SWF File Format Reference

The Flash File Format Explained

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The SWF file format is used for Flash. SWF stands for Shockwave Format1, the very first company that created the Flash animation format later bought by Macromedia and now owned by Adobe.

The following book is an attempt in describing the binary file format of Flash files.

Don't hesitate to post comments in order to improve the documentation. Things that need to be changed in the document itself will be updated as required. Thank you!

Note: This book is a copy of the old documentation laid out on multiple pages to make it easier to organize and maintain. The old document is still available in the SSWF packages but it will be marked as unsupported/deprecated in future packages. It is still available here.

The SSWF Project

The SWF Reference by Alexis is part of the free SSWF project.

This documentation is intended for people who want to program a Flash player, editor, or some similar tool handling Flash data.

The project comes with a complete C++ library that is designed to greatly simplify the generation and loading of Flash files.

Notes about Copyrights

SSWF™ name

The name SSWF™ is used by Made to Order Software to reference its SWF library. You are welcome to use this name in reference the SSWF library if you use it in your own software.

SWF Format

Please, note that there is no restriction in using this document. However, the SWF format copyright holders are Macromedia and Adobe. There may be limits in what you can do using this format. If you are not sure, I suggest you contact a knowledgeable copyright and Software attorney who can help you decide what you can do with the SWF format.

MP3 Format

Please, note that MP3 audio encoders and decoders can freely be used as long as you don't generate any revenue from them. If you intend to sell or buy a product which uses an MP3 audio encoder or encoder or both, you most certainly want to know more about licensing issues in regard to that concept. You can find all the necessary information on the following site: http://www.mp3-tech.org/

SSWF Authors

This document was written by Alexis Wilke. Different people have helped in fixing mistakes in the different structures defined here. Their names appear in the Appendix B — History of the SSWF reference.

The entire SSWF project license

The following license covers the entire SSWF project.

Copyright (c) 2002-2009 Made to Order Software Corp.

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.

THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.

About SWF

Brief History

At the very beginning, a company created the SWF format to generate small vector animations on the Internet called Shockwave Flash (hence the name of the format, SWF.) It also included images. This company was bought by Macromedia around 1997 (if I recall properly). This is when Flash v3 was created. Since then, Macromedia created a new version about once a year up to version 8. At that time (in 2005/2006), Macromedia sealed a deal with Adobe which wanted to use the SWF format in their PDF files.

Today (May 1st, 2008), the SWF format is available for free to all. It can be downloaded from the Adobe web pages as follow:

There is also a new project called Open Screen Project that will help everyone to get access to the Flash craze. That should help and plus Adobe is releasing many information and making more and more things free. That rocks, in a way.

What is SWF?

SWF (pronounced like swiff by some, but really is is S, W, F) is the file format used to describe movies built of mainly two graphical elements: vector based objects and images. The newest versions also accept external modules, sound, video and interaction with the end user using ActionScript.

The file format was first created by a small company that Macromedia purchased early on. The main goal of the format was and still is to create small files of highly entertaining animations. The idea was to have a format which could be reused by a player running on any system and which would work with slower network (such as a browser connected to the Internet with a slow modem.) The format is fairly simple also.

This document presents the SWF format and includes code examples for really difficult points (like bit fields) and it explains with words what is really not clear otherwise. I hope this document will help you in developing your own players and/or generators of SWF file formats.

The geometry in SWF

The SWF file formats uses several types of objects. The ones used the most are called shapes. These are vector based objects which can be rendered really fast in 2D. The other type of graphical objects are images, fonts, colors and matrices. More information about the SWF geometry is given in the Appendix A below.

In different versions of SWF they also added different graphical enhancements. In version 6, they added support (somewhat flaky, fixed in version 7) for internationalization. In version 7 they added much better support for small fonts. In version 8 they added support for transparent videos. You can see the evolution by looking at the different tags and the tag structures (many times, a tag was enhanced in a version without the need to create a new tag.)

Multimedia content in SWF

The SWF file format has evolved to support more and more multimedia formats. It started with 2 audio formats (raw uncompressed and ADPCM) and it now supports many audio and video formats.

Because multimedia files tend to be large, the SWF format was also enhanced to allow you to load separate multimedia files as required. This is done using the FLV files. These files can also include scripts.

Interactivity support in SWF

At the very beginning, SWF was only for animations. You started it, it played a loop forever until you'd move on to another web page.

In version 3, better support for keyboard and mouse clicks was added. This was rough and didn't offer much possibilities beyond a simple switch (i.e. if you click start playing B instead of A). Since version 4, Macromedia added support for a scripting language. This is very similar to what Sun has done with Java. This is an interpreted language running within the Flash player in its own environment.

Real interactivity came with version 4, but real scripting came only in version 5. That is, since version 5 you got real objects. At that time Macromedia decided to be more compliant with what ECMAScript described in their specification. Yet, they used the free Netscape interpreter available (if I'm correct) in Netscape 4. This was pretty bogus. They kept trying to enhance that interpretor until version 7. In version 8, they finally did a full rewrite (i.e. got the new interpreter from FireFox) to really support ECMAScript properly. This means there are some inconsistencies between older versions (DoAction) and version 8 ABC code. Running your older scripts may fail in version 8 when compiled as ABC code. Don't be too surprised!

With version 8, they also very much improved their library coming with their Flash builder product.

SWF Type Definitions

This documents makes use of structure definitions that very much look like C structures. It is important to note that this is not all that true since the data saved in a SWF file are very specific and they don't follow the default, inflexible (as in static,) C definitions.

The following pages define the basic types used in this document. The comments explain in more details how each type is used.

Note that except for bit fields, all types start on a byte boundary. Nothing will be aligned on more than one byte.

IEEE Standard 754

 

The original document by Steve Hollasch can be found at http://steve.hollasch.net/cgindex/coding/ieeefloat.html

IEEE Standard 754 Floating Point Numbers


IEEE Standard 754 floating point is the most common representation today for real numbers on computers, including Intel-based PC's, Macintoshes, and most Unix platforms. This article gives a brief overview of IEEE floating point and its representation. Discussion of arithmetic implementation may be found in the book mentioned at the bottom of this article.

What Are Floating Point Numbers?

There are several ways to represent real numbers on computers. Fixed point places a radix point somewhere in the middle of the digits, and is equivalent to using integers that represent portions of some unit. For example, one might represent 1/100ths of a unit; if you have four decimal digits, you could represent 10.82, or 00.01. Another approach is to use rationals, and represent every number as the ratio of two integers.

Floating-point representation - the most common solution - basically represents reals in scientific notation. Scientific notation represents numbers as a base number and an exponent. For example, 123.456 could be represented as 1.23456 × 102. In hexadecimal, the number 123.abc might be represented as 1.23abc × 162.

Floating-point solves a number of representation problems. Fixed-point has a fixed window of representation, which limits it from representing very large or very small numbers. Also, fixed-point is prone to a loss of precision when two large numbers are divided.

Floating-point, on the other hand, employs a sort of "sliding window" of precision appropriate to the scale of the number. This allows it to represent numbers from 1,000,000,000,000 to 0.0000000000000001 with ease.

Storage Layout

IEEE floating point numbers have three basic components: the sign, the exponent, and the mantissa. The mantissa is composed of the fraction and an implicit leading digit (explained below). The exponent base (2) is implicit and need not be stored.

The following figure shows the layout for single (32-bit) and double (64-bit) precision floating-point values. The number of bits for each field are shown (bit ranges are in square brackets):

  Sign Exponent Fraction Bias
Single Precision 1 [31] 8 [30-23] 23 [22-00] 127
Double Precision 1 [63] 11 [62-52] 52 [51-00] 1023

The Sign Bit

The sign bit is as simple as it gets. 0 denotes a positive number; 1 denotes a negative number. Flipping the value of this bit flips the sign of the number.

The Exponent

The exponent field needs to represent both positive and negative exponents. To do this, a bias is added to the actual exponent in order to get the stored exponent. For IEEE single-precision floats, this value is 127. Thus, an exponent of zero means that 127 is stored in the exponent field. A stored value of 200 indicates an exponent of (200-127), or 73. For reasons discussed later, exponents of -127 (all 0s) and +128 (all 1s) are reserved for special numbers.

For double precision, the exponent field is 11 bits, and has a bias of 1023.

The Mantissa

The mantissa, also known as the significand, represents the precision bits of the number. It is composed of an implicit leading bit and the fraction bits.

To find out the value of the implicit leading bit, consider that any number can be expressed in scientific notation in many different ways. For example, the number five can be represented as any of these:

        5.00 × 100
        0.05 × 102
        5000 × 10-3

In order to maximize the quantity of representable numbers, floating-point numbers are typically stored in normalized form. This basically puts the radix point after the first non-zero digit. In normalized form, five is represented as 5.0 × 100.

A nice little optimization is available to us in base two, since the only possible non-zero digit is 1. Thus, we can just assume a leading digit of 1, and don't need to represent it explicitly. As a result, the mantissa has effectively 24 bits of resolution, by way of 23 fraction bits.

Putting it All Together

So, to sum up:

  1. The sign bit is 0 for positive, 1 for negative.
  2. The exponent's base is two.
  3. The exponent field contains 127 plus the true exponent for single-precision, or 1023 plus the true exponent for double precision.
  4. The first bit of the mantissa is typically assumed to be 1.f, where f is the field of fraction bits.

Ranges of Floating-Point Numbers

Let's consider single-precision floats for a second. Note that we're taking essentially a 32-bit number and re-jiggering the fields to cover a much broader range. Something has to give, and it's precision. For example, regular 32-bit integers, with all precision centered around zero, can precisely store integers with 32-bits of resolution. Single-precision floating-point, on the other hand, is unable to match this resolution with its 24 bits. It does, however, approximate this value by effectively truncating from the lower end. For example:

      11110000 11001100 10101010 00001111  // 32-bit integer
  = +1.1110000 11001100 10101010 x 231     // Single-Precision Float
  =   11110000 11001100 10101010 00000000  // Corresponding Value

This approximates the 32-bit value, but doesn't yield an exact representation. On the other hand, besides the ability to represent fractional components (which integers lack completely), the floating-point value can represent numbers around 2127, compared to 32-bit integers maximum value around 232.

The range of positive floating point numbers can be split into normalized numbers (which preserve the full precision of the mantissa), and denormalized numbers (discussed later) which use only a portion of the fractions's precision.

 

  Denormalized Normalized Approximate Decimal
Single Precision ± 2-149 to (1-2-23)×2-126 ± 2-126 to (2-2-23)×2127 ± ~10-44.85 to ~1038.53
Double Precision ± 2-1074 to (1-2-52)×2-1022 ± 2-1022 to (2-2-52)×21023 ± ~10-323.3 to ~10308.3

 

Since the sign of floating point numbers is given by a special leading bit, the range for negative numbers is given by the negation of the above values.

There are five distinct numerical ranges that single-precision floating-point numbers are not able to represent:

  1. Negative numbers less than -(2-2-23) × 2127 (negative overflow)
  2. Negative numbers greater than -2-149 (negative underflow)
  3. Zero
  4. Positive numbers less than 2-149 (positive underflow)
  5. Positive numbers greater than (2-2-23) × 2127 (positive overflow)

Overflow means that values have grown too large for the representation, much in the same way that you can overflow integers. Underflow is a less serious problem because is just denotes a loss of precision, which is guaranteed to be closely approximated by zero.

Here's a table of the effective range (excluding infinite values) of IEEE floating-point numbers:

 

  Binary Decimal
Single ± (2-2-23) × 2127 ~ ± 1038.53
Double ± (2-2-52) × 21023 ~ ± 10308.25

Note that the extreme values occur (regardless of sign) when the exponent is at the maximum value for finite numbers (2127 for single-precision, 21023 for double), and the mantissa is filled with 1s (including the normalizing 1 bit).

Special Values

IEEE reserves exponent field values of all 0s and all 1s to denote special values in the floating-point scheme.

Zero

As mentioned above, zero is not directly representable in the straight format, due to the assumption of a leading 1 (we'd need to specify a true zero mantissa to yield a value of zero). Zero is a special value denoted with an exponent field of zero and a fraction field of zero. Note that -0 and +0 are distinct values, though they both compare as equal.

Denormalized

If the exponent is all 0s, but the fraction is non-zero (else it would be interpreted as zero), then the value is a denormalized number, which does not have an assumed leading 1 before the binary point. Thus, this represents a number (-1)s × 0.f × 2-126, where s is the sign bit and f is the fraction. For double precision, denormalized numbers are of the form (-1)s × 0.f × 2-1022. From this you can interpret zero as a special type of denormalized number.

Infinity

The values +infinity and -infinity are denoted with an exponent of all 1s and a fraction of all 0s. The sign bit distinguishes between negative infinity and positive infinity. Being able to denote infinity as a specific value is useful because it allows operations to continue past overflow situations. Operations with infinite values are well defined in IEEE floating point.

Not A Number

The value NaN (Not a Number) is used to represent a value that does not represent a real number. NaN's are represented by a bit pattern with an exponent of all 1s and a non-zero fraction. There are two categories of NaN: QNaN (Quiet NaN) and SNaN (Signalling NaN).

A QNaN is a NaN with the most significant fraction bit set. QNaN's propagate freely through most arithmetic operations. These values pop out of an operation when the result is not mathematically defined.

An SNaN is a NaN with the most significant fraction bit clear. It is used to signal an exception when used in operations. SNaN's can be handy to assign to uninitialized variables to trap premature usage.

Semantically, QNaN's denote indeterminate operations, while SNaN's denote invalid operations.

Special Operations

Operations on special numbers are well-defined by IEEE. In the simplest case, any operation with a NaN yields a NaN result. Other operations are as follows:

 

Operation Result
n ÷ ±Infinity 0
±Infinity × ±Infinity ±Infinity
±nonzero ÷ 0 ±Infinity
Infinity + Infinity Infinity
±0 ÷ ±0 NaN
Infinity - Infinity NaN
±Infinity ÷ ±Infinity NaN
±Infinity × 0 NaN

Summary

To sum up, the following are the corresponding values for a given representation:

 

Float Values (b = bias)
Sign Exponent (e) Fraction (f) Value
0 00..00 00..00 +0
0 00..00 00..01
:
11..11
Positive Denormalized Real
0.f × 2(-b+1)
0 00..01
:
11..10
XX..XX Positive Normalized Real
1.f × 2(e-b)
0 11..11 00..00 +Infinity
0 11..11 00..01
:
01..11
SNaN
0 11..11 10..00
:
11..11
QNaN
1 00..00 00..00 -0
1 00..00 00..01
:
11..11
Negative Denormalized Real
-0.f × 2(-b+1)
1 00..01
:
11..10
XX..XX Negative Normalized Real
-1.f × 2(e-b)
1 11..11 00..00 -Infinity
1 11..11 00..01
:
01..11
SNaN
1 11..11 10..00
:
11.11
QNaN

References

A lot of this stuff was observed from small programs I wrote to go back and forth between hex and floating point (printf-style), and to examine the results of various operations. The bulk of this material, however, was lifted from Stallings' book.

  1. Computer Organization and Architecture, William Stallings, pp. 222-234 Macmillan Publishing Company, ISBN 0-02-415480-6
  2. IEEE Computer Society (1985), IEEE Standard for Binary Floating-Point Arithmetic, IEEE Std 754-1985.
  3. Intel Architecture Software Developer's Manual, Volume 1: Basic Architecture , (a PDF document downloaded from intel.com.)

