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March 11, 2010

A Review: SWF & FLV Toolbox 4

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Written by: Par
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Okay okay, this isn’t a review site it’s a tutorial site right? Well actually it’s a flash game development website and there’s a lot about this software that is good for a flash game developer. Let me clear some things up before we begin. Whatever I write is my honest opinion, that you can trust I’m not paid to do anything on this site. This is simply a good bit of advice for flash developers wanting to know exactly how good or bad a product is.

Today, the fine folks at Eltima Software have provided me with their cool new version of their product SWF & FLV Toolbox 4. At first when they came to me asking me to review it, I kindly turned them down. I mean, what’s this product going to do for a game developer. I couldn’t see it. How in the world am I going to use this? They quickly responded telling me some of the features in more detail. And at that point I was sold.

You see I have a flash game coming out soon and I’d really like to make a video of it so sponsors at FGL can see how it works long before they play the game. And according to Eltima, I can actually load up my flash game’s swf, press the convert interactively button and play my game while it records it. Awesome!

Screenshot of the SWF & FLV Toolbox in action

Screenshot of the SWF & FLV Toolbox in action

So needless to say I’m excited to put this thing to the test. The first thing that impressed me is that this product actually installs like normal software. I know, that’s not impressive. But a lot of software like this just seems to extract and run, Kindisoft’s secureSWF for example. I like having my software appear in the Start Menu on my Window operated machine.

Okay, so I have the software installed and it’s test time.  I look at my options: convert to video, images, scr, exe, swf. Well, I don’t need to convert to swf, it’s already a swf that I am using. Images? lol, definitely not. Screen saver, nah don’t really want that either.  So there are two options that I actually care about, converting to video and converting to exe.

The EXE conversion didn’t excite me either at first. I told Eltima this, and that the Flash IDE does a very nice job of doing that by itself.  However, I was told it converts to an advanced Projector EXE. By advanced, they meant that I can have more control over a variety of things associated with the exe file.  I can select a custom cursor, setup a splash screen as the game loads, change menu items, and even control the number of times the application can be ran.  In a sense this could be very useful for sending out beta versions of your game for reviewing before releasing it. If you think this would work well for you then this product is definitely worth a buy at the current price tag ($39.95).

shots of the multiple tabs for converting a swf to exe

shots of the multiple tabs for converting a swf to exe

Now, the part that I really was looking forward to writing about when I first heard about the software, interactively converting my game’s game play into a video. So I loaded up my game and like the screenshot above I clicked convert interactively and immediately clicked CONVERT.

I was greeted by a new screen with my game loaded and convert options to choose from. See below:

toolbox-3

So far so good… I press record… I select a level… it lags. It lags quite badly :(

I couldn’t believe it lagged! At first I thought it had to be my game’s fault. So I tried another one of my games and it lagged equally as bad.  But let’s be fair, both of the game’s I tested are pretty intensive on the flash player.  So I opened up the last tutorial from asgamer and tested it. To my surprise, it ran pretty smoothly. Which is awesome, this convert interactively thing isn’t all bad after all.  I’m going to upload two videos so you can get a feel for how well it converts. They’re below:

My upcoming game Fly Away Rabbit:

The last tutorial:

I do not recommend the interactive conversion to video for anything other than a basic flash game.  However, if you have a point and click adventure or something relatively simple on the ActionScript, I think it will work fine.  I contacted Eltima Software about the issue and they kindly said:

“Difficult Flash files can be slow due to lack of hardware resources. We will optimize this process in the future conversion will be better and faster. We will continue to test and improve our product.”

I like that response, they didn’t deny it, they just promised to work on it.  That doesn’t make me want to buy their product for swf to video conversion of my games but it does give me some faith and trust in the company. So if you are a flash game developer, it’s definitely worth weighing some of the things I’ve talked about when promoting your game.  SWF & FLV Toolbox 4 may be the perfect product for you or it may not, at this point I’ll let you decide.

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About the Author

Par
Hey! Don't be surprised, I'm a flash developer. While Flash is definitely one of my favorite languages to develop in, most of all I just like making games. If you want to see the games I've developed so far head over to my website, DigitallyBold, in the link below. If you want to know more about what I'm working on now and in the future be sure to follow me on twitter.




4 Comments


  1. Ramen Studios

    Dosnt really interst me since I’m on a mac and I have no wish to use booth camp just to use and test my game in an EXE. file, but since you already had contact with them you could’nt ask them to make a DMG. file too for mac (later or now) while they are in the progress?.Anyways I think this hitatus of yours are beginning to become a bit long D:, well well, if you continue your great work I’m satisfied.


  2. Mac

    “Difficult Flash files can be slow due to lack of hardware resources. We will optimize this process in the future conversion will be better and faster. We will continue to test and improve our product.”

    In the quote in the last section of text above, if you hover the cursor between “between and faster” a random tooltip appears in Russian, see cut from source below.

    We will optimize this process in the future conversion will be better and faster.

    Im sorry to see you got hacked, hope this isn’t related


  3. Par

    I have absolutely no idea how the Russian happened. LOL, crazy. It’s just a translation of the sentence into Russian.


  4. I’m JUST starting to learn to use flash/as3. I just happened upon your site while looking for a drag & drop tut & a magnet tut (where I can lead words via .txt).
    Anyways, I wanted to tell you that I really like the way you write. I have hope that I can grasp this stuff! You have a knack for not just putting the ‘howto’, but the ‘look at it this way’… & it makes more sense!

    ThanX!
    Have a great day!



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