PinPoint for LaserMaze


Click here for Revision Info


A Quick How To List


If using the new PinPoint System, please refer to the instructions pdf. 

Aliases can be used instead of entering a Player Name
Starting and Stopping Games
Add coin slot operation
Align lasers without them switching off
Alter the time before the security auxiliary operates
Control a Fog/Haze machine
Deal with sensors that will not switch on or off
Disable a sensor
Keep a record of games played
Make the maze operate in both directions
Main Menu explanation
Operate in FastTrack mode
Score Monitor set up and graphics
Select background music track(s)
Select Game Event 
Sounds
Switch off background music
Use a separate score display monitor

Please refer to the PDF file Lasermaze_Instructions.pdf available on our downloads page: 

http://www.laserventure.com/downloads-page.htm.


A Brief Intro to New Features


Please always refer to the Revision Information topic when installing a new system.

PinPoint continues to evolve with every new system sold. This brief topic introduces you to new features:
  • Revised and Clarified Card/Tab Index method of controlling how the game works.
  • Blink Mode, introduced early in 2013.
  • Option to change results display to have a black background.
  • Double-Click option (to start a game) added
  • Midway Function introduced late in 2011 and augmented by additional parameters during 2012.
  • Another useful new feature is the Skill Level Tab of an option to set the number of lasers that will be used for any skill level.
  • Language support, added 2011 to include Turkish - French to follow shortly.
  • For details of Revision Information
  • With Revision 1.42, a lot of changes and additions including Monitor Graphics and a Main Menu - please see the  Revision Information topic.

    Important note:

    There were significant changes made into how the system works as of V1.22. Additions to the facilities provided by the system allows an extra eight switch inputs and an extra 8 auxiliary outputs to be controlled.. Please refer to the Revision Information topic and the associated links.




    Overview


    PinPoint is the control program for LaserMaze. LaserMaze uses lasers and sensors to create a maze of laser beams through which players must navigate, without breaking beams, in order to reach their objective. The laser beams are visible because they shine through fog.

    The game can be set up with limits on the time the game plays, and the number of beams that may be broken, with points allocated on the basis of shortest time taken and least number of broken beams. 

    In normal operation the player presses a Start switch, then navigates the maze to press either a Midway switch or a Stop switch, hopefully within the alloted time and without breaking more than the maximum allowed number of laser beams.

    If a Midway switch is placed at the end of the maze instead of a Stop switch, then the player has to navigate the maze back to the start point and then press the Start switch (which doubles as the Stop switch) in order to complete the game. This effectively doubles the length of the game. If 'New Plan at Midway' is checked then the laser beam pattern will change and the return path through the maze will be different. Selecting 'New Plan at Midway' switches the Game Plan selection to AUTO.

    Alternatively, LaserMaze can be set to operate continuously, with broken beams simply prompting an audio warning. System sizes start at 16 lasers. Depending on the level of skill selected, varying numbers of the lasers are energised at any one time. The pattern of lasers selected may be varied manually or automatically, so that the players do not become used to any pattern.

    Operation can be from the Main Window or for ease of operation, from the FastTrack Control Window.

    LaserMaze is a useful and interesting addition to any LaserTag system. Equally, it can be used as a stand-alone game.

    The standard system consists of fourteen pairs of Laser and Sensor modules on heavy duty swivel mountings. Installation and setup are simple, and  two people can install and set up the system in an hour or two.

    Game parameters are stored in c:\windows\pinpoint.ini.


    Laser Safety


    The lasers used in Lasermaze operate in the class 3R. Laser beams in this class exceed the maximum permissible exposure for accidental viewing and can potentially cause eye injuries, but the actual risk of injury following a short, accidental exposure, is still small. The light aversion reflex should protect the user if only viewed momentarily. 

    As soon as a beam is broken, the system switches the laser off. Because of the geometry of the player's head, it is effectively impossible that the initial breaking of the beam will be with the eye.

    After a pre-defined period, the laser will be switched back on again and again, if the beam is broken, it will be switched off.

    Additionally, if the control signal to the laser modules fails, the modules will shut down the lasers themselves.

    In short, provided the system is used as per instruction, it is totally safe. 

    This topic is a summary. For further and more detailed information please read LaserMaze Risk Assessment.pdf, available on our downloads page http://www.laserventure.com/downloads-page.htm.


    Help File


    This help file can be accessed either by clicking the Help switch on the main screen, or by pressing F1 (F10 for Vista users).


    Quick Reference

    This section is for evaluation purposes and does not require the Interface to be connected:
    When you run the program, if it can't find a com port you see a warning message Interface/Com Port!. Ignore the message.
    If the program does find a comport then shortly you will get a warning that the lasers cannot be found. Acknowledge and continue.
    The screen you will normally see is the 'full workings', with the set up tab index at the top right. For on-site operation most use the FastTrack screen. The 'FastTrack -Switch On' switch switches, or use Ctrl+F. If the external Start and Stop switches (and optionally, a MidWay Switch) are connected then the computer does not need to be touched at all. 
    If you check any laser check box at the left of the screen the box will briefly check and then uncheck, because the system is getting no corresponding signal back from the sensor. 
    If you select the SetUp tab and click Align then you will be able to individually select lasers - or you can use the 'All On' and 'All Off' switchs on the SetUp tab. 
    If you click 'Start Game' then you will see the system light groups of lasers. Because there is no sensor response, the lasers will be switched off and you will see the points deducted and the lasers switch off, along with a horn warning. In normal practise the lasers will relight after a predetermined time 
    You can: 
  • set the game parameters via the Game Play Tab 
  • try out the sounds via the Event Sounds Tab 
  • edit Game Plans on the Game Plans Tab



    Hardware


    A LaserMaze system consists of:

    PC  - Any entry-level PC fitted with Windows XP upwards will be suitable.
  • PinPoint is in continuous communication with the Interface unit, and requires all of processing time available. The PC used to run PinPoint must be used solely for that purpose. Install no other program on the PC.

    Interface Unit  

    The Interface is a small buffer unit used to convert to PC RS232/USB levels to RS485. This connects to the LaserMaze component parts.

    Lasers and Sensors The standard system typically has 16 14 pairs of lasers and sensors. A maximum of 32 pairs may be used. The lasers are special modulated types that send a coded signal to their corresponding sensors. This enables the system to be much less sensitive to extraneous light. Set the number of lasers on the Hardware tab.

    LaserMaze PinPoint also uses two control boxes, a Laser Control Box and a Receiver Control Box. This suffices for system up to 16 lasers. For systems having between 17 and 32 lasers, a second pair of control boxes will be required. The control boxes are supplied encoded (via jumpers) for any lasers over 16 and should be connected accordingly.
  • All control boxes should be included in the daisy-chain Interface > group box ..... > ..... group box > Interface
  • Where a large number of green lasers (with their higher power consumption) are used then a higher capacity power supply may be required. If in doubt then please contact LaserVenture.
  • PinPoint has been developed to include many new features and these continue to add to the excitement of the system. Where additional group boxes are used, it may be possible, or even necessary to connect extra switches or auxiliary outputs.

    However, the following rules should be observed:
  • Lighting levels must be low enough that the laser beams can be seen passing through the fog. This normally means that lighting during a game should be nil or at least restricted to low level background illumination.
  • There must be no fluorescent lighting or any other form of discharge lighting. Some UV lighting may be used if mounted so that the light does not affect the sensors.

    Start and Stop switches - If you plan only to play untimed (continuous) games, or to manually oversee the system then these switches will not be needed. They allow players to start a game as they enter the maze and to stop it (for the best points score) as they complete the course. If they do not press the stop switch the game will time out according to the setting in the PinPoint Game Play Tab. Even if Start+Stop switches are fitted at the maze, the game can still be controlled by the switchs in the main window and FastTrack Control window.

    Skill Switches - Provision exist for external Skill switches to be used. Three are required, duplicating the on-screen 'Easy', 'Regular' and 'Hard' options.
  • For the Unit ID's of external skill switches see the Unit IDs topic. In the case of the LaserMaze PinPoint version, switches themselves do not have Unit IDs.



    Interface/Comms Port


    The Interface is able to operate from either a conventional Serial Port (RS232) or from a USB port. Which protocol is used is set internally.

    Serial Port Operation

    Ensure the Interface is set to RS232 operation, select the Hardware tab and click on the desired port. That port # will be saved when you exit the Com Port Window. Nothing else needs to be done.


    USB Operation

    Before connecting the Interface for the first time you must install the USB drivers. For information on how to do this see the Word document USB Installation Quick reference in c:\PinPoint\USB Drivers.

    Run PinPoint and click the Hardware tab, then the Set switch in the Comms box. Make a note of any coms ports existing at that time. Close PinPoint.

    Then connect the Interface. Initially it will make no difference if the Interface is powered up or not. Windows will detect and install the Interface and assign a com port number for it.

    Run PinPoint, click the Hardware tab, then the Set switch in the Comms box and you should see the new com port number elect the Hardware tab and click on the desired port. That port # will be saved when you exit the Com Port Window. Nothing else needs to be done.

    Warning Messages



    Warning Messages


    Interface/Com Port! 

