It's All About The Game
LASERTRON creates game experiences that maximize the fun and competitive interactions between human beings.
For additional insights and illustrations, on any or all of these following points, please contact Ann Kessler, Marc Epstein, or Greg Watches of Your Advisement Team for the complete 35 page file.
Part I: Arena Design
Laser tag is a sport.
In order to design a great laser tag arena, you have to focus on creating a great interactive experience for all the players participating.
You first layout the arena with obstacles that maximize the competitive interactions of the players and then you apply the best look.
An arena must be built first and foremost for the game. As the universal truth states: “Form Follows Function.” The function (which is the game) is paramount over all else.
Based on all the points above, themed arenas are almost always counterproductive to creating a fun and safe arena that generates high repeat play.
Certain interactive arena devices can be detrimental to the players’ experience of the game and create dead zones in your arena.
Base station targets are Interactive arena devices that do improve game play when done correctly.
Remember, laser tag is a fluid game. Bottlenecks and caged-in or tight corridors are not conducive to a fun and safe game.
Multi-Level arenas are critical to long-term success. Multi-Level arenas dominate Single-Level arenas.
LASERTRON creates superior game play by focusing on the five critical areas of arena design:
- Designing a Balanced & Symmetrical Arena (easier to understand and navigate for both your players and your staff).
- Maximizing Obstacle Density (Allows you to maximize the number of players you can fit into your laser tag arena. LASERTRON averages 2.25 obstacles per player. Competitors’ arenas are typically 1.5 obstacles per player).
- Maximizing Player Pathways and Decision Nodes (LASERTRON has 50% more decision nodes and 40% more alternative routes from these nodes than competitors’ arenas).
- Elimination of Blind Corners (creates a much safer playing environment).
- Elimination of Dead Zones & Dead Ends (basically areas underutilized or avoided by players) - LASERTRON strives for 0, whereas our competitor’s arena may have approximately 15 to 20 pathways ending in dead zones or dead ends.
Part II: Game System Integration
The LASERTRON Recharge Laser Tag Game
LASERTRON’s current LT-12 Laser Tag game software can provide your center with a variety of enjoyable game formats including non-recharge-style games. However, our experience has shown that a team recharge laser tag game format offers players a better game experience in most arenas, especially larger ones.
This type of game format spreads players around the field so they are not clumped together which reduces the opportunity for injury. Players will also be more likely to see different parts of the arena since they will take multiple paths back to the base and experience different players and different teammates.
In a recharge game format, no player will be able to hold a single position for a significant amount of time, much less the entire game and it prevents players from following around an opposing player for the entire game. In addition, the LASERTRON LT-12 Game System offers a reflex tag for non-recharge games and handicapping options in our recharge game to prevent one player from being able to ruin another player's laser tag experience.
Recharge games allow you to build a more open base area in your laser tag arena. This allows more players to tag the base and allows other players to effectively guard the base without increased risk of injury.
Recharge game formats encourage and enhance the ability of a laser tag player to play defense. Tagging a player out and ending their base run is very rewarding to a defensive player.
Laser tag can become frustrating and almost boring if all you do is stand in one place and tag the same person over and over. Recharging not only prevents your customer’s laser tag experience from becoming stale, it constantly changes the flow of the game. A game where players are constantly moving, constantly taking on new opponents and challenges.
Recharging the LASERTRON way does not keep laser tag players out of the game any longer than using a shields’ game format. In fact, players will enjoy more playing time overall in a LASERTRON recharge game.
In this style of play, 50% of the players in the arena will be on the winning team. In a solo game, everyone against everyone, there is only one winner. Team games create more winners.
LASERTRON Experiments with Interactive Arena Devices for Laser Tag
These devices are usually called pods, power-ups, bases, animatronics, and targets. Such interactive elements can range from simple wall units that can fire back to elaborate animatronics that can tag players or give them special powers in the game.
At LASERTRON, we have tried several methods of incorporating interactive targets and devices to the laser tag experience. Unfortunately, many of these interactive devices simply do not add value to the laser tag game experience for the average player. Let’s not forget that the average player is 95% of our business.
Many interactive devices have shortcomings, such as: players may be deactivated or tagged by an inanimate or animated object they aren't even aware of. This creates frustration and players will begin to avoid these areas of the arena. Players may tag the interactive target at the wrong time, thinking they are receiving special powers or bonus points when they receive none. At the end of the game, they are once again frustrated at not having received what they thought they should have earned. Worse than this, experienced players who understand the devices will dominate the game and create bad experiences for the other 95%.
It is impossible to program the interactive devices to take into account the wide range of abilities of each player. To create an excellent interactive device, we had to put a lot of effort into making the device extreme for the best players, but simple and forgiving for the new players. This led LASERTRON to the creation of CHIPS.
CHIPS stand for Competitive Human Interactive Player Software. LASERTRON created CHIPS to add to the excitement of the average laser tag game without unbalancing the game. CHIPS provide a "power-up" to players during the game.
