About this project
It's a summer night, and you're playing an intense game of territories inside a misty forest. Your team is rushing the enemy’s base to capture the remaining territories, while you flank. You glance at your gun’s LCD screen; full health and ammo, and your team is down three territories. You quickly capture a nearby objective and receive an overshield; your gun instantly glows red to indicate it. Two enemies poke out of the trees on the right, you raise your gun to aim, and out-shoot them both. Simultaneously, your team successfully captures the remaining objectives. You win! Skirmos is the ideal game you've always wanted to play.
Imagine your favorite first-person shooter video game in real life. Welcome to Skirmos: Skirmish Open Source. Skirmos is an open source laser tag system that can be used for any and every game possible. It has the flexibility to be played indoors or out; in small or large games. Its unique open source nature allows anyone to make their own creative gametypes. Whether it’s free-for-all or capture the flag, a realistic simulation, or a replica from your favorite video game, Skirmos can be played in any manner you can think of.
The photos and videos shown in this project are prototypes. If we are successful in securing funding, we will CAD and print our own system design. The system is extremely safe and cannot be mistaken for weapon replicas. The system has a transparent design with bright RGB LEDs that change colors (Stretch Goal). We, Skirmos, in no way will design the system to replicate real weapons. Our final system design will not match a real gun's shape, it will contain no magazine, and will not have the key features of a real weapon; while still maintaining a great looking design. The Skirmos team has acknowledged Kickstarter's specific guidelines and will not sell or promote weapon accessories or replicas.
The hardware will make Skirmos better than airsoft and lasertag combined. It maintains the realism, range and ruggedness to play outdoors like airsoft, while having the accuracy, feedback, and dynamic cheat-proof gametypes of lasertag. This means the final design of the systems will include accurate iron sights and a rail system for attachments, for ranges over 500 feet.
The most appealing part of the gun is the built-in colored LCD screen. The screen acts like your HUD, displaying important information such as:
- Team Members
- Objective Information
- Game Timer
- and anything you want!
Always remember that Skirmos is open source. Whatever you want to be displayed on the screen, can be displayed.
For example, if you're capturing an enemy objective, the LCD screen will show you are securing the area. If blue team pulls your flag, an icon displaying a flag will indicate it has been taken. Our main focus is making the LCD screen as dynamic as possible.
Skirmos is powered by the Arduino processing board.
Using the Arduino bootloader, we made it possible to have an open platform that people are familiar with. The individual Skirmos guns will communicate with one another via radios, which will send and receive data reliably. The infrared optics allow Skirmos guns to have extreme ranges. Because the Arduino bootloaders have limited memory, Skirmos systems have a built-in SD card slot for large data storage. The main board will also include a sound card and a port for custom sounds. Any sound effect you want to use during game is possible; for example applause for capturing a territory, or an epic spree annoucment for getting 5 kills in a row.
We have consulted with a well known electrical engineer, Kevin Darrah (www.kevindarrah.com), who has designed a printed circuit board for us.
The system's specifications:
- ATMEL 328p (Arduino Bootloader)
- Colored LCD screen
- Superbright infrared LED
- RF Module
- SD card slot
- Sound Card (that accepts .mp3 and .wav)
- RGB LED Grids (Stretch Goal - please make it happen :D)
- Internal LEDs
- Infrared Receivers (38khz)
- 16mhz clock
- Plastic transparent custom shell
- Female USB port (data from computer to system)
To start, Skirmos is based off the Arduino programming language.
If you click the photo above, a high-res version will open. As you can see the code is very simple and will be easy to understand.
When you receive your Skirmos system, it will come with preset gametypes. These games will be basic, similar to free-for-all and team slayer. We want you to get started and playing immediately after getting the system.
Now you're wondering, what kind of gametypes are there? The answer is unlimited. Because of the open source aspect, you will be able to create your own gametypes. This might be tweaking with the respawn time on Capture the Flag, to creating your own objectives and modes. So imagine playing custom gametypes that other users have made; like Search and Destroy. Rest assured, you won't need to be a programming master to design your own games. If Skirmos is successful, we will create an auto-builder, a drag-and-drop program to quickly and easily create new gametypes (Stretch Goal). This means that it will involve minimum to no programming whatsoever. We will do everything we can to make sure you can still be creative with it. Of course, there is the option of programming your own gametypes, but it involves a little more knowledge.
Skirmos is going to have a fully functional and dynamic website that will allow you to share gametypes. For instance, we will have a list called "Most Popular", or "Highest Rated", where you can see how others are using Skirmos. Besides the sharing aspect, we will have an interactive forum. You can post ideas, suggestions, ask questions, or tell people how you just kicked the enemy's ass.
