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Topic: PSA: The Death of Flash/SWF and e621

Posted under General

Since we've been getting quite a few threads about this topic, and there likely will be more in the future yet, we've decided we'd make this PSA/heads up to hopefully answer all questions before they crop up.

TL;DR: Nothing will change on e621 itself, we will not be deleting any files, nor will we prevent the upload of new files. However in order to view flash files in the future you will likely need to download a standalone flash player projector and play the games/videos locally.

Long Answer: The death of flash is purely related to both the browser plugins as well as the continued development of the creator programs. The end user can still download the older versions just fine and use them locally, there just won't be any new updates to either of those. Since the Adobe Flash Player parts are compliant with Windows 10 they will likely continue to work for natively on windows for a decade or two at least.

How to get and use the standalone Adobe Flash Player Projector:

1.) Visit the Adobe Flash Player Debug Downloads
2.) Click "Download the Flash Player projector" and save the executable to your computer
Optional: Move the executable to a directory that you're less likely to empty on accident so you don't lose the thing
3.) Run the executable, click "File", click "Open...", select the flash file you want to start and open it.

Optional: You can set the projector as default for opening all flash files by following the below steps:
1.) Right click a flash file
2.) Select "Open With..."
2.5) If it already has an association this might change to "Choose Another App..." instead
3.) In the newly opened dialog box click "More Apps"
4.) Scroll down to "Look for another App on this PC" and click it
5.) Navigate to your Flash Player Projector executable and select it
6.) Click "Open".

All flash files should now have their icon replaced from a white rectangle to the Flash Player icon, and when double clicked directly open the file in the projector.

Updated by Mairo

Finding your save files from browsers and migrate them to the standalone flash player projector:

Important information for all instructions: Flash Player saves everything in .sol files in a cached directory, if you follow the instructions below any reference to "save files" means these .sol files.

Finding your save files

Migrating your save files to use with the Adobe Flash Player Projector:

The Adobe Flash Player Projector will store all files in a folder at %AppData%\Macromedia\Flash Player\#SharedObjects\​. Open the aforementioned path by copying the link in the code block into your File Explorer's address bar and open the single folder therein.

All savegames must now go into the localhost folder. Once pasted in they should show up just fine when next starting the projector.

Updated by anonymous

felix_nermix said:
You can use Lightspark for playing Flash/SWF files.

Directly from the page:

Current status
Lightspark is still in alpha state, it currently implements around 67% of the Flash APIs.

The original adobe flash player projector is perfect and should be preferred above any third party creation that may or may not actually work as expected.

Updated by anonymous

felix_nermix said:
You can use Lightspark for playing Flash/SWF files.

As NMNY said, it's best to use actual Flash Player for now, as all the open source projects that are meant to replace it aren't production ready yet, and won't be for a long time.

Updated by anonymous

randomguy85 said:
As NMNY said, it's best to use actual Flash Player for now, as all the open source projects that are meant to replace it aren't production ready yet, and won't be for a long time.

One thing I remember being even default in Ubuntu over 10 years ago was Gnash as this was open source alternative on offer as the OS did not ship with any closed source software or support by default, even MP3 playback required installing the restricted extras package. All I remember from that is that almost literally nothing worked and solution was always to install proper flash.

Lightspark seems to derive from Gnash. Also similar to Gnash, they seem to focus on browser plugin support and websites primarily rather than flash file compatibility and they have compatibility still for sites like speedtest which has already moved on to HTML5 ages ago.

Open source versions will definitely be required in the future for maintained security, performance, archival, etc. but as of writing this, for normal users, simply use regular flash and use files from known sources, especially as it is updated still. You'll just hinder yourself by using other solutions at this point one way or another.

