Apple has released the latest version of their operating system which is commonly referred to as Snow Leopard (OSX 10.6). What does this mean to users that want to see Shockwave-based content? What does this mean to those that author with Director MX 2004 or newer? What does this mean for projectors from Director MX 2004, 11, or 11.5?
Here is the scoop based on my observations.
For Shockwave things will run fine if you run in 32-bit mode in Safari. To do that you can select the Safari icon and Get Info. Then select 32-bit mode. You can read that in greater detail on this ExploreLearning blog post.
Safari in 32-bit mode
For authoring I’ve tested Director 11.5 and have not noticed any problems. However, Director MX 2004 is a different story. For some strange reason it is one of just seven programs in the entire world that are restricted from opening by Apple and the new operating system (read the Apple Technote). Out of all the programs in the world, what on Earth does Director MX 2004 do on a computer that causes Apple to ban the app?
Director MX 2004 Restricted!
Somewhere Apple is storing information that causes this message to appear. If anyone knows where that is I’d love to know I tried opening the Director MX 2004 package and changed the CFBundleIdentifier in the info.plist from 2004 to 2005 just to see what would happen. When I did that the program began to launch, the icon would bounce in the dock a few times, and then it would crash. I got the standard crash message at this point where I could report it to Apple or cancel. I canceled. I edited the info.plist once again and set it back to 2004. At this point it would always crash and I wouldn’t get the “restricted” message again. I’d say I broke something. Oh well…seems at this point it is impossible to run Dir MX 2004 on Snow Leopard.
For older projectors (that could run under 10.5 with Rosetta) things are both good and bad. The projectors will still run, but unfortunately Apple has decided that Rosetta is an optional installation now, so it doesn’t get installed by default. When I tried to launch a projector I got a message that Rosetta was needed.
Rosetta Needed Message
I agreed to install it and the 2 meg download took place. The next time I launched the projector it worked normally.
You must always remember that the first time you launch something that needs Rosetta it will take 15 or more seconds. On subsequent launches it will just take a few seconds.
Projectors created with Director 11+ will run as expected without Rosetta.
I’m still shocked that Director MX 2004 is one of just seven apps that are officially restricted by Apple. I basically use the older version of Director all the time to edit older content that I don’t want the files to have to be updated with the new unicode text. I guess I’ll now have to keep one computer running 10.5. I’m bummed. If anyone does find a way to get MX 2004 running on 10.6, please drop me a line.
Update: I forgot to mention the Shockwave installation issue. When I tried to install Shockwave I got the following message saying that it only works on 10.4 and 10.5. I clicked OK and then ran the installer. It properly installed the plugin. On the other hand, the uninstaller seemed to run for a long time and not really do anything. I waited about five minutes and then force quit it, so not entirely sure if it was doing anything or not.
Shockwave Install warning message on Snow Leopard.
Most content on the web today is in 2D, but a lot of information is more fun and useful in 3D. Projects like Google Earth and SketchUp demonstrate our passion and commitment to enabling users to create and interact with 3D content. We’d like to see the web offering the same type of 3D experiences that can be found on the desktop. That’s why, a few weeks ago, we announced our plans to contribute our technology and web development expertise to the discussions about 3D for the web within Khronos and the broader developer community.
Update (July 20, 2009). Note: Using the method has proven to have problems with editable text members that are displayed in the content. So as of now, nothing seems to work reliably. Firefox 3.5.1 is now the current release, and it continues to have the same problem. Adobe has stated that FF is not included on the list of approved Mac browsers.
Just an update, as I know many are interested. Early next week we plan to deliver a fix for the text line spacing (height) issue in Shockwave 11.5 to the Shockwave pre-release testers. Expect a Shockwave update following that session. Normally such cycles take a minimum of two weeks. (We added a permanent Shockwave pre-release beta testing group, which will always be able to activate for various Shockwave updates.)
Danny K, a couple of the imaging lingo errors you reported were verified and marked to fix, but aren’t planned for this short term update. Apparently they existed in 11 as well. (performance issue on 8 bit imaging objects)
Sound concerns re the removed audio compression settings on export. The simple answer is that mp3 files are substantially more optimized and are the preferred file format in order to deal with pre-compressing audio. I think the larger community concern is that legacy projects may contain high volumes of wav files and that absent the ability to “compress at once” and store in cast it becomes untenable to imagine dealing with huge stores of files to convert to mp3. I’ve asked engineering to give me some options / perhaps a white paper for handling conversion as such. I imagine that it would be simple enough to simply write a widget in Director now that we can save mp3 etc. to just rip through the sounds in a project and save all the wavs as mp3 sounds. I’ll let you know when I either get something back substantial, or I come up with some kind of pipeline myself. Perhaps others have given this some thought as well.
