Difference between revisions of "Extended FAQ"

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'''Q: Can I use Flashpoint to play my own SWF or DCR files?'''
 
'''Q: Can I use Flashpoint to play my own SWF or DCR files?'''
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'''A:''' Follow our [[Curation Tutorial]] to add games to Flashpoint! Flashpoint comes with standalone projectors for Flash and Shockwave, and in some cases it will work to simply open an SWF with a Flash projector or open a DCR with a Director projector. But to ensure that games are preserved and work properly, you'll need to curate them.
 
'''A:''' Follow our [[Curation Tutorial]] to add games to Flashpoint! Flashpoint comes with standalone projectors for Flash and Shockwave, and in some cases it will work to simply open an SWF with a Flash projector or open a DCR with a Director projector. But to ensure that games are preserved and work properly, you'll need to curate them.
  

Revision as of 05:27, 2 October 2019

Be sure to check our normal FAQ in the Discord if you don't see your question here, then ask in #help-me-please if you are still not satisfied.


Q: What version of Flashpoint should I get? What's the difference between Infinity and Ultimate?

A: If you have a lot of free disk space, bandwidth, and time, you should get Flashpoint Ultimate. But if you don't have a lot of free space, want to get Flashpoint up and running quickly, or only want to play a few games, you should get Flashpoint Infinity. See below for a detailed description of each edition of Flashpoint.

  • Flashpoint Ultimate: The full package. All games are fully playable offline. Also includes a logo and screenshot for each game. Comes in a 150GB+ 7Z, so you'll need about 400GB of free disk space to comfortably download and extract it.
  • Flashpoint Infinity: A minimalist build - games download as you choose to play them. Once games are fully downloaded, they will work offline. Only Flash games are available in the base package, but it's only 200MB, meaning you can get up and running quickly. Additional downloadable upgrades add the game logos, screenshots, and non-Flash games like Shockwave and HTML5.
  • Flashpoint Core: A lightweight copy of Flashpoint with one game per platform to aid curation. For developers and curators only!


Q: Why do I need Flashpoint to play the games offline? Can't I just use a standalone player like the Flash Player projector to play them?

A: Many web games have what is known as a sitelock, which means that they will not work unless they are being played on the original site they were hosted on. Since the projector is not connected to the Internet and cannot identify those sites, those games will refuse to load on it. Flashpoint gets around this by running the games through a local server proxy which, simply put, tricks them into thinking they are being played on the original sites they were meant to be played on. See this diagram for a simplified demonstration of the technical functioning of Flashpoint.


Q: Can I have a zip or ROM of a specific game? Can I download just the games I want?

A: Flashpoint simulates the internet in order to make games think they are playing on their original websites (see the previous answer for a more detailed explanation of that). Since the files are laid out the same way as they would be on the internet, games are not separated cleanly into ZIPs or "ROMs." Flashpoint Infinity downloads games on demand, so you can keep only the games you like by using Flashpoint Infinity.


Q: Can I use Flashpoint to play my own SWF or DCR files?

A: Follow our Curation Tutorial to add games to Flashpoint! Flashpoint comes with standalone projectors for Flash and Shockwave, and in some cases it will work to simply open an SWF with a Flash projector or open a DCR with a Director projector. But to ensure that games are preserved and work properly, you'll need to curate them.


Q: Why is there no Mac version of Flashpoint?

A: To get Flashpoint working on Mac, we need to set up every component of the Flashpoint package to work on Mac. This is an unrealistic goal at the moment because none of the core Flashpoint staff use Mac regularly. Core goals for Mac support that would need to be met include building and testing a current version of Flashpoint Launcher, setting up Apache and PHP, and developing an equivalent solution to the Redirector. Rather than building another Redirector from scratch, it might be possible to use the Mac version of Fiddler or mitmproxy. If we choose to go with mitmproxy, this page might help us understand how to implement it. However, we aren't even sure how to set a proxy on Mac, although this Super User thread provides some ideas. Another idea would be to bundle a portable browser with a Flash plugin so we can use its proxy settings, but we aren't sure whether any portable browsers are available for Mac.


Q: My antivirus flagged Flashpoint! Does Flashpoint have any viruses?

A: Flashpoint does not have any viruses. However, a number of antivirus programs falsely detect certain files in Flashpoint as viruses. Avast, AVG, and BitDefender are even known to render Flashpoint inoperable; you'll need to follow the instructions for Troubleshooting Antivirus Interference.


Q: Where can I see what websites have been archived?

A: The Flashfreeze Google Drive folder contains all of our early site scrapes, up to August 1, 2018.

Newer scrapes are in our OwnCloud folder.

A few more site scrapes are available from this Archive.org item and BlueMaxima's Archive.org account.

