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Space Ranger Spin scoring

Discussion in 'How do they do that?' started by kevlightyear, Nov 28, 2017.

  1. kevlightyear

    kevlightyear Active Member

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    Does anyone have any insight into how the scoring system works for Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin?

    1) How does your cruiser know you've hit a target?
    2) As different targets are worth different amounts, how does your cruiser know which target you've hit?
    3) Is the processing done in the car or behind the scenes?

    I have a few theories based on infrared emitters/receivers, retroreflectors and encoded data, but I can't work out all the details. For instance, it's possible the blasters have an infrared emitter and receiver. The targets could have a retroreflector to bounce that light directly back to it's source. That way, the blaster itself knows it's hit a target, and updates the score. That doesn't explain how it gets the point value, however. It could be possible the target has its own emitter, which is set off by your blaster, that sends the encoded score (like a tv remote control encodes the command). But then how does it guarantee it's sending that score only to your blaster?

    Maybe it's simpler? Maybe the targets are constantly emitting an encoded infrared signal. Your blasters have an infrared receiver that's constantly 'looking'. If your blaster's receiver happens to be detecting a target's emission at the same moment you press the trigger, it registers as a hit.

    There's obviously some other processing such that every so often, you get 100 points added to your score just for random firing.

    Further questions:
    A) At Disneyland, the targets are worth more when they're lit up. How is this extra data sent to the player's scoreboard?
    B) Also at Disneyland, the scores are available on the on-ride photos. How is that information synced? Wireless?

    I'd love to hear any details on the tech that makes this ride possible.
     
  2. steenbag

    steenbag New Member

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    While I'm not familiar with the actual system in place, if I were to design it, it would function a lot like your typical game of laser tag. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laser_tag#Equipment_and_technology Basically the gun shoots an infrared beam with encoded data (for example a gun identifier). Scoring would be handled by a central computer that all of the targets are hooked up to. The ride vehicle could have a simple on-board computer that would receive scoring updates from the central computer (omnimovers can receive data; e.g. audio on Haunted Mansion, or the touchscreens in Spaceship Earth).

    Having scoring handled by a central computer simplifies the scoring process as well as the computers in the ride vehicles (cheaper), since you only have to store the worth of each target and how much each target is worth in one place. Then the on-ride-vehicle computer can just be a very simple unit able to receive data from the main computer and display it. It also has the advantage that if you add new targets, you only have to update the central computer rather than updating the software in each ride vehicle.
     
  3. kevlightyear

    kevlightyear Active Member Original Poster

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    Yeah, that seems very reasonable. Thanks for your input! A central scoring computer makes complete sense. I hadn't considered that the ride vehicles could receive data. I assumed they had to be self contained. Although I guess they receive power while in motion, so why not data as well.

    @marni1971 can you confirm? Do you know of a server closet in the space?

    I also wonder how many cruisers there are. That's a lot of simultaneous communication.

    A centralized scoring system also helps explain the Disneyland questions, although with more computer power needed.
     
  4. marni1971

    marni1971 WDW History nut Premium Member

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    There has to be two way data transmission. Toy Story Mania would utilise a more up to date version.
     
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  5. bingie

    bingie Well-Known Member

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    There's 101 vehicles plus 1 wheelchair accessible vehicle
     
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  6. kevlightyear

    kevlightyear Active Member Original Poster

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    Cool! Thanks to both of you. Fairly impressive for the late 90s. I imagine the computing power necessary for Toy Story Mania is intense!

    My brain has been kicking around ideas of how to replicate the interaction at home on a much smaller scale. This all helps a lot.
     
  7. steenbag

    steenbag New Member

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  8. kevlightyear

    kevlightyear Active Member Original Poster

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  9. lazyboy97o

    lazyboy97o Well-Known Member

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    The system is based on laser tag. Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin and Men in Black: Alien Attack! both sourced their interactive technology from Heads Up Technologies who was selling laser tag systems at the time.
     
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