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Abstract

Flash, a proprietary format, is the most widely used vector graphics format on the Internet (Probets et al, 2001).

Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) is an XML namespace and a W3C recommended open standard for describing two-dimensional vector graphics. The current specification (SVG 1.1) released in January 2003 supports interactivity, dynamic content and mobile devices.

SVG is data driven, that is it consists of code (in plain text) to be rendered by an application, in the same way as HTML is rendered by a browser, this means that sophisticated vector graphics can be displayed using less bandwidth than equivalent raster based formats (JPEG, PNG or GIF), making it attractive for Internet use.

The project undertook a literature review of vector graphics on the Internet, evaluated SVG technology and reviewed current trends in the use of SVG. A primary finding is the very limited extent that SVG is used for developing interactive games.

Near identical interactive multimedia games were developed in both formats, the SVG game (unique at the time of development) testing many features of the format and using JavaScript to control the interaction. The applications were evaluated against key criteria of delivery; bandwidth required, speed of client side rendering, usability of interactive features, efficacy of viewers and development resource required.

The project concluded that, currently, SVG is an inferior format to Flash for the delivery of interactive vector graphics over the Internet. Clear and simple solutions, are required. In the matter of SVG viewer availability, viewers need to be embedded in browsers or wide promulgation of plugin viewers is required. This should be rapidly achieved in conjunction with the introduction of effective graphical development environments. Failure to achieve this, will it make it probable that SVG will remain a niche format for use in areas such as cartographic display.

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