Here is a somewhat updated spreadsheet of sites we have worked on. (Revised version to come)

The #flashfreeze channel on our Discord server also has some leftover rips people have gotten.


Q: What is the difference between requesting and curating a game? Can I "submit" a game?

A: Requesting - This option adds your game to an ever-growing list of ones people want added. You will need to fill out the request form which takes 1-5 minutes. Chances of game being saved by any of the curators is small because there are thousands of games waiting on the list, some of which have been waiting for over a year. If you want to increase the chances of it being saved, we suggest that you try to write an engaging description of the game and/or the reason you want it saved.

Curating - This is the process of actually adding the game to Flashpoint. It requires testing the game using procedures detailed in our curation guides. It takes about 30 minutes to do the first time, but as you learn the process you can get it under 5 minutes. To get started, follow our Curation Tutorial. Once you curate a game, it will be saved and added to the next version of Flashpoint.


Q: What tools should I use to archive whole websites?

A: HTTrack or wget. You can also use cURLsDownloader or HAR extractor, but they are better for downloading small parts of sites or games.


Q: How do I tell what platform a game is?

A: The easiest way to check these kinds of things is to right-click the game window and look at the context menu that appears. If it says something about Flash, it's a Flash game. If it says nothing out of the ordinary or no context menu appeared, it's probably HTML5. If the game is 3D, it's either Shockwave, or Unity Web Player (or rarely Flash). You can also use inspect element to look at the embed of the game for the following file extensions:

.swf - Flash

.dcr/.dir/.dxr - Shockwave

.unity3d - Unity Web Player

.jar/.class - Java

If it's something else it may be under one of our other platforms, but these are the most common types.


Q: Where can I submit my collection of SWFs?

A: This is our public upload location for site rips.

It is highly encouraged that you first check the Game Master List and the Animation Master List for any game/animation that are already in Flashpoint and only upload ones that are not.


Q: Will Flash games disappear from the Internet when December 2020 hits?

A: They won't disappear by themselves. However, once Flash support is removed from browsers, most people won't be able to use flash content unless they downgrade their browser version. In that situation, the sites that are hosting the games might decide to remove the Flash games because the vast majority of people won't be able to play them anymore. As we cannot rely on the assumption that sites might stay up, we're working hard to grab as many games as possible while they're still here. For more information on the various browsers' road map for Flash's End of Life, see Flash EOL.


Q: Why can I not see the games' logos/screenshots?

A: Flashpoint Infinity does not come with the game logos by default due to size reasons. However, they can be downloaded as an upgrade from the Home tab within the Flashpoint Launcher. Then once it's finished downloading, simply restart the launcher. The logos are only visible in Grid viewing mode; You can change the view mode using the drop-down menu that is situated at the bottom-right corner of the launcher window.


Q: Why can I not find X game/animation in the launcher? Why do some games/animations not appear?

A: There are a few possibilities:

  • Flashpoint Infinity comes with only Flash support from the start to reduce size, but the other platforms can be downloaded as an add-on. If you are using Flashpoint Infinity and looking for a game or animation that is on a platform other than Flash, you will need to download the Other Technologies pack from the Home tab of the launcher.
  • Make sure you spelled the name of the game/animation correctly when searching. If a search fails, try searching for partial names rather than full names. Varying punctuation is also a common culprit. We are planning on overhauling the Search feature to allow for more customizable and dynamic browsing in the future, so stay tuned!
  • Make sure you don't have a playlist selected by accident; Searching in a playlist will look for the game in that playlist specifically. So make sure you have All Games selected in the left-hand column before making your search.
  • It's also possible that we don't have the game yet. If you wish to request a game or an animation to be added to Flashpoint, you can do so via the respective request forms that you can find in Game Master List and Animation Master List. Alternatively, if you want to ensure that the game/animation is added, you can learn how to curate it yourself by following our Curation Tutorial. In either case, please thoroughly search the master lists above to make sure that we don't have the game or animation already.


Q: What is a good tool to decompile/hack SWF files (Flash games)?

A: The recommended program for this purpose is JPEXS Free Flash Decompiler.


Q: What is the legality of this?

A: "The only real answer is nobody knows and really, nobody should care. Games that more or less have a ticking clock until they die need to be saved now, as fast as possible." - BlueMaxima


Q: Won't the games just be converted to HTML5?

A: No. HTML5 is an entirely different technology, so it's impossible for them to be converted automatically. Developers could port them over to the platform, but most will not have the time or resources to do it. Besides, the capabilities of HTML5 are different from those of Flash, so a game ported to HTML5 will never be identical to the original.


Q: Can't I use the Wayback Machine to play them?

