Adobe® Director® 11

Adobe Director is a multimedia design tool for creating all kinds of online media and standalone applications. It can be used for creating applets, games and e-learning programmes in Shockwave, though these can include Flash and other formats, too. It can produce sprite-based animations, but with a lot of extra effects and now has 3D abilities, too. Version 11 adds a number of useful extras to its feature-set.
Director uses a film or theatre analogy, so your main development window is the Stage and you have a Cast of available characters, keeping track of them on a timeline known as the Score. It's probably just coincidence that parameters are shown in a palette called the Properties (Props) Inspector.
Improvements in Director 11 are useful, but hardly revolutionary. There's support for DirectX 9, so you can use the power of modern GPUs to execute Shockwave code and the
PhysX engine from Ageia is included, to improve the physics of collisions and implement gravity and other forces in a more realistic way.
The Bitstream font engine is also new, improving the quality and rendering of typefaces, and Adobe has built-in Unicode support, so you can build in foreign language support with a wider variety of accents and non-Roman scripts. There's no support for right-to-left fonts, though, so no Hebrew or Arabic.
If you want to program Director 11, rather than working with it interactively, you can do so in JavaScript or in the program's own Basic-like language, Lingo. There are now code snippets throughout the Lingo reference file which can be cut and pasted directly into your own scripts. These bits of example program are a huge help to fast coding and it's surprising that snippets haven't been included before.
Other improvements include bitmap filters, like drop-shadow, glow and assorted bevels, and a better publishing process, which copies dependent files to the correct sub-folder for the Projector standalone player to find. There's support for Intel Macs and Windows Vista, though again, these things have been quite long in coming.
With a typical Internet price of £859, it's quite a leap of faith to start creating with Director 11. For those already using an earlier version, the upgrade price of £253 is more reasonable, but you still have to weigh it against writing in Flash. Flash has a higher take-up than Shockwave, which is estimated to be installed on only around 50 percent of European PCs. Although the Shockwave run-time is free for download, it still presents a barrier to immediate take-up.

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