See Also


© 2001-2005 Steve Hollasch

[un]signed

Tag Flash Version: 
1
Used by PushData Action: 
Not available in PushData Action

A signed or unsigned bit field which width does not directly correspond to an existing C type.

In structures, the width of the field is specified after the field name like in C bit fields. In case of Flash, it can be dynamic in which case a variable name is specified.

Signed bit fields have an implied sign extend of the most significant bit of the bit field. So a signed bit field of 2 bits support the following values:

Decimal Binary
-2 10
-1 11
0 00
1 01

All bit fields are always declared from the MSB to the LSB of the bytes read one after another from the input file. In other words, the first bit read in the file correspond to the MSB of the value being read. As a side effect, the bytes in the file appear as if they were defined in big endian order (which is the opposite of the char, short, long, long long, fixed, float, and double declared outside a bit field.)

The following is a slow but working algorithm to read bit fields in C:

	/* global variables (could be in a structure or an object) */
	long	mask, count, last_byte;

	/* call once before to read a bit field to reset the parameters */
	void start_read_bits(void)
	{
		mask = 0x80;
		count = 0;
	}

	/* call for each bit field */
	long read_bits(long bit_size)
	{
		/* NOTE: any bit field value is at most 32 bits */
		/* the result of this function could also be an unsigned long */
		long		result;
		unsigned long	bit;
		bit = 1 << (bit_size - 1);
		while(bit != 0) {
			if(mask == 0x80) {
				last_byte = read_input();
			}
			if(last_byte & mask) {
				result |= bit;
			}
			mask /= 2;
			if(mask == 0) {
				mask = 0x80;
			}
			bit /= 2;
		}
	}

Note that this function is safe but it should certainly check the validity of the input variable. read_input() is expected to return one byte from the input file.

[un]signed char

Tag Flash Version: 
1
Used by PushData Action: 
Not available in PushData Action

A signed or unsigned 8 bit value.

A char value is always aligned on a byte boundary.

[un]signed double float

Tag Flash Version: 
8
Used by PushData Action: 
Available in PushData Action

A double float is a standard IEEE 754 floating point value of 64 bits.

The value is defined as follow:

  • 1 bit for the sign
  • 11 bits for the exponent
  • 52 bits for the mantissa

This type is similar to most processor double float type and can thus be used directly.

Note that in some cases, double floats are saved with the lower 32 bits of their mantissa after the upper bits. In other wise, the two 32 bits value are swapped.

[un]signed long

Tag Flash Version: 
1
Used by PushData Action: 
Available in PushData Action

A signed or unsigned 32 bit value.

A long value is always aligned on a byte boundary.

[un]signed long fixed

Tag Flash Version: 
1
Used by PushData Action: 
Not available in PushData Action

A short fixed value1 is a 32 bit (or less) number representing a value with 16 bits on the left of the decimal point and 16 bits on the right.

When the value is smaller than 32 bits, we assume that only the least significant bits were defined (quite often only those after the decimal point.)

For more information about bit fields, check out the [un]signed type.

  • 1. The fixed long type exists since version 1, although it was properly named as such only in version 8 of Flash.

[un]signed long float

Tag Flash Version: 
8
Used by PushData Action: 
Available in PushData Action

A long float is a standard IEEE 754 floating point value of 32 bits.

The value is defined as follow:

  • 1 bit for the sign
  • 8 bits for the exponent
  • 23 bits for the mantissa

This is the standard 32 bit floating point type on most processors and thus in most languages.

[un]signed long long

Tag Flash Version: 
8
Used by PushData Action: 
Not available in PushData Action

A signed or unsigned 64 bit value.

A long long value is always aligned on a byte boundary.

[un]signed short

Tag Flash Version: 
1
Used by PushData Action: 
Not available in PushData Action

A signed or unsigned 16 bit value.

A short value is always aligned on a byte boundary.

[un]signed short fixed

Tag Flash Version: 
1
Used by PushData Action: 
Not available in PushData Action

A short fixed value1 is a 16 bit (or less) number representing a value with 8 bits on the left of the decimal point and 8 bits on the right.

When the value is smaller than 16 bits, we assume that only the least significant bits were defined (quite often only those after the decimal point.)

For more information about bit fields, check out the [un]signed type.

  • 1. The fixed short type exists since version 1, although it was properly named as such only in version 8 of Flash.

[un]signed short float

Tag Flash Version: 
8
Used by PushData Action: 
Not available in PushData Action

A standard IEEE 754 floating point value of 16 bits.

The value is defined like a 32 bits floating points with:

  • 1 bit for the sign
  • 5 bits for the exponent
  • 10 bits for the mantissa

 

The easiest way to deal with these floats once loaded is to convert them to 32 bits floats.

[un]signed twips

Tag Flash Version: 
1
Used by PushData Action: 
Not available in PushData Action

A bit field variable defined as TWIPS represents a floating point defined in TWIPS. Load the value as a signed or unsigned integer and then divide it by 20. The floating point result is a precise dimension in pixel.

Please, see the [un]signed type for more information about fields.

string

Tag Flash Version: 
1
Used by PushData Action: 
Available in PushData Action

A null terminated string of 8 bits characters (i.e. a C string.) You have to scan the string in order to skip it to the next element.

Flash also makes use of Pascal Strings. Those strings start with a size. In all instance, the size of the string is defined on one byte (char). In this case, we declare the string with a construct as follow:

  char f_string_size;
  char f_pascal_string[f_string_size];

SWF Structures

Most of the tags will use sub-structures that are common to multiple tags. These are defined in the pages listed below.

SWF ARGB (swf_argb)

SWF Structure Info
Tag Flash Version: 
1
SWF Structure: 
struct swf_argb {
	unsigned char		f_alpha;1
	unsigned char		f_red;
	unsigned char		f_green;
	unsigned char		f_blue;
};
  • 1. 0 represents a fully transparent color, 255 represents a solid color.

The color components can be set to any value from 0 (no intensity) to maximum intensity (255).1

It is important to note that even fully transparent pixels may not have their red, green, blue components set to 0. This is useful if you want to add a value to the alpha channel using one of the color transformation matrices. In that case, using all 0's would generate a black color.

  • 1. For some PNG images, the red, green and blue colors may need to be multiplied by their alpha channel value before saved. Use the following formula to compute the proper values:

       f_red = orginal red * f_alpha / 255

This format was added to be mostly compatible with the old PNG format (XRGB).

SWF Action (swf_action)

SWF Structure Info
Tag Flash Version: 
1
SWF Structure: 
/* basic definition of an action entry */
struct swf_action {
	unsigned char		f_action_id;
	f_action_has_length = (f_action_id & 0x80) != 0;
	if(f_action_has_length) {
		unsigned short		f_action_length;
		unsigned char		f_action_data[f_action_length];
	}
};

An action is defined with an identifier, and an optional size and data (pretty much like a tag).

Note that the optional size and data are defined only for actions with an identifier of 128 or more. The other identifiers are always defined by themselves. Actions without immediate data may still access data. In that case, the data is taken from the stack.

Please, see the action list for all the supported actions.

SWF Action 3 (swf_action3)

SWF Structure Info
Tag Flash Version: 
9
SWF Structure: 

Not documented here yet.

Since Flash version 9, actions can be saved in a new format named abcFormat by the Tamarin project from the Mozilla organization.

The code itself (action script) is the same, but the structure of an swf_action3 holds object oriented information about classes, methods and such in a really clean way (really! in comparison to the old way, that's dead clean!).

At this time, the swf_action3 structure is documented in the abcFormat.html file.

I will duplicate and test the structures at a later time.

SWF Any Filter (swf_any_filter)

SWF Structure Info
Tag Flash Version: 
8
SWF Structure: 
/* the filter type */
struct swf_filter_type {
	unsigned char	f_type;
};

struct swf_filter_glow {
	swf_filter_type	f_type;		/* 0, 2, 3, 4 or 7 */
	if(f_type == GradientGlow || f_type == GradientBevel) {
		unsigned char		f_count;
	}
	else {
		f_count = 1;
	}
	swf_rgba		f_rgba[f_count];
	if(f_type == Bevel) {
		swf_rgba		f_highlight_rgba[f_count];
	}
	if(f_type == GradientGlow || f_type == GradientBevel) {
		unsigned char		f_position[f_count];
	}
	signed long fixed	f_blur_horizontal;
	signed long fixed	f_blur_vertical;
	if(f_type != Glow) {
		signed long fixed	f_radian_angle;
		signed long fixed	f_distance;
	}
	signed short fixed	f_strength;
	unsigned		f_inner_shadow : 1;
	unsigned		f_knock_out : 1;
	unsigned		f_composite_source : 1;
	if(f_type == Bevel) {
		unsigned		f_on_top : 1;
	}
	else {
		unsigned		f_reserved : 1;
	}
	if(f_type == GradientGlow || f_type == GradientBevel) {
		unsigned		f_passes : 4;
	}
	else {
		unsigned		f_reserved : 4;
	}
};

struct swf_filter_blur {
	swf_filter_type		f_type;	/* 1 */
	unsigned long fixed	f_blur_horizontal;
	unsigned long fixed	f_blur_vertical;
	unsigned		f_passes : 5;
	unsigned		f_reserved : 3;
};

struct swf_filter_convolution {
	swf_filter_type	f_type;		/* 5 */
	unsigned char	f_columns;
	unsigned char	f_rows;
	long float	f_divisor;
	long float	f_bias;
	long float	f_weights[f_columns × f_rows];
	swf_rgba	f_default_color;
	unsigned	f_reserved : 6;
	unsigned	f_clamp : 1;
	unsigned	f_preserve_alpha : 1;
};

struct swf_filter_colormatrix {
	swf_filter_type	f_type;		/* 6 */
	long float	f_matrix[20];
};

struct swf_any_filter {
	swf_filter_type			f_fitler_type;
	swf_filter_blur			f_filter_blur;
	swf_filter_colormatrix		f_filter_colormatrix;
	swf_filter_convolution		f_filter_convolution;
	swf_filter_glow			f_filter_glow;
};

A filter defines how to transform the objects it is attached to. The first byte is the filter type. The data following depend on the type. Because each filter is much different, they are defined in separate structures. You can attach a filter to an object using an ActionScript or the PlaceObject3 tag.

The following describes the different filters available since version 8.

Value Name Version
0 Drop Shadow 8
1 Blur 8
2 Glow 8
3 Bevel 8
4 Gradient Glow 8
5 Convolution 8
6 Color Matrix 8
7 Gradient Bevel 8

 

Glow, Drop Shadow, Bevel, Gradient Glow and Gradient Bevel

The following structure describes the Glow, Drop Shadow, Bevel, Gradient Glow and Gradient Bevel which all use the same algorithm. Those with less parameters can use a faster (optimized) version of the full version algorithm.

These filters are used to generate what looks like a glow or a shadow. It uses the alpha channel of the object being filtered. Only the alpha is used in the computation of the shape until the end when the color is applied. The result is then composited with the object (unless f_knock_out is set to 1 in which case it replaces the object) before being drawn in the display.

The f_count is assumed to be 1 unless a gradient filter is used, in which case a byte will be defined here. Note: the maximum number of gradient is not specified in the Macromedia documentation. It can be assumed to be the same as for the other gradients and thus it either can be 1 to 8 or 1 to 15. I will need to test that too!

The f_rgba color is used as the final step to color the resulting shape. A standard shadow uses a black or dark gray color and a standard glow has a color between the general color of the object being filtered and white.

The f_hightlight_rgba color is used by the Bevel filter to color the second half of the final shape (f_rgba colors the first half). This is usually set to a glow color whereas the f_rgba is set to a shadow color.

The f_position is used as the position of that specific gradient entry. This is similar to the f_position parameter of the swf_gradient_record.

The f_blur_horizontal and f_blur_vertical values are used to blur the edges horizontally and vertically. See the Blur filter for more information about the blur effect.

The f_radian_angle and f_distance are used to move the shadow away from the object being placed. Notice that the angle is in radian. Increasing the angle turns the effect clockwise. An angle of 0.0 points to the right side of the object.

The f_strengh value is used to multiply the resulting grey scale. Smaller values make the shadow darker. 1.0 keeps the alpha channel as it is (beside the blur).

The f_inner_shadow flag means that the result is applied inside the parent object and not arround as you would expected for a shadow. If you need both: an inner and an outer shadow (necessary for semi-transparent objects) then you will need to setup two filters.

The f_knock_out flag means that the source object is not rendered in the result, only the shadow. This can be used (in general) to draw the edges of the object. It can also be used to apply a different transformation on the shadow than on the object (in which case the object will be twice in the display list: once to draw its shadow and once to draw itself.)

The f_composite_source must be set to 1 for the Drop Shadow.

The f_on_top flag indicates whether the resulting shadow and highlight should be rendered below (0) or over (1) the source image. This is at times referenced as Overlay.

The f_passes counter available with the gradient filters can be used to repeat the filter computations multiple times. This parameter should be set to 1, 2 or 3. A value of 0 is illegal and a larger value will not only slow down the computation time, it is likely to generate a bad result.

 

Blur

The Blur filter applies a seemingly complex mathematical equation to all the pixels in order to generate soft edges. To simplify: it adds the surrounding pixels to a center pixel and normalize the result. This generates the effect of a blurry image. Note that this blur is applied to squares (box filter).

The math in a C++ function goes like this:

	swf_rgba blur(const char *image, int x, int y, int blur_h, int blur_v)
	{
		/* we assume that blur_h/v are odd */
		int x1 = x - blur_h / 2;
		int x2 = x + blur_h / 2;
		int y1 = y - blur_v / 2;
		int y2 = y + blur_v / 2;
		swf_rgba blur;

		blur.reset();	/* set to all 0's */
		yp = y1;
		while(yp <= y2) {
			int xp = x1;
			while(xp <= x2) {
				blur += image(xp, yp);
				++xp;
			}
			++yp;
		}

		return blur / (blur_h * blur_v);
	}
Notes:   The Flash player implementation works on sub-pixels and this algorithm does not.
The fact that this algorithm uses a square means it will generate visible artifacts in your image if you use a large value for the blur (i.e. more than about 7.)
If you want this algorithm to work properly, make sure to save the results in a separate image so each pixel can be computed properly without the effect pre-applied.
This algorithm does not show any clipping; if you want to keep it fast, you need to keep it that way and enlarge the source image making the edges a repeat of the edge color and the corners the corresponding corner color.

The f_blur_horizontal and f_blur_vertical are expected to be larger than 1.0 to have an effect (usually at least 3, and in most cases 5 or more.)

The f_passes is a counter which should be at least 1. The blur effect will be repeated that many times on the image. When using 3, the resulting blur is close to a Gaussian Blur. Note that it will make the image bigger each time and applying this filter can be slow.

 

Convolution

The convolution filter can be used to generate a really nice blur or avoid the vertical jitter of an animation on a CRT monitor. It is similar to the Blur filter, except that the computation of the destination pixels is fully controlled.


Fig 1 — Convolution Filter Example

The image above shows an example of a convolution filter. The red pixel is the one being tweaked. The different gray color represent the heavier (darker) weight and the lighter weights. The pixels drawn in white are ignored (i.e. their weights will be set to 0.)

