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Flash 2020 and the Future

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TomFulp
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Yesterday Adobe announced they will end support for the Flash player in 2020. This means they will no longer make updates or patches for playing Flash content in a web browser and the individual browsers are onboard with removing Flash completely by the end of 2020. This means you will have no way to view an SWF file in a modern browser going into 2021.

A lot of people get confused by what this means, so I wanted to clarify a few things:

1. Adobe will still support Adobe Animate, their re-branded version of Flash. You can still use it to make animation but you will share it in video format vs SWF. Most animators are already doing this. Just about every animation you watch on NG is now an MP4 loading in an HTML5 video player.

2. No, people don’t need animation software that exports animation in HTML5 format. We just need animation to be in video format. We created Swivel for this many years ago and it’s super popular.

3. Newgrounds supports games in HTML5 format, which is becoming increasingly dominant. There is a big question of whether we will be able to preserve the 80,000+ games that were made in Flash. At the least, you could download and play them in an external player but we are hoping to have a solid web-based option by the time 2020 rolls along. Options include javascript that can interpret and run an SWF file, software that can convert existing swf files to javascript or something using WebAssembly, which is still maturing. A lot has been happening in this space but nothing is perfect at the moment.

4. The Audio Portal will be fine, with an HTML5 audio player.

5. The Art Portal has always been Flash-free.

A lot of people still don’t realize that NG has been transitioning away from Flash for many years now and 2020 won’t be as bumpy as some may think. The end of Flash won’t be the end of NG.

On the plus side, I got mentioned in NY Mag and was part of a Twitter Moment.

Some other things to note:

1. Flash was never the reason for bad advertising on the web, bad ad companies were. Most ads are now using HTML5 and the irony is they are larger files and often consume more resources than Flash did. We also have new problems, for example Flash-based ads were never able to steal focus from your browser and force the page to scroll back to the ad. HTML5 ads that do that have been cropping up on NG this past year and we have to chase them down. We’re also seeing more ads that do forced page redirects. This is why it’s a great idea to become a supporter, so you can browse NG ad-free and ultimately help us run less ads for everyone else.

2. Flash as a security threat was kind of a meme. Yes, Flash had vulnerabilities that needed to be patched and it was a bummer that it was a closed system. However your OS and your web browser also have vulnerabilities that get patched, as does all software. It became a popular thing to complain about but the reality is most people were getting their viruses and malware somewhere other than through an SWF file.

3. It really bothers me when people cheer the death of Flash. I totally get why it's time to move on but you shouldn't cheer the death of something that empowered so many people and brought so much joy to the web for 20+ years. I think it's a bandwagon that a lot of joyless people have jumped on, sorry if you're one of them.

Hope this clears up any confusion! If you appreciate our ongoing efforts around here, please become a supporter! For $3 a month you can browse ad free, get a ton of perks and contribute to the exciting future of NG.

In related news, this past week we unveiled Nightmare Cops at Comic-Con! This is the game I’ve been working on with @JohnnyUtah, @Spazkid and @Oney and it will be the first ever official Newgrounds game release for console and PC. It’s also the best game I've ever made and judging from the response at Comic-Con, it will contribute to keeping NG around for a good long time.

Check out the Behemoth Comic-Con Galleries: Preview Night, Day 1 & 2, Day 3, Day 4

You'll find never-before-seen pics of Nightmare Cops, along with our awesome Pit People arcade cabinets and the other cool games from the Friends of the Behemoth showcase: Salt & Sanctuary, Inversus, Rivals of Aether, Totally Accurate Battle Simulator and Oxygen Not Included!

I’m still in San Diego for a few days, to participate in a Power-up! Inside Video Games panel featuring the Behemoth. Both Castle Crashers and Alien Hominid are on display at the Fleet Science center as part of a gaming history showcase. Our panel is Thursday night so come by and say hi if you’re in town! Bring some questions about game dev and we'll do our best to answer.

Flash 2020 and the Future


Nightmare Cops, the game JohnnyUtah, Spazkid and I have been working on.

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destructin
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Response to Flash 2020 and the Future 2017-07-26 13:26:34 Reply

What a shame, hopefully they do make it open source like you said on your twitter.


SUPER PAINT BRAWL: COMIC BATTLE COMMUNITY. ARTISTS JOIN TODAY!

