Macromedia Director 8

Version 8 has brought a heap of goodies into its toolbox - and it is one of the first programs to support the Velocity Engine technology on the Macintosh. While some of these new features could be seen to be obvious enhancements, there are certainly some that make the upgrade worthwhile.

One of the most important changes is the addition of a Property Inspector. Whereas in previous versions it was necessary to view and change different Director elements using a series of dialogue boxes, the Property Inspector is now a single tabbed palette. Depending on the nature of the object selected, the Property Inspector displays relevant category tabs and fields for that object. This one feature alone dramatically speeds up workflow.

Also new is the Cast List view, which lets you sort cast members by name, size, dates, type and comments.

For greater control when creating a movie, you can now zoom in and out of the stage area in Director without affecting the position and size of sprites. And those users who have inadvertently modified a complex sprite, before realising it was the wrong one, will appreciate the new Lock Sprites command. Also of great assistance, and long overdue, is a Guides command (in addition to the normal grid) which lets you place sprites precisely on the stage.

New enhancements have been made to the Lingo language, including parent-child scripting functionality, image manipulation and sound control. In addition, scripts can be saved externally as files and edited in a text editor.

Director 8 now lets you configure a completed Shockwave movie in a browser. Options that can be changed include creating an HTML template file as well as the Shockwave movie, showing a progress bar as the movie loads, cantering the movie and many more.

Other enhancements to Director 8 include refined bitmap compression, multiple curve vectors, support for Japanese double byte characters, low bandwidth transitions and runtime imaging effects.

Macromedia Director 8

Price: $1963.50

Distributor: Firmware Design

Phone: (02) 4721 7211

URL: www.macromedia.com.au

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David Hague

PC World

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