Introductory Guide to Customizing WowWee's Mr. Personality RobotPosted by Peter Redmer on Friday, 5 February 2010
Mr. Personality sadly came off the scene as quickly as he came on after he was announced at CES 2008. I've seen quite a few people on our forums here who were quite passionate about this new jokester robot, but then disappointed, as no additional "official" personalities were released. In addition, it didn't seem that there was any "official" way to edit the robot, either.
I'm happy to report that actually, customizing Mr. Personality's sounds and facial expressions is easy, at least on a basic (undocumented) level. This really does open up a lot of opportunities for hacking and customization; although it is a bit tedious, even a simple change is pretty entertaining. Best of all, it DOES NOT involve any extra complicated software beyond the WowWee personality installer.
First, you've got to install the Mr. Personality software from WowWee, which will enable you to download the Max_Simon personality. This happens to be the default (and only) official personality from WowWee, and you'll want to have a backup to edit.
You'll need to install Adobe Air on your system to run the editor, which can be downloaded here. After this is complete, download the editor from here and install on your system.
Download the Max_Simon Personality
Once in the application, click on the download icon to download the personality to your PC. Once the personality is downloaded, rename the file with a .ZIP extension, and remove the .VIVO extension. This will allow you to unzip the personality package and edit the files inside; before you tinker with anything, however, I recommend that you back up another copy in a safe place.
Now, you're in a position to begin customizing your Mr. Personality robot. In essence, it is as simple as replacing the files in this personality with new ones. Open up a directory in the personality and start poking around. You'll see MP3 files, image files, and TXT files. The MP3 files, simply, are the sounds that play when certain events are triggered, e.g., demos, bits, etc. The TXT files contain scripting for the sprite animations and movements (more on that later.)
For my test, I customized the DEMO sound effects. I would recommend that you size whatever MP3 you want to replace the stock sounds with to a small size, as in 500K or less, since that's what seems to be the norm. I'm not sure what would happen with larger or longer files, but I was not able to get it to load a 1 MB MP3 file.
I simply replaced the DEMO01.MP3, DEMO02.MP3, and so on with a music file of the same name.
Load the New Personality into Your Robot
Fortunately, it's just as easy to get the new personality into your bot as it was to replace the sound files. Simply plug a USB cable into the back of his head as shown (he'll make a comment if he's already powered on,) and plug into your PC. I have heard that Mr. Personality cannot be detected by a Mac, but I did not test to verify.
When you plug him in, he'll show up as just a regular removable disk on your PC, enabling you to copy and re-write files as you wish. Of course, you run the risk of potentially messing things up, so be careful :)
Simply copy the modified files from your PC over to Mr. Personality and disconnect. If all went well, you should be able to achieve something similar to my result (I am playing the DEMO feature above.)
There's a lot of opportunities here... not only can you replace all the sounds, but the facial animations as well. If you want a static image, you could simply replace all of the sprites with the same image.
Of course, if you want to take things a step further, you can download android78's Mr. Personality editor (shown above), which will allow you to modify and create the TXT scripts I mentioned above. This will enable you to modify each bit, demo, etc to display the sprites and hand motions you want, in the order you want.
I would love to hear from those who have successfully completed a more detailed/complicated customization, or from those with more experience with the advanced editor. Have fun breathing new life into your Mr. Personality!