1. Microsoft Agent Core Components - these are the core windows components that allows this technology and the other main components or programs to run and function on your operating system and contains the folder that all characters are installed to. The core components along with the SAPI 4.0 runtime binaries also provides synchronization for the character file and voice engines which allows the character to speak and function. The Microsoft Agent core components are already part of Windows 2000, ME and XP. When you run the CyberBuddy Program for the first time, if any of the Microsoft® Agent core components are not yet installed or missing, the CyberBuddy program will attempt to install them for you.

2. DesktopMates Characters - DesktopMates characters are digital software files that contain a series of animations and the CyberBuddy, Ultra Hal or Answerpad programs are used to load DesktopMates characters to the desktop and add functionality to the character, each program has it's own unique features and functions on how they make use of the character files and their animations. Consider CyberBuddy, Ultra Hal or Answerpad as the main controller for you characters. You CANNOT simply download a character then just click on their file to make them run, what you will get is a system error asking ... "which program do you want to use to run this file". You can install as many characters as you want and it's easy to select and switch to any character you have installed. Refer to step 3. under the Quick & Easy Install Section on how to load a character onto your desktop using CyberBuddy. A free DesktopMates sample character is also available to get you started.

3. Voice Engines - The American English Voice Engine is already included by default as part of the Microsoft Agent basic core components installed on your system. Additional English speaking voice engines are available FREE by clicking on the link under the Free Add-ons & Extras section near the bottom of this page (or go to the "Free Extras" section of our main menu bar at the top and select "Free Add-ons"). It is highly recommended that you add the British English voice engine for better quality and variety, these are also the default voices for DesktopMates characters. Voice Engines in other languages can also be installed by going to the "Technologies" section of our menu bar at the top of the page and go to "MSAgent Downloads" then proceed to step 2. and follow the instructions. All voice engines include both male and female voices and you can assign and switch any of the voices that you have installed for any character that you want to use, you can also tweak the voice's speed and pitch to accomplish a variety of custom effects. Refer to step 3. under the Quick & Easy Install Section on how to load a character onto your desktop.

4. The CyberBuddy, Ultra Hal and Answerpad programs - the CyberBuddy program is a FREE utility that will allow you to run characters and make them appear and do functions on your desktop as well as provide the character's verbal dialogue. In the Quick & Easy Install Section you can download and install the CyberBuddy program. After your up and running you can also download the free Answerpad Artificial Intelligence program or the trial version of the Ultra Hal Artificial Intelligence program which will allow you to converse with your characters for some additional fun.

Do I need to install all the programs (CyberBuddy/Hal/Answerpad) in order for the DesktopMates characters to work?
No, anyone of these programs can be used to operate characters, each has it's own features and functionality on how they make use of DesktopMates characters. Try them out and choose to use any, or all, of the programs that you prefer using with your DesktopMates characters.

Note: if you're new to this technology we highly recommend that you start with installing and trying CyberBuddy first, it's less complex than the AI programs and is better for testing to ensure you have the basic components installed and functioning properly, if you start out with Ultra Hal and something isn't working properly it may be more difficult as a new user to determine the problem.