Instructions for Making and Programming Bots in VRoma

 

 

Print out this page before you connect to the MOO so you can refer to it as you work.

 

 

 

 

Most of the instructions for the generic bot also apply to the Latinbot, so please read these instructions first.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You will probably want to change your bot's wakeup message and remove most of its preprogrammed dialogue.

 

 

Ssubstitute the name of your new bot whenever you see the word botname in these instructions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Generic Bot can convey location-specific information and add fun and interest to a room.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Latinbot is designed primarily for Latin pedagogy.

There are two different types of robots (“talking” objects usually called bots) in VRoma. This page will explain the differences between the two, as well as how to create and program each. The generic bot is designed to converse in English; it comes with various types of dialogue, most of which you can delete or change. The Latinbot is a version of the generic bot that has been adapted to converse in Latin; the MOO will print “dicit” instead of “says” when the Latinbot speaks. The Latinbot comes with only a few phrases. For both of these bots you can create random responses, question responses, keywords, and patterns. Please read first the instructions for the generic bot even if you want to create a Latinbot, since most of the instructions are applicable to both. In order to make a bot, your MOO character must have builder status; if your character is currently just a player, email vroma@vroma.org to request a promotion.

I. Generic Bot (#100)

This is the most widely useful bot, since most visitors to the MOO will be able to converse with it. It also comes with the most dialogue, although you will probably want to change most of this dialogue in order to tailor your bot for a specific location and purpose.

Creation: In the MOO, type @create (all commands must of course be concluded by pressing the Enter key, which sends your command or message to the remote computer). You will be asked what type of object you want to create and given a list of generics. Type 100 (without the number sign), which is the number of the generic bot. You will then be asked to name your object; you can name him/her/it whatever you want. You will then be asked to type a description; type a sentence without quotes that will identify your bot (this can be changed later). You will then be given an object number for your new bot. Your character will be carrying the bot, so the first thing you should do is drop it (type the word drop plus the name of your new bot).

To make changes in your description or give your bot an icon and image, click on Customize rooms and objects in the right-hand toolbar. In the object browser page, click on Edit an object's basic characteristics, select your bot from one of the object lists, then click Do browse or edit. In the object editor page, it is essential to place a check mark in front of each category where you want to make changes, otherwise your changes won't be saved. To change your description, check the Description box and then revise your description. It is a good idea to include in your description some basic directions on who your bot is and how to converse with him/her/it. If you want to lock the bot into the current room so no one can remove it, place a check next to Object and then click is locked to its current location. To add an icon, check Object's associated icon and then type in the full URL. To make this image appear full size when the name of your bot is clicked, check Object's associated URL or HTML document, click URL, and then type in or paste the image URL. When finished making changes, scroll down and click the button marked Update Characteristics. You will see a message that your changes have been saved; then click Return to Viewer and you will be able to see your new bot.

Removing Preprogrammed Dialogue from Your Bot: Changing your bot's existing dialogue and writing new dialogue should be done by typing commands in the Input window rather than through the Object Editor. Throughout these instructions substitute the name of your new bot whenever you see the word botname. Your bot comes with a “wakeup message” that it will say when activated (“Gee thanks for waking me up! I must have dozed off”). To change this, type @wakeup botname is "Greetings!" (type your wakeup message between the quotation marks instead of Greetings!). Your bot also comes with a set of preprogrammed responses that will be chosen randomly whenever a visitor “says” anything that includes one of its keywords; with a set of preprogrammed question responses that will be chosen randomly whenever a visitor “says” anything ending with a question mark; with a set of patterned dialogue; and with a set of preprogrammed random responses that it will produce whenever it can't find questions, keywords, or patterns. You will probably want to delete all or most of these.

Patterns are written with programming symbols and attempt to duplicate common speech patterns (“I ___ you.” “Why do you ___ me?”). However, they often cause the bots to say nonsensical things, so we recommend removing them. To see what the patterns are, type seepats botname. The MOO will print out a numbered list of patterns with one or more responses below each. To remove patterns, type rmpat 1 from botname, substituting the number of the pattern you wish to remove for 1. If you want to remove all the patterns, type rmpat 1 from botname in the Input window and copy it before pressing Enter. Then keep pasting this phrase into the Input window and pressing enter until you get an out-of-range error message, meaning that all the patterns have been removed. (Note that after you remove one pattern, all the numbers move up, so that there will always be a number 1 until all patterns have been deleted.)

To see all the preprogrammed question responses, type seequestionr botname; to see the bot's random responses, type seerandom botname. To remove question responses, type rmquestionr 1 from botname, substituting the number of the question response you wish to remove for 1. If you want to remove all the question responses, type rmquestionr 1 from botname in the Input window and copy it before pressing Enter. Then keep pasting this phrase into the Input window and pressing enter until you get an out-of-range error message, meaning that all the question responses have been deleted. Follow the same procedure for random responses, substituting rmrandom for rmquestionr.