LASERTRON power-ups are designed to be easily understood and utilized by 100% of your guests and they are also fun for those die hard laser tag regulars. LASERTRON has a superior and fair method for delivering power-ups to ALL players versus other competitors’ complicated procedures which are less player-friendly to the average player and mainly designed for the regulars who account for only 1-2% of your total sales.
Please understand that LASERTRON does have very complicated game options built into our game system but we only recommend them for sophisticated team building programs or special game nights for the more advanced players.
With CHIPS, the power-ups are handed out randomly, bingo style to the same number of laser tag players on each team. Bingo style means that every player in the game will receive a CHIPS mode before any player receives his or her second mode. In this way, all laser tag players get to enjoy a short time as a special player.
These power-ups are handed out via radio directly to the individual players’ vests. Players do not have to complete a complicated procedure, for example: tagging multiple pods or arena devices in the correct order or calculate in their heads or remember such things as “credits” or “points” to receive their power-ups as they do in some competitors’ systems.
There are 12 CHIPS modes that are included with the LASERTRON game system:
Deactivator, Energizer, Stealth, Super Rapid-Fire, Freeze-Ray, Invincible, Force-Field, Deflector, Computer Virus, Spy, Invisible, and Bonus.
The majority of the CHIPS modes listed above give each player’s vest a new personality. For example, a Deactivator has its own theme music/sound effect, vest lighting pattern, phaser sound (Rocket Launcher), and speech; “You are in Deactivator Mode Now”…“Great Tag, Target Deactivated”…and “Deactivator Mode Terminated”. Between the sounds and the power of the mode itself these power-ups create an adrenaline rush for both the player that receives the mode and the opposing player.
Important Note: Modes/Power-Ups are introduced via speech through the sound system in the arena. This creates exciting anxiety in the players who are either about to receive the power-up, who are about to confront another player who has the power-up, or who have the power-up but are afraid of losing it because of an opposing player who has it too.
On-going marketing is another important element built into the LASERTRON CHIPS modes. Laser tag players enjoy experiencing something new when they play. However, changing your entire game format is often too confusing for many players. CHIPS modes are the answer. By switching out which modes you play within your public laser tag game format, you can market a new game format without changing the basics of how you play in your arena.
There are certain situations where it might make sense to create interactive targets. For example, base station target sensors are great interactive devices. Bases are the offensive goals for the players of the game. Another feature is how you are able to program the recharge stations (via the computer) to tag opposing players. This keeps the other team from controlling your recharge station. This is a game setting available to every LASERTRON operator.
The LASERTRON game system gives you hundreds of game variables that allow you to create and program thousands of your own game formats. You can create Free-For-All or Solo game formats where it is every player for herself or himself. You can create team Free-For-All games where there are no bases and you can have a game with 2, 3 or 4 teams. (2 teams is better, more winners). You can also decide whether players recharge at designated recharge stations or wherever they happen to be deactivated in the arena – or decide that they never need to recharge during the game. You can create games where bases and players only need to be tagged a certain amount of times before being deactivated. You can also create elimination games where once a player is deactivated they are deactivated until a new game begins. You can have players have temporary shields when they are tagged. With this game format you also have the option to activate the reflex tag.
For over 20 years we have been creating and implementing cool new variables that allow you to create the games you want. But more importantly, we want you to be able to create game formats that create higher repeat play. As we mentioned earlier in this section, we recommend a two team recharge laser tag game format with multiple or unlimited base tags. The reasons and benefits are obvious:
- A more active style of play. A more exciting and invigorating game for your players.
- Players cannot remain embedded in just one spot of the arena for the entire game.
- Spreads your players out. Helps to avoid bunching of players thus keeping players safer.
- Creates both offensive and defensive player opportunities.
- Creates a true sporting experience for both the teams participating and the guests who are watching the game.
- Players find it to be a more competitive and captivating game which creates higher repeat play.
- Two-team games create more winners than Free-For-All or Solo games.
The 12 CHIPS modes compliment this recharge game format and give an adrenaline boost to the players who experience this style of game play. With the CHIPS method of distribution, the game play is fair and empowers the novice players just as much as the expert players. For example, Little Suzie (a novice who gets Deactivator Mode) can now make Big Johnny (the expert player) afraid of being deactivated – this is cool. Also, remember that if Little Suzie doesn’t know how to utilize the CHIPS mode, she can still “play through” and participate fully in the game.
The bingo-styled randomness of the CHIPS modes and the unknown human decisions of the other players with these modes are why CHIPS is superior to and more exciting than other interactive arena devices.
And, as we mentioned earlier, let’s not forget that an arena must be built first and foremost for the game. The universal truth is: “Form Follows Function.” The function (which is the game) is paramount over all else, which is why themed arenas and certain free-for-all style game formats are almost always counterproductive to creating a fun, exciting and safe arena that generates high repeat play.