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L.A. glitz for Director 6.0

Internet World Macromedia chooses Internet World in L.A. to show off its new Director 6.0 multimedia authoring program with enhanced video streaming and Web capabilities.

Internet World Macromedia (MACR) has chosen next week's Internet World to show off Director 6.0, the latest version of its multimedia authoring program with Shockwave streaming and enhanced authoring tools.

The company has recently sneak-previewed Director 6.0 features on its Web site. One is an expanded Score, the timeline window that allows developers to plot the movement of a "sprite," or multimedia object. Score will support 120 sprite channels in Director 6.0. The expanded number of channels lessens the need to know Lingo, Macromedia's programming language that authors can use to increase the number of sprites on screen.

Director 6.0 will also let users view and alter the path of an animated sprite within the Stage authoring environment, according to the Web site. Director previously allowed users to plot animation paths but view them only in playback mode. The new viewing capability eliminates the need to toggle back and forth between environments.

Another new development is streaming Shockwave. Previously Shockwave movies--animations created with Director and viewed with the Shockwave plug-in--had to be completely downloaded before playback could begin. With Director 6.0, Shockwave movies will play as they're downloading. Director 6.0 also will let users create Shockwave-enabled CD-ROMs.

The new version of Director 6.0 comes amid a flurry of activity for Macromedia. The company announced last month that Director users could create content for Castanet channels, Marimba's "push" technology to put custom information on users' desktops. At the same time, the company also announced that it is working with Intel and Marimba on a hybrid CD-ROM for the Public Broadcasting Service that can receive data updates from the Internet.

Director 6.0 will ship as part of the Director 6.0 Multimedia Studio on March 31. Also included in the studio will be Extreme 3D 2 and XRes 3 for both PC and Macintosh. The Mac version will feature SoundEdit 16 version 2; the PC studio will ship with SoundForge XP. The full price for both platforms is $995; upgrades will cost $499.

(Macromedia CEO Bud Colligan is a board member of CNET: The Computer Network.)