When Director 11 was released last year it really didn’t seem to get mentioned anywhere. It wasn’t until a few months ago that it showed up on MacUpdate. Things are quite different this time.
Shockwave 11.5 has been in the top 5 of the MacUpdate Most Popular downloads since it came out. Director 11.5 got covered on MacNN, MacWorld, and Macsimum News. (Can you tell I’m a Mac guy?)
The screenshots from a few moments ago show the Director story was very popular on MacWorld, and Shockwave is currently #4 in the weekly downloads on MacUpdate.
It seems as if the Adobe PR department has been much busier with this version of Director than they were with the last. That seems to be a very good sign that Director is here to stay for a bit longer.
The uDevGames contest recently announced the winners. The contest is “iDevGames’ unique grass-roots initiative to highlight our community to gamers, as well as a development platform capable of producing the most innovative cross-platform titles in the industry.”
Constellation (created with Director) won 2nd place in the Best Overall, Best Gameplay, and Best Presentation categories!
For those that develop games and are going to the Games Developer Conference in San Francisco next week be sure to go to the Director-related session. It will be held on Wednesday March 25, 2009 from 10:30-11:30am. The session description says:
Allen Partridge, Adobe Systems, hosts professional 3D game developers Pieter Albers and Diederick Groesbeek, Xform Games, Malachy Duffin, CanDo Interactive, Steve Becerra and Richard Chala, Mockworld, and David Mullich, Spin Master demonstrating & discussing design and development strategies for creating profitable, high-performance games for the web. Topics include technology challenges, design approach, business advantage & browser-based 3D.
I wonder if Director 11.5 will get shown at that time? Hmm…fits in well with the April 4th shipping date on Amazon.
This past week a FOSE 2009 took place. I’m not sure what FOSE stands for but the event was a technology tradeshow and conference for government IT. Someone from Adobe was speaking and said that there are about 200,000 Director developers.
Is that number larger than you thought? Smaller? Needless to say, this sparked a bit of discussion on the Direct-L mailing list this week. Does the number indicate “active” developers? People that occasionally use Director to maintain old content? Hard to say.
Several people that run sites talked about their stats*, and that brought up more issues. I personally know that stats can “show” most anything you choose. Using Google stats you can at least be sure you have the same program doing the analysis.
And here at Director @ Night
Absolute Unique Visitors: 18,484 (11 months, was down for 1 month)
So what does this mean? Hard to say. I do know that this site does very little, but I still get visitors. I’d love to see stats on the Adobe Forums. Personally I think the 200k number is a bit high, but I would be willing to go with 100k. The bigger item of interest (to us Director developers) will be what happens to this number in the next few years as the new versions of Director get released. Amazon still shows Director 11.5 for April 4th. Adobe has been at the Game Developers Conference the past two years, so marketing is increasing. I even saw an ad for Director on my gmail page.
So are there 200,000 Director developers out there? As a Magic 8-ball might say, “Ask again later.”
Every now and then I have to create an installer for a project I did with Director. I mostly work online and my mind usually goes blank when I need to create one. I’m certainly used to seeing them every day as I install new software to try it out.
On the Mac I typically see the lovely “drag this to applications” statement underneath a folder, and on the PC I get led through a standard sequence of steps where I can place shortcuts in lists, icons in docks, and about five other things I never really glance at (can you tell I’m a Mac guy?). Of course, I also see the dreaded click-thru installer on the Mac…life can’t be perfect.
My tools of choice are both free/donation-ware.
On the Mac you need to install the developer tools that are included on the Mac OSX DVD. Once you’ve done that you can go to HardDrive/Developer/Applications/Utilities and you will find the application called PackageMaker. This is rather easy to use (at least for simple installers), but one of the key things to notice is when the first start the program you have to enter your organization. This line MUST start with a ‘com.yadayada’ statement. A typical example might be “com.myCompany.productName”
After that you can drag content to have it included in the package (usually just one folder full of stuff in my case). You can click on the Edit Interface button to setup the readme text that will get displayed and the software license. After everything is done you click on the Build button.
On the PC side of things you can use Inno Setup. The setup wizard will lead you through all the things that can be included with the installer that you will create including the readme file, options for names in the shortcut menu, folder full of content, the executable of the content, etc.
After going through the steps you can save also go through a build step to create the setup.exe file. The program uses a tagged text file to build the final executable, and making minor edits in that text file are relatively easy if there is a small typo in a name or you decide to change the shortcut menu name.
Both products make it rather easy to create the installers.