    If you run PinPoint with the Interface disconnected, you will see a warning message Interface/Com Port! Connect the Interface and in a few seconds the Interface will intialise and the warning message will disappear.


    No Hardware Response.

    Reason for this warning are:
  • Interface not powered up
  • Sensors not connected
  • A problem with the cabling
  • A blown fuse in the Interface (caused by a previous cable problem)

    Further Fault-finding tips





    Miscellaneous Tab

  • Multi Player

    Dual and Triple Player Games
  • Laser Colours

    Assigning laser colours to the Lasers and Sensors Box

  • Door

    The Door box allows you to assign Auxiliary #7 to open a door for 6 seconds at the start of a game.
  • Language 

    A limited number of Turkish language entries for a particular customer - now very much out of date!



    Contact LaserVenture


    Laserventure can be contacted as follows:

    email: sales@laserventure.com 

    Telephone (from abroad) +44 1424 883411
    Telephone (from the UK)      01424 883411


    Installation


    Please refer to the correct PDF file available on our downloads page: 

    http://www.laserventure.com/downloads-page.htm.

    For the original serially connected LaserMaze refer to: Lasermaze_Instructions.pdf 
    For the individually wired Lasermaze PinPoin system refer to: LaserMaze_PinPoint_Instructions.pdf

    General notes:
    The play area should ideally be at least 3m (10 feet) wide and at least 5m (17 feet) long. However, this is a recommendation only. Play areas do not have to be a rectangle - you can fit the modules to suit the maze layout that you have planned. For the best subjective effect the laser beams should point back to the start of the game, ie towards the oncoming player.
    LaserMaze is supplied ready to plug in. Apart from fixing the lasers and sensor modules into position, connection takes less than half an hour. Once you have used the 'Align' mode to line up the lasers how you want, the program runs 'Association' to link the lasers to the sensors.
    The PC should be installed in a convenient position. If you want to run LaserMaze as a continuous game then the PC can go into a booth or cupboard, otherwise you may want to take advantage of the score display mode.

    The Interface should be wall-mounted close to the PC. From the Interface, two multicore cables will run to the laser and sensor group boxes or in the case of systems manufactured before Autumn 2010, the individual modules. The Interface is powered via a standard 'hole in the wall' power supply.

    Note:
  • Systems of more than 16 lasers will require two pairs of group boxes
  • Systems with more than 4 green lasers should contact LaserVenture for advice on which is the best way to connect the system.

    The laser and sensor modules are supplied on heavy-duty flexible mounts. These mounts should be firmly secured  to a rigid surface. 

    Once the lasers, sensors, any auxiliary units and the start/stop switches are in placed and connected via the Interface, you are ready to set up the system. In the event that you have any problems, refer to:
  • Sensor Sensitivity
  • Fault-finding
  • Note: PinPoint is in continuous communication with the Interface, and requires all of the processing time available. The PC used to run PinPoint must be used solely for that purpose. Install no other program on the PC. If you have background programs running, including an internet/network connection then Windows handling delays may interfere with the correction of the system.
  • Be sure to have the correct level of fog in the play area.
  • To remove a cable lift the tab on the plug and raise the whole plug slightly - it should then slide out easily.
  • To set Scoreform printing, or to clear previous results, game number etc select the Manage tab.
  • Please be aware of the safety implications when using laser products.
  • Cabling - Do not use excessively long Cat5 cables to connect the Interface and group boxes. Additiobnally, these must always be wired in this order: Interface > Laser Group Box > Receiver Group Box > Interface, ie an unbroken loop.
  • If using a Dual Monitor set-up ensure that the proper video card is fitted to the PC and set up properly.



    Coin Slot


    You can set PinPoint operation for the following coin inputs:
  • 1 - 10 coins per game
  • 2 - 4 games per coin
  • 0 coins = Free Play
  • For older (LaserMaze) systems with individual modules, coin slot operation requires a special version of the switch module connected to a pair of normally open contacts in a coin slot mechanism. If your system is the  Original LaserMaze then the ID of the auxiliary module must be set to a Unit ID of 39 (Switch #8). If you purchased an auxiliary module stating its intended purpose it will probably already be set for you.
  • In the case of the LaserMaze PinPoint version, switches themselves do not have Unit IDs.

    Set the Game Fee on the Manage Tab.

    Connection

    On the PinPoint system the terminals for the coin-mechanism switch contacts are pins 1 and 3 of the 4 pole RJ connector. Looking at the connector as it plugs into the Sensor Group Box, this will be the left-hand and third from the left conductors, usually the black and green conductors. Check that you have connected to the correct conductors. Touching the conductors together will light the input LED (Marked 'Switch 8 - Coin Slot Mech').

    Dealing with multiple coin insertions or spurious switch closures.

    Switch contacts on coin mechanisms can often close and open several times during a coin insertion. This is called contact bounce and can cause spurious 'closed contact' instances and may result in additional credits being awarded.

    PinPoint has automatic coin mech switch debouncing built in in any case, providing one second of 'debouncing'. It may be that the coin mechanism inoput in the Sensor Group Box is required to handle prolonged period of switch closure, because the operator wishes to use more complicated equipment.

    You may set a debounce lockout period of up to 30 seconds via the 'Debounce' box on the Manage Tab.
  • If the system is set to Free Play then the screen will show any coin insertions. However, a switch from Free Play to set a required payment will zero any coins credit.
  • Warning - if the Debounce setting is too high then the system will take too long to respond to multiple coin insertions.



    Switches


    Up to 8 external switche/switches may be connected to the data loop, using the same CAT5 cables as for the laser and sensor modules. The switches may be inserted anywhere in the data loop.

    Note: As of April 2013, the facility now exists for an extra 8 switch inputs and 8 auxiliary outputs. Please see Group Box Firmware and Revision info.

    The switch functions are:
  • Start and Stop
  • Skill Level
  • Midway
  • Coin Slot 

    For Lasermaze PinPoint, the connectors for the switches are clearly marked on the Receiver Group Box, however more recently introduced switches may not have the silk screening added until subsequent productions of the product.

    For the original LaserMaze, with the exception of the CoinSlot function, standard switch modules may be used and the Unit ID set as required (See Unit IDs). The Coin Slot requires a special version switch module, which has extra circuitry to cope with the brief timing of the slot mechanism microswitch.

    How to Connect a Switch

    Switch inputs uses conductors 1 and 3 of an RJ11 lead. The simplest solution is to attach a plug to one end of the cable and then to common the 1st+2nd, 3rd+4th conductors. This provides a little added security in case a cable gets pulled. Generally you can treat the conductors as follows:

    Black=1, Red=2, Green=3, Yellow=4. This will course depend on which way around you have fitted the plug. That is not important. Strip and common the black and red conductors and then the green and yellow conductors. You then have the two commoned conductors to connect to your choice of push-button momentary switch.

    Switch IDs

    Input #1 - Start Switch (Doubles as Stop Switch in two switch operation featuring the Midway Switch function)
    Input #2 - Stop Switch   (Acts as the Midway Switch in two switch operation of the Midway Switch function)
    Input #3 - Easy Switch
    Input #4  - Regular Switch
    Input #5 - Hard Switch
    Input #6 - Midway Switch (In case of three switch Midway Switch operation)


    Sensor Sensitivity


    The sensor modules are factory calibrated for optimum performance. For various reasons, such as the ambient lighting level, once the system is installed, a minor tweak may be necessary on one or more modules. It is necessary to ensure that the sensors are switching properly before attempting the Association process.

    To check that all sensors are switching properly, switch Align (Set Up tab) on and switch all the lasers on and off several times. Any sensors that continue to show the red 'beam present' marker in the lasers and sensors box at the left of the screen even though the laser associated with that sensor has been turned off will need adjusting. Do not attempt any adjustments until the ambient lighting is as it would be when a game is being played in earnest, ie normal operation.

    To do this you will need a small flat of cross blade screwdriver. On the top of the sensor is a small hole and, looking into the hole, you will be able to see the adjustment control. Carefully insert the screwdriver into the control and twist a little (equal to 5 minutes on a clockface). Usually the direction will be counter-clockwise (see note below). Check if the red marker has gone and repeat until it does. Then make a small further adjustment in the same direction. If this does not work, then try adjustments in the opposite direction - perhaps the ambient light level has changed.

    Now check that the laser beam will switch the sensor properly by turning the beam on and off.
  • You may find that a small amount of further adjustment may be required after the system has been fully installed. 
  • The direction which the control is adjusted may vary if the ambient lighting level has changed. When you get to the point of checking the lasers and sensors box for correctly triggered sensors, it is essential that lighting level is as it will be for normal operation, and that should be with minimum lighting, other than UV. Associating the Lasermaze modules will fail if there is excessive ambient lighting.


    Self Test


    A few seconds after PinPoint runs it will perform a self test of all lasers and sensors and report any laser(s) where there is no sensor response.

    You can manually repeat this test by clicking the Test switch on the Set Up tab.


    Card Index


    All the setting up for PinPoint is accomplished using a set of tabs at the top right of the main window. If Password Control is in force then the tabs are disabled and the system must first be unlocked.

