I play live action roleplaying games (LARPs), where myself and the players around me adopt actual physical characters.
I've had a problem in the past where I hold a gun and want to shoot someone, but don't have their attention. Probably trying to shoot them in the back or something. If I shoot them, they have very little way of knowing and don't really have time to reasonably respond. This breaks game immersion, and is a serious problem.
This problem isn't restricted to guns. If I want to punch, shoot, kick, perform spiritual magicks on, slap, or otherwise nonvocally interact with someone when their back is turned, they might not (read: probably won't) get the signal.
Short of shouting at them "Hey, snotface!" to get their attention before shooting them, how can I let them know so they can respond appropriately?
In order to be a successful solution, the signal must:
- consistently telegraph successfully; while some error rate is expected in LARP, the solution needs to work pretty much always. It doesn't make sense and breaks character when people don't respond rationally/logically.
- not break the atmosphere; for instance, no running up to them and whispering "I'm about to shoot you"
- not break character; I can't do anything my character wouldn't, besides basic game mechanics, that would cause me to have to break out of character to execute
- allow for sneaking; it won't do to shout "Hey, snotface!" if I'm trying to sneak around
- allow for selecting one target of many; if a group of people are walking together and I shoot one of them, that person and that person alone needs to know I've shot them
- allow for many people to be aware of the gunfire; imagine the sound of a gunshot, and how others would respond - this needs to be consistent with that
- work on low-tech and low-budget; I don't have access to anything except guns that make a clicky noise (basically cap guns dry firing), so something like paintballs are out. By low-budget, I would like to aim for something reusable (optimally) that's no more than $5-7 per person - if it's not reusable it'd better be pretty dern cheap
This works great if I have their attention and brief eye contact - just point, shoot, and say "bang." But what if you're not paying attention? How do you know that I've shot you?