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Flash's History of Rise and Fall: When it made the Internet go live, it lost to Jobs

via:网易科技     time:2019/9/23 8:41:02     readed:345

On June 9, 2008, Rob Small was watching California in London, England.appleThe company's global developer conference is broadcast live. About an hour after the keynote speech, Apple founder Steve Jobs (Steve Jobs) returned to the stage and looked particularly satisfied with himself.

"When we celebrated the first birthday of the iPhone, we took it to a new level. Today we launched the 3G of the iPhone!" Jobs shouted, and the audience cheered.

(光辉灿烂) brilliant

As early as 2001, when Smaller was in his early 20s, he found an opportunity overlooked by traditional players in the cultural industry, that is, how to promote compulsory entertainment programs with shorter broadcast time to the public. He didn't know what form the entertainment would take, so he started a company whose name came from the belief: Miniclip.

Small and co-founder Tihan Plesby (Tihan Presbie) began looking for the right platform to achieve this goal. They soon discovered an animation software that could display interactive multimedia content in any browser or over any Internet connection by downloading a small player. In 1996, Macromedia, a web development company, bought the software and renamed it Flash..

Miniclip's success was immediate. The company has developed an interactive animation called Dancing Bush, which allows users to dance Bush with a disco. Miniclip initially sent the game to 40 people via e-mail, but later became one of the first viral games in the world. By 2002, the company had grown to be the largest Flash game publisher on the Internet and dominated for the next four years. In 2006, Disney bought Club Penguin, a Miniclip game developer, for $500 million. In Smaller's words, Club Penguin is just "a couple of penguins swaying around in Falsh". At its peak, Miniclip attracted 75 million users a month.

The same year as Disney's acquisition, Adobe wrote a press release for the tenth anniversary of the birth of Flash. Just a few months ago, the company paid $3 billion for the software, and the press release was designed to emphasize the absolute dominance of Flash on the Internet. Adobe boasted that, Flash Player was "installed on nearly 98 percent of connected desktops." About 70 per cent of Fortune 100 companies offer Flash content on their websites. The software in "65 million mobile devices, consumer electronics,"televisionMedia players, set-top boxes, digital billboards, cameras, educational toys, and evenRefrigerator``Available on. It provides Jaguar’s XK4 with audio, navigation, climate control, telephone and“single-screentransmission” for vehicle settings. In 2005, three former Google employees, Chad Hurley, Chen and Jawed Karim, developed a video site based on the software. They call it YouTube.

By 2008, Flash had become the standard format for online video. It seeps animation, game and multimedia design into all aspects of the network. It injects vitality into the culture of online content creation that we are now accustomed to. But when Jobs spoke on the Apple stage, Smaller realized that the iPhone 3G would change the way users access games.

Before that, he had explored how to extend Flash games to mobile devices that support the java language, but found it difficult to use theMobile phoneon copy Flash experience. The app store makes Small feel like a revolution. "It's obviously going to be a breakthrough moment for the mobile industry," he recalls. "We hope it allows us to create a richer experience for players. "But the iPhone doesn't support Flash.

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Be born

Flash was originally called Future Splash Animator, born in the failure of another product. It was developed by Jonathan Guy (Jonathan Gay) in May 1996. Guy saw his family work with local artists in high school to build a house in the San Diego Mountains. Inspired by this, Guy dreamed of becoming an architect who could sketch the house he had built. To his disappointment, most architects never touch cement mixers. They just design buildings, not build them.

Guy finally chose to "enter the computer world." Programming seems to be a combination of design and construction. He created a graphical editor written in Pascal and brought it to the High School Achievement. Father soon bought Guy a Macintosh computer. In the Mac user base, Guy's father boasted to organizer Charlie Jackson (Charlie Jackson) about his son's superb programming skills, and Jackson later became an early investor in Wired (Wired US) magazine. "Charlie wanted to start a software company, but he didn't have the money," Guy recalled. "then he said,'Oh, it's just a high school student. He doesn't need to be paid until the software is developed.'" "so I started working on this expensive, $10,000 development system and writing game software."

In January 1993, Guy persuaded Jackson and another former colleague, Michelle Walsh (Michelle Walsh), to set up a new company, FutureWave Software.. Guy believed at the time that interaction with desktops with handwritten pens and tablets would be in the limelight, but it didn't work out. The system they designed for the drawing tool SmartSketch failed. Smart Sketch was eventually ported toMicrosoftAnd Macintosh Platform, and be packaged for sale.

In the summer of 1995, Guy attended the annual conference on computer graphics, SIGGRAPH, to showcase SmartSketch.. He was embarrassed because none of them had been sold. However, those who went to the guy booth to try out SmartSketch were telling him that he should turn it into an animation product.

Although Gay had thought about this road before, he thought the animation market was too small: distribution channels were limited to videos and CDs, so the only organization that produced animation was a large studio. But then he heard about something new called the Internet. In a 2006 memo, Guy recalled: "It seems likely to become so popular that people are willing to send graphics and animations over the Internet." The company added animation to the original software and changed the name of the software to Cel Animator and then FutureSplash Animator. The product was finally released in May 1996 and sold as a "complete website graphics tool".

Success immediately follows. Microsoft needs software that can display video on its website MSN.com, which is the default home page for all ie users. In the end, Microsoft chose Future Splash, to promote it among network users. Disney later used the product to animate its website. In December 1996, Macromedia acquired FutureWave software, further raising its profile and releasing it as a free browser plug-in. Because the name is too round, the FutureSplash animator was finally changed to Macromedia Flash 1.0. 0.

