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Chapter 9. Interactive Sound Design with... > Flash and Shockwave basics

9.1. Flash and Shockwave basics

At the core of Shockwave and Flash multimedia lies a sophisticated authoring environment that exports various media elements into one compressed binary movie file. Using a standalone authoring environment to produce a self-contained media file has many advantages over text-based markup language media formats such as SMIL and Java. For example, the synchronization and playback of complex Shockwave and Flash presentations is more reliable than SMIL-based media. More important, the overall level of interaction between media elements is much more advanced in Flash and Shockwave than in text-based formats.

Although Shockwave was heavily promoted, it is not as ubiquitous on web sites as RealAudio or Flash because of its large plug-in size and higher bandwidth requirements. What Shockwave does best is create rich CD-ROM-like interactive multimedia. However, the result is often a download that is too slow over 56 Kbps modem connections. While Shockwave is a great multimedia-authoring environment, its bandwidth-hungry video and audio are best experienced with the throughput of xDSL or at least a T1 line. However, if you are careful with preloading and streaming, you can successfully create interesting Shockwave media suitable for modem users. The Enigma III Shockwave mixer, discussed later in this chapter, provides a good example of how you can create engaging Shockwave media over limited bandwidths.


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