Recently I posted video of my 1979 Heathkit Digital Dice Tower to a group of fellow tabletop RPG gamers on another social media site. Someone replied to the posting, "My blind wife would love this. A real shame they don't make anything like this more compact."
I had already thought of building a voice only version without the display. I was impressed with the quality of the voice that my Heathkit dice tower produced. But, I hadn't considered how much someone who is visually impaired would really appreciate something that generates randomized dice results and reports the results audibly. I was immediately inspired and committed to building an audible dice tower for a fellow D&D'er.
So, I re-thought the requirements of the original digital dice towers and came up with this list.
- Visual display not required
- Must provide audible output of the "dice roll" results
- The interface should be simple to use with decent tactile and possibly audible feedback
- The device should be battery powered. Plug in cords are cumbersome
- The case should be easy to transport or hold and shouldn't have sharp edges or corners common with sheet metal enclosures
- Could be handheld or tabletop depending on user preference
- Tabletop model should minimize footprint
- Handheld model should be easy to hold in one hand and operate with the other
- It must be cool. If you play D&D or other tabletop RPG's, you'll know that everyone loves to have their own unique dice. There's a number of companies and individuals making all kinds of colorful dice. The options are colorful, unique, elegant, classic, brilliant, shiny, and/or sparkly. This should be no different
This project documents my first effort to make an audible only dice tower. For this one, I decided on a tabletop design. For cool factor, it re-uses the case from a 60's-70's Sears Silvertone radio.
It will re-use a simple interface I built in a previous project not documented here on Hackaday. A single 5 way "joystick like" switch is used for all input. Pushing left-right on the stick will select the dice type. Pushing forward-back on the stick will select the dice count. And, pressing straight down on the stick will roll the dice and report the result.
Here's a video of it in action as it exists today.
It's time to start building, look for my update logs in the near future...