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Flash Animations Live Forever at the Internet Archive (archive.org)
788 points by tosh on Nov 19, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 254 comments

In a certain sense, I created the very first Flash animation.

I was working at Macromedia and happened to be in the office earlier than usual that morning. Our SVP came to my boss and said basically “We bought Futurewave, we’re announcing it today, and we’re renaming FutureSplash to Shockwave Flash. I need somebody to throw a quick animation together for the press gathering, and none of the creative services people are in the building yet.”

So I downloaded the tool and made this weird little animation with the Shockwave logo falling onto the FutureSplash name and crushing the “utureSp” letters.

After that, we shared a floor with the Flash team. Good people. Jonathan Gay is very smart.

This is wonderful, thanks for sharing.

Any chance you've got a copy of that on an old hard drive somewhere? I bet the IA folks would love to highlight that.

No, unfortunately. In retrospect I wish I’d kept all of the multimedia projects I made at that job.

Yeah I would love to see the first flash animation as well

I love reading stuff like this on HN. Nice!

In a way that's beautiful

Unrelated, but is there a meaning to your username? Or is it just a random string?

No, it’s just random.

Captain Holt?

Wonder if it says anything about the account's password.

Their password is "john"

Am I missing something?

Username looks like a password, therefore password looks like a username. A joke.

Or it could be the seed.

Flash as a technology should never be used now unless for artistic purposes.

However, it's preservation to be able to run & archiving of flash media are an absolute cornerstone of any attempt to archive the 2000s internet. Flash introduced & inspired countless people who have no doubt gone on to build amazing things in other technologies.

I love flash. I'm glad it's not used anymore, but I truly love the content it produced from the bottom of my heart.

Long live Flash & special mention to Macromedia Shockwave.

> Flash as a technology should never be used now unless for artistic purposes.

Nothing filled the gap left by Flash. It was easy, accessible, and drew so many young people to create.

Flash had security issues, but they could have been fixed. Macromedia and/or Adobe could (and should) have published an open source standard and realized their tooling would always be ahead of the game. They didn't see the incredible opportunity and dropped the ball.

Flash was so much simpler than the Javascript "standards" layer cake we have today. I'm not deriding the web -- it's the last free and open space we have left in an ever-eroding tech land grab. But Flash missed a chance to contribute to its defense.

If Flash had been in decent shape at the time smart phones arrived, Flash support might have been a required feature. Lots of people would have launched apps as Flash apps instead of iOS- or Android-specific apps, and we might have gotten much more open and cross-platform devices as a consequence.

I kind of blame Flash's lack of follow-through for the App Store hell we have today.

The web that could have been...

The mid 2000s era was a really magical time for me growing up.

Just the sheer amount of interesting games and videos available on places like NewGrounds and Kongregate was something else. It was kind of crazy how easy it was at the time to get at least some attention to any proof of concept project simply by posting onto said sites.

Something that has definitely gotten much harder over time despite the more advanced tools that are available to hobbyists these days.

I think it was a mix of how easy flash made it to go from some vector art drawn in app, to hooking up some key-frames together with logic for a game etc... But it was also IMO strongly influenced by the internet culture at time, where there was (at least it felt like) a larger audience of people available to try out wacky often no/low-budget things.

I haven't quite seen the same environment emerge on places Itch.IO and to an extent Steam.

I think today's creative youth are on Twitch and TikTok.

I'm not sure if they're building the same kind of future capital and skill sets that we did, but maybe it'll turn out well for them. Especially if there's an explosion in the creative economy.

Still, it's incredibly hard to beat a technology that teaches kids to program as a side effect. Flash and early web raised up a generation of engineers.

Personally I can't help but think that this is our fault, as an industry, for abandoning the idea that users should be able to create programs. In the 8-bit micro era computers booted into a programming environment, then we had things like QBasic coming standard with the OS, then things like VB, HyperCard, Delphi, and to a lesser extent Excel and Access. For a while, enabling users to create their own tools to suit their needs was considered valuable in personal computing.

That's not how we do things anymore. Now everything is an appliance and the user is cattle as far as the developer is concerned.

I don't think it was the developers who made that call though.

I think it was. Talk about how horrible it is to pile so many abstraction layers together and developers will come out of the woodwork to talk about how much time it saves them. In a lot of cases, developers are rewriting things over and over again in the latest framework-du-jour simply to pad their resumes when they abandon their current employer in two years. Then they turn around and put all the blame on other people like children.

To expand on this, developer culture is to view good human factors almost as a badge of shame. If you press the issue with "this is a horrible experience that gets in your way in a thousand tiny and not so tiny ways", the response is almost always "if you can't handle tiny inconvenience #386, you weren't cut out to be a programmer". Witness the sheer scorn heaped on GUIs.

It's a kind of gatekeeping behavior - "I suffered through memorizing a bunch of git commands by rote, and now you have to as well."

Comparing the creativity of youngsters doing voice-overs in TikTok to that of early 2000's teenagers creating full-fledged games and entire films with Flash is... I don't know.

As you said in your last paragraph, Flash _raised up_ a generation of engineers by _lowering_ the entry barriers to a minimum. TikTok is just a showcase for attw's.

Don't be an old curmudgeon. :) There were a couple of absolute gems in the Flash era but there was an absolute boatload of crap as well. The most creative TikTok-ers are absolutely innovating storytelling and filmography just as the most creative Flash creators were innovating in their own medium.

It's just that when we look back we remember the gems but not the river of crap, but when we look at the present we see the river too.

> There were a couple of absolute gems in the Flash era but there was an absolute boatload of crap as well.

Don't 90% of Youtube videos get less than a thousand views [0]? There are millions of videos on TikTok, I'd imagine the algorithm results in the same 80-20 ish sort of balance.

Yes, there were bad Flash projects. But just like everything else, we remember the good ones.

[0]: https://9to5google.com/2020/08/10/almost-90-of-all-uploaded-...

Where was the majority of user and creator attention dedicated to on the 2 platforms though?

Seems reasonable that being a content creator is a viable career for young people as automation and globalization continue to eat jobs.

TikTok is probably teaching vital skills for their futures.

Content creator is a vanishingly small lottery winner occupation now and in the future unless it’s connected to a product in some way.

How much of every corporate job is communicating / consensus vs doing?.

Arguably "content creation" is core to every > middle class job now - you have to get people onboard to get things done. Personally I still think writing is more valuable but perhaps the knowledge creation and sharing (_inside_ companies) of tomorrow will be done by making and watching videos.

I very much do not want to be part of that future, but I recognise it a likely possibility.

'Communicating' and 'performing' are two different skill sets. I believe on TikTok, you are doing the latter.

>will be done by making and watching videos.

Arguably, it's the case today to some degree with company meetings/team meetings/etc. typically recorded for people who couldn't attend live. But it's pretty low bandwidth for most purposes to communicate basic facts in the absence of interaction. I for one rarely listen to recordings of meetings I miss and I assume I'm pretty typical. For many purposes I'd much prefer a 1 page email.

It's like all the how-tos on the Internet that don't really have a visual component but are a video anyway.

> How much of every corporate job is communicating / consensus vs doing?

From experience as the corporation gets larger communicating and communicating-adjacent activities approach 90-95% of the time. The remainder is doing.

"Content creators" almost universally only make significant money when the content they create are ads or porn. It's also about as viable a career choice as "becoming a pop star" was a while ago.