The convolution filter can be described with the following C function:

	swf_rgba convolution(swf_rgba *source, int x, int y, swf_filter_convolution convolution)
	{
		swf_rgba	result;
		swf_rgba	pixel;
		int		i, j, p, q, pmax, qmax;

		result.reset();		/* black */
		pmax = convolution.f_rows / 2;
		qmax = convolution.f_columns / 2;
		for(j = 0, p = -pmax; p < pmax; ++p, ++j) {
			for(i = 0, q = -qmax; q < qmax; ++q, ++i) {
				pixel = source[x + p][y + q];
				pixel += convolution.f_bias;
				pixel *= convolution.f_weights[i][j];
				pixel /= convolution.f_divisor;
				result += pixel;
			}
		}

		return result;
	}

We can clearly see that a weight of 0 cancels that very pixel effect. We can notice also that the divisor is not necessary here (however, it may be possible to tweak the divisor using an ActionScript and in that case it can be useful.)

A blur algorithm can use a convolution filter with the following parameters:

  1. Set f_columns to 5
  2. Set f_rows to 5
  3. Set f_divisor to 1
  4. Set f_bias to 0
  5. Set f_weights to:
  6. {
      { 0.000, 0.050, 0.050, 0.050, 0.000 },
      { 0.050, 0.075, 0.075, 0.075, 0.050 },
      { 0.050, 0.075, 0.000, 0.075, 0.050 },
      { 0.050, 0.075, 0.075, 0.075, 0.050 },
      { 0.000, 0.050, 0.050, 0.050, 0.000 }
    }
    
  7. Set f_clamp to 1
  8. Set f_preserve_alpha to 1


Fig 2 — Convolution filter to create a radian blur

When you want to remove most of the jitter on a television or any CRT monitor which use an interlace video mode, you can use the following setup:

  1. Set f_columns to 1
  2. Set f_rows to 3
  3. Set f_divisor to 1
  4. Set f_bias to 0
  5. Set f_weights to { 0.25, 0.5, 0.25 }
  6. Set f_default_color to black (0, 0, 0, 1)
  7. Set f_clamp to 0
  8. Set f_preserve_alpha to 1


Fig 3 — Convolution filter to limit interlace jitter

The f_columns and f_rows determine the size of the convolution filter.

The f_divisor divide the sum of the weighted pixel components. Note that you can incorporate the divisor in the weights. However, this is a mean to divide (or multiply) all the weights at once. Yet I suggest you put this parameter to 1 and change the weights instead.

The f_bias is added to the component of each pixel before they are multiplied by their corresponding factor.

The f_weights are used to determine how much of a given pixel color shall be used in the result.

The f_default_color color is used only if f_clamp is set to 0. This is the color to be used whenever it is necessary to compute the color of a pixel which is outside of the source.

f_clamp is used to determine the color to use whenever a pixel outside of the input image is necessary. When set to 1, the closest input pixel is used. When set to 0, the f_default_color is used.

If f_preserve_alpha is set to 1, then the source alpha channel is copied as is in the destination.

 

Color Matrix

The color matrix is a 5x5 matrix used to tweak or adjust the colors of your objects. A full matrix can be used to change the contrast, brightness and color (just like you do on your television.)

The matrix is composed of 5 components of red, green, blue and alpha. The 5th row is not saved in the filter and is assume to always be [0 0 0 0 1].


Fig 1 — Color Matrix Filter

The resulting color Q is computed as M · C, where C is a column matrix composed of the source pixel colors: red, green, blue, alpha and 1. The result is also a column matrix in which component 5 can be dropped.

Notice that f_matrix is composed of floats and not fixed point values.

In order to compute a color matrix from simple values, you want to use the following matrices and equations (see Appendix A. for more matrix computations.) Most of these equations are based on a paper written by Paul Haeberli in 1993.

Why is matrix computation on colors working so well? This is because the colors, when defined as (R, G, B) perfectly map to a 3 dimensional cube. The corner at (0, 0, 0) represents black, and the opposite corner at (1, 1, 1) represents white. The other corners represent Red, Green, Blue and their composites: Cyan, Yellow, Purple. Within the cube, all the usual 3D geometry computations apply to colors just the same as it applies to (x, y, z) vectors.

The following shows you have to modify the RGB components. The Alpha channel can in a similar way be modified. However, you usually do not want to change the alpha from the colors and thus it is likely that the only thing you will do with the alpha is a simple translation (change a0, a1, a2) and a scaling (change a3). By default, set the alpha row to [ 0 0 0 1 0 ] and the last column to [ 0 0 0 0 1 ].


Fig 2 — Color Matrix with no effect on the alpha channel

In the following pretty much all the values are assumed to be defined between 0.0 and 1.0. Though there is no real limits, using larger values or negative values can have unexpected effects such as a clamping of one or more of the color components.

  • Gray Vector
  • The Grey Vector is the vector going from (0, 0, 0) to (1, 1, 1). It represents all the grays from black to white. It is important since it is used to represent the luminance of the image.

  • Brightness (Matrix B)
  • Use the scaling matrix B to change the brightness. This has the effect of making the color vector longer or shorter, but it still points in the same direction. Some people call this the image Intensity.


    Fig 3 — Brightness Matrix B

    In general, you want to set all scaling factors to the same value to change the brightness in a uniform way. By changing the scaling factors to different values you in effect change the color balance.

  • Luminance (Matrix L)
  • The luminance matrix L is used to determine how close your image is to the grey vector. The closer to the gray vector, the closer to a black and white image you will get. This is a saturation toward grey. The effect in the color cube is to move your color vector closer to the grey vector.


    Fig 4 — Luminance Matrix (L)

    The luminance matrix requires three weights (Rw, Gw, Bw) which are defined as (0.3086, 0.6094, 0.082). Note that the sum of these weights is 1.0.

    The weights used here are linear. It is possible to use different weights for images which have different gammas. For instance, an NTSC image with a gamma of 2.2 has these weights: (0.299, 0.587, 0.114).

  • Saturation (Matrix S)
  • The saturation matrix S is used to saturate the colors. This matrix uses the weights defined for the Luminance matrix L. The effect in the color cube is to move your vector toward another vector. The Luminance is a special case which moves your vector toward the gray vector. And the identity matrix, which can also be considered a saturation matrix, is a special case which does not move your vector.


    Fig 5 — Saturation Matrix (S)

    The saturation parameter s shall be set to a value from -1 to 1. Note that a saturation of 1 generates an Identity Matrix and thus has no effect. A saturation of 0 generates a Luminance Matrix (s = 0 <=> S = L). A saturation of -1 generates a matrix which inverse all the colors of your image (negative).

  • Contrast (Matrix C)
  • Using the Brightness Matrix B and a translation matrix, it is possible to modify the contrast of your image by scaling the colors toward or away from the center (or some other point) of the color cube.


    Fig 6 — Translation Matrix (T)

    To apply a standard contrast c create a matrix Ts with offsets (0.5, 0.5, 0.5), a matrix Bc with the scaling factors set to c and compute the contrast matrix C as: C = -Ts · Bc · Ts

    It is also possible to use a translation to change the colors of your image. This is not very useful since it is a simple addition (C' = C + T).

  • Hue (Matrix H)
  • To change the hue of a color, it is necessary to rotate the color vector around the gray vector. It is easy to see that rotating the gray vector around itself generates itself. A gray hue cannot be changed. If you rotate the colors by 120°, red becomes green, green becomes blue and blue becomes red.

    Note however that by only rotating the color, you generate a luminance error. This is because blue is not as bright as red or green and green is not as bright as red. To avoid the luminance loss, you need to apply a shear to make the luminance plane horizontal.

    The following are all the steps used to rotate the Hue. Note that most matrices can be precomputed (in other words, you can very much optimize your code!)

    • X Rotation
    • Rotate the gray vector around the X axis by 45°. This places the the vector on the (x, y) plane.


      Fig 7 — rotation around the X axis

      Because we want to rotate by 45° the sine and cosine of the angle can directly be set to the inverse of the square root of 2.


      Fig 8 — sine and cosine in the rotation around the X axis

    • Y Rotation
    • Rotate the gray vector from the (x, y) plane to the positive Z direction. We want to rotate by about 35.2644°.


      Fig 9 — rotation around the Y axis

      The sine and cosine values of this equation can be computed with the square root of 2 and 3 as presented below:


      Fig 10 — sine and cosine in the rotation around the Y axis

    • Luminance Shear (Matrix K)
    • Apply the Rx and Ry matrices to the luminance offsets, and use the result to compute the shear matrix.


      Fig 11 — How to compute the shear factors

      The Rw, Gw and Bw are the Luminance factors as defined for matrix L.

      Now we can compute matrix K which is used for the luminance shear correction:


      Fig 12 — Hue Shear Matrix K

    • Hue rotation
    • Once you applied the Rx, Ry and K matrices to your color, you can safely rotate the result around the Z axis. This rotates the hue of the color. The rotation angle is expected to go from 0 to 2π.


      Fig 13 — Matrix to rotate the hue

      θ is set to the hue rotation angle.

    • Remove the shear, y rotation and x rotation
    • Once you rotated your vector using Rz you need to put your vector back where it belongs. This is done by multiplying by the inverse of the K, Ry and Rx in that order. Note that since these matrices are quite simple, calculating their inverse is very easy.

      K-1 is obtained by replacing B'w in the K matrix by –B'w.


      Fig 14 — Inverse of Matrix K

      Ry-1 and Rx-1 are obtained by replacing the sine values by their opposite.


      Fig 15 — Inverse of Matrix Ry


      Fig 16 — Inverse of Matrix Rx

    • Final Hue Rotation Equation
    • Given the hue rotation angle θ you can write:

      H = Rx · Ry · K · Rz · K-1 · Rx-1 · Ry-1

  • And finally the SWF Color Matrix
  • Once you computed each of the matrices, you can merge them all together by multiplying them. The order should not matter except if you use a translation which isn't canceled (like the one for the contrast.)

    M = B · S · C · H

    Note that you do not need a Saturation and a Luminance since these are the same. However, you may still want to separate them for the sake of simplicity.

    M = B · L · S · C · H

 

Filters Union

The any filter is simply a union of all the filters. Note that only one type of filter can be defined in an any filter and also the size will depend on that filter (it is not the largest size of all filters; plus, some filters use a dynamically determined size!)

SWF Button (swf_button)

SWF Structure Info
Tag Flash Version: 
1
SWF Structure: 
struct swf_button {
	char align;
	unsigned		f_button_reserved : 2;
	if(version >= 8) {
		unsigned		f_button_blend_mode : 1;
		unsigned		f_button_filter_list : 1;
	}
	else {
		unsigned		f_button_reserved : 2;
	}
	unsigned		f_button_state_hit_test : 1;
	unsigned		f_button_state_down : 1;
	unsigned		f_button_state_over : 1;
	unsigned		f_button_state_up : 1;
	if(any f_button_state_... != 0) {
		unsigned short		f_button_id_ref;
		unsigned short		f_button_layer;
		swf_matrix		f_matrix;
		if(f_tag == DefineButton2) {
			swf_color_transform		f_color_transform;
		}
		if(f_button_filter_list) {
			unsigned char		f_filter_count;
			swf_any_filter		f_filter;
		}
		if(f_button_blend_mode) {
			unsigned char		f_blend_mode;
		}
	}
};

A button structure defines a state and a corresponding shape reference. The shape will be affected by the specified matrix whenever used.

There are many acceptable combinations. The object which is referenced is drawn when its state matches the current state of the button. If only the f_button_state_hit_test is set, then the shape is always displayed.

In order to define the area where the button can be clicked, it is necessary to set the f_button_state_hit_test flag to 1. Also, when this flag is set, only a shape can be referenced (no edit text, sprite or text object will work in this case).

When the f_button_state_hit_test is set, the square used to delimit the referenced shape will be used to determine whether the mouse is over the button or not.

Shapes referenced with the f_button_state_down flag set are drawn when a mouse button is being pushed over this button.

Shapes referenced with the f_button_state_up flag set are drawn when no mouse button is being pushed over this button. When neither up or down is specified, up us assumed.

Shapes referenced with the f_button_state_over flag set are drawn when the mouse is moved over this button.

The f_button_layer is used like a depth parameter. The smallest layer is drawn first (behind) and the highest layer is drawn last (on top of all the other shapes).

Though four flags allow for 16 different states, you are likely to only use a few. The hit test can appear on each state. The down and up won't usually be used together, though, if they are the shape will be drawn when the button is clicked or not.

Since version 8, this structure supports blending modes and a list of filters.

The structure is always aligned to a byte. If all of the f_button_state_... flags are zeroes, then the entry is an EOB (End Of Buttons) entry.

SWF Color Transform (swf_color_transform)

SWF Structure Info
Tag Flash Version: 
1
SWF Structure: 
struct swf_color_transform {
	char align;
	unsigned		f_color_has_add : 1;
	unsigned		f_color_has_mult : 1;
	unsigned		f_color_bits : 4;
	if(f_color_has_mult) {
		signed short fixed	f_color_red_mult : f_color_bits;
		signed short fixed	f_color_green_mult : f_color_bits;
		signed short fixed	f_color_blue_mult : f_color_bits;
		if(f_tag == PlaceObject2) {
			signed short fixed	f_color_alpha_mult : f_color_bits;
		}
	}
	if(f_color_has_add) {
		signed short fixed	f_color_red_add : f_color_bits;
		signed short fixed	f_color_green_add : f_color_bits;
		signed short fixed	f_color_blue_add : f_color_bits;
		if(f_tag == PlaceObject2) {
			signed short fixed	f_color_alpha_add : f_color_bits;
		}
	}
};

When the f_color_<component>_mult are not defined in the input file, use 1.0 by default. When the f_color_<component>_add are not defined in the input file, use 0.0 by default.

The factors are saved as 8.8 fixed values (divide by 256 to obtain a proper floating point value). Note that the values are limited to a signed 16 bits value. This allows for any value between -128.0 and +127.98828.

When the resulting color is defined, the multiplication is applied first as in:

	result-component = source-component * component-mult + component-add;

The result is then clamped between 0.0 and 1.0.


SWF Condition (swf_condition)

SWF Structure Info
Tag Flash Version: 
1
SWF Structure: 
struct swf_condition {
	unsigned short		f_condition_length;1
	unsigned		f_condition_key : 7;
	unsigned		f_condition_menu_leave : 1;
	unsigned		f_condition_menu_enter : 1;
	unsigned		f_condition_pointer_release_ouside : 1;
	unsigned		f_condition_pointer_drag_enter : 1;
	unsigned		f_condition_pointer_drag_leave : 1;
	unsigned		f_condition_pointer_release_inside : 1;
	unsigned		f_condition_pointer_push : 1;
	unsigned		f_condition_pointer_leave : 1;
	unsigned		f_condition_pointer_enter : 1;
	swf_action		f_action_record[variable];
};
  • 1. The number of actions is variable, the f_condition_length parameter indicates the number of bytes and can be used to skip one condition and all of its actions at once. The action array must always be terminated by an End action entry (i.e 0x00).

A condition is defined in a DefineButton2 tag. It is a record of conditions. The record terminates when the size of the current (i.e. last) condition is zero. The length of that condition can be deduced from the total size of the tag minus the offset where the condition starts. Conditions are similar to events.

The f_key field represents a key code since version 4. The following table gives the code equivalence. Note that 0 means no key.