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Kwing
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Response to Flash 2020 and the Future 2017-07-26 13:31:40 Reply

I say an interpreter is probably the best option here. There are ALWAYS problems with converting. Sad to see all the multiplayer games that are going to die. Platform Racing, Territory War, Stick Arena... sigh

Was this inevitable, or did Apple successfully slander and suppress Flash to get it to this point?


If I offer to help you in a post, PM me to get it. I often forget to revisit threads.
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TomFulp
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Response to Flash 2020 and the Future 2017-07-26 13:36:07 Reply

At 7/26/17 01:31 PM, Kwing wrote: Was this inevitable, or did Apple successfully slander and suppress Flash to get it to this point?

Apple contributed a lot to the hate movement but this sort of thing was pretty inevitable as long as Flash remained a closed system. If the format could have become open it would have had a lot more support to remain in web browsers and Adobe could have still offered the premier tools to develop for it. In an ideal world, you would be able to make a game in Flash and release it directly to Xbox and Playstation, while also sharing your demo via an open source web player. All that never happened though.


Nightmare Cops, the game JohnnyUtah, Spazkid and I have been working on.

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RightTime
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At 7/26/17 01:19 PM, TomFulp wrote:
3. Newgrounds supports games in HTML5 format, which is becoming increasingly dominant. There is a big question of whether we will be able to preserve the 80,000+ games that were made in Flash. At the least, you could download them and play them in an external player but we are hoping to have a solid web-based option by the time 2020 rolls along. Options include javascript that can interpret and run an SWF file, software that can convert existing swf files to javascript or something using WebAssembly, which is still maturing. A lot has been happening in this space but nothing is perfect at the moment.

Would there be any advantage to individual users using Swivel to convert simple movies way in the backlog (2000-2003) where the individual creators probably won't return to do it themselves and then pass on the converted files to staff or is it better to just wait a javascript or webassembly solution that will solve the problem all at once? I always assumed there were hairy legal issues with modifying someone else's work, even if it was for an altruistic reason like this and no one was claiming ownership on it.

creepyboy
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I was waiting what you had to say about the "dead" of Flash and the future of Newgrounds. Thanks for the insightful post.

Flash 2020 and the Future


Sorry for my bad english. I'm not from this planet
Art Page|Art Thread|DeviantArt|Youtube

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TomFulp
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Response to Flash 2020 and the Future 2017-07-26 13:58:34 Reply

At 7/26/17 01:45 PM, RightTime wrote: Would there be any advantage to individual users using Swivel to convert simple movies way in the backlog (2000-2003) where the individual creators probably won't return to do it themselves and then pass on the converted files to staff or is it better to just wait a javascript or webassembly solution that will solve the problem all at once? I always assumed there were hairy legal issues with modifying someone else's work, even if it was for an altruistic reason like this and no one was claiming ownership on it.

It would be awesome if something came along to run all the old animation without converting it, although at some point we might open up the conversion process to a group of moderators. We've already been converting classic content and no one has complained so far - been working under the assumption most people are happy to see their work survive through the changes.


Nightmare Cops, the game JohnnyUtah, Spazkid and I have been working on.

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StuffedWombat
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Response to Flash 2020 and the Future 2017-07-26 14:01:34 Reply

I know nothing about coding or formats and stuff, but it is really nice to see that capable people care :)

MSGhero
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Response to Flash 2020 and the Future 2017-07-26 14:15:22 Reply

I'm glad Adobe finally made a decision, and I'm glad they acknowledged AIR. Open source would be fantastic, especially for OpenFL development.

Gi-go
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Response to Flash 2020 and the Future 2017-07-26 14:40:39 Reply

Hate-fads are the shittiest part of the internet. Cynicism is the enemy of creativity, and I'm not seeing much creativity online these days.

If there's anyone to be angry with, it's Adobe for hardly updating the Flash software in any way since they bought it.

BronzeHeart92
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Response to Flash 2020 and the Future 2017-07-26 14:42:54 Reply

Let NG survive! Interesting to see what future generations would think of Flash. Would they see it as an important milestone in Internet history or merely as a small footnote? In any case, it would certainly benefit everyone if you're able to convert games to html5, especially medal supported ones.

