Flash, once the web’s sweetheart in games and animation, has today fallen into obscurity. Since the end-of-life two years ago, Flash media has become virtually unplayable. But things are changing with emulators like Ruffle.
Not all Flash media is the same. You see, the interactivity in Flash relies on a language called ActionScript. In 2006, ActionScript 3 came out with new features. Alas it was backwards-incompatible with AS2 and so not everyone was to keen on it. It wasn’t until the release of Flash Professional CC (2013), that authors were required to switch to AS3.
This has made Flash emulation quite a challenge. Understandably, Flash emulators have had to choose between prioritising AS2 and 3. For example the emulator Shumway focussed on AS2 (with some AS3 support) and Lightspark focussed on AS3. Unfortunately, Shumway hasn’t been updated in ages and Lightspark isn’t browser-based.
On the other hand, Ruffle, a relative newcomer to the Flash emulation scene has been picking up speed. Written in Rust and sporting WebAssembly, it runs wicked fast and cross-platform! Though Rust’s focus has too been mostly in one direction, namely AS2, they have started to make progress on AS3 well. Below is an abridged version of an announcement shared on the Ruffle Discord Server by our friend Nosamu.
The first few ActionScript 3 games are finally playable in Ruffle, Demos below! One of the first fully-playable games is
Not To Scale, a simple but clever photo puzzle! You can try it out right now on Newgrounds: https://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/575849/format/flash?emulate=flash
Even more exciting, the beautiful minigolf game Wonderputt is now mostly playable with the Ruffle desktop app! The first hole is quite tricky due to collision bugs, but a fix is in progress, along with web performance improvements.
Watch our #announcements channel for updates in the coming weeks! As always, you can download Ruffle from https://ruffle.rs/#downloads.
But wait, there’s more – Ruffle web builds now have a fancy loading animation! If you own a website, now is the perfect time to update Ruffle! No longer will your visitors be greeted with a blank white screen while waiting for Ruffle to load. Check out the animation:
Also, if you’d like to add your own flair to the loading screen or disable it altogether, there are a few customization options:
--logo-display. For more information, see our wiki.
And finally, we’re looking for help developing an official Ruffle app for Android! If you have experience with Rust development targeting Android, please check out @szőlő’s WIP repository: https://github.com/torokati44/ruffle-android and join the development thread: Native Android App.
Do you have a favorite Flash game you just wish you could play right now? It’s not emulation, but Bluemaxima’s Flashpoint collection might be able to run what you are looking for right now. Be sure to also check out our Flash Player Emergency kit for more tips on Flash after its end-of-life.