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26.7. Shockwave for Director

Macromedia's Director software (which significantly predates the Web) has long been the industry standard for creating multimedia presentations appropriate for CD-ROMs and kiosk displays. Director movies incorporate images, motion, sound, interactive buttons, and even QuickTime movies. In 1996, Macromedia introduced the Shockwave system, which enabled Director movies to be played directly on web pages. While Flash is better suited for the Web, there are some functions that can only be done in Director. Following is a summary of Shockwave's pros and cons.

26.7.3. Creating Shockwave Movies

Shockwave movies (which use the suffix .dcr) must be created using Macromedia Director. Director is a powerful multimedia authoring environment. Although learning the basics of the software itself is not too daunting, to make Director movies do the really cool interactive stuff, you must learn Lingo, Director's proprietary programming language. Lingo, although simple by programming standards, can still take a long time to master, which is why many designers hire Director and Lingo specialists.

That said, a lesson in Director and Lingo is beyond the scope of this book. If you're interested in learning Director, I recommend you spend time with the manual and other available tutorial books. Also, be sure to take advantage of the excellent support material and resources on the Macromedia web site. Pay special attention to tips for optimizing file size and preparing files for streaming.

Once you've created a movie in Director, you must save it in Shockwave format to make it play over the Web. In Director 8.5 (the current version as of this writing), use the Publish command (listed under the File menu) to save your completed movie to Shockwave format. By default, when you publish a movie, Director automatically creates a .dcr file and an HTML document that contains all the code necessary for displaying the Shockwave movie. Additional export settings (such as generating code for plug-in detection) are available on the Publish Settings dialog box.


Director 5 used the Afterburner Xtra to save a movie in Shockwave format. The ability to save directly to .dcr format was built into Director as of Version 6, making Afterburner obsolete.

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