Information About The Sinden Lightgun

*****Update*****
House Of The Dead: Remake was launched on the PC on April 28th 2023 and I'm pleased to confirm that it does fully work with Sinden Lightgun for a true accurate Lightgun experience and it is fantastic for the project to see new content like this being released.

I grew up playing fantastic Lightgun games such as Duck Hunt, Wild Gunman, Mad Dog Mccree, Virtua Cop, House Of The Dead and Time Crisis.  However sadly we can no longer play these great games because Lightguns don't work directly on modern televisions such as LCD - until now thanks to the Sinden Lightgun.

This project is the first part of a larger ambitious project which is to restore the Lightgun genre by removing the technological blockers.  By supporting this project backers will be contributing to this ambition.  The Sinden Lightgun is not just a new product it is an entire new technology and is the first and only available next generation Lightgun.

 

Currently the only way to play Lightgun games is either to keep a giant CRT television hanging around or use a Wii remote style technology with additional hardware placed around the television (such as a Wii sensor bar).  Unfortunately that still doesn't provide line of sight shooting unless you calibrate.  However every time you move to a different position or angle you need to re-calibrate.  These problems are why we don't see Lightgun games anymore on the major consoles.

This is why I developed the Sinden Lightgun.  It interacts directly with the television and doesn't require additional hardware around the television or any calibration.  It is always accurate even if you change your position.  It has enabled me to play all my favourite classic Lightgun games again in the comfort of my living room on my 50inch LCD television and I may be slightly biased but IT'S BRILLIANT!!!!

 

The project is now at a manufacture and shipping stage with over 20 thousand units shipped to happy customers all around the world.  The Sinden Lightgun has a high quality custom injection moulded ABS shell and a custom production PCB.  It features a high speed 60fps camera, a CPU, USB interface, a trigger, 4 assignable side action buttons, pump action reload, a 4 way D-Pad and offscreen reload.  So far it has driver software for Windows and Linux (including Raspberry Pi) and a very raw prototype Android driver, it is mapped to behave like a physical mouse for easy software compatibility.  Providing the software is compatible (such as Mame) you can use 2 Sinden Lightguns at the same time.  There is an optional recoil upgrade which adds a large solenoid, capacitor and complex innovative solenoid circuit to give that arcade recoil effect without needing any additional power supply.


 

 

My long term goal is to bring back the Lightgun to the masses and get brand new Lightgun games made. Can you imagine playing a brand new Virtua Cop or House Of The Dead made with the Unreal or Unity 3D engines running on the latest hardware? I'd also like to see new official retro consoles made with functioning Lightguns.

 

So how does it work??? It uses smart image recognition with some clever maths and clever software.  The Sinden Lightgun contains a high quality and high speed camera which captures the display screen output and calculates where the user is pointing.  A thin rectangular border is added to the display content which is used as a reference point.  The software receives a captured image frame every 16ms and can calculate the required mouse movement as quick as 1ms.  This gives a similar performance to CRT lightguns.

 

The PC has lots of retail Lightgun games that are available that work with the Sinden Lightgun including some on Steam, as well as hundreds of games that work in emulators and numerous Arcade Dumps.  Please see my youtube channel http://www.youtube.com/sindentechnology for lots of great examples.

Now I couldn't attempt to bring the Lightgun into the 21st century without at least adding some new functionality.  The Sinden Lightgun has experimental 3D tracking.  The Sinden Lightgun can identify what angle you are viewing the television from and also your relative distance.  This means the television can show different content based on your position which gives a 3D effect.   The 3D tracking is at the proof of concept stage but I'm hoping this can develop into something amazing!

I got the chance to give a demonstration to youtuber RetroManCave who published a video on his youtube channel, it has now had over 190k views he also recently did a follow up with the final retail version:


 


Anthony from Linus Tech Tips got in touch with me very early on in the project and was interested in the Sinden Lightgun.  I was scheduled to travel to Canada to meet Anthony and Linus which would have been awesome but unfortunately Corona virus caused all international travel to stop but I was able to send across a sample for them to play with and they had a lot of fun and made a great video too:

 

The Sinden Lightgun as well as PCs also works on the Raspberry Pi.  You can easily build a really good multi-platform Lightgun gaming system using something like a Raspberry Pi 4 and the latest version of RetroPie which is the recommended setup.  The below video is on a Raspberry Pi 3B+ and since then the Raspberry Pi 4 has made things even better.  You can now play House Of The Dead 2 Arcade properly on the Raspberry Pi 4.  The Pi 5 has now been launched and the performance is even better.

