How it works

So, you've built or bought your own laser tag device. Congratulations! You are on your way to firing beams of light at your enemies. But how does this thing work? How do you play? All this and more will be explained.

 

The part that goes on your head has a sensor package that detects infrared light (all the black boxes with domes are infrared receivers. They can detect infrared light when it hits the dome). To tag someone, you press the tag button (shown below in blue). That tells the arduino to send a pulse of infrared light out of the infrared LED (shown below in green). The infrared light comes out of the domed part of the infrared LED, which shines light out like a flashlight (in the direction of the green arrow). The light goes out on a cone shape, so you don't have to aim it exactly at someone's head to tag them. Also, it's infrared light, so you can't see it.

To illustrate what happens when you send a tag at another player, here is this helpful diagram. Remember to aim for the head, where all the sensors are!

 After sending a tag, you have to wait 0.3 seconds before you can send another one. You can't hold down the button to send tags. You have to press it each time.

So, in the example above, Player 2 takes 1 damage when they are tagged. They can be tagged 5 times before they are out. The number of times you can be tagged before you are out is called health. All players start the game with 5 health when their device is reset. But, they can have a maximum of 6 health. How do you get 6 health if you only start with 5? Well, there are two buttons on the arduino, and while the first button sends a tag that does one damage (taking away health), the second button heals one damage (adding back health). This second button is called the ability button. And you get to decide whether you heal or damage you friends.

So, what happens when you get to 0 health? You are out. Your RGB LED's turn off, and you can no longer send tags. So is that the end for you? Nope. If you press the reset button, shown below, your device will reset after a little startup sound, and you will be back in the game with 5 health!

And that's it! There's more we can get into, but that's all you need to go out and start playing laser tag! 

Good luck and have fun!

P.S. If you want to learn how to modify the device and make it send tags further, send different types of tags, etc., check out the other tutorials that go over how to do this! This is only the beginning!