Shockwave Flash and Vivo Containers

Reason

Shockwave Flash is great! Sequenced animations that take up little space, all vectors so they can be resized perfectly. Lovely. Normally animations and games that use Shockwave Flash are downloaded from the web and played in the browser, but sometimes it is nice to play them offline. How do we do that?

Some web sites allow you to download the .SWF file to you hard disk which is nice, else you can do the following:

1. View the web page with a Shockwave Flash file,
2. Find the Shockwave Flash file into your Temporary Internet Files cache on your PC:

On the desktop click the Internet Explorer icon once,
press the right mouse button,
select "Properties",
press "Settings...",
press "View files...".
3. Copy the required files from the cache to a real directory on you hard disk (e.g. c:\).
You can sort by type by clicking the "Type" column in this view.

How can I play these files offline?

Well, you can use Real Player but it does it with no sound. You could use Macromedia's Old Offline Flash Player executable, but it is sometimes jerky and the sound is bad on it too.

Hang on, you say, how can it play fine in my browser? When a Shockwave Flash file is downloaded and you have no player you are prompted on the host site to download a web browser Plug-In to play the animations. This Plug-In turns out to be a standard ActiveX control! Great! That means that we can use it in ANY COM aware language, for example Visual BASIC. My player is a simple ActiveX container for these components.

Both SWFPlay and VivoPlay have the following features:

1. They allow files to be loaded using a file selector,
2. They allow files to be loaded via a command line argument (e.g. if the executable is associated with the correct file extension),
3. They resize the control contained in a Window to the desired size by the user,
4. They can be displayed full screen (normally display is restored by moving the mouse to the bottom of the screen and double clicking),
5. They store the last used path in the registry so that the last used file can be found quickly and easily.

I have always been puzzled by the Real Player problem: Creating an instance of the ActiveX control is the simplest way to get the latest registered version of these controls running.

SWFPLAY.EXE

Prerequisites

The following components must be installed and registered with the Operating System before these programs will run correctly.

1. Visual BASIC 6 runtime,
2. Swflash.ocx (Registered as part of the standard plug-in download from Macromedia's Website).

VIVOPLAY.EXE

Prerequisites

The following components must be installed and registered with the Operating System before these programs will run correctly.

1. Visual BASIC 6 runtime,
2. VvWeb.ocx (from any web site).

Registering the shell extension

In the download section there are the .zip files for these programs.
Inside each .zip file there is a .reg file containing:


[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.swf\shell\open\command]
@="c:\\utils\\swfplay.exe %1"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.swf\DefaultIcon]
@="c:\\utils\\swfplay.exe,0"

Please change the executable pathname, shown as c:\\utils\\swfplay.exe above, to the full path of the required executable (swfplay.exe or vivoplay.exe).
Make sure that there are 2 \ characters at every directory name and not just 1! This is not a typing mistake. When you run the .reg by double clicking it in Windows Explorer the association will be made in the registry and it needs 2 \ characters.

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