I sponsor a couple of folks on Patreon and Github, and none of them create porn.

I think there's a future where long tail art can be funded on an artisanal level by patrons, and the network will connect consumers to artists that satisfy their interests.

Are you interested in an alternate history Oregon Trail where an alien invasion forces westward migration? Or perhaps a time travelling Jacques Cousteau serial where the protagonist searches for love across the ages?

Somebody will make something weird that satisfies your interests and you will pay them directly. And it'll be better than canned Star Wars spam. It'll be real, and the creator will know you by name.

ML and automation will bring down the cost of content creation dramatically and make it look and feel more compelling than the studio stuff we get today.

Same for me. It's much more natural for me to pay an actual person ten bucks a month for what they do then to subscribe to a streaming service for the same amount of money. It's nice to know one's contribution actually makes an impact to someone whom I appreciate, that it's not just a drop in a gigantic bucket like a Netflix or Prime or Disney+ subscription.

> I sponsor a couple of folks on Patreon and Github, and none of them create porn.

...that you know about. :)

> "Content creators" almost universally only make significant money when the content they create are ads or porn.

Don't go into creating porn with that mindset, it's not a guarantee you'll make significant money. It's still better than creating advertisement though.

That's like saying in 2013 that being a Soundcloud rapper was going to be a viable career choice.

0.1 per cent of those on TikTok, or any other sharecropping platform will be able to extend their online persona into something that makes money.

Content creation is an elite

Only a few make a living out of it

And there's a limit on the amount of tik tok like videos that will get attention, once everybody will start making them

I was inspired by my uncle’s copy of Flash 5 and his little projects. That eventually prompted my downloading of Game Maker 6 and lead directly to my being a software engineer.

here's some nuance: there's plenty of kids showing off programming stuff/tricks/apps on tiktok and plenty of kids getting inspired to try something themselves because of it. It is the very fact that it seems 'doable' and fun/cool that way.

It's definitely not quite the same thing, but I think some of that on-ramp is happening in places like Minecraft and Roblox, and in creation environments like PICO-8.

Macromedia and/or Adobe could (and should) have published an open source standard

They did open it up...


Until May 1, 2008, implementing software that plays SWF was disallowed by the specification's license.[35] On that date, as part of its Open Screen Project, Adobe dropped all such restrictions on the SWF and FLV formats.


If Flash had been in decent shape at the time smart phones arrived, they might have been a required feature.

...but the feature bloat that Adobe created with the platform was part of the problem, introducing not only security issues but inefficiency. SWF started out as a small and efficient vector format, and then accrued far more features than were really necessary for its core purpose.

(HTML+JS+CSS is even less efficient, but have somehow taken over thanks to Google and the like.)

> (HTML+JS+CSS is even less efficient, but have somehow taken over thanks to Google and the like.)

Adobe themselves pushed for using open web tech. I was working at Adobe in AS3/Flex during the transition and they were going to great lengths to promote and encourage development of open standards.

You are romanticizing Flash. One legitimate reason for it's eventual demise was due to the fact that it was very power hungry to run. On laptops that was bad, and on smartphones it would have been a non-starter. Though curiously, I remember that some smartphones did used to come with Flash like the Blackberry Z30 which had it through 10.2 and then it was taken away out of the hands of the device owners in 10.3

Flash grew up in a very weird time where nobody cared about hardware acceleration at all. Go back just a few years and even basic multimedia tasks like playing music or decoding a JPEG require some amount of accelerator support. Go forward a few years and hardware accelerators are suddenly crucial to energy efficiency. Ergo, everything in Flash Player is done in software. Vector rendering & compositing? Software. Video decoding & playback? Software. This wasn't at all exclusive to Flash, of course, but Adobe was uniquely unsuited to realize this problem.

Apple realized very early on that you needed hardware acceleration for common computing tasks in order to have laptops that last more than an hour on a single charge. It took Adobe several years after the launch of the iPhone to actually support some amount of hardware accelerated video decode, and as far as I'm aware vector rendering (the core of the platform) was never meaningfully accelerated. As far as I'm aware, pre-iPhone efforts to get onto phones involved a special cut-down Flash runtime that was perpetually out-of-date and was only really popular on early-2000s Japanese handsets. This wasn't at all built for the "computer in your pocket" that Jobs wanted.

The Flash runtime was not power hungry. It was the terrible code that was written that ran on it that was power hungry.

As HTML5 was emerging someone posted a HTML 5 demo on hacker news. It put 1 core of my machine to 80%. I wrote an equivalent version in Flash and it used 5%.

All the people writing terrible code in Flash simply started writing terrible code in Java script instead.

I never liked Flash, but the browsers were very far behind initially. Animation was slow and stuttering.

At some point the browser vendors started addressing that, and things got better.

But I think the other part of Flash is the tools used to create it - I never understood why they didn't port those to HTML5 and worked with the browser vendors to get kinks ironed out, instead of doubling down on - what was the name - Adobe Air? I think they still had some market power they could have wielded.

Abobe's failure to switch the flash tools to targeting HTML5 is one of the most inexplicable decisions of all time.

In late 2000s they owned the Web App space ( what was called Rich Internet Applications in their speak). Flex (their business GUI components library and markup language) was absolutely dominating corporate Web app development.

And they just abandoned it.

In an alternative reality we are all building HTML5 Web apps with Flex Builder right now.

Sorry I don't understand what is the connection between HTML5 and Flash? Isn't flash an object that runs inside HTML5? What would you like Adobe to have done exactly?

Instead of outputting a flash object file the Flash tools could have output actual HTML.

The Flash Player is, at the end of the day, a proprietary Canvas widget with a ECMAScript based VM powering it. With HTML5 they could have targetted the actual real HTML5 Canvas and completely eliminated the flash player plug in whilst still retaining the tools.

> All the people writing terrible code in Flash simply started writing terrible code in Java script instead.

And then some genius decided "What if we ran JavaScript on the server?" and Node was born.

Then came the node_modules black hole and the left-pad debacle.

Sometimes I think JavaScript was a mistake.

The things that were trying to replace it (i.e. web standards) were even more power hungry to run or didn't work.

Plenty of Android smartphones ran Flash. I remember browsing the desktop (Flash) version of Youtube on my LG phone in 2009. Flash support continued for at least a few years, but once HTML5 video became common, it dropped off.

For most of Flash's lifespan, laptops and smartphones were not really a thing.

Smartphones maybe but laptops?

Flash came out in the mid 90s. I'd say there was a decade before they became practical and cheap enough to outnumber desktops

Yes, there is nothing like the flash IDE available today.

I had a manager in the late 2000's who was giddy with the possibilities of HTML5 "It can do everything we do with flash!" Whilst that may be technically true, in practice bloated libraries like D3 are required for even the most basic vector manipulation and coding every tiny detail of an animation feels like groping in the dark when there used to be a source of illumination.

I'm not sad about the demise of Flash, but I think there is a gap in the market for a more graphical keyframe based approach, where things can be rapidly prototyped, resulting in clean code.

I'm using Tumult Hype, it's SVG animation capabilities are pretty good IMO, and it's all GUI-based.

OK cool, will give it a shot, thanks for the recommendation!

I tested every application I could find a couple of years ago. Lots of pretty prototyping apps, but generally the end code is somehow garbled or proprietary.

