Saturday, May 30, 2009

Nikki frozen and kneeling

A huge thanks to Lady Ru'etha for pointing me toward the Entrancement UK videos posted on YouTube by her friend Lex of Hypnofantastico. These are snippets of full-length videos you can buy, but he gave her one (well, at least one) to preview in full, and Lady Ru'etha liveblogs about it very, very temptingly here. If you like what she describes (as I certainly did!), there is an Emily excerpt on YouTube. And yes, her breasts are spectacular. ;-) But the video below is the one that really made me sit up and take notice!

And now I'm off to YouTube again for more - and then on to Entrancement UK.

EDITED TO ADD: Holy crap, check out the "Lulu + Bex" page on Entrancement UK! I can't link directly to that page, but you can navigate there easily enough - and it is so worth it, even if you're on dial-up. There are some fan-fricking-tastic JPG's. I am very seriously considering buying this one.

Also, thanks to Lex for linking to my blog on his blog. ;-) relaxed

No, the image at left doesn't have anything to do with my current state of mind; it's just something I rediscovered in one of my fetish folders several days ago, while searching for something else. I had already planned to post it with this morning's entry, which was going to be about a different topic; and now that I've changed my mind (for the moment - the other entry might show up here later), I figured, why waste such a delicious image? The source of this one, if you want to see more, is latex fashion site HW Design.

But back to the topic at hand. This past week has been pretty depressing for me, for a number of different reasons, so I've decided to pamper myself today and tomorrow. Today I started by reconfiguring my morning hypnosis program to let me just lie back in the chair and relax for as long as I felt like relaxing, after I'd finished the morning suggestions. So I lay there for about 45 minutes. And then I had the idea of going back to that site where I found the binaural beats and trying out the delta binaurals for awhile. I had only listened to that recording very briefly before, but I remembered that delta is supposed to induce a state of dreamless sleep and sometimes even give the listener an out-of-body experience. Well, I didn't go to sleep or have an OOBE. But I did have an incredibly, luxuriously relaxing experience. In fact, when the audio finished, I had to run the morning wakener all over again.

Oh, and while I was relaxing after the morning suggestions, and then on into the delta experiment, I began toying idly but productively with a new story idea. Now, I'm already deeply involved with "Union, Reunion," but that's turning out to be a multi-parter; and this new idea might be something I can dash off fairly quickly. We'll see. It's certainly a yummy idea, anyway. It's practically begging to be written.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Robots and bootstraps

I'm not sure if I've ever blogged about this or not, but I frequently have dreams in which I'm searching for a Mistress. I know she's out there, and that she wants me to find her; but even when she's right in front of me, I can't see her or hear her commands. Yet I do so want to be commanded.

This has been a real puzzle for me, since I know I can create the kind of domme I want, in my mind; I do it all the time in my stories. Why, then, can't my subconscious create a domme for me to enjoy in my dreams?

Well, I think hypnosis is giving me the answer. I'm writing programs in which I command myself to think and do things I know will please me immensely, and they do. But there's always a sense that I'm lacking an essential element in the program. Commanding myself is sort of like trying to lift myself by my own bootstraps; it just doesn't work, not entirely. I need to be controlled from outside, not inside.

All of which is a lead-in to the fact that Lady Ru'etha called me again last night.

No, she still hasn't hypnotized me...not noticeably, anyway (though I suppose she's probably hypnotized me in the way Jukebox talks about here, when he says the key to the story is that Tara is hypnotized long before she knows she's hypnotized). We just talked. Her life is starting to return to normal now, and she's found a new recording studio and is putting together a number of new pieces, including a Mountain Lake for Women, which I am very much looking forward to.

We also talked about my Silver Robot sessions and her Robotics 1.01. As I mentioned a long time ago, this was the very first hypnosis mp3 I tried; and I didn't know until I got into it that I was supposed to have been listening to Safe Space for a week beforehand. I also didn't know until recently (and didn't know in full until today) how much of a difference it makes to listen to that mp3 through headphones rather than speakers.

Until today, I had only listened to Robotics 1.01 once. I didn't remember much about it when I was putting together Silver Robot; so the two are very, very different kinds of sessions. And of course, I'm only a newbie amateur noodling around, while Lady Ru'etha is a certified hypnotherapist and an experienced hypnodomme.

Put all these facts together, and damn, what a difference they make! Now that I'm accustomed to her voice, and to going deep quickly - and now that I can appreciate what a difference it makes to have someone else controlling me, rather than have me controlling myself - I was able to enjoy Robotics 1.01 ten or twenty times more than I was the first time. Plus, there's the fact that Lady Ru'etha's robot session focuses on the mental transformation (including archiving the old personality and then formatting the mind and installing new commands - principally obedience and pleasure - from scratch), whereas mine focused mostly on the physical transformation. Wow. I knew before I started listening that I'd be able to appreciate it a lot more than I had the first time, but honestly, I had no idea how much more I'd appreciate it. And I only discovered, after I listened, that she now has a free VH pack to go with it. I'll have to try that one later, since it's time for me to go to work, but I'm very much looking forward to it.

Lady Ru'etha also told me she has plans for several followups to Robotics 1.01: Robotics 1.02, 1.03, etc. One will be an "antivirus" program, which you can use to protect yourself from more manipulative and/or malicious hypnotists whom you might have submitted to in the past or might be tempted to submit to in the future. Another one, which she says people are practically begging her for, is a "security backdoor" program which you can install in yourself to let her, and her alone, get past the antivirus program and do with you whatever she pleases. Heh heh. Not my thing, but if I trusted anyone with that kind of access to my brain, it would be someone like her. I really have no doubts at all about her ethics. So if that's your kink, I hope you'll keep watch on the Realm of Bliss to see when the backdoor opens. And if that's your kink, please protect yourself from the kind of hypnodominants who'd use and abuse you. Have a sense of self preservation, please.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Guess which one of these is my favorite

I first found this sextet of pictures on Ulorin Vex's blog, then saw that she'd linked to an article and more pics over at The Fetishistas (Scroll down the page a little, and you'll see Bianca Beauchamp in a delightful latex update of Uhura's Star Trek uniform).

Just for once, Ulorin Vex is not my favorite model in a composite picture. Nope, it's the lady at top right, with her lace muzzle feeding my "voicelessness" fetish so exquisitely.

In fact, her mask gives me a solution to a puzzle that's stumped me for a long, long time. Several years ago, while playing around with the images that would eventually coalesce into Someday My Prince Will Come, I thought that it would be cool to dress my thrall in one of those all-enveloping burkas that women in Afghanistan were forced to wear under the Taliban. Only my burka would be translucent - everywhere except for the face mask. I thought that would be so shudderingly, deliciously depersonalizing. But I also knew it would be an extremely inflammatory and offensive image for many people. So I wrestled with whether or not to use it for quite some time. Then I saw a photo of real women in Afghanistan, post-Taliban, but still wearing those very same garments. And I knew I just couldn't write the story that way.* So I ended up wrapping my thrall in loose gauze instead.

But now, looking at the model above, I'm thinking that lace might be an excellent way around the problem. Maybe I'll work it into a story, somewhere down the line. There's no place for it in "Union, Reunion" (I don't think; that could change), but maybe later....

* For reasons I am intentionally leaving unspoken. I mean no offense to any Muslims who might read this blog...well, any more offense than I've probably already given.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

100% off topic

And just for shits and giggles.

Take a look at this new trailer up on io9 for a horror movie starring, of all people, 80's bubblegum singer Tiffany and Ando from Heroes. Oh, and that really, um, peculiar-looking bald guy who's been turning up in horror movies since the 70's (I actually saw him doing stand-up comedy once, when I was in college. I can still remember him saying people would come up to him and ask, "Hey, is that your head, or did your neck blow a bubble?").

After you've watched the hilarious abomination above, you can take the bad taste out of your mouth by watching this clip from a similarly-themed-and-titled but clearly much, much better horror movie that is absolutely going right to the top of my Netflix queue once it comes out on DVD.

Are you watching?

This space?

I've just updated my new website of Virtual Hypnotist scripts with a generic version of Bedtime, the session I'm using - quite successfully, now - to help me get to sleep at night. But since I don't have a legal way to share "Down by the Sea" for free, and since that song probably wouldn't have the same resonance for you that it does for me anyway, I've chosen one of the basic VH sound files as the default background music. Feel free to replace it with any song that sends you to sleep, and to make any other changes to the script that will allow it to be more effective for you.

Enjoy, and please let me know how you like these sessions.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Watch this, not *this* space

This space. I've found a solutions to my "folding Geocities" problem. For reasons that might become apparent to careful thinkers somewhere down the line, I can only spell out part of my plan here, but this is the gist of it:

I've discovered another free web host that even gave me a domain name (albeit with a extension, but hey, free's free), and I've begun a very simple website there. It's called Ono Udont's Virtual Hypnotist Files, and it will be a repository for, ahem, some of my self-made VH sessions. You'll be able to download sessions in full or just peek at the text files without downloading anything.

So far I've got a full-session version of Vulcan Mode online, along with text files for each of the Vulcan Mode components. Later, I plan to add a generic version of my Bedtime script and that full VH tutorial I've been going on about, as well as...other things, nudge nudge, wink wink.

Oh, and just BTW, "Ono Udont" is the name I give when I sign up for some web service that wants a "real" name. Needless to say, it isn't. ;-)

You know how second-tier fetish models are always begging their blog viewers to buy them clothes?

Well, I would totally love it if someone bought me one of these. ;-P

Seriously, I do have a real post planned for later this weekend. It's just a matter of when a certain...something...finishes...propagating. And that's a decent-sized hint, isn't it?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Callidus is back, and in fine form

If you have Callidus' website bookmarked, you've probably noticed that it's been looking barer and barer these last few weeks. That's because he's been in the process of moving and updating - quite delightfully updating - his collection of manips. The latest, called "The Room," is a gorgeous flash story with all kinds of lovely flickering visuals (The "loading" spiral alone was enough to send me slightly under) and a truly fantastic final image. Have a look - and don't forget to update your bookmarks.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Only mostly off-topic

God bless the Internet, not least because it gives me access to comics my local paper no longer carries - or comics I've heard about, which my local paper never would carry in a million years.

Tiny Sepuku falls into the former category. It's half humor, half advice column. And it's strips like today's that, I very strongly suspect, got it banned from my local paper.


Saturday, May 16, 2009 that I've listened to the podcast

I've just listened to Lady Ru'etha's podcast about hypnotic mantras, and I see that I've been instinctively doing a lot of what she suggests even without having a formal name or framework for it. That doesn't really surprise me, because so many of my EMC explorations revolve around instinct, particularly my stories. I don't usually stop to think about why something I write is hot (well, hot for me, anyway - and I hope, for you); I just know it is, and that's good enough. Oh, I'm certain that I pick up tips subconsciously from other stories; but the point is, they are subconscious tips, for me. They bubble up from the part of my brain that doesn't analyze too deeply, the part that's at once more primitive and infinitely wiser than my conscious mind. That's what gives them their power.

But back to mantras. I see now that I've been using them all on my own, almost from the beginning of my hypnotic adventure. You can see one in the Vulcan script; if I gave you access to my Morning or Good Driver sessions (which I'm not - sorry), you'd see several more; and I'd already planned to use them in Mindwiped even before my happy discovery yesterday morning.

I'm really glad I listened to that podcast, as it will make me even more intentional about writing a script that leaves no lasting effects - and I was being pretty damn intentional about that already. But that's the thing about working from instinct: sometimes you miss something important. It pays to have access to a professional opinion.

Speaking of which, as Lady Ru'etha continues to be tied up with personal issues, I find myself with more and more questions, and fewer and fewer answers. If any professional (or alternately, amateur but extremely experienced) hypnotists and hypnotic subjects want to weigh in, I'd love to hear from you.

An outrageously erotic discovery

I've written a Virtual Hypnotist session which I run every morning, to prepare myself for the day. It's not particularly erotic; it's just a series of suggestions about being being calm, confident, a good driver, etc. But yesterday morning, while running it, I had the idea to start chanting, "yes, yes, yes," while I was listening (I retain enough awareness and capacity for analytical thought while in trance to do things like that). And holy shit, what a difference that made! I just had to run the Good Driver suggestions right afterwards, in order to complete what the chanting had begun.

And just now, I ran both sets of suggestions again - with the script tweaked so that it actually told me to let my conscious thoughts be occupied by the chanting, while my subconscious thoughts took in the commands. Then I played around a little more while Good Driver was running, varying the chant to include things like, "Yes, Mistress," "I obey," and "I am a good thrall."

Holy fucking shit.

I'm going to work chanting into more scripts now, especially the erotic ones. And yes, I am working on another script to share with the public. It's called Mindwiped. But sorry, it's not even close to finished yet. And, of course, there's still the "Union, Reunion" story I've been working on.

Lady Ru'etha has a podcast called "Hypnotic Mantras," which I haven't actually had a chance to listen to yet. I'll be sure to check that one out later today.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

just for fun

Several months ago I rented Barbarella because I'd always heard how hilariously campy it was, and I figured I'd enjoy it. Huh. Maybe if I'd had a few margaritas in me or something. I dropped out about halfway through. But thanks to YouTube, I did get to see the famous "excessive machine" scene a little later and thought it was a total hoot.

You really don't need much lead-in to understand what's going on here: the Bad Guy has captured Our Heroine and plans to do her in, in a particularly interesting way.

Note: You might have to log in to YouTube and/or verify your age before this video will play.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

thrall's latest strip-tease

This is a special gift to those of you who haven't bothered with Virtual Hypnotist, but have stuck by my blog anyway while I've yammered on about it these last few weeks. I can't say I'll never post about VH again, but I do want to make it up to the folks who followed me here because of my EMCSA stories. Yes, I'm back to writing erotic MC again - and still feeling unusually self revelatory, even for me. Thus the title above. ;-)

The story itself will be titled (unless I come up with something better) "Union, Reunion." Below are the opening paragraphs, still very much in rough draft form - which does make displaying them feel very much like stripping, to me. But I owe you something.

So see if you can guess where this story is heading. I've already dropped a couple of Easter eggs into the mix, which would tell you a lot, if only you could spot them. But they're not very obvious...yet. Perhaps, looking back on the finished product afterwards, you might catch on. ;-)

Union, Reunion

by thrall

I couldn't stop staring at Dianne. All the way up into the Appalachian Mountains, across the Blue Ridge Parkway, and on through the rugged heights of George Washington National Forest, I kept stealing glance after furtive glance at my favorite college crush. Of course, I hadn't known Dianne was a crush back in college. I'd told myself she was my sorority sister and a dear friend. A particularly attractive friend. Nothing more.

I'd been out of college for ten years before I came out to myself, but once I did, my mind kept circling back and back and back to Dianne. Dianne, who'd been everything I could have wanted in a mate, if only I hadn't been too busy chasing guys to notice.

Not that it would have made any difference, of course. Dianne was happily straight then, and just as hppily straight today. In fact, she was married now. They were all married, or had been, except for me.

Ten more years had passed since my great revelation, and I'd only recently decided that, hell, I really would like to see Dianne again. Google found her for me in a matter of minutes, and she was delighted to get my e-mail. Unfortunately, in her cheerful ignorance, she suggested that we try to round up some more Eta Pi Lambdas for a mini-reunion.

What could I do but play along? Besides, it wasn't like I had any real hope of hooking up with Dianne in the way I most desired. And it would be nice just to see her again; to see if she was still as smart and sexy as I remembered; to see if just possibly...just maybe....

No. I was too much of a realist to believe it could actually happen, even before she e-mailed me a current picture of herself. She was just as gorgeous as ever, and she was blissfully clinging to a man just as gorgeous as she was. I tried not to wonder if she was truly as happy as she appeared, and just to look forward to meeting her as a friend. Her and the other five she'd been able to round up on short notice.

We met in Charlottesville, where we'd gone to college, and where Leslie still kept a home. Leslie owned several houses now, thanks to her fortuitous choice of major in the late '80's. The rest of us had looked at what passed for computers in those days and looked quickly away, wondering what anyone could ever see in those cryptic, buzzing boxes. But Leslie had seen the future. Fortunately for us, that enabled her to play hostess to the rest of us, inviting her ex-sisters up to the mountain retreat she'd purchased four months earlier. She'd only had time to renovate a couple of the two dozen cabins, but two cabins was one more than we needed. We planned to party like college girls and gab all weekend long.

Besides Leslie, Dianne had managed to track down Mary Katherine, a sweet, studious college student who'd grown into a sweet, studious adult - without, as far as I could tell, gaining a single pound. Chelsea and Angie hadn't been so lucky, but then, they'd each had a kid. And Chelsea was divorced now: a revelation that gave me quiet delight. She'd always been such a bitch in college; I was less surprised that her husband had left her than that she'd found anyone willing to marry her in the first place. Sara's divorce, though, was a surprise to me. She and her ex had met my freshman year, and they'd hardly left one another's sight from that point onward. I wondered what had happened between them, but so far, Becca hadn't offered any details.