Key Code Name Version
0 (0x00) No key activation 3
1 (0x01) Left Arrow 4
2 (0x02) Right Arrow 4
3 (0x03) Home 4
4 (0x04) End 4
5 (0x05) Insert 4
6 (0x06) Delete 4
8 (0x08) Backspace 4
13 (0x0D) Enter 4
14 (0x0E) Up Arrow 4
15 (0x0F) Down Arrow 4
16 (0x10) Page Up 4
17 (0x11) Page Down 4
18 (0x12) Tab 4
19 (0x13) Escape 4
32-126 The corresponding ASCII code 4

SWF Envelope (swf_envelope)

SWF Structure Info
Tag Flash Version: 
1
SWF Structure: 
struct swf_envelope {
	unsigned long		f_position;
	unsigned short		f_volume_left;
	unsigned short		f_volume_right;
};

When playing back a sound effect it is possible to modulate the sound to generate different effects (such as a fade in and out). The following defines the stereo volume of the sound.

The position is always given as if the sample data was defined with a rate of 44,100 bytes per seconds. For instance, the sample number 1 in a sound effect with a sample rate of 5.5K is given as position 8 in the envelope. All of these positions should be within the f_in_point and f_out_point.

Mono sound should use the same value for the left and right volumes. Note that it will automatically be averaged if necessary.

Note that the volume goes from 0 to 32768.

SWF Event (swf_event)

SWF Structure Info
Tag Flash Version: 
1
SWF Structure: 
struct swf_event {
	char align;
	if(version >= 6) {
		unsigned	f_event_reserved : 13;
		if(version >= 7) {
			unsigned	f_event_construct : 1;
		}
		else {
			unsigned	f_event_reserved : 1;
		}
		unsigned	f_event_key_press : 1;
		unsigned	f_event_drag_out : 1;
		unsigned	f_event_drag_over : 1;
		unsigned	f_event_roll_out : 1;
		unsigned	f_event_roll_over : 1;
		unsigned	f_event_release_outside : 1;
		unsigned	f_event_release : 1;
		unsigned	f_event_press : 1;
		unsigned	f_event_initialize : 1;
	}
	else {
		unsigned	f_event_reserved : 7;
	}
	unsigned		f_event_data : 1;
	unsigned		f_event_key_up : 1;
	unsigned		f_event_key_down : 1;
	unsigned		f_event_mouse_up : 1;
	unsigned		f_event_mouse_down : 1;
	unsigned		f_event_mouse_move : 1;
	unsigned		f_event_unload : 1;
	unsigned		f_event_enter_frame : 1;
	unsigned		f_event_onload : 1;
	unsigned long		f_event_length;1
	swf_action		f_action_record[variable];
};
  • 1. The number of actions is variable, the f_event_length parameter indicates the number of bytes and can be used to skip all the actions at once. The action array must always be terminated by an End action entry.

An event is defined in a PlaceObject2 tag. It is a record of events terminated with a set of zero flags. Events are similar to conditions.

SWF External (swf_external)

SWF Structure Info
Tag Flash Version: 
3
SWF Structure: 
struct swf_external {
	unsigned short		f_object_id;
	string			f_symbol_name;
};

An external reference is a per of entries: an identifier and a name. The name is called the external symbol and is used to match the necessary definitions between two movies using Export, Import and Import2

SWF Fill Style (swf_fill_style)

SWF Structure Info
Tag Flash Version: 
1
SWF Structure: 
/* f_type = 0x00 - solid fill */
struct swf_fill_style_solid {
	unsigned char		f_type;
	if(f_tag == DefineMorphShape || f_tag == DefineMorphShape2) {
		swf_rgba	f_rgba;
		swf_rgba	f_rgba_morph;
	}
	else if(f_tag == DefineShape3) {
		swf_rgba	f_rgba;
	}
	else {
		swf_rgb		f_rgb;
	}
};

/* f_type = 0x10 - linear gradient fill,
	    0x12 - radial gradient fill
	    0x13 - focal gradient fill (V8.0) */
struct swf_fill_style_gradient {
	unsigned char		f_type;
	swf_matrix			f_gradient_matrix;
	if(f_tag == DefineMorphShape || f_tag == DefineMorphShape2) {
		swf_matrix	f_gradient_matrix_morph;
	}
	swf_gradient		f_gradient;
};

/* f_type = 0x40 - tilled bitmap fill with smoothed edges,
	    0x41 - clipped bitmap fill with smoothed edges,
	    0x42 - tilled bitmap fill with hard edges (V7.0)1,
	    0x43 - clipped bitmap fill with hard edges (V7.0)2 */
struct swf_fill_style_bitmap {
	unsigned char		f_type;
	unsigned short		f_bitmap_ref;
	swf_matrix		f_bitmap_matrix;
	if(f_tag == DefineMorphShape || f_tag == DefineMorphShape2) {
		swf_matrix	f_bitmap_matrix_morph;
	}
};

union swf_fill_style {
	unsigned char		f_type;
	swf_fill_style_solid	f_solid;
	swf_fill_style_gradient	f_gradient;
	swf_fill_style_bitmap	f_bitmap;
};
  • 1. See description for more info.
  • 2. See description for more info.

The fill style is defined in the first byte. The values are defined below. Depending on that value, the fill style structure changes as shown below. swf_fill_style is a union of all the other structures.

Notice that types 0x42 and 0x43 are only available since version 7 and type 0x13 is only available since version 8.

Note that these values were introduced in Flash 7 but it looks like only player 8 supported the distinction between hard edges and smooth edges on a per shape basis. That would explain why I could not see any difference between smooth and hard shapes when I tested this feature in Flash 7.

Before Flash 8, all shapes would be smoothed if the global quality of the movie was set to BEST. In Flash 8, nothing is smoothed by default whatever the quality and the smoothed or hard selection in a shape can be used as a hint on a per shape basis. Following this specification closely can be important in some situations.

SWF Fill Style Array (swf_fill_style_array)

SWF Structure Info
Tag Flash Version: 
1
SWF Structure: 
struct swf_fill_style_array {
	unsigned char		f_count;
	if(f_tag != DefineShape && f_count == 255) {
		unsigned short	f_real_count;
	}
	else {
		f_real_count = f_count;
	}
	swf_fill_style		f_fill_style[f_real_count];
};

The array of fill styles starts with a counter. When DefineShape is used, the counter can be any value from 0 (no style) to 255. When DefineShape2 or DefineShape3 are used, the value 255 is reserved so you can declare more than 255 styles.

SWF Gradient (swf_gradient)

SWF Structure Info
Tag Flash Version: 
3
SWF Structure: 
struct swf_gradient {
	if(tag == DefineShape4) {
		unsigned		f_spread_mode : 2;
		unsigned		f_interpolation_mode : 2;
		unsigned		f_count : 4;
	}
	else {
		unsigned		f_pad : 4;
		unsigned		f_count : 4;
	}
	swf_gradient_record	f_gradient_record[f_count];
	/* f_type is defined in the swf_fill_style encompassing this gradient */
	if(f_type == 0x13) {
		signed short fixed	f_focal_point;
	}
};

This structure defines a gradient. This is a set of colors which are used to define an image with colors smoothly varying from one color to the next. The gradient can be radial (circular) or linear (rectangular).

The f_count field is limited depending on the tag used and the version of SWF as defined below:

Range Tag Version
1 to 8 DefineShape 3
1 to 8 DefineShape2 3
1 to 8 DefineShape3 3
1 to 15 DefineShape4 8
1 to 8 DefineShapeMorph 3
1 to 8(1) DefineShapeMorph2 8
(1)  To be determined. The Macromedia documentation says it is limited to 8, the player needs to be tested to verify that DefineShapeMorph2 cannot support 15 gradients

The f_spread_mode is an enumeration and appeared in version 8 (undefined values are reserved.)

Value Comment Version
0 Pad 8
1 Reflect 8
2 Repeat 8

The f_interpolation_mode is an enumeration and appeared in version 8 (undefined values are reserved.)

Value Comment Version
0 Normal RGB mode 8
1 Linear RGB mode 8

The f_focal_point is a position from the left edge of the gradient square to the center and then to the right edge of the gradient. The left edge is at position -1.0, the center at 0.0 and the right edge at +1.0. This is particularly useful for radial gradients.

SWF Gradient Record (swf_gradient_record)

SWF Structure Info
Tag Flash Version: 
3
SWF Structure: 
struct swf_gradient_record {
	if(f_tag == DefineMorphShape || f_tag == DefineMorphShape2) {
		unsigned char	f_position;
		swf_rgba	f_rgba;
		unsigned char	f_position_morph;
		swf_rgba	f_rgba_morph;
	}
	else if(f_tag == DefineShape3 || f_tag == DefineShape4) {
		unsigned char	f_position;
		swf_rgba	f_rgba;
	}
	else {
		unsigned char	f_position;
		swf_rgb		f_rgb;
	}
};

The first record position should be 0 and the last 255. The intermediate should use the corresponding value depending on their position in the gradient effect.

A linear gradient is defined from left to right. A radial from inside to outside. In order to see the full effect of the gradient, one needs to define its matrix properly. The gradients are always drawn in a square with coordinates -819.2, -819.2 to +819.2, +819.2 (in pixels, that's 16384 in TWIPs). The usual is to scale the gradient square down, translate to the proper position and rotate as necessary. There is no point in rotating a radial gradient.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you use positions (see f_position) which are too close to each others, you are likely to see a reverse effect of what you would expect (Well... at least in the Macromedia plugin V5.0 — the gradient goes the wrong way between each color change!!!).



Fig 1. Red to green radial fill

The image in Fig 1. shows you a radial fill using pure red as the color at position 0 and pure green at position 255. It is often used to draw a round corner of an object such as a button.



Fig 2. Red to green linear fill

The image in Fig 2. shows you a linear fill using pure red as the color at position 0 and pure green at position 255. It goes from left to right when no rotation is applied. Using a rotation provides means to have the colors going top to bottom or in diagonals.

SWF Kerning (swf_kerning)

SWF Structure Info
Tag Flash Version: 
1
SWF Structure: 
struct swf_kerning {
	if(f_font2_wide) {
		unsigned short		f_kerning_code1;
		unsigned short		f_kerning_code2;
	}
	else {
		unsigned char		f_kerning_code1;
		unsigned char		f_kerning_code2;
	}
	signed short		f_kerning_adjustment;
};

The following table defines the number of TWIPs to move left or right before to draw the 2nd character when the 1st one was drawn right before it. For instance, the letters AV may be drawn really close so the V is written over the A. To the contrary, WI may be seperated some more so the I doesn't get merged to the top of the W.

The computation to move the drawing pen is done as follow:

  /* writing 'AV' */
  x += f_font2_advance['A'] + f_kerning['AV'].f_kerning_adjustment;

where 'x' is the position at which f_kerning_code1 was draw.



Fig 1. Kerning "AV" and "WI"


SWF Line Style (swf_line_style)

SWF Structure Info
Tag Flash Version: 
1
SWF Structure: 
struct swf_line_style {
	if(f_tag == DefineMorphShape) {
		unsigned short twips	f_width;
		unsigned short twips	f_width_morph;
		swf_rgba		f_rgba;
		swf_rgba		f_rgba_morph;
	}
	else if(f_tag == DefineShape4 || f_tag == DefineMorphShape2) {
		unsigned short twips	f_width;
		if(f_tag == DefineMorphShape2) {
			unsigned short twips	f_width_morph;
		}
		unsigned		f_start_cap_style : 2;
		unsigned		f_join_style : 2;
		unsigned		f_has_fill : 1;
		unsigned		f_no_hscale : 1;
		unsigned		f_no_vscale : 1;
		unsigned		f_pixel_hinting : 1;
		unsigned		f_reserved : 5;
		unsigned		f_no_close : 1;
		unsigned		f_end_cap_style : 2;
		if(f_join_style == 2) {
			unsigned short fixed	f_miter_limit_factor;
		}
		if(f_has_fill) {
			swf_fill_style		f_fill_style;
		}
		else {
			swf_rgba		f_rgba;
			if(f_tag == DefineMorphShape2) {
				swf_rgba		f_rgba_morph;
			}
		}
	}
	else if(f_tag == DefineShape3) {
		unsigned short twips	f_width;
		swf_rgba		f_rgba;
	}
	else {
		unsigned short twips	f_width;
		swf_rgb				f_rgb;
	}
};

The width of the line is in TWIPS (1/20th of a pixel).

The f_start_cap_style and f_end_cap_style can be:

  • 0 - Round cap,
  • 1 - No cap,
  • 2 - Square cap.

Round is the default, the way line caps looked before version 8. No Cap means that nothing is added at the tip of the line. This means the line stops exactly where you say it should end. The Square Cap is like the No Cap, but it has the cap which is about Width / 2.

The f_join_style can be:

  • 0 - Round join,
  • 1 - Bevel join,
  • 2 - Miter join.

Each time a line is multiple segments, each segment join is rendered using this definition. A Round Join is what we had before. A Bevel Join is a straight line between the end edges of each line (rectangle representing a line.) The Miter Join is similar to a Bevel, except that you can control the length between the tips and the closure of the line. When the miter limit factor is large, it continues the edges of the lines and it looks like triangles or squares.

The f_no_hscale and f_no_vscale flags, when set to 1, request that the stroke thickness not be scaled along with the object.

When f_pixel_hinting is set to 1, the SWF Player forces all the anchors to be placed on a pixel (it ignores sub-pixels.) This can be useful to create small objects which you do not want blurry.

The f_no_close can be set to 1 to request that the first and last points be rendered with caps rather than a join even if they are equal (and thus close the shape.)

The f_miter_limit_factor field is defined whenever the join is set to Miter Join (2). The value is unsigned from 0.0 to about 255.0. Note that under 1.0, it has no effect.

SWF Line Style Array (swf_line_style_array)

SWF Structure Info
Tag Flash Version: 
1
SWF Structure: 
struct swf_line_style_array {
	unsigned char		f_count;
	if(f_tag != DefineShape && f_count == 255) {
		unsigned short	f_real_count;
	}
	else {
		f_real_count = f_count;
	}
	swf_line_style		f_line_style[f_real_count];
};

The array of line styles starts with a counter. When DefineShape is used, the counter can be any value from 0 (no style) to 255. When DefineShape2 or DefineShape3 are used, the value 255 is reserved so you can declare more than 255 styles (up to 65535.)

SWF Matrix (swf_matrix)

SWF Structure Info
Tag Flash Version: 
1
SWF Structure: 
struct swf_matrix {
	char align;
	unsigned		f_has_scale : 1;
	if(f_has_scale) {
		unsigned	f_scale_bits : 5;
		signed fixed	f_scale_x : f_scale_bits;
		signed fixed	f_scale_y : f_scale_bits;
	}
	unsigned		f_has_rotate : 1;
	if(f_has_rotate) {
		unsigned	f_rotate_bits : 5;
		signed fixed	f_rotate_skew0 : f_rotate_bits;
		signed fixed	f_rotate_skew1 : f_rotate_bits;
	}
	unsigned		f_translate_bits : 5;
	signed			f_translate_x : f_rotate_bits;
	signed			f_translate_y : f_rotate_bits;
};

By default...

  • f_scale_x and f_scale_y are set to 1.0
  • f_rotate_skew0 and f_rotate_skew1 are set to 0.0
  • f_translate_x and f_translate_y must be specified. The translation can be set to (0, 0) to avoid any side effects.

