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Gone in a Flash

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As the world still deals with the Coronavirus pandemic, political turmoil, and the uncertainty of the future, we did come into the year knowing that a major change was coming to the fandom, which has since been overshadowed by these other events. Flash is going the way of the dodo, due to Adobe dropping support for their Flash Player plugin and browsers withdrawing support in turn; and with it a substantial piece of furry history will no longer function in most browsers as of 2021.

Luckily, some of the most famous, or infamous, pieces of Flash history are preserved as videos. Remember Foxy Fluffs are Everything? Someone did “port” it to YouTube (adult language/situations warning in case you haven’t seen it). But despite the animation being saved in video format, foxy fluffs being motion tweens may not amount for much in a post-Flash world.

Time is running out for those animations that are only playable with Flash on their original sites. They can however be downloaded as an SWF file to run on software that supports them. On SoFurry, Flash files already download directly as a file instead of playing in the browser itself. Soon enough it will probably be the only way to enjoy many classic pieces of furry animation from the earlier days of the fandom in their original format – if you can find a working player.

Monster Mind
Monster Mind is one game not yet emulated by Ruffle

Fur Affinity and Inkbunny have noted that they wish to implement a solution being utilized and backed by the site Newgrounds. This emulator, called Ruffle, may be a solution that furry sites choose to implement to maintain their old works. This would certainly be needed for Flash games, such as the not-yet-fully-working High Tail Hall and Corruption of Champions (both NSFW), that could not be ported to a video playback format.

However, newer works such as Monster Mind that use Adobe Virtual Machine 2 and ActionScript 3 are not yet supported by Ruffle, and may not be close to functional for some time. Similarly, the emulator still lacks video decode support, among other features. On the plus side, as Ruffle translates Flash to JavaScript and WebGL, it can work on Apple devices.

As with most things on the Internet, if people desire them and have the will to preserve, they will reanimate them. Games can be rewritten for HTML5. But for pieces that were special to a smaller circle of people, their chance of being discovered or maintained may be coming to a swift close.

Comments

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I kind of figured that Green would have things to add since there are technical aspects of Flash or implementation.

Lots of the addendums past the third paragraph were his input.

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Could have added a few pages more, but as someone dealing with this on IB, it's mostly my headache, and that of other site coders. Unfortunately there's no magic solution for perfect emulation - many games won't work, or work slow - and worse, no guarantee that a local copy of Flash will work after this month. It's likely to involve fiddling with mms.cfg.

One bit I didn't get much into is HTML5 game creation and hosting. Both are, of course, a thing - itch.io, Newgrounds, Kongregate and Facebook all support such games. But they're more of a headache than just dealing with a single file, and for that reason you may see fewer dedicated hosts and greater fragmentation in the short term.

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Another Flash animation and game preservation project is FlashPoint worth looking at. It could be found here:
https://bluemaxima.org/flashpoint/

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Oh wow Dav, you beat me to posting about FlashPoint in a matter of seconds! I was in the middle of looking up the installer for the Newgrounds player, and also a link to Archive.org's Flash library.

One of the oldest Flash animations I remember seeing had a retro-1950s look, with a bunch of vegetables flying through the air in slow motion to a kind of light jazz music. Can't remember the title or the name of the animator of course.

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Sounds like Neopet's Potato Counter and...

OMG... RIP Neopets.

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They've been updating it - though there's some criticism of how.

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Don't remind me, Sonious

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I really wish that Flash will still go on forever.

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About the author

Sonious (Tantroo McNally)read storiescontact (login required)

a Kangaroo from CheektRoowaga, NY, interested in video games, current events, politics, philosophy and writing