A stranger peering into the rental van wouldn't have marked me as any different from the other six. I'd gained weight since college, too, but I still looked just as white-bread and ladylike as ever, and the stranger wouldn't necessarily notice my lack of a wedding ring.

The other six had asked me about that, but I'd had long practice with twisting words to suit my needs. I just said I hadn't found the right man to marry yet, and they left it at that. Thank goodness. Part of me wanted to tell them, because part of me always wants to tell. But most of me was just too scared of being rejected. Even after ten years of accepting myself as a lesbian, I still hadn't grown a thick enough skin to resist the jabs of homophobes. And these women, whether or not they were homophobes, were my friends. Or, well, my ex-and-maybe-once-again friends. I just didn't care to risk it.

I looked around the van again, taking in the frosted hair, the manicured nails, the casually expensive jewelry. Only Angie didn't look the part of a former sorority girl, but she'd come from the country to college, then gone right back again. We were a pretty homogeneous group, then and now. The closest Eta Pi Lambda had ever come to diversifying was Mary Katherine. Just a bunch of clones, I thought, and smiled to myself, imagining how little it would take to reduce us to nude, mindwiped drones - just like the kind I so loved to write about. Homogeneous, that was us. And I was the most "homo" of all. I pressed my lips together around a giggle.

The Appalachians in early summer were a maze of cool, green caves and darkly looming rock faces. The trees allowed only glimpses of the panoramas beyond, except in a few select spots that the National Forest Service had studiously marked with road signs. At least one of us (usually Angie and/or Mary Katherine) had to take a picture at every one of them. Dianne and I shot each other many a wry glance or an eye roll at the frequent stops...when the cameras weren't turned on us, anyway.

Somewhere beyond the national forest, in the depths (heights?) of Highland County, we saw the first sign for Beck's Peak. The "C" had dropped off the brown background, and Leslie groaningly explained that the county had promised to have it fixed before she opened for business next year. I remembered what she'd told us via e-mail about this area being lightly populated and little visited, and I wondered if she'd used up her entire stock of business acumen in picking a major. How did she ever expect to draw tourists out here?

I kept on wondering that, right up to the moment we turned that final corner. Suddenly we found ourselves near the bottom of a smooth, green bowl, roughly a mile square and cracked wide at the opposite end, revealing a jaw-dropping range of distant peaks. A lake of perfect midnight blue spread across the bottom of the bowl, and around the lake stood twenty-four cabins: twenty weather-beaten almost to pulp, and two gleamingly restored in what Leslie assured us was the original style. She said she'd found pictures of the old camp in a newspaper article but teasingly refused to say more.

No problem, I thought to myself, remembering a host of frat parties. Once she gets a little alcohol in her, she'll spill her guts like a pro.

Just because it's beautiful II

Until I'm awake enough and inspired enough to tell you more about the new story I began working on a couple of days ago, I'll just let you enjoy this recent photo of the gorgeous Ulorin Vex, who continues to buck prevailing trends and offer all her photos, nude and/or fetish and/or otherwise, for free all over the Internet. All hail Queen Ulorin!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Introducing Silver Robot!

Like the walrus said, the time has come at last.

Unfortunately, Jukebox has been unable to test-run the male Silver Robot sessions because of technical difficulties. So, male blog readers, it's up to you to determine whether or not the male sessions need any further tweaking. I'm pretty confident about the code, but I'm not so confident about the pacing. If you think anything needs to be cut in order to speed you to the climax more quickly, please let me know. As you can imagine, I don't have much experience with male sexual responses. ;-)

So...what are you in for, if you click the link below? Each session gives you the experience of being transformed, bit by bit, into a mindless silver robot, then made to come on command. There are four variations of Silver Robot to choose from: two female and two male, two for sex toys and two for "manual" stimulation. Each runs between 50 and 55 minutes from induction to wakener; and yes, each is definitely X-rated. Adults only, please.

Click here to download one or more Silver Robot sessions - and please, let me know what you think after you've run them!

Sorry, but I've removed the Silver Robot sessions for personal reasons.

Virtual Hypnotist 105

And here it is at last: my real final entry on tips and tricks involving Virtual Hypnotist. In Virtual Hypnotist 104, I explained how to use some of the most useful bits of code - and included a screenshot from one of the Silver Robot inductions, which no doubt raised a lot of questions in people's minds. For instance, what was up with all those extra commas and hyphens, not to mention the strange spelling of unfocused (You did notice that, didn't you? ;-))? Well, like the note at the top of the screenshot says, it's all about getting the most out of the speech synthesizer.

