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The history of this page reflects the pains and tribulations of the development of 2D graphic animations on the Internet, especially the Flash epic.

Flash was a file format and a plugin allowing vector graphics, with animations, buttons, sounds, etc. We saw fantastic things in Flash, complex games or real cartoons matching professional achievements. It has existed since about 1997, the beginnings of the public web, until 2010 when the major browsers announced they would no longer support it, because (officially) of its heaviness and multiple security flaws.

(Today 2024 I would instead say that the purpose was to break the W3C public standards of the web, to replace them with the one of the private companies selling cellphones)

My first idea was to use Flash for this scene, because it seemed at the time (2009) an ineradicable standard. However the flash editor was too expensive, so that I had to write the code by hand, after having to solve multiple riddles to make it work. I managed to do it, but I wasn't enthusiastic to do it again for each animation. So this page was the only one in Flash.

First SWFTools, free but prehistoric, allowed me to convert sounds in Flash files playing in a small window, at the cost of scabrous manipulations in the obscure MSDOS basement of my computer. But one day this stopped to work.

I then tried the Ming PHP library, which was installed in my OVH web hosting. This allowed me to create a nearby satisfying Flash animation for cette page. But one day Ming stopped working, without OVH being able to tell me why.

Anyway Flash was doomed: forbidden on the new portable systems, it could no longer pretend to be accessible to all. Still glad I did this site in PHP, instead of using Cold Fusion (Flash on the server).

This situation made the Web buzz for several years with discussions about SVG, presented as a free and open source alternative to Flash. The specifications (version 2) offered all the features which made the success of Flash: vector graphics, motion, clickable areas, sounds, etc. However, none of the plugins implemented the specification correctly and in its entirety. Worse, they all refused to implement sound. For what reason, I have no idea. Yet I had insisted on the developers forums that nothing would happen without sound. But each time, a guy was popping up, saying that «SVG is a graphic format and therefore it doesn't need sound». So it is understandable that neither the creators nor the browsers supported SVG, which will forever remain a technology of the future. Reason of death: stubborn refusal to listen to users.

The elimination of Flash by browsers and operating systems put an end to an adventure of several years, destroying many wonderful creations. Lesson: neither artists nor technicians should let themselves be dependent on complicated and non-standard proprietary systems. The reason given for the removal of Flash was its complexity and vulnerability to hackers. We suspects that they wanted to «adapt to cell phones» (translation: reduce the web to just facebook)


But then, how to do it, without flash or SVG?

What saved this page was HTML5, which finally standardized video formats (not without kicking some asses to make all the web browsers to accept free video formats). Apparently it is the abundance of content which forced the recalcitrant. I still had to convert to HTML5, not only this page, but all my sites, that is hundreds of pages.

In fact, we can now do in HTML5 everything that Flash did, with videos. Except the multiple choices buttons, but those can be done in HTML, over the videos (Javascript and Ajax work even better). Which is finally better than code locked in a proprietary file which does not communicate with the other parts of the site. Just funny that we do not see anymore new creations similar to Flash, using these possibilities. As if the artists had disappeared with Flash…

This multiple choice thing got some people very excited for a while, but finally the only multiple choice in the Likpas is the one between Maggie's story and the Great Likpa's story, made with HTML links. Both stories have their own branch in the mySQL database, calling up the same images in a different order. The reality is that almost all authors prefer to define the viewer's experience themselves, rather than having the viewer appropriate random creation elements.

So I had to redo this page in video. Fortunately, there are tools which allow for this now (Today, I use Fraps for the virtual camera, and Shotcut for the editor. Not free, but very affordable, and you won't regret your money. Avoid the Windows video editor, it played several tricks on me).

But how to move the elements of this scene? I had to move 3D primitives in the Inworldz virtual world. At that time I was still a beginner in scripting, especially I had not yet written my interpolators. So I had to use the friction of the primitives on each other to make them move! It was not without many tries, and often the primitives... fell. I found some for years, hidden in the depths of my plot.

Since then, I have been using the interpolators to make the fantastic animations of Part II, the fantastic odyssey of the MOTHER. At least my primitives do not fall off anymore, and they do exactly what I command them.

As all the sounds of this site, the instruments were made with Propeller Head Reason 4, and the sounds mixed with Audacity. Especially this creaky and scary sound is a concert cello, with a bit of distorsion. Not sure the classical musicians like it, he he he!

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