Updated by anonymous

I think an ideal scenario would be to try to get more users to screen-capture non-interactive Flash posts and re-upload them as webm files, if possible. Since most modern browsers support webm out-of-the-box, it would mean that the content could still be enjoyed by many users without them having to install the standalone Flash Player projector.

thuser85230558 said:
I think an ideal scenario would be to try to get more users to screen-capture non-interactive Flash posts and re-upload them as webm files

I get the feeling screen-caps would cause generation loss (data/quality loss due to conversion)

Anyone who wants to have flash support indefinitely just needs to keep an old version of their browser installed. I don't plan on updating my browser once Flash support ends.

mynameisover20charac said:
I get the feeling screen-caps would cause generation loss (data/quality loss due to conversion)

As long as the quality is acceptable and the resolution high enough I doubt very many people would care. I use screen recorders a lot and I don't usually notice very many problems when playing back video of programs I have recorded.

The quality may not be 1:1 but at least it would be better than nothing imo

thevileone said:
Anyone who wants to have flash support indefinitely just needs to keep an old version of their browser installed. I don't plan on updating my browser once Flash support ends.

That's a pretty bad idea, old browser versions tend to have a lot of security vulnerabilities. so I wouldn't recommended it unless you use it exclusively for e621 (I still use IE11 just to browse Twitter though, because fuck Twitter's "redesign")

mynameisover20charac said:
I get the feeling screen-caps would cause generation loss (data/quality loss due to conversion)

If you captured losslessly then used something like ffmpeg to convert to webm, with the right settings you'd barely tell the difference.

There's also a program called JPEXS decompiler you can use to extract video from flash files directly. You'd still need to convert to webm, but it can be useful for removing a game UI or something like that.

rlctntfr said:
If you captured losslessly then used something like ffmpeg to convert to webm, with the right settings you'd barely tell the difference.

Converting what is generally a vector graphics format to a basic video is a terrible idea. A massive flash content website from back in the day whose name currently escapes me did just that - several years ago.
They are now stuck with medium resolution at best (which was 'high resolution' back then) videos of what would have otherwise been scalable to whatever resolution the viewer wanted, and they ended up converting some interactive media as well, ruining what interactivity it had.

IMO if you are to add a converted video of a flash file, do so as an optional download and leave the original file intact for future access by those willing/able to still do so.

rlctntfr said:
If you captured losslessly then used something like ffmpeg to convert to webm, with the right settings you'd barely tell the difference.

There's also a program called JPEXS decompiler you can use to extract video from flash files directly. You'd still need to convert to webm, but it can be useful for removing a game UI or something like that.

Pretty much this.
Only problem I see with screencaps is framerates. You might not be able to match the original framerate and depending on your machine, you can end up with frame drops which then are at the end encode.

Newgrounds Swivel gets rid of this issue and has lossless AVI capture (just need to use -c:v rawvideo with ffmmpeg input file for it to work), just make sure that the capture is set to same resolution flash originally was to avoid scaling artifacting with bitmaps.

Best approach with newer flash files which are essentially just a video is definitely use decompilers. Altough do take note that some artists use flash to insert e.g. watermarks on their work, so overlaying those with video encoding is nice thing to do.

wharrgarbl said:
Converting what is generally a vector graphics format to a basic video is a terrible idea. A massive flash content website from back in the day whose name currently escapes me did just that - several years ago.
They are now stuck with medium resolution at best (which was 'high resolution' back then) videos of what would have otherwise been scalable to whatever resolution the viewer wanted, and they ended up converting some interactive media as well, ruining what interactivity it had.

IMO if you are to add a converted video of a flash file, do so as an optional download and leave the original file intact for future access by those willing/able to still do so.

Last several years I haven't seen proper vector using flash files at all, but they were really essentially what was flash 10-20 years ago.
This is also why telling how to convert flash files is pain, because no single flash file is same as other, they can be done with almost any way or contain almost any files. Many users are having problems even knowing if flash is using vectors or bitmaps.

With vectors I have been instructing those converting them into videos to either use double the original or 1080p. Because even mobile phones these days have 1080p so when original vector flash file was sharp as hell, converting it with same resolution to video now it's blurry with video being upscaled by the player.

This is also why with e621 the ruling is that we do accept filetype conversions with animations, however original is the one we want the most and conversions should be set as child posts to original. Additionally I'm trying to enforce that quality of the conversions is of really high quality so we aren't getting blurry messes with screencap UI showing and framerates being slideshow.

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