Close up of the door panel
the software. Well this has been something of a
project. 36000 lines of C code so far. Not finished yet…
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:
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.
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
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...
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.
I like clocks, so I programmed a chiming clock into the TARDIS, which chimes on the hour and half hour.