    The tabs were re-organised at the start of 2013, allowing more space to be allocated to the various controls. The card index is laid out (currently!) in two rows of six tabs, one row being used for all usual game set up and the other row being used for less frequently used  parameters.

    Whichever tab is selected moves all tabs in that row to the bottom row, placing the tabs in that row nearer the main controls in the window.

    Game Play Two separate tabs A & B set up the values for gameplay.
    Skill Level - This tab enables you to define the number of lasers used at each Skill Level
    Event Sounds The Sounds tab allows you to select and test sound for the various game events such as broken beams.
    Music Playlist allows for the playing of different background MP3 tracks.
    Fog/Haze The Smoke Tab provides variable periodic  control of fog/haze machine output

    Game Plans provides editing for three levels of Game Plans.
    Hardware allows you to set the number of lasers and to select the serial (comms) port.
    Set Up System is used to change the Interface settings and to line up lasers with sensors. Do not use this tab if the system is already set up.
    Manage deals with Password access to Management utilities, and Scoreform printing.
    Language and Monitors allows you to control the image size on a second monitor and will be used, as additional languages are added, to set the displayed language strings.
    Players/Colours - allows you to switch to dual and triple player games and also assign colours in the Lasers And Sensors Box.


    External


    LaserMaze system can be supplied with a coin slot option.
  • The External box is disabled during gameplay.


    FastTrack (Simple) Control


    Ctrl + F opens and closes the FastTrack or 'Simple' Window. In this window the amount of information and controls is kept to a minimum. At the end of a timed game the game results are displayed.
  • The FastTrack Control box is disabled during gameplay.


    Ini File


    Pinpoint operating parameters and music file names are stored in an INI file in the folder c:\windows. When setting up a new system, ensure that the appropriate permissions allow pinpoint to write to that file.


    Auxiliaries


    LaserMaze is available with added features, such as up to eight Auxiliary outputs, supplied either as single channel modules, or as an eight way unit. Auxiliary channels have clean pairs of relay contacts, allowing a variety of other hardware to be connected. Auxiliary operation can be programmed to initiate at differing times during a game, ie at start, finish, broken beam, etc.

    NB - As of Group Box Revision #2, a low voltage supply is added along with the relay contact outputs, so that Solid State Relays can be used to switch higher voltage items of equipment.

    NB2 - Please see notes regarding Group Box Firmware Revision 3.

    Auxiliary outputs are used to drive fog machines, sound and lighting effects.

    The Auxiliary outputs can be manually switched from the main PinPoint window, via the tab index - or you can set up to 6 of them to be switched when events take place. 

    To select which auxiliary output is triggered by any of these events select the Hardware tab. Then select the auxiliary number and the time in seconds that the output is to be switched on for. A setting of zero for either parameter means that the output is unallocated/disabled.


    Notes
  • With the introuction of V1.30 APD, Auxiliary output states are now displayed at the bottom of the main screen, just above the status bar.
  • With version 131APD, the remaining active time for the auxiliary is displayed.
  • Fog/Haze machine output - this is activated in accordance with the settings on the Fog/Haze Tab.


    Game Plan


    When playing games, select any fixed game plan by clicking one of the radio buttons in the Plan box. Alternatively, click Auto and PinPoint will select a fresh game plan at random at the start of each game.
  • When you click the Game Plans Tab, the Lasers and Sensors box will show the currently selected game plan for the selected level. Game Plans can be edited from the Game Plans Tab.
  • The Game Plan box is disabled during gameplay.
  • To edit game plans click the Game plans tab.
  • If you have checked 'Midway ' on the Game Plans tab and have also checked 'New Plan at Midway' then the system will switch to AUTO mode automatically.

    The number of beam patterns available for any system is listed below. Basically an easy game uses 1/4 the number of lasers, a regular game uses 1/2 the number of lasers and a hard game uses 2/3 of the lasers. If you have a smaller system then the number of beam patterns is then limited by this relationship


    Skill Level


    Three levels of groups of Game Plan are provided so that you can easily switch from one skill level to another. The level of skill required is arbitrary and you can set the number of lasers for each level yourself.

    If you use the Create a Full Set option on the Game Plans Tab, PinPoint will allocate a varying number of lasers at each skill level, depending on the settings in the on the Skill Level Tab. Refer to this topic for an explanation of the number of beam patterns that are possible.

    Before starting a game you can change the Skill Level for the new game by selecting an option in the level box.
  • You may use inputs provided on the Receiver Group Box, sited in the arena in order to allow players to set their skill level.
  • The Skill Level box is disabled during gameplay.
  • Skill Level Switches are provided in both Main Screen and FastTrack modes. You can also use Hot Keys.
  • You can program up to 10 games for each of the Skill Levels on the Gameplans Tab.
  • If the Midway Function is being used, you can have the required skill level increase for the player's return journey through the maze. This check box is on the Game Play A Tab.


    Starting and Stopping Games


    Games can be started and stopped in four ways:

    1) From the main window, using the Start and Stop switches
    2) From the Simple Control window, using the Start and Stop switches.
    3) At the maze itself, using push switches at the start and end of the maze.
    4) Using the hot keys (F2 = Start, F4 = Stop).
    5) Note: With Version 1.20 the option require two presses of the Start Button in order to start a game was added to the Game Play B Tab.

    You can enter a Player Name before starting the game. If you do not, one will be entered for you. Alternatively, you can check Use Random Aliases on the Game Play Tab to have a random player name inserted automatically.
  • Additionally games will stop automatically (in timed mode) if the player breaks too many beams or runs out of time.
  • If the LaserMaze is to be used permanently in Untimed mode, then it will probably be a good idea to remove the Maze push switches.
  • Be sure to have the correct level of fog in the play area.
  • Fault-finding tips.
  • To set Scoreform printing, or to clear previous results, game number etc select the Manage tab.
  • If Use Midway is checked (Game Play Tab), then if Stop As Midway on the Game Play Tab is checked, the Stop Switch becomes the Midway Switch and is placed at the end of the maze.The player has to reach and press the Midway Switch, then navigate the maze back to the start point and then press the Start Switch a second time. This effectively doubles the length of the game. 
  • You can change the laser beam pattern at the midway point in order to create a new path for the player to navigate on the return through the maze. To do this check 'New Plan at Midway'.
  • You can make the game harder for players making a return trip through the maze. To do this check 'Harder After Midway'.
  • To have a separate midway switch, connect this to switch input #6 of the Sensor Group Box and check Stop As Midway check box on the Game Play Tab.
  • For more Midway Switch information see this topic.

    Note: In the instruction PDF for setting up the LaserMaze, you are advised to have the laser beams facing towards the player. Obviously you cannot do this if the player can approach from either direction. What can help overall beam brightness is to not have too many beams facing sharply up or down the maze.


    Midway Function


    The Midway Switch option allows you to run the game in bi-directional mode. By using the Midway Function you can effectively double the length of the maze.See the Midway Switch section on the Game Play Tab.

    Check 'Use MidwaySwitch' in the Midway section of the Game Play Tab 

    The Start switch (Receiver Group Box input #1) doubles as the stop switch and the second switch acts as the |Midway switch (Receiver group Box input #2) 

    To explain more > 

    The Start switch (input #1) is located at the beginning of the maze.
    The Stop Switch (input #2) is located at the far end of the maze and performs as the Midway Switch
    Player presses the Start Switch and then negotiates the maze as far as the Midway Switch. He/she presses the Midway Switch and hears the 'TADA' sound (or something else you have selected).

    Player then makes his/her way back through the maze and, if the trip was completed without breaking too many beams or running out of time, presses the Start switch a second time, then hearing a fanfare (or what other sound you have selected)'.
     
    A player who starts the game, then presses the Start switch a second time without having pressed the Midway Switch, will be disqualified from the game and the game will end immediately.
      
    You have the choice of whether you check 'New Plan at Midway in order to change the beam pattern at Midway and moreover you can also choose to make the game harder on the return path (Game Play A Tab) - Harder After Midway).


    Lasers And Sensors Box


    Laser+Sensor Box

    This box, at the left of the main screen, shows the status of the Laser and Sensor Modules.  The colours of the status panels to the right of the laser check boxes indicate the sensor status:

    Grey  = Laser checked 'ON' but beam broken - Relighting period
    Black = Switched on but no response from sensor
    White = Switched off or in Aligning mode
    Red   = Sensor responding OK

    Note - this last colour applies to red lasers. If you use green or blue lasers then you can change how the active laser is displayed.

    Manually Switching Lasers

    If you click any laser check box or the label to its left (Laser # 1 etc) you will switch that laser on. If you are playing a game at the time, then the additional laser(s) will be included in the game.

    If Relight Time is set to a non-zero value then the laser will relight after the beam is broken. If Relight Time is set to zero then the laser will not relight.


    Disabling Sensors

    If you click any sensor ID label (Sensor #1 etc) then that sensor will be disabled. The laser associated with it will operate just as before, but a broken beam will not give rise to a Broken Beam event.

    To re-enable the sensor, click the label once more.