> I'm not deriding the web -- it's the last free and open space we have left in an ever-eroding tech land grab

No it isn't. It has degenerated into being only browsable in its entirety by Chrome, with all other "browser vendors" except Apple having given up due to sheer complexity and infeasibility to keep up - Opera, Microsoft, and now Firefox. That's what you get by putting Google (ie WHATWG, consisting of Chrome devs) into the role of defining so-called "web standards", with W3C (a self-declared "standardization body") depending on Google's and other big player's money having done nothing meaningful for years except brittling and foobaring CSS.

The Web is gone, ChromeOS has won.

Remember that Jobs banned it to kill it.


I remember before this thinking that Flash was a viable way to make cross platform apps that also covered mobile

So at least from my perspective this had a big impact

I don't think this is the fatal reason Flash is stopped. Flash is only forbidden in mobile web browsers.

Flash is mainly self-cancelled by Adobe itself. It looks they couldn't get expected revenue from this product. However, I think they are short-sighted at this point.

It was also disallowed from publishing flash apps in the app store. Once the developers left it was as good as dead IMHO and all that kind of content moved to mobile.

Definitely. I remember at the time Adobe Air was still recently new and there was some buzz around in the tech scenes because everyone like Balsamiq Mockups, which originally was only in available in Adobe Air.

Then Apple announced they weren't going to support flash and overnight everyone realized flash was dead, and Air and Silverlight were both a dead end.

I was working on a Silverlight product at the time and it got canned soon after too, with Microsoft soon losing enthusiasm for it too.

Some oldies from here:

2007 - Steve Jobs saying Flash is bad for video:


2008 - John Gruber being prescient about Apple banning flash compiler:


2010 - Apple bans Flash-to-iPhone Compiler (2nd comment thread is pg saying he's against it ideologically):


This is untrue. Apple attempted to ban all third-party development tools, but never actually enforced the rule due to the threat of a lawsuit from the FTC. They dropped the rule about three months after Jobs' famous "Thoughts on Flash", but the fact that developers still remember the ban is probably a good chunk of why people forgot about the exporter.

That was much later and too late for flash.


Flash abandoned their own product only after it wasn't allowed on iPhones anymore.

As someone with a solid HTML/CSS background but weak JS, I gave up on trying to figure out GSAP and other animation frameworks, and just bought Tumult Hype.

It's a GUI-based web animation tool that exports to HTML and MP4, with the ability to write custom JS if you need it. Being able to visually look at timelines and set tweening by dragging a slider is much more my speed, and reminiscent of Flash, which I haven't done anything on in more than 10 years.

Best of all, it's a one-time payment. I considered Adobe Animate, but monthly subscriptions are a total no-no for me.

While I agree there is an unfilled need after the end of Flash, is the problem really a matter of technology or is it just that nobody has produced a vector animation editor as easy/accessible as the Flash software was? Clearly all the pieces are in place to do everything Flash can do if you can emulate Flash at full speed entirely in the browser.

Flash Animation was made possible by technical limitations as much as by technical possibilities. 480p Flash clocking in at less than 100kB vs RealPlayer needing several MB for the same amount of content in 240p is a huge difference on a slow connection.

1080p streaming in real-time is "good enough" and YouTube will not only host it for free, but even share ad revenue. You could deliver vector animation in HTML5, but a pure animation platform will have a hard time against something that can do both animation and camera recordings.

There are actually a large number of apps that did launch on Flash and were on iOS and Android. Adobe had app exporter functionality for Flash back in 2010. There's even drama surrounding it. If you remember Steve Jobs' famous "Thoughts on Flash" - that wasn't a mea culpa for not supporting browser plugins. Apple was seriously considering banning all third-party development tools to stop Adobe from getting Flash games on iOS, and "Thoughts on Flash" was written and published to justify that ban. The FTC threatened to sue and Apple backed down a few months later.

I should also point out that you seem to be remembering the days of Flash 5-8 where development was primarily on the timeline and AS2 classes were fancy new tech. By the time Adobe and Apple were feuding over Flash, most developers were using AS3, which was a lot more like modern JavaScript development. Hell, Adobe was specifically pushing to make AS3 the next version of JavaScript. You could still develop AS3 on the timeline, but it was less powerful than AS1/2 and most developer resources assumed all your code lived in separate files using Adobe's APIs to interact with the display list directly.

Agree with that sentiment! But would take it one step further. I argued in 2010 that Adobe should have (could have, would have) launched their own hardware platform. This would have given them & the thousands of loyal Flash devs a more permanent 'final destination' for their apps & games - despite Apple's intentions.

Easier said than done, but fun to think about how things could have played out if Flash was given a dedicated hardware platform and follow on generational iterations ie- today maybe we'd have one more option other than iOS or Android. In fact, an allegience with Microsoft probably would have been best and saved both companies' endevours in the dedicated phone/tablet space but now I'm just spitballing.

> Flash was so much simpler than the Javascript "standards" layer cake we have today.

For basic animation and graphics that's true but not for creating anything interactive. ActionScript was based on ECMAScript / JavaScript and was very similar. If you knew JS you could easily write AS and vice versa.

If you mean it didn't have the complexity of today's JS-based apps that may be true but that's a choice, not a technical limitation.

I feel like Unity3D could be turned into an animation tool like Flash with some extensions. It already has HTML5 export.

The Flash authoring tool (now called Adobe Animate) has HTML5 / Canvas output via the CreateJs library.

https://createjs.com/ https://www.adobe.com/products/animate.html

Unity’s HTML5 export is super heavyweight (unless you do some super complicated things getting it to work with the ECS stuff). Flash was...though abused a lot, much more lightweight, able to slot into a randomo webpage without sticking out too much/causing performance issues.

Also as a direct substitute, Unity has much inferior font rendering, and no built-in vector graphics capabilities.

If I was doing a 2D animation tool for browser export, I don’t see that unity would offer me much, and would come with a lot of downsides.

Agreed. Flash a quality that's hard to identify.

Is the source code for Flash available? That would be brilliant.

Media authoring-wise, the Wick Editor [1] is attempting to fill the gap. It's still pretty young, but looks promising.

[1]: https://www.wickeditor.com

There are game libraries that try to be similar to flash, such as http://www.openfl.org/learn/.

Canvas should aim to be as close as possible to this. I think with a bit better animation support they would be there, but I really don't know much about the domain.

With frameworks like PixieJS and Three.js it is there, but requires more coding to start, instead of using a simple GUI to get started and then add code as needed

The flash player spec was published and the ActionScript3 engine was open source.

What replaced flash? Was it SVG + JavaScript?

Video replaced flash movies and nothing replaced flash games, there's just a hole.

> Nothing filled the gap left by Flash

Flash should have never been used to create websites. end of story.

Nothing filled the gap left by flash?

I see that as a good thing. Flash was a power hungry, slow and obnoxious technology. Not to mention it was a security nightmare.

I'm glad the barrier to entry to make pointless animations is atleast slightly higher

You love Flash from the bottom of your heart, but you're happy it's dead? Could it be that you're hiding your true feelings to be more in line with the expectations of the community? The modern web development establishment has managed to convince people that it has merit, when in fact it's a case study in accidental complexity.

Every now and then some poor soul realizes what a mess they're in and writes a blog about the miserable state of web development, but the wider community cannot face the truth, because it would mean that the last 20 years of "progress" have been wasted.

