Thursday, June 2, 2011

Tactical Tag meets Battle Tag

I met a white, orange, and gray box entitled "Battle Tag" today and decided to give it a try.  Thanks to the help of Sundawg, I got a taste of what this system is like right out of the box.  There are already great accurate reviews of this system out there, but what I'm more interested in with this is how I can use it and, ultimately, how it could be used for others.

First off, let me say that from the slick packaging to the contents within, Battle Tag made me feel like a kid in a candy store.  The blasters feel great, the vests are wonderful, and things just seem seamless.  Sundawg and I managed to play test these on basic settings indoors.  An outdoor test is soon to come (it was late and rainy outside).  

We ran some tests of our own for compatibility.  If you haven't noticed by now, the group I tag with (the OLCA) utilizes equipment from different systems that work together utilizing the basic Laser Challenge system to  serve as our core system.  We manage to use anything that can land tags on a Laser Challenge sensor.  From other systems like the LTX, LTTO, Laser Command, to simple things like Universal TV Remotes.  Laser Challenge is a simple system that will take hits from anything it manages to recognize, even if it's not genuine LC gear that's doing the firing. 

After running the basic operation tests, we decided to see if Battle Tag blasters could land hits on Laser Challenge sensors.  The T Blaster successfully landed tags on all LC Sensors that were V2 (1998) and older. This means anything Newer than a Radar Extreme (1999) won't receive hits from these T Blasters.  This is not uncommon to have, as we get similar results from LTTO and LTX blasters.  However, we have yet to run into another system that can receive tags from LC Blasters... until now!  Oddly enough, every kind of LC Blaster we tried landed hits on Battle Tag Sensors except for a V2 Firestorm (other V2 blasters still worked).    Even more odd was the fact that the game statistic recorder for the Battle Tag system, while it did recognize that players were getting hit, was not recording a tally of those hits.  It only recorded hits taken by other T Blasters logged into the game.  We even set a game with respawns at every 5 hits and you could still knock a player out, but the system recorder wouldn't count it.  

Even though T Blasters can hit Laser Challenge sensors and the Battle Tag sensor rig can accept hits from Laser Challenge blasters, there's still a few compatibility issues.  In order to have these integrated into Laser Challenge Games, we would need to A: host them from a Laptop with an Ubi Connect (would not be able to turn them on and go like other blasters we use) and B: we would have to set a kill limit on them to 10 hits... which we currently don't have the capability to do.  Not only that, but we would need to adjust the hit timing to be closer to that of Laser Challenge.  LC sensors recieve hits one every second or so.  Near as we can tell,  Battle Tag sensors take hits as fast as they can read them, which is pretty insane.  

So right now, while initial testing shows great results for compatibility, the issue now is incorporating them into games.  We may find a way to do that later, but as they are out of the box with the current software, we can't integrate them into our games with Laser Challenge.  Obviously further testing and troubleshooting will follow as we look to assimilate this new system into what we do.  Until then, a few 'round the house games are certainly in order until I can convince others to pick up a set of their own.

Also in the works for these is a plug adapter that I'd like to design to utilize these Battle Tag sensor vests as Laser Challenge sensors.  Either modifying or building a Laser Challenge vest to plug unto one of these Battle Tag vests would mean EXCELLENT coverage for the player.  Obviously, we would want to have the Battle Tag sensor to still be used with the T Blaster for hosted games through the UbiConnect, but having the ability to plug it into a Laser Challenge board to use for LC games would be pretty neat.  Until we can figure out if it's possible to program Battle Tag to accept 10 hits at a rate similar to LC, this is the only way I can think of to utilize these excellent sensor rigs.

Next for our Battle Tag set, outdoor tests for range on both the T Blaster and the UbiConnect hosting station!

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