"Titanic A Voyage of Discovery, This exciting CD-Rom contains over 600 photographs, many never seen. Music that was actually played on the Titanic. Innovative and informative features. Full interactive deck plans. Comprehensive passenger and crew list. Expert commentary by the Titanic Explorer Ralph White and Maritime Historian Charles Sachs."
The rear of the CD case describes the disc well, "The most complete collection of Titanic material ever to appear in the one source".
Today I received a copy of the CD "Titanic A Voyage of Discovery" kindly supplied by Delta Graphics International Pty Ltd, an Australian Company in the state of South Australia. The CD is designed for PC or Mac based computers. The version I received was designed for the PC. The insert states it is compatible with Windows 3.1, Windows 95 and Windows NT. Recommended minimum requirements are 33MHz 486 or better, 8Mb RAM, accelerated graphics card, Sound Blaster 16 bit compatible sound card, double speed CD ROM drive. The CD was well presented with a very high quality gloss sleeves in the jewel case, copies of these can be seen above. Version number on the CD itself states that this is V1.0.
Upon examination it is obvious that this disc has been authored with Macromedia, I have come to really respect this authoring package, especially from a users point of view. The interface is easy to use very responsive and a pleasure to navigate. I am not easy to please in this area, as professionally I am an interactive CD author and I expect a great deal from products similar to the ones I author myself. From a navigation point of the view the CD performed flawlessly and was a delight to use.
Upon launching the CD I was greeted with a screen informing me that the CD was designed for 256 Colours and asking if I wanted to continue. This screen does not occur if your screen depth is already set to 256 colours. Mine is normally set to 65000 colours. I found that the disc performed flawlessly even though I left my screen depth to 16 bit or 65000 colours.
After a brief intro of the Titanic name being embossed into what I can only describe as a brown steel plate, I was presented with a photograph of Charles Sachs and a voice introduction from him, followed by a photograph and introduction from Ralph White. After these introductions, I was presented with a main menu. The menu is a graphical point and click type with highlighting areas activated by mouse movement. The choices were, Construction, Voyage, Model, Lists and Wreck. Firstly I chose the "Wreck" option. This option presents you with another menu that has split up the various wreck photographs into different areas such as bow, stern, surface, artifacts and debris field. As soon as I started looking at the photographs and attached videos in this section I immediatelly was covered in goose bumps and it was not the images that did it. Amazingly the author has chosen Largo from a New World Symphony by Antonin Dvorak as the background music. Anyone who has visited my web site knows I have always linked this tune to the Titanic and have it available on my main page. I thouroughly enjoyed touring the wreck via the photos and videos and especially liked the way I could choose to see the exact area I was looking at via a deck plan. When looking at the wreck videos or photographs it is sometimes difficult or orientate yourself, even one who knows this ship so well can have trouble, this option makes it very easy to place each picture exactly. A picture of a Titanic model is included, zoomed on the particular area with red arrows showing you the route the video will take.
I toured each of the other menus items one by one, both manually and automatically, and each were just as enjoyable. Some of the photographs I had never seen before and it was a delight to see them and have them explained on the commentary. I especially liked the tour of the model of the ship and way you could compare parts of the ship with photographs side by side. As I enjoy all aspects of this subject I find it sometimes difficult to be a critic and give a fair review, but in comparison to all of the Titanic books, discs and memorabilia I have seen on the subject.
All of the AVI's are stored seperately on the CD so you can play them individually and full screen in your favourite AVI player if you so desire. Infact all of the content is stored in seperate files on the CD, allowing you to view all of the material outside of the supplied engine. I found that Microsoft ActiveMovie catered for the AVI movie files and also for the AIF music files. Apple Quicktime picture viewer catered for the photographs. The quality of conversion of the photographs is good but I feel that increasing the colour depth of the photographs to 24 bit would have been an improvement. Even if this meant two CD's instead of one. There a few shots where the effect of only having 256 colours is very evident. Storing the pictures in JPEG format at 24 bit would have been a good compromise between quality and filesize. The overall screen design and layout is pleasant and unobtrusive. With the addition of the background music, it gives atmosphere to the experience.
In conclusion I can only say that I thoroughly enjoyed the many hours I spent
looking at this disc, It takes pride of place among my other Titanic discs and collections.
I wholly recommend this disc, as a valuable source of reference for any student and
a must have for any Titanic memorabilia collector.
Email Delta Graphics Directdelta@qa.net.au