Arena Design

The importance of a good Laser Tag Arena Design is vastly underestimated. It is with the arena that the suspension of disbelief starts. The arena motivates the players to take the game seriously and enhances the reality in their imaginations. After playing the game, it is not just the excitement of playing that the players take home with them, but also images and atmospheres of the arena. The arena is what is different from playing Laser tag at home. It is what perpetuates the inspiration.

DarkLight have designed and installed arenas across the USA, Europe, in the Middle East and Canada. Our international experience has given us great insight into the possibilities and potential problems when designing and installing arenas.

Arena Layout

DarkLight Arenas vary greatly and are designed to be distinct. Although our construction methods are entirely standardised, the layouts are all different. With the Hexarena and EMACs we can do almost any shape from any point. DarkLight can provide construction drawings in various file formats (;metric or imperial measurement, vector and bitmap) to suit the needs of all parties involved in your project.

We design arenas for maximum adventure environment experience –

  • Spatial disorientation

  • Player flow; to pass through as much arena as possible and not waste space

  • Arena balance; to ensure the amount of cover is related to the number of GEMs and other players which can be tagged from any one point. Places where it is easy to tag many players should be places where it is easy to be tagged

  • Structural flexibility to allow big changes through minor modification

is a valuable commodity. It can significantly increase the playable area in a building as well as make the game play three dimensional. The value of three dimensions when only paying rent for two can be great so, if possible, it is always worth going for height. Exploring vertically also adds an entire new level of excitement for the players. With high ceilings, GEM characters and themes have much more space to expand. The arena structure, silhouetted by effect lighting, creates settings and atmosphere perceptually outside the physical confines of your building. Height is best if you can get it.
the more densely fitted an arena, the more cover players get. This gives players more time to grasp what is going on and increases the suspense. There is no suspense in getting tagged all the time but, as a player you want to be able to find players to tag easily. At the same time there needs to be an element of Hide and Seek. The long and the short shot, duck and dive, strike and flee (running and diving are against the rules !). There is a fine balance to be achieved between stealth and action to pace the game for ultimate excitement by adjusting the density of fixings to the number of players and the size. Varying the densities of fittings in different areas helps enhance character and themes. Zoning!
This relates specifically to budget because there are optimum sizes depending on the number of players. Normally, we recommend 1500sq. ft. (150 sq.m.) footprint for every 10 packs. Generally the bigger the better although obviously there is a direct relationship with the density of fittings.
The positions of the GEMs can make a very great difference to the way an arena flows. If the GEMs are programmed to have serial objectives (see Gem Scripts) they can govern player movement around the arena.

Arena themes orientate around the GEMs ; The Bats GEM may be in the convoluted haunted house whilst Lightning GEM would be in an open play area, the Dragon GEM in a cave or the Alien GEM in the pipe work overhead as you stalk your way down into the engine room of the space ship. So considering the Themes and the GEM placement is an important part of determining the arena construction.

Arena Construction

Single Level – Constructing a single level is really quite simple and can be done very cost effectively and speedily. The strength in DarkLight’s single level arena designs is our EMAC (Easily Movable Arena Construction). Using standard sizes of common wood and designed to require as few cuts as possible, local carpentry shops can quickly and cheaply pre-cut the EMAC components, from drawings supplied by DarkLight, which can be quickly assembled on site. There are many shapes and sizes of EMAC and they can be used to create mazes involving any angle and almost any single level room effect. Although, in some cases, fastened to each other, they are freestanding and can be lifted by two persons so they count as one of the three F’s (furniture, fixtures and fittings) as far as many building regulators are concerned.

Multi level – The Hexarena is a uniquely simple and flexible multilevel modular arena construction system. Using a combination of towers, bridges and ramps of standard shapes and sizes which can interconnect in any configuration, the Hexarena can be made to fit into any shaped spaces of varying heights. This is a proven construction system which has passed building, health and safety, and fire criteria in the UK, Europe, the Middle East, the USA and Canada.

Darklight Hexarenas can all be made locally to drawings DarkLight supplies and constructed by local contractors.

All DarkLight arenas are wood based constructions using common local sheet and softwood sizes.

Hex construction showing towers and ramps

Hex construction showing towers and ramps

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Hex Arena enclosed ramp

Hex Arena enclosed ramp

Hex Arena large arch

Hex Arena large arch