A typical laser tag arena in the United States requires 3,000-5,000 square feet. Note that the total space available should be at least 7,000 square feet in total building size to allow for party rooms, bathrooms, lobby, front counter, game room, and possibly other attractions.
By industry standards, the overall square footage per player include: Arena = 125-150 square feet per player, Vesting = 13-15 square feet per player, Briefing = 8-10 square feet per player, Control = 2 square feet per player. Generally, all these equal 148-177 square feet per player. Considering these numbers, the average all-in size requirement is 162 square feet per play.
However, in recent times, reports have shown that multi-level laser tag attractions perform better than single-level centres, especially in highly competitive areas. By adding a walk-under raised area, some arenas have been able to create more space and more entertainment for their customers. A walk-under area requires a ceiling height of 16′.
In the past, most laser tag attractions only offer laser tag and a small arcade or game room. But now that other types of entertainment have sought new attractions to offer more variety than their competition, single-attraction centres have become very rare, typically only excelling in smaller markets.
In this modern era, laser tag is now almost always part of a multi-attraction centre with bowling, bumper cars, go karts, mini-golf, food & beverage, game rooms, trampoline parks, skating rinks, or even cinemas.
Laser tag is a serious business that is capable of generating a good and stable profit if you are ready to develop and grow with it. Here are few factors owners should consider when sizing or building a laser tag arena.
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Factors To Consider When Sizing Or Building A Laser Tag Arena
Game area selection
Laser arena mazes are most often built in shopping malls, amusement parks, and recreational centres. This allows the owners to significantly save on advertising costs since customers’ traffic in such places is natural and constant. In addition, shopping malls usually have enough space for building even large arenas. But the main disadvantage of such location is obvious. It has extremely high rent costs and you have no control over structure and sizes.
However, if you do not have the ability to make an arena in a large shopping mall, then you are advised to consider accessibility factors while selecting the location: your players should be able to easily get to the arena from any side of the city. Also examine your target audience: determine the gender and age of your potential clients, their purchasing power and level of interest in this type of attraction. Also consider the family factor. Shopping malls are often attended by families for shopping.
Area room space
Normally, laser tag arenas are made up of several zones, and two of them are obligatory – the reception area and the game area. Usually, the area can simultaneously hold from 12 to 30 or even more players. Therefore, the owner’s task is to make the arena as more capacious as he can. While planning the room space, you can use the following figures:
- 10-15 players: 2,200 – 2,700 sq. feet (200-250 sq. meters);
- 15-20 players: 2,700 – 3,200 sq. feet (250-300 sq. meters);
- 20-30 players: 3,200 – 4,300 sq. feet (300-400 sq. meters);
- 30 and more players: from 4,300 sq. feet (400 sq. meters).
In addition, the reception area should be able to hold not only the players but also spectators and parents who are not involved in the game. That’s why the reception zone should be planned on the basis of a simple formula: you need at least 10 sq. feet (1 m²) per person. If you have sufficient space in your renting, it is preferable to make a separate briefing room and hold all discussions and meetings in this zone. Even though it is not obligatory, but it will relieve the reception zone. The room space can be calculated by the same formula: at least 10 sq. feet (1 m²) per player. And don’t forget about space for instructors.
In a laser tag arena, you will definitely need at least one storage room and staff room. Do not forget about the toilet, especially if your arena is not located in a shopping centre. Also note that if you do not want players to stumble over cables because you’ll have a lot of them, hide the wiring in the walls. Don’t forget about a sufficient number of outlets. For instance, you’ll need at least a computer, printer, and large screen in your reception zone. You will also need outlets for charging phones, photo cameras, coffee-machines, drink dispensers and so on.
Most laser tag arenas in the United States have four-square or rectangular shape. Nonetheless, you can also mount walls and partitions, forming U-shaped or L-shaped arena. The major thing is to make the lanes wide enough so that people of any size can move freely in them. Also, if you have the opportunity to create a two- or even a three-level arena, do it.