Scale is a ratio. Rotate is an angle in radian. Translate is in TWIPs (1/20th of a pixel.)

SWF Morph Shape with Style (swf_morph_shape_with_style)

SWF Structure Info
Tag Flash Version: 
1
SWF Structure: 
struct swf_morph_shape_with_style {
	swf_styles		f_styles;
	swf_shape_record	f_shape_records[variable];
	char align;
	swf_styles_count	f_styles_count;
	swf_shape_record	f_shape_records_morph[variable];
};

The array of shape records starts with a set of styles definition and is followed by shape records. The list of shape records ends with a null record.

Note that f_shape_records_morph cannot include any reference to styles and lines, nor include new styles. It is likely that the f_styles_count will always be 0x11. Also, it is always byte aligned.

SWF Params (swf_params)

SWF Structure Info
Tag Flash Version: 
7
SWF Structure: 
struct swf_params {
	unsigned char		f_param_register;
	string			f_param_name;
};

Since version 7 of SWF, there is a new way to create a function allows you to not only name parameters but also to put their content in a register. This is done by specifying a register number along an (optional) parameter name.

The f_param_register specifies whether the corresponding parameter will be saved in1:

  • A register (when it's not zero)
  • A named variable (when the name is not an empty string)
  • Both

Note that the auto-generated variables (those defined by the "preload" flags to the Declare Function (V7)) are also saved in registers. You have to make sure you save your own variables in registers that are not already in use by these system variables2.

The f_param_name string will be ignored whenever the f_param_register parameter is not zero. Otherwise, it is used to save the corresponding parameter in a variable of that name. Since up to 255 registers can be used, it rarely will be necessary to save local variables in named variables when using the Declare Function (V7) action.

  • 1. Note that "neither" is not an option, thus although both the register number and name are optional, at least one of them needs to be defined.
  • 2. All the auto-generated variables are saved in sequential order before the user parameters. This means all the user parameters must have a register number larger than the auto-generated variables.

SWF RGB (swf_rgb)

SWF Structure Info
Tag Flash Version: 
1
SWF Structure: 
struct swf_rgb {
	unsigned char		f_red;
	unsigned char		f_green;
	unsigned char		f_blue;
};

Each color component is a value from 0 (no intensity) to 255 (full intensity).

SWF RGBA (swf_rgba)

SWF Structure Info
Tag Flash Version: 
1
SWF Structure: 
struct swf_rgba {
	unsigned char		f_red;
	unsigned char		f_green;
	unsigned char		f_blue;
	unsigned char		f_alpha;1
};
  • 1. 0 represent a fully transparent color, 255 represents a solid color.

The color components can be set to any value from 0 (no intensity) to maximum intensity (255).1

It is important to note that even fully transparent pixels may not have their red, green, blue components set to 0. This is useful if you want to add a value to the alpha channel using one of the color transformation matrices. In that case, using all 0's would generate a black color.

  • 1. For some PNG images, the red, green and blue colors may need to be multiplied by their alpha channel value before saved. Use the following formula to compute the proper values:

       f_red = orginal red * f_alpha / 255

SWF Rectangle (swf_rect)

SWF Structure Info
Tag Flash Version: 
1
SWF Structure: 
struct swf_rect {
	char align;
	unsigned		f_size : 5;
	signed twips		f_x_min : f_size;
	signed twips		f_x_max : f_size;
	signed twips		f_y_min : f_size;
	signed twips		f_y_max : f_size;
};

The rectangles are very well compressed in an SWF file. These make use of a 5 bits size which specifies how many bits are present in the following four fields. Don't forget that the bits are read from the MSB to the LSB and in big endian like when multiple bytes are necessary.

SWF Shape (swf_shape)

SWF Structure Info
Tag Flash Version: 
1
SWF Structure: 
struct swf_shape {
	swf_styles_count	f_styles_count;
	swf_shape_record	f_shape_records[variable];
};

Fonts uses this declaration. It does not include any style (fill or line) definitions. The drawing will use fill 0 when the inside of the shape should not be drawn and 1 when it is to be filled. The line style should not be defined.

SWF Shape Record (swf_shape_record)

SWF Structure Info
Tag Flash Version: 
1
SWF Structure: 
/* if f_shape_record_type = 0 & f_end_of_shape = 0
then that's the end of the list of shape records */
struct swf_shape_record_end { unsigned f_shape_record_type : 1; unsigned f_end_of_shape : 5; };
/* f_shape_record_type = 0 & at least one of the following five bits is not zero
then change style, fill and position setup */
struct swf_shape_record_setup { unsigned f_shape_record_type : 1; if(f_tag == DefineShape) {1 unsigned f_shape_reserved : 1; /* always zero */ } else { unsigned f_shape_has_new_styles : 1; } unsigned f_shape_has_line_style : 1; unsigned f_shape_has_fill_style1 : 1; unsigned f_shape_has_fill_style0 : 1; unsigned f_shape_has_move_to : 1; if(f_shape_has_move_to) { unsigned f_shape_move_size : 5; signed twips f_shape_move_x : f_shape_move_size; signed twips f_shape_move_y : f_shape_move_size; } if(f_shape_has_fill_style0) { unsigned f_shape_fill_style0 : f_fill_bits_count; } if(f_shape_has_fill_style1) { unsigned f_shape_fill_style1 : f_fill_bits_count; } if(f_shape_has_line_style) { unsigned f_shape_line_style : f_line_bits_count; } if(f_shape_has_new_styles) { swf_styles f_styles; } }; /* f_shape_record_type = 1 -- edge record */ struct swf_shape_record_edge { unsigned f_shape_record_type : 1; unsigned f_shape_edge_type : 1; unsigned f_shape_coord_size : 4; f_shape_coord_real_size = f_shape_coord_size + 2; if(f_shape_edge_type == 0) { signed twips f_shape_control_delta_x : f_shape_coord_real_size; signed twips f_shape_control_delta_y : f_shape_coord_real_size; signed twips f_shape_anchor_delta_x : f_shape_coord_real_size; signed twips f_shape_anchor_delta_y : f_shape_coord_real_size; } else { unsigned f_shape_line_has_x_and_y : 1; if(f_shape_line_has_x_and_y == 1) { signed twips f_shape_delta_x : f_shape_coord_real_size; signed twips f_shape_delta_y : f_shape_coord_real_size; } else { unsigned f_shape_line_has_x_or_y : 1; if(f_shape_line_has_x_or_y == 0) { signed twips f_shape_delta_x : f_shape_coord_real_size; } else { signed twips f_shape_delta_y : f_shape_coord_real_size; } } } }; union swf_shape_record { swf_shape_record_end f_shape_end; swf_shape_record_setup f_shape_setup; swf_shape_record_edge f_shape_edge; };
  • 1. From my tests with the official Macromedia Flash plugin, it looks that there is always a bit at this position. It seems however that it cannot be set to 1 in v1.0 of the tag (i.e. when the DefineShape tag is used).

The shape records are typed. Depending on that type, the contents vary. The following defines one structure for each type. The shape record is a union of these structures.

It is important to note that the f_shape_move_x and f_shape_move_y are not deltas from the current point, but a position from the current shape origin. All the other positions are defined as deltas from the previous position, including the anchors which are deltas from the control point position!

The control point defines how much the curve is curved. Please, see The geometry in SWF for more information.

SWF Shape with Style (swf_shape_with_style)

SWF Structure Info
Tag Flash Version: 
1
SWF Structure: 
struct swf_shape {
	swf_styles_count	f_styles_count;
	swf_shape_record	f_shape_records[variable];
};

The array of shape records starts with a set of style definitions and is followed by shape records. The last record is marked by a null record.

SWF Sound Info (swf_sound_info)

SWF Structure Info
Tag Flash Version: 
1
SWF Structure: 
struct swf_soundinfo {
	unsigned short		f_sound_id_ref;
	unsigned		f_reserved : 2;
	unsigned		f_stop_playback : 1;
	unsigned		f_no_multiple : 1;
	unsigned		f_has_envelope : 1;
	unsigned		f_has_loops : 1;
	unsigned		f_has_out_point : 1;
	unsigned		f_has_in_point : 1;
	if(f_has_in_point) {
		unsigned long	f_in_point;
	}
	if(f_has_out_point) {
		unsigned long	f_out_point;
	}
	if(f_has_loop_count) {
		unsigned short	f_loop_count;
	}
	if(f_has_envelope) {
		unsigned char	f_envelope_count;
		swf_envelope	f_envelope[f_envelope_count];
	}
};

Information on how to playback a sound effect. These are found in a StartSound and a DefineButtonSound.

The f_sound_id_ref is a reference to an earlier DefineSound tag.

The f_stop_playback can be set to 1 in which case the sound stops as soon as the next ShowFrame is reached. All the other flags should be set to 0 when this one is 1.

The f_no_multiple flag indicates whether the same sound effect can be played more than once at a time.

The f_in/out_point indicate the start and end points where the sound should start playing and where it will end. f_in_point should always be smaller than f_out_point. By default, f_in_point is taken as being 0 and f_out_point is set to the f_sound_samples_count value.

The f_loop_count defines the number of times the sound will be played back. I don't know yet whether there is a special value which means playback forever.

SWF Styles (swf_styles)

SWF Structure Info
Tag Flash Version: 
1
SWF Structure: 
struct swf_styles {
	swf_fill_style_array	f_fill_styles;
	swf_line_style_array	f_line_styles;
	swf_styles_count	f_styles_count;
};

This structure is found in the shape with style and change style structures.

SWF Styles Count (swf_styles_count)

SWF Structure Info
Tag Flash Version: 
1
SWF Structure: 
struct swf_styles {1
	unsigned char		f_fill_bits_count : 4;
	unsigned char		f_line_bits_count : 4;
};
  • 1. Since always aligned, you can read one byte and mask/shift bits quickly on this one.

Note that the line & fill bits are declared as "unsigned char" because they will always be aligned. The proper definition would probably be a bit field though.

SWF Tag (swf_tag, swf_long_tag)

SWF Structure Info
Tag Flash Version: 
1
SWF Structure: 
struct swf_tag {
	unsigned short		f_tag_and_size;
	f_tag = f_tag_and_size >> 6;
	f_tag_data_size = f_tag_and_size & 0x3F;
	if(f_tag_data_size == 63) {
		unsigned long	f_tag_data_real_size;
	}
	else {
		f_tag_data_real_size = f_tag_data_size;
	}
};

struct swf_long_tag { /* i.e. the last 6 bits of f_tag_and_size = 0x3F */
	unsigned short		f_tag_and_size;
	f_tag = f_tag_and_size >> 6;
	unsigned long	f_tag_data_real_size;
};

The tag and size are saved in a 16 bits little endian unsigned integer. The tag is always aligned to a byte (not a bit). The size is defined in the lower 6 bits. And the short value is in a little endian format as expected by the declaration. If the size is 63 (0x3F), then another 4 bytes are read for the size. This is used for really large tags such as fonts with many characters, audio, video, or images.

WARNING: The following tags only support the long format (i.e. f_tag_and_size & 0x3F == 0x3F even if the size is less than 63.) These are:


SWF Text Entry (swf_text_entry)

SWF Structure Info
Tag Flash Version: 
1
SWF Structure: 
struct swf_text_entry {
	unsigned		f_glyph_index : f_glyph_bits;
	signed			f_advance : f_advance_bits;
};

The swf_text_entry structure defines a list of characters and the number of TWIPs to skip to go to the next character. Note that f_advance is a signed value. Thus you can write characters from right to left which is useful to write characters in languages such as Arabic in a native way. The number of bits used to define each field of this structure is defined in the DefineText or DefineText2 tags.

SWF Text Record (swf_text_record)

SWF Structure Info
Tag Flash Version: 
1
SWF Structure: 
struct swf_text_record_end {
	unsigned		f_end : 8;	/* all zeroes */
};

struct swf_text_record_setup {
	unsigned		f_type_setup : 1;	/* always one */
	unsigned		f_reserved : 3;
	unsigned		f_has_font : 1;
	unsigned		f_has_color : 1;
	unsigned		f_has_move_y : 1;
	unsigned		f_has_move_x : 1;
	if(f_has_font) {
		unsigned short		f_font_id_ref;
	}
	if(f_has_color) {
		if(tag == DefineText) {
			swf_rgb		f_color;
		}
		else {	/* if tag is DefineText2 */
			swf_rgba	f_color;
		}
	}
	if(f_has_move_x) {
		signed short		f_move_x;
	}
	if(f_has_move_y) {
		signed short		f_move_y;
	}
	if(f_has_font) {
		unsigned short		f_font_height;
	}
};

struct swf_text_record_glyphs {
	unsigned		f_type_glyph : 1;		/* always zero */
	unsigned		f_glyph_count : 7;		/* at least one */
	swf_text_entry		f_entry[f_glyph_count];
};

struct swf_text_record_string {
	unsigned		f_type_setup : 1;	/* always one */
	unsigned		f_reserved : 3;
	unsigned		f_has_font : 1;
	unsigned		f_has_color : 1;
	unsigned		f_has_move_y : 1;
	unsigned		f_has_move_x : 1;
	if(f_has_font) {
		unsigned short		f_font_id_ref;
	}
	if(f_has_color) {
		if(tag == DefineText) {
			swf_rgb		f_color;
		}
		else {	/* if tag is DefineText2 */
			swf_rgba	f_color;
		}
	}
	if(f_has_move_x) {
		signed short		f_move_x;
	}
	if(f_has_move_y) {
		signed short		f_move_y;
	}
	if(f_has_font) {
		unsigned short		f_font_height;
	}
	unsigned char		f_glyph_count;		/* at least one */
	swf_text_entry		f_entry[f_glyph_count];
};

union swf_text_record {
	unsigned		f_flags : 8;
	swf_text_record_end	f_end;
	if(version >= 7) {
		swf_text_record_string	f_string;
	}
	else {
		swf_text_record_setup	f_setup;
		swf_text_record_glyphs	f_glyphs;
	}
};

The swf_text_record structure is a union composed of a swf_text_record_setup definition followed by characters. Multiple records can follow each others. The list is ended with one byte set to 0.

WARNING: it seems that Macromedia didn't think about a file having two records of type glyph one after another (it makes their plugins crash); you will have to insert a setup record between each glyph record (the setup can be empty: i.e. add one byte equal to 0x80). The very first setup has to at least define the font.

NOTE: this has been corrected by Macromedia it now shows as one structure including the style and an array of glyphs. This fixes the problem at once. It however makes the structure look a bit more complicated.

The very first byte of a record determines its type. When it is set to zero, it is the end of text records. In all versions (though it was not defined that way before), you need to alternate the setup and glyph records. It seems that even older versions would support more than 127 characters, however, if you plan to use 128 to 255 characters in a text records, I recommend you create a version 7 movie. So, in other words, go ahead and use the swf_text_record_string with f_glyph_count set to a value from 1 to 127 in a version 1 to 6 movie.

To make sure that none of the setup records are recognized as the end record, you should always set the bit 7 to 1 (f_type_setup). You don't otherwise have to have any font, color or displacement definition in setups (except the very first which needs to specify a font).

The f_glyph_count must be at least 1. If you don't have any characters, just don't create a text entry.

The f_move_x and f_move_y always specify a position from the origin where the text object is placed like in a shape.

SWF XRGB (swf_xrgb)

SWF Structure Info
Tag Flash Version: 
1
SWF Structure: 
struct swf_xrgb {
	unsigned char		f_pad;
	unsigned char		f_red;
	unsigned char		f_green;
	unsigned char		f_blue;
};

Images without an alpha channel which are saved using 32 bits (format 5) use XRGB colors.

The f_pad field should be set to zero or 255.

The color components can be set to any value from 0 (no intensity) to maximum intensity (255).

SWF Zone Array (swf_zone_array)

SWF Structure Info
Tag Flash Version: 
8
SWF Structure: 
struct swf_zone_array {
	unsigned char		f_zone_count;		/* always 2 in V8.0 */
	swf_zone_data		f_zone_data[f_zone_count];
	/* I inverted the bits below, but I'm not too sure what is correct, do you know? */
	unsigned		f_reserved : 6;
	unsigned		f_zone_y : 1;		/* probably always 1 in V8.0 */
	unsigned		f_zone_x : 1;		/* probably always 1 in V8.0 */
};

An array of alignment zones defines hints about glyphs defined in a DefineFont3.

The f_zone_count specifies how many zones are defined in a zone array. In version 8 of SWF, the count must be set to 2.

The f_zone_data is an array of zones, each defining a position and a size.

The f_zone_x and f_zone_y defines whether the horizontal and vertical positions and sizes are defined. At least one of these flag shall be set to 1.1

  • 1. Since in version 8 you must have 2 in f_zone_count, you most certainly need to set both of these flags to 1 in that version. In effect, all you can currently do is define one rectangle (zone).

SWF Zone Data (swf_zone_data)

SWF Structure Info
Tag Flash Version: 
8
SWF Structure: 
struct swf_zone_data {
	short float		f_zone_position;
	short float		f_zone_size;
};

The swf_zone_array includes an array of zone data as described below:

The f_zone_position specifies the X or Y coordinate. The array can either include only horizontal, only vertical or both sets of coordinates.

The f_zone_size specifies the Width or Height of the zone.

SWF Tags

The following table is a list of all the SWF tags defined in this documentation.

This table presents the tags sorted using their number. There are tables available to find tags by name, by version of Flash releases, and by type.

IDsort icon Tag Name Type Comments Version
-1. File Header Format

Although it isn't a tag per say, we consider the file header as being a tag because it represents a block in the flash file. Since version 8, it can be complemented by the FileAttributes tag.

1
End Format

Mark the end of the file or a Sprite. It can't appear anywhere else but the end of the file or a Sprite.

1
1. ShowFrame Display

Display the current display list and pauses for 1 frame as defined in the file header.

1
2. DefineShape Define

Define a simple geometric shape.

1
3. FreeCharacter Define

Release a character which won't be used in this movie anymore.

1
4. PlaceObject Display

Place the specified object in the current display list.

1
5. RemoveObject Display

Remove the specified object at the specified depth.

1
6. DefineBitsJPEG Define

Define a JPEG bit stream.

1
7. DefineButton Define

Define an action button.

1
8. JPEGTables Define

Define the tables used to compress/decompress all the SWF 1.0 JPEG images (See also DefineBitsJPEG.)

1
9. SetBackgroundColor Display

Change the background color. Defaults to white if unspecified.

1
10. DefineFont Define

List shapes corresponding to glyphs.

1
11. DefineText Define

Defines a text of characters displayed using a font. This definition doesn't support any transparency.

1
12. DoAction Action

Actions to perform at the time the next show frame is reached and before the result is being displayed. It can duplicate sprites, start/stop movie clips, etc.

All the actions within a frame are executed sequentially in the order they are defined.

Important: many actions are not supported in Adobe Flash version 1. Please, see the reference of actions below in order to know which actions can be used with which version of Adobe Flash.

1
13. DefineFontInfo Define

Information about a previously defined font. Includes the font style, a map and the font name.

1
14. DefineSound Define

Declare a sound effect. This tag defines sound samples that can later be played back using either a StartSound or a DefineButtonSound. Note that the same DefineSound block can actually include multiple sound files and only part of the entire sound can be played back as required.

2
15. StartSound Display

Start playing the referenced sound on the next ShowFrame.

2
15. StopSound Display

Start playing the referenced sound on the next ShowFrame.

2
17. DefineButtonSound Define

Defines how to play a sound effect for when an event occurs on the referenced button.

2
18. SoundStreamHead Define

Declare a sound effect which will be interleaved with a movie data so as to be loaded over a network connection while being played.

2
19. SoundStreamBlock Define

A block of sound data (i.e. audio samples.) The size of this block of data is defined in the previous SoundStreamHead tag. It is used to download sound samples on a per frame basis instead of all at once.

2
20. DefineBitsLossless Define

A bitmap compressed using ZLIB (similar to the PNG format).

2
21. DefineBitsJPEG2 Define

Defines a complete JPEG image (includes the bit stream and the tables all in one thus enabling multiple tables to be used within the same SWF file).

Since Flash version 10, the data can also be set to a valid PNG or GIF89a. There is no need to specify the image format in the tag since the data describing the image includes the necessary information.

2
22. DefineShape2 Define

Brief Description: 

Define a simple geometric shape.

2
23. DefineButtonCxform Define

Setup a color transformation for a button.

2
24. Protect Define

Disable edition capabilities of the given SWF file. Though this doesn't need to be enforced by an SWF editor, it marks the file as being copyrighted in a way.

WARNING: this tag is only valid in Flash V2.x, V3.x, and V4.x, use the EnableDebugger instead in V5.x and EnableDebugger2 in V6.x and newer movies.

2
25. PathsArePostscript Define

The shape paths are defined as in postscript?

3
26. PlaceObject2 Define

Place, replace, remove an object in the current display list.

3
28. RemoveObject2 Display

Remove the object at the specified level. This tag should be used in movies version 3 and over since it compressed better than the standard RemoveObject tag. Note that a PlaceObject2 can also be used for this task.

3
29. SyncFrame Display

Tag used to synchronize the animation with the hardware.

3
31. FreeAll Define

Probably an action that would be used to clear everything out.

3
32. DefineShape3 Define

Brief Description: 

Define a simple geometric shape.

3
33. DefineText2 Define

Defines a text of characters displayed using a font. Transparency is supported with this tag.

3
34. DefineButton2 Define

Define an action button. Includes a color transformation. 

3
35. DefineBitsJPEG3 Define

Defines a complete JPEG image, i.e. a verbatim JPEG image file. The JPEG image is then followed by an alpha channel. Note that the alpha channel uses the Z-lib compression. Since Flash 10, the supported image formats are JPEG, PNG and GIF89a.

3
36. DefineBitsLossless2 Define

Defines an RGBA bitmap compressed using ZLIB (similar to the PNG format).

3
37. DefineEditText Define

An edit text enables the end users to enter text in a Flash window.

4
38. DefineVideo Define

Apparently, Macromedia did have a first attempt in supporting video on their platform. It looks, however, as if they reconsidered at that point in time.

4
39. DefineSprite Define

Declares an animated character. This is similar to a shape with a display list so the character can be changing on its own over time.

3
40. NameCharacter Define

Define the name of an object (for buttons, bitmaps, sprites and sounds.)

3
41. ProductInfo Define

This tag defines information about the product used to generate the animation. The product identifier should be unique among all the products. The info includes a product identifier, a product edition, a major and minor version, a build number and the date of compilation. All of this information is all about the generator, not the output movie.

3
42. DefineTextFormat Define

Another tag that Flash ended up not using.

1
43. FrameLabel Define

Names a frame or anchor. This frame can later be referenced using this name.

3
45. SoundStreamHead2 Define

Declare a sound effect which will be interleaved with a movie data so as to be loaded over a network connection while being played.

3
46. DefineMorphShape Define

This is similar to a sprite with a simple morphing between two shapes.

3
47. GenerateFrame Define

This may have been something similar to a New in an action script and thus was removed later.

3
48. DefineFont2 Define

Define a list of glyphs using shapes and other font metric information.

3
49. GeneratorCommand Define

Gives some information about the tool which generated this SWF file and its version.

3
50. DefineCommandObject Define

?

5
51. CharacterSet Define

It looks like this would have been some sort of DefineSprite extension... did not make it out either.

5
52. ExternalFont Define

It looks like accessing a system font was going to be another tag, but instead Macromedia made use of a flag in the existing DefineFont2 tag.

5
56. Export Define

Exports a list of definitions declared external so they can be used in other movies. You can in this way create one or more movies to hold a collection of objects to be reused by other movies without having to duplicate these in each movie. A single export is enough for an entire movie (and you should have just one).

5
57. Import Define

Imports a list of definitions that are to be loaded from another movie. You can retrieve objects that were exported in the specified movie. You can have as many import as you like, though you should really only have one per referenced movie.

5
58. EnableDebugger Format

The data of this tag is an MD5 password like the EnableDebugger2 tag. When it exists and you know the password, you will be given the right to debug the movie with Flash V5.x and higher.

WARNING: this tag is only valid in Flash V5.x, use the EnableDebugger2 instead in V6.x and newer movies and Protect in older movies (V2.x, V3.x, and V4.x).

5
59. DoInitAction Action

Actions to perform the first time the following Show Frame tag is reached. All the initialization actions are executed before any other actions. You have to specify a sprite to which the actions are applied to. Thus you don't need a set target action. When multiple initialization action blocks are within the same frame, they are executed one after another in the order they appear in that frame.

6
60. DefineVideoStream Define

Defines the necessary information for the player to display a video stream (i.e. size, codec, how to decode the data, etc.). Play the frames with VideoFrame tags.

6
61. VideoFrame Define

Show the specified video frame of a movie.

6
62. DefineFontInfo2 Define

Defines information about a font, like the DefineFontInfo tag plus a language reference. To force the use of a given language, this tag should be used in v6.x+ movies instead of the DefineFontInfo tag.

6
63. DebugID Define

This tag is used when debugging an SWF movie. It gives information about what debug file to load to match the SWF movie with the source. The identifier is a UUID.

6
64. EnableDebugger2 Format

The data of this tag is a 16 bits word followed by an MD5 password like the EnableDebugger tag. When it exists and you know the password, you will be given the right to debug the movie with Flash V6.x and over.

WARNING: this tag is only valid in Flash V6.x and over, use the EnableDebugger instead in V5.x and Protect in older movies (V2.x, V3.x, and V4.x).

6
65. ScriptLimits Define

Change limits used to ensure scripts do not use more resources than what you choose. In version 7, it supports a maximum recursive depth and a maximum amount of time scripts can be run for in seconds.

7
66. SetTabIndex Define

Define the order index so the player knows where to go next when the Tab key is pressed by the user.

7
69. FileAttributes Format

Since version 8, this tag is required and needs to be the very first tag in the movie. It is used as a way to better handle security within the Flash Player.

8
70. PlaceObject3 Display

Place an object in the display list. The object can include bitmap caching information, a blend mode and a set of filters.

8
71. Import2 Define

Imports a list of definitions from another movie. In version 8+, this tag replaces the original Import tag. You can retrieve objects which were exported in the specified movie. You can have as many import as you like, although you should really only have one per referenced movie.

8
72. DoABCDefine Action

New container tag for ActionScripts under SWF 9. Includes only actions. This tag is not defined in the official Flash documentation.

9
73. DefineFontAlignZones Define

Define advanced hints about a font glyphs to place them on a pixel boundary.

8
74. CSMTextSettings Define

Define whether CSM text should be used in a previous DefineText, DefineText2 or DefineEditText.

8
75. DefineFont3 Define

Define a list of glyphs using shapes and other font metric information.

8
76. SymbolClass Action

Instantiate objects from a set of classes.

9
77. Metadata Format

This tag includes XML code describing the movie. The format is RDF compliant to the XMP as defined on W3C.

8
78. DefineScalingGrid Define

Define scale factors for a window, a button, or other similar objects.

8
82. DoABC Action

New container tag for ActionScripts under SWF 9. Includes an identifier, a name and actions.

9
83. DefineShape4 Define

Declare a shape which supports new line caps, scaling and fill options.

8
84. DefineMorphShape2 Define

Declare a morphing shape with attributes supported by version 8+.

8
86. DefineSceneAndFrameData Define

Define raw data for scenes and frames.

9
87. DefineBinaryData Define

Defines a buffer of any size with any binary user data.

9
88. DefineFontName Define

Define the legal font name and copyright.

9
90. DefineBitsJPEG4 Define

Defines a complete JPEG (the image formats supported are JPEG, PNG and GIF89a) and includes a deblocking filter parameter. The JPEG image is then followed by an alpha channel. Note that the alpha channel uses the Z-lib compression.

10

CSMTextSettings

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
74
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
8
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Define whether CSM text should be used in a previous DefineText, DefineText2 or DefineEditText.

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_csmtextsettings {
	swf_tag			f_tag;		/* 74 */
	unsigned short		f_text_id_ref;
	unsigned		f_use_flag_type : 2;
	unsigned		f_grid_fit : 3;
	unsigned		f_reserved : 3;
	long float		f_thickness;
	long float		f_sharpness;
	unsigned char		f_reserved;
};

The CSMTextSettings are used to change the rendering mode of glyphs in a DefineText, DefineText2 and DefineEditText.

The f_text_id_ref is a reference to a tag holding some texts which glyphs need to be tweaked with these settings.

The f_use_flag_type defines which of the system (0) or Flash (1) font renderer should be used.

Value Renderer Version
0 System 8
1 Internal Flash Type 8

The f_grid_fit defines whether the glyphs should be moved to fit on a grid (i.e. to look less blurry.)

Value Mode Version
0 No alignment 8
1 Pixel alignment (for left aligned text only — go figure!) 8
2 1/3rd pixel for LCD displays 8

The f_thickness and f_sharpness are used to compute the external and internal cutoff. According to Macromedia they compute these values as follow:

	External Cutoff = ( 0.5 × f_sharpness - f_thickness) × f_font_height
	Internal Cutoff = (-0.5 × f_sharpness - f_thickness) × f_font_height

CharacterSet

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
51
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
5
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is not known (not defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe)
Brief Description: 

It looks like this would have been some sort of DefineSprite extension... did not make it out either.

Tag Structure: 

Unknown

Unknown

DebugID

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
63
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
6
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

This tag is used when debugging an SWF movie. It gives information about what debug file to load to match the SWF movie with the source. The identifier is a UUID.

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_debugid {
	swf_tag			f_tag;		/* 63 */
	unsigned char		f_uuid[<variable size>];
};

The DebugID tag is used to match a debug file (.swd) with a Flash animation (.swf). This is used by the Flash environment and is not required to create movies otherwise.

The f_uuid is a universally unique identifier. The size should be 128 bytes. It is otherwise defined by the size of the tag. All Unix and MS-Windows OSes offer a library to generate UUIDs. Although, you can very well just use a simple counter, it will work too.

DefineBinaryData

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
87
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
9
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Defines a buffer of any size with any binary user data.

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_definebinarydata {
	swf_tag			f_tag;		/* 87 */
	unsigned short		f_data_id;
	unsigned long		f_reserved;	/* must be zero */
	unsigned char		f_data[<variable size>];
};

The DefineBinaryData tag is used to save any arbitrary user defined binary data in an SWF movie. The Flash player itself ignores that data. The size of the data is not specifically limited.