A prominent feature of Skirmos is that the software controls the hardware. The open source is what makes Skirmos, Skirmos. You can alter fire modes (Semi-automatic, 3 round burst, automatic, etc), as well as the rate of fire. You can change anything displayed on the LCD screen. Every aspect of the game communicates with the host, while the guns communicate with each other through radio. Skirmos reads input from the trigger, reload button, the IR and RF sensors. Each player will be assigned a special ID, so you can control friendly fire, or even assign the ID different traits like more ammo or less health.
Once you see the countdown hit zero, it's go time! Everything is tracked for you; kills, deaths, objective captures, accuracy, etc. This paragraph belongs to you, because the gameplay is based on how you use Skirmos.
Skirmos will be completely interactive. It will display everything in real time; including kills and deaths. For instance, if you are on a 3 killstreak, you can be prompted by a list of perks. An example of a perk is camouflage, your LEDs turn off, making you harder to see; pretty simple right?
Who doesn't like Arduino? Alright back to the point!
If you want to see more photos of each version, please take a look on our Flickr.
Besides getting the rewards to your doors, we will also continue development of software and hardware. After December, Skirmos steps into a new version, with new concepts and ideas, a new team with more brainpower. Our V.I.P launching party will be in early 2015 (members will notified in advance).
We've been working on Skirmos for over a year now. Most of our nights consist of developing, brainstorming, or planning production (fun fact: we've spent almost 2000 hours on Skype talking about Skirmos!). The systems that you see in the video are fully functional and working prototypes. The more we raise, the more we can do.
With your support, we can happily produce our dream and put a Skirmos system in your hands. While we're eager to start mass production worldwide, your contributions will help fund:
- Final enclosure/shell design
- Final printed circuit board design
- First production costs
- Future research and development
- Software and website
- Unexpected setbacks
- Future versions of Skirmos
Thanks for supporting Skirmos, we appreciate all your support! This is the right amount of money to get the product started. Even though most of our complex ideas and thoughts can't be developed, we can build the foundation of what Skirmos is meant to be. The basic gametypes programmed by the Skirmos team will be released to the public (free-for-all and team slayer). And finally, all the basic perks and modes will be available to the public.
- Muzzle flash (with bright LEDs around the barrel, muzzle flashes light up when you shoot and let the enemy know where your position is. You could add a perk that dims the flash to remain invisible).
- Custom hardcore gametype that ships with the system (A one shot, one life per round, game mode similar to Call of Duty's hardcore playlist)
- Custom zombie gametype that ships with the system (similar to Halo's infection mode)
- Rumble feedback (when getting shot, your gun will shake just like an xbox controller).
- Custom class based gametype (medic, recon, support, assault - like Battlefield or early Call of Duty games).
- Systems have RGB LEDs (glow any color)
- A huge addition to perks (for example, "EMP Blast" that disables enemy's screens for a number of seconds, "Speed" that increases reload time and rate of fire, "Scavenge" where you obtain the enemy's ammo after you killed them, "Camouflage" that turns off your LEDs, or "Infiltrate" that turns your gun to the enemies color for a limited time, and much, much more!) Remember that these gametypes will be programmed by the official Skirmos team.
- A gametype constructor (a program to easily create custom gametypes without any programming knowledge)
- Custom tech-tree based gametype (upgrade your player in game: play well to unlock perks, receive rewards for your performance)
- One in the Chamber (from Call of Duty) gametype, where you have 1 bullet in your gun, and every shot counts because if you kill a player, you get another bullet. If you miss, you're done. Last man standing wins.
- Accelerometers: An accelerometer will add movement sensing, orientation tracking, and 3 degrees of freedom to play around with. (for example, you can track general movements from one player to another; developers will find endless possibilities with accelerometers in Skirmos).
- Custom gametype similar to Halo Reach's Headhunter (when a player dies, they drop points, and the player that killed them receives their points - player with the most points wins!).
- ***Smartphone Integration***: Smartphone integration will add Bluetooth modules to Skirmos, but will also open a new chapter in development. Skirmos will now connect with your smartphone and use its GPS to allow virtual airstrikes, objective areas and virtual bases, motion tracking, and radar! Imagine a mini map on your LCD screen with dynamic movement and real time synchronization. With modules that connect your system to the internet, you can make a profile on our website that displays your K/D, Win/Loss ratio, etc. On our website, you can view your most played locations and create groups of friends that play in a specific area. You can set objective points on the map and alert your teammates where the enemy left the flag, for example. Smartphone Integration will allow Skirmos to jump start in technology in a blink of an eye, and will allow us to do more work :)
- Custom VIP (Very Important Person) gametype that randomly chooses a player on the team. The VIP has less health, ammo, and glows a distinct color. Your job is to protect them at all costs.
- Multi Team (from Halo 3) gametype, multiple teams of two take on each other in various modes and objectives.
Every time a stretch goal is unlocked, a new one will be released and posted :D
The project was thought about when two friends (Ibrahim Pasha / Richard Rice) were working on another project in their basement. They were both thinking about future ideas, and then it came to them. Current laser tag systems require you to travel to an arena and pay a lot of money to barely enjoy it.
