Each stage in DART Creator can have its own unique target. When we refer to a target in DART Creator, we mean a combination of a target image (the part of the target the shooter sees), a zone image (a separate image of colored zones which the computer uses to identify various scoring areas), scoring values, and sounds – all of which combine to create a target. The Targets menu provides options for loading targets, defining a target’s movement, and other settings.
Clicking the Load button opens a window that will load a target in place of the selected target or add a 2D target to the stage if there are no 2D targets present.
Note: DART comes with more than 100 prebuilt targets, and it is possible to create your own using the Editor options.
In DART, targets can travel along 3D paths. These paths are defined by at least two and as many as ten waypoints. The Path commands allow you to place these waypoints anywhere you like using the mouse and the Navigation Panel. Editing path waypoints happens in real time. This makes it easy to place path waypoints exactly where you need them.
Every target is assigned a default path with two waypoints, but a path can have up to ten waypoints. The waypoint controls allow you to Delete, Add, and select path waypoints. When you select a waypoint, the target position will instantly update to the selected waypoint’s position. Once a waypoint is selected, you can edit its position using the mouse of Navigation panel at the top of the screen.
Deletes the currently selected waypoint. All paths must have at least two waypoints, so when a path has only two waypoints, this option will be inactive.
Adds a new waypoint to the existing path behind the currently selected waypoint. Paths are limited to ten waypoints, so if a path already has ten waypoints, this option will be inactive.
Selects the previous waypoint in the path. If the first waypoint is selected, this option will be inactive.
Selects the next waypoint in the path. If the last waypoint is selected, this option will be inactive.
Clicking the Load Path button will open a window which allows you to load a previously saved path. Loading a path will completely replace the path for the currently selected target. Once you load a path, the name of the path will appear above the Load and Save buttons.
Once a path is created you may want to save it for future use. Clicking the Save Path button will open a window that will allow you to save the current path to disk.
Note: You will notice an asterisk (*) appear next to the path name from time to time. This is an indication that you have made changes to the path since it was last saved. If you think you might want to use the path in other stages and course, you can use the Save Path options to save the path.
Moving a Target
With the Path command active, left-click the mouse on any target to select it. Continue to hold down the mouse button as you move the mouse around. Notice that the Horizontal and Distance values in the Navigation Panel at the top of the screen update in real-time as you move the target around.
Release the mouse button and right-click the mouse on a target. Continue to hold down the mouse button as you move the mouse up and down. Notice that the target now moves up and down. You can move the target as high as 30 feet and as low as 9 feet below the ground.
Continue to hold down the right mouse button and move the mouse wheel. Notice that the target’s rotation value will change. Targets can rotate between 180 and -180 degrees.
By default, the target will rotate in 1-degree increments, but this can be changed with the Snap option in the Navigation Panel.
Click the Snap button on the right side of the Navigation Panel and select Snap to 1 Foot / 5 degrees. Now use your mouse to move the target around the screen. Notice that it jumps in 1-foot increments. Try rotating the target and you will notice that it rotates much more quickly.
You can also use the Navigation Panel to precisely place your target.
Click the numerical value under Horizontal. A gray highlight should appear. Type 5 and press Enter.
Click the numerical value under Distance, type 20 and press Enter.
Finally enter 3 under height and Enter.
In all cases, your target will instantly jump to the new position.
The Navigation Panel appears when the Targets/Path option is selected and can be used to track the position of a target, make precise adjustments to the position of a target, and set snap options which affect how a target is moved when using the mouse.
The Horizontal setting changes the left/right position of path waypoint in feet or yards based on the Snap setting. A value of 0 places the waypoint directly in the center of the screen. Increasing the value will move the waypoint to the right. Decreasing the value will move the waypoint to the left.
Note: It is possible to place the waypoint beyond the visible edge of the screen. This can be useful for starting or ending a target’s movement beyond the vision of the shooter.
The Distance setting changes the distance of a waypoint in feet or yards based on the Snap value. Acceptable distance values are between 3 and 75 feet (1 and 25 yards).
The Height setting changes the height of a waypoint in feet or yards based on the Snap value. A value of 0 places the target on the ground. This is useful for human targets or other targets that should remain anchored to the ground. For most silhouette targets, such as the targets used in qualification courses, a value of 3 feet (1 yard) would place the top of the head at about six feet above the ground. Acceptable height values are between -9 and 30 feet (-3 and 10 yards).
