Up to this point, whenever you've created a movie in Director, you've played it back in Director. In the real world, however, you can't expect everybody to have Director installed on his or her computer, and you don't want to limit your audience to those who do.
For this reason, Director has the capability to create a projector , which is a stand-alone, self-running version of one or more Director movies ( Figure 16.1 ). A projector reproduces the action on the Stage, including all interactive elements, just as it looks and sounds in Director. (Of course, the Score, Cast window, and other features of the authoring environment are not included in the projector.) The only serious drawback to using projectors is that the Macintosh version of Director can only create projectors that run on a Macintosh, and the Windows version of Director can only create projectors that run in Windows. (See the "Platform Politics" sidebar for more information.)
Figure 16.1. A projector file allows users to play your Director movies without having Director installed on their computers.
A projector can be distributed to users via any medium you choose: CDs, DVDs, Zip disks, email, or other means of file transfer. Projectors can even be distributed over the Web (but unlike Shockwave movies, which you'll learn about in the next chapter, they must be downloaded in their entirety before they can be played). All that's necessary to play a projector is to double-click its icon, just as you would with any Macintosh or Windows application.
This chapter covers setting projector options, creating projectors, packaging projectors and external files for distribution, and more. If you plan to include Xtras in a projector, see Chapter 19, "Using Xtras," for details.