By Michael Burns | on May 28, 2009
Price When Reviewed: 795 . 235
Pros: H.264 video; 5.1 channel surround sound; real-time audio mixing and effects; RTMP-based streaming; Sketchup 3D content; ByteArray data type; productivity enhancements.
Director, Adobe’s tool for creating interactive content, for both online and standalone applications, gains several key features with version 11.5. High-def has arrived for Director and the Shockwave player, in the form of support for H.264 video.
You can now provide full-screen, high-definition video in multimedia applications and games authored in Director – MP4, F4V, and FLV file formats are now natively supported. In another worthy enhancement, bitmap filters (blur, drop shadow, glow etc) can now be applied to video.
Launching version 11.5 at the Games Developers Conference, Adobe has an obvious market in mind. Particularly interesting to game developers is an update to the PhysX engine, adding support for dynamic concave rigid bodies, a feature previously offered by the Havok physics engine. However, there is strong competition from other game-development tools, particularly Unity (which can create for platforms such iPhone or Wii) and Torque Game Engine Advanced, both of which offer highly respected 3D capabilities.
Director 11.5’s audio options have been thoroughly overhauled: there’s now audio mixing, including support for 16-channel audio with 5.1 surround sound. It’s easy to add a real-time audio mixer object, a container that places multiple sound objects into a single audio file. You simply add a mixer to a movie and import sound objects.
Director also offers media synchronization features, letting you synchronize events in a movie to precise cue points embedded in digital video. One such scenario is streaming audio or video online, using the RTMP protocol. You direct the filename of the MP4/FLV member to a valid target on a Flash Media Server, and streaming begins when you put this member on the Stage. Director can embed any Flash movie from version 2 and supports the features of Flash 9. However, movies with components using AS3 or Flex components will still not work as intended in Director.