Nsync - A Toolkit for Building Interactive Multimedia

Date of Submission: 
April 10, 1998
Report Number: 
98-014
Abstract: 
Creating innovative interactive multimedia presentations requires a great deal of time, skill, and effort. We have developed a multimedia synchronization toolkit, called Nsync (pronounced 'in-sync'), to address the complicated issues inherent in designing flexible, interactive multimedia presentations. The toolkit consists of two major components, a declarative synchronization definition language and a run-time presentation management system. The synchronization definition language supports the specification of synchronous interaction, asynchronous interaction, and fine-grained relationships among multiple media objects. The language also supports the combination of interactive behavior and fine-grained relationships through the use of conjunctive and disjunctive operators. We illustrate the use of the language through several examples. We argue that with the inclusion of asynchronous interaction, pre-computed playout schedules are too inflexible, thus we have developed a new presentation management system. Our presentation using a novel predictive logic. Playback predictions are necessary because the viewer's actions are unknown at the time of the specification. As the viewer makes decisions, the presentation is updated and new predictions are made in order to maintain consistency with the viewer's wishes and the integrity of the presentation's message.