck and tried to run down Hazen. The minister fired at the advancing truck and when the vehicle stopped, its occupant got out and said, "I counted six shots; you're out and now I'm going to get you." Hazen fired his large-capacity semi-automatic once more, dropping his adversary. Both men were taken into custody by sheriff's deputies.

    You have the authority to say that Mr. Hazen should be dead, then? You might also read some of the other stories, and you can judge whether those people who defended themselves NEED a gun or not.

    Anyway, why should you care if law-abiding citizens around you have guns? The only time you're going to see it is when it's defending a life. They are not any more of a threat to you than anybody else.

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling