Saturday, November 9, 2013

Shell in a Shell

Something dawned on me as I was going through some ideas for a Lazer Tag Augmented Reality recasing the other night... and I hope it's something that can actually work.  As I build more blasters for our laser tag group, the one thing I battle is their longevity.  The LTX DMR, after finally solving it's power supply issues, has been an electronic nightmare to work on.  Even my newer LTX EF5 suddenly has a sensor dome that doesn't receive hits.  Both would need quite the diagnostic analysis to find the problems and it may not even be something that's able to be solved.

Recasings are a wiring nightmare most of the time.  Their internals can become frail very easily if things aren't anchored just right or if the blaster is dropped or jolted that breaks something free.  It's mostly because those internals, that were once nice and secure inside the stock blaster shell, are where they're supposed to be and are designed for the long-haul.  Which brings me to this idea with the LTAR...

One of the things I like about this blaster's design is that it's relatively low-profile.  The blaster isn't very wide to begin with.  Many of the accessories we've been working for the LTAR, including this barrel adapter.  Our most successful laser tag blasters that we've customized haven't been full-on reshelled blasters, but modified stock blasters.  Eleri's testbed LTAR, Sundawg's Ultimate LTX, and the CTDYNE LTX have all been solid contenders.  Even other modders like Mike Yates have been having much success building accessories and enhancements AROUND these stock blasters like the Double Whammy attachment.

So how do you achieve the look of a reshelled blaster while having the solid internal structure of a stock blaster?  Find a happy middleground!  The concept is simple, but the execution will be tricky.  Find a shell that will fit OVER the internals of the LTAR and fuse the shells together.  Shell in a Shell.  I got the idea from a recently forgotten laser tag system by UbiSoft.  The Battle Tag lineup looked to have the same concept for upgrades with their T-Blaster design.  In this 2-year-old post, we discover that the outside shell of the T-Blaster could be removed.  This revealed a chip on the outside of the blaster that we theorized could be used to link into external upgrade hardware that may have been planned as an expansion once the system's "Soft Launch" got it off the ground.

Of course, Battle Tag never made it past it's initial online-only launch and the system was cancelled after less than a year by UbiSoft.  We never got to see any of these expansion designs, although there was that one image a few fans noticed in the "Credits" of the software that pictured a large rifle design that clearly had a T-Blaster trigger grip sticking out of it.  Plans to utilize this idea of having an LTAR inside a nice beefy looking shell (with some upgraded optics and tacti-coolness, of course) are already underway.  Never thought I'd be thanking this dead system for giving me a potentially good idea!  It may turnout that Battle Tag had one last Golden Egg to give!

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