And indeed, after two decades of support from every player in the industry, shoving countless APIs in the pseudo web standards controlled by Google, modern web applications work almost as well as a Flash app - except with thousands of tiny packages and tools cobbled together into one big ball of nonsense.

I love the content it produced and the people it inspired rather than the tech itself.

I’m not happy it’s dead, I just don’t think it’s a good choice these days. As an artistic tool it’s perfectly valid, but I wouldn’t use it to design my next project.

merit is not a scalar quantity, rather it has quite a few dimensions.

There's a lot of really good games built for Symbian as well. I'm glad to be building for Android/iOS, but those were some of the best mobile games I've ever played. Touch screen has a lot of limitations when it comes to gaming.

It's still used in quite a few business environments, both bespoke and enterprisey, and there's a significant amount of devs crapping bricks right now.

Really excited about this, and so happy we were able to roll it out before Flash's official deprecation at the end of the year. If you have old SWFs you'd like to share, these are the directions for uploading them so that they'll be emulated in-browser: https://bluemaxima.org/flashpoint/datahub/Uploading_SWFs_for...

GemCraft, Desktop Tower Defense, RoboKill, Line Rider, Crush the Castle, Kingdom Rush, Realm of the Mad God ... all classics, all significant, all worth preserving.

Trying valiantly like many to replace my current affairs media diet with something more substantive, and Internet Archive has proven invaluable. Currently enjoying a first edition pdf scan of an E M Forester novel from 1920s. And it's transporting to dive into the yellowed pages, modernist fonts, and random errata. Thanks for all your important work ;)

Realm of the Mad God requires a server to run, doesn't it? It might be difficult to preserve…

Are you talking about preserving an earlier version of the game? It continues to be developed and is available on Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/200210/Realm_of_the_Mad_G...

Yeah, the original version which was written in Flash.

Archive.org is one of the modern wonders of the world. Let's hope it lasts.

Congrats! Flash games and videos were a huge part of my childhood. It's heartwarming to see people dedicated to preserve such a treasure trove of the older internet.

So this is real emulation, not just transcription into a video format? The vectorized and infinitely-scalable aspect of Flash is preserved? That's awesome.

Yes! See krapp's comment below -- we're using the Ruffle flash emulator targeted to WASM

The ultimate source would be if you could figure out how to archive the sites that TheFWA used to link to. That was the pinnacle of cutting edge Flash work.

I wish there was a way to get 2Advanced SWFs from somewhere.. Those sites were IMO the ultimate displays of what Flash could do visually.

"The website went back up last night: http://2advanced.com for a final 6 weeks until Flash vanishes!"

Source: https://twitter.com/fwa/status/1327665766213316608

I managed to grab a local copy. Let me know if you want it.

That would be awesome! Thanks for the heads up. My username at gmail if you get a chance to send it. Thanks again!

Emailed you a copy. Cheers!

There's an enormous cache of historic SWFs hosted here [1] and it would be awesome if the Internet Archive could archive them, so they won't get lost. However, there are far too many to individually add.

My personal favorites would be the Demented Cartoon Movie [2], Weebl and Bob's transdimensional portal [3] (which is located under the stairs) and of course The End of the World [4]. They all load perfectly in Ruffle [5].

[1] https://locker.phinugamma.org/swf/

[2] SWF: https://locker.phinugamma.org/swf/albinoblacksheep/demented%... | Video: https://www.albinoblacksheep.com/flash/demented

[3] http://www.venue.nu/infusions/the_kroax/uploads/movies/Weebl...

[4] SWF: https://locker.phinugamma.org/swf/albinoblacksheep/end%28www... | Video: https://www.albinoblacksheep.com/flash/end

[5] https://ruffle.rs/demo/

Currently recursively downloading from [1]. Afterwards I’ll start testing and uploading them.

Edit: Most of the SWF files are showing a black screen on the demo website, even though I do not have time to individually debug all files, I might be able to automate the testing part

I just remembered that I have tons of SWFs on my hard-drive too. If someone else has a data-dump, do share!

Thank you for using your tech skills to help preserve the old web for the rest of us to enjoy.

Here to add https://dagobah.net/ to the list

I still joke about TDCM with some of my friends, but sometimes I wonder about Brian Kendall. Imagine if the most impactful artwork of your career was a dumb flash movie you made when you were a kid?

The archive only has a single animutation too, which is a bit sad. Some of them are uploaded to youtube, but that loses any hidden interactivity that some of them had. Hopefully someone can find the original SWFs and upload them.

> but sometimes I wonder about Brian Kendall

No need to wonder; you can read his reflection on it here [1], although it's unclear when exactly it was written.

[1] http://briankendall.net/animation/tdcm.htm

All Your Base Are Belong To Us... preserved forever:


Oh. For some reason I very much like the memes from that era, and I've seen this particular one for the first time.

Huh, interesting you don’t know that one. Memes had a bigger impact then: there were fewer of them, they were more unexpected (because they were newer), and in fact the word meme either did not exist or, if it did, it was certainly not in widespread use.


“ On June 1, 2006, YouTube was taken down temporarily for maintenance. The phrase "ALL YOUR VIDEO ARE BELONG TO US" appeared below the YouTube logo as a placeholder while the site was down. Some users believed the site had been hacked, leading YouTube to add the message ‘ "No, we haven't be [sic] hacked. Get a sense of humor.”’

I can’t imagine YouTube doing anything like that today for a meme?

That's because it was probably just one guy who had the authority to put that there without any threat of getting fired. Google today would set up a committee with diverse groups represented (including HR, PR and Legal) to focus test any and all potential "hate joke incidents" to ensure bland and inoffensiveness to all. The ongoing YouRube Rewind fiasco demonstrates this very well.

I have to thank the Japanese for having a sense of humor otherwise "all your base" would have died a slow and painful death long ago at the hands of the joke police, and it still might if it were to ever leave its relative obscurity.

> The ongoing YouRube Rewind fiasco demonstrates this very well.

Do you have a link for this? I’d like to read more about it. Searching for YT Rewind gave me the Wikipedia article and some scrubbed articles that don’t include stuff a out a fiasco.

I believe they mean https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/YouTube_Rewind_2018:_Everyone_... a youtube video which youtube featured prominently on the front page and which received a lot of downvotes at the time.

Julia Alexander of The Verge suggested that YouTube had intentionally left out the biggest moments on the platform in 2018 from the video in an attempt to calm concerned advertisers over controversies that had plagued the platform over the past 2 years, saying "it's increasingly apparent, however, that YouTube is trying to sell a culture that's different from the one millions of people come to the platform for, and that's getting harder for both creators and fans to swallow".

The elusive kind of company that is run by engineers, not financial people. I miss these dearly.

>and in fact the word meme either did not exist or, if it did, it was certainly not in widespread use.

The word meme was coined by Richard Dawkins in his book The Selfish Gene, in 1976. The internet got the term from the book.

Thanks, but as I said, it was not in widespread use in the 90s... at least not in an internet context.

Merriam-Webster has a 1998 [0] reference that sounds close to the modern usage, though I don't know when got popular - at or before 2008 though, based on their next example. I do vaguely remember "viral video" and "image macro" were distinct in the early/mid-00s though, at the time I don't think they were grouped together under "meme".

[0] https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/meme-word-orig...

Ah the dancing baby meme. That was huge and you could buy a software “package” on windows that had hundreds of video variations of the baby. I still have that software (no, I did not buy it).

