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Macromedia Updates Director 8.5, Shockwave

Macromedia announced Thursday the immediate availability of downloadable updates to its popular Director 8.5 Shockwave Studio that add Windows XP compatibility and anti-aliasing support for 3D imaging.

The company also announced that a native Mac OS X version of its popular Shockwave Player will be released later this month.

Shockwave Studio is authoring software used to create content for Shockwave Player, which is installed on 65 percent of Web desktops. According to Macromedia, 270 million Web users already have Shockwave Player installed and another 300,000 are installing the 3D-enhanced Shockwave Player daily.

"With the addition of powerful new anti-aliasing support in Director and a native Shockwave Player for Mac OS X, Macromedia is clearly in touch with the needs of its developers," said Scott Kingsley, president of Periscope3, an e-learning provider in the IT training market that used Macromedia's products to deliver interactive 3D learning modules.

With this update, Macromedia is also delivering a new feature for Director 8.5, the inclusion of both hardware and software-based anti-aliasing support. Anti-aliasing is used to improve the visual quality of 3D objects by adjusting the pixels to eliminate "jaggies" and soften the contrast between objects for a smoother look.

Anti-aliasing support is also included in the new version of the Shockwave Player.

Thursday's news comes on the heels of the company's January 7 announcement that its Flash Player will be available in January for Casio's Pocket PC and Windows CE based PDAs, including the BE-300 Pocket Manager and the new E-200 running the Pocket PC 2002 OS.