Shockwave, 1 million copies of which have been downloaded from Macromedia's Web site, plugs into Mac and Windows versions of Netscape Navigator 2.0, allowing Navigator users to view interactive animations, movies, and games in Web pages. Shockwave files are created using Macromedia's Director multimedia authoring tool, long-established as a leading application for creating digital animation.
With an upgrade of Shockwave due out later this year, developers will also be able to combine real-time audio, video, and animation feeds in Shockwave movies, said Philip Schiller, director of product marketing at Macromedia. The current Shockwave plug-in shows only multimedia clips and elements that are created during production, not real-time feeds.
For example, the upgraded Shockwave will allow users to watch a real-time video newscast that runs within an interactive television set controlled by onscreen buttons.
Macromedia said it is working with a number of partners to provide the underlying streaming technology. The company expects to use Progressive Networks' RealAudio streaming technology, Schiller said, though he declined to name any other partners.
In the meantime, Macromedia will release a less ambitious upgrade to Shockwave, version 5, at the end of this month. This upgrade will match a key new feature, anti-aliased text, being offered in the new version of Director that is supposed to ship by the end of the month.
The company is also working to make its audio software, specifically its SoundEdit recording studio software, more Internet-savvy by letting users save SoundEdit files directly to the RealAudio format for subsequent broadcast over the Net, Schiller said.