Thursday, 19 September 2013

RFnode PlayerZ update

More progress.

I picked up some Playstation Sharpshooter controllers and converted them with some of the old parts I had. The units are using the older RFnodeB1 board which was not designed for this but still works well. I am due to receive my PlayerZ boards in about 2 weeks and enough parts to make at least 10 zombies(with sound modules) 

I now have a total of 5 working taggers. The Sony Sharpshoot case works well as it has 8 buttons and plenty of space (and is cheap). Currently I have all buttons connected and working but not all assigned to functions yet.

Head sensor is also working using the RFnodeB1 board.

The head unit runs the full version of my PlayerZ code so is the only piece of hardware you need to play (but you might want something to shoot with too). The final version will have more IR LEDs on the front for doing Zombie damage, currently I have just one for testing and using it combined with wireless for Zombie damage.

I am also waiting for the sound modules and speakers so they are missing from the above. I have coded using both a sound module(WTV020) that plays WAV files from the microSD card as well as using a PC speaker style buzzer.

I have also started a Facebook page for my projects, come like me.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

RFnode PlayerZ (MilesTag based LaserTag)

A few months ago I was introduced to Laser skirmish and I am not talking about the little kids game or walking around with a flashing vest and a sci-fi pistol that has a range of a few meters but taggers of a realistic look/weight/range and sound(Tech Assault). Since then I became a little hooked and in wanting to bring more to the game I started working on a new project. With prototypes on my desk and purpose build boards designed by me on there way I can hardly contain my excitement.


The RFnode playerZ board is an Arduino based board designed for laser tag. The software is based off the Miles Tag protocol version 1 so is compatible with other systems based that are also using this protocol.
Each board contains a radio that is used to realtime scoring, proximity functions, wireless configuring and node grouping (a number of nodes can make up a player).
The board is designed to be ether a Zombie headset to be worn by a player or as the internals of the Laser tagger.


·         Arduino core (powered by an ATmega328)
·         Sound support (uses a WTV020 sound module with support of upto 512 different sound files stored on a microSD card)
·         Radio support (uses the nRF24l01+ radios with signal range upto 1km*)
·         Programmable radio output: radio can be set to only send short range signals that are only received by other nodes within a few meters.
·         Low cost (our target cost is that you are up and playing for less than $100)
·         1Wire/iButton support (for ingame pickups)
·         i2c support
·         TTL UART support (used for debugging and supports commands)
·         6 button input (more can be added)
·         56Khz IR emission and reception (depending upon lens setup has a range of over 200m)
·         Lithium battery with micro USB charger built in.

Zombie headset mode

Each headset has 2 IR leds for emitting short range Zombie damage from the Zombies head to any other player within range. Zombie damage is also transmitted via low powered RF to other players within 2-3 meters of the zombies.
Zombies have IR hit sensors positioned on the front and back of the head.

Tagger mode

The board (node) can also be used as the internals of a player’s tagger. The player can choose to have a head sensor wired to the tagger (Currently how most laser tag is played) or the node can be grouped to a player wearing a Zombie headset.
Can be added to Nerf guns in a none destructive way (clips to Nerf rails).

Node Player grouping

The MilesTag protocol only supports 256 unique players (8 teams of 64 players). For us to be compatible with MilesTag and compatible systems this affects us too but it only affects the IR data, our radio code supports 65025 unique nodes.
We have designed it so any number of nodes can be assigned to a player, this means that if we wanted too we can assign 1000 taggers to one player or 1000 headsets to one player. If you want to have multiple taggers per game we support it

Radio Proximity

We have radios with programmable output so we can control the range to add proximity based game elements. We use this to do Zombie damage if you are within 2-3 meters of a zombie but we use this also for a number of other features like Capture points, if you are with an area with a capture node you can capture it. We also support the sending and receiving of powerups from nodes, if you want to be a medic you can but watch out for the  

In Game PickUps

As the boards support iButtons we can use these for in game pickups. This could be used for items like weapon upgrades, health packs or game objectives hidden around the playing field. We also support wireless Pickups too.  

Backend Server Support

Our nodes like to talk to our server and our server can talk back. Not only do we use this for real time scoring but we can also use this to send you power ups mid game. Don’t like your taggers gun profile? Just use your smartphone or a connected device to select a new one and we will update your tagger with a new one. Want to know where you team is? We can tell you which nodes they are near on a map. Want to know your stats mid game? we can give you  more data then you poke sharp stick at.  

One of the new designs compared with RFnodeB1 board used in current prototypes.

My Modded Nerf gun with attached board and lens. Nerf gun is dual purpose can be used for lasertag and can still fire Nerf.