You might like The $20,000 Zig, a Smurf-themed variation.


It's not on archive.org yet as far as I can tell.

Amazing that the whole thing lived in ~1.7mb of data.

Really crazy how little data went into stuff like that.

The famous original "Napster Bad" (1) from 2000 was around 2 and half minutes long and only 600 KB (!) (specifically: 606,555 bytes -- just checked).


And as it's drawn with vector graphics (I guess?) it can be sharper than most of the videos of that that you can find today (or was it fixed? I don't remember -- at least it looked so sharp then!). Anyway, the following video on youtube is approximately the content of the 600 KB swf, but, of course, with unchangeable and limited pixel rendering -- and around 50 MB in highest resolution.


Edit: Just found -- the special edition captured in the above video is ~ 700 KB swf (719,527 bytes):


There, having 100 KB more, one can also click to see the "deleted scene", play a small "game" or read the hate mail. And it does render across my full screen.

Edit 2: Tried ruffle. It can play that swf. Ruffle good. (But it seems that the lines are thicker and that the connections don't look the same)

1) https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/WebAnimation/NapsterB...

> as it's drawn with vector graphics (I guess?)

Yeah, Flash was fundamentally a vector format for much of its life. It started adding bitmaps after a while, I wanna say in the Flash 5 era? It's been a long time and I've deliberately put a lot of my time with Flash in the mental vault, as it was also mostly time working under John K.

Anyway. I spent a lot of time hand-optimizing autotraces of scans of ink drawings, and even more time moving them around in sync to dialogue. Flash was very much about sending compact vector representations over your 28.8kbaud modem connection and moving them around instead of sending anything like what we would call a video stream, until they added the FLV format and YouTube happened.

Thanks. I knew about Flash in general, I just haven't checked yes if the 600 KB swf looked good full screen -- yes it does, with real Flash player. With Ruffle, the lines are thicker.

I still don't know, how are we going to be able to watch the old content with the native Flash player, at least on our desktops? Depending on the new emulations can result in missing or differently presented content (like these thicker lines?).

I think Adobe Animate still comes with Windows and OSX executables for the Flash Projector. Drop a local copy of the SWF on there and enjoy.

What you say!!

Programming a shitty AS2 "catch the falling object" game with the cheesiest story and uploading it to Newgrounds got me into programming. Might never have if not for Flash.

AS3 and VKontakte apps and games for me. Not really got me into programming, I did some J2ME before, but Flash certainly did end up shaping my life quite a lot. It's honestly a shame there's no technology currently in existence that would allow this kind of creativity, with a barrier to entry as low as Flash had.

You are not the first person I have met with that exact same sentiment.

It feels like there is a desire for the same hacky frontend yet no one wants to invest.

Please check out https://www.blockstudio.app

(Disclaimer: I built it)

It currently lacks sound, but a lot of young people seem to be having fun using it to create games, animations, stories, puzzles, etc.

Unity is pretty damn close

Point is... Are there any Unity memes? Haven't seen any :D

Flash: you open the page, it plays. There might be one additional click required depending on your browser settings.

This: you open the page but it needs to be downloaded. You download it. You unzip it. You see that it's a Windows executable but you're on a Mac. You open it hoping that wine will run it. It does. You choose your graphics settings. You click OK. It plays.

Though I'm aware that Unity is capable of running on the web, I haven't seen that capability used much.

Same here. Flash helped me understand OOP. I would have never become a programmer without Flash the IDE.

It is very sad what Adobe did with Flash (and Fireworks, and Dreamweaver...), especially in the wake of WASM where they could have ported most of the platform. I guess there was no financial incentives to do that.

Same here - AS2 and the flash movieclip editor had the perfect learning curve for me - I wonder what the current equivalent is, if any

There is none in a single package. The closest is Godot but it's not really for animation purposes. Flash went really far. At some point one could even write 2D shaders and use C++ code with 'Alchemy'. A lot of interesting tech abandoned...

I mean Javascript can certainly do all that but it's code first, not "IDE" first.

same here. i got into AS2 in highschool and built many flash games. some people still play them and our sad it won't be playable on chrome by end of the year

Is there any hope that Boomshine might work on this and that you'd consider uploading it? Please....

Possible... I guess worth a try

Same here. Got into AS1 in high school, back before Adobe acquired Macromedia.

What I don't understand is why google is intentionally excluding .swf results from search results. Okay, fine, you don't want it in Chrome that's your choice. But not indexing .swf in your search engine product because you don't support it in your browser product is crazy. It's going out of their way, doing more work, to hurt people.

I guess this is just another example of being unable to count on profit motivated corporations. It's a good thing the IA is trying to help.

They are not supported in most browsers. Most users are going to have a bad experience if they load a page with Flash, and it makes sense to down-rank pages that will deliver a bad experience.

Most file types are not supported in browsers. Only a few are. A "download file" dialog is not a bad experience. Treating .swf like a normal file type would both be easier and better in all ways.

Flash will not be supported in any of the large browsers after December, limiting access to people who go out of their way to use both a fork that preserves NPAPI or whatever Chromium uses and manually install some version of Flash.

I'm not aware of any search engines that index arbitrary files that the browser or some ubiquitous media viewer can't open. The most annoying I can think of is the occasional powerpoint files I've run across on google, and at least those are usually cached in a browser-friendly format.

It'd be like indexing Adobe CS project files, and requiring a subscription to Adobe to open the search result.

There is a binary, Windows-native SWF player that still works 100% perfectly on Win 10. There is also one for OSX but with Apple's hatred for backwards compatibility I have no idea whether it still works or not

It's a shame that Adobe has all but buried it, but it does work.

Honestly its the only good way to view downloaded flash content nowadays, because it preserves all the hyperlinks and other nonlinearity that is lost on conversion to a video file. Strongbad emails, for example, have tons of hidden content activated by clicking hotspots during playback. (You can even hunt for them by hitting Tab)

For macOS iSwiff ( https://echoone.com/iswiff/ ). Should hopefully work until the end of time

> Most file types are not supported in browsers

And does Google index/show any of them in a search result? You usually have to get them indirectly from pages, but the search links themselves never directly link to any unsupported file type AFAIK

I think you're right. Weird text formats like filetype:cpp work fine, but filetype:bmp does not, and that could be considered analogous to swf.

And even then I think only when it's being served with "content-type: text/plain", which the browser clearly supports.

In fact, Google used to index Flash files and marked the corresponding search results with "[swf]", similar to how they do with PDF files now. I don't recall at what point in time they stopped doing that.

[Edit] A quick search reveals that Google stopped indexing SWF files fairly recently: https://searchengineland.com/google-to-stop-indexing-flash-c...

What would Google index? Can you even decipher the contents of a SWF to get keywords out of it?

Yes, Adobe publishes SWF specs. You can extract text, links, pictures, etc. out.

Yes, Adobe released an SDK (which Google used) to allow indexing content in SWF files. However, it looks like Google no longer uses it, or indexes them.

All major browsers have sunset support for Flash and it's moved behind increasingly strict warnings over the years. Since Google Search is a web application, there's not much value in giving people content they can't use.

I can download Linux ISOs and video as as MKVs just fine to use or play them on my PC outside the walls of the web browser just fine.

Do you expect Google to return a .ISO file when you search for “debian linux” or do you get a web page with a link to the ISO?

