I hope you don't mind.

Frizzlefry

Active Member
I hope you don't mind me posting this because it's not directly related to the Tutorial that Sean has written so far.

But to touch on that I wanted to say that I am quite impressed with what you've done Sean. I read through Chapter 2, but Chapter 3 is a bit long for me to read while I'm at work so I will probably read it when I get home later. This is really great work.

I'm posting this, however, because like Doom I am happy to provide any assistance I can for this tutorial or a seperate one if that's what you want me to make. I'm very greatful for "the team" allowing me to come in just off of me making the Pepakura tutorial. I actually enjoy writing tutorials (I frequently make tutorials here at work despite the fact I don't always need to) and would be happy to write a parallel tutorial to what Sean is doing, only involving using Pepakura for the entire thing.

I would do this only if you thought it was necessary though. I know that a tutorial that could even compare to Sean's would be a very lengthy process. There is also the fact to consider that I have not actually completed my own armor set yet outside of the Pepakura patterns that I have made, as well as the fact that my "final armor" will not likely be extremely detailed and will have a different function than conventional costumes.

I hinted before that what I was doing was a "secret." I've seen who all has access to this tutorial and I respect all of you greatly for what you can do. However you guys are also the most capable of "stealing" my idea as well since you are so good at your craft. lol Anyways, this is what my overall goal is:

A lot of people here keep mentioning that they want to go paintballing in their outfit or what not. I actually want to open a laser tag business where the laser tag outfits are semi-functional Master Chief costumes. The majority of the suit will be an overall receiver to sense lasers, the guns will feel quite real when shot (but they will just be lasers, not paintballs or airsoft bullets), and I really want to work on a functional heads up display of sorts for the inside of the helmet.

To start off, I'm 27 years old so I'm a bit past the "dreamer" age of kids just wishing and wanting. I've gone over and refined this idea for over two years and I'm ready to get to work. I have very little electronics knowledge so I'm going to be taking college courses this winter to help me out with that. My business partner and I have realized that the only way we will make this happen is to build the equipment ourselves and making the suits is the reason I am here. This is why I keep talking about wanting to "mass produce" suits despite not wanting to be a seller.

I understand that you may think I've lost it or am pushing past ability but I think overall this can be an achieved dream, and when it's realized I can't see how it could be capable of failing.

So a lot of my work I do will be parallel to yours, only I don't want to "steal" anyones molds because I do plan on one day making money off of this, so long as I can work my way around copyright problems.

To make a long story longer, I'm in this for the long haul and while I do expect my first armor to be a crash course in armor making, I plan on making a second more realistic costume, and from there I will work on making functional laser tag suits. So between my first crash course armor and my second armor, you guys have got all the help / assistance you can ask for from me. But I'll have to be hush hush on the last armor sets I am making.

Again, I apologize if this is too off topic. Feel free to delete it if you think so, but please don't move it to another forum.
 

Sean Bradley

Sr Member
Frizzle,

First off I wanted to thank you for your comments on my tutorial. I'm getting to the point that I really have to put my foot down and finish it, simply out of frustration because I haven't been able to get time back to do more writing. Right now I have some computer problems on my home PC too, and thats not helping much.

Next I wanted to say that I fully endorse and encourage you to elaborate on your Pepakura tutorial, and submit it to this section. I think that having options of how to create your armor, scratch built or computer aided is only going to facilitate our goal to be the best resource for the halo armor community.

For your idea about a Halo themed lasertag business, I feel that I can offer some perspective, as I work as a full time technician for a very large lasertag facility in SE Pennslyvania and know a great deal of what it takes to keep a business like this running.

I guess my first impression is that it can be done, but it will require a much larger investment than the ordinaly lasertag setup (where most places just but their tag system from a 2nd party manufacturer). Additionally there may be some fundamental problems with the business model of your concept, as the majority of Lasertag businesses are marketed to family events like birthday parties. Think of Chucky Cheese with an arena, and thats the typical LT model. To narrow your market to a specific age group and demographic will make keeping the business profitable far more challenging.

It's going to require a larger R&D development investment and a larger full time technical maintenance staff. Also insurance is going to be an issue, because you will have injuries when you open a facility for people to run around in... the question becomes whether you can make the armor-tag functional to the point of it being MORE safe to run around in than people just wearing their ordinary clothes and sneakers.

Then think of the liscensing from Microsoft, if in fact you want to market it to the Halo fanbase. The facility that I work for is liscensed by MS through a third party gaming company to be a Halo LAN center... but your business would require directly asking for permission from MS..

I don't want to discourage you, because it could work, but it's just going to be far more complicated to get off the ground and make profitable than the average Lasertag business. If you're completelty dedicated to this idea, you can do it but you're going to have to carve out your own niche market.

