Building a laser tag playground
Laser tag is a military sports game held in real time. The objective of the game is to defeat a rival or special scenario constructions using a weapon simulation with a built-in infrared impulse emitter. Despite the fact that laser tag came to Russia not so long ago – in 2001 – it is rapidly gaining popularity and has all the chances to compete with the traditional military tactical games – paintball and airsoft. It’s safe to say that the day when laser tag will be not just a game but a full-scale sports kind is not far. New game clubs keep opening all over the world, more people learn about laser tag. A standard laser tag club without laser tag playgrounds (polygons) is unthinkable. In this article, we tried to focus on the subject of building playgrounds.
Let’s start with the theory. When creating own playground for laser tag it is vital to calculate the economic efficiency of playgrounds of either of the existing 2 types:
- Playgrounds for indoor laser tag;
- Playgrounds for outdoor laser tag.
Depending on whether you choose indoor or outdoor laser tag for your club, the creation of the play zone will consist of two stages: construction and design.
At the stage of drafting the structure plan, bear in mind that you will need two zones – an entry zone and a play zone.
An Entry zone will include: a cloakroom, an area designated for play vests, an area with a computer that can be used to print out game statistics. Besides, the entry zone will be used for an initial instruction before the start of a game.
A Play zone will be represented by a labyrinth or an open playground. It is essential that the play zone is safe for players. Therefore, it must be constructed in such a way, that the chance to get injured during a game a brought down to a minimum.
If you decide to open a club for indoor laser tag, the playground will be most likely inside some shopping and entertainment centre. Therefore, the project cost will average up to 3000 roubles per 1 square metre. The size of the area will depend on the budget. The calculation must be based on the data about the number of players that will simultaneously play laser tag:
12 players – 200-250 m2;
20 players – 250-300 m2
30 players – 300-400 m2;
Over 30 players – 400 m2 and over.
While creating your labyrinth you must also take into consideration the fact that you will need a briefing zone and a waiting area. The area will be approximately as follows:
12 players – 15-20 m2;
20 players – 25-30 m2;
30 players – 30-40 m2;
Over 30 players – 40 m2 and over.
A few words about the particulars of a laser tag labyrinth construction. The play zone is going to be equipped with special lighting, smoke (the ventilation system and the smoke alarm must be in good working order, emergency exits must be easily accessible, there must be fire extinguishers throughout the place) and sound systems. The laser tag playground can be made soundproof whenever this is required. The walls and the floor must be made from extra durable materials. As to the illumination of the play area (it could be multicolour), one will require 1 lamp per 10 square metres of play area + the common lighting for servicing the playground.
There are no defined limits when it comes to designing of the laser tag labyrinth. Therefore, the cost varies a lot. The perfect option is a thematic laser tag arena. At that, make sure that you do not overdo decorating it. Of course, a laser tag playground must not have a boring and poor layout. On the other hand, expensive design will not bolster profit in any way.
Outdoor laser tag tends to be more common in Russia. The construction of such a polygon doesn’t differ much from the construction of a paintball playground. The budget will vary – it will depend on the means and the size of the polygon. Here, we list a few of the possible options:
1. When there is no money, no area, yet a laser tag club is opened (all the comprehensive information on how to find a suitable polygon for laser tag games may be found on the website of the top producer of laser tag equipment in Russia).
2. There is an own playground and financial means.
As has been previously mentioned, there are two zones: an entry zone (instructions, changing, game start) and a play zone.
The entry zone must include a compact room the size of which will be determined by the maximum number of players that will simultaneously participate in a game. Such a room must be equipped to provide the minimum number of services – lockers for changing clothes, hangers, WCs.
When it comes to the playground, it must be surrounded by a fence along its boarders. If you have small budget, to create obstructions on the playground you can use wooden walls, tyres, scrap iron, boxes, wall panels, shields, waste saw timber. All in all, use anything that can be obtained at low cost and delivered fast. A laser tag polygon must be created in a way that ensures that no team will have any advantages at the start of a game. Plan for a minimum of 3 or 4 access paths to any point or hideout place. There should not be single passage corridors, as this may lead to tactical issues (for instance, when a sniper hides at a position and he cannot be passed from any side, it is a real disadvantage).
If there are hills and elevated surfaces on the playground, ideally these must be used to build sniping posts or towers. There must be natural hideouts, such as hills, trees, bushes, ravines, too. It will be great if there are building ruins (provided they can be safely used for games).
When building a laser tag polygon for your club, you can use the virtual playgrounds of computer games (Counter-Strike, Battlefield) as an example.
Keeping the polygon clean and tidy is as important as is proper equipment. Therefore, it is advisable to cover up water pools, hollows in the ground, etc. with sand. The polygon must have a proper water drainage system, so as the water no muddy pools stayed on the polygon.
You can do the abovementioned all by yourself, there is no need to seek services of designers and other specialists.
Light is an important aspect, too. Generally, you can do without it. But if you have lighting on your playground you can hold games even late in the evening or at night (this is an indisputable advantage over competitors). One should go for lights along the perimeter of the laser tag polygon instead of spotlight.
Talking about winter. The core of laser tag play equipment is the electronic parts. Modern technologies have made it possible to hold games in open areas even at temperatures below minus 30 degrees Celsius. Yet humidity is harmful for playsets, no matter how well assembled they are. Therefore, it is recommended that you use indoor playgrounds in the winter time. Building such an arena may hit your pocket, but the result will be well worth it, for you will then have an all-season laser tag instead of a limited period entertainment.
Remember that an own laser tag polygon will make the basis of work and a future laser tag club.
The examples of already existing laser tag playgrounds and paintball polygons are presented below.
Low budget laser tag polygons:
Ideal polygons for laser tag games. Buildings, small structures, sniping posts, vast territory allow for a most extensive variety of scenarios: