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Encyclopedia > Light gun
The NES Zapper, Nintendo´s light gun and regarded as the quintessential device of this nature. Shown is the early grey version; the dark grey elements were colored orange in later manufacturing runs due to supposed similarities with real arms.
The NES Zapper, Nintendo´s light gun and regarded as the quintessential device of this nature. Shown is the early grey version; the dark grey elements were colored orange in later manufacturing runs due to supposed similarities with real arms.

A light gun is a pointing device for computers and a control device for arcade and video games. The first light guns appeared in the 1930s, following the development of light-sensing vacuum tubes. It was not long before the technology began appearing in arcade shooting games, beginning with the Seeburg Ray-O-Lite in 1936. These early light gun games used small targets (usually moving) onto which a light-sensing tube was mounted; the player used a gun (usually a rifle) that emitted a beam of light when the trigger was pulled. If the beam struck the target, a "hit" was scored. Modern screen-based light guns work on the opposite principle - the sensor is built into the gun itself, and the on-screen target(s) emit light rather than the gun. The first light gun of this type was used on the MIT Whirlwind computer. Image File history File links NES Zapper File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links NES Zapper File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... An Apple pro mouse A pointing device is any computer hardware component (specifically human interface device) that allows a user to input spatial (ie, continuous and multi-dimensional) data to a computer. ... A BlueGene supercomputer cabinet. ... A controller is a person or device that exercises or attempts to exercise control or influence. ... Centipede by Atari is a typical example of a 1980s era arcade game. ... Four different video game consoles from different generations. ... In electronics, a vacuum tube or (outside North America) thermionic valve or just valve, is a device generally used to amplify, switch or otherwise modify, a signal by controlling the movement of electrons in an evacuated space. ... A video arcade (known as an amusement arcade in the United Kingdom) is a place where people play arcade video games. ... The Seeburg Ray-O-Lite was the first light gun game. ... 1936 (MCMXXXVI) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will take you to calendar). ... The Whirlwind computer was developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. ...


The light gun, and its descendant, the light pen, are now rarely used as computer pointing devices, because of the popularity of the mouse and changes in monitor display technology - traditional light guns can only work with standard CRT monitors. A light pen is a computer input device in the form of a light-sensitive wand used in conjunction with the computers CRT monitor. ... Operating a mechanical 1: Pulling the mouse turns the ball. ... Nineteen inch (48 cm) CRT computer monitor A computer display, monitor or screen is a computer peripheral device capable of showing still or moving images generated by a computer and processed by a graphics card. ... Cathode ray tube employing electromagnetic focus and deflection Cutaway rendering of a color CRT Electron guns Electron beams Focusing coils Deflection coils Anode connection Mask for separating beams for red, green, and blue part of displayed image Phosphor layer with red, green, and blue zones Close-up of the phosphor...

Contents

Light guns in video games

The video game light gun is typically modeled on a ballistic weapon (usually a pistol) and is used for targeting objects on a video screen. With force feedback, the light gun can also simulate the recoil of the weapon. Duck Hunt (NES) gameplay screenshot This is a screenshot of a copyrighted computer game or video game. ... Duck Hunt is a video game for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) game console system in which players use the NES Zapper to shoot ducks on screen for points. ... Ballistics (gr. ... A Browning 9 millimeter Hi-Power Ordnance pistol of the French Navy, 19th century, using a Percussion cap mechanism Derringers were small and easily hidden. ... Haptic means pertaining to the technology of touch. ...


Light guns are very popular in arcade games, but have not caught on as well in the home video game console market after the NES, Master System, MegaDrive, and SNES systems.


Traditional light guns cannot be used on the newer LCD and plasma screens, and have problems with projection screens.


