Glassed-In Laser Tag Arenas vs Open Air Arenas (The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly)
The idea that we need to stop hiding our laser tag attractions is a huge leap forward. Especially since laser tag is one of our industry’s best and most successful out-of-home attraction experiences. It’s really amazing that laser tag has done as well as it has even though the arena is often hidden from view in almost every entertainment center.
By enabling our guests to SEE our laser tag attractions being played, we are creating a GIANT billboard that screams ‘PLAY ME!!!’
And yet to fully maximize the laser tag experience, we have to do it in a way that dramatically improves the quality of both the viewing and the playing experience.
The Bad and The Ugly
Enabling our laser tag arenas to be seen and watched by our guests is very important and it’s by far the best way to promote the attraction; however, it’s critically important that we keep all the positives of the playing experience while enabling the attraction to be seen. The ultimate goal is to dramatically improve the entire laser tag experience.
Unfortunately, open air laser tag arenas (i.e. no windows or walls) reduce or eliminate many of the best features of the playing experience.
To Haze or Not to Haze – that is the Question
If we try to use a hazer in an open air arena, it will escape into other parts of our center and the haze will set off our smoke detectors.
If no hazer, then it’s not ‘laser’ tag, because you won’t be able to see the laser beams shooting out of each player’s phaser and through the air.
The use of windows allows the use of a hazer inside the laser tag arena, because the windows keep the haze contained inside the arena.
No windows = no control over ambient noises (i.e. arcade, loud music, etc). These external noises will distract the players in the arena and keep them from being totally immersed in the game.
Another negative is that the laser tag sound effects, music tracks, and game announcements will be projected into the entertainment center. The projection of game sounds are likely to be distracting or annoying to the people near the open air arena.
The arena sounds will also be adjacent to the briefing and vesting areas, which will make it incredibly difficult to provide a quality briefing experience for our guests. If the players are distracted during the briefing, they may not hear the complete game instructions. If this happens, the players won’t have the very best playing experience.
Best Way to Promote Your Laser Tag = Arena Viewing Windows
Arena viewing windows help to showcase our laser tag attractions while maintaining an extremely high quality playing experience.
Seeing laser beams streaking across the arena and right up to the glass windows will attract our guests over to the viewing area. Most importantly, it will turn watchers into players who will ultimately want to play again and again.
In addition, guests who are unable to play will finally have the ability to watch their friends and family playing the game.
Side note: If desired, you can project the sounds of the game to the area just outside the viewing windows. This can be accomplished by using a high quality microphone being positioned in the arena along with directional speakers above the viewing area. While this is an option, it isn’t necessary because the game’s sound effects, audio, and music can usually be heard through the viewing windows.
UV Black Light Glowing Effect is NOT Very Bright
Unfortunately, open air black light UV painted arenas still have the same inherent problem, which is the need to have very low level lighting in all the areas surrounding the opening of the arena.
This means you need to illuminate the area around the arena with MORE black lights or very low level lighting to make sure you don’t washout the black light UV effect in the arena.
Ultimately, LED illuminated arenas are the only way to go. LED illuminated arenas are dramatically brighter than static UV painted arenas. In fact, LED illuminated arenas with large viewing windows work well with the typical ambient lighting used in a bar, restaurant, or arcade.
To read the article: Obituary – UV Painted Themed Arenas click below.
How do we know all the above is true?
Here’s just one example concerning the overlapping of ambient noises:
At IAAPA we introduced our beta version for our new LASERTRON Battle Royale game experience. After setting up our booth and activating our LASERTRON arena, with multiple audio sources, and game gear, we quickly had neighboring booths concerned about the audio volume of our game experience. They asked us to turn down our speakers, which we did.
Unfortunately turning down our audio announcements and sound effects made the game much harder to play, because all the sound effects, audio queues, and voice instructions were drowned out by the ambient noises in the convention center.
In order to create the best playing experience for our guests, separation of the arena audio and sound effects from the ambient noises of the entertainment center is required to create the best playing experience. Glass viewing windows make this separation all possible.
Other Negatives of using UV black lights
UV lights can be irritating to many people’s eyes especially staff members who are exposed to the light for long periods of time while reffing games.
The UV lights are what causes the UV paint to glow, but the UV lights also cause all the UV painted obstacles and wall murals to fade. Over time the UV light bleaches and fades the paint. The more black lights you add or the brighter the UV lights used – the faster the paint fades. This means UV painted arenas have to be repainted more often – ultimately costing big dollars (i.e. $55,000 to $75,000 for the typical laser tag arena).
The Future is LED Illumination
Once we stopped using UV black lights in our arenas and switched to 100% LED illuminated arenas, we didn’t have to worry about the fading of our durable UV reactive arena components. We also no longer had to worry about the bleaching and fading of our UV painted wall murals, because we also switched to using LED lighting to illuminate the arena walls.
Programmable LED Arena
Over 85% of our new arenas use programmable RGB LED lighting, which means we can change over 85% of a LASERTRON LED arena to any color we want. We simply program the lighting effects we want into our game play scenarios. In addition, we can pulse, flash, strobe, flicker, increase or decrease the brightness level of our LED arenas and much more using our RGB LED lighting.
Switching from black light UV arenas to 100% LED illuminated arenas where the lighting effects are programmable and fully integrated into the attraction experience was a game changer. Most importantly, it was an impressive upgrade for our clients’ arenas and especially their guests.
Top Five Games Played On-Line Brought into the Real World
LASERTRON’s Top Five Games are now Headquarters, Domination, King of the Hill, Team Base, and our NEW LASERTRON Battle Royale. These are by far our most immersive and unique gaming experiences available today and far surpass what VR will ever be able to replicate.
Why are we capable of creating far superior Laser Tag Experiences than Virtual Reality (VR)?
With our LASERTRON LED illuminated arenas, we are able to create a totally REAL and immersive Real Reality (iRR) for human beings and game formats that are highly social and Out-of-Home Only!
Lifetime Warranty on all LASERTRON Arena Obstacles
Once we eliminated UV lighting from our arenas, we were able to dramatically increase our arena warranty. We now provide our clients with a Lifetime Warranty on all our arena components.
Thanks for taking the time to read this article!