I've been keeping notes as I've experimented with VH, and these are the most important things I've learned about the speech synthesizer, in no particular order:
  • IMO, "Mary in Stadium" is the best-sounding voice by far; and the best voice speed is on or around 92. I haven't found any decent male voices among the preloaded voices or the additional ones Follow the Watch links to in the character expansion pack found here...which, of course, isn't an issue for me, but which probably is an issue for some of my readers. So if anyone knows where to find a good male voice, drop me a comment or an e-mail, and I'll pass the message along.
  • When you're writing or modifying a script, test it a little bit at a time, as I described in Virtual Hypnotist 104. Testing is just as important in getting the most out of the speech synthesizer as it is in proofing your code.
  • You might have noticed the test box under the VH "speech synthesis" tab, which you can use to get an idea of how a particular voice sounds. You can replace the default "This is a test" with anything you like. However, you should be aware that the way a particular word or phrase sounds in the test box isn't always the way it will sound in a session. You still have to rely on testing to find that out.
  • The synthesized voice usually goes up before a \pau\ but down before a comma or period.
  • Using the \emp\ tag even once, anywhere within a "speak" line, causes that whole line to sound increasingly robotic with every word spoken. I have not found any way to stop this from happening, so I suggest that you just don't use \emp\ at all, except when invoking triggers (It's not much of an issue there, since triggers are so short). There are other ways to put more emphasis on particular words. For instance....
  • Very short words like a and to and are often don't get enough emphasis with the speech synthesizer. However, you can increase the emphasis by attaching them to the word before and/or after them with a hyphen (example: you-are-already). Try a few different tests to see what works best in any given instance, because context does matter.
  • You can also use hyphens to get rid of unwanted pauses between words. For instance, there's a line in the long induction I adapted for Silver Robot that goes, "just as if you were trying to convince somebody that you were absolutely sound asleep." The speech synthesizer kept reading it as, "Just as [pause] if you were trying...." So I connected as and if with a hyphen ("just as-if"), and the speech synthesizer read it properly.
  • By the same token, you can force a pause where the speech synthesizer doesn't put one by inserting either a comma (if you want a downward inflection on the last word before the comma) or a \pau\ (if you want an upward inflection). A pause of 250 milliseconds, give or take 50, is usually the best length.
  • Again, context matters. For instance, the speech synthesizer will sometimes read the word perfect as PERfect, and sometimes as perFECT. I have yet to find a way around this issue, so I normally just change my wording from perfect to something less ambiguous.
  • Words that begin with un, like unconscious and unfocused, are usually pronounced with too little emphasis on the first syllable. I've found that the best way to correct this is to write un as "uhn-," which is how you see unfocused written in the screenshot.
  • With unusual words that the speech synthesizer doesn't recognize, you generally have to test a few different phonetic spellings (often with hyphens between the syllables) to make them sound the way they're supposed to sound. For instance, I have discovered that the speech synthesizer pronounces Lady Ru'etha more or less correctly when I write her name as "Lady Roo-eh-thuh."
  • If you study the preinstalled scripts on VH, you'll see that many of them have phrases and sentences separated by long series of periods. I'm not sure how the people who wrote these scripts got this to work, because when I tried to do the same thing, the speech synthesizer said "point" when it hit the second period. It doesn't do that with the preinstalled scripts, but it also doesn't consistently recognize long pauses created this way. So stick to the \pau\ command and don't mess with the extra periods.
And those are all the tips I have with regards to the speech synthesizer. As I said above, the best way to get the most out of it is to test your script a few lines at a time. Play with the commas, the pauses, the hyphens. Play with whether to break sentences apart with "speak" commands or whether to line up several of them behind a single "speak." It takes some work, but if you don't have the luxury of recording mp3's for every session, it's definitely worth the effort.

P.S.: Today is Silver Robot day! Get ready!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Virtual Hypnotist 104

Okay, I lied when I suggested this would be my last Virtual Hypnotist tutorial. I've decided to blog twice about writing scripts, focusing on the coding here and on getting the most out of the speech synthesizer in the final entry.

