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IntyBASIC Voice: Gender, Inflection, Pauses in Speech, PA1

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Hello everyone!


Working my way from music to voice in IntyBASIC. I used the voice.bas example to create a phrase with the speech phrases: "You will each receive an itentity disc." It says the phrase, but is completely monotone.


I can't find these commands by search nor in the docs, so I though I'd post them here:


How do I change the gender of the voice? Think Space Spartans, with starts with the male voice saying, "Mattel Electronics presents Space Spartans!" then the female voice saying, "Hello, Commander. Computer reporting."


How do I change the inflection of the voice? For example, raised inflection for questions, lowered inflection for statements, raised inflection for exclamation. Can also think of dialect in B-17 Bomber with the Slim Pickens sounding "Bee 17 Baumber" accent.


How do I create pauses in the sentence at appropriate times? A very brief pause between "receive" and "an" might be appropriate. I'd guess this also requires understanding of how to change the speed of the speech, to speed it up or slow it down either globally or in a specific group of phrases.


Finally, what are the PA1,PA2,PA3,PA4, & PA5 commands in the speech phrases for? Not indicated in the manual and not sure what they do or how to use them.


I'm doing my learning from the audio side of things first. It's what I do best. Have created songs in GarageBand in acoustic (vocal, guitar, etc) styles and with loops. Also use MIDI there to record. I'm good with audio, so it's the natural starting point for dipping my toes into the IntyBASIC waters.


Thanks, everyone, for your ongoing help with my learning! I really hope to contribute some fun projects to the Inty community.



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Unfortunately, programming the Intellivoice is not a simple matter. There are two ways you can do it:

  • Using a set of speech allophones and building phrases (like you are doing)
  • Translating speech samples into an internal formal.


The first one will most likely yield a monotone phrase because the allophones are pre-programmed and calibrated with a specific sound pattern. Therefore, putting them together in a phrase will sound robotic. The allophones used by IntyBASIC were taken from the original chip manufacturer's library, which they have generously shared with our community for research and personal use.


The second one is more versatile, which is what they used in the old Mattel games, but it is absolutely non-trivial. The few people who have figured out how to do it have not publicly released their work or tools for whatever reasons. I believe it has to do with a complicated algorithm called a Linear Predictive Coding. If you're up to it, everything you need to figure it out is in the technical documentation available on the orator chip that the Intellivoice uses. I warn you, though, it is highly technical, exceedingly arcane, and very "engineer-y".


Elektronite seems to have a means to do it because at least two of their games use voice samples. You may want to contact them. Just be aware that nothing seems to be available to the community for just playing around.


As for your second question, the PA1 .. PA5 allophones are pauses of speech. Each one is progressively longer. They are used interspersed with the other allophones to form words, phrases, and sentences.


For instance, think of the word "Connection." If you say it out loud, it is not really one single sound, it is more like "Connek ... shunn". Although very brief and seemingly trivial, that pause in the middle is very significant in making the word sound intelligible. So you may want to add PA1 in there. If you play the two versions right after each other, with and without the pause, you will notice that the one with the pause sounds more natural.


Obviously, you would use a longer pause between words, and an even longer one at the end of a sentence. Once you start playing around with this, you'll realize that human speech is not so straightforward as we all assume intuitively; the patterns are harder to discern than we initially imagine, and even the sounds we use in words are not the same we assume when we put them in writing. Our brains and ears conspire in mysterious ways to make it all seem smooth and simple, but it's far from it. ;)



Edited by DZ-Jay

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Thanks for chiming in on this! Yes, looks like the allophones and pre-scripted phrases will do just fine. Not digging into the engineering just to write in BASIC code; too oxymoronic. I'll be fine just hanging with the ISOs and creating digital jazz, man! (movie quote related to original post)


Again, thanks for helping me along the journey. I'll play around with the pauses to see if I can make the speech sound a bit more natural. I can see why the sample is "coins detected in pocket" due to its naturally robotic theme.



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