Frequently Asked Questions


You can sign up and use the People Builder for a week-long trial without a credit card. Thereafter a $10 per month subscription is required in order to publish content. Annual subscribers receive a 20% discount, at USD $96 per year. Though rare in practice, some users have traffic needs that exceed what can be offered in the standard subscription. By default, excess usage is automatically limited, but an Account tab setting allows any excess usage to be billed monthly. We can also work with larger clients to build out their own cloud-based infrastructure using the People API, for even greater cost savings.

For developers, the Character API and ChatBot API are billed per-use, at $0.007 and $0.001 per call, respectively. Billing occurs monthly and there is no minimum. The charge normally appears on your monthly AWS bill, as enrollment is handled by our Amazon AWS Marketplace partner. You can cache the resulting animation files, which leads to significant savings for many types of applications.

The Character Builder downloadable product (available for Windows XP and higher) is still supported for registered users. You can download it here. Please contact support@mediasemantics.com for support on the Windows application, including lost keycodes, Character and Addon packs, and Speech Pack licensing.

If you are a user of the Windows application, we highly recommend you try the People Builder.

Unfortunately the People Builder service is different enough from the old Character Builder Windows application that a simple upgrade path is not possible. We recommend that you continue to use the Character Builder for those projects that were created in that environment.

The People Builder service does not have strict feature parity with the Charater Builder. In particular the service does not currently have support for text bubbles, photofit characters, or the Flash format. Some of these features are planned for a future release.

The People Builder service is built on top of the API products. If you are a content developer or a web developer in need of a drop-in character, then you will find the People Builder service to be rich in features and easy to use.

The Character and ChatBot API provide much of the raw functionality for modules created in People Builder, and is available for developers who need to go beyond the limitations of the People Builder.

When you have finished creating and previewing your module, you can select it in your Modules tab and press Get Embed Code. You will be provided with a small piece of HTML code that you can insert into your existing website or online course. Your users will then see and interact with your module as if it were part of your own site.

Whenever you need to change your module, simply login to the People Builder service. You can make changes to a module and preview them, but your users will continue to see the old version until you press the Publish button again. (If you publish a module whilei> it is being viewed by a user, then they will continue to see with the old version until they refresh the current page.)

You can also Export your module to several different format. The SCORM format is suitable for insertion into a Learning Management System, such as Moodle. The HTML5 format is suitable for insertion directly into your website or application, and is useful when you need more control over the resulting files. Some modules can also be exported to MP4 video, either for use in a video hosting service or for use as a raw input into other multimedia tools.

No. Your users will never see any ads or logos in the space occupied by a module.

Yes. The Agent module normally has multiple messages, and a given message can be played using the play() API by passing the message name as an argument. It is rather like pulling strings on a puppet. The dynamicPlay() API takes an arbitrary string of text as an argument (255 characters maximum), and speaks that text, while playing an optional animation. Dynamic play requests can be queued up, and even mixed with regular play requests, to speak longer runs of text.

A valid People Builder subscription is required in order for your users to see modules that are linked to your site. If a subscription lapses, you will typically see an empty space within your website where your module would normally appear. Reinstating the subscription will instantly restore the module. We will not explicity close a lapsed account unless we are asked to do so through a request to support.

For Character API users, there is no subscription, and you are simply billed at the end of each month for the number of API calls incurred that month.

The stock characters available in the People Builder and Character API products are made available royalty-free for your convenience. The license does state the following:

User further agrees to not use the Software (or any part or result thereof) in connection with any unlawful, offensive, obscene, pornographic, harassing, libelous or otherwise inappropriate content, material or purpose.
In other words, we reserve the right to end the agreement if we feel that your use of the characters is inappropriate, and might have a negative impact on the value of those characters to other clients, and of the People Builder product as a whole.

While the People Builder interface is English, content can be created in any language. For recorded audio, the lip-sync component is language-independent, and has been tested with languages such as French, German, Spanish, and Japanese. High quality Text-to-Speech engines are also available for several foreign languages, including Spanish and French.

