Discover the delaware laser tag arena

Nov 19, 2018

A thrilling, fast-paced, adrenaline-pumping war game, where teams battle it out until there’s only one left standing. Sounds exciting, right? A couple of months ago, seven delawarians organized such a laser tag game at our Ghent office. The game was programmed by delaware and Zeus WPI and was sponsored by Looks like we’ve found the perfect ingredients to a fun and unique night at the office: laser tag, students, and pizza!

Code and play your own laser tag game!

It was the first time delaware organized its own laser tag game. Based on a few sessions with Zeus WPI, we built a prototype. Team work makes the dream work: more than 30 students accepted the challenge and worked together to build the final product. They were up for an evening full of programming, eating pizza, and of course, playing their self-constructed laser tag game!

How to play?

Laser tag engages all of your senses as you try to assess the danger. Since every game starts with the right equipment, delaware provided the following tools:

  • 40 nerf laser guns
  • 3 Raspberry Pi computers with infrared sensors
  • 3 large displays
  • 670 m² landscape office
  • 8 delaware employees
  • 1 database & web server

Starting point? 3 home bases, equipped with detection capacity & status information; a live scoreboard and storage of the stations and gun shots.

From idea to prototype

All students were given a warm welcome, after which they received the first instructions. A bit later, the teams were put together and the topics were picked … Ready, set, code! 

Some concepts that popped up:

  • Enable recognition of friendly fire
  • Game modes: capture the flag codes & time limits
  • Anti-camper app: camping out in one location will make your phone scream and reveal your position
  • Rewrite the initial code according to the standards of the Python programming language
  • Smarten up the basic scoreboard to a Zeus-approved version with cats: each time a point is made a cat shows up at the scoreboard. Cat lovers can shoot too! 
  • A more creative health display for the bases

As the evening progressed, the teams would go through all kinds of emotional stages. Hacking, frustration, doubt - music in the background - followed by laughter, joy, victories. After some struggles, everyone was headed in the right direction, eating some pizza 🍕and having fun!

Time was running out and there was still a lot of work to do before the teams could actually bring forward a working game. A bit more focused effort lead to the following results:

  • Recognition of friendly-fire: problem solved
  • Game modes: most still in development, not yet playable
  • Anti-camper app: Google's text-to-speech blares through the speakers of your smartphone if you stand still for too long
  • Original code has been restructured to make it more readable and maintainable
  • Live scoreboard with cats
  • Flask app to show & control the status of the bases

Let’s rumble

Eventually, the first half of the group got to play their own laser tag game. They went over the rules, turned on the Nerf guns, and installed the anti-camper app. Chaos! The fight ended with a few survivors from the one team, who completely destroyed the by then undefended base of the other team. Round two was the perfect opportunity for the underdog to take revenge.

Then, the other half got to play. After discussing the rules and tactics one more time, an equally intense struggle followed between the two groups of gunslingers. That battle also ended with a clear team of winners. Unfortunately, a second round with a new strategy didn’t do the trick. Final score: 2-0.

Special thanks go to our partners Zeus WPI and, the delaware core team (Jaro Greniers, Ward Lanssens, Jelle Hoste, Maarten Herthoge, Lissah Blommaert, Lies Dewachtere and Michiele Creve) and of course, all the students who made it an unbelievable first edition!

See you next year?

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