No, but with power point files and word documents I do?

OMG Internet Archive take my money now, well done, and thank you.

(https://archive.org/donate/ in case anyone else is feeling generous)

You should donate to the project making this possible too!


Fair. I just cloned Ruffle, too.

Seriously, I always wondered why this wasn't done. Yes, some of the more OS-related stuff may not be possible to emulate, but 99% of use cases probably don't use those. I never understood why Adobe themselves didn't make an emulation layer themselves. Once again the community saves the day, but I still feel it would've been a lot easier for them to do it.

I'm glad to see The Internet Archive doing this. There's a flash animation I used to enjoy back around 2000 and I have been looking for it for almost as long. It was basically a showcase animation sequence done by what I think was a Japanese designer. I don't remember the full sequence but it was an anime style animation and at the end was a girl standing on a cliff with her hair blowing in the wind.

I'm really hoping it will end up on The Internet Archive. I sure would like to see it again. It was very beautiful.

The animation you’re looking for might already be in BlueMaxima’s Flashpoint (https://bluemaxima.org/flashpoint/), a Flash preservation project that started in 2018. Here’s their list of preserved Flash animations: https://bluemaxima.org/flashpoint/datahub/Animation_Master_L....

I’m surprised that so few people in these comments seem aware of Flashpoint, and that the linked article only mentions Flashpoint briefly at the end.

I expect Flashpoint to always have a bigger archive of SWFs than the Internet Archive. This is because the Internet Archive seems to be aiming to only host SWFs that can be compiled for web using Ruffle, while Flashpoint accepts any SWF that can be played by the official Flash Player. Flashpoint can do that because it targets users who are willing to install its archive-browsing software for Windows, which includes a version of Flash Player.

Was it "Yukino" perhaps? https://www.nicovideo.jp/watch/sm31167703

That is the one that I still remembered so vividly that this post motivated me to download a Flash player and look through my folder of SWF files for the first time in probably at least 15 years.

Unfortunately, no. That one is quite nice as well, though.

If it was reasonably popular, you could try asking https://www.reddit.com/r/tipofmytongue/

I've tried but haven't had any luck. I think my memory of the animation just isn't enough to be able to provide enough detail other than a girl standing on a cliff with the wind blowing her hair. I feel like flower pedals were blowing around too but at this point it's been 15-20 years since I've seen it so who knows what is accurate about that memory?

Using an open source Flash emulator written in Rust and exported to Webassembly[0].


As a sidenote, I’ve taken some brief dives into Ruffle and it looks very good. There’s great attention to detail everywhere. I hope it has a long future.

I’ve previously also taken brief dives into Lightspark and even submitted a minor PR or two. Lightspark is cool, but I feel Ruffle is already surpassing it in regards.

Could you expand on what ways Ruffle surpasses other emulators?

Congratulations to the Ruffle team!

I maintain Open-Flash [1], another project around maintaining Flash. It was started following the discontinuation of Mozilla's Shumway emulator.

I wanted to write a Node.js program to parse and merge SWF files. I hoped to import Shumway's parser and reuse it for my own project but it turned out that Shumway wasn't modular enough. This prompted me to write my own parsers and emitters for SWF and AVM1 (the actionscript bytecode used by Flash < 9). At this point I was able to process my SWF files, and started to dream of going further and provide a full emulator.

I wrote a small renderer and VM, and was able to render a few simple files [2]. This happened around 2017-2018, before Ruffle was announced. Unfortunately I was only working on this project only during my free time while I was studying: I did not have much time to dedicate to it. Running a few SWF files is quite easy, but implementing the whole Flash API is a large task hard to achieve alone.

When Ruffle was announced, I was happy that there were other people working on a Flash emulator, backed by a company. Ruffle moved fast and quickly surpassed my player. It required me to rethink my goals: there was no point in competing with them. I moved to other projects, but still maintain Open-Flash from time to time: it now pivoted to be more focused on its original goal - processing SWF files. I am using it to analyze SWF files, extract assets, replace assets, recompile the bytecode, decompile it back to ActionScript, etc. My end goal would now be to provide a way to convert SWF files to no longer need a full Flash emulator (for example we could keep the Flash renderer but use JavaScript directly instead of the ActionScript bytecode bu processing the files ahead of time).

There's still a lot of work to do, but today I am happy for Ruffle: the project continues to advance and it bought us time to save Flash files and avoid us from losing part of internet's history.

[1] https://open-flash.github.io/ [2] https://open-flash.github.io/domu-player/

We need a library of flash support that can be integrated into players and browsers easily.

Hopefully some collaboration can be made between swfchan and the IA. swfchan claims to have 217753 flashes: http://swfchan.com/ (Edit: NSFW. Would recommend an adblocker before opening, at least.)

It archives flashes (and their threads!) from /f/ and others. A great historical resource.

The presentation of swfchan may not be for everyone, but it does hold an immense amount of data.

I like how you answered the question of why they're not up yet. But yes, I'd like chan-like flashes to be able to live on in some way.

Shoutout to Madness Combat. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1aubPfepmg

Kids today won't know the pain of not being able to see 50 small stick figures trying to pummel each other at >15fps.

Also Flash was one of the best dev environments in history, in my opinion. More precisely, one of the most accessible, which most dev environments lack.

What reason is there to believe that Ruffle will succeed where other Flash emulators (Shumway, Swiffy, Lightspark, ...) have (apparently) failed?

I wouldn't say Lightspark has failed at all, they're progressing nicely. Others are too.

I heard a rumor Shumway was abandoned as a project by Mozilla because ex-Adobe engineers were steering the project and Adobe issued concerns; they probably could have been worked out, but you know, Mozilla. Since then, Flash has been end of life'd more aggressively, so I think Shumway could return.

Flash files should be like music or graphic files - playable in a variety of players and items. Even VLC someday, we could hope.

Hi, original author of Lightspark here. There is certainly value in OSS implementations of Flash, but the reality is that reaching accurate support for all the SWFs out there is a titanic effort. The sheer size of the runtime library of ActionScript 3 makes it a massive project, and on top of that the documentation/specification is most often vague or missing altogether.

Lightspark is something I started 10 years ago, back in my University years. Nowadays, I am working on the problem of Flash preservation and life extension from the perspective of compilers and virtual machines at Leaning Technologies. If you want to read more about our approach:




A Flash player is a lot more like a Java virtual machine + libraries or a Web browser than it is like a video codec.

I have not heard that rumor about Shumway. As a former Mozilla distinguished engineer, I think I would have.

Thanks for pointing out Lightspark is progressing. I thought it had stalled, but I was wrong. Still, if Lightspark is doing well it's not ideal to split efforts into multiple projects.

I’m a program manager at Mozilla and I helped manage the Shumway project for a year or so. A couple jobs before Mozilla, I was an engineer on the Flash Player team at Macromedia and then Adobe. Since I was not writing Shumway code or guiding the team’s implementation decisions, Mozilla’s lawyers did not feel there was a conflict. If Adobe really wanted to shut down Shumway (or Ruffle or Lightspark), they could cite numerous obscure Flash patents regardless of who’s working on the project.

Mozilla stopped working on Shumway primarily because:

1. Flash compatibility was going to be a lot of work and full compatibility was impossible (e.g. matching Flash bugs, closed-source codecs, system APIs not available to JavaScript)

2. Content creators were already moving on from Flash. They were slowly heeding the “Flash is a dead end” messaging from browser makers and Adobe itself.