In the Character API, actions are specified using programmatic (XML) tags. You can think of these actions as building blocks that can be combined to produce a variety of actual animation. For example <lookright/> and <gestureright/> can be combined to produce an action in which a character looks (stage) right while also gesturing (stage) right. The People Builder is built on top of the Character API. It includes all the same characters, but offers a simpler action dropdown that map to one or more of these building blocks, depending on the character. Think of it as specifying the intent of the action rather than the details. Note that in the People Builder, "left" and "right" also flip to the user's perspective, so if the character is located to the right of the content, then you will choose a Look Left action to make it glance at the content.

The People Builder lets you upload images and audio files, as well as scripts and other configuration information. While we take great care to ensure the integrity of your data, we are unable to provide backup/restore points and perform rollbacks. In other words, if you delete a file, it is removed from the network and we are not able to restore it. For this reason we recommend that you use the Download to ZIP button in the Modules tab to download modules and their media files.

API users never need to upload content, since each API call fully specifies the inputs and outputs for the operation.

Customized versions of a character can be created in the Characters tab. Different styles of characters may support different customizations. Not all characters can be customized.

We also work with clients to provide custom characters, clothing, and props that are available only on select accounts. A custom character becomes your own unique, brandable property that can help further differentiate your product or service.

Absolutely. One thing to note however is that most modules use audio, and that all mobile browsers (as well as newer versions of several desktop browsers) employ a "touch to listen" rule, meaning that your user needs to explicitly interact with a module (by pressing a button for example) in order for it to play any sound. This rule is implemented by browsers to prevent unwanted audio, such as ads, from auto-playing. While they can't get around the "touch to listen" rule, People Builder modules include features to make the limitation as natural and unobtrusive as possible.

Not by default. Because each module downloads only what it needs, as it needs it, it is not possible to view them offline. They will typically appear as a blank area where the module would normally appear.

However, there is a feature called Export to HTML5 that lets you download all required media and data files in a single zip file. This gives you more control over how you distribute your media, including the use of HTML5 Service Workers to preload all media files for true offline use. Chatbot modules are NOT available for offline use.

The People Builder and the Character API support lip-syncing with either Text-to-Speech (TTS) or recorded audio. High-quality TTS audio comes standard with the People Builder, and it's ease of use and convenience make it a common choice.

The People Builder also lets you upload audio files in mp3 format. You can record your own, or you can use a service such as Voice123 to locate and purchase voice talent over the web.

In general you will find our characters to be very bandwidth-efficient. Because they are interactive, most People Builder modules do not use video. Instead they are assembled using "texture images" that are downloaded as needed from our Content Delivery Network (CDN), and then cached locally for reuse. Some Modules are available for Export to Video.

You may notice slight delays when you author new content, but this slowness disappears as your users begin to view it. This is because we use an aggressive caching strategy, based on Amazon AWS CloudFront, in order to make your module load quickly, and run with a minimum of network-incurred pauses.

Yes. A single subscription lets you publish modules to multiple sites. You can also lock your content to a specific domain, to make it impossible for someone to copy the HTML embed code and place it on their own site.

No. At this time, each account is associated with a specific user. You can only be logged in on one device at a time. You can of course delegate a task to another person by sharing your credentials with that person, however any support requests must come from the registered user of the account.

The People Builder HTML code that you insert in your website includes a customer id and a module id only, so there is nothing that ties your publicly-available content to your name or email address.

You should carefully guard your People Builder login credentials, since anyone with those credentials could alter or delete your module.

You can create modules of a confidential nature, but you should embed them on pages that are accessible only to logged-in users. You should also lock confidential modules to your domain (see the Account tab). This way if an authorized (but malicious) user gains access to your HTML embed code, this code will still not be viewable on another domain.

The People Builder support team is able to view your content, but we do so only upon request, in order to respond to support issues.

Accounts that have never had a valid subsription are considered to be trial accounts, and may be closed at any time. However an account is NOT closed if a subscription has lapsed. To close an account please contact support, at which point all uploaded files and data associated with your account will be erased.

At Media Semantics our focus is on strengthening your brand, so we never force our own brand upon your audience. That said, free or discounted products can sometimes be obtained in exchange for a "Powered By Media Semantics Technology" logo on the same page as your published work:

Powered By Media Semantics Technology

You can use the following HTML syntax to place the logo on your site:

<a href="http://www.mediasemantics.com">
<img src="http://www.mediasemantics.com/images/MSLogo.gif"
alt="Powered By Media Semantics Technology"
width="112" height="87" border="0"></a>




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