Rummy0
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End of an era man, I understand .swf was a pain in the ass for a lot of shit but I dunno but man there's a lot of shit .swf had that .mp4 can't do like fancy menus and loops and variation like in BlueClock's flash where all the characters are chosen at random I thought that was the coolest shit, I wish .html5 animation was a thing. There's also been a massive culture around this and certain flashes so it sucks they just wanna kill it off like this. I just felt like that side of things was completely ignored.

I wonder what will happen to /f/

R.I.P.

† NEARER MY GOD TO THEE †
TomFulp
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Response to Flash 2020 and the Future 2017-07-26 14:55:58 Reply

At 7/26/17 02:53 PM, Rummy0 wrote: End of an era man, I understand .swf was a pain in the ass for a lot of shit but I dunno but man there's a lot of shit .swf had that .mp4 can't do like fancy menus and loops and variation like in BlueClock's flash where all the characters are chosen at random I thought that was the coolest shit, I wish .html5 animation was a thing. Rhere's also been a massive culture around this and certain flashes so it sucks they just wanna kill it off like this.

R.I.P.

I actually used Construct 3 to make a classic collab template, for having a menu with music that branches off to individual animations. There's some fun potential there, if I ever get it tidied up and working with the free version of C3 I can link it up for other people to try.


Nightmare Cops, the game JohnnyUtah, Spazkid and I have been working on.

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blokmotion
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I saw another post about this and was confused, thanks for making this more clear.

BoMToons
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Response to Flash 2020 and the Future 2017-07-26 15:00:25 Reply

Release a Steam game/app called "Newgrounds" that houses all the NG .swf files served through Adobe AIR.

...

profit?

DBuck-Eye
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Response to Flash 2020 and the Future 2017-07-26 15:04:16 Reply

All aboard the Shumway bandwagon! Wait, that's dead too? Shit...


Super FTC!

It's terrible, but I'm trying to make it better.

TomFulp
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Response to Flash 2020 and the Future 2017-07-26 15:10:54 Reply

At 7/26/17 03:00 PM, BoMToons wrote: Release a Steam game/app called "Newgrounds" that houses all the NG .swf files served through Adobe AIR.

...

profit?

I'm curious if people would pay for a supporter subscription to cover bandwidth but might not be able to sell that via Steam if it uses an outside payment system.


Nightmare Cops, the game JohnnyUtah, Spazkid and I have been working on.

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ultraemo
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swf will still be around. Swf are going to be like the AVI files anyways. People have DVD player or Media Player app to run media files.

There been SWF players around but I've found it easier just to drag and drop swf files in browsers because it is easy to do so.

People just need a player to run them if they like SWF files (like myself) and maybe it may be better running them offline anyways if people like them in their raw SWF form but I would admit, because of the problems flash causes, it's not welcoming to viewers and doesn't represent how I would want my movies to be viewed.

Regarding content uploaded on NG, I've been using Swivel because it is easier. I'm glad that's always been around. :) Thanks NG. I am concerned about the games however and I wonder also how to get those saved for others because I quite enjoyed them.

I think Adobe still loves flash and it's just a cry for help with the news but it's a shame that there's so much behind running .swf files to really value them because of how technical it's always been and there have been other creations out there (games) which require Flash, so it's a battle to get that preserved because there's some great games on there. Three years is a long time to react to the news. I suppose that's nice of Adobe.

Gi-go
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Response to Flash 2020 and the Future 2017-07-26 15:29:56 Reply

At 7/26/17 03:12 PM, ultraemo wrote: swf will still be around. Swf are going to be like the AVI files anyways. People have DVD player or Media Player app to run media files.

I think Adobe still loves flash

Adobe never loved flash. All they ever did with the software was add a few Photoshop layer effects in like 2007. There's a reason why I'm working in AE today instead of Flash on 2D animation - Adobe never gave a shit.

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Response to Flash 2020 and the Future 2017-07-26 15:59:07 Reply

This raises a question of being able to upload html5 animations. Is it doable? Is this a planned feature? I'm not saying html animation can make amazing things, but sites like https://codepen.io have a cool way of sharing creative html5 creations and I have one that I would like to upload here but have no way how, except tagging it as a game, but its not a game....

Thoughts?