The Rotation setting changes the rotation angle of the target. The default value of 0 faces the target forward as you would see on a typical live-fire range. Acceptable height values are between -179 and 180 degrees.
You can make small changes to any of these settings by clicking the left and right arrows on either side of a specific setting. You can make precise settings, by clicking the number, typing in a new value, and pressing the Enter key.
Once a path has been created with the Path options, Movement options allow you to control the speed of the target along the path. You can also control which areas of the path the target will travel. There are also options for previewing target motion.
Sets the starting position of the target along the path. If your target will not move (meaning Travel Time is set to 0), this will be the fixed position where the target will appear. The slider moves between 0 and 100. This sets the percentage of the path at which the target will start. For example, a value of 50 will start the target in the exact center of the path, while a value of 100 would start the target at the very end of the path.
Sets the end position of the target along the path. If your target will not move, this setting will be ignored. The slider moves between 0 and 100. This sets the percentage of the path at which the target will end. For example, a value of 50 will end the target in the exact center of the path, while a value of 100 would end the target at the very end of the path.
Like most options in DART, the position sliders provide real-time feedback. Simply move the sliders back and forth to see the target move along the path. Also, notice that the yardage indicator in the title constantly updates to show you the target’s distance at the selected ending position.
Tip! Use the position sliders to reverse the direction that a target will travel along a previously designed path by setting the Starting Position to 100 and the Ending Position to 0.
Sets the number of seconds it will take a target to travel the distance set by the Start and End positions. Shorter travel times results in quicker target movement. A setting of 0 will prevent the target from moving.
The Preview options allow you to test the motion of a target or multiple targets while you are working with the motion commands. This is very useful for testing target speed. There are two options: One Target and All Targets.
One Target will only preview the motion of the currently selected target, no matter how many targets are in the scene.
All Targets will preview the motion of all targets in a stage. This allows you to test target interaction.
Target behaviors control what happens to a target when it begins life and defines trigger events that can change the way a target moves and looks throughout the stage. Behaviors offer simple but powerful ways to create realistic and unpredictable target reactions.
Target Start options set the starting behavior of a target. A target may start as Visible, Hold Visible, Hold Invisible, Rotate 90, or Pop Up. Hold Visible and Hold Invisible are special behaviors that will cause a target to remain in place, even if it is assigned motion along a path until a trigger event happens. The hold options work in conjunction with the Release action.
- Visible – the target starts normally.
- Hold Visible – the target will be held in place at its starting position until a Release action is triggered.
- Hold Visible – the target will be held in place at its starting position, but invisible to the shooter, until a Release action is triggered, at which point it will instantly appear.
- Rotate 90 – the target will rotate from a side view to a full-frontal view very quickly. This is similar to some live-fire ranges.
- Pop Up – the target will rotate from the bottom up. This effect is also like some firing ranges where the target seems to pop up from the ground.
A trigger is an event that causes a predetermined action to take place. It can be based on time, distance, shots fired, or when the target reaches a specific waypoint. A simple example might be having a target to fall if it is hit in the bulls-eye twice. In this case, the trigger would be a zone hit (a hit in a specific area of the target), and the action would be to fall down.
Or suppose you wanted a target to stop moving once it was 5 yards away from the shooter. In this case, you could set the trigger to distance of 5 yards and set the action to freeze.
You might not always want a trigger to happen at the same exact moment. By varying the trigger parameter sliders, you can add an element of unpredictability. For example, we can instruct a target to stop moving when it is between 5 and 10 yards from the shooter. The following section describes the five types of behavioral triggers.
The Time trigger includes parameter for Starting Time and Ending Time, which can be set between 0 and 120 seconds. These sliders establish the time period at which the trigger will occur. If both sliders are set the to the same value – for example, 10 – the trigger event will happen precisely 10 seconds after the beginning of the stage (not including instruction and countdown time). However, if the sliders are set to different values – for example, 15 and 30 - the trigger event will happen at a random point between these two times.
Note: The time slider cannot exceed the max time for the stage. For example, if your stage has a time limit of 15 seconds, the maximum value of the time sliders will be 15 seconds.
