28/06/2001

I've spent the past few days trying to tackle what turned out to be a really nasty CD-ROM/Intranet based project, involving Shockwave and Quicktime movies. The brief was simple - take this Director movie, and reduce it to a slightly smaller screen size, and also incorporate these MPEG movies.

I finally got it to work properly today, and it marks my first working Director based project since 1998's Jaw Wars. It wasn't all my project though, it was passed down to me by the boss from a former employee. The work was a mess, but that was just the beginning. You see, along the way, I made various discoveries about Shockwave and the MPEG format. In short, the two do not mix.

Usually, Director movies and MPEG files are incorporated using an Xtra (add-on software for Director to perform extra tasks, MPEG format is unsupported natively in the Director environment). The Xtra I used was called DirectMedia.

I soon discovered that there is no Shockwave equivalent of DirectMedia, meaning that MPEG was dead in the water. So I spent many long hours converting 16 movies into Quicktime format, as Shockwave does possess support. Not nice, when the original files are over 10mb each. Even when that was over, I had to pass the new movies through Terran's Media Cleaner to downgrade them further, as the files were now twice the size they were in MPEG format.

Oh, how to cut this short? Well, I got there in the end, but not without going through the linking of the Quicktime movies to the Shockwave movie itself. The end product only worked on my machine, nobody elses. I thought it was down to the CD-ROM drive letter being different on other machines, breaking the links whenever you got to a page in the Shockwave movie that displayed a Quicktime. So I tried using the Lingo command 'searchPaths' to find out the CD-ROM drive letter. Still didn't work.

Nope, it wasn't that. The problem was because of Shockwave's security features, namely its inability to poke around your machine for potentially sensitive information. This meant that, as my burned CD stood, the QT movies were unlinkable. I thought I was stuck good and proper.

The solution, buried deep within Macromedia's support website, was to move all the content within a folder called 'dswmedia'. This allows filing operations to be performed within this special folder, so that at last, my movies played in the Shockwave file. It's been one hell of a learning process, but I got there in the end.

No rest for the wicked... I have another project to work on, and the clients are coming in tomorrow for a progress report...
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