The 1990’s was an amazing time for multimedia. Compared to what is possible today, the graphics were more simple but there were many software titles leading the charge in Animation. Macromedia Director, along with Flash, dominated the interactive multimedia market for quite some time. Eventually being picked up by Adobe and discontinued in 2013. Quite a few multimedia disc’s out there were built using Director.

Competing with Director, another company had a strong product. Motion Works International was an early pioneer in the multimedia CD-ROM scene. Rumor has it, Motion Works was started by a 12 year old. Motion Works had been making software for use with the highly successful HyperCard software since 1988. In 1992 they released the successor to their ADDmotion software, a path based animation tool called PROmotion.

PROmotion was used with with many Multimedia titles, some in cooperation with the Corel Home series. In addition to commercial titles PROmotion was a great tool for the creation of animation clips and other marketing material. I came across some stand-alone marketing files for old scriptwriting software called ScriptWare. When I unarchived the HQX file and Installed the Demo, I was presented with a set of files with the .MW extension.

ls -l@
total 10232
-rw-r--r--@ 1 tyler  staff  1392 May  1 23:17 Read me first!	  32	 452 
-rw-r--r--@ 1 tyler  staff     0 May  1 23:17 begin_here.MW	  32	158901 
-rw-r--r--@ 1 tyler  staff     0 May  1 23:17 characters.MW	  32	387029 
-rw-r--r--@ 1 tyler  staff     0 May  1 23:17 cinovation.MW	  32	189509 
-rw-r--r--@ 1 tyler  staff     0 May  1 23:17 cut paste.MW	  32	608405 
-rw-r--r--@ 1 tyler  staff     0 May  1 23:17 formats.MW	  32	289698 
-rw-r--r--@ 1 tyler  staff     0 May  1 23:17 modify formats.MW	  32	486730 
-rw-r--r--@ 1 tyler  staff     0 May  1 23:17 notes.MW	  32	319250 
-rw-r--r--@ 1 tyler  staff     0 May  1 23:17 overview.MW	  32	376854 
-rw-r--r--@ 1 tyler  staff     0 May  1 23:17 scene shuffle.MW	  32	359746 
-rw-r--r--@ 1 tyler  staff     0 May  1 23:17 script elements.MW	  32	279052 
-rw-r--r--@ 1 tyler  staff     0 May  1 23:17 sw_menu.MW	  32	421836 
-rw-r--r--@ 1 tyler  staff     0 May  1 23:17 title page.MW	  32	236614 
-rw-r--r--@ 1 tyler  staff     0 May  1 23:17 transitions.MW	  32	471462 
-rw-r--r--@ 1 tyler  staff     0 May  1 23:17 try it.MW	  32	622312 

getfileinfo sw_menu.MW 
file: "sw_menu.MW"
type: "APPL"
creator: "AMvw"

Looking at the files in the directory with their extended attributes I can see all the .MW files have no data fork (0 bytes), only a resource fork. This is common for any Application on the MacOS systems prior to MacOS X. At first the MW extension made me thing of MacWrite, but launching one of these MW files brought up an interactive menu. The type being APPL, which is Application.

What I thought would be a demo of the application Scriptware was actually interactive animations demonstrating the software. By dumping the resource fork of one of the MW files I found some information which helped me know what software created these interactive demos.

derez Scriptware\ Demo\ folder/sw_menu.MW

data 'vers' (1) {
	$"0103 8000 0000 0531 2E30 2E33 2941 4D20"            /* ..?....1.0.3)AM  */
	$"5669 6577 6572 2031 2E30 2E33 0DA9 2031"            /* Viewer 1.0.3.? 1 */
	$"3939 3320 4D6F 7469 6F6E 2057 6F72 6B73"            /* 993 Motion Works */
	$"2049 6E74 6C2E"                                     /*  Intl. */

data 'vers' (2) {
	$"0103 8000 0000 0531 2E30 2E33 1E50 6C61"            /* ..?....1.0.3.Pla */
	$"7962 6163 6B20 6279 204D 6F74 696F 6E20"            /* yback by Motion  */
	$"576F 726B 7320 496E 746C 2E"                        /* Works Intl. */

data 'STR#' (1250, "ADDmotion HC strings") {
	$"000A 1641 4444 6D6F 7469 6F6E 5F65 7870"            /* ...ADDmotion_exp */
	$"6F72 745F 6672 616D 650E 4144 446D 6F74"            /* ort_frame.ADDmot */
	$"696F 6E5F 696E 666F 1141 4444 6D6F 7469"            /* ion_info.ADDmoti */
	$"6F6E 5F73 7573 7065 6E64 1041 4444 6D6F"            /* on_suspend.ADDmo */
	$"7469 6F6E 5F72 6573 756D 650E 4144 446D"            /* tion_resume.ADDm */
	$"6F74 696F 6E5F 7175 6974 0E41 4444 6D6F"            /* otion_quit.ADDmo */
	$"7469 6F6E 5F70 6C61 790E 4144 446D 6F74"            /* tion_play.ADDmot */
	$"696F 6E5F 7374 6F70 0F41 4444 6D6F 7469"            /* ion_stop.ADDmoti */
	$"6F6E 5F70 6175 7365 0000"                           /* on_pause.. */

Makes sense, MW stood for “Motion Works”. ADDmotion was another software title developed by Motion Works, most will remember it as an add-on for Hypercard for adding animation to stacks. These MW files are created using PROmotion and exporting them as a stand-alone animation which includes the “AM Viewer” built in. A regular PROmotion file, however, did not include a viewer and requires the software in order to open and run.

-rwx------@ 1 tyler  staff      0 Apr 25 15:51 Example Animation	   32	495272 

The PROmotion file format also is Resource Fork only, making them difficult to manage outside of a Macintosh.

getfileinfo Example\ Animation
file: "Example Animation"
type: "ADDm"
creator: "ADDm"

The files do have a Type/Creator code of “ADDm”, but with no data fork, identification through standard means is not possible. They also do not have the “vers” string to help identify them within the Resource Fork. Since standard methods of identification are impossible, I hope in the future there will be more tools available to read the Type/Creator codes while on the Mac, or in a disk image, or within a container and return back the Software which created the file and the file type.

The products from Motion Works where significantly cheaper than animation tools such as Director, but were still pretty powerful for its day. I was surprised when I found the company didn’t last much longer than 1998 before disappearing. There are probably many stories like PROmotion, coming onto the scene with new and exciting features before thought impossible only to die out as other tools dominate the market.

If you are interested in looking at the files yourself, here is a link to some original files, and the same files encoded in MacBinary.