    Double-Click Game Start


    If the Double Click check box on the Game Play B Tab is checked, then two separate clicks of the start button is required. A 2.5 second delay must be allowed when the start button is clicked. On both the main screen and the Fast Track screen the Start buttons text will flash red and black alternately for 2.5 seconds and then when ready for the second operation (to start the game) the button text changes to green.


    Game Play Tabs


    As of February 2013, the original Game Play Tab was split into two separate tabs A and B, to simplify use and access.
  • Game Play A Tab
  • Game Play B Tab

    The Game Play A Tab provides setting for Game Time, Scoring, the new Midway Function and Alias Entry

    The Game Play B Tab determines how scores are displayed, how soon the system relights a laser in the event of a broken beam and introduces the (new in 2013) Blink Mode feature.


    Main Menu


    Version V1.42 saw the introduction of the archetypal Windows Main Menu. Up to this point PinPoint had worked perfectly well with local controls. In successive versions, we may move more controls from the Tab Index to the Main Menu. The Main Menu has the following controls, with their controls listed in order below:

    File

    Exit Ctrl+X

    Credits

    Manual Coin Credit   - Ctrl+C - increase the displayed coins credit by one coin
    Manual Game Credit - Ctrl+G - increase the displayed gamescredit by one game
    Zero All Credits         - Ctrl+Alt+Z - zero all credits

    Game

    Fast Track       - Ctrl+F
    Start Game       - F2
    Stop Game       - F4
    Easy Game      - Ctrl+E
    Regular Game   - Ctrl+R
    Hard Game       - Ctrl+H

    Displays

    PinPoint can implement a remote score monitor as well as the main program. There are two possible modes of display:

    At the PC that is runnng PinPoint - Game Controls and Results
    Remote Score Monitor   - Game Progress and Results

    Toggle Game and Result Displays - Del  

    This will switch between the two modes on each monitor

    Auto Toggle Game and Result Displays  

    This option runs at power up and switches automatically between the two modes every three seconds. To cancel this, click Del - you do not have to uncheck the control

    Utilities

    Suspend Transmission - F10

    This control is only used during the programming of hardware

    Disable Tab Controls

    Check this control to disable the Tab Index and have PinPoint remember this at the next power-up. Remember that the Tab Index is always disabled in any case when a game is playing. If this control is checked then the Tab Index will remain disabled at the end of each game.

    Help

    Help - F8  - As before this open the comprehensive help file
    Revision info - Click this for up to date information on recent revisions






    Game Play B Tab


    Blink Mode 

    This useful new feature provides the facility to turn lasers on and off at pre-determined intervals (range 2 - 10 seconds). If you invoke this feature by checking Use Blink Mode then after an ON period the lasers will all turn off. While the lasers are off, the players have to rely on their ability to stay in position.

    After the OFF period, the lasers relight and the system is once again sensitive to broken beams

    Display Game Results

    This provides the option to display ten games results, listed in the order of:
  • Last 10 players
  • Highest scoring games

    Check Highest 10 Results to list the ten highest scoring players since the last reset. The list of results is cleared at the start of each session and once the number of players has exceeded 10 for the session, earlier results are deleted from the list.

    Black Background Results Display - Check this box to have the results display use a black background. The Remote Score Monitor display uses a black background as a matter of course.

    Relight

    When a beam is broken it extinguishes immediately and the laser switches back on after this preset delay which can be up to a maximum of 10 seconds. This gives players the chance to get out of the way of any beam that they have just broken, and thus they can avoid losing even more points and tries.

    Ignore Any Broken Beams

    You can check this box so that any beam breaks are ignored. Other than the time limitation, this effectively makes for a non-scoring game.

    As checking this box will stop the system generating an event when a beam is broken during a game, this can be useful in certain circumstances, when setting up a system. The check box setting will deliberately be 'forgotten' when PinPoint is shut down, so there is no risk of broken beams being ignored during a later session.

    Double Click - Checking this control will then require two separate clicks of the start button in order to start a game.


    Game Play A Tab


    Game Parameters - In this section you set the:
  • Game Time in seconds, maximum time 10 minutes (600 seconds)
  • Starting Points - These reduce as time passes and beams are broken, and should be tailored to your particular LaserMaze. The Starting Points value can be set in the range 100 to 10000 points in increments of 100 points.
  • Broken Beams (Tries) Allowed - If a player breaks this many beams then the game stops. You may set the system to allow between 0 and 20 broken beams. A zero value means that the game will end on the first broken beam.
  • Deducted For Broken Beam - the number of points a player loses when a beam is broken. The range you can set is 0 - 200 points in steps of 5 points (You can set a zero value, so no points are lost for a broken beam). 
  • Points Deducted Per Elapsed Second - the number of points used per second that the game lasts. This value may be set between 0 and 30 seconds in steps of one second.

    Note: Starting in 2011, the range of points has been extended to allow operators to tailor their system to suit diferent types of player. Take care when assigning values. For instance, too low a value for starting points and too high a points deduction for a broken beam may have the wrong subjective effect.

    Game Play

    Midway Switch Settings 
  • Use Midway Function - Check if you wish to run the game in bi-directional mode.
  • Use Stop Switch As Midway - Check this box to allow the use of the Stop Switch as the Midway switch. In this case the Start Switch doubles as the Stop Switch. If you are using a third switch for the Midway Switch then this box should be unchecked.
  • New Plan at Midway - Check to change the beam pattern for the return trip through the maze if you are using the Midway option.
  • Higher Skill Level After Midway - Check this box to have the game become harder when a player makes their return trip through the maze.

    New Plan at Midway

    This allows you to change the beam pattern at the midway point when the Midway function is invoked.

    Higher Skill Level after  Midway

    This allows you to raise the Skill Level (if possible) at the midway point when the Midway function is invoked.

    Use Random Aliases

    Check Random Aliases - check this to automatically assign an alias to each player. This avoids the need to enter a player name for each game.



    Hardware Tab


    Use this to select:
  • The number of Lasers installed
  • The comms port to be used.
  • The names of the Auxiliaries
  • Any Automatic Auxiliaries
  • Handling Windows system delays

    New controls added as a result of the Group Boxes upgrade to Revision 3.

    Group Box Compatability

    Use Rev 3 Group Boxes - this tells PinPoint to send the correct data to the Group Boxes. If you are upgrading  PinPoint and have equipment supplied before April 2013, then this box should be left unchecked. If in doubt contact LaserVenture.

    Auxiliary B Sequencing - if you have a system with Rev 3 Group Box Firmware then, even if you are doing nothing at all with the spare set of auxiliaries outputs, you can have PinPoint sequence the outputs in rotation. This is intended as a visual aid/check, nothing more - the control should be left unchecked if this 'B' set of auxiliaries are being used in earnest.

    Note - see the Multi/Colours/Door tab if you want to use auxiliary #7 to power a door solenoid at the start of a game

    Laser Period  box This utility has been added so that group box sets supplied after October 2013 can be set to different modulation rates. This is enable development to continue with different makes of laser module. 
  • The 'Send Modulation' box should not be checked if you are running equipment supplied pre-October 2013
  • The 'Send Modulation' box must be checked if you are running hardware with the Group Boxes labelled MOD1013. The '1 millisecond' radio box should be checked and should remain checked unless you are advised didfferently.




    Event Sounds Tab


    An event is something that happens during a game, such as a broken beam, switch press etc.
    This tab allows you to assign sounds to various events. There are three categories of sound:

    Control Items
  • Sound to be played when Easy mode is selected
  • Sound to be played when Regular mode is selected
  • Sound to be played when Hard mode is selected
  • Sound to be played on coin insertion

    Game Events
  • Sound to be played at game start
  • Laser - Sound to be played when a beam is broken
  • Midway - Sound to be played if there is a Midway switch and it has been pressed
  • Stop - Sound to be played on successful completion of game
  • Terminated - Sound to be played when game is stopped because of time running out or too many beams being broken

    On the Event Sounds Tab you can browse, select, listen to and save the event sounds you desire.

    PinPoint comes with a library of WAV files,  stored in the c:\PinPoint\sounds\wav files folder. You can browse to and select any other wave file(s) you wish, but for the sake of conformity, we suggest that they are stored in the sounds folder.



    Game Plans Tab


    You can write up to 10 Game Plans for each of the three Skill levels. To do this, click the Game Plans tab, select the skill level that you want to edit and use the top right hand up/down switches to change the Game Plan number. 
  • Remember to save each Game Plan after editing by clicking the Save Current Game Plan switch.#

    Maximum Games Per Skill Level This feature was removed with version 131APD.

    Only set Max Games to the number of games you wish to create. If you wished, then you could have a value of games (or even one!) at any level.

    Always Use - You may wish that every Auto game always uses one or more lasers. To ensure that certain lasers are always used select the laser(s) by clicking in the list box at the left of the tab. Selected lasers will then be marked - 'Always use #2' for instance. To unselect any 'Always Use…' laser, simply click that entry once again.

    When new to LaserMaze it is generally best to avoid the use of Always Use lasers as these selections could interfere with the way you would like the game to play.

