The use of Agents with mIRC.

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mIRC now supports Microsoft Agent, through scripting and with some prefab options, if you have it installed on your system. An agent is an animated character that can speak text and perform actions. With a little fiddling and tweaking you will be able to have this agent speak to you, warn you about things happening on IRC, and even read-up entire discussions to you!

Note: The built-in Agent options dialog (/File/Options/Sounds/Agents/) in mIRC will only be visible if Agent is already installed on your system.

If you have any problems with the instructions below you can visit Microsoft's Agent page or, for more technical details, the Introduction to Agent website. And do not forget to explore the mIRC helpfile! All mIRC's Agent related commands are explained in there.

Downloading and Installing Microsoft Agent.

Step 1. Go to the Microsoft Agent Downloads page and download and install the MSagent.exe with the core components of Microsoft Agent 2.0 (391K). The installation of this MSagent.exe installer file goes very quickly. Do not worry if you see no obvious results! It places various DLL's on your PC (in the c:\windows\Msagent\ directory) and integrates MS Agent with your system. Note that Windows 2000 and Windows Me users can skip this step. The core components are already installed by default on Windows 2000 and Windows ME.

Step 2. From the Microsoft Agent Downloads page download one or more character files. Choose from Genie, Merlin, Robby or Peedy. Peedy the Parrot seems to be rather popular but also is the largest; 3.3 MB! Install the character(s) on your PC. Again this goes quickly. You will just see some new file(s) in the c:\windows\Msagent\Chars\ directory.

    Lets do some testing..
    You should already be able to test some things! Peedy can not really speak your texts yet - you need a Text-to-Speech engine for that - but you can activate it, (or other characters) and have it 'think' things. Assuming you have downloaded peedy try the following commands;

    /gload peedy peedy.acs This command will load Peedy in the background and make it ready to listen to you. You will see a little parrot icon in the system tray. Make sure to specify the character file with the gload command (peedy.acs for Peedy, genie.acs for Genie, etc.)

    /gshow peedy This will show Peedy to you... it will make its own movements as long as you dont tell it to do other things. Us the /ghide peedy command to hide Peedy.

    /gtalk -k peedy <text> With this command you can make Peedy to think texts. Try it!

    /gtalk -w peedy <wavefile.wav> <text> With this command you can make Peedy to sing a song (if you have a .wav file) to you! You can also have it think at the same time.

    /gunload peedy Use this command to unload Peedy.

Step 3. From the download page download and install a Text-to-Speech engine. The Lernout & Hauspie TruVoice Text-to-Speech (TTS) Engine provides speech output capabilities for Microsoft Agent so you can hear what the characters are saying through your sound speakers. We downloaded the Lernout & Hauspie TruVoice Text-to-Speech Engine - English (1MB). Installation takes only seconds.

    Let it speak..
    Now Peedy (or any other character you have) should be able to speak to you! Go for a test of the /gtalk <name> <text> command;

      /gtalk peedy Hello, nice to meet you!

Step 4. Explore mIRC's built-in Agent support. See the /File/Options/Sounds/Agents/ dialog for details.

Isn't this great? I dont think you need more help at this moment? Have fun experimenting with all possibilities the support of Agents in mIRC gives you. A lot more commands for interaction with the characters are available. See the mIRC helpfile for details. You can make the character move, blink, wave, sing, walk, and even perform magic!

What else is there to do....

  • Download more characters from the MS Agent Ring. They offer characters like Oscar the Cat, Max the Dog, Santa and some Aliens!

  • You can download and install a Speech Recognition Engine so you can talk back to the Agent and have it perform certain tasks for you!

  • You can download and install the Speech Control Panel which allows you to view and customize various settings of the agents, speech recognition and text-to-speech engines.

  • You can make your own character! See the Introduction to Agent for all details and for downloading the Character Editor.

    But most of all - have fun on IRC, with mIRC, with Agent!

    Microsoft® is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation, as are Sidewalk and Bookshelf. I bet Lernout & Hauspie® and TruVoice are copyrighted and trademarked as well. Other names of actual companies and products mentioned herein are the trademarks of their respective owners.