A prototype is a preliminary model of something. Projects that offer physical products need to show backers documentation of a working prototype. This gallery features photos, videos, and other visual documentation that will give backers a sense of what’s been accomplished so far and what’s left to do. Though the development process can vary for each project, these are the stages we typically see:
Proof of Concept
Explorations that test ideas and functionality.
Demonstrates the functionality of the final product, but looks different.
Looks like the final product, but is not functional.
Appearance and function match the final product, but is made with different manufacturing methods.
Appearance, function, and manufacturing methods match the final product.
I grew up playing fantastic Lightgun games such as Duck Hunt, Wild Gunman, Mad Dog Mccree, Virtua Cop, House Of The Dead and Time Crisis. However sadly we can no longer play these great games because Lightguns don't work directly on LCD televisions - until now thanks to the new Sinden Lightgun.
This Kickstarter is the first part of a larger ambitious project which is to restore the Lightgun genre by removing the technological blockers. By supporting this Kickstarter backers will be contributing to this ambition. The Sinden Lightgun is not just a new product it is an entire new technology.
Currently the only way to play Lightgun games is either to keep a giant CRT television hanging around or use a Wii remote style technology with additional hardware placed around the television (such as a Wii sensor bar). Unfortunately that still doesn't provide line of sight shooting unless you calibrate. However every time you move to a different position or angle you need to re-calibrate. These problems are why we don't see Lightgun games anymore on the major consoles.
This is why I developed the Sinden Lightgun. It interacts directly with the television and doesn't require additional hardware around the television or any calibration. It is always accurate even if you change your position. It has enabled me to play all my favourite classic Lightgun games again in the comfort of my living room on my 50inch LCD television and I may be slightly biased but IT'S BRILLIANT!!!!
The prototype shown is a high quality SLS 3D printed custom design. It features a high speed camera, a CPU, USB interface, a trigger, 4 assignable action buttons and a pump action reload feature. So far it has driver software for Windows and Linux (including Raspberry Pi), it is mapped to behave like a physical mouse for easy software compatability. Providing the software is compatible (such as Mame) you can even use 2 Sinden Lightguns at the same time. The final production version includes an additional 4 assignable buttons (therefore 8 in total) that you can use for navigating menus or assigning additional actions.
My long term goal is to bring back the Lightgun to the masses and get brand new Lightgun games made. Can you imagine playing a brand new Virtua Cop or House Of The Dead made with the Unreal or Unity 3D engines running on the latest hardware? I'd also like to see new official retro consoles made with functioning Lightguns.
So how does it work??? It uses smart image recognition with some clever maths and clever software. The Sinden Lightgun contains a high quality and high speed camera which captures the television screen output and calculates where the user is pointing. A thin rectangular border is added to the display content which is used as a reference point. The software processes the captured image and calculates the required mouse movement in under 5ms.
The PC has lots of retail Lightgun games that are available that work with the Sinden Lightgun including some on Steam, as well as hundreds of games that work in emulators and numerous Arcade Dumps. Please see my youtube channel http://www.youtube.com/sindentechnology for lots of great examples.
Now I couldn't attempt to bring the Lightgun into the 21st century without at least adding some new functionality. The Sinden Lightgun has experimental 3D tracking. The Sinden Lightgun can identify what angle you are viewing the television from and also your relative distance. This means the television can show different content based on your position which gives a 3D effect. The 3D tracking is at the proof of concept stage but I'm hoping this can develop into something amazing!
The Sinden Lightgun as well as PCs also works on the Raspberry Pi. You can build a really good multi-platform Lightgun gaming system using something like RetroPie. Some of the emulators don't run quite as fast as the PC but it doesn't affect the fun.
This project is about creating a new Lightgun game playing community. I will be setting up a forum where my Kickstarter backers can share their ideas and experiences. Share knowledge and provide support. I'm passionate about the fun people can have playing these games.
There are some important things to note before pledging:
- The Sinden Lightgun currently only works on Windows operating systems and experimental support on Linux systems. I'm working on other operating systems and some of the pledges give an opportunity to speed that up. The hardware is compatible once the software drivers are complete.
- There is a requirement to add a thin software border around the edge of your display output. The included software makes this easy if it is compatible with your hardware or you can do this inside of your emulator which is quite easy to do with most of the major emulators such as Mame or emulator front ends like Hyperspin and Retroarch. I have easy to follow instructions on how to do this.
- The Sinden Lightgun does not like bright direct sunlight shining on the television as this can impact performance.
- The Linux support is described as experimental because I am not able to guarantee support over the many different Linux operating systems or guarantee the performance using different hardware and software. It should work and I'll do my best to assist but I can't guarantee it. Please see my youtube videos for a demonstration of Linux support on the Raspberry Pi using RetroPie.
- It is recommended to be at least a distance of 1.5 times the display width back from the display to get the full performance of the Sinden Lightgun.
- Backers will get to choose their Sinden Lightgun colour. I will survey backers to find the most popular colours but as a minimum grey, black, blue and red will be available.
Please make a pledge and come join in the action. Please share the project with all your friends. The more investment I get, the more I can invest in the software, the hardware and the project.
Future expansion of the project will include wireless Sinden Lightguns, new platform support and I'm keen to work on new Lightgun game developments with some of these based around the 3D functionality. I also plan to interface the Sinden Lightgun directly with classic console hardware, so watch this space!
Thank you for looking at my project.
Risks and challenges
My prototype is already fully functioning so there are no significant technical challenges remaining. The product delivers exactly as promised. The challenges of the project are moving from the prototype to production and out to my backers.
I have the prototype shell designed and ready for production injection moulding. I have the custom PCB ready for bulk manufacture (samples have been tested). I have relevant companies lined up for both of these and the companies lined up to provide my required components. I have flexibility in my supply chain so I am not dependant on one single provider for any component.
I've tested the software across a range of computers and televisions and have so far had no issues. There is always a risk that a unique combination of hardware, software and environment may cause performance issues.
The Sinden Lightgun is designed for the software and firmware to be updatable to ensure new features and improvements are continually added.
The recoil functionality PCB is the only aspect that is still under development. Please see my video under the prototype section describing how this will work.
This project has been heavily financed by myself. This Kickstarter will not actually give any return on that significant investment but will only give the money required up front to hit minimum order value for some of the components such as the PCB and the camera. I will be significantly investing a further large sum of money to pay for the huge injection moulding setup costs. This investment is ready to go if I manage to hit my Kickstarter target.
I would like to reassure all my backers that I have been working on this project for nearly 2 years and there is no way I will let any challenges stand in the way of delivering Sinden Lightguns to my backers.
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