Introductory Guide to Customizing WowWee's Mr. Personality Robot

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.

(Kudos to Grandlarseny37 and android78 for their work on customizing Mr. Personality, which contributes heavily to the content in this article.)

Getting Started

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.

Customize!

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.)

What's next?

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!

Comments

Grandlarseny37's picture

I hope this catches on! Thanks for the kudos!

GWJax's picture

Nice work! I just wish I had the MrP to really test it out. I'd love to hear some feed back from others. Also can you provide me with the source code for your program hack? I would love to see how you formatted the program and if you have a flow chart that would be great too.

Thanks for all your hard work on this.

Jax

knobguy's picture

Hello I have contacted Wow Wee several times for help and they are a total joke, I don't think it is a human that responds. I need help with MR.P some how he lost is ability to boot up? All of his files under Max_Simon appear to be there but something is missing that tells his to boot. I already deleted the Max_Simon file and re-downloaded the file again using the Mr.P file organizer program but he is still saying (error loading personality)on the LCD. At this point I would like to ask anyone who would be willing to copy their Max_Simon files to a zip file so I can download a try using a working configuration and maybe I will be in luck and he will boot? I know that this is the same download online from Wow Wee support but it is missing something and I have tried everything else that I could think of. If someone can help please let me know because he is more like the scarecrow on the Wizard of OZ and not Mr. P asking if I only had a brain!!
Thanks, Kenny

robopizza's picture

I am curious if anybody has replaced the graphic files for the facial animations.  My attempts have been only partially successful.  Photoshop seems to only save RLE bitmaps using a monochrome pallette.

Using MSPaint my graphic files work except the robot displays them as if they had a transparency layer.  My animated eye files show but over blue or yellow when I am using a solid color background.  It is odd.

The effect I am working to achieve is a color scheme more organic in regards to the robot's colors (red and grey) of course using the limited pallette of RLE bit depth.

Well, trial and error. 

Cheers

ANDY_XYZ's picture

like member knopguy (Kenny) my robot says only "error loading personality" on lcd,
tryed all i know possible...
download from WowWee Server worked well,
upload from PC to robot memory worked well,
a control view from PC shows all files are there, but robot still don't start,
comes only with that error message.

WowWee contacted but no useful answer in that automatic mail system - just a link to europian represent person but she could not help.

Is there anyboby out there can help ?

ANDY

CELF's picture

como haría para cambiar el idioma del ingles al castellano (español latino) ya que solo lo oigo hablar en ingles

Jonathan.M.L's picture

Query "Error Loading Personality"
Dear greetings, I have a Mr Personality robot, which is switched on, appears on the screen: "" Error loading Personality "," would like to know how I can repair this fault. please if anyone can help me
Atte

Jonathan, Chile

uber's picture

Andy, what prompted getting the error, was it trying out his hack? What specifically preceded the boot issue?

vicente's picture

alguien sabe cambiar el idioma de frances a espa?ol a un roborover ?
GRACIAS

instant noodles's picture

I've looked everywhere, but I can't find android78's personality editor! Is this a thing of the past, or have I not searched enough? Could anyone point me in the right direction? Thanks! 

<h2> -Maruchan </h2>