"What if we made open source laser tag system built around the Arduino?"
They decided to potentially revolutionize laser tag!
The third friend (Allen Ivanov) was met through Xbox Live in 2008, from Seattle. Ever since then, the two friends taught the third one programming and altered his interests. They began working on projects, mostly websites including flash games and large forums. The three friends began working on Skirmos in 2012 and split the work between hardware and software.
Ibrahim Pasha (Founder / Hardware Designer)
Ibrahim has studied Mechanical Engineering for two years, and will be studying Information Systems at University of Maryland, Baltimore this fall. He has a background in circuit design, CAD modeling, and low level programming. He enjoys tinkering with mechanical and electrical components, as well as inventing new machines and products. For Skirmos, Ibrahim has assembled and constructed the systems; he is head of hardware and Skirmos.
Richard Rice (Founder / Software Designer)
Richard is currently studying Computer Science at University of Maryland, College Park. He enjoys programming games based on what he has played in the past. He is fluent in Ruby, Java, Python, and C, and is adjusting to the Arduino programming language. For Skirmos, Richard has written the operating system called openSkirm, programmed numerous gametypes, and programmed the entire code from scratch.
Allen Ivanov (Founder / Software Designer & UI Designer)
Allen studies Computer Science and Engineering at University of Washington, Seattle and has been programming since early middle school. Since High school, he realized how computers control most of our lives today, and began working on small projects. He has a background in game programming, web development, and cinematography. He enjoys programming games and designing dynamic websites. For Skirmos, Allen has designed the user interface, programmed several gametypes, and designed the video and Kickstarter page.
First of all, thanks for checking this project out. We are a motivated group of students who wish to improve physical gaming. We believe Kickstarter will help us turn a simple dream into actuality. Most of our ideas came from playing games together, like Halo 3, Command and Conquer Generals, and Planetside 2. Did you enjoy this project? Sharing is caring, so please tell your friends about this! More information and updates on our Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.
HD photos including our previous versions located on our Flickr.
Don't forget to visit our website, where you can subscribe to email updates!
And last but not least, there are more videos on our Vimeo and Youtube.
- Matthew Lee-Beasley for acting
- David Yi for acting
- Jeevan Gaberria for acting
- Gregory Fayerberg for acting
- Anya Ivanov for acting
- Dimitri Ivanov for filming
Risks and challenges
Skirmos has all of its basic research and development finished, and it's now up to design processes and manufacturing. A printed circuit board is already designed and all of the discrete components will be placed on one small board. This will increase manufacturing, lower costs, and make the system more reliable. Our biggest worry is the setup for mass production, as well as risks in manufacturing including raw material delays and assembly delays, risks in the shipping process and being able to scale to project for massive orders, but we are confident we can make it happen.
After Kickstarter, a whole new chapter opens up for endless possibilities and new ideas. We hope to get an office if we are successful so we can start developing as fast and productively as possible. Once backers receive their systems, we are open to ALL OPINION AND FEEDBACK. After every version of Skirmos, a thread on our forum will be made labeled "wishlist" where we listen to our fans and supporters! Skirmos will be the kind of company that listens and fathoms their users, working hard to make sure the system is built and capable in any environment.
Minor challenges may include the scope of the objective styled playlists; which will require much more research and experimentation. We're confident that we can get through these barriers and have an amazing product for the world. We can make this one possible with your kind help! Thank you!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
No, Skirmos uses focused infrared light, so there is no danger of blinding someone with actual lasers. Even without lasers, the system is still incredibly accurate.
The gun itself will act as the target, and will be filled with sensors. We're also including a port in the gun to accept vests/headbands when they become available in the future. This will allow for headshots. Even without a vest/headband, the hit detection is solid since there are many sensors all over the gun.
Skirmos works both indoors and out, and we were able to get ranges of 480 feet on a much earlier version of the system. The only reason we couldn't get farther ranges was we couldn't hold the gun steady enough! We're certain we will get even farther ranges with that accuracy in the future.
Skirmos is powered by a 9-volt battery, but because they only last for around a week, depending on how long you use it, we will include a port for RC/airsoft batteries which are rechargeable. You can swap batteries easily, just replace the 9-volt or have a standard RC/Airsoft battery handy.
Unfortunately, Kickstarter limits us to selling only 4 guns per customer/account.
The answer is everybody. Regular folks will definitely enjoy the system better than modern airsoft and paintball combined. Developers will have A LOT of fun experimenting and developing gametypes, as well as tinkering with software. Outdoor venues will love the system for its outdoor capability.
What's shown in the video is only a prototype, the final version will be a custom designed injection molded body, where everything will be nice and protected.
For a period of time, you can't.
But over the summer, we'll be opening a store on our website where you can purchase as many systems as you want!
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