MS Agent Genie AGTDDE - DDE Interface to Microsoft Agent for ViRC
(By DC-3 Dreams)

Version 2 - Oct-1998
Doc revised - July-1999

MS Agent Peedy AGTDDE - Information about MS Agent Characters

You'll lose out if you don't read this document, especially the Installation part. Be a pro, read the manual!

This program provides a way for applications that can send text strings via DDE to control a Microsoft Agent character, including its text-to-speech capabilites. No support for spoken text recognition and action is provided by this program. It was designed it to be used with the ViRC IRC program, allowing scripts to send channel text to Microsoft Agent Characters for text-to-speech rendering.

There are four default characters normally supplied by Microsoft.
Those are genie, merlin, peedy, and robby.
You've already seen genie and peedy. For the remainder of this demo I'll be using merlin.
Prerequisites
This program is designed to work with Microsoft Agent. Information and download links are available at Microsoft Agent at Microsoft's site. Look for the "Downloads" links. Specifically, you need the Agent server, Agent control, the Lernout & Hauspie TruVoice text-to-speech engine and at least one character. Total download size is about 5 megabytes (including one character file).
NOTE: If you are using an older Windows Platform such as Windows95/98 you will need to download the TruVoice text-to-speech engine and a MS Agent character!
If you are using the newer Windows Platforms such as XP or 2000 the MS Agent system is already included.

Though I have documented a lot of it in the AGTDDE - Feature Reference, I recommend you download the character animation documentation, which describes the various named animation sequences that each character is capable of. You'll also want the description of the embedded text-to-speech control sequences you can include in text to alter its rendering (e.g., speed, pitch, emphasis). Use the HTML samples to validate that you have Agent installed and working.

Installation
Put agtdde.exe anywhere you want.
NOTE: In the ManifoldScript agtdde resides in a special folder of the same name Agtdde
Start it.
NOTE: This has been done for you in the Manifold2006 Script. All you'll need do is click your mouse on the little speaker icon to start or activate MS Agent text to speech.
Click the little speaker icon to activate MS Agent.

When the file selection dialog appears, browse to the location of the character file you want to use
See Graphics Below:
The select message box
You will see this message box. Click it and you will see the box to select character:
When this box opens you will select the MS Agent character
(e.g. peedy.acs or merlin.acs, genie.acs or whatever).

Click OK. An information alert will tell you that you can change the selected character by launching the program with the shift key held down. Next you should see your selected character and it should gesture to you speak a greeting. You can change this greeting, see the next section. That's all there is to installation!

If you want to activate AGTDDE's optional text substitution feature, simply double click on the supplied file lex.reg. This installs a starter set of substitutions into the regsitry. I recommend you do this to use AGTDDE with ViRC.

Agent Server
The Agent Server's icon appears in your system tray when Agent is active. Right click and choose Microsoft Agent Properties to open a property sheet that it very useful. You can turn off the "balloons" for example.

Using the program
Any application that can generate "text poke" transactions with DDE can use this program. Typically the text that is sent to the program will be spoken by the selected Agent character. AGTDDE can make substitutions in the text before it is sent to the Agent for speaking. For example, "http://a.b.c" would normally be spoken "H T T P slash slash A B C". AGTDDE can explicitly convert the ':' to "colon" and '.' to "dot" when not at the end of a sentence or at the end of text, resulting in a naturally spoken URL. The program has an area in the registry where it keeps these substitutions.

In addition text strings can control the Agent character in other ways by using special commands at the beginning of the text. For example you can play defined animations for characters. I have attempted to map much of Agent's COM interface methods into the special commands. In addition, the Microsoft Speech API (SAPI) defines in-text speech modifiers that can alter the rendered speech. Agent uses SAPI, so you can use these modifiers. The following are the program's DDE specifications:

Service:    AGTDDE
Topic: TALK
Item: unused

  1. You must start agtdde.exe before trying to send text to it from ViRC.

  2. In Scripting/Events, open the ChannelMessage event and add a line:

      DDE AGTDDE TALK "" $StrTrim($3-)

Once you've done these, ViRC should speak incoming channel text.
NOTE: This has already been taken care of for you in the ManiFold2006 Script.

Once you have selected the character you wish to use be sure and open the Agtdde sub-folder within your C:\Virc folder.
Be sure and click Lex.reg to install the registry defaults
Click on lex.reg to install the defaults into the windows registry.

NOTE: This has been done for you in the Manifold2006 Script. All you'll need do is click your mouse on the little speaker icon.

Click the little speaker icon to activate MS Agent.

Try Out Microsoft Agent

To make Merlin speak your words, type in something and click the Speak button.

 

Or click one of these other buttons:

Here's what you'll need to use this page:

  1. Windows® 95, Windows 98, Windows Me, Windows NT 4.0 (x86), Windows 2000 or Windows XP operating system
  2. Internet Explorer version 5.0 or later, with security set to permit the execution of ActiveX controls and VBScript.
  3. A Pentium 100 MHz PC (or faster)
  4. At least 16 MB of RAM
  5. Sufficient disk space to install the Microsoft Agent components. You will need 3.1 MB for Peedy and an additional 1.34 MB for the L&H TruVoice Text-To-Speech engine. Microsoft provides free downloads for the MS Agent characters and the TruVoice Text-To-Speech engine.
  6. To hear MS Agent characters speak, Windows XP users may also need to install the Microsoft SAPI 4.0 runtime. SAPI 4.0 is not pre-installed on Windows XP.
  7. A Windows-compatible sound card
  8. A compatible set of speakers


NOTE: If you're using an older version of Windows (95/98) You'll probably need to download and install the VB runtimes library.
You may Download the VB library here.

Be sure and use your Mouse to move the Merlin Character to different locations. Click the Joke and Sing Buttons.
Also type some text in the input box to make Merlin speak what you type.
Have Fun. Enjoy!


You may Download Other Agent Characters Too:
(Click The Link)



For ManifoldScript2006 Extra Features Click Here!