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How do we improve loading time of a Shockwave-Director application

Posted on 2007-11-21
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My very skilled team has created a virtual reality city and mall in .dcr files.  The graphics for these files has been optimised to the best they possibly can be without taking away from the overall graphical quality of the site.  The objective of the site is to entice shoppers to move around the 3D space, using their arrow keys, and "notice" window-displays as they would in a real life mall/city.

Some of our users are complaining that the application appears to freeze once it is loaded and this is causing a lot of frustration as you an no doubt appreciate.  Recently we loaded the dcr file using iFrame methodologies and in my opinion, the overall speed, once the graphics have loaded appears far superior as opposed to loading into a separate blank window however this opinion is not shared or supported by all users so far.

I am desperate to find a workable and smart solution and am hopeful that there is a shockwave-director guru online who can provide some clues as to how we can overcome the problems.  The site in question is www.popwebcity.com - the city and / or mall can be loaded from the Menu:  Popweb City then Go to City or Go To Mall.  It would appear a majority of the users so far head straight for the mall so this would be a logical place to head to.  

We are looking for a solution on how to make this application load quicker and when it is loaded, is stable so users do not experience "frozen" screens.

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Question by:lesleyag
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jgordos earned 2000 total points
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Unfortunately, I don't think there is much you can do, other than compress the graphic files to their utmost, without redoing how you move around in the world.

Director doesn't render a thing in the 3d environment until the content is all loaded.  That's just the ugly truth.

But the other truth is that we don't need to render/load the entire dataset most of the time.  We really only need to have loaded the parts the user can 'interact' with.

You can add 'load points' and such to minimize the amount of data pushed down initially, but really you're just spreading the pain around in time.... for instance, if we speak of my home.. we can load the entire house, or we can load the oustide of the house... then when i open the front door, i walk in... I can't see back outside, so we don't need that...

But we also don't need my basement, or my son's upstairs bedroom, until I either go up the stairs, or down the stairs.

if we delay the download to these places, we can mitigate some of the pain.

However, you may find that your users think the app feels "jerky' then.

Honestly, no real good answer.  And the reliability of director seems directly (hah! i kill me) related to the RAM footprint.   Minimizing the loaded artwork will greatly help your RAM usage, and that should help your reliabilty.

I know this isn't exactly the magic bullet  you're looking for, but I personally do not think that magic bullet exists.

-john
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