Director News
Director Web Sites
Mailing Lists
News Groups
Project Examples
Useful Web Sites

Don't miss these
Format Image
Exit Windows
Diffusion Effect - Imaging Lingo
Dave's 3D engine V7.1
CD Everywhere



Review DirectControl

Added on 4/1/2001



Required Xtras:
DirectControl Xtra

This item has not yet been rated

Author: MediaMacros (website)

DirectControl Xtra is a cross platform, easy to use Scripting Xtra for Macromedia Director, Authorware, and Shockwave, that provides fast and consistent access to analog and digital joysticks. DirectControl Xtra also applies to other ancillary input devices that track positions within an absolute coordinate system, such as a touch screen, digitizing tablet and light pen.

Ready to take those Shockwave or Director games to the next level? This is the Xtra for you! DirectControl takes Director out of the realm of keyboard and mouse input and adds the use of any joystick compatible device. Want to write a drawing application, well now your drawing tablet can interact with Director. Games can use any standard joystick and it supports both directional keypads and analog sticks.

I did my tests with 2 separate controllers and both preformed wonderfully. The first was a simple four button Gravis game pad. (Not sure if they even make this model any more.) I chose this first as a challenge because I have had problems with games in the past not correctly using this controller. The DirectControl Xtra preformed perfectly and detected each button exactly as it was supposed to. My next round of tests used a Logitech Wingman Rumbler. This has 2 analog sticks, a directional pad, and 9 buttons. It also allows you to swap between the analog stick and pad with a toggle switch. (Basically swapping the controls so the pad can be used in place of the stick and vice versa). All buttons registered correctly, the pad preformed flawlessly and the main stick did great as well.

Overall the Xtra is very easy to use. You simply initialize and it will return all found devices including their Names. This allows the user to choose what input device he/she wants to use. After that there are a series of functions you can use to check for button presses, directional movement, etc. The only down side I found to all this is that each is a function, not an event. For the directional buttons this is understandable, but I would have liked to see something along the lines of an “on buttonPressed” handler rather than having to check the states of every button and directional stick on every exitFrame. This really should not cause a performance hit, but will require some sort of global object (maybe a parent script stored in the actor list) to track controls across the entire movie.

As to value, this depends on your use. The single license version for use in a projector is $149 for PC, $199 for Mac or $299 for both. Not too bad for a commercially distributed game, especially for something this easy to use. If you are in the market for a Shockwave version you will need to go up to the site license. This is $395 PC, $495 Mac, or $695 for both. It does allow an auto-downloadable version and use by multiple developers, but makes it a little more of a strain on the individual making casual games for the web.

Overall I was very pleased with the ease of use and the example file that comes with the Xtra. The demo version allows you to develop and fully try before you purchase so there are no surprises after your order. Documentation is thorough and is available on the web site, though a local copy and a standard Windows/Mac help file would also be nice. The one feature I would like to see added is force feedback, as so many of the newer controllers have this built in. Overall it’s a great Xtra at a reasonable price, especially for commercial developers.



36 South Court Sq
Suite 300
Newnan, GA 30263

Send e-mail