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1.96 / 1994
|Written in||Visual Basic 3|
|Operating system||Microsoft Windows|
Creator was a software multimedia authoring application, originally designed for the purpose of creating 'point of sale/point of information' (POS/POI) systems. The program was designed and developed by Nigel Pearce whilst working for the monitor manufacturer Microvitec.
A predecessor of Creator was written for the Alhambra Theatre, Bradford in 1991. It was written in Turbo Pascal for DOS and ran on touchscreen driven PCs housed in interactive booths within the theatre foyer. The application allowed visitors to browse the program for forthcoming shows, to book seats using a visual seating plan and to look for restaurants in the locality. It was developed by Brian Lumb of Visual Solutions (Saltaire), who along with Nigel Pearce helped to implement the working solution. Much of the coding logic within the application was based upon the research by Pearce for his BSc thesis: 'Point of Information Systems' undertaken at Sheffield Hallamshire University in 1992.
When Visual Solutions dissolved in 1992, Lumb brought the "touch interactive software: concept to Microvitec where Pearce evolved the application into a Windows based version using a mixture of the programming languages Visual Basic and C. This software became the product known as Creator. Version 1 was released in late 1993 followed by Creator Professional in 1994.
Creator was distributed by Cosmi UK between 1994-1995.
In 1995, Plymouth County Council adopted Creator as its general point of information system across the city and was implemented using a network of touch screen driven PCs connected via modems. The satellite systems received updates from the central control server on a daily basis.
In 1996 Microvitec were suffering significantly in the sector and the rights to the Creator application were sold to newly formed interactive whiteboard manufacturer Promethean after Mike Lawton (the then Promethean MD) saw Creator demonstrated at Ceebit in the same year. Pearce joined Promethean at the same time.
Promethean continued to maintain the Creator product and to support the user base until mid-1999.
Creator used a "book and page" system. The "book" was a Creator file containing one or more pages where each page comprised a set of objects such as text, images and video. Each object could have up to two programmable actions which when clicked upon could link the user to another page in the book, change the appearance of another object on the page or play a video or sound file (amongst other actions).
The program implemented the feature whereby each object on the page could be made to replicate itself in a defined grid formation. Additionally each object could contain a list of content references such as text strings, images or external file references which would then be automatically displayed inside the replicated objects within the grid. This feature provided the user with the ability to create interactive menus and scrollable data lists.
The application could run either unattended in "slide show" mode or be driven interactively via touch screen, mouse and/or keyboard. Creator included database searching techniques via SQL queries on the book data. The program also utilised numerous page transitions and hi-resolution, true colour graphics to attract its target audience. The Creator Server extension allowed for a system administrator to update book and page content on any client machine across a LAN or to remote machines via modem dial up.
- David Bradwell, "How To Develop your own multimedia software", Article, What PC, Issue 74, September 1995
- Mike Magee, "From Here to Multimedia", Feature, Practical PC, Volume 4, Issue 6, June 1995
- Paul Stevens, "Do It Yourself Multimedia', Article, PC Plus, Issue 106, August 1995
- John Taylor, "DIY Multimedia', Feature, CD-ROM User, Issue 10, May 1995
- Simon Williams, "Creator", Windows Pro Choice Feature, CD-ROM Today, Issue 16, August 1995