Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Refreshing some flaky props

 Last year I made a pair of slightly phallic Lasertag stun batons for the UKLTA's indoor LARP "Zero Light Thirty". Sadly they've always been a bit unreliable and irritating.

In an attempt to make using them more immersive I fitted tilt switches so they automatically 'powered up' when you raised them. However these have proved kind of unreliable and they'll turn off/on a bit randomly.
The actual on/off switch and charging socket is buried inside the tube, forcing you to unscrew the handle at the start/end of the game. Which also means disconnecting the cable for the trigger and that's kind of fiddly.

I've made something that doesn't come to pieces very easily despite that being necessary all the damn time.

Then for some reason I thought adjustable power levels would be good so the power switch doubles as a 'power level' switch and even I can't remember which way round the 'indoors' and 'outdoors' settings are.

At the time I didn't have the 'data over tag' signalling code that would allow me to build everything from scratch. I've got an Arduino piggybacking over a Spartan Designs Lasertag board, which was set up for stun shots. The Arduino reads the outputs on the board normally used for a status LED to see if it's ready to fire, then pulses the trigger of the Spartan Designs board when you push the trigger.

All in all they're a bit of a dog's breakfast.

There's a refresh of the game content coming up and I've been asked to fix up these props. If I can make it look tidy I'll ditch the tilt mechanism and just put all the switches & sockets on the outside.

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