    Creating GamePlans - The important thing to be first aware of is that you have the option to automatically Create a Full Set of game plans for all three levels. Clicking this button and accepting the dialogue option will overwrite all existing gameplans.

    Manually creating gameplans are simplicity itself. In the Level To Edit box, select the Skill Level you wish to edit. Then, using the top right-hand up/down buttons,  select the gameplan you wish to edit. Then go to the far left side of the screen and, in the Lasers and Sensors column, choose the lasers you want on during that game by checking the appropriate boxes. When you are happy with your choice, Then click Save Current Plan.  You can then proceed to program other games at any Skill Level.

    When are ready to run the games, you can choose the Plan # that you want to run for that game from the PLAN box in the middle of the main window or you can choose Auto which will randomly choose from one of the plans you set up. Once you are familiar with the process you can add up to 10 games per skill level by adding games in the upper right side of the window "Max Easy Games."

     


    Set Up System Tab


    Once the hardware is connected the system can be set up using the various tabs on the set up 'card index' on the top right of the screen. Click the Set Up tab.

    After first checking that the Interface is connected and powered up, 

    1)   -  Click the Hardware tab and make sure that the system set for the number of lasers in your system. If not, then use the Up/Down switchs to change the vale and click Apply to save the new setting.

    2)   -  Click Align Lasers and then All On. The Align mode is necessary to stop the lasers automatically being turned off because the sensors are not reporting a beam being received. If you have not run Association before (ie this is your first setup, and will be indicated by 'Not Assigned' in each of the sensor ID panels), also click the  Match Arrays. switch. 

    All of the check-boxes by the laser IDs should now appear checked and the lasers should light. Since the lasers are not aligned on the sensors the Status indicator panel for each laser will change from white to black. One by one line each laser up with a sensor. You should see status panels change to red, but they will generally not coincide with the laser. When all the lasers are lined up and all the status panels show red, check the sensor sensitivity.
  • Aim the beam as close as possible to the centre of the red sensor module front face. If the beak strike less than about 1 cm from the edge of the housing then operation may not be reliable.

    When you are happy that all the sensors are operating correctly you are ready to perform Association. Check the Association On' check box in the Association group box (top right of the set Up tab).

    When you are ready, click Run Association. This process will take a few seconds, during which you must not touch any controls. At the end of Association the Sensor ID panels will show the sensor that is associated with each laser.

    The system is now ready to run.
  • You can perform a self test on the lasers and sensors from the Set Up tab.
  • Do not change other settings on the Set Up Tab, (Interface Parameters etc) without reference to LaserVenture.
  • The Set Up Tabs are disabled during gameplay
  • Association may not complete correctly if the ambient lighting level is too high. LaserMaze should always be operated with low levels of background lighting.

    Other Set Up Tab Items
  • System Dynamics     Adjusts the Main System Timer which controls the rate at which the hardware is polled.
  • Log File  Writes a log file for diagnostic purposes. The default setting is OFF and this check box should not be left checked as it will generate a vary larger file very quickly. (Removed for version V1.14 - see Revision info)
  • Suspend Tx  Stops data being sent to the modules - Do not check this control! (Removed for version V1.14 - see Revision info)         and reinstated on the Diags sub-window at V1.22. Checking this box stops data being sent out to the Group Boxes, thus enabling firmware upgrades
  • Show Data  Show outgoing/incoming data at the bottom of the Sensor Tab. 
  • Show Licence Show Pay+Play Licence info on main screen. This feature is not currently implemented. (Removed for version V1.14 - see Revision info)
  • Show Missed Displays the number of data packets sent to the hardware, the number received back and the number of missing packets. Thisfeature may be useful in determining whether data is being affected by Windows handling delays. The count reaches a maximum of 1,000,000 and is zeroed at power-up and on a click of this switch.
  • Show Diags  Opens a sub-window which displays data that has been useful during development. This sub-windiow also now includes the Suspend Tx checkbox that was removed for V1.14, and reinstated for V1.22


    ManageTab


    Hints Check Box - If this is checked then a hint relating to the control you have the mouse cursor positioned over will appear in the status bar at the bottom of the program window.

    Game Numbering - You can reset the game number to Game #1 with this switch.

    Score Form Printing - Score Forms are printed Landscape style on A5 media. Click Score Form to print the results of the last game. Click Sample to print a sample form that can be used as a template for pre-printed forms.

    As of Revision V1.39, A5 score form printing option introduced.

    Printer - This box is used to read the page parameters for any connected printer - these values are being used for development purposes. If you experience problems with incorrectly formatted printing of scoreforms, then please read these values and report them to us.


    Auto Score Form - Check this box to have a score form printed automatically at the end of each game.

    Auto Close Display - If checked then the score display panel will close automatically 10 seconds after being displayed. You can close the panel at any time by clicking on it, or by pressing F2 to start another game

    Clear Previous Results - Clears the stored history of the highest scoring players that is displayed on the Score Display.

    Password - Set a password to control access to various game records

    Management - Track games played since last reset - password controlled.

    Zero Played - Zero the count of games played 
    Reset Records - Reset Management Records to current date and time, zero games 
    Clear Previous - Clear the top 5 scores and names

    Game Fee

    This allows you to set the number of coins required to start a game, if you have the coin slot option.

    Debounce - This allows you to set a debounce time to ensure clean operation of the Coin Slot Mechanism.

    Hints - Check this box to have useful hints appear at the bottom left of the program window.



    Results File


    The results of every game is saved to a file called 'Results.txt' in the c:\pinpoint folder.

    If the file does not already exist it is re-created at the end of each game, and marked with the date and time of creation.

    The information saved to the file at the end of each game is:

    Date
    Time
    Player Number (ie the game number)
    Player Name - if one was entered - otherwise this is the same as the Player Number
    Elapsed Time - how long the game lasted.
    Number of Beams broken
    If the game finished prematurely, the reason is given, ie 'Ran Out Of Time', or 'No Midway Press - Disqualified' and so on
    Points - the number of points that the player finished the game with


    Monitors  and LanguageTab


    As of September 2012, this tab has been given a dual purpose - Score Monitor set up and Language Selection

    Score Monitor

    If you have a video card on your PC then you can have a separate score display on a scond monitor.

    The video card set-up need to be set to 'Dual View', rather than to 'Twin Monitor, single Desktop'. This will ensure that Windows messages are positioned correctly on the screen that is used for running and controlling Pinpoint.

    Scores are displayed against a blackground. As of V1.21 (Feb 2013) you can also have the main program results display use a black background. This option is on Game Play B Tab.

    Important Warning:

    Do not attempt to set up a dual monitor system using two separate monitor cards. Always use a dual monitor card that has multiple outputs - (VGA, DVI , HDMI) . Then you can connect the main monitor to VGA and the second monitor to the DVI or HDMI output (must be set as extended in Windows).

    Language

    As of V1.18 PinPoint has Turkish text added to the Results Window. Two characters are not as yet available due to the problems involved having in the program handle Unicode character sets.


    Game Time


    The Game Time is set on the Game Play Tab. A game can be stopped prematurely if wished.

    You can also set PinPoint to play Untimed (continuous) games by checking the Untimed checkbox in the Gameplay section at the bottom right of the main window.


    System Dynamics


    This control, new for V1.12, allows the Main System Timer interval to be changed. This is a trial compensation aimed at eliminating spurious broken beam events when dual monitors are being used. This parameter was previously called 'Settle'. Due to the improved quality of lasers used in the system since 2009, the Settle parameter is no longer required.
  • Increasing the Time Value in System Dynamics slows the response of the system. Therefore, keep the setting as low as possible.

    See this topic regarding a big improvement in system operation


    Tries


    This is the number of beams a player is allowed. If he/she breaks this number of beams then the game stops ahead of time.

    Set the number of broken beams allowed (Tries) on Game Play Tab A. When a beam is broken, points are lost also.


    Points


    A game starts with a preset number of points which is set on the Game Play Tab. As the game progresses points are deducted for:
  • Each second that passes.
  • Each beam that is broken

    The number of points deducted for each of these events is also set on the Game Play Tab.


    Relight Time


    When a player breaks a beam, the beam will immediately be switched off. Assuming that the game does not finish in the meantime, the beam will be relit after a short interval. This is the Relight Time which is set on the Game Play Tab.
  • If a beam is still broken when relighting occurs, then a further broken beam event takes place.
  • If Relight Time is set to zero then lasers will not relight when the beam is broken.


    Hot Keys


    Help    F1
    Start Game   F2
    Stop Game   F4
    Toggle Control Panel/Images F5
    Cycle Images   F6

    Open/Close Simple Window Ctrl+F 
    Quit PinPoint   Ctrl+X

    Easy Skill Level   Ctrl+E
    Regular Skill Level    Ctrl+R
    Hard Skill Level   Ctrl+H

    Close Results Panel                  Delete key or click the panel


    Fault-finding

  • LaserMaze should always be operated with low levels of background lighting.


    Problem    Possible cause

    Interface/Com Port warning  Com port not assigned on Hardware tab
         USB drivers not installed
         Interface not connected
         Bad lead to Interface

    No Hardware Response   Interface not powered up
         Interface not connected to modules
         Suspend Tx checked on Hardware Tab.

