Shockwave (Director)

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File Format
Name Shockwave (Director)
Extension(s) .dcr, .dir, .dxr, .cct, .cst, .cxt, .drx
MIME Type(s) application/x-director
PRONOM x-fmt/341, fmt/317, fmt/486
Type Code MV93, FGDM, MC95, FGDC
Released ≤1995
For Shockwave Flash, see SWF.

Shockwave is a platform and format for multimedia applications, video games, etc. It was owned by Macromedia during most of its formative years, and is now owned by Adobe. It has many names, most of which involve permutations of the words "Macromedia", "Adobe", "Shockwave", and "Director". Director is the application usually used to develop it. It is distinct from SWF (Flash).

The format seems to be based on the RIFX metaformat, though some DCR files are not[1] actually valid RIFX files.

It might be that the DCR files don't work as valid RIFX files due to DEFLATE compression being used on some sections of the file using an undetermined scheme. Presumably a correct application of INFLATE would yield a valid file. An old oreilly[2] book reveals that this compression and decompression step used to be done by a Director Xtra plugin called "afterburner" before it was a built in feature. Afterburner is available on some Mac abandonware sites.

Shockwave also has a plugin system called "xtras" which may complicate the correct interpretation of some files in the future.



File extensions:

  • .DIR = Director file (holds an editable project)
  • .DXR = Protected (compiled & read-only) Director file; most commonly seen on published CD-ROMs. (.DRX extension has also been seen)
  • .DCR = Shockwave (protected & compressed) version of DIR; the normal format for distribution of Shockwave content over the Internet.

Cast Formats

One major element of Shockwave is "cast members", objects that can have scripts and other resources attached to them. These can be bundled together into a "cast" file for modularity.

File extensions:

  • .CST = Editable Director cast
  • .CXT = Protected (compiled & read-only) Director cast
  • .CCT = Shockwave (protected & compressed) cast; to be loaded after a reference by (presumably) a DCR file

Sources: [3] [4] [5]


Sample files


See Also

Editors' notes

The PRONOM database claims that the PC version of Director creates files that begin with "RIFX" (i.e. big-endian), and the Macintosh version creates files that begin with "XFIR" (little-endian). This is backwards.

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