The following are famous example of light guns:

There are also light guns for Sega Saturn, Microsoft Xbox, Atari XEGS, Magnavox Odyssey and several other console and arcade systems. Recent light gun video games include Time Crisis 4, Virtua Cop 3, and The House of the Dead 4. Nintendo Company, Limited (任天堂 or ニンテンドー Nintendō; NASDAQ: NTDOY, TYO: 7974 usually referred to as simply Nintendo, or Big N ) is a multinational corporation founded on September 23, 1889[1] in Kyoto, Japan by Fusajiro Yamauchi to produce handmade hanafuda cards. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... NES redirects here. ... The Sega Light Phaser The Light Phaser was a light gun created for the Sega Master System, modeled after the Zillion gun from the Japanese anime series of the same name. ... The Sega Master System (SMS for short) is an 8-bit cartridge-based gaming console that was manufactured by Sega. ... The Super Scope or the Nintendo Scope in Europe, is the official Super NES light gun. ... The Super Nintendo Entertainment System, also known as Super Nintendo, Super NES or SNES, is a 16-bit video game console released by Nintendo in North America, Brazil, Europe, and Australia. ... Image:Menacer. ... Sega MegaDrive 2 European version with joypad, game cart + box Sega Mega Drive (Japanese: メガドライブ Mega Doraibu) was a 16-bit video game console released by Sega. ... Namco is a company based in Japan, best known for developing video games. ... The Guncon is a light gun peripheral designed by Namco for the PlayStation. ... The Guncon 2 is a light gun developed by Namco for the PS2. ... The Sony PlayStation ) is a video game console of the 32/64-bit era, first produced by Sony Computer Entertainment in the mid-1990s. ... The PlayStation 2 , abbreviated PS2) is Sonys second video game console, the successor to the PlayStation and the predecessor to the PlayStation 3. ... The Sega Dreamcast video game console had several light guns between the years of 2000 and 2003. ... The Dreamcast , code-named Dural, Dricas and Katana during development) is Segas fifth and final video game console and the successor to the Sega Saturn. ... The Magnum Light Phaser Released in 1987, The Magnum Light Phaser was Amstrads last peripheral for the ZX Spectrum. ... The ZX Spectrum is a home computer released in the United Kingdom in 1982 by Sinclair Research Ltd. ... The Commodore 64 is the best-selling single personal computer model of all time. ... The Sega Saturn ) is a 32-bit video game console, first released on November 22, 1994 in Japan, May 11, 1995 in North America and July 8, 1995 in Europe. ... Xbox and a Controller S The Xbox is Microsofts game console, released on November 15, 2001. ... Atari built a series of 8-bit home computers based on the MOS Technology 6502 CPU, starting in 1979. ... The Magnavox Odyssey was the worlds first commercially sold video game console. ... Time Crisis 4 is the fourth installment in Namcos Time Crisis series. ... Virtua Cop 3 is the third game from Segas Virtua Cop franchise. ... The House of the Dead 4 is a light gun arcade game with a horror theme and the fourth installment of the House of the Dead series of video games, developed by Sega. ...


The Wii Remote can be seen as a successor to this technology, and it can be used relatively accurately with CRT, LCD, plasma, and projection screens. Like the NES Zapper, it is "bundled" with the system, but unlike traditional light guns, the Wii Remote serves as a primary controller. If coupled with the Nunchuk attachment, the Wii Remote allows for a potentially seamless union between first-person shooter gameplay and "light gun" implementation. Wii Remote with attached strap The Wii Remote, also nicknamed Wiimote, is the primary controller for Nintendos Wii console. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...


A prototype gun-shaped shell for the Wii Remote was shown at in 2006,[1] which would allow for a more traditional light-gun feel for future games. E³ logo The Electronic Entertainment Expo or E³, commonly known as E3, is an annual trade show for the computer and video games industry presented by the Entertainment Software Association. ... For the Manfred Mann album, see 2006 (album). ...


How light guns work

The "light gun" is so named because it uses light as its method of detecting where on screen the user is targeting. The name leads one to believe that the gun itself emits a beam of light, but in fact most light guns actually receive light through a photodiode in the gun barrel. A photodiode Photodiode closeup A photodiode is a semiconductor diode that functions as a photodetector. ...


There are two versions of this technique that are commonly used, but the concept is the same: when the trigger of the gun is pulled, the screen is blanked out to black, and the diode begins reception. All or part of the screen is painted white in a way that allows the computer to judge where the gun is pointing, based on when the diode detects light. The user of the light gun notices little or nothing, because the period in which the screen is blank is usually only a fraction of a second. According to the theory of persistence of vision, the perceptual processes of the brain or the retina of the human eye retains an image for a brief moment. ...