The Distance trigger uses parameter sliders for Near Distance and Far Distance. These sliders establish the distance from the shooter the target must be to trigger an action. Both sliders have minimum and maximum values between 3 and 25 yards. If both sliders are set the to the same value – for example 10 – the trigger event will happen at the first point the target is 10 yards away from the user. However, if the sliders are set to different values – for example 10 and 25 – the trigger event will happen at a random point between these two distances.
Note: The distance slider cannot exceed the minimum or maximum distance that your target is set to travel. For example, if your target is set to move between 10 and 15 yards, the minimum and maximum distance values will be 10 and 15.
The Any Shot trigger uses parameter sliders for Low Shot Count and High Shot Count, which establish a range for the trigger to occur. Both sliders have values between 1 and 50 shots. If both sliders are set the to the same value – for example 10 – the trigger event will happen as soon as any 10 shots are fired, regardless of whether the shots are hits or misses or any combination. If the sliders are set to different values – for example 10 and 20 – the trigger event will happen at a random point between the 10th and 20th shot.
Note: The shot count sliders cannot exceed the max shots allowed for the stage. For example, if your stage has a time limit of 20 shots allowed, the maximum value of the shot count sliders will be 20.
The Zone Hit trigger sliders are used to specify Shot Count and Target Zone. These two sliders determine how many shots in a specific zone must occur to trigger an action. The Shot Count slider has a value between 1 and 10 shots. The Target Zone slider has a value between 1 and 8 with corresponding color values. If the Shot Count slider is set to 5 and the Target Zone value is set to 3 (Blue), the trigger event will happen as soon as any 3 shots strike the blue zone of the target.
Note: The Shot Count slider cannot exceed the total shots allowed for the stage and the Zone slider only reflects the zones available in the target.
The Waypoint trigger uses parameter sliders for Starting Waypoint and Ending Waypoint. The trigger will occur as soon as the target reaches the waypoint(s) defined by the slider. Both sliders have values between 1 and 10. If the sliders are set the to the same value – for example 2 – the trigger event will happen as soon as the target reaches the second waypoint. If the sliders are set to different values – for example 2 and 5 – the trigger event will happen when the target reaches a random waypoint between the second and fifth waypoints.
Note: The waypoint sliders cannot exceed the number of waypoints in the selected target’s path. For example, if your target’s path has only three waypoints, the maximum value for the Ending Waypoint slider will be 3.
When a trigger condition is met, an action is initiated. There are seven possible actions: None, Freeze, Fall Down, Disappear, Release, Half Speed, and Double Speed.
If None is selected, no action will result although other non-action options may occur as a result of a trigger.
Causes the target to stop where it is and discontinues all further motion.
Rotates the target backward 90° (the opposite of Pop Up).
Causes the target to disappear. Targets which disappear can no longer be shot.
If a target is being held in place by the Hold starting option, this action will release the target and begin its movement along a path. This allows a target’s motion to be delayed.
Causes the target to slow down and travel at half of its designated speed.
Causes the target to speed up and travel at twice its designated speed.
The Change Target button selects an alternate target to display once the trigger condition is met. For example, you may set a target to raise its hands as soon as the first shot is fired. Clicking the Change Target button will open the Load Target dialog that will allow you to open any pre-saved target.
Causes the target to play an audio file once the trigger conditions are met. For example, you may set a target to pull a gun (using the Change Target option) and play a gunshot sound once it reaches a specific waypoint.
The Return Fire option requires an optional hardware device which consists of a laser emitting box and laser detecting belt worn by the shooter. With this option installed, the DART system can “shoot back” at the shooter and is useful for practicing “off the X” and cover drills.
The Return Fire button has two options; Narrow and Wide. Narrow fires a narrow laser burst from the box. Wide fires a wide laser burst from the box.
Target Settings allow you to set target hit requirements that will end one stage and move to the next. For example, you might require two hits to a target’s red zone before moving from one stage to another. In addition, you can add a recoil effect to a target.
Important! These target settings are saved with a course. They are not saved within the target.
DART targets may have up to eight hit zones. These zones are defined by specific colors in a target zone image. The zone selection boxes allow you to specify which target zones the shooter must hit before advancing to the next stage. An image of the target and target zone are shown in the main viewport so that you can easily determine which target zone should be selected. Click a colored box to select the associated target zone.