A: The game has to be archived there in the first place, which may or may not happen. Wayback is specifically poor at grabbing multi-asset games (games that use more than one file), so chances are that it will not work there. Games with sitelocks won't work there even if they are archived.


Q: Where are the games stored?

A: The games and all of their assets are stored in the Server\htdocs folder within Flashpoint's directory (wherever you extracted it to).


Q: Where is the games' save data kept? How can I delete it/transfer it to another computer/drive?

A: You can find the location where each platform keeps their save data in Save Data Locations. For your convenience, there are two batch scripts included with Flashpoint which can be used to backup and restore save data to another computer or drive; Namely Saves Manager - Backup.bat and Saves Manager - Restore.bat. If you want to delete save data you are going to have to find and delete it manually at the locations listed on the aforementioned page.


Q: Why won't my Ultimate torrent open?

A: You will need a torrent client such as qBittorrent to open the .torrent file. The .torrent file tells your torrent client how to download Flashpoint Ultimate.


Q: The torrent won't download, even though I'm using a torrent client! What's the problem?

A: Do not use the torrent from Archive.org! Because of the size of Flashpoint Ultimate, Archive.org will not seed its torrent. Instead, use the torrent link on Bluemaxima.org.


Q: Why is Flashpoint not working after my download?

A: Make sure you unzip the program, as it will not work while still zipped. Please use 7-Zip when doing this, as WinRAR is known to fail. If Flashpoint is still not working, follow the Troubleshooting steps in the Readme.


Q: Why can't I install the upgrades for Flashpoint Infinity?

A: Our server might be overloaded or your internet connection might be unstable. Try downloading the upgrades manually by following the steps below:

  1. In your Flashpoint folder, open the Data folder
  2. Open the upgrade.json file in a text editor like Notepad.
  3. Find and copy the URL for the upgrade ZIP file that you want to install.
  4. Paste the URL into a download manager like Free Download Manager. Wait for the file to finish downloading.
  5. Extract the file directly into your Flashpoint folder using 7-Zip.


Q: Can I play the games in fullscreen? Can I make them bigger?

A: The answer depends on the type of game you're playing. See below:

  • For Flash games that open in the Flash projector, you can drag the corner of the window to resize it. Do your best to maintain the window's original aspect ratio, otherwise some games might behave in unexpected ways.
  • For Flash, Shockwave, and Java games, you can play them in fullscreen using IntegerScaler. However, this program doesn't play well with multi-monitor setups.
  • For most games that open in a browser, you can press Ctrl + and Ctrl - (Ctrl-plus and Ctrl-minus) to zoom in and out. In most cases, fullscreen is not possible for these games.


Q: How do I check whether a game is in Flashpoint? I tried using the search bar on the Master List but nothing came up!

A: Open the Game Master List and wait for it to finish loading. (If you're looking for an animation, use the Animation Master List instead.) Then, press Ctrl-F to search the list. Since this will search exact matches, be sure to try partial titles and account for alternative punctuation. If you're searching the Master List on iOS or Android, you can follow the instructions here.


Q: Are you able to add/support this game? It's based on Facebook/is online multi-player.

A: Probably not. To support always online games, the emulation of a server is required. To be able to do that is almost as much work as all of Flashpoint itself, so it really wouldn't be practical to put time into.


Q: Why do I get a prompt asking me to allow Registry Editor to make changes to my computer when I try to play a game? Is it safe to allow this?

A: In order for Flashpoint's browsers to load Unity Web Player or ActiveX games, a small and harmless change needs to be made to the registry. This tells Flashpoint's browsers how to load the plugin or ActiveX control for the game you want to play. Just accept the prompt and you'll be able to play the game!


How does Flashpoint's ActiveX support work? What happens when an ActiveX control is registered?

A: Flashpoint uses TheWorld Browser for its ActiveX support. It is a very lightweight wrapper around Internet Explorer's engine, so it can load ActiveX controls just like Internet Explorer can. It has a significant advantage over Internet Explorer though: it allows us to use Internet Explorer's engine with Flashpoint but not change your Internet Explorer settings. It can load files through Flashpoint's proxy and load Flashpoint's ActiveX controls that do not work with Internet Explorer's default settings.

All of the ActiveX controls supported by Flashpoint are included in the FPSoftware\ActiveX folder; no ActiveX controls are downloaded from the internet. When you launch an ActiveX game, its control is registered using the standard Windows component, regsvr.exe. First, Flashpoint Launcher runs startActiveX.bat, which runs regsvr.exe, which calls a function in the DLL of the ActiveX control, which finally registers the ActiveX control so Internet Explorer can use it. No two ActiveX DLLs do exactly the same thing when registering themselves, though.