Designing Your Own Arena
Briefing RoomThe briefing room is your customers’ first introduction to your laser tag. You will need approximately 9 square feet of space per player in your briefing room. Just like the arena, plan ahead and allow extra space.
But is the briefing room just a big empty space?
Whether your briefing comes from a video or a person, the room should already be setting the mood. It is a great idea for the briefing room to offer a taste of your theme and to be black lit to match your arena (if you go that route).
If you have a live presenter you will want a short platform for them to present on or a themed podium to stand behind. Also, you need a light shining on them so that they are easily seen and catch your customers' attention.
The idea of the brief, besides education, is to get your customers excited and ready to play. The anticipation of waiting to play has been building since they signed up, but once you sit them down you are relaxing them. This is the opposite of what you want, but it is up to you.
Vesting RoomYou will need approximately 14 square feet per player in the vesting area. Plan again for extra space here, and you will want to plan for appropriate power requirements for the vest racks you may be buying or are included with the system, etc.
Some operators choose to create their own vesting racks, while others rely on their laser tag supplier. Zone Laser Tag offers Illuminated Vesting Racks.
Chargers for the vests may be mounted over top or underneath where your vests hang up. If it is possible for them to mount underneath try to go that route.
Unless they add to your theme, make them as hidden as you can go. And as for the wiring that comes with the installation process, make sure your installer takes care of them properly with channeling or something similar. Loose wires can cause any number of issues!
VESTING EXAMPLEThe Image at the top is an example of a vesting room. Designing a vesting room is a little tougher than the briefing room because you need the right square footage for the protruding racks and enough space for everyone to vest up and exit into the arena and lobby at the end of the game.
There are many ways to handle your vesting racks and charging system, but most systems are pretty flexible. 12 to 18 inches on center between vesting racks are required for proper spacing. The image above is designed for 16 inches. Also, the door to the arena and the door out to the lobby should be on opposite walls and clearly marked to avoid confusion.
The vesting room needs to have carpet and a thick pad installed. People are going to drop your equipment day in and day out, so give it something soft to fall on. The carpet should be cheap, industrial, and a solid color, preferably black or grey is the way to go.
Arena LayoutWhen designing your laser tag arena, there are plenty of factors you'll need to take into consideration, mostly listed in the various tabs of this section. There are some items specific to the arena that don't necessarily apply to the rest of the laser tag attraction though.
One of those factors is space required for your laser tag arena. A good rule of thumb is to allow for 125 - 150 sq. ft. per player. This is comfortable playing space for your customers. Allowing for too little room and your guests will not have much fun, and create a claustrophobic feel when the arena is packed with too many players.
Some operators struggle with the idea of making their laser tag attraction single level or mulit-level. While most laser tag attractions today are multi-level, there are some important reasons why. Multi-level arenas outlast and outperform single level laser tag attractions nearly two to one. Two level arenas also need a minimum of 16’ high ceilings. This too can be a problem for operators whose buildings are not that tall.
There are still workarounds for that as well. Creating the illusion of height by making what we call half-levels, elevated areas that aren't designed to have players underneath, but don't raise to a full second floor. This still creates an exciting experience and keeps the arena from feeling flat and one dimensional.
If you are considering doing a second level, then your play structure should be around 30% of your footprint.
Over the past few years, ADA compliance has been an issue many operators have had to deal with. Ramp slopes and player accessibility are two common areas that have had to be addressed.
Two ways to deal with these issues are to make sure your arena is labeled a play structure, not a laser tag arena and to only include things like targets and bases that can be accessed from the first floor of your arena.
If you are purchasing from Zone Laser Tag and run into either of these issues with the ADA, feel free to contact us for possible solutions to these problem
MezzanineZone Laser Tag pioneered the advent that laser tag arena's should be 2-levels where possible based on our 20+ years of franchise experience. While we no longer franchise, we still see how two-level arenas outlast and outperform single level arenas by a margin of nearly 2:1. Dual level arenas have a lower closure rate and a higher income rate than single level laser tag attractions.
Most two-level structures are now made out of steel due to the changes in national building codes though some
are still constructed from wood. Steel structures will cost more upfront but will allow you to meet code requirements in most cases. Steel structures may also be depreciated as well as reused if you ever need to move the structure.
Our laser tag mezzanines are designed to enhance the Zone Laser Tag experience. Not all laser tag plays the same and the Zone level of experience has been tested for over 25 years as we grew into the largest laser tag provider in the world. We will look at the mezzanine structure for play-ability, safety, durability and ruggedness. We are extremely focused on creating an amazing game experience to maximize repeat play and increase profits.
RAMPSThe ability to move up and down the play structure without players colliding is at the top of our minds when designing the two-level play structure. Further, we also know that fire codes will dictate a certain width for egress in case of an emergency. The ramps have to be solid enough to support the weight and multiple impacts of players moving quickly over the years. Our arenas are designed to last 20+ years or more.
MESH RAILSZone Laser Tag has a simple game concept that most other manufacturers simply do not understand. "If it is blinking, blast it!". All of our products are designed with super bright LED's and sensors near those LED's. We want players to intuitively know where to tag the opponents. Mesh railings work best for an enhanced game play.