    Cannot switch lasers on   Try switching Align Mode ON - try ALL ON/ALL OFF

    Channel shows laser on when off  Sensor module sensitivity setting too high, or excessive ambient light

    No sensor response when laser on Beam not aligned with sensor front
         Sensor module sensitivity setting too low

    Spurious broken beam events  Check for reliable switching of channels using Align ON etc
                                                                is the group box cabling complete and looped round to the Interface?
         Check that no other programs are running
         Check that there is no connection to network/internet
    !!! Have you installed a second (score) monitor? Check that this is done properly - see the warning on the Monitors Tab.


    Security

    (Also see Security Switch Auxiliary)

    Password

    You may set a password to control access to controls in the Management Box (see below). If the password control is activated then all other tabs are disabled.
  • If there is already a password then you must (1) unlock the system (see below) and then (2) type the current password in the top edit box (Password). Do not click [Enter].
  • Enter the new password, up to 5 characters in the New Password edit box and click [Enter]. If you do not wish to have password control, enter nothing and just click [Enter].
  • To unlock controls enter the password in the top edit box and click [Enter].
  • To lock an unlocked system enter the password in the top edit box and click [Enter].

    Note: Passwords can be a combination of letters and digits. Passwords are case sensitive.

    If the system is under password control then the following sections are disabled:

    Manage Tab
    Event Sounds Tab
    Set Up Tab
    Hardware Tab


    Management

    This box shows the number of games played since the last reset. The data is saved in the Windows Registry and is not easily accessible by staff. You can reset the data by clicking Reset Records (Password access).

    If you have never reset then the Games Played value shown will be for games in the current session.



    Missed Packets


    Pinpoint updates data to the lasers 16 times per second and after each update expects returned data from the sensors. Delays caused by Windows doing other jobs can cause the sending of data to be delayed. This in turn can result in the return data not being received before the next send by Pinpoint.

    Such events are seen as  multiple broken beams and consequently the lasers would be turned off. However if Pinpoint sees that no data at all has been received (ie not that just one beam has been broken) then it allows you to set a number of contiguous packets that can be ignored before PinPoint switches off the lasers.
  • The allowable number packets that can be ignored is in the range 0 - 5. You can set this value on the Hardware Tab. Note that this inhibition will only happen if no sensors reply. Accordingly the prompt switching off of lasers during true broken beam events is not comprised. Note also that if data ceases to be received by the laser control hardware then the lasers will be switched of in 200 milliseconds by the hardware.
  • The count of missed packets is reset every time data starts to arrive in good time once more.
  • You can monitor the system performance by clicking the 'Missed' button on the Set Up Tab.



    Music Playlist Tab Tab


    This tab is used to set up a playlist so that different tracks can be played in the background during a game. The playlist may contain up to 20 tracks.

    The playlist is stored (and must remain) in the c:\pinpoint\sounds folder as playlist.txt.
    MP3 files must be located in the folder c:\pinpoint\sounds\mp3 files.

    Browse Files - Select MP3 files for addition to a playlist
    Delete Entry - Delete the currently selected entry in the list box
    Clear All - Clear all entries in the list box
    Save Playlist - Save the playlist

    Use the Play and Stop buttons to play any selected track.

    To play background sounds during a game:

    If Background MP3 is checked on the Game Play Tab then the background track selected on the Event Sounds Tab will be played throughout the game, but will be interrupted by game event sounds. Note that this track does not auto repeat so you should ensure that the track is long enough for the game duration.

    If Random Tracks is checked on the Game Play Tab then a random background track will be selected from the playlist for each game.

    If Pause During Event is checked on the Game Play Tab then the background track will be paused whenever a game event sound is played.



    Smoke/Haze Tab


    Laser beams will not be seen unless there are particles in the air to reflect light from the beam. A low level of fog or haze is required in order for the laser beams to be seen. Always use a good quality machine.

    If there is too much fog then insufficient of the beam will reach the sensor and you will experience false broken beam events during games.

    You may control a Fog/Haze machine from one auxiliary output. The Auxiliary channel to be used for controlling the Fog/Haze machine can be selected on the Hardware Tab.


    Initialise - Parameters for initialising fog levels in the play area.

    Init Delay (m) - The time period in minutes after PinPoint first runs until the initialisation outputting. The delay is to allow time for the fog machine to warm up, if required. The time period is variable, 0 - 20 minutes in 5 minute increments. Set to zero for no initialisation output.

    Init Output for (s) - Duration of fog/haze outputting in 5 second increments, max 120 seconds. Set this period to obtain sufficient fog/haze for game play to start. Set to zero for no initialisation output.

    Skip Delay - If the fog/haze machine is ready for use you can proceed direct to the initial outputting.
  • The time remaining until the first output is shown to the right of the Skip Delay button.


    Periodic Output - Parameters for maintaining fog levels in the play area

    Delay (m) - The time period in minutes between each outputting of fog/haze. Variable in increments of 5 minutes, max 20 minutes

    Output for (s) - Duration of fog/haze outputting in 5 second increments, max 120 seconds.

    Next Output in - Time remaining until next fog/haze output.


    Manual Override

    Output Now - Press and release to manually output fog for the preset period. You can press again at any time to extend the output for a further period.

    Suspend - Check to suspend any outtputing of fog. If The system is outputting when Suspend is checked then outputting will be cancelled. When Suspend is unchecked the controller will continue from the point of suspension.
  • Fog will not be output while a game is playing - the Suspend check box will be checked. The delay count will pause while the game is underway. As soon as the game has finished the delay period will continue to time out. If the system had been about to start a smoke sequence then the smoke sequence will start as soon as the delay has timed out.
  • Once the initial outputting of fog/haze has started you can override with the Manual Override button and the machine will then only output for a further period equal to the Periodic Output.
  • Note that the Smoke/Haze Tab is disabled while a game is playing

    Note: Option to disable smoking during games introduced with Revision V1.39.


    Skill Level Tab


    Number of lasers to use per Skill Level

    Introduced in April 2012 (see Revision Info), these three parameters are important to you getting the best from your system. The number of different combinations (patterns) vary tremendously depending on how many lasers you select for each skill level and the number of actual lasers you have in your system.

    Note: PinPoint cannot/will not display the maximum number of beam combinations possible for a system with more than 24 lasers.

    If your system has a limited number of lasers then the increase in number of beam patterns available following a small addition to the number of laser/receiver pairs is colossal, viz

    Number of Lasers Attainable # Beam Combinations (Patterns)

    8 laser system        70
    10 laser system       252
    12 laser system       924
    14 laser system                     3432
    16 laser system                   12870

    Adding just one extra laser to an 8 laser system increases the number of possible patterns by 80%
    Adding just one extra laser to a 12 laser system increases the number of possible patterns by 85%
  • If you attempt to select all lasers for any skill level, or to reduce the # lasers to just one you will receive a screen warning.
  • Always remember to save any changes by clicking the 'Save' button.
  • You can load a default set of values by clicking the 'Defaults' button. Agreeing to this action will cause a new set of parameters to be loaded and saved.
  • If you have just upgraded PinPoint then arbitrary settings will be applied until you have set your own values.
  • The numbers of combinations per skill level is huge when there are a lot of lasers. This tab now allows for a system having greater than 20 lasers when displaying the possible numer of combinations.






    Aliases


    Aliases are stored in Aliases.txt in c:\pinpoint. The file can be opened for editing with any text editor, such as Notepad. The version of the file that comes with the installation package contains at least 140 aliases. Aliases do not need to be sorted into or entered in alphabetical order. PinPoint will read the first 1000 aliases in the file in to the Play name edit boxes on the Main Window and the Fast Track window

    Manual Selection of Aliases

    Click the drop down button at the right of the Player name entry box on either the Main Window or the Fast Track window to select an alias. Once used, the alias is deleted from both edit boxes. When the number of aliases falls below half of the total number stored in the in the alias file, the whole file will be reloaded into the two edit boxes.

    Random Aliases

    Check Use Random Aliases on the Game Play Tab to use this feature.

    Random Aliases allow you to automatically assign an alias to each player. This avoids the need to enter a player name for each game.

    Saving Aliases

    By each Player name edit box is a Save check box. If checked, then the entry will be saved to the Alias File.
  • If Random Aliases is checked the the player name entry boxes will be disabled and will display 'Random Aliases'. Additionally, the Save check boxes will be disabled
  • The Save check boxes are disabled once an alias has been selected and are re-enabled at game end (if Random Alias) is .not checked


    Revisions

    V142 - October 26 2016 - a moderate revision to add some customers' requests and also to improve appearance and performance.
  • Main Menu added - the Help button and Fast Track button now replaced by menu controls. Of particular interest is the addition of a Revision Info control.
  • The Language tab has been renamed the Score Monitor Tab. Language selection, such as it is, is now on the Miscellaneous Tab.
  • Graphics can now be added to the score monitor - note that to use the score  monitor a dual monitor video is required on the PC. You may now edit images on the two Score Monitor windows (game playing and game over). 24 bit bitmaps must be used - these are easy enough to generate from jpegs. There is a thumbnail display for selected and current images.
  • Also added to the Score Monitor Tab is the option to not display  scores on the main PinPoint screen (ie initial monitor) at game end.
  • You may also now toggle between the gameplay and score screens - Main Menu > Displays. At  the start of a session, pressing Del will toggle to the last  session results.
  • Time elapsed and remaining may be shown on the score monitor with  tenths of a second - this does not apply to the main window.  If rewriting the screen causes a little flickering, an option to  dispense with the display of tenths of a second can be found of the  Score Monitor Tab.
  • There is now the option to not display game results on the main program monitor.
  • On the Score Monitor Game Play screen, at a customer's request, the word 'Tries' has been replaced with 'Breaks'!