Zone Hits Required
Once a zone has been selected, move the Zone Hits Required slider to adjust the number of hits that should be made in a particular zone. For example, if you wanted to require two hits to the red zone, you would select the red box and move the slider to 2. Any value between 0 and 10 can be selected. A value of 0 means that no hits are required for that particular zone. The slider value will be shown inside the zone selection boxes.
The Condition button gives you two options for zone hit requirements: All Zones and Any Zone.
If All Zones is selected, all zone hit requirements must be satisfied before advancing to the next stage. This means that if the red zone is set to 2 and the green zone is set to 1, both conditions must be met before advancing.
If Any Zone is selected, any single zone hit requirement will advance the shooter to the next stage. This means that if the red zone is set to 2 and the green zone is set to 1, either two hits to the red or one hit to the green will be enough to advance to the next stage.
Note: All stage requirements; ammo, time, and zone hit requirements operate on a “whichever occurs first” basis. For example, if you have Max Time Allowed set to 10 (seconds) and you require two red zone hits, the stage will end at 10 seconds even if the shooter has not fired a single shot.
The Simulated Recoil slider shifts the target position after each hit. The higher the value, the more the target will move. A setting of zero effectively turns this option off. This is a way of compensating for the lack of recoil in most laser training weapons, forcing the shooter to reacquire the target after each shot.
Note: Even when simulated recoil is used, the target will only move when hit. If a shot misses the target completely, the target will not move.
The Target Editor allows you to change the image and size of a target. These are also the commands you would use when creating your own targets.
The Load Image button opens a window that will load a target image in .PNG format. This is the main target graphic seen by the shooter.
DART targets can be saved in different folders inside the DART Data/Targets directory. Once you select a folder by clicking on it, a list of target images contained in the selected folder appears. Once you select a target image, a preview of the target will be displayed. Click the Load button at the bottom of the dialog window to load the selected target image.
DART uses colored areas called zones to distinguish areas of a target. This allows the system to know the difference between a target’s head and body and allows points to be assigned to different areas of a target. DART targets can have up to eight zones. When DART loads a target image, it automatically loads the corresponding zone image which is the name of the target file with a “z” added to the end. For example, if a target’s name is B-21.png, the corresponding zone image would be B-21z.png.
Note: Creating a completely new target requires the use of a third-party graphics application like Microsoft Paint, or similar program, to draw the target graphics and zone areas. DART can assemble these images into a finished target.
This sets the width (in inches) for the currently loaded target. When the Lock option is on, DART will constrain target sizing so that it always remains proportional. The maximum size of a target is 72 inches (6 feet) in any direction.
Sets the height (in inches) for the currently loaded target. When the Lock option is on, DART will constrain target sizing so that it always remains proportional. The maximum size of a target is 72 inches (6 feet).
Important! The Target Editor settings are saved within the target. Once they are changed, the target must be resaved.
The Target Settings options set the score values and zone hit sounds to be played when a particular zone is hit.
Note: You cannot simulate a course or stage, or preview target motion while the Targets/Settings menu is active.
DART targets can have up to eight zones, each represented by a colored square. Select a zone by clicking one of a colored square. The selected zone will be outlined in a white frame. Once a zone is selected, you can set the score value for shooting the zone to a positive or negative value using the Zone Point Value slider. Once a score is set, it will appear in the zone’s colored square.
Note: Unused zones will have their zone selection boxes grayed out.
Zone Point Value
Sets the point value for the currently selected zone. Point values can vary between -25 and 25 points.
Note: In some DART courses, scoring is based on a percentage of hits. Hits are defined as any shot that results in a score of 1 or higher.
Every zone can have an audio file assigned to it that will play whenever the zone is hit. This is especially useful when shooting targets at long distances where it becomes impossible to see bullet holes in the target. Clicking the Load Audio button will open a dialog window that will allow you to load a sound. The DART system includes more than 100 sounds and you can add your own by placing a .WAV file inside the DART Data/Audio folder. Once a sound file is loaded, it can be removed by clicking the Remove button.
Note: The volume of zone hit audio can be independently adjusted in the DART Range program.
Important! The Points settings are only saved within the target. Once they are changed, the target must be resaved.
The Save button opens a window that allows you to save the current target configuration as a DART target.
Note: Saving a target saves a .tgt file which includes target size and zone point values, and pointers to the target image, zone image, and associated audio files. It does not save information set under the Requirements, Behavior, and Motion command panels. This information is saved when you save a course (.crs) file.