Price: 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.
Productivity improvements include support for multiple undo or redo operations and, as you would hope, version 11.5 introduces authoring and playback on Mac OS X 10.5. Firefox 3.0 is also supported for browser playback, while enhancements to the text engine include Open Type Font (OTF) embedding on the Mac.
Director 11.5 offers ByteArray as a new member type and core object in Lingo (Director’s native scripting environment), for optimized reading, writing and working with binary data. The new data type allows you to import and store byte array content as a cast member inside your projects.
ByteArray manipulates content from images, audio and video directly, passing the binary data over a network or storing and reading it locally. For example, you could output the contents of a sound object as a byte array, then modify the byte array data with scripting before playing the sound object.
The ByteArray object can be used to store text in any character set, so as well as non-text data, it can deal with non-UTF-8 characters in Lingo. This supports the Unicode text and fonts (introduced in Director 11), which are essential when designing for an international audience. It can also be used to create byte-level algorithms, for purposes such as encryption.
In Director, meanwhile, Google Sketchup 3D models are now fully supported (as above). This gives users direct access to the massive online model repository at the Google 3D warehouse. With this, Adobe seems to be addressing the competition in the gaming world by providing this bolt-on solution rather than boosting Director’s 3D modelling potential.
Embedded Flash, native H.264 video, 5.1 channel surround sound and real-time audio mixing and effects will provide a lot of oomph to your projects. Shockwave penetration and RTMP-based streaming keeps Director valid in the web market, but in the gaming arena there are now strong contenders to this old warhorse.