Talking Telephone Numbers

As the collection a public payphone numbers grows as part of the Recode the Phone project, every so often I come across the number of an interesting phone box. Here are three interesting numbers that when phoned, almost always guarantee someone to answer. Give them a ring and start a conversation. Port Isaac - Filming location of Doc Martin 01208 880295 Bee box dedicated to Jean Bishop 01482 375202 Phone box converted into Better Call Saul office 01452 740480

Southampton Comic Con

It has always been a wish of mine to make something that's good enough to exhibit and today my Zoltar fortune teller cabinet was shown off to the public at the Southampton Comic Con . Hello to all the lovely people who stopped to chat and have their questions answered by the man Zoltar himself! If you would like to see how my fortune teller cabinet was made, I've been documenting the steps here in Part 1 , Part 2 , Part 3 and the final finish . As this particular comic con had a strong Back to the Future theme, I was in my element, especially seeing as though there were high calibre guests including Bob Gale and Claudia Wells who I was able to met and have a brief chat with. My son Charlie also came along to help and he did a great job of demonstrating the cabinet to passers by, I met so many interesting people today, some of whom were able to offer some really useful suggestions about how to upgrade Zoltar to make him bigger and better. At the end of the day I just love to ta

Telephonic Rabbit Holes

I was invited to chair a panel, as well as talk at an event in Bristol last week. The event in question was DSET , a three day series of talks by military and other armed forces from around the world on the topic of simulation and research development. I was there as someone from outside the military world, talking about one of my projects and making the point that in most cases you don't have to reinvent when it comes to technology, most of the time you can reuse. The video below is a quick summary of my Telephonic Rabbit Holes talk. I spoke about hacking payphones and creating the telephone network  that I've been working on over the past year and a bit. The part I found most enjoyable was once I had explained about the set up, I went on to explore the alternative uses to calling large groups of public payphone numbers. Uses ranging from helping to raise awareness of mental health causes, to adopting it as an early warning/information service, allowing people to get comms out

Zoltar Speaks!

The cabinet is finally finished after months of hard work. Not only has Zoltar been recently stripped down and rebuild to make him safer for public use, he's now sporting a rather impressive beard and turban. He's about the hit the road later this summer, promoting the maker community and to encourage others to create. A video of the final build is below: As my builds get progressively larger, the cost of materials doesn't. I still find it amazing what can be achieved from scrap materials - in Zoltar's case, an old wardrobe, a broken light and a smashed up Furby.

Zoltar Cabinet Update

 Ever since I've been posting updates about my Zoltar cabinet build, interest from people has been steadily growing. There is an opportunity this summer for Zoltar to venture out in public and bring his wise words of wisdom to the masses. Despite weighing a ton, Zoltar is actually really rather delicate and so if he is to be used by members of the public, he needs a complete overhaul to make him more robust and safe. I also took the decision to make his cabinet modular in order to make transporting him easier. This was my original intention at the start but I took a short cut and now having to backtrack on that decision. Have a watch of the video below to see the process I took. The bottom half collects the money. I actually forgot how much of a bodge job I did on the wiring of the coin acceptor, so rewiring the base was time well spent. The top half is where all the animatronics sit and so I added additional supports to the frame to preven it from moving. The main challenge was th

Game Dev Diary - Hnefatafl

I was asked last year to see if an online version of the Viking chess game Hnefatafl could be built with the intention of showcasing it at a local history event. I love this game and if you've never heard of it (I hadn't until a year ago) go search it out. It has proved a difficult challenge but has led me down a familiar and enjoyable rabbit hole, that paved the way for my participation in the Sega game jam last month, in which I achieved third place. Learning the rules was a difficult challenge but soon learnt them, along with some basic tactics and techniques of play. I was able to put a working prototype together but the next challenge came when trying to make it two player over a connection. A few moths down the line, I had a reliable working single player version with rather sketchy two player functionality. The last few months have been busy with work and other projects but over the past few months I've been able to dip into the Hnefatafl build and apply a great dea

Game Jam Results

I had written previous about The Arcade Vaults in Cardiff and the game design competition that they were running with Sega Amusements. After four weeks of development, my game Sticky Gumball was entered and my son and I travelled to Cardiff for the competition results. The best thing about the visit was standing in a room watching people play my game whilst discussing with the players about how it was made and the inspiration behind the idea. At one point it got really competitive between players and it was so nice to see people enjoying my game and the other entries. So to the results! The guy from Sega announced the top three winning games and I was so flattered that Sticky Gumball achieved third place, with my friend Rich being awarded second. First place went to a great game I have played quite a bit already and deserved to win, Ticket Tower . The game dev community there was so welcoming, friendly bunch and I hope to keep conversations flowing. Hello to you! You can play Stick