We had been thinking for a long time about the state of laser tag, and how it currently sucks. Really expensive games, bad matchmaking, arcades only, and many more. We decided that it would be a good idea to build our own laser tag with IR and Arduino. We then experienced 20 straight hours of technical limitations, roadblocks, and incompatibility. With 16 hours left, we decided to scale our idea back, and instead of using physical sensors, using GPS and the compass to approximate shooting, which is where we are now.
What it does
The game is simple - point in the direction of another person playing the game and press "fire". You should know if you got a hit or not by the sound effects.
How we built it
We used Bing Maps for most of the main interface and target display. To calculate hits, we used the distance formula and some trignometry (operating on GPS and compass data).
Challenges we ran into
The initial challenge we had was getting the Arduino to work properly with the IR blaster. The library we were using was simply incompatible with the Arduino we had (the 101), so we swapped them out for Arduino Unos. There, the problem only persisted - IR data sending / receiving was either really inaccurate or nonfunctional. After we pivoted to the mobile only based game, we still had some challenges, most of them being the accuracy of GPS and compass data.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We're proud that we actually finished after spending 20 hours on something that was unreliable (which we wouldn't use). We're also proud of the architecture of the game server, which is designed in such a way that there is a possibility to add more games that use the same data in the future.
What we learned
We learned a lot about Arduino, the both of us being total beginners when we started the project.
What's next for Pew
Game joining based on location is next on the list of improvements, along with some security fixes.