If you have an existing Raspberry Pi build it is important to know that generic lightgun support in RetroPie/RetroArch/emulators is constantly evolving so some software might need to be updated for lightguns to work properly.  We have an Raspberry Pi 4 image we recommend using which has the best versions of the RetroPie software and components pre-installed for lightgun support.  Users just need to add their own roms and bios files.

 

As an optional extra upgrade you can add a custom holster to each Sinden Lightgun ordered for attaching to the side of an arcade cabinet.  They are injection moulded black ABS plastic designed to match the exact contours of the Sinden Lightgun.  They can be fitted to either the left or the right hand side and are easily attached with 4 screws.

A second optional upgrade is the Sinden Arcade Foot Pedal.  A custom designed Time Crisis Arcade style foot pedal.  Made from powder coated solid steel.  It is designed to give an Arcade quality look and feel.  This a perfect way to play Time Crisis alongside a Sinden Lightgun.  These will be dispatched separately in their own custom packaging.  It is also possible to use 2 at the same time for supported 2 player games.  More extensive information is available on the Sinden Lightgun website:
https://www.sindenlightgun.com/arcadepedal/

This project is about creating a new Lightgun game playing community.  We have a fantastic and friendly Discord where backers are able to share their ideas and experiences.  Share knowledge and provide support.  I'm really passionate about the fun people can have playing these games.  As a group we do our best to push Lightgun emulation forward including emulator code changes, supplying emulator developers with Lightguns, hassling (in a nice way) emulator devs to improve support and also extensive testing and feedback.  We have an incredible 7500 Discord community members.

 

There are some important things to note before pledging:

The Sinden Lightgun currently only works on Windows and Linux operating systems with some very raw prototype Android support.  I'm always working on further support for the lightgun with other software and hardware.

There is a requirement to add a thin software border around the edge of your display output.  The included software makes this easy if it is compatible with your hardware or you can do this inside of your emulator which is quite easy to do with most of the major emulators such as Mame or emulator front ends like Hyperspin and Retroarch.  We have easy to follow instructions on how to do this and a brilliant Sinden Lightgun wiki for setting up your Lightgun and emulators.   

The Sinden Lightgun does not like bright direct sunlight shining on the television as this can impact performance.

It is recommended to be at least a distance of 1.5 times the display width back from the display to get the full performance of the Sinden Lightgun.

Available Sinden Lightgun colours are black, arcade blue, arcade red and gray.

Sinden Lightgun works on LCD, LED, OLED, Plasma and projector (lamp technology projectors).

We are working on further compatibility with original console hardware.  At the moment it works on PS1 and PS2 via a hardware mod as demonstrated below, but moving into next year (2025) we hope to have a plug and play kit released that works directly on the console, PS2 is likely to launch first, then original Xbox and then PS1:

 
The project is currently at the manufacture and shipping stage.  We have successfully delivered over 20 thousand units all around the world.  The non-recoil version starting shipping in September 2020 and the recoil version in late December 2020.  The Covid 19 pandemic did cause significant problems to our production for mostly 3 reasons, the worldwide shortage with electronic components, the worldwide shipping and transport bottlenecks and also national lockdowns in the UK where the factory is based.  So we did build up a big backlog of orders that took until August 2022 to fully clear.  We are now able to dispatch new orders within roughly 2 weeks from the time of order which is continually reducing and we provide weekly dispatch updates based on order number.
 


Currently we are able to take orders to the UK, USA, Canada, Europe, Israel, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Hong Kong, Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates.  Further international countries should be added in the next few months, sorry for everyone whose country is not on the list.  I'm working really hard to get it available to you too.

Some countries may have customs charges when your order arrives.  USA does not.  Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Israel usually don't but it is a possibility.  EU does not have import duty as the lightgun is made in the UK but VAT/ sales tax is usually charged at your local rate by customs.  In the future we are hoping to distribute from within the EU also to make things easier for our EU customers.  I don't yet have any feedback for South Korea and Japan but no one has mentioned anything.

I have prioritised regular honest updates throughout my post-kickstarter phase and will make sure all future customers are treated with the same respect and care.  Supporting the project is not just about receiving a great Lightgun it is about joining and helping a movement with momentum to make something happen in the game industry.  Your support is needed and much appreciated.

Sinden Lightgun has a high reliability and comes with a 1 year replacement parts warranty.

Thank you for looking at our product.

The Sinden® word mark and logos are registered trademarks owned by Sinden Technology Ltd.