Now, I know some of you are probably shuddering already at the thought of trying to write code, so let me begin with this reassurance: The VH code is very easy to work with. Just take a look at this screen grab. It's mostly straight text, isn't it? Well, aside from the "speak" tags that begin each line, and a few words here and there with percentage signs or slashes around them. See? Easy. So, then...

What Program Should I Do the Coding In?

VH includes a "script maker" that allows you to insert the bits of code using a drop-down menu; but I'll be honest: I've barely tried it. I realized pretty quickly that I'd need to study the help menu's script guide even to use the script maker; and since I'm a longtime hand-coder of websites, I figured I might as well just do the VH scripts manually, too. It's almost as fast, and I feel like I have more control. Besides, I've experienced some glitches in VH when cutting and pasting in the script maker program (trying to code by hand even there, you see), so IMO, it's safer just to code in another program. Notepad should work just fine, but I personally like TextPad, a shareware program I picked up many years ago, that I've used quite successfully with a number of different coding languages. The screen grab above demonstrates how you can open several files at once in TextPad and easily switch between them.

But again, Notepad should work just fine if you want to use that. And the script maker probably works fine, too.

Anyway, I think this blog entry will probably be helpful to you, no matter which route you choose for script writing.

What this Tutorial Will and Won't Do

I'm not going to try to explain every little code tag to you, because that would just take too long; and this entry will be plenty long enough without my doing that. What I'm going to do instead is to a) recommend you study the script guide and a few of the scripts that came preloaded with VH, and b) give you some tips regarding the most useful bits of code, as well as the bits that aren't easy to figure out solely by reading the script guide.

And now, onward to...

Helpful Coding Hints

Testing Scripts

I strongly recommend that you write a just little bit of code at a time, then test it to be sure it works before writing a bit more. The easiest way I've found to do this (and also to test various visual effects) is to create a special session called "test," with an induction script also called "test," and whatever graphics you like. After writing few lines of the real script, copy and paste them into the blank "test" induction, then load and run the test session. Tweak the words and coding as necessary; then cut the revised bits from the test script, if you made any revisions (Be careful not to delete the test file itself!); paste the revision back into your real script; and go again.

Do not exit a test session prematurely, if at all possible. Ending a test run with the escape key often makes the test session malfunction when you try to run it again, and then you have to exit VH entirely and restart it to clear the glitch. This also happens (though somewhat less frequently) if you end a test run by right-clicking. So if you have to exit a test early, use the right-click.

Now, there are just a couple of things that don't always work properly when you test them in brief snippets. These things generally iron themselves out when you run the completed session, so I'm just noting them here to make you aware of them:

1. There will be little to no pause between the first "speak" line and the second "speak" line. However, all succeeding lines will have pauses of the right length. This is nothing to worry about, as it will fix itself when you run the whole session.

2. A sound you're loading will sometimes play itself at the very beginning of a test run, instead of in its proper place within the script. Again, this fixes itself when you run the whole session; but you can make the sound appear in its proper place in a test session by having a few lines of dialogue ahead of the "speak" command.


The pause tag doesn't work after commas and only works sporadically at the end of lines (excluding test runs, when it almost certainly won't work at the end of the first line). It does work after periods, or when it's placed on its own separate "speak" line, all by itself.

The longest possible pause you can code is 2250 milliseconds, but you can stack them like this to create longer pauses:


You cannot use the "sound" command on any .wav or .mp3 that has a multi-word name unless all the words are connected by underscores, dashes, etc. So, for instance, I've gone into my VH "sounds" folder and renamed the loud snap to "Snap_Very_Loud.mp3," and the snap with echoes to "Snap_Loud_w_6_Echoes.mp3." I suggest you do the same before you use any of these sounds in a script. (Note that the same restriction applies to loading and running scripts; you'll need to join all parts of multi-word names with underscores or something similar.)

A long enough sound file (like the snap with echoes) will bleed over into the spoken text that follows it, which can create a nice effect. However, if another sound immediately follows the long sound, the long sound will be cut short. To avoid this problem, you should insert a long enough pause in between the two sounds to allow the first one to finish its run before the second one cuts in.

Subliminal Effects

Here are the codes for turning the subliminal pop-up's off and on:

The codes to turn the phrase flashers off and on are these:

The codes to turn the flasher bars off are these:

The "subcycletime" command doesn't seem to work, but you can make the subliminals appear to pop up faster by loading a new subliminal file with more words. The more words you use, the faster the subliminals pop.