Like most long-running and regularly updated software, Flash has changed dramatically in its development. Anastasia Salter (Anastasia Salter), co-author of < flash:="" 's="" development="" of="" interactive="" web="" /> (Flash: Building the Interactive Web), described the software as "it's hard for us to write the whole process." In essence, the core attraction of Flash lies in its low threshold. It is easy to use so that anyone can quickly learn how to become an animator.

Traditional animation takes a long time, but Adam Phillips (Adam Phillips) said: "I can use this Mini Programs to complete the work of the entire production line, basically like a studio." He recalled that when a colleague of an animator gave a three-minute pilot speech, the paper even piled on top of his head. He then had to pay $10,000 to digitize it, a process that took seven months. In Flash, however, it may take only three days to complete a similar animation.

As Guy wanted, Flash essentially has visual effects. "We have a simple framework-based animation model that allows users to start with graphics and drawings and then gradually add and build animation effects," Guy did not think Flash's success was an accident. It achieves three functions that the Internet world has been longing for for for a long time. First, there is a general desire to create content richer than GIF or HTML: Flash provides a platform for short-format video on the Internet. The second is the versatility of Flash, which is suitable for different browsers and devices.

Third, in Guy's words, Flash allows designers to create interactive media and pass it on to the audience. It can be said that Flash brings visual artists to the Internet. Marty Spelberg (Marty Spellerberg), designer of Halfempty.com, an early Flash website, said: "you can combine visual effects with programming behavior, and when your animation loops, so does your behavior." "it links these two ideas, and I think it's an important factor in attracting a lot of visual artists to participate. We don't even know we're programming. We think we're just learning Flash. "

Flash's entry into the online world is basically static, and GIF Motion Maps provide most of the online animation. And Flash changed that. It has changed the form of expression of the network, and the website has been given life. Speelberg said, "It's kind of like the Internet portrayed in movies, right?" When you see the Internet in pop culture, it's a dynamic, immersive experience - you can create that with Flash.

Animation can be limited to interactive boxes on a web page, or it can include the entire site. Small agreed: "what we see on consoles today is similar to the difference between virtual reality content." "this is a huge leap, in terms of complexity, depth and participation."

Decline

However, in a letter called A Note on Flash in April 2010, Apple founder Steve Jobs explained why iPhone would never support Flash.. His comments are extremely frank. Flash consumes a lot of power, runs slowly, and has security problems. He claims that an era is over. "Flash is no longer a necessary tool for watching videos or consuming any online content," Jobs wrote. "Flash was designed for PC and mouse in the PC era. Flash is a successful business for Adobe, and we can understand why they want to extend it beyond personal computers. But the mobile age is an era of low-power devices, touch interfaces and open network standards-all of which are shortcomings of Flash. "in 2017, Adobe announced that it would stop developing and supporting Flash Player. by the end of 2020.

Some of Jobs's criticisms, especially on Flash security, are in place. But overall, the CEO's move was tactical in order to encourage people to create native games for iOS. "I mean, from a marketing point of view, it's easy to see why Apple made such a decision," Salt said. "It's a good way for Apple to maintain experience control over software and mobile applications."

Whatever the reason, Mr. Small said, Miniclip users have begun to stop using Flash. "from 2008 to 2009, our number of users began to decline," he said. "We know that this is because they are fascinated by smartphones. So we need to pay attention to these users. "

The launch of the iPhone 3G prompted Smaller to take action. "Within two weeks of Jobs taking the iPhone 3G onto the stage and launching the product, we started exploring the iPhone as a potential platform for us to launch mobile content for Flash games," he said. Miniclip started developing games like Monster Truck Race for the Apple App Store, a successful transition from Flash games. "Monster Truck Race" became the first-selling game immediately after its launch in early 2009, with sales exceeding 3.8 million copies. "That's when we're all moving," Smaller said. "We actively cross-promote the mobile content of our most popular Flash games on Miniclip.com, making Miniclip one of the top three sites to visit iTunes traffic from 2009 to 2010." In 2000, 95% of Miniclip's revenue came from the Internet. By 2012, 95% of its revenue came from mobile services.

Small's Thunderbolt eight is now one of the most popular games in the West, comparing the decline of Flash to VHS:, a home videotape system that is sad but necessary. "now, we have 200 million active users a month-we're much bigger than we used to be," he said. "but everything we see in mobile free games today starts with Flash games. This is part of the mobile gaming industry and is now worth $70 billion a year. "

The post-Flash Internet looks different. Salt explains that Flash's decline has contributed to an aesthetic rise shaped by smartphone specifications and social media developments. Smartphone specifications require developers to think more pragmatically about their design concepts, first of all, what content is more effective on small screens. "There is a growing emphasis on user-centric design, usability and accessibility, which is not common when we talk about old-fashioned websites," Salt said. "If you look back at these websites, you will find the painful elements and illegible color schemes. The change is just because we think more about users.

The second change is the rise of Facebook. Simple early design deprives users of the control and customization features they may expect. "this aesthetic and consistency has had a huge impact on the way all social media platforms handle user content. We got a lot of interesting user-created content, but it was strictly limited to the templates of the social media ecosystem. " "it's practical and works well on a lot of equipment and uses," Salter said.

Guy believes that the design goals of the Internet have also changed widely. Flash designers try to immerse viewers in it and excite them: their goal is to "mimic the TV or movie experience." "Twitter has proved to be a more effective model of attracting attention," he explained. The key is the impact of information, like a picture of Kim Kardashian. People want that kind of impact, not an immersive experience. "

Newgrounds has not used Flash for many years. In 2012, when the website was redesigned, developers removed Flash from the portal. But founder Fulp lamented the loss of a common platform and the spread of the Internet into different ecosystems. "If you make things with Flash, it can run in every web browser on every computer," he said. "Unfortunately, they did not continue better."

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