The f_data_id is this object identifier. The identifier is the same type as any identifier (like a sprite identifier.) It is used in ActionScripts to reference the data.

The f_reversed area is 32 bits and it must be set to zero in version 9.

The size of the f_data buffer is defined as the size of the tag minus the f_data_id and f_reserved fields. This is where the raw binary data goes.

DefineBitsJPEG

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
6
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
1
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Define a JPEG bit stream.

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_definebitsjpeg {
	swf_long_tag		f_tag;		/* 6, 21, 35 or 90 */
	unsigned short		f_image_id;
	if(f_tag == DefineBitsJPEG3 + f_tag == DefineBitsJPEG4) {
		/* sizeof(f_encoding_tables) + sizeof(f_image_data) + 2 when JPEG4 */
		unsigned long		f_offset_to_alpha;
	}
	if(f_tag == DefineBitsJPEG4) {
		unsigned short fixed	f_deblocking_filter_parameter;
	}
	if(f_tag != DefineBitsJPEG) {
		/* when DefineBitsJPEG, use JPEGTables instead */
		unsigned char		f_encoding_tables[<variable size>];
	}
	unsigned char		f_image_data[<variable size>];
	if(f_tag == DefineBitsJPEG3 || f_tag == DefineBitsJPEG41) {
		unsigned char		f_alpha[<variable size>];
	}
};
  • 1. JPEG4 optionally accepts the f_alpha field. [To be verified]

These tags define an image saved using the JPEG compression scheme.

DefineBitsJPEG (V1.0) does not include the encoding tables which are defined in the unique JPEGTables tag instead. All the DefineBitsJPEG of an SWF file use the only JPEGTables tag. Yes... This means you need a tool that is capable of reusing the same tables over and over again to make sure that all your DefineBitsJPEGs work properly (or use it just once.)

The other tags incorporate their own version of the JPEG encoding tables.

The DefineBitsJPEG3 and DefineBitsJPEG4 support an alpha channel bit plane (8 bits.) This alpha channel is compressed using the ZLIB scheme as defined with the DefineBitsLossless image formats and appears at the end.

With Flash 10, DefineBitsJPEG4 was introduced to support a deblocking filter parameter. This parameter should be set to a value between 0.0 and 1.0 (0x0000 and 0x0100--so really a value from 0 to 256 inclusive.)

WARNING: These tags require you to save the swf_tag in long format (i.e. f_tag_and_size & 0x3F == 0x3F even if the size is smaller.)

f_encoding should include 0xFF 0xDB and 0xFF 0xC4 entries.

The f_image_data buffer should include the 0xFF 0xE0, 0xFF 0xC0 and 0xFF 0xDA.

Since Flash 10 the f_encoding and f_image_data fields defined in the DefineBitsJPEG2, DefineBitsJPEG3 and DefineBitsJPEG4 tags, are viewed as one single large buffer and thus it can be a verbatim JPEG, PNG or GIF89a file.

When the buffer represents a JPEG, it starts with 0xFF 0xD8 and ends with 0xFF 0xD9.

When the buffer represents a PNG, it starts with 0x89 0x50 'P' 0x4E 'N' 0x47 'G' 0x0D '\r' 0x0A '\n' 0x1A '^Z' 0x0A '\n'.

When the buffer represents a GIF89a, it starts with 0x47 'G' 0x49 'I' 0x46 'F' 0x38 '8' 0x39 '9' 0x61 'a'.

WARNING: Up to Flash 7, both buffers (f_encoding and f_image_data) need to start with a 0xFF 0xD8 (SOI) and end with 0xFF 0xD9 (EOI). Since Flash 8, this practice should not be used anymore.

The f_alpha buffer is compressed with ZLIB as defined in the DefineBitsLossless tag (this is similar to the PNG format). WARNING: this field only works with JPEG data. A PNG or GIF89a cannot make use of this field (but they can make use of their own alpha channel.)

Note:   The Flash 10 documentation says that the f_alpha field is optional. This means you can save a JPEG in a DefineBitsJPEG4 without the Alpha Channel but still make use of the deblocking filter parameter. Before Flash 10, use DefineBitsJPEG2 instead (safer).

The DefineBitsJPEG tag may fail if it includes any encoding tables. These tables shall be defined within the JPEGTables instead.

Note that the Adobe SWF player better enforces the correctness of these tags since version 8. Some older movies may not work properly with Flash Player 8+.

DefineBitsJPEG2

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
21
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
2
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Defines a complete JPEG image (includes the bit stream and the tables all in one thus enabling multiple tables to be used within the same SWF file).

Since Flash version 10, the data can also be set to a valid PNG or GIF89a. There is no need to specify the image format in the tag since the data describing the image includes the necessary information.

Tag Structure: 

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_definebitsjpeg {
	swf_long_tag		f_tag;		/* 6, 21, 35 or 90 */
	unsigned short		f_image_id;
	if(f_tag == DefineBitsJPEG3 + f_tag == DefineBitsJPEG4) {
		/* sizeof(f_encoding_tables) + sizeof(f_image_data) + 2 when JPEG4 */
		unsigned long		f_offset_to_alpha;
	}
	if(f_tag == DefineBitsJPEG4) {
		unsigned short fixed	f_deblocking_filter_parameter;
	}
	if(f_tag != DefineBitsJPEG) {
		/* when DefineBitsJPEG, use JPEGTables instead */
		unsigned char		f_encoding_tables[<variable size>];
	}
	unsigned char		f_image_data[<variable size>];
	if(f_tag == DefineBitsJPEG3 || f_tag == DefineBitsJPEG41) {
		unsigned char		f_alpha[<variable size>];
	}
};
  • 1. JPEG4 optionally accepts the f_alpha field. [To be verified]

These tags define an image saved using the JPEG compression scheme.

DefineBitsJPEG (V1.0) does not include the encoding tables which are defined in the unique JPEGTables tag instead. All the DefineBitsJPEG of an SWF file use the only JPEGTables tag. Yes... This means you need a tool that is capable of reusing the same tables over and over again to make sure that all your DefineBitsJPEGs work properly (or use it just once.)

The other tags incorporate their own version of the JPEG encoding tables.

The DefineBitsJPEG3 and DefineBitsJPEG4 support an alpha channel bit plane (8 bits.) This alpha channel is compressed using the ZLIB scheme as defined with the DefineBitsLossless image formats and appears at the end.

With Flash 10, DefineBitsJPEG4 was introduced to support a deblocking filter parameter. This parameter should be set to a value between 0.0 and 1.0 (0x0000 and 0x0100--so really a value from 0 to 256 inclusive.)

WARNING: These tags require you to save the swf_tag in long format (i.e. f_tag_and_size & 0x3F == 0x3F even if the size is smaller.)

f_encoding should include 0xFF 0xDB and 0xFF 0xC4 entries.

The f_image_data buffer should include the 0xFF 0xE0, 0xFF 0xC0 and 0xFF 0xDA.

Since Flash 10 the f_encoding and f_image_data fields defined in the DefineBitsJPEG2, DefineBitsJPEG3 and DefineBitsJPEG4 tags, are viewed as one single large buffer and thus it can be a verbatim JPEG, PNG or GIF89a file.

When the buffer represents a JPEG, it starts with 0xFF 0xD8 and ends with 0xFF 0xD9.

When the buffer represents a PNG, it starts with 0x89 0x50 'P' 0x4E 'N' 0x47 'G' 0x0D '\r' 0x0A '\n' 0x1A '^Z' 0x0A '\n'.

When the buffer represents a GIF89a, it starts with 0x47 'G' 0x49 'I' 0x46 'F' 0x38 '8' 0x39 '9' 0x61 'a'.

WARNING: Up to Flash 7, both buffers (f_encoding and f_image_data) need to start with a 0xFF 0xD8 (SOI) and end with 0xFF 0xD9 (EOI). Since Flash 8, this practice should not be used anymore.

The f_alpha buffer is compressed with ZLIB as defined in the DefineBitsLossless tag (this is similar to the PNG format). WARNING: this field only works with JPEG data. A PNG or GIF89a cannot make use of this field (but they can make use of their own alpha channel.)

Note:   The Flash 10 documentation says that the f_alpha field is optional. This means you can save a JPEG in a DefineBitsJPEG4 without the Alpha Channel but still make use of the deblocking filter parameter. Before Flash 10, use DefineBitsJPEG2 instead (safer).

The DefineBitsJPEG tag may fail if it includes any encoding tables. These tables shall be defined within the JPEGTables instead.

Note that the Adobe SWF player better enforces the correctness of these tags since version 8. Some older movies may not work properly with Flash Player 8+.

DefineBitsJPEG3

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
35
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
3
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Defines a complete JPEG image, i.e. a verbatim JPEG image file. The JPEG image is then followed by an alpha channel. Note that the alpha channel uses the Z-lib compression. Since Flash 10, the supported image formats are JPEG, PNG and GIF89a.

Tag Structure: 

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_definebitsjpeg {
	swf_long_tag		f_tag;		/* 6, 21, 35 or 90 */
	unsigned short		f_image_id;
	if(f_tag == DefineBitsJPEG3 + f_tag == DefineBitsJPEG4) {
		/* sizeof(f_encoding_tables) + sizeof(f_image_data) + 2 when JPEG4 */
		unsigned long		f_offset_to_alpha;
	}
	if(f_tag == DefineBitsJPEG4) {
		unsigned short fixed	f_deblocking_filter_parameter;
	}
	if(f_tag != DefineBitsJPEG) {
		/* when DefineBitsJPEG, use JPEGTables instead */
		unsigned char		f_encoding_tables[<variable size>];
	}
	unsigned char		f_image_data[<variable size>];
	if(f_tag == DefineBitsJPEG3 || f_tag == DefineBitsJPEG41) {
		unsigned char		f_alpha[<variable size>];
	}
};
  • 1. JPEG4 optionally accepts the f_alpha field. [To be verified]

These tags define an image saved using the JPEG compression scheme.

DefineBitsJPEG (V1.0) does not include the encoding tables which are defined in the unique JPEGTables tag instead. All the DefineBitsJPEG of an SWF file use the only JPEGTables tag. Yes... This means you need a tool that is capable of reusing the same tables over and over again to make sure that all your DefineBitsJPEGs work properly (or use it just once.)

The other tags incorporate their own version of the JPEG encoding tables.

The DefineBitsJPEG3 and DefineBitsJPEG4 support an alpha channel bit plane (8 bits.) This alpha channel is compressed using the ZLIB scheme as defined with the DefineBitsLossless image formats and appears at the end.

With Flash 10, DefineBitsJPEG4 was introduced to support a deblocking filter parameter. This parameter should be set to a value between 0.0 and 1.0 (0x0000 and 0x0100--so really a value from 0 to 256 inclusive.)

WARNING: These tags require you to save the swf_tag in long format (i.e. f_tag_and_size & 0x3F == 0x3F even if the size is smaller.)

f_encoding should include 0xFF 0xDB and 0xFF 0xC4 entries.

The f_image_data buffer should include the 0xFF 0xE0, 0xFF 0xC0 and 0xFF 0xDA.

Since Flash 10 the f_encoding and f_image_data fields defined in the DefineBitsJPEG2, DefineBitsJPEG3 and DefineBitsJPEG4 tags, are viewed as one single large buffer and thus it can be a verbatim JPEG, PNG or GIF89a file.

When the buffer represents a JPEG, it starts with 0xFF 0xD8 and ends with 0xFF 0xD9.

When the buffer represents a PNG, it starts with 0x89 0x50 'P' 0x4E 'N' 0x47 'G' 0x0D '\r' 0x0A '\n' 0x1A '^Z' 0x0A '\n'.

When the buffer represents a GIF89a, it starts with 0x47 'G' 0x49 'I' 0x46 'F' 0x38 '8' 0x39 '9' 0x61 'a'.

WARNING: Up to Flash 7, both buffers (f_encoding and f_image_data) need to start with a 0xFF 0xD8 (SOI) and end with 0xFF 0xD9 (EOI). Since Flash 8, this practice should not be used anymore.

The f_alpha buffer is compressed with ZLIB as defined in the DefineBitsLossless tag (this is similar to the PNG format). WARNING: this field only works with JPEG data. A PNG or GIF89a cannot make use of this field (but they can make use of their own alpha channel.)

Note:   The Flash 10 documentation says that the f_alpha field is optional. This means you can save a JPEG in a DefineBitsJPEG4 without the Alpha Channel but still make use of the deblocking filter parameter. Before Flash 10, use DefineBitsJPEG2 instead (safer).

The DefineBitsJPEG tag may fail if it includes any encoding tables. These tables shall be defined within the JPEGTables instead.

Note that the Adobe SWF player better enforces the correctness of these tags since version 8. Some older movies may not work properly with Flash Player 8+.

DefineBitsJPEG4

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
90
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
10
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Defines a complete JPEG (the image formats supported are JPEG, PNG and GIF89a) and includes a deblocking filter parameter. The JPEG image is then followed by an alpha channel. Note that the alpha channel uses the Z-lib compression.

Tag Structure: 

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_definebitsjpeg {
	swf_long_tag		f_tag;		/* 6, 21, 35 or 90 */
	unsigned short		f_image_id;
	if(f_tag == DefineBitsJPEG3 + f_tag == DefineBitsJPEG4) {
		/* sizeof(f_encoding_tables) + sizeof(f_image_data) + 2 when JPEG4 */
		unsigned long		f_offset_to_alpha;
	}
	if(f_tag == DefineBitsJPEG4) {
		unsigned short fixed	f_deblocking_filter_parameter;
	}
	if(f_tag != DefineBitsJPEG) {
		/* when DefineBitsJPEG, use JPEGTables instead */
		unsigned char		f_encoding_tables[<variable size>];
	}
	unsigned char		f_image_data[<variable size>];
	if(f_tag == DefineBitsJPEG3 || f_tag == DefineBitsJPEG41) {
		unsigned char		f_alpha[<variable size>];
	}
};
  • 1. JPEG4 optionally accepts the f_alpha field. [To be verified]

These tags define an image saved using the JPEG compression scheme.

DefineBitsJPEG (V1.0) does not include the encoding tables which are defined in the unique JPEGTables tag instead. All the DefineBitsJPEG of an SWF file use the only JPEGTables tag. Yes... This means you need a tool that is capable of reusing the same tables over and over again to make sure that all your DefineBitsJPEGs work properly (or use it just once.)

The other tags incorporate their own version of the JPEG encoding tables.

The DefineBitsJPEG3 and DefineBitsJPEG4 support an alpha channel bit plane (8 bits.) This alpha channel is compressed using the ZLIB scheme as defined with the DefineBitsLossless image formats and appears at the end.

With Flash 10, DefineBitsJPEG4 was introduced to support a deblocking filter parameter. This parameter should be set to a value between 0.0 and 1.0 (0x0000 and 0x0100--so really a value from 0 to 256 inclusive.)

WARNING: These tags require you to save the swf_tag in long format (i.e. f_tag_and_size & 0x3F == 0x3F even if the size is smaller.)

f_encoding should include 0xFF 0xDB and 0xFF 0xC4 entries.

The f_image_data buffer should include the 0xFF 0xE0, 0xFF 0xC0 and 0xFF 0xDA.

Since Flash 10 the f_encoding and f_image_data fields defined in the DefineBitsJPEG2, DefineBitsJPEG3 and DefineBitsJPEG4 tags, are viewed as one single large buffer and thus it can be a verbatim JPEG, PNG or GIF89a file.

