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Director MX 2004 is Macromedia's premiere multimedia development application. Director delivers high-performance sprite-based animation and tight sound and video integration with most current technologies including DVD, two object-oriented scripting languages (Lingo and JavaScript) capable of programmatically driving nearly every aspect of Director, Macromedia Flash integration (you can use Flash movies as sprites in Director and have access to ActionScript code within Director), Internet functions for communicating with CGI (computer-generated imagery) and other users, access to the user's hard drive when running locally, and Xtras. Xtras are plug-ins that extend Director to give it new capabilities, and are created by a large development community. Some Xtras ship with Director; others are created by independent, or third-party, developers. Some are free and some are not—as you might expect. Your projects can be published to either Windows or Macintosh platforms and delivered on CD/DVD-ROM or the Web using the Shockwave browser plug-in.

Some of the many projects that I've created with Director include a fully 3D version of the arcade classic Q*Bert, a dynamic slide presentation system, a large E-learning application with online scoring and student tracking, small 3D games for trade shows that were used to attract visitors to the booth, a 3D CADD application targeted at kids, an electronic journal for swimmers, and animated greeting cards, to name only a few. As you can see from the variety, Director doesn't constrain you to anything in particular. I've come to believe that will allow you to do pretty much anything that you can think of.


This book is designed to help you learn what you need to know to start developing multimedia applications in Director MX 2004. Because this book is geared at new to intermediate-level users, it focuses on covering all of the main areas of the program, and doesn't go into great detail on such advanced topics as 3D or object-oriented programming, although you will learn the basics of both of these.

In the course of this book, you will complete four different projects, broken down into 17 different lessons. Each project, and lesson, will build on what you previously learned so that when you're finished you will have a firm understanding of the development process.

Although it's not necessary for you to have experience with Director MX 2004 itself, this book does assume you have some basic familiarity with your operating system and that you're comfortable with choosing menu items, opening and saving files and other common tasks. Of course you'll also need to have a copy of Director MX 2004 installed on your system. If, for whatever reason, you don't have Director on your machine, a trial version is located on the included CD-ROM. This is a fully operational copy you can use for 30 days, plenty of time to go through this book.


This Macromedia training course will help you develop the necessary skills to develop multimedia applications using Director MX 2004. The curriculum should take you approximately 28 hours to complete and includes the following lessons.

Project One: Portfolio Presentation

Lesson 1: Director MX 2004 Basics

Lesson 2: Building the Interface

Lesson 3: Getting Interactive

Lesson 4: Using Video

Lesson 5: Introducing Lingo

Project Two: Personal Training Log

Lesson 6: Using Flash

Lesson 7: Implementing a Database

Lesson 8: Graphing with Imaging Lingo

Lesson 9: Using MIAWs

Lesson 10: Packaging for Distribution

Project Three: 2D Space Shooter

Lesson 11: Setting Up the Game

Lesson 12: Handling the Keyboard

Lesson 13: Detecting Collisions

Lesson 14: Publishing to Shockwave

Lesson 15: Introducing Director 3D

Project Four: 3D Memory Game

Lesson 16: Controlling the Game

Lesson 17: Adding the Finishing Touches

The Projects

Project One: Portfolio Presentation– In this series of five lessons, you'll learn many of Director's capabilities as you build a personal presentation from the ground up.

Project Two: Personal Training Log– Learn about using databases, MIAW's, Flash assets and imaging Lingo as you build an application to keep track of daily exercise.

Project Three: 2D Space Shooter– Build an old-school style 2D space shooter as you learn about programmatic animation, object-oriented programming, score keeping, and more.

Project Four: 3D Memory Game– Take your new skills a step further as you complete this series of lessons and build a fully interactive 3D memory game.

Elements and Format

Each lesson in this book begins by describing which new features of Director you will learn, and by outlining the major learning points within the lesson. Objectives and the approximate time you will need to complete the lesson are also listed, as well as the files on the CD-ROM you will need. Lessons are divided into a series of short steps, accompanied by an explanation of the importance of the step. As you progress through the projects and lessons, new skills you acquire will build upon those learned in previous lessons.

Code line numbers: Lines of code begin with numbers to identify the line. These numbers are not included in the actual code and are only for referencing.

Line Continuation Indicator: Character appearing at the end of a line of code, indicating that the next line is a continuation of the current line. The line of code has been broken into two or more lines for the purpose of printing and no actual break in the line of code should be inserted.