So Mozilla saw multiple engineer-years of work ahead to support a proprietary technology that was shrinking and decided the Shumway engineers’ time would be better spent on other Mozilla projects. Even if Firefox bundled a Shumway with great Flash compatibility, content creators would choose a technology that is going to work in Chrome and IE.

Fun fact: before working on Shumway, one of the engineers built another JavaScript Flash Player called Gordon. The Shumway name is thus derived:

Flash -> “Flash Gordon” -> Gordon -> “Gordon Shumway” (the alien ALF’s real name) -> Shumway :)

As a counter example, VLC does support the Java-based menus of BluRay discs if you have Java and so on available.

I recall being able to play .swf files in Media Player Classic a decade ago.

Sure, you can embed Adobe's Flash or a JVM in a media player.

But what I said is still true in terms of implementation effort.

I learned to program making games with AS3. When I applied for an internship at Google, apparently I was one of the only candidates in their internship database that listed AS3 as a preferred programming language. That got me an internship on the YouTube player team (the main player was still Flash!).

This is just one example of how important Flash has been to my career.

(When I interned there, the team that sat next to us was working on the HTML5 player. Everyone knew Flash's days were numbered.)

Here is a small anecdote which a handful of people from the Flash/ActionScript community is privy to. This account and the gist of the story is correct to the best of my knowledge.

It was the summer of 2005, we were gathered at Macromedia’s Townsend Building in San Francisco, waiting for the session starting with Gary Grossman, the man who created ActionScript.

There was someone showing us a map-ish thing on a web-browser, of what I think, was a Flash-powered real-time track of one of the attendant on his boat and soon to dock, and eventually attend the sessions. I thought it was super awesome and I was too timid to ask more about that.

I also remember we talked a lot about Macromedia to Open Source SWF, but soon learnt that Adobe was acquiring them. After about spending 3-4 years of deep-dive into Flash, 2005-2006 was the time I realized Flash isn’t something I wanted to pursue further.

I haven't seen this in over a decade. Everything in this Internet Archive collection is bringing back so many memories.

Flash gave creators so much more latitude than YouTube and whatever it is that Steve Jobs wanted for us. We've really lost something.

Facebook, Platforms, ... we had so much more free-form creativity back in the golden era of the web. It's a shame.

Flash, despite not being open source, was really amazing and nothing has filled its place.

I would have been disappointed if their examples didn't include BadgerBadger. And they even have the original version! You can tell because if you let it loop for about 5 minutes the audio and video no longer match.

Newgrounds is also doing a good job of making many of even their interactive Flash animations compatible with modern browsers, which is great! I hope they'll be able to extend this to the games too

Newgrounds is actually one of the main financial sponsors of Ruffle, the project that makes the Internet Archive's Flash support work.

oh wow, Newgrounds, haven't heard that name in awhile but so many memories watching videos on there. "Tupac you ate my cheetohs!"

I started off as a flash developer and really enjoyed building with this platform. What is similarly available today which could export to standards like html5?

This motivated me to download SWF File player (http://www.swffileplayer.com/) and get some serious nostalgia hits looking through my folder of archived SWF files, probably for the first time in 15 years. Awesome stuff, some of it aged surprisingly well thanks to vector graphics.

I owe my career in animation to Flash - without it the barrier to entry would have been way too steep. I messed around with a super 8 camera in my teens but the expense of developing film and the lack of any mentor or class in animation in the semester I spent at art school meant I never produced anything. Fastforward ten years and I made a radio sketch into an animation called the Pygmy Shrew, attached it to an email as an exe file, and it went crazy. I was suddenly aware of the possibilities of web animation. It led on indirectly to me meeting Roger Moore to record his voice in Monte Carlo, to do an animation of him. Come to think of it, that was the high point of my animation career actually, when it was still a hobby...

What is the Internet Archive's stance on pornographic contents? A significant proportion of our culture, nonetheless treated as taboo and lost too often.

Kinky animations and semi-interactive games were well suited to the Flash format, with its ease of distribution (small file size, single webpage/file) and multimedia capabilities.

Don't know the official stance but I uploaded a rip of a VHS tape from the 90s of a popular radio show's comedy bits. Being the 90s shock jock era of radio, there's quite a bit of nudity. Never had any issues with it.

This is great! It's been well over a decade but I used to reverse-engineer flash games so that I could run my own high score servers.

It was a fun and challenging way to expand my programming knowledge as a teenager. Will definitely look into setting up some classic games again using this.

The museum-docent write-ups for the featured SWFs are the perfect icing on this archival cake. I never knew there was a debate over the species of onion in Leekspin!

A side note, and perhaps this is down to Safari's imperfect WASM support, but I'm not getting any sound in Safari.

Known issue and yes, because of that reason.

Back in the day http://eye4u.com had by far the most amazing flash animations of any site I'd seen. I don't know how they did it but their animations were next level for that time period.

Apparently some of them are on youtube now:



This is the site that got me into designing flash. I was so entertained and thought every website should have an intro like that. Build one for our website, not anywhere as close to professional, and realized how annoying it was to wait for that animation every time I loaded the site.

Praystation a couple years later was also fantastic

Would love to see the Larry Carlson flash animations make it onto here. I was able to track down the page where they used to live on the wayback machine [0] (some other pages under that domain would also have had some flash animations, too), but don't know how to grab the actual SWFs, if it's even possible any more.

[0]: http://web.archive.org/web/20190803102822/http://trippywonde...

It's sad that open-source player Gnash[1] is abandoned.

[1] https://www.gnu.org/software/gnash/

Sharing my production of a sci-fi flash animation in the dot com era: http://swain.webframe.org/zeek.html after the dot com crash it was broadcasted in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Locomotion_(TV_channel)

I'm glad to see a working proof of concept of Flash emulation in the browser. What's sad is Google and Mozilla could have easily implemented such a thing themselves to make a painless transition away from the plugin years ago. Maybe there was some legal issue but I bet they simply found it more convenient to wipe their hands of it.

Could have? They actually did - they were abandoned for various technical and marketing reasons. The only legal issue I could foresee is the questions of law raised in Oracle v. Google, which won't be decided until February... and even then, I wouldn't be surprised if SCOTUS rules narrowly on that case.

Google had Swiffy, an online service that took your SWF and repackaged it in a non-Flash form. It was primarily intended for advertisers but it eventually had AVM1 and 2 support. It's discontinued because advertisers moved away from Flash faster than expected (and Adobe Animate got some amount of HTML5 export capability). I'm also not sure how well it handled some of Flash's trickier to emulate behaviors.

Mozilla had Shumway, a browser extension that runs SWF files in JavaScript. According to another comment in this particular thread, Shumway was discontinued when Mozilla started bumping up against large compatibility problems. I can hazard a guess as to why: AVM1 in particular is a garbage fire of poorly-specified behaviors and execution order. Macromedia provided no runtime error behavior and had extreme deference to backwards compatibility. Movies are versioned and things like whether or not variables are case-sensitive change based on what SWF version it was compiled for. Furthermore, this VM was originally not intended to run an ECMAScript-like language, you originally put together AVM1 opcodes by hand, so a lot of opcodes are far more tolerant of programmer error than they have any right to be.