Sequential targets

The first detection method, used by the Zapper, involves drawing each target sequentially in white light after the screen blacks out. The computer knows that if the diode detects light as it is drawing a square (or after the screen refreshes), that is the target the gun is pointed at. Essentially, the diode tells the computer whether or not you hit something, and for n objects, the sequence of the drawing of the targets tell the computer which target you hit after 1 + ceil(log2(n)) refreshes (one refresh to determine if any target at all was hit and ceil(log2(n)) to do a binary search for the object that was hit). In computer science, binary search or binary chop is a search algorithm for finding a particular value in a linear array, by ruling out half of the data at each step. ...


An interesting side effect of this is that on poorly designed games, often a player can point the gun at a light bulb, pull the trigger and hit the first target every time. Better games account for this either by detecting if all targets appear to match or by displaying a black screen and verifying that no targets match.


Cathode ray timing

The second method, used by the Super Nintendo Entertainment System's Super Scope and computer light pens is more elaborate but more accurate. The Super Nintendo Entertainment System, also known as Super Nintendo, Super NES or SNES (pronounced either as a word or acronym), is a 16-bit video game console released by Nintendo in North America, Brazil, Europe, and Australia. ... The Super Scope or the Nintendo Scope in Europe, is the official Super NES light gun. ... A light pen is a computer input device in the form of a light-sensitive wand used in conjunction with the computers CRT monitor. ...


The trick to this method lies in the nature of the cathode ray tube inside the video monitor. (CRTs were the only affordable TV monitors in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when this method was popularized.) The screen is drawn by a scanning electron beam that travels across the screen starting at the top until it hits the end, and then moves down to update the next line. This is done repeatedly until the entire screen is drawn, and appears instantaneous to the human eye as it is done very quickly. Cathode ray tube employing electromagnetic focus and deflection Cutaway rendering of a color CRT Electron guns Electron beams Focusing coils Deflection coils Anode connection Mask for separating beams for red, green, and blue part of displayed image Phosphor layer with red, green, and blue zones Close-up of the phosphor... 1989 is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... e- redirects here. ...


When the player pulls the trigger, the computer (often assisted by the display circuitry) times how long it takes the electron beam to excite the phosphor at the location at which the gun is pointed. It then calculates the targeted position based on the monitor's horizontal refresh rate (the fixed amount of time it takes the beam to get from the left to right side of the screen). Either the computer provides a time base for the horizontal refresh rate through the controller's connector (as in the Super Scope), or the gun reads the composite video signal through a T-connector on the A/V cable (as in the GunCon 2). Once the computer knows where the gun is pointed, it can tell through collision detection if it coincides with the target or not. A phosphor is a substance that can exhibit the phenomenon of fluorescence (glowing during absorption of radiation of another kind) or phosphorescence (sustained glowing without further stimulus). ... The Guncon 2 is a light gun developed by Namco for the PS2. ...


Many guns of this type (including the Super Scope) ignore red light, as red phosphors have a much slower rate of decay than green or blue phosphors. As a result, some (but not all) games brighten the entire screen somewhat when the trigger is pulled in order to get a more reliable fix on the position.


Display timing is useless with plasma, LCD, and DLP, which refresh all pixels at the same time. Planar Systems plasma display A plasma display panel (PDP) is a type of flat panel display now commonly used for large TV displays (typically above 32). Many tiny cells located between two panels of glass hold an inert mixture of noble gases (neon and xenon). ... Liquid crystal display television (LCD TV) is, as indicated by its name, a television using LCD technology (generally TFT), as opposed to cathode ray or plasma for its visual output. ... The DLP Logo Digital Light Processing (DLP) is a technology used in projectors and video projectors. ...


Combining the methods

Some light guns designed for sequential targeting are not timed precisely enough to get an (X, Y) reading against the video signal, but they can use a combination of the two methods. First the screen is brightened and the response time is measured as in cathode ray timing, but the computer measures only which scanline was hit and not which horizontal pixel was hit. This does not need nearly as fast a timer that pure cathode ray timing uses, on the order of 15 kHz for Y vs. 5 MHz for (X, Y) on a standard resolution display. Then using sequential targets, the game cycles among those targets on the line.


