An urban style paintball field.
The best paintball fields are made to convey a mood among its players. Some fields, with dense natural foliage, bunkers, foxholes and climbing trees, offer a great scene for intense competitive sniper play. However, new-age materials and design mentalities like indoor fields with inflatable obstacles better serve the casual beginner who might otherwise never try the sport, giving the game a laser-tag feeling. Safety is also a major consideration. Good planning can limit the chance for visitors to your field being injured and therefore increase profitability and repeat customers. Choosing a theme with options like war reenactments or historical eras will make for a good field just as much as the basic layout.
1. Inflatable obstacles make safe and cheap additions to a field.
Determine your demographic and plan out a theme for your field. Make sure it is appropriate for the kinds of properties you have available. Build an authentic woods field outdoors and an urban combat field indoors for best effect. Bringing in fake foliage can cheapen the game experience. When you are determining your theme, try to play to the strengths of the base location. Draw a layout complete with bunkers, sniper points and plenty of cover. If drawing isn’t your forte, hire an outside contractor to help you with your layout blueprint. Contact your preferred building contractor if you are unsure that you need a higher-quality blueprint than one you’ve drafted. Try to go for a theme. These range from neon laser tag-like layouts to wild west or even World War simulation fields. Having a well-defined theme from the start draws in customers. Be sure to have suitable gear for rent that at least roughly matches your terrain. One major consideration to make right away is how many players your field is intended for. Larger fields can draw more players at a lower rate, and small or medium premium fields are intended for more challenging games at a higher rate. In your design, prepare for some standard scenario games like capture the flag or defenders versus attackers.
2. Make estimates and purchase materials. If you are going for a lot of wood or stone bunkers, add some foam padding to the corners to prevent injury. Heavy foam painted to match the rest of the structure prevents injury while maintaining the authentic combat feel that some players want. With complex builds made from heavy materials you can do much of the work yourself, but it is preferable to bring in a professional building general contractor to assist and direct your efforts. Opting for lightweight inflatable barriers has the upside that it can be easily set up alone. However, the inflation fans for these types of field implements have to be on at all times to keep the course going. They’ll cost money whenever in use. Be sure to build a balance of points for sniping, bunkering up and cover to assault bunkers. During construction, be sure to round off corners and ensure there are no puncture wound hazards. For an outdoor woods field, this would mean pruning trees on the course and regular inspections.
3. After general construction is complete, touch up your design elements. Bring in decor items such as furniture for urban combat landscapes, benches and street signs. For a war reenactment, a mock tank, truck or downed aircraft will add some fantastic authenticity as well as make your field memorable enough to be talked about, drawing in more visitors. For more complicated themes, for example historical eras, consider bringing in a professional designer or period expert.
4. Chances are that as a paintball field builder, you know some potential players. Bring them out and give your field a shakedown run. Observe the game as it unfolds and watch for snags in the layout that cause difficulties in gameplay. Some examples of common pitfalls are uneven flooring for indoor fields and over- or under-lighting in relation to field obstacles. For example, a light right above a sniper nest would seriously hinder the game. Also watch for corners that people seem to be running into unusually often, and avoid tripping hazards in low-light areas. At the end of this shakedown game, ask for the players to critique your field and write down any problems
5. Depending on the number of snags you’ve found in the layout, you may need to bring back your construction contractor for a final renovation. At this stage, add the final accents to your game field as well as a rest area with men’s and women’s washrooms, equipment rental booth and even a snack bar. Adding these extra amenities are key to building a solid customer base and are considered essential parts of any professional paintball field. Optional but helpful are shower and locker rooms; at the very least you should have a change stall for people to suit up in.