In terms of planning, you should consider that the players require freedom of motion; however, it is allowed to create tortuous corridors and dead ends for additional difficulties while capturing enemy bases. In some cases, these bases are built opposite the corners of the arena. Open space is not welcomed and the design should encourage players to move quickly. There is no sense in encouraging players to hide in one place for a long time, go trench warfare and camping. However, is not worth doing a too complicated arena, because new players will simply get lost in their first games.
Note that most arena maze are built from hollow metal pillars with 15-20 inches (40–50 cm) diameter and up to 10 feet (3 meters) high and different heights partitions. The most common and cheap option for the walls of the maze is sheetrock. Howbeit, it is not durable, and the players are not accurate, that’s why sometimes the walls are made from 10-mm plywood. Owners are advised to use a special fire-retardant treatment. Sometimes the arena designer uses holes in the walls that can be used by players as embrasures and gun port, or mesh inserts for additional viewing.
In addition, the construction of the arena can be demountable (in this case, you can modify the arena plan), but all walls should be firmly fixed. Imagine if a player crashes into the wall with all his might, because it happens in the rage of battle, the construction should never collapse. Also remember to cover all projecting parts (window sills, heating radiators and so on) with plywood, and cover all sharp corners with soft material to prevent injuries of players during the battle. The ceiling, walls and pillars are usually painted with matt black paint with futuristic fluorescent drawings.
A laser tag arena will need two Illumination circuits. The first (ultraviolet) is needed in order to highlight the fluorescent drawings on the walls, partitions, floor, and ceiling. Lamps are usually placed over the entire arena area at a height of 8-10 feet. One 36-watt lamp is enough for lighting 85 sq. feet.
The only criteria for reception areas are good light and ambience. Usually, it is a walk-through room, that’s why the floor are expected to be covered with practical materials like laminated flooring of intensive 31-34 classes or even industrial environments with 41-43 classes, or flooring tile. Also note that the walls of the reception area can be decorated with themed posters: arena rules, a game area plan, and a scoring system. A great idea is to make a roll of honour with photos of the most active players or teams: people like to show off their achievements. Do not forget about awards, they also can be mounted on walls.
There should be a reception desk for the administrator to meet customers. You can even consider mounting a separate desk or even a separate room for a game operator. The game operator should have a computer with indoor laser tag control application, a printer (to print the results for players), and a microphone for communicating with players, a cash register, and so on.
A laser tag arena should include lockers where players’ personal belongings will be stored and mount long benches. Note that it will be the best option to make a separate room for the dressing area, but if there is no free room, you can simply zone the reception room or install folding-screen or partition.
If you are thinking about whether you need this room (or even two), do not make that mistake, you surely need it even if you’ll have to rent a room slightly more than you initially planned. This briefing room is normally used for players’ instruction before the game and their discussions after the game. It helps to increase the traffic capacity of the whole arena.
The briefing room will need comfortable chairs or sofas. You can also mount a large screen on the wall for displaying game live statistics results. If you have arena cameras, your team fans will be able to watch the battle on this screen. The chaperons, parents and fans will wait for the team and cheer for it in this room. Some slot machines or mini-cafeteria or drink dispensers in this room will bring the arena owner additional profit.
It is critical to mention that the owner can easily buy ready-made arena constructions from manufacturers. It will be fast but very expensive. While some owners of the arena business build arenas themselves. Is hard to say what option is more efficient. Construction materials are also quite expensive. And of course, if the owner wants to invest a minimum amount of funds he can try to find arena constructions that are already in use.
However, be sure to consider that there will be a lot of children among your regular players. Moreover, you should think carefully about the planning of the arena. Children are noisy, very active and extremely venturous, that’s why it is not recommended to hold more than two teams in one room. It is better to separate the players who have already played from incomers and do not throw them all together in checkroom or in the lounge room.
In conclusion, please remember these sizing numbers and factors are generalities. Every project will be a little different and you are advised to talk to an expert before making a size related decision.