Building a clay shoot in Central London

Launched this month (November 2021), an innovative new experience, Clays Bar has arrived in the heart of the City of London.

The food and cocktails alone, are worth the visit but if you can get to London, we think you'll enjoy the fun and games as much, and we're confident that a night of competitive socialising at Clays won't disappoint. We partnered in developing technology for the venue, so whilst it's impossible to be entirely objective, we can highly recommend the place.

Last year, The Imagination Factory was approached by Tom Snellock, CEO of Clays who needed help working out how to track the movement of a shotgun for his new interactive bar concept. Having tested several simulators, Tom found them to be either too expensive or too ‘arcade-like’.

Digital clay target shooting - the challenges faced

The priority was to deliver an authentic experience, which meant utilising real shotguns after they had been decommissioned. That then posed the question:

How do you combine the genuine article - real wood, original gunmetal, etc. - with cutting-edge technology that can produce the experience, yet not the reality of a clay shoot?

The major issue was tracking; we looked at everything from magnetic field sensors to laser solutions to establish what would offer the most credible experience whilst being mindful that replicating the gun action also needed to be part of the solution. The technology going into the guns had to detect when someone pulled the trigger and reloaded whilst sending a signal to the computer running the game.

Digital clay shooting

Gun technology

We developed electronics to send the signal from the trigger, then reload using a secure radio link to the computer. 

To make sure that there was no interference - we couldn’t have groups of people find themselves suddenly competing with other teams - each gun was also set up with a completely separate identity.

We did several stages of make and test to prove the concept would work and then designed how everything would fit into the gun itself.

Motion Capture Tracking

We partnered with Target3D to test the selected tracking technology and Interactual for the development of the final guns. The outcome was a motion capture tracking system similar to that used in filmmaking. 

The end result was a motion capture tracking system similar to that used in filmmaking. The beauty of using this technology was that the game could be developed by PlayerThree in a 3D environment with realistic physics. It’s assured an experience that is totally seamless - the smooth movement of everything in the game takes engagement to a different level.

The end result is a truly unique experience. Players can enjoy these beautiful shotguns using state-of-the-art technology, tracking movements to sub-millimetre accuracy. The precision of the game and realism of the shotgun leaves no room for excuses! We’ve already had a sneaky play ourselves and every one of The Imagination Factory’s team was won over by how realistic the experience was, and all agreed it was ideal for an office night out - so few and far between in the last year or so.

A totally immersive clay target shooting experience

If you would like to know more about The Imagination Factory and the work we do, you can contact us here.


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