The generic bot comes with a number of keywords, each of which has one or more preprogrammed responses. To see these keywords, type seewords botname. To remove any keywords, type rmword 1 from botname, substituting the number of the word you wish to remove for 1, and all the responses attached to that word will be deleted (note that the numbers of subsequent keywords will move up one number everytime you remove a word). If you want to remove all the words, type rmword 1 from botname in the Input window and copy it before pressing Enter. Then keep pasting this phrase into the Input window and pressing enter until you get an out-of-range error message, meaning that all the words have been removed.

Creating New Dialogue for Your Bot: The generic bot can convey location-specific information and add fun and interest to a room, but only if you design its responses with these objectives in mind. Think about your bot in relation to its location: What role would this type of character play in this location? What kind of personality would he/she/it naturally have? What kinds of information are relevant to its role and location? What words would naturally be used in relation to its role and location? What kinds of questions are likely to be asked? After you have thought about these issues, you are ready to start drafting dialogue. It is a good idea to write down on paper your random responses, question responses, and list of keywords with one or more responses under each before you begin to program the bot.

To add a question response, type addquestionr botname and press Enter. The MOO will reply, Type in a new question response: (Don't use quotes) [Type a line of input or `@abort' to abort the command.] After you type in your response and press Enter, you will be told that you have taught your bot a new question response. Follow the same procedure for random responses, substituting addrandom for addquestionr. You can always review your bot's reponses by typing seequestionr botname or seerandom botname.

To add keywords, type addword botname and press Enter. The MOO will reply, Type in key word: (Don't use quotes) [Type a line of input or `@abort' to abort the command.] Type your keyword; since no wildcard symbols are allowed, you will need to create a separate keyword for each form of the word you want to use (e.g., woman and women, boy and boys are separate keywords). The MOO will then reply, Type in desired responses to key word. End each response with a carriage return. (Do NOT use quotes!) [Type lines of input; use `.' to end or `@abort' to abort the command.] Type your first response for that keyword in the Input window and press Enter; then type your second response and press Enter. When you have typed in all the responses for that word and concluded each response by pressing Enter, type a single period in the Input window and press Enter (note that this single period must be on a separate line from any responses that you have typed previously). You will then be told that you have taught your bot a new word.

Conversing with Your Bot: To turn on your bot, type activate botname, and your bot will produce its wakeup message. After this it will respond to anything “spoken” by anyone in the room (i.e., it will respond to anything typed after the say command or ") until you or someone else in the room turns it off by typing hush botname.


II. Latinbot (#897)

The Latinbot is designed to give Latin students an opportunity to practice communicating in Latin; although it will respond to visitors who “speak” English, all of its responses will be in Latin.

Creation: In the MOO, type @create and press Enter. You will be asked what type of object you want to create and given a list of generics. Type 897 (without the number sign), which is the number of the Latinbot. You will then be asked to name your object; you should give this bot an appropriate Latin name. You will then be asked to type a description; type a Latin sentence without quotes that will identify your bot (this can be changed later). If your bot is in the historical part of the MOO (in “Rome” rather than the Officina section), your description should be in English with a caveat that this character speaks only Latin. You will then be given an object number for your new bot. Your character will be carrying the bot, so the first thing you should do is drop it (type drop botname). Follow the instructions for the generic bot to add an image and lock your bot in a room.

Removing Preprogrammed Dialogue from Your Latinbot: The Latinbot comes with only a few preprogrammed lines. It's wakeup message is “Adsum. Latine loquamur!” To change this, follow the instructions for the generic bot. The Latin bot has no preprogrammed patterns, one question response (“Cur rogas?”), and one random response (“Vale!”). Follow the directions for the generic bot to delete these if you wish.

Creating New Dialogue for Your Latinbot: When writing dialogue for a Latinbot, keep in mind not only its location, role, and personality, but also the level of grammar and vocabulary of the students who will be conversing with it. Having your students write some or all of the dialogue for a Latinbot can also be an excellent learning experience; for example, they can write out suggested question responses, random responses, and keyword responses as homework assignments that will then be jointly corrected and revised in class. The process of adding the reponses to a Latinbot is exactly the same as described above for the generic bot. When selecting keywords, however, remember that the bot will recognize only the exact spelling of the keyword. Thus indeclinables like adverbs and most numbers make the best keywords, or you should set up several keywords with the same responses using the forms of the Latin word that are most likely to be used in conversation.

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Please direct questions about this document to Barbara McManus bmcmanus@cnr.edu.
revised October 2004