Projekt ARES - a DIY laser shooting gallery

Music: Wepa Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

Ares Schießkino Aufbau

Projekt ARES is a shooting simulation in which players shoot at a projected picture with a laser weapon. A camera films the picture and registers the light point of the laser. The position of the laser point is transferred into the virtual environment, then a shot is simulated. The registration of the shot is so precise that it can match commercial video shooting ranges and is much better than typical shooting gallery systems from the entertainment sector.

This technology is used to play several small games, which test the player’s reactions and accuracy. All these games can also be controlled with a mouse. In the “screenshots” section you can find pictures and a short description of all games.

ARES is designed in such a way that it needs only a minimum of hardware. You need a simple projector as well as a standard webcam. In addition you need a laser gun which creates a short laser pulse if you press a button. A simple laser pointer is also sufficient in order to test the system. In the “hardware” section we explain how you can construct your own laser gun with some simple electronic knowledge and some skilled craftsmanship. Finally you need a colour filter which can be fixed on the webcam and which is adapted to the wavelength of the laser used. This is also explained in the “hardware” section.

At the beginning you have to open the calibration assistant under the menu point “settings”. This takes the user in seven simple steps through the system set-up. First the camera is pointed at the projected picture. Then you have to mark some key points in the camera picture by means of the mouse. Finally, the picture parameters of the camera as well as the brightness of the filmed laser are set. Then the system is operational. Additionally thre is the possibility to calibrate an offset to makeup for lasers that aren't perfectly aligned. The whole menu can also be operated with the laser gun. The assistant contains instructions for every step as well as tips for an optimal result. Am Anfang muss man unter dem Menüpunkt "Einstellungen" den Kalibrierungsassistenten starten. Dieser leitet den Benutzer in sechs einfachen Schritten durch die Einrichtung des Systems. Dabei wird zunächst die Kamera auf das projizierte Bild ausgerichtet und anschließend muss man mit der Maus einige Punkte im Kamerabild markieren. Zum Schluss werden noch die Bildparameter der Kamera sowie die Helligkeit des gefilmten Lasers eingestellt. Danach ist das System betriebsbereit. Die gesamte Menüführung lässt sich dann auch mit der Laserpistole bedienen. Zu jedem der Schritte enthält der Assistent eine Anleitung sowie Tipps für ein optimales Ergebnis.

Projekt ARES was developed by the two people mentioned in the contact section between 2007 and 2009 and completed in 2012. Since then new games and functions have been added, mostly developed according to the user’s requirements.


Musik: Wepa Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

The calibration of the laser detection is done in a simple assistant and takes only a few minutes. The exact procedure is described in the video above. The audio is only German so far but there are English and German subtitles.


Create and shoot your own IPSC ranges yourself. Simply place walls, targets and other objects in the virtual world and create a motion path. Then set the number of shots at the different positions configure special actions like reloading and you're ready to go. In addition to the typical IPSC targets, steel targets and even moving targets are available. There also is a selection of walls, boxes, barrels and grass to beautify the landscape. The range files have the extension *.IPSC and must be located in the folder "IPSCRanges". To every *.IPSC file You can also copy a *.png file of the same name into the folder. This will serve as a preview in the selection menu. For example a screenshot from the editor (F1 key).

Those who wont like to build ranges by themselfs will find a small collection already integrated in ARES.


One target turns repeatedly for three seconds to the player, whereby exactly one shot may be fired at the target in each case. Instead of turning the target, the release can also be signalled by a traffic light.

Duelling Tree

A Game for two players. If a player hits an target on his side it flips to the oppents side. The first one with no targets on his side wins.


Screenshot Dosenschießen Two Players shot a ball against a wall alternately. The colour of the ball indicates which players turn it is. If the ball is missed until it reaches the front of the room the round is lost and the opponent scores. After a configurable number of rounds the player with the highest score wins.

Tin can alley

Screenshot Dosenschießen The player has to shoot cans and bottles from a fence as fast as possible. In this game a physics engine is used, which ensures that the cans and broken bottles fall in a realistic manner.


Screenshot Fallscheiben The player has a maximum of 8 shots and has to hit 5 targets as fast as possible. The acoustic start signal sounds at a random point in time. This game tests the player’s reactions to the highest level. The size of the targets is variable.


The player has 15 seconds in order to hit as many targets as possible. Only one target appears at a time. If this is hit, another target appears in a random position. In this game several types of target can be chosen and one’s own targets can also be used. For this purpose a 3D-model of the target in the *.MDL file format has to be copied into the folder “KlappscheibenZiele”.

Clay Piegeons

In each turn two clay piegons are launched and the player has two shots out of a shotgun to hit them. The number of turns ist adjustable as is the scattering of the gun (choke). The bullets are simulated physically correct so scattering and time to hit increase with the distance. Hence, all these factors must be taken into account to achieve a perfect hit.


Much like the Plates game there a 5 targets taht must be hit as fast as possible. In the single-mode there are 5 cartridges available. In the relay mode there are 8 cartridges but every one after the first 5 must be loaded manually.


In this game targets appear in random positions and disappear again after a short time period. The player has to hit these targets before they disappear. The faster the player hits a target, the more points are received. The game contains different levels. The higher the level, the more targets appear at the same time. If the player misses 3 targets, the game is over.

Friend Foe

Screenshot FreundFeind-Schießspiel In a grid 24 targets appear, 12 red-white ones and 12 red-black ones. The player has to hit all 12 white targets as fast as possible. If a black one is hit, a 5-second time penalty is added to the total time. The game is over when the player has hit all 12 white targets in all four stages.

Video shooting

Videos in mpg, avi and wmv format can be used. For this purpose they have to be copied into the folder “Videos” in the program directory. After each shot the video is halted and the hit position is marked. Then the video can be continued or started again. It is also possible to automatically continiue after a short pause. To simulate distances a delay between the shot and the stoppig of the video can be set. A handy dialoge calcualtes the delay times accoding to the muzzle velocity and the distance.
Unfortunately videos cannot be supplied due to copyright issues. If you have good free videos you want to share, you can give them to us then we will place them at everybody’s disposal.

Single target

Simple target as you can find them an any shooting range. The number of shots per round is adjustable. Besides the targets packed in ARES it is possible to use any BMP-, PNG- or TGA-File. Therefore the file has to be copied in the folder named "Zielscheiben". For counting the score a second image file of the same type can be copied into the folder. The phrase "SCORE" has to be added to the filename of this second file. ARES then automatically matches the two files. In the score image the red color channel is used to determine how which score is awarded on which area of the target. A color value of 1 in the red channel leads to 0.1 points so a value of 100 will lead to ten points. The other color channels are not interpreted and can be used to make the areas distinguishable for the viewer.

Mouse simulation

In this mode the ARES technology is used in order to control the mouse in Windows. Programs scripts and websites can be started directly from ARES. It is also possible to pass paramters to these programs and scripts. Therefore one can modify the file "MouseSimGames.txt" to add programs/scripts/websites to the selction.
Every detected shot moves the mouse to the corresponding position and performs a left click. To achieve reloading neccessary in some games it is also possible to simulate right clicks and keystrokes after an adjustible number of shots.

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