As an example of this, ActionGetVariable and ActionSetVariable (the thing that handles statements like "child_clip.var") aren't just limited to taking an object and a property name string, because that's not how they were originally intended to be used. Originally, those actions would take a whole path to the variable, and it was in slash-path syntax, e.g. "\child_clip:var". You could also chain paths in one op, and the implementation would dutifully parse the path out and traverse it to get the variable. This means that there are movies that will issue opcodes like "ActionGetVariable this '\level.Alien\bullet:speed'" and we have to support any combination of slashes, colons, and dots or SWFs will break.

AVM1 is a bottomless pit of those kinds of odd exceptions, and you have to support them all in order to get good compatibility with games. This is the sort of thing that only makes sense for an entity like Ruffle funded entirely by people who want to make old games work. It does not make financial or any other kind of sense to sink many hours of development time into an old-and-busted proprietary animation platform other than on the basis of preservation.

What a way to kill the golden goose. Adobe could have done great things with Flash - improved it, made it native and open source while still making a massive profit from what was a really good design tool.

Now its dead, all websites on the Internet look the same and were all using shitty js frameworks trying to achieve what Flash could do in 3 clicks.

This is awesome news. Exactly the type of thing they're great at, for exactly the right technology, just as it's reaching EOL. I was worried the IA folks where too in love with with the early PC era to care about the end of the PC era, but apparently that worry was unfounded.

Roadeo by Bernhard Handler is one of my favourite flash games, hope the author (or anyone) takes the time to archive it.



i hope at some point http://playgo.to/iwtg/en/ can be resurrected; as someone just learning to play it looks like a fantastic resource, but i have been entirely unable to get the flash bits working.

Unfortunately I come at it from another time when Adobe killed their svg viewer in favour of flash long before the browsers supported svg completely. We had built a charting product that was cool and super interactive and dependent on the svg viewer...

As a former 15-year-old Flash developer, I can't denounce this move enough.

Our browsers are capable of rendering much of what you could do with Flash.

But what's the replacement for the Flash editor? that is easy to use, productive, with a low technical barrier?

While mini retro consoles are still all the rage, a retro console that has a flash emulator, with a keyboard, mouse, and a vast database of classic SWFs, would be awesome.

Could perhaps get it working on a RasPi 400; gets you a nice all in one package and I'd assume a raspi has the horsepower for most SWFs.

This is most awesome! Such a huge part of Internet history, and so many really amazing innovations came out of that.

There's also the excellent Gnash program for playing swf files :)

Amazing work as ever from the archive! Thank you and congrats

i wish i could buy a perpetual license of Adobe Animate, any version that can take actionscript and such and compile it to an HTML5 video. I don't know if those HTML5 things still count as Rich internet applications (interactive? idk), but there is definitely a void left behind in terms of ease of content creation that lives on the web, at least not without 5 billion npm packages and JS frameworks.

I was looking for the same thing, and definitely did not want to pay monthly. The best alternative I found was Tumult Hype. $50 flat I believe, plus a pro version for another $50 that includes SVG animation tools. It's a GUI based approach to CSS3 and JS animations. Exports to HTML or MP4.

I saw another comment with this and went to buy it. But its macOs only afaict... So close!

Oh yeah, I should have mentioned that.

Nitpicking, but I won't consider either Leekspin or Caramelldansen memes strongly related to Flash so it's weird to see them picked up as examples.

Yeah, I'm gonna call that nitpicking. Also wrong. But it all depends when it was in your view.

Yeah, after another thought, my view probably stressed on "originality" too much, since both are "copied" from existing animes (and songs).

Indeed their popularity was boosted by Flash.

Just feel we have a healthy amount of original pieces (both animations and games) to pick from when talking about Flash.

The handpick showcase is an excellent sampling. I wonder how accurate the view counters are, right now BadgerBadgerBadger is the highest with only 71 views.

I wonder if the old Brunching Shuttlecocks flash animations are out there, somewhere, to be uploaded; it doesn't look like the IA has them yet.

ActionScript 3 will always hold a special place in my heart. It's where I learned about OOP and design patterns. That was a fun time!

Please make sure the original AYB animation is included. That shit needs to survive until the sun eats the earth.

I worked for a digital signage place in 2012. I coded something which pretented to be a web browser with the NSPlugin interface. Then I loaded the Linux Flash plugin in that, and iterated frame by frame, and encoded the frames with ffmpeg to mp4.

This way we didn't have to support Flash on the Digital Signage player hardware, but could still accept Flash animations from the ad agencies.

Does the badger one go out of sync with the audio if you leave it looping for long enough?

Is there anyway to play flash games after 2020? I'm talking like armor games or somthing

Open Source macromedia flash 8 and community will make it even better.


I miss FlashDevelop !!! One of the best IDE I have ever used!

OMG Radiskull and devildoll, what memories...hahahaha

Sweet! Only took a decade but now Flash will finally run on all the mobile platforms. :-)

Not a flash in the pan after all!

What’s with the criticism of Steve Jobs letter? Apple was completely right.

Yes and back then everybody invoked "web standards". Well look at "web standards" now. Apple isn't at the forefront of implementing them anymore, they love their "native apps" and the billions they are making virtually for free with their store...

Haxe lives and does compile for IOS on though, the irony (or the power of open source).


While everyone loves Flash games and Homestar Runner and everything, let's not forget that Apple's war was against horrendous Flash websites, which were never going to be reasonably accessible on a touchscreen phone.

> which were never going to be reasonably accessible on a touchscreen phone.

I mean you could say the exact same thing for most websites that weren't fit for mobile and touch screen either. It had nothing to do with Flash, it was 100% a developer's problem, not a tech problem.

Flash problems are: proprietary/closed source VM, performances and security, which was all on Adobe side, not Flash developers.

In fact, Flash apps did run on Mobile including IOS via Air. https://www.adobe.com/products/air.html

So Steve Jobs was wrong initially. Let us remember that Jobs didn't want native apps on IOS, he wanted people to write web apps and Native apps to be solely the prerogative on Apple, until he changed his mind. Now you be that Apple prefers developers to write native apps, since it makes Apple a substantial amount of money.

Yeah, Adobe's failure to keep Flash relevant is the problem. Not Steve Jobs. It's not like they didn't try to work with Adobe.

Adobe just couldn't get it done.

This is what disruption is like. It's great that we have orgs like IA doing the work to keep this old content alive and accessible, and a platform like the Web that can grow and adapt over time.

> Adobe just couldn't get it done.

They should have fully open sourced it, at least the runtime.

> > Adobe just couldn't get it done.

> They should have fully open sourced it, at least the runtime.

Rumor had it that there was code in there that Adobe (or more likely, FutureSplash) had licensed and couldn't release.

Something like that doesn't necessarily need to be a deal breaker. Part of Doom 3 was patent encumbered, but Id released the rest of the engine with that bit removed. Releasing part of the software in a nonfunctional state is much better than nothing.

True, but that would have been quite a leap for Adobe to make.

There is also the possibility that the licensed code would have been trivial to work around, which ironically would have created more liability for Adobe due to the mind-boggling stupidity that is "software patents" (in theory, software patents claim a specific implementation, but then in practice are often used to shake down anyone who makes a different implementation of the same idea, and the simpler the idea behind the patent, the worse the problem gets, unless you can find prior art to invalidate the patent claims). All of which would have put Adobe in a tough position, since they are fairly pro software patents.

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