    V140 - June 18 2015 - Corrected failure to save game fee
    V139 - March 31 2015
  • Smoking via onboard utility now inhibited during games - this could cause beam break events.
  • Minimum Blink Time reduced to one second.
  • A5 score form printing option introduced.

    V137 - Never issued
    V137 - June 1 2013
    Laser Period  box added to Hardware Tab. This utility has been added so that group box sets supplied after October 2013 can be set to different modulation rates. This is enable development to continue with different makes of laser module. 
  • The 'Send Modulation' box should not be checked if you are running equipment supplied pre-October 2013
  • The 'Send Modulation' box must be checked if you are running hardware with the Group Boxes labelled MOD1013. The '1 millisecond' radio box should be checked and should remain checked unless you are advised didfferently.

    V136 - June 1 2013
    Corrected access violation if INI file missing. Also added reconnection timer to handle removal and re-insertion of USB comms dongle.

    V135 - June 1 2013
    Yellow warning box now displays if no hardware connected or powered up.
    V134 - June 1 2013
    No information released for this extremely minor upgrade
    V133 - June 1 2013
    Option to operate a door solenoid (on Auxiliary output #7) for 6 seconds added at customer's request. See Multi/Colours/Door tab.
    V132APD - June 1 2013
    This new version is ONLY compatible with 'PL' versions of group box software and will apply for use with all group boxes shipped after June 1 2013
    Two minor additions at customer request >
  • Auxiliary Indication - A new box has been added at the bottom of the main window, just above the Status Bar. This shows the status of the auxiliary outputs. When an auxiliary is active appropriate label is highlighted red, showing the time remaining. When the counter times out the auxiliary switches off and the label returns to its standby state. 
  • Shuffle Program Selection - Up to now the 'Auto' button has been disabled for technical reasons. We have added back the functionality. Just below the coin credit box, a message will be displayed after a game starts. This shows the plan number actually playing, or of course the selected plan number, if a plan has been manually selected.
    Other new items:
  • Coloured Lasers - May 2013 saw the introduction of green and blue lasers, the green option at far more reasonable pricing than was previously possible, although blue lasers remain expensive. So that you can see which colour lasers are active a new Colour Editor allows you to display the correct colour for each channel instead of the original 'red only' indicator.
  • Multi-Player Games  - With this version the option is introduced for games with two or even three players. Selection of multi-player games is from the Players/Colour Tab - see also the Multi-player games topic.
  • Group box polling time greatly improved by the introduction of a new data interface. It is now possible for new systems to operate with a poll time as low as 20 milliseconds, a great performance enhancer.
  • Association process speeded up by a factor of four. Not an earth-shattering enhancement but for our test department, the new faster scan rate makes testing a lot quicker!
  • Rolling Display check box added to Diagnostics window. If not checked then the data list box clears every time the box becomes full with data. We feel this enhances readability for engineers. Checking the box provides a rolling display as before.

    V1.30 APD - May 2013 - This version includes drastic changes concerning hardware and firmware. Please read THIS topic.

    V1.22 - April 2013 
  • Numbers of combinations per skill level was affected and thus wrongly displayed when there were more than 20 lasers. Compensation for the enormous number of possible combinations is now clearly indicated.
  • New check box added to the Hardware Tab  to allow for operation with the new Rev 3 group box firmware. DO NOT check this box if using hardware that has Rev 1 or Rev 2 firmware.
  • Minor error, the failure to 'remember' a changed Game Time setting, and various other settings, is corrected.
  • With no change to the hardware the system requires, the Group Box Firmware and PinPoint have now been upgraded to allow an extra 8 switch inputs and an extra 8 auxiliary outputs (Auxiliaries B). To ensure compatability with earlier systems ensure the correct controls on the Hardware Tab are checked/unchecked.
  • PinPoint window size now fixed at the larger size of 1200 x 700 pixels to allow good visibility when used in 1368 x 728 monitors
  • Suspend Tx function reinstated via the Diagnostics sub-window.

    V1.21 - Feb 2013 - Added, for one customer, the option to have the results display with a black background, just as is the case with the remote score monitor.

    V1.20 - Feb 2013 
  • Card Index system and game play set up tabs re-designed and re-organised.
  • Optional new feature to require two separate clicks of the Start Button in order to start a game (Game Play B Tab).
  • Maximum Game Time increased to 10 minutes (Game Play A Tab).
  • Confirmed - you may have the system end a game if just the one beam is broken! See Game Parameters
  • Blink mode is introduced - the lasers can be turned on and off periodically during a game - set this on Game Play B Tab.
     
    V1.19 - Oct 2012 - Minor correction to re-number Auxiliary channels

    V1.18 - Sep 2012

    Turkish language option added. Note that two characters cannot be implemented because this could mean writing Unicode handling for the program and also changing the code page of the target PC. Otherwise, the Results Window, (not the main window controls) displays Turkish only if

    V1.16 May 2012

    Sees the introduction of a useful new feature for systems that use the Midway Function. By checking 'Harder After Midway' on the Game Play Tab, you can make it harder for the player to return though the maze carrying valuables he/she might have stolen! This is something to bear in mind before starting games.

    About New Features topic added to this help file - a useful quick reference.

    V1.15 April 2012

    This revision deals with a small issue that affected Midway Switch operation. Two switch operation in Midway mode (Stop Switch used for Midway position) is now simple to implement.

    The  other changes to the program are
  • The addition of a new check box on the Misc/Skill Tab. This allows you to have the system ignore any broken beams during a game. The switch box setting is not saved, so if the program is closed while the box is checked, there will not be a problem running games when PinPoint next runs.
  • A new and useful feature is the includios on the Misc/Skill Tab of an option to set the number of lasers that will be used for any skill level.

    V1.14 April 2012

    The option to set the number of lasers used at all three Skill Levels is now available on the Misc/Skill Tab.
    Printer PageWidth and PageHeight now available to read from Misc/Skill Tab - development in progress.
    Suspend Tx Check box removed from Set Up Tab to obviate inadvertent setting of this control
    Licence Check box removed from Set Up Tab
    Log File  Check box removed from Set Up Tab
    Set Up Tab re-arranged for neatness

    V1.13 March 2012

    Minor correction allow automatic scaling when using printers with Page Width values of > 2400
    Possibility to load an application Icon added on the Misc/Skill Tab. The icon must conform to Borland specification, ie 16 colours and 32 x 32 pixels.
    V1.12 Sept 2011

    Main System Timer now adjustable in the range 50 - 200 milliseconds via the System Dynamics section on the Set Up Tab. This is a trial compensation aimed at eliminating spurious broken beam events when dual monitors are being used. This parameter was previously called 'Settle'. Due to the improved quality of lasers used in the system since 2009, the Settle parameter is no longer required.

    V1.11 July 2011

    Expanded range for com port listing (hardware tab) so that com ports having IDs above 16 can be displayed. This more easily facilitates the use of USB com ports.

    V1.10 March 2011

    Added Stop As Midway check box on Game Play Tab to allow a third button to be used at midway point.
    When game starts with Use MP3 checked and Random Tracks checked, if there are no tracks loaded into the Music Playlist Tab this would have provoked a 'List Index Out Of Bounds' error. Extra code has been added to avoid the error. 

    As a further step, in order to avoid confusion, sounds are now stored in c:\pinpoint\sounds\mp3 files (Background Tracks)) and c:\pinpoint\sounds\wav files (Event Sounds). If upgrading your system, then it will be necessary to create new folders for your wav and mp3 files and to move the MP3 and WAV files to these new locations. It will be necessary to re-create any playlist, also to re-assign event sounds.

    Important Note: With V 1.10 the initialisation file PinPoint.Ini is no longer stored in the Windows folder. It is now stored in c:\pinpoint. If you are upgrading your system you should copy pinpoint.ini from c:\windwos to c:\pinpoint.

    V1.09 February 2011

    Changes to points settings and number of broken beams allowed - see Game Play Tab topic.

    Facility added to allow the display of up to 10 results, either in rank order or order that the game was played. See the Manage Tab - Display Results.

    Game results are now saved to c:\pinpoint\results.txt.

    V1.08 January 2011

    Added Debounce parameter to Manage Tab. This will force the coin mech  input to be ignored for a period up to 30 seconds. This is in addition  to the system built-in debounce of one second.

    Corrected a small error delay timer on the Smoke/Haze Tab. This resulted in the delay between smoking period being counted in seconds rather than minutes. The Suspend Check box is now disabled during games.



