Macromedia and Intel have teamed up on a new technology that promises to bring better three-dimensional (3D) graphics to the Internet, the two companies said Tuesday.
Being unveiled today, Macromedia Director 8.5, the latest version of the company's graphics authoring software, includes support for Intel's Internet 3D graphics rendering engine. With this support, some of the burden of running complex 3D graphics can be offloaded from the server to the user's computer, bringing with it several benefits related to scaling of the technology.
Because some of the work is being done by the user's computer, less data has to sent from the server, meaning users on low-bandwidth connections can benefit from a faster download time. Intel's technology also lends itself to scaling, so that a better image and experience can be provided to users with fast processors, while users with low-end processors will still be able to access the graphics, albeit at lower resolution and for a less dynamic experience. In fact, the software is optimized for top-of-the-range Pentium 4 systems, the companies said in a statement.
"Basically we make your computer work harder instead of making your modem work harder," said Intel spokesman Manny Vara. Vara said the technology was originally designed with 56K bps (bits per second) modem users in mind, although it should benefit all users.
Macromedia Director 8.5 Shockwave Studio is expected to be released for both Windows and Apple Macintosh platforms in May, the company said. The software carries a price tag of US$1,199 for new users, $199 for users upgrading from Director 8.0 and $399 for upgrades from Director versions 5 through 7. French, German, Japanese and Korean versions are expected to ship in June.
For personal users, free copies of the new Shockwave player are expected to be available in May. Sample 3D content and a public beta of the new software is available now at the link below.