Hoping to radically simplify Java multimedia development, Dimension X on Monday will introduce a new edition of its Liquid Motion authoring tool.
Liquid Motion Pro builds on the easy-to-use graphical interface of its predecessor, Liquid Motion, but adds several capabilities, including timing controls, great user interactivity, and motion path control, which bring it closer into line with established multimedia authoring tools such as Macromedia's Director.
Dimension X wants Liquid Motion Pro to do for multimedia Java development what Director did for CD-ROM development: to shield artists from the complexity of having to use low-level programming languages. But the company believes that its tool will have an advantage over Director on the Internet because it creates Java programs instead of platform-dependent plug-ins, according to Karl Jacob, the company's CEO.
"Director is an awesome CD-ROM authoring package," said Jacob. "But that is the world that it was created for. On the Internet, you need a completely different tool with different capabilities."
Rather than Java applets that automatically run through most browsers, Director creates multimedia files that require a specialized plug-in called Shockwave. In spite of the hassle of having to download a plug-in to play Director movies, more than 10 million copies of the Shockwave software have been downloaded from Macromedia's site, said Leesa Lee, senior product manager for Director product line at Macromedia.
"Looking at the ubiquity of Shockwave, the numbers speak for themselves," she said.
Liquid Motion Pro will be available on the Internet next week for a trial download. The product will cost $725.