Time for some technical details!
Each "player tag" will be a small self powered PCB with a low power MSP430 and a TI CC2500 radio. These radios will broadcast small packets containing some basic information (Tag No., Player name, etc) that can be received by a network of receiver nodes in the field of play. The receiver nodes will again be small battery powered devices with an MSP430 and CC2500 radio. They will listen for nearby player tags, record the received power of each tag and forward this information to the base station. The base station will be a USB device plugged into a computer, again with an MSP430 and a CC2500. The computer will receive the player tag power information from the network of receivers and triangulate the location of each player. It will then plot these locations on a map and post it online for players to view on their smartphones.
So why not use GPS to find player locations? Well there are a few reasons, but I will narrow the list down to two. First, GPS will not always be accurate or available at all in large concrete and metal facilities where many paintball or air-soft games are held. Second, GPS chips on every player tag would add a HUGE expense to this project, especially since we will still need to use radios for wireless communication. Fortunately, since the CC2500 is dirt cheap and high performance, it solves several of our problems.
- Order PCBs, assemble them, debug, debug and debug some more