The steel mesh is run on the sides of the ramps as well as the top platform. Some arena companies will save the cost of doing steel mesh by placing sheets of plywood with no blast holes or tag holes. This creates a negative game experience and decreases repeat play. Our goal is to ensure that your long term success is beneficial for both you and us. Mesh rails help achieve higher grossing sales if you are installing a steel arena.
ADAThe American with Disabilities Act affects all new construction and renovations that occur in the United States. As the largest laser tag supplier in the USA, we are well versed in how ADA affects laser tag. In fact, we did the research that is now the industry standard practice that all laser tag companies and arena providers utilize in drafting two-level play structures. Allow us to help your arena comply with some of the strictest regulations in the United States and save your company tens of thousands in unnecessary expenses.
ThemingEvery operator wants his or her facility to stand out from their competition. The easiest way is to select a theme, either for your facility or for your laser tag arena. These two don't have to be the same, but often times they do correlate.
In the past, laser tag was almost exclusively space and futuristic themed, and rightly so as laser tag was the sport of the future. Today, however, it is not unusual to see themes of every variety, whether jungle, urban, giant robotic, other planetary, wild west, and even underwater themes just to name a very few.
Facilities can have their own unique feel and theme to separate themselves from their competition, and there are plenty of theming companies to choose from to get this done.
Zone Laser Tag works with all the various laser tag arena theming companies to create your ultimate laser tag fantasy. If you aren't sure who to contact for your laser tag arena theme, we can provide you a list of companies to choos
Carpeted Arenas Pros and ConsTo Carpet or not to Carpet? That is the question.
While there's no definitive answer, there are pros and cons to selecting carpet for your laser tag arena. Here is a list of things to consider before making up your mind:
Can keep sound from echoing as much in your attraction.
Can be padded and is softer than concrete to helps avoid injuries when players fall down.
Can cover unsightly concrete floors.
Can look very festive and some patterns are black-light sensitive.
Black-light sensitive carpet can come in a variety of colors and patterns to fit your theme.
Some carpet suppliers even provide a laser tag-specific arena carpet.
Carpet can be difficult to clean consistently.
Must be vacuumed on a regular basis.
Patterns can wear out over time and may need to be replaced every few years.
Can absorb fog juice and cause the carpet to become slippery to players.
More expensive than simply using the concrete flooring of the facility.
May be hard to find pattern to match your theme perfectly.
These are some of the things you'll want to consider before deciding on whether or not to carpet your laser tag arena.
Haze vs. FogChoosing the right fog/haze machine can be a little more confusing and difficult than you might think.
There are some things you'll have to consider before making your selection.
If you choose a fog machine, there are two types of fog: oil based and water based.
Oil based fog tends to produce a much thicker fog that lasts longer in your arena. Over time, though it actually creates a residue on your walls and floors that will need to be cleaned. If you have carpet in your arena, this can make it very slippery in some parts of your arena where the fog is the thickest. Oil can also create a unique smell in your arena and may cause issues with people who have asthma.
Water-based fog doesn't usually last as long in your arena and may take a bit longer to produce the effect you desire for your arena. Water based fog, also can make your walls and floors moist and slippery as the fog settles in your arena, though it doesn't make things as slippery as your oil based fog since it evaporates.
Both oil and water based fog machines can cause problems in another area most people aren't aware of and that's with smoke detectors. Many facilities have opted to not use fog in their arena because alarms keep going off and the fire department has to keep coming out, sometimes issuing fines after several visits.
There is a way around this however and that is with Hazers and heat sensors. You have to be approved by your local fire marshal, but allowing heat sensors and using haze machines is an alternative to having to take away from your laser tag experience by shutting off your fog machine.
Haze machines are generally water based and can produce haze particles that are smaller and hang in the air longer than your traditional fog from fog machines. It also does not tend to create any residue on your floor or arena obstacles, making it easier to clean your arena.
Talking to fog machine and fog juice providers can also help you determine which is the best course for your facility as well as the types of machines and fog/haze to purchase.
Tech RoomYou need a space set aside where you can work on broken equipment that is out of the public eye. You also need a place to store tools, spare parts, and all the screws, washers, etc. that they come with.
Depending on the size of the facility as well as what space is available you need the largest tech room that you can build. What do you place in it that requires the space?
First, you need at least a 3' by 8' counter to work on vests, boards, special projects, etc. This counter should sit on a couple of cabinets and drawers to store the most commonly used tools. Storage space above is also very important as everything you could possibly need should be within reach.
Second, storage shelves for the larger parts and maybe even supplemental storage for other aspects of your facility. Storage space in any site is at a premium so don't waste any available space here either.
Lastly, a backup charging area complete with basic vest racks is a very good idea. They should be placed near the door so that if you have a pack failure vests can be swapped out quickly so that you don't lose a dime. It can also serve as a backup unit should a section of your charging system fail.
The tech room example to the right is only 10' by 15', but you can cram a lot into that spacen If you have the space for a room of larger size, then by all means use more space if you can. The below room is really just a little larger than what is often found in many facilities. Commonly found because most tech areas are afterthoughts and are placed wherever space happened to be available.
It is important to also note that this space should be used for storage relating to your arena and packs and not for redemption or storage of perishables, food, or party supplies. Those items should be stored in appropriate storage areas throughout the facility.