Infrared emitters

A new method was developed to compensate for display technologies other than CRT. It relies on one or several infrared light emitters placed near the screen, and one IR sensor on the muzzle of the gun. When the trigger is pressed, the gun sends the intensity of the IR beam it detects. Since this intensity depends upon both distance and relative angle to the screen, angle sensors are located in the gun. This way a trigonometric equation system is solved, and the muzzle's 3D position relative to the screen is calculated. Then, by projecting the muzzle on the screen with the measured angles the impact point is determined. An early example of this technology (though not using IR) can be seen in the NES Power Glove Accessory, which used three ultrasonic sensors serving the same function as the IR emitters used in some lightguns. Image of two girls in mid-infrared (thermal) light (false color) Infrared (IR) radiation is electromagnetic radiation of a wavelength longer than that of visible light, but shorter than that of radio waves. ... Trigonometry (from the Greek trigonon = three angles and metro = measure) is a branch of mathematics dealing with angles, triangles and trigonometric functions such as sine and cosine. ... In mathematics, simultaneous equations are a set of equations where variables are shared. ... The Power Glove (1989) is a controller accessory for the Nintendo Entertainment System designed by the team of Grant Goddard and Sam Davis for Abrams/Gentile Entertainment, made by Mattel in the United States and PAX in Japan. ...


A simpler variant is commonly used in arcades, where there are no angle detectors but 4 IR sensors. However, this can prove inaccurate when shooting from certain distances and angles, since the calculation of angles and 3D position has a larger margin of error.


Other variants include 3 or more emitters with different infrared wavelengths and the same number of sensors. With this method and proper calibration three or more relative angles are obtained, thus not needing angle detectors to position the gun.


Sometimes, the sensors are placed around the screen and the emitter on the gun, but calculations are similar.


This family of methods are used on Wii and modern arcade systems. See Wii Remote for an example. The Wii (pronounced as the pronoun we, IPA: ) is the fifth home video game console released by Nintendo. ... Centipede by Atari is a typical example of a 1980s era arcade game. ... Wii Remote with attached strap The Wii Remote, also nicknamed Wiimote, is the primary controller for Nintendos Wii console. ...


Multiplayer

A game that uses more than one gun reads both triggers continuously and then, when one player pulls a gun's trigger, the game reads that gun until it knows which object was hit.


Positional guns

Positional guns are fairly common in arcades. A positional gun is a gun mounted to the cabinet on a swivel that allows the player to aim the gun. These are often confused with light guns but work quite differently. These guns may not be removed from the cabinet like the optical counterparts, which are tethered and stored in a mounted holster. They are typically more expensive initially but easier to maintain and repair. Games that use positional guns include Operation Wolf, Silent Scope the arcade version of Resident Evil: Survivor, Space Gun and Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The console ports used light guns. A video arcade (known as an amusement arcade in the United Kingdom) is a place where people play arcade video games. ... This arcade cabinet, containing Centipede, is an upright. ... Operation Wolf is a one-player shooter arcade game by Taito made in 1987. ... Silent Scope is a first person arcade shooter that puts the player in the shoes of sniper during a series of terrorist incidents on United States soil. ... Four different video game consoles from different generations. ... Categories: Stub | Commercial item transport and distribution | Transportation ...


A positional gun is effectively an analog stick that records the position of the gun to determine where the player is aiming. The gun must be calibrated, which usually happens after powering up. Some games have mounted optical guns, such as Exidy's Crossbow. An analog stick from the GameCube game controller An analog stick, sometimes called thumbstick, often mistakenly referred to as a joystick, is an input device for a controller (often a game controller) that is used for two-dimensional input. ... Crossbow was a video arcade game first released by Exidy in 1983. ...


See also

Game controller styles
v  d  e
Dance pad - Gamepad - Joystick - Keyboard - Light gun - Mouse - Paddle - Racing wheel - Touchscreen - Trackball - Remote - Flight yoke

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