Project:Open Laser Tag

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Open Laser Tag (working title)

Maintained by Solexious, tomwyatt

Project goals

To make a fully open source soft/hardware lasertag system, and to have a set of usable gear


Back ground


I've always loved laser quest and quazar growing up, and now I have some of the skills, and the vast resources of the space at my disposal I think its time to turn my childhood dream into a reality!

I was lucky enough to play at "Harrys Quazar" in Bristol (and occasionally laser quest), it was the testing ground for the new features of the Q-2000 system. With more than just point and shoot. Powerups were included in the basic games, including "Rapid fire", "Armour peirosing bullets", "smart bombs", "grenades" and many more. And to play new experimental modes of play, "midnight" (all lights on packs off), "Spy" (where one member of each team would become a spy and have to kill their own), "Eliminator" (5 lives and your out) among many more.

I want to make gear that is easy as writing an xml file and uploading it to the packs to totally change the game play, to make adding a gps module, or heads up display just an api away from being part of the fun.


  • a lot of the personalilty stuff can be implemented by pushing out gamemodes to android devices on the guns (either OTA or wifi)

The big idea that I had was to make the guns/sensors effectively just IO devices for android/ios phones. Once a phone can register hits/shots we can start pushing those into custom rulesets and registering them on some central game server. Given that most android phones are gps/compass/bluetooth/internet enabled there is a lot we could do with them.

It also gets kinda neat when people that want to play install the app on their phone and can show off stats from previous games.

i've now got 4 android phones we can use for this (of varying API level and beaten-ness)

Whats out there?


MilesTag offers a protocol to use, but is quite limiting. Such as, you can add ammo clips from a ammo crate, but their is no feed back to let the crate know, and remove a clip from its inventory.

OMNICORPDETROIT LaserTag - Bare bones Arduino based laser tag from one of Detroits hackerspaces.

Because of this and other limitations MilesTag will be used as the base, but will be extended far beond this, and will not aim to be backwards compatible.

I've been looking at the milestag protocol and it looks a bit crap, I think we could implement our own easily enough. Sending data over IR at 38khz is pretty simple, we could even use an existing protocol (RC5/6 or one of the NEC) ones from TV remotes. All were sending is "LOL I SHOT YOU AND MY NAME IS TOM" - tomw

From a microcontroller processing side version 1 of miles tag is quite nice, and using a protocol that isn't likely to be in use by anything else around it would be nice. That said I would like to mod miles tag rather than use all of it. What bits of it don't you like? - sol

  • the underlying transport stuff is fine, but I think we'd end up trashing most of the messages it sends for our own stuff - tomw
    • Cool :) - sol

How can I help?

Areas that need your help:

  • Do the recent replica guns laws cover laser tag systems (with scifi looking guns rather than ak45 look alikes) apply to this?
  • Creation or collection of creative commons sound effects

(more to come)


Bluetooth Module typical Application Schmatics.JPG


My plans for the electronics are to allow for the game to work as stand alone with out needing a mobile. This means that, when connected, the phone can request to take over as many or as little functions as it wishes. This also gives the controllers fallback should connection to the phone be lost mid game.

  • thats actually a pretty good idea and easily doable, its only an extra 2 pins for the BT serial devices anyway :) - tomw

Electronic for Laser Tag - Low level system view, hardware and components rather than concepts and ideas.


  • I'm going to try and sketchup/lasercut some sample cases, just to muck about with really. Eventually we could vacuum form them - tomw
    • need internal space for guts, batteries and some sort of slot in the back for a phone where the screen is still visible.
    • how about getting some dead nerf guns from bootfairs etc?
  • How are we focusing the shots?
  • Are the guns going to be the only shot sensors?
    • Would like to add a connector to the gun to allow you to connect a vest to it
  • I've just ordered a USB shield for my arduino with a view to playing with the new Android Device stuff - tomw

  • Need to devise a simple serial protocol to communicate events with the gun for example:
    • Gun was fired
    • Gun was hit
    • Battery is low
    • Disable/enable firing
      • better idea: have the gun just relay received messages over the BT link, the phone can do all of the cleverness if needed

  • I like the idea of using the phone display as a HUD, so show where you got hit (for multi-sensors) and who hit you, ammo counts, gun ammo type, armour level and all that
  • 3-colour LEDS in the sensor modules to show health?

Random brain dump from MakerFaire

in the process of tidying this

  • grenade launcher
    • nerf stylee - chock full of IR goodness
  • BT proximity
    • use bluetooth signal strengths/MACs as active RFID tags. Can tell if people are near a "base" or if someone is near another player (for bodyguard situations)
  • aliens prox sensor
    • can be done by feeding GPS coords back to a central server then distributing them to guns that are allowed to see
    • jamming and whatnot
  • shootable locks
    • like the backspace door
    • and on chests of ammo etc, simple servo locks that have to be shot off

    • have rooms/areas that are marked as "on fire" or "radioactive"

Assassin gamemode

    • IR Grenades
    • MINES
    • tripwires
    • sentry gun
    • medkits

---PLAYER modding

Infection Dogtags quad damage

team-fortress type classes

dynamic alliances