Monday, April 22, 2013

RapidStrike CS-18: Weighing In

This is getting pretty routine for me.  A new product pops up, Nerf Nation goes nuts about it as info leaks out, and then after the hype has settled down a bit, I take another look at it.  It helps me keep my head glued on straight amidst all the overreactions and crazed comments.  As usual, Urban Taggers has done an excellent job of keeping tabs on the news for this, so most of the stuff I've seen is a direct result of the great reporting Pocket does.  Here's what I've got...

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Delays... delays...

Well, I've been on hold with stuff.  Just figured I'd let everyone know what's up, what's going to happen, and when you can expect some real updates.

First, what's up.  May 9th is the start of our weekly games for Laser Tag with the MLTA, so that's my focus right now.  Getting the LTX DMR fully functional again, finalizing the LTX EF5, and getting a few other laser tag projects done is on top of my to-do list.  I'm also waiting for some new Xplorer gear to review for everyone.

What's going to happen?  Well hopefully Mother Nature realizes what time of year it is and stops all this crazy cold snowy wintry weather.  I'll be posting my LTX EF5 review, as well as reviews for Xplorer and some other Nerf stuff (Elite Longshot Ver 2.0 included) along the way.

You can expect all this schtuff once the weather here in the Heartland of America warms up and a package arrives at my doorstep!  Until then... the only thing I can do in this weather is find a lone parking lot and do some cookies in my Subaru.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Preparing for WAR!

Last night we had another Mod Night to prepare for Season 8.  Sundawg (pictured standing) is working on his Stampede ECS with an integrated laser tag system from the LTAR.  It'll be the first Nerf/Laser Tag blaster utilizing the new LTAR system.  The white tube underneath the main barrel will mount the Lens Arrangement, the electronic safety switches in the Stampede will be used for the LTAR's reload function, and the Sensor Dome is being retro-fitted onto an existing N-Strike Tactical Rail accessory so it can be removed for Nerf games.  I've shown off this blaster with it's modified internals before, but now it's finally getting laser tag internals installed to be a true dual-use rifle.

Eleri (working on the table to the right) is rigging up an Audio Jack so we can see the data that is transmitted from the Lazer Tag App on the iOS devices for the LTAR and learn how to manipulate this to unlock weapon capabilities without having an iOS device actually attached.  It might also help us to display some kind of health gauge if someone else doesn't already beat us to it.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Laser Tag: Season 8 Approaches!

The countdown towards our 8th summer season of Laser Tag begins!  Less than a month out, we're gearing up preparations for our best set of Fight Night games yet!  More games, more players, more gear, more MODS... what's not to like?

For nearly a decade, the Midwest Laser Tag Association (formerly Omaha Laser Challenge Association), we've been running weekly games during the summer known as "Fight Nights".  These games occur at the same time and place each week so that folks can plan ahead and work it into their busy schedules.  We operate in the summertime mainly because the majority of our players attend school and are on summer break.

This year's games are on Thursday Nights at 7pm at Mission Park West.  We start when it's light out so folks can get familiar with the park and play until it's dark (when it gets REALLY interesting).  Last Summer (Season 7) we made a full-time switch to Lazer Tag Brand (LTTO, LTX, LTAR) equipment, but we still break out our old Laser Challenge Gear from time to time.  There's a few reasons we switched over to Lazer Tag, mainly availability.  Players are encouraged to bring their own gear to use, but we still have a public armory that we loan blasters from free of cost.

Monday, April 8, 2013

LazerBait's Hill Defender

From the Lazer Tag Modder's group on Facebook, my buddy LazerBait has built this awesome Turret-style Phoenix LTX that's also got a bit of a surprise.  Bonus Points for whomever can correctly identify what laser tag blaster he stole for the lower lens housing he used.
"Tonight it is done.  It works well enough for its purpose. For those that have been to TagFest Northwest and have played the "Attack the hill" game know it can be a pain. Now it is going to be ever more of a pain! This tagger will fire full auto at a good ROF but not the best. Need to reload every 10 shots. This happens by just releasing the trigger and pulling it again. NO cool down! It also has 2 sensor options. It can be set for normal. Or it can be set for only taking tags while firing. I think there is a way to have it off completely as well. Now all I have left to do it the mount. That is just some drilling and painting."

Pretty cool stuff!  Hopefully we'll be able to get a video demonstration of it in action!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Monthly Contest Schtuff

Well folks, the "Monthly Contest" just isn't really what I had hoped it'd be.  A month-long thing is long enough for folks to forget about and the Weekly Giveaway that it used to be was just too hectic/busy for me.

I've still got gear I want to give back to the community, though.  What do you think I should to in a giveaway fashion?  Right now the Monthly thing just doesn't seem to be the answer just yet.  Throw some ideas my way!

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Flywheel Debate: Part 2

First of all: WOW!  All I can say is thanks for all the gobs of comments, insight, and input from everyone!  There's a LOT more information here than I had anticipated, so it's taken me about a week to try to process it and see how to best deliver my findings.  Here we go!

I'm breaking down my initial post (found here) and using information collected from roughly 40 comments submitted.  Using points raised by comments that were posted, I'm able to weigh in more on the Pros and Cons initially set out in Part 1 with a series of counterpoints.

The Cons:

  • Noisy!  Flywheel Motors tend to emit a lot of sound.  Not only does this kill any stealth you may want to achieve during a game, but it can also distract the user from others approaching.
    • COUNTERPOINT:  It seems this noise also can be intimidating during games.  Players have noted that, especially in voltage-modified blasters, that the mere sound of this blaster's presence can rattle their opponents nerves.  
  • Less Mod Potential.  Most Flywheel driven blasters are limited by what you can do to increase performance.  Voltage Modifications lie at it's core, and there's a limit to what you can do, especially if you don't want to burn out the motors.
    • COUNTERPOINT:  There is quite a bit more you can do with these blasters with more extensive modifications that I overlooked.  Motor Swaps and modifications to the flywheels themselves to improve performance are more commonplace now.
  • Wheel Lag.  When you first start up the blaster, the flywheels need to get up to top speed, which can shave a second or two off of potential reaction time in some situations.  There's also that lag between shots of recovering flywheel speed in-between each shot.
    • COUNTERPOINT:  Voltage Modified blasters suffer less from this problem.  The wait time in-between shots on a Stock Blaster is about that of a single-fire plunger-system blaster anyways.
  • Semi Auto Only.  With the exception of the Nitron, Flywheel Systems haven't been designed with a Full Auto function.  It can get tiring, especially on higher capacity blasters, shelling out each dart individually.
    • COUNTERPOINT:  Semi Auto fire can be as quick, if not faster, than some automatic electronic blasters.
The Pros:
  • Compact Design.  There isn't much to a Flywheel-driven system, so even if the blaster is quite large, minimization isn't too far off to help you cut it down to whatever size you need.
    • COUNTERPOINT:  Limited internal space for improvements (larger battery pack, better flywheel motors, etc)
  • Quick and Easy modification.  As long as you've got higher voltage batteries to hook up to your Flywheel-driven blaster, it's really simple to increase performance.
    • COUNTERPOINT:  Reliance on Batteries runs the risk of running out of power during games. Motors can also burn out if they're running too much power.
  • Ease of Operation: turn it on and fire!  With one hand operating the blaster, your other hand is free to do other things like recover darts, fire a second blaster, or give your nearby teammate a high five.
    • COUNTERPOINT:  Again, reliance on batteries.
In general, there's been a lot of excellent points.  I'll quote just a few of the ones I really found helpful and insightful.