Here is the code for loading a new set subliminals (which should be a text file you've already saved in the "subliminals" folder):

Subliminals stay visible longer when you increase the subduration. 19 is a good rate. At 80 or longer, the words hang around long enough to comprehend consciously, which can be useful when you're testing something. Here's the code for changing the subduration:

With the code below (Click the thumbnail for a larger view), you can display a subliminal image for a specified number of milliseconds,
at a specified point on the screen. The first number after the file name is the number of milliseconds the image will be displayed, the second number is its horizontal position (left to right) on the screen, and the third number is its vertical position (top to bottom). So in this example, robot1.jpg would pop up for one third of a second, centered, near the bottom of the screen. Of course, you'll want to test any subliminal image you load to be sure it isn't partially obscured by the central video image (which always appears on top of everything else) and that it doesn't drop off the side or bottom of the screen. Large images can do that, if you're not careful.

NOTE: The speech synthesizer will not talk while a subliminal image is visible, and the subliminal image will not appear while the speech synthesizer is still talking. Therefore, it's good to put a \pau=100\ at the end of the "speak" line just before the image, and another one right after the image. This will ensure only very brief gaps between voice and image and voice again.

Custom Visuals and
Background Video

You can't turn the custom visuals and background video off completely, if you started the session with them enabled, but you can reduce them to pinprick size with this code, which takes them down to 1% of their current size:

If you use this code, and also change the video image to a simple black JPG (see below), it will look as if the custom visuals and background video are turned off.

NOTE: A solid black JPG will be completely invisible against the black background at any size. A solid black GIF is visible as dark gray against the black background but can't be seen if it's reduced to a pinprick.

Here's the code for replacing the background video with the image solidblack.jpg, which should be stored in the "videos" folder:

If you want to change the background video back to what it was before (or to something else), simply use the "vidfile" command again with the name of the other image.

Changing the background video to another image and then immediately changing it back again is another good way to generate a subliminal image - this time in the middle of the screen. Note that if you code a subliminal image this way, the image will be zoomed by the same percentage as the regular background video (40%, if you're following my recommendations). This can create some unwanted effects, but you can adjust the size of the subliminal image by using the "vidzoom" command, as below. Run a few tests with different numbers to get the size you want, bearing these facts in mind:

1. If you want the subliminal image to appear smaller than the regular background video image, zoom to a number lower than 100. To make the subliminal image larger than the background video was, zoom to a number greater than 100.

2. When you swap the background video back to the original image, resize it to 100 to make it the same size it was before you dropped in the subliminal image.

Coding for Prompts

I've noticed, in exploring the different pre-installed scripts on VH, that they demonstrate several different ways to code the yes/no prompt. However, the one I'm giving you below is the most reliable version of the command I've tried, so I recommend that you stick with it.

Click the thumbnail below for a full-sized sample of the yes/no box in action. When this code is run, the text behind the "yesno" tag appears in a pop-up box. The "run" line takes your listeners to the wakener if they click "yes." If they click "no," they will hear the next "speak" line that begins with, "All right"; and then VH will continue to read on down through the rest of the script.

NOTE: If you use "yesno" to switch to a new script (for instance, a wakener), once that new script has finished running, the session will attempt to return to the line below the "yesno" command in the former script. Thus, you could end up running a wakener once by calling it from the "yesno" command, then running it a second time when the session loops back to just below the "yesno" command and then continues its usual course to the wakener. To prevent this from happening, always end your wakener script with "stop" rather than "end." This will bring the entire session to a close.

An alternative to the "yesno" command is the "getkey" command. Here's an example of this command in action, once again taking the listener to the wakener.

Of course, you will have to tell your listeners, one way or another, that you want them to strike a key. The easiest way to do this is to tell them via a "speak" command, but you can also temporarily replace the central video image with a GIF or JPG you've created that shows a pop-up message. You can reuse the one I made, if you like, as long as you give me credit in the script.

NOTE 1: If you do temporarily replace the background video image, you will have to reload the old image (or a different one) when you're done with the "hit the space bar" image. If you're using "hit the space bar" to move to the wakener, then start the wakener script by loading the new/old image there.

NOTE 2: The background video is likely to freeze when you strike the space bar. Therefore, it's a good idea to reload that video immediately following the "getkey" command. You can see where I've done just that in the screen grab at the top of this entry.

And that's it for Virtual Hypnotist 104. VH 105 might or might not follow tomorrow.