    V1.07 July 2010

    Haze/Fog control added
    Playlist option added
    Random Aliases, Manual Aliases, and Save Aliases added
    Game Fee setting moved to Manage Tab
    Option added to display elapsed time or remaining time
    Option added to pause/not pause Background Track during the playing of a Game Event Sound
    Printers Tab added preparatory for thermal printer addition
    Improvement in dealing with Windows handling delays

    V1.06 

    Skill buttons enabled on Fast Track Screen. 
    Added can now hotkeyskill setting with Ctrl+E/R/GH.
    Set Up Tab added to Password control

    V1.05

    Added 'kerching' on coin insertion
    Zero coins credit if set to free play

    V1.03

    Corrected ListIndex problem, if no dual monitor



    Score Monitor Tab


    Score Monitor Set Up


    Score Monitor Graphics

    Other Score Monitor Tab controls
  • Show Main Monitor Score Display

    Usually, at the end of a game, both the Main and Score monitors will display the results. If you do not want to see this displayed on the main monitor, then check this control
  • Display Tenths of a Second

    This was one of many customer requests, presumably the idea being to add visual excitement. This is fine but the rapid redrawing of the two time fields (elapsed and remaining) might cause some flicker, so we added the option of 'doing it the old way'.


    Score Monitor Graphics


    This new section allows the old black background of the Score Monitor to be replaced by graphics.
    There is provision for selecting graphics for the Game Progress Window and the Results Display.

    The files used should be bitmaps (not jpegs). The bitmap file sizes should be in the region of the Score Monitor resolution. Place the files (preferably) in a folder called 'BitMaps'. These will not become embedded in any way so PinPoint will need to find them when it next runs.

    Use a radio button to select the ocasion when you want the bitmap files used, click Select Image and browse to the location of the file that you wish to use. A Thumbnail of the image will be displayed.

    Click Save Image to store the location of the image. Repeat the same for the second radiobutton option.

    If you do not want an image displayed, simply click the required radio button, clear the edit box and then click Save Image


    Score Monitor Set Up


    There is normally no need to touch this area of the tab as the system auto-senses the moitor screen size. There are two check boxes:
  • System Menu

    In normal operation the Score Monitor display operates full screen, with no border. Checking this control temporarily provides the standard Windows system border etc and allows you to minimise/maximise the window if you wish.

    Note that, when minimised, the icon to reinstate the score monitor window will appear at the boom left of the primary monitor.
  • Override Auto

    Check this box if you want to change the window size temporarily.

    Note - neither of the check box settings are retained when PinPoint is closed.



    Multi Player Games


    This mode is now invoked from the Multi/Colours/Door Tab. Understanding how this system works may take a little time to understand, but you can add a great deal of flexibility to your system

    Important Note > Multiplayer games are only possible when you have more than 16 lasers in your syste, ie when you have two pairs of group boxes.

    For two player games, you need to have two Start switches and two Stop/Midway switches - For three player games, you need to have three Start switches and three Stop/Midway switches 

    Connections

    Start/Stop Switch #1 -  Receiver Group Box #1 (1-16) input 1
    Start/Stop Switch #2 -  Receiver Group Box #1 (1-16) input 6
    Start/Stop  Switch #3 -  Receiver Group Box #1 (1-16) input 7

    Stop/Midway Switch #1 - Receiver Group Box #2 (17-32) input 2
    Stop/Midway Switch #2 - Receiver Group Box #2 (17-32) input 6
    Stop/Midway Switch #3 - Receiver Group Box #2 (17-32) input 7


    Playing games with the Midway function enabled
  • Single players can start a game by pressing any start/stop switch, ie #1, #6, or #7 (Receiver Group Box #1)
  • Twin players have to press (and hold) at least two of the three start/stop switches, ie #1 + #6, #6 + #7, or #1 + #7 in order to start a game
  • In three player games, all three players have to press (and hold) a start/stop switch each in order to start a game
  • Single players can complete a game by pressing any start/stop.
  • Twin players have to press (and hold) at least two of the three start/stop buttons.
  • In three player games, all three players have to press (and hold) a start/stop switch each in  order to complete a game

    Playing games with no Midway function 

    The same rules apply as above in respect of starting a game. Any game, with any number of players can be stopped by pressing the correct number (1, 2 or 3) Stop/Midway switches.


    Colour Editor


    With the recent options of green and blue lasers being added to the system it is helpful to be able to tell which lasers are which. By assigning the correct colours to lasers in the Colour Editor, when a sensor is activated by a beam the status panel in the Lasers And Sensors Box will light red, blue or green according to the colour of the laser.

    On The Players/Colours Tab, select the lasers in turn and click the red, green or blue panel to assign the colour. You can use the up/down control to edit the colour for any laser.

    Save your current selection by clicking the Save button (In any case, changes are saved when you exit PinPoint).


    Laser Colours


    LaserMaze has traditionally been available only with red lasers as the cost of green devices were so prohibitive.

    May 2013 saw the introduction of an option for green and blue lasers. Although the blue lasers are still quite costly, including some green lasers in a system need no confime your artistic tastes!

    Systems can be upgraded to green lasers as funds permit, or even to blue lasers. There are power supply consideration however - always check with LaserVenture quoting your system age and size before expanding your system.

    Operating a dual or triple colour system is aided somewhat by the introduction of the Colour Editor. For information on the PinPoint version that addresses coloured lasers etc see the Revisions Info topic


    V1.30 APD


    V1.30 APD, issued May 2013, heralds a new approach for LaserMaze. For technical reasons we do not plan to completely update this help file. All the information you should need is covered by the various topics - please keep a note of any queries and email us with your questions.

    Important things to note:
  • You cannot use this new version of PinPoint with existing group boxes or with group boxes with Rev 3 firmware. If you wish to take advantage of the new features you must either purchase a new set of group boxes - alternatively, you may return your group boxes for a firmware upgrade for a nominal fee of GBP45
  • To continue using your existing group boxes, ie without a firmware upgrade, you may continue working with PinPoint versions up to V1.22
  • It is unlikely that LaserVenture will add any further enhancements to PinPoint. Shortly, we intend to make available PinPointPL. More details about this program below.

    The following new features apply to V1.30 APD:
  • The system now deals with issues introduced by Windows 7
  • The System Dynamics setting (default 80) which use to sometimes require a higher setting because of Windows 7 issues, can now be reduced as low as 20 milliseconds. This effectively means that PinPoint is now capable of operating at least four times faster than previously
  • All new systems supplied with the APD version of group box firmware provide additional I/O (eight extra switch inputs, 8 additional auxiliary outputs). Some of these new inputs and outputs will be utilitised when PinPointPL becomes available
  • Midway Function - In the light of customer comments and acquired knowledge of how the system is being used, the option for a three switch system (Start - Midway - Stop) has been deleted. Now, if the Midway function is invoked, the Stop switch will act as the Midway switch and the Start switch will both start and stop the game
  • Additional sound functions are included - please see the Sounds Tab.
  • Auxiliary output states are now displayed at the bottom of the main screen, just above the status bar

    Advance information about PinPointPL:
  • Much larger operating window
  • Facility to incorporate background 'wallpaper', company logos etc
  • Blink mode can be implemented for each and/or any channel and the blink on and off rates can be programmed
  • Different sounds can be assigned for any laser beam
  • Just one laser beam can be programmed to be fatal
  • Possibility to play games with one, two or three players at a time
  • More game play parameters added, such as the option to deduct time (as well as points) for a broken beam
  • Option to create up to 20 beam patterns at the three skill levels
  • Option to create up to 99 gameplans. A gameplan will include all game parameters, including, time, price of game, beam pattern etc
  • Language support in English, Turkish (very limited at present), French (being expanded as I write), Spanish (awaiting further customer input)


    Harder After Midway


    If the system is using the Midway Function and this option on the Game Play Tab is checked, along with New Plan at Midway, then where possible the skill level will be raised for the player's return through the maze. 

    An Easy beam pattern will change to a Regular beam pattern
    A Regular beam pattern will change to a Hard beam pattern

    A new box at the bottom of the main window shows the current level of skill as follows:

    No game in progress - 'Game' - 'Standby'
    One directional game in progress - 'Game' and Skill Level
    Bi-Directional Game (before Midway Switch press) -  'Outward Path' and Skill Level
    Bi-Directional Game (after Midway Switch press)    -  'Return Path' and Skill Level




    Group Box Rev 3 Firmware


    LaserMaze has always been expandable up to 32 channels, requiring an additional pair of Group Control Boxes where there are more than 16 channels (lasers). As, up until March 2013, the whole system provided a maximum of 8 switch inputs (for start, stop and skill etc), plus 8 auxiliary outputs, it was always the case that the second pair of group boxes (channels 17-32) had another set of switch inputs and auxiliaries that would never be required, and thus were not handled by PinPoint. Now, all that has changed, with the ability to add in extra features as and wehn required by customers.

    The initial step in this enhamcement of the system required two new check boxes on the Hardware Tab - if you are upgrading your system, ensure that these are checked/unchecked accordingly

    Note - this version is not backwardly compatible with the new system (V1.30 APD).