Beginnings The Plinth Control Panels Instrumentation Time Rotor Wiring Software

console in situ
Close up of the door panel

Ah yes, the software. Well this has been something of a project. 36000 lines of C code so far. Not finished yet Needless to say the whole software architecture changes frequently (or at least whenever I get around to it). It makes heavy use of DirectX, COM and Winsock, however.

What does it do?

The TARDIS software has several major functions, but is always getting altered:

The TARDIS simulator

Alastair Roberts has a great website about the TARDIS which includes a TARDIS Manual. It describes the controls on the console, and what they're supposed to do, though he doesn't have any diagrams at the moment, so it's a bit difficult to actually pilot the TARDIS with it. I used Alastair's manual as inspiration though I haven't followed it slavishly. There's also some discussion of flight modes, power modes and so on. So I built a simulator which allows you to operate the TARDIS using the controls on the console. The simulator produces suitable sounds and lighting changes and also operates the time rotor and drives the indicator lights and readout displays on the console.

Lighting Control

console in situ
Close up of the drive panel
The console room has three lighting sets  (walls, ceiling, and some hidden red emergency lights) that operate according to the simulator. There are motion detectors in the TARDIS, so the lights and sound-effects can be operated automatically. When someone enters the TARDIS, the lights come on in whatever mode the simulator last used. After the TARDIS has been unoccupied for a few minutes the lights automatically shut off. This is important because with a couple of kilowatts of lighting the room quickly heats up and of course the electricity cost is not negligable either...

Sound Control

I've also put an amplifier and Hi Fi speakers behind the roundels, so I can play music off the computer hard drive under console control. These speakers also provide ambient sound effects such as the TARDIS hum and dematerialization sounds. With some real Hi Fi (rather than PC speakers) this sounds quite impressive. The controls on the console are connected to the console TARDIS software which communicates over my LAN to the computer behind the roundels. That computer runs a sound server which can play sound effects and music through the Hi Fi.

Chiming Clock

I like clocks, so I programmed a chiming clock into the TARDIS, which chimes on the hour and half hour.
emergency lighting
Emergency lighting