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Response to Flash 2020 and the Future 2017-07-26 16:10:04 Reply

Well I can't say what may come for flash for game developers, but far as animators go I think it will still live on. Swf is no longer a default player when previewing flash movies. I recommend those to download GomPlayer as your swf player.
I don't think it'll work for games.
Also good job at the Con Tom. Can't wait for the game to be release to the public.


Check out my work at MysticSkillz

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Response to Flash 2020 and the Future 2017-07-26 16:23:10 Reply

Man, reading that headline is really disheartening... a lot of people see it just as a platform for making content, and while it technically is, there's so much legacy stuff that needs to be sorted out over the next few years. I've been trying to keep an eye for some time on how .swf emulation in other platforms has been going, and it doesn't seem like it's too great yet. Three years really isn't a lot of time, but I hope a reliable, one-size-fits-all solution can be found.


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Response to Flash 2020 and the Future 2017-07-26 16:36:29 Reply

Well that'll be conveniant for a lot of people (!). :P I mean it means everyone will probably need to get video editing software for when they create movies in Adobe Flash/Animate and that might be hard to come by for some people.


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Pfft!!!

Regardless for the end of Flash and its .swf, I've been working with .mp4 files since I started animating!

Guess I won't get affected that much.

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Response to Flash 2020 and the Future 2017-07-26 16:46:58 Reply

I know it sucks but they have retire for flashes in 2021... However it still upsets me.


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Response to Flash 2020 and the Future 2017-07-26 16:47:31 Reply

At 7/26/17 03:59 PM, Soupcat wrote: This raises a question of being able to upload html5 animations. Is it doable? Is this a planned feature? I'm not saying html animation can make amazing things, but sites like https://codepen.io have a cool way of sharing creative html5 creations and I have one that I would like to upload here but have no way how, except tagging it as a game, but its not a game....

Thoughts?

We could add a zip upload option for movies. Was planning to do that after this came out, will need to revisit:

  • Mr. Dink's Grill
    Mr. Dink's Grill by UrbanTowel

    Mr. Dink finally loses it

    Score
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    Rated
    Ages 13+


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Response to Flash 2020 and the Future 2017-07-26 16:52:43 Reply

At 7/26/17 04:47 PM, TomFulp wrote: We could add a zip upload option for movies. Was planning to do that after this came out, will need to revisit:
http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/690985

I assume theres just not enough demand for it? Oh well. Also that movie is stuck for some reason what

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Response to Flash 2020 and the Future 2017-07-26 17:21:17 Reply

At 7/26/17 01:19 PM, TomFulp wrote: It really bothers me when people cheer the death of Flash. I totally get why it's time to move on but you shouldn't cheer the death of something that empowered so many people and brought so much joy to the web for 20+ years. I think it's a bandwagon that a lot of joyless people have jumped on, sorry if you're one of them.

Well said. In their defense, I think a lot of people cheer the death for technical reasons, but not necessarily the creative ones. When people say "flash" they can mean a lot of different things. Flash animation, flash games, flash websites, flash advertisements, the authoring tools, the runtime itself.. It makes the discussion very unfocused, and I think contributes to the bandwagon effect.

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Response to Flash 2020 and the Future 2017-07-26 17:31:51 Reply

Migrated my flash game with OpenFL / Haxe, not too difficult with the big advantage to target multiplatform (Android / Windows) are pretty easy.

I hope html5 will involved till 2020, it's a pain in the *ss nowaday to make a game as beautiful as Flash and as efficient.

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Response to Flash 2020 and the Future 2017-07-26 17:37:18 Reply

Site locked games are THE biggest issue. Years ago I downloaded a bunch of personally favorite SWFs due to reliability problems but I just can't deal with site locked SWFs. About half of SWFs are site locked and they don't work downloaded. So all those people saying that all you need is a Flash player program are wrong. You need the files on the server where they were submitted (I don't know exactly how it works) to get them to play. Another problem is getting the right dimensions not to see out of frame content...

Every animation in video format has a shitty quality (under the best settings provided) that is no match to SWF's perfect vector quality. This is a downgrade that has been going for these years and will continue. Things just went for the worse. And the video format takes forever to load and lags all the way until loading is finished (which doesn't happen with Flash).

Flash 2020 and the Future