At the Game Developer Conference (GDC) in San Francisco, Adobe took off the wraps from Director 11.5. It's expected to ship by the end of March for £795 plus VAT/US$1,000. Upgrades cost from £235/$300.

Director is Adobe's landmark multimedia authoring software. It's used by game developers, multimedia authors, and e-learning professionals. Director has long been used as an authoring system for multimedia content delivered on CD-ROM and DVD-ROM, on the Web and through other media -- it's a cornerstone of Adobe's Shockwave technology, used to create interactive games, demos, prototypes, e-learning courses and more.

The new 11.5 release features a new 5.1 channel surround sound audio engine that has real-time mixing capabilities. It now supports the H.264 (Advanced Video Codec) video encoding format and RTMP-based streaming, for delivering High Definition (HD) video content.

3D art assets are now able to be imported using Google SketchUp and SketchUp 3D Importer (above). And physics can now be handled using nVidia's PhysX technology.

Other changes include support for Mac OS X 10.5 'Leopard' (alongside Windows XP and Vista -- though older versions of Mac OS X are no longer supported), and enhanced scripting performance.