Background[edit | edit source]

  • mTrop was a computer software tool that makes interactive titles, such as games and tutorials,
  • mTrop was a closed and proprietary and no longer in development nor available from Quark, a private company in Denver.
  • Multimedia software with a loyal following that was around in the late 1990s, but was killed by its developer corporation, Quark, from Colorado.

Insights and a parable on lifeforms.[edit | edit source]

The real nice thing about mTrop is that it was *thought* from the start in terms of behaviors. Of course mini-script was "mini", but it would have grown, and grown intelligently - meaning that it would have been essentially scripting for a behavior driven environment.

The most glamorous acknowledgment of this is the fact that Macromedia, being a wise entity, tried in some way to "behaviorize" Director. Which works more or less. The Director behaviors were faster for often-used functions and makes it easier to manage custom ones - but still it's only a time saving device. Macromedia doesn't get you to the point where you "think" in behaviors (or oop for that matter).

The one thing that draws the line between mTrop and Director is an essential one: their metaphor.

  • Director came from video (works), with a time line, a cast and a score.
  • mTrop came from psychobiology where you create beings that behave with regard to one another.

And the metaphor is a major design factor.

  • Hypercard is (was?) the only other authoring tool with a valid metaphor: the rolodex, but it's so much behind the other two.
  • mTrop was a qualitative leap forward in terms of the evolution of authoring tools.


Comparison of motorcycles and cars that applies to mTrop vs Director.[edit | edit source]

As far as skeleton goes, you have two types of organisms: endoskeleton and exoskeleton. The exoskeleton have their hard protective skeleton on the outside, all the soft stuff, nervous system and all, is inside. Those are the insects, arachnids, and things like lobster, shellfish and snail. Primitive.

The endoskeleton have their skeleton inside and the soft stuff, except for most of the nervous system, is outside.

This at first glance doesn't make any sense. It makes the endoskeleton very vulnerable and it is unlikely to survive unless it's intelligent enough to stir itself correctly.

Birds, mammals, primates, are all endoskeleton - and it so happens that they are located higher in the evolutionary tree.

So is the being motorcycle-motorcyclist, the soft stuff is in the outside, sitting on hard metal, vulnerable but alive!

The rider in his car is all within the hard shell - as a whole it's an exoskeleton. So, it crawls.

In Director the "external" controlling structure is everything: the cast, the score, the sprite, the script score, the sprite score, the movie score, etc. So what you do is create an all encompassing structure, hard and resistant.

Director is an exoskeleton.

In mTrop you define individual beings with ways of loosely interacting with each other and that are all part of a whole. That is an endoskeleton being with different organs and other capabilities. mTrop was simply a more evolved authoring tool.

Authoring tools don't have a will to live - we as a community have that. And, my friends, we are dying.

No "behavior"-based development environment is a match for a scripting-language based development environment.[edit | edit source]

Sure you can do 90% of your development 90% faster with the graphical tools. But that last 10% is what distinguishes.

Lingo is what killed mTrop. Too many people just found too many things they couldn't do without a decent scripting language to fall back on.

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