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Zugg
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Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 12:16 am   

Improved Sound support in CMUD
 
I realized that I hadn't talked about the new sound support in CMUD yet...

CMUD uses DirectSound and DirectMusic for sound. Specifically for the MUD Sound Protocol (MSP) and #PLAY commands.

Why is this better than zMUD? Well, in zMUD there were two kinds of "sound" support: the !!SOUND MSP command and the !!MUSIC MSP command. The !!MUSIC command sent the file to the Windows MCI drivers and could play different types of sounds, but only one at a time. The !!SOUND command uses a 3rd party sound mixer (the DWSW32.DLL file that comes with zMUD) to mix multiple wav sounds. However, it only supported a subset of possible WAV file formats and there were lots of files it couldn't play. Also, zMUD did some messing around with the sound card volume that could mess up other audio applications running at the same time.

CMUD has bi-level sound support depending upon what version of DirectX it detects. If you have an older version of DirectX, it uses the DirectSound interface for the !!SOUND command to mix any number of wav files, and it supports any wav file that Windows recognizes. The !!MUSIC command still uses the MCI drivers like in zMUD.

However, if you have DirectX9 installed, then CMUD will use the newer DirectMusic interface, which allows playing *any* file that Media Player can handle, and it will play any number of different files playing simutaneously (each with it's own pan and volume settings).

What this means in layman terms is that CMUD supports playing MP3 files! Using either the !!SOUND or #PLAY command you can play MP3 files in CMUD if you have DirectX9 installed.

This is one of the main areas that prevents CMUD from working on older versions of Windows (like Windows 95 or Windows NT). Even though I will try to make it so that CMUD can load (with audio disabled) without DirectX, eventually CMUD will use other parts of DirectX for graphics.
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Zugg
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Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 1:59 am   
 
Actually I mispoke just a bit. CMUD is using DirectShow, not DirectMusic. Specifically, it uses the FilterGraph.Render function to play a media file. I'm not actually sure which version of DirectX added the FilterGraph and DirectShow, so maybe you won't need DirectX9. I'll try to find out which version of DirectX is really needed for this.
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cazador
Apprentice


Joined: 08 Dec 2005
Posts: 108

PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 3:10 am   
 
I can't wait to hear the new features. Sounds like something that can really bring muds to life.
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hav
Wanderer


Joined: 05 Oct 2004
Posts: 61
Location: Riga, Latvia

PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2006 10:33 am   
 
while on sound topic, i would want to see built-in support for speech engine, #SPEAK, #SPEECH_VOLUME, #SPEECH_VOICE, rather than relying on old as dinosaurs unsupported buggy mudreader plugin Very Happy
windows xp has text to speech engine built in, next windows will probably too, so why not.
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Carabas
GURU


Joined: 28 Sep 2000
Posts: 434
Location: USA

PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2006 3:50 pm   
 
Yeah, I agree that would be an awesome addition. There are a lot more visually challenged persons trying to MUD lately. Such a feature would most definitely differentiate CMUD from the others. Although it would be a very niche market within an already niche market, it could help with sales. Wink
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Darker
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Joined: 24 Sep 2000
Posts: 1237
Location: USA

PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2006 4:15 pm   
 
Yeah, I can see how that'd work well for blind users.

[speech synthesizer voice]
You have entered the lair of th/
hits you with/
DYING!!/
Please log in.
[/speech]

That'll keep a lot of vision-challenged users playing. :)
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TonDiening
GURU


Joined: 26 Jul 2001
Posts: 1958
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2006 4:17 pm   
 
I`ve played with 3 screen reader mudders over the years. They appear to play well enough :)
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Carabas
GURU


Joined: 28 Sep 2000
Posts: 434
Location: USA

PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2006 4:48 pm   
 
Yeah Darker. I kind of wondered how well something like that would work too. However, just as TonDiening, I have seen some visually challenged people play. You'd never know that there were listening instead of reading.
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Carabas
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MattLofton
GURU


Joined: 23 Dec 2000
Posts: 4834
Location: USA

PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2006 9:38 pm   
 
We have at least two trying to play one or the other Simutronics games, but they had issues with the fact that the TTS stuff was reading prompts and visual-cue items (ie, asterisks on the line or boxing up important text) on a literal level. It was rather difficult for them to sort out the stuff we would normally ignore as eye candy.

To make the TTS support stand out, you'd probably want to allow for some mudding-specific features like prompt recognition and either ignore lists (ie, don't say LESS THAN every time the prompt appears) or function lists (ie, instead of saying "LESS THAN" have it say "PROMPT"). This should allow them to get up and running fairly quickly and easily
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Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Sun Mar 12, 2006 6:46 pm   
 
If someone could point me to a link on the Microsoft site for the Text-to-Speech API then I'll take a look at it. My guess is that it's just simple COM calls, and while I won't be able to put this into the first beta version of CMUD, it might be something I can add later.
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Carabas
GURU


Joined: 28 Sep 2000
Posts: 434
Location: USA

PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2006 4:24 pm   
 
Zugg, I was looking on Microsoft's site for the COM API, but wasn't able to find anything useful. My guess is you'd probably have to download the SDK. Ahh, wait a minute, there is a link on that page to the documentation.
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Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2006 7:33 pm   
 
Cool, thanks for the link. Looks like everything I need to know is in the help file, and the COM interface looks pretty easy to implement. Definitely something I'll look into adding during the CMUD beta period.
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Carabas
GURU


Joined: 28 Sep 2000
Posts: 434
Location: USA

PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2006 4:37 pm   
 
Cool. Glad I could help Smile
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