If you have any more questions for me about the Lasertag business that I work for I'd be glad to share my knowlegde with you. I truly believe that this is a cool idea and wish you the best.
 

Frizzlefry

Active Member
Thanks for the encouragement, Sean. In relation to my business idea, I do realize there will be additional road blocks that will likely not be foreseen when they present themself.

I've already thought about most of what you cautioned against (thankfully) and I do have plans to help work around these idea's. As I said before, I know that not being able to use a 2nd party for equipment will probably be our largest hurdle.

I do disagree though when you talk about the marketting demographic. I don't really think that having a Halo themed laser tag will become a deturrent to the regular demograph that laser tag arena's are targetted against. Actually, I think it may draw a better demand from those targets as well as reaching the modern gamer. Did you know that being able to reach the typical male gamer is one of the hardest demographs (and one of the largest at that) to tap? If I can successfully do that, I believe there will be some money to make in advertising in or around the facility.

Actually, there are only two hiccups I have foreseen that I haven't quite worked my head around yet. The first being what you mentioned, which is if I were to go the official route and get Microsoft approval / backing. If Microsoft demands too large of a cut or outright refuses to back the facility then I will be forced to work around copyrights and find what legal methods I have to create a "Halo-like" theme that won't get me into legal trouble.

The other is time. Laser tag facilities make money by having a quick through-put, which is to say that they make more money by having games move fast and get more customers through the arena. Having people "suit up" what will likely be a potential 14-17 piece armor suit in a timely manner will be difficult. For every genius in the world there is a potentially dangerous idiot who just wouldn't be able to figure it out despite how easy we make it.

I certainly agree though that if we can make the technology happen for this project that we will potentially be our own niche in the market. It won't be a laser tag facility as much as it will be a Halo theme park. But if I want Microsoft to take me seriously, I'll need to have all my ducks in a row before I even contact them. If they shut me down then I'll have to say its a video game themed game, rather than Halo which would take a bit of thunder out of the idea. But I think it can happen.

I appreciate all the help you are offering. And back onto the subject, I plan on fixing up my shed next weekend which will turn into my workshop for my armor. Once it's all set up I will restart working on my armor. I'll make sure I take extensive photo's that I can use for a Pepakura tutorial. But as much as you caution against rushing through a project, I think I may rush through my first armor just to get an overall feel for the process, identify faults, and then restart and take my time on the second set.
 

Sean Bradley

Sr Member
Frizzle,

I am glad that you have seriously thought this through. And you're going to need that determination to succeed if you want to get this business off the ground. I also appreciate your committment to disagree with the current business models out there.

Some of our front line managers and the business owner just went to the LaserTron conference in Amherst, NY, and were quite surprised to see that they had dramatically changed their marketing strategy. As they are our manufacturer and a bit of a parent company to our business, we are very interested in monitoring their experiments in business marketing. The major chnge to their model was that they have decided to target the age range of 18-35, as opposed to the younger crowd that most centers try to attract. Their reasoning on this is that they say that the birthday party and family events business has dried up in their community, and that if you can attract the older age range, that the youger kids will come along to.

So then by that rationale, they're targeting the harder to get market, and taking advantage that their staple market will come to their business regardless.

I think that is a smart way to expand their business, although they have taken some questionable chances with how they are implementing this demographic shift. For one, they got a liqour liscense and installed a 'bar-like' atmosphere in their lobby. I guess they're feeling the pressure to be more like 'Dave and Busters', a national chain of gaming bar/resturants. The other questionable step they made was to build a million dollar go-kart racetrack at their facility.

So add that up, Moms & Dads, kids, teenagers and young adults + alchohol + 40mph go karts.... I can't believe that their insurance company didn't laugh them out of the office when they asked for the insurance policy to cover that. :mrgreen:

Well, getting back to our discussion, I guess I just wanted to retract what I said about how most Lasertag ceneters are marketed. There are expections to the rule, and heres to hoping that your venture becomes the most successful of them all. ;-)

And likewise I want to wish you the best in this. Please let me know if I can be of any assitance in your business research.

-Sean
 

JediFraz

Active Member
A side note.. When I was at University I worked at a Laser Quest in Edinburgh... Saw quite a number of people come out of the arena sweaty.. Would you want to be the next person to put on a set of Mjolnir after a sweaty fat guy..?

Assuming that the fatter/ shorter/non 90 percentile bodytype members of the public are able to wear the standard sized armour...

Not trying to throw a spanner in your works, Just something to think about....
 

Sean Bradley

Sr Member
Yep, our tag pack are kinda stinky from thousands of peoples sweat. We clean them every shift, but you just can't get the funk out. Theres nothing quite like putting on a dripping wet laser tag pack.
 
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