Tips: Alternative ways to perform tasks and suggestions to consider when applying the skills you are learning. The Tip icon indicates tips.

Notes: Additional background information to expand your knowledge, as well as advanced techniques you can explore in order to further develop your skills. The Note icon indicates notes.

Boldface terms: Text that you are to enter appears in bold.

Italic terms: New vocabulary that is introduced and emphasized in each lesson.

Menu commands and keyboard shortcuts: Menu commands are shown with angle brackets between the menu names and commands: Menu > Command > Subcommand. Keyboard shortcuts are shown with a plus sign between the names of keys to indicate that you should press the keys simultaneously; for example, Ctrl+Q means that you should press the Control and Q keys at the same time.

Appendixes: This book includes two appendixes. Appendix A, “DOM Reference,” gives you a quick and handy reference to Director's Object Model. Appendix B, “Tips and Tricks,” lists some guidelines regarding using JavaScript in your movies, as well as a few samples and useful tips.

CD-ROM: The files you will need to complete the projects for each lesson are located in the DMX2004_projects folder on the enclosed CD, which can be found in the back of the book. Inside the projects folder are subfolders titled with the name of each lesson—Lesson01, for example—that contain the subfolders and files necessary to perform the tasks in that lesson. Which subfolders are included will depend on the projects in the lesson.

The folder structure of the lessons you will be working with is shown here:

Web Site: This book has an accompanying Web site, at www.peachpit.com/mx/director04, which has an additional lesson for enhancing the game projects. In the lesson, you will use Director, PHP and mySQL to create a table for storing high game scores for players. The lesson covers using net Lingo with object-oriented techniques, posting to and querying a server-side database as well as adding security measures for both the games and the database file.

Macromedia Training from the Source

The Macromedia Training from the Source and Advanced Training from the Source series are developed in association with Macromedia and reviewed by the product support teams. Ideal for active learners, the books in the Training from the Source series offer hands-on instruction designed to provide you with a solid grounding in the program's fundamentals.

Macromedia offers the training you need to master Macromedia applications and apply them to real development tasks. Our instructor-led and online courses are geared to different experience levels to teach you the technologies and product skills you need to get your job done, whether you are creating user interfaces or building back-end components. And because we have our eyes on the big picture, we will help you make the right decisions to allow your work to be integrated smoothly with the rest of your development team.

For more information on Macromedia Authorized Training, please visit http://www.macromedia.com/training

Welcome to Macromedia Training from the Source. We hope you enjoy the course.

What You Will Learn

In the course of completing the lessons in this book you'll learn the skills necessary to create many different types of multimedia applications for both CD/DVD-ROM and Web delivery.

By the end of this course, you'll be able to:

  • Navigate and use Director's development environment and its toolset

  • Use casts and cast members effectively

  • Create sprite animation using both keyframe techniques and programmatic techniques

  • Add and control sounds within your movies

  • Use various video formats such as DVD, QuickTime, and Windows Media, among others

  • Write and understand basic Lingo, Director's object-oriented scripting language

  • Use Flash movies as assets within your Director applications

  • Create dialog boxes using another Director movie running in a window

  • Use imaging Lingo to draw dynamic graphs and images

  • Publish your projects to CD and/or the Web

  • Filter keyboard input and allow keyboard control

  • Detect basic collisions in both 2D and 3D

  • Use object-oriented programming techniques to simplify your projects

  • Use databases for storage and retrieval

  • Identify potential problems and use Director's debugger

Minimum System Requirements

  • 600 MHz Intel Pentium III or equivalent

  • Windows 2000 or XP Operating System

  • 128 MB RAM – 256 MB recommended

  • 200 MB of available hard drive space

  • 500 MHz Power Macintosh G3 or higher

  • Mac OS X 10.2.6 or later

  • 128 MB RAM – 256 MB recommended

  • 200 MB of available hard drive space

Note that Director MX 2004 requires product activation over the Internet or by telephone before it will run.

Director MX 2004 builds on a strong prior foundation, expanding its scripting language to give users an unprecedented level of control over many different media formats. With a good foundation in using Director, your skill set will improve rapidly as the projects you create become more involved. You will find Director extremely flexible, easy to use, and very addicting. Beware of finding yourself brewing coffee at 1 a.m. because you're working on your new 2D tiling engine code.

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