Macromedia has announced version 8 of it's multimedia authoring environment, Director. Again subtitled Shockwave Studio, the new version offers fewer new Web-specific tools than Director 7. It also offers many new tools that will appeal to users creating multimedia for any delivery medium, which should keep happy more traditional multimedia creatives – who often were disappointed by the almost Internet-only version 7.
Improvements to the interface include many facilities familiar to users more traditional layout tools. Guides are now available, as are zooming and locking controls. A context-sensitive property inspector has also been added, allowing multiple sprite and member properties to be edited in a single repository.
Another productivity-enhancing addition is a set of improvements to the cast manager, aimed at keeping large projects with hundreds of assets under control. Cast members can now be sorted by name, size, creation/modification date, type or comment.
For the more technical user, Director’s proprietry programming language, Lingo, has also been updated. The most important addition the language has been the introduction of audio controls, allowing programmers to mix, pause and synchronize audio in code. Lingo scripts can now also be edited in other text editors.
The Internet-specific tools in version 8 include a new version of the Shockwave Multiuser Server (version 2.0), Shockwave optimization, and – with an updated version of the player – scalable Shockwave windows onscreen. The Multiuser Server allows users to deploy community environments with up to 1,000 concurrent players – such as chatrooms or online games – using Shockwave technologies. The tools for creating these are found in the Director 8 authoring environment. The application also offers a number of optimization tools: such as templates, loader movies and JPEG compression.