When the buffer represents a JPEG, it starts with 0xFF 0xD8 and ends with 0xFF 0xD9.

When the buffer represents a PNG, it starts with 0x89 0x50 'P' 0x4E 'N' 0x47 'G' 0x0D '\r' 0x0A '\n' 0x1A '^Z' 0x0A '\n'.

When the buffer represents a GIF89a, it starts with 0x47 'G' 0x49 'I' 0x46 'F' 0x38 '8' 0x39 '9' 0x61 'a'.

WARNING: Up to Flash 7, both buffers (f_encoding and f_image_data) need to start with a 0xFF 0xD8 (SOI) and end with 0xFF 0xD9 (EOI). Since Flash 8, this practice should not be used anymore.

The f_alpha buffer is compressed with ZLIB as defined in the DefineBitsLossless tag (this is similar to the PNG format). WARNING: this field only works with JPEG data. A PNG or GIF89a cannot make use of this field (but they can make use of their own alpha channel.)

Note:   The Flash 10 documentation says that the f_alpha field is optional. This means you can save a JPEG in a DefineBitsJPEG4 without the Alpha Channel but still make use of the deblocking filter parameter. Before Flash 10, use DefineBitsJPEG2 instead (safer).

The DefineBitsJPEG tag may fail if it includes any encoding tables. These tables shall be defined within the JPEGTables instead.

Note that the Adobe SWF player better enforces the correctness of these tags since version 8. Some older movies may not work properly with Flash Player 8+.

DefineBitsLossless

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
20
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
2
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

A bitmap compressed using ZLIB (similar to the PNG format).

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_definebitslossless {
	swf_long_tag		f_tag;		/* 20 or 36 */
	unsigned short		f_image_id;
	unsigned char		f_format;	/* 3, 4 or 5 */
	unsigned short		f_width;
	unsigned short		f_height;
	if(f_format == 3) {
		unsigned char	f_colormap_count;
		if(f_tag == DefineBitsLossless) {
			swf_rgb		f_colormap[f_colormap_count];
		}
		else {
			swf_rgba	f_colormap[f_colormap_count];
		}
		unsigned char	f_indices[((f_width + 3) & -4) * f_height];
	}
	else {
		if(f_tag == DefineBitsLossless) {
			swf_xrgb	f_bitmap[f_width * f_height];
		}
		else {
			swf_argb	f_bitmap[f_width * f_height];
		}
	}
};

These tags declares a loss-less image bitmap. It has a small header followed by an optional colormap and the bitmap data. When we have a colormap, the bitmap data is an array of indices in the colormap aligned to 4 bytes on a per row basis.

There are three supported formats:

Format
No.
(bits)
Color Format Comments
Without
Alpha
With
Alpha
3
(8 bits(1))
RGB RGBA Uses a colormap with up to 256 entries of 24 or 32 bits colors.
4
(16 bits(1))
RGB555 RGB555 There is no alpha available in this format. The data is saved in big endian (it is NOT a U16 like some documentations say it is). The colors looks like this (most significant bit first): 0RRRRRGGGGGBBBBB. You should certainly always use the DefineBitsLossless tag for this format.
5
(32 bits)
XRGB ARGB Uses a strange order for the components. Most probably because the alpha was added later and thus inserted in place of the X to keep some backward compatibility with older versions.

(1) the data must be 32 bits aligned (4 bytes) on a per row basis. In 8 bits, you may have to add up to three bytes at the end of each row ( 4 - width & 3 when width & 3 is not zero.). In 16 bits, you need to add two bytes at the end of each row when the width of the image is odd.

The f_colormap, f_indices and f_bitmap are all compressed with the ZLIB scheme.

WATCH OUT: the f_colormap and f_indices are compressed as one large block.

WARNING: These tags require you to save the swf_tag in long format (i.e. f_tag_and_size & 0x3F == 0x3F even if the size is smaller than 63.)

WARNING: An image cannot always be scaled more than 64×. Trying to enlarge it more may result in a rectangle of one color. The 64× is cumulative. So a sprite of an image × 3 inside another sprite × 10 inside another sprite × 4 results in scaling of 120 and this is likely to break the image. This seems to be true mainly when there is a rotation or skew.

DefineBitsLossless2

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
36
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
3
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Defines an RGBA bitmap compressed using ZLIB (similar to the PNG format).

Tag Structure: 

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_definebitslossless {
	swf_long_tag		f_tag;		/* 20 or 36 */
	unsigned short		f_image_id;
	unsigned char		f_format;	/* 3, 4 or 5 */
	unsigned short		f_width;
	unsigned short		f_height;
	if(f_format == 3) {
		unsigned char	f_colormap_count;
		if(f_tag == DefineBitsLossless) {
			swf_rgb		f_colormap[f_colormap_count];
		}
		else {
			swf_rgba	f_colormap[f_colormap_count];
		}
		unsigned char	f_indices[((f_width + 3) & -4) * f_height];
	}
	else {
		if(f_tag == DefineBitsLossless) {
			swf_xrgb	f_bitmap[f_width * f_height];
		}
		else {
			swf_argb	f_bitmap[f_width * f_height];
		}
	}
};

These tags declares a loss-less image bitmap. It has a small header followed by an optional colormap and the bitmap data. When we have a colormap, the bitmap data is an array of indices in the colormap aligned to 4 bytes on a per row basis.

There are three supported formats:

Format
No.
(bits)
Color Format Comments
Without
Alpha
With
Alpha
3
(8 bits(1))
RGB RGBA Uses a colormap with up to 256 entries of 24 or 32 bits colors.
4
(16 bits(1))
RGB555 RGB555 There is no alpha available in this format. The data is saved in big endian (it is NOT a U16 like some documentations say it is). The colors looks like this (most significant bit first): 0RRRRRGGGGGBBBBB. You should certainly always use the DefineBitsLossless tag for this format.
5
(32 bits)
XRGB ARGB Uses a strange order for the components. Most probably because the alpha was added later and thus inserted in place of the X to keep some backward compatibility with older versions.

(1) the data must be 32 bits aligned (4 bytes) on a per row basis. In 8 bits, you may have to add up to three bytes at the end of each row ( 4 - width & 3 when width & 3 is not zero.). In 16 bits, you need to add two bytes at the end of each row when the width of the image is odd.

The f_colormap, f_indices and f_bitmap are all compressed with the ZLIB scheme.

WATCH OUT: the f_colormap and f_indices are compressed as one large block.

WARNING: These tags require you to save the swf_tag in long format (i.e. f_tag_and_size & 0x3F == 0x3F even if the size is smaller than 63.)

WARNING: An image cannot always be scaled more than 64×. Trying to enlarge it more may result in a rectangle of one color. The 64× is cumulative. So a sprite of an image × 3 inside another sprite × 10 inside another sprite × 4 results in scaling of 120 and this is likely to break the image. This seems to be true mainly when there is a rotation or skew.

DefineButton

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
7
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
1
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Define an action button.

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_definebutton {
	swf_tag			f_tag;		/* 7 */
	unsigned short		f_button_id;
	swf_button		f_buttons;
	swf_action		f_actions;
};

Mouse interactivity in the SWF format comes from the buttons. All the buttons have an identifier and can be placed in the display list like any other shape.

A buttons has different states. Some states can be entered only when the button was in a specific state before (like a button being pushed).

Buttons can be represented graphically in any manner you want. Each state can use a different edit text, shape, sprite or text to render the button.

The f_buttons and f_actions are null terminated arrays (the end marker in either case is a byte set to zero).

There will always be at least one f_buttons since the object require at least one shape to be rendered (though the shape can very well be transparent and empty).

There is no need for any action. The actions are executed whenever the button is pushed. Note that it is possible to execute actions also when the mouse moves over a button (in, out, over) with the use of a sprite in version 5+. However, in this case it is certainly preferable to use a DefineButton2 instead.

DefineButton2

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
34
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
3
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Define an action button. Includes a color transformation. 

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_definebutton2 {
	swf_tag		f_tag;		/* 34 */
	unsigned short		f_button_id;
	unsigned		f_reserved : 7;
	unsigned		f_menu : 1;
	unsigned short		f_buttons_size;
	swf_button		f_buttons;
	swf_condition		f_conditions;
};

The DefineButton2 is very similar to the DefineButton tag. The list of actions was however changed in a list of actions to execute on a condition. Whenever an event occur, the plugin checks for that condition within all the buttons which can possibly catch that event at the time. For all the matches it finds, the corresponding actions are executed.

The f_buttons_size is equal to the size of the f_buttons buffer plus 2 (the size of the f_buttons_size field itself). Note however that if you don't have any conditions, the f_buttons_size field will be zero (0). This is similar to the list of conditions which also ends with a condition having a size of zero (0). You can still deduce the size of the f_buttons when the f_button_size is zero by using the total tag size minus the offset where the f_buttons declarations start.

DefineButtonCxform

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
23
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
2
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Setup a color transformation for a button.

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_definebuttoncxform {
	swf_tag			f_tag;		/* 23 */
	unsigned short		f_button_id_ref;
	swf_color_transform	f_color_transform;
};

The DefineButton does not include any means to transform the colors of the shapes it uses. This tag was thus added just so one can transform a button colors. It is wise to use the new DefineButton2 instead so the transformation can be applied on a per state basis.

The f_button_id_ref is a reference to the button to be transformed with the specified color matrix. The button should be defined first.

DefineButtonSound

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
17
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
2
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Defines how to play a sound effect for when an event occurs on the referenced button.

Tag Structure: 
enum {
	DEFINE_BUTTON_SOUND_CONDITION_POINTER_LEAVE = 0,
	DEFINE_BUTTON_SOUND_CONDITION_POINTER_ENTER = 1,
	DEFINE_BUTTON_SOUND_CONDITION_POINTER_PUSH = 2,
	DEFINE_BUTTON_SOUND_CONDITION_POINTER_RELEASE_INSIDE = 3,
	DEFINE_BUTTON_SOUND_CONDITION_MAX = 4
};

struct swf_definebuttonsound {
	swf_tag			f_tag;		/* 17 */
	unsigned short		f_button_id_ref;
	swf_sound_info		f_button_sound_condition[DEFINE_BUTTON_SOUND_CONDITION_MAX];
};

The DefineButtonSound can be used to emit a sound when an event occur on the specified button. It is likely better to use sprites that you display using actions than to use this tag. You will have access to more events and conditions, plus this tag always includes four sound effect references.

The f_button_id_ref is a reference to the button given sound effects.

There are four f_button_sound_condition. Each have a reference to a sound and some information on how to play it. The four conditions are given in the enumeration preceeding the DefineButtonSound structure.

DefineCommandObject

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
50
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
5
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is not known (not defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe)
Brief Description: 

?

Tag Structure: 

Unknown

Unknown

DefineEditText

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
37
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
4
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

An edit text enables the end users to enter text in a Flash window.

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_defineedittext {
	swf_tag			f_tag;		/* 37 */
	unsigned short		f_edit_id;
	swf_rect		f_rect;
	unsigned		f_edit_has_text : 1;
	unsigned		f_edit_word_wrap : 1;
	unsigned		f_edit_multiline : 1;
	unsigned		f_edit_password : 1;
	unsigned		f_edit_readonly : 1;
	unsigned		f_edit_has_color : 1;
	unsigned		f_edit_has_max_length : 1;
	unsigned		f_edit_has_font : 1;
	if(version >= 6) {
		unsigned		f_edit_reserved : 1;
		unsigned		f_edit_auto_size : 1;
	}
	else {
		unsigned		f_edit_reserved : 2;
	}
	unsigned		f_edit_has_layout : 1;
	unsigned		f_edit_no_select : 1;
	unsigned		f_edit_border : 1;
	unsigned		f_edit_reserved : 1;
	unsigned		f_edit_html : 1;
	unsigned		f_edit_use_outlines : 1;
	if(f_edit_has_font) {
		unsigned short		f_edit_font_id_ref;
		unsigned short		f_edit_font_height;
	}
	if(f_edit_has_color) {
		swf_rgba		f_edit_color;
	}
	if(f_edit_has_max_length) {
		unsigned short		f_edit_max_length;
	}
	if(f_edit_has_layout) {
		unsigned char		f_edit_align;
		unsigned short		f_edit_left_margin;
		unsigned short		f_edit_right_margin;
		signed short		f_edit_indent;
		signed short		f_edit_leading;
	}
	string			f_edit_variable_name;
	if(f_edit_has_text) {
		string			f_edit_initial_text;
	}
};

Additional interactivity has been added in V4.0 of the SWF format. This is given by the use of edit boxes offering the end users a way to enter text as if the SWF movie was in fact an interactive form.

The text is defined in a variable (accessible in action scripts). It can be dynamically assigned and retrieved. It is legal to have an empty string as the variable name (not dynamically accessible).

Since version 8, the text drawn by a DefineEditText tag can be tweaked by adding a CSMTextSettings tag.

The f_edit_word_wrap flag will be set to true (1) in order to have words going beyond the right side of the box appear on the next line instead. This only works if you have the f_edit_multiline flag set to true.

The f_edit_multiline flag can be used to create an edit text field that accepts new lines and can wrap lines on word boundaries (see f_edit_word_wrap).

The f_edit_readonly flag ensures that the end user cannot modify the text in the edit box (i.e. dynamic box used for display only.)

The f_edit_has_color & f_edit_color are used to indicate the color of the text. Note that it is possible to ask for a border and a background to be drawn (see the f_edit_border flag below) but these items colors cannot be defined.

The f_edit_has_max_length & f_edit_max_length can be used to ensure the user can't type more than a certain number of letters and digits.

The f_edit_password flag is used to visually transform the typed characters to asterisks. The edit text field variable has the characters as typed, obviously. You do not have control over the character used to hide the text.

The f_edit_border is used to not only draw a border, but also have a white background. Make sure you don't select a light color for your font or you won't see any text in this case. The color of the border is likely to be black. If you want to have better control of these colors you will have to draw your own background and borders with a DefineShape tag.

The f_edit_auto_size flag requests the player to automatically resize the object to the text. Thus, you do not need to know the size of the text at the time you create an edit text, plus different fonts from different platforms will always fit the edit text (but maybe not the screen...).

The f_edit_use_outlines flag will be used to tell whether the specified SWF internal font should be used. When not set, a default font is chosen by the player. Internal fonts need to include a mapping with all the characters expected to be used so it can be rendered properly. The mapping must correspond to the UCS-2 encoding to be valid. When using 8 bits, the ISO-8859-1 font encoding must be used.

The f_edit_align can be set to the following values:

Alignment Value
Left 0x00
Right 0x01
Center 0x02
Justify(1) 0x03

(1) justification doesn't seem to work yet.

The f_edit_indent is the first line indentation in a multiline box of text. This is added to the left margin. The f_edit_leading is the number of extra pixels to skip to reach the following line. It should be put to zero to have the default font leading value.

The f_edit_left/right_margin indicate how many TWIPS to not use on the sides. If you don't use a border, these are rather useless.

The f_edit_html flag, when set, means the contents of this edit text box is basic HTML. The following table shows you the tags that the Macromedia plugin understands.

Tag Accepted Attributes Comments
Open Close
<A> </A>
HREF=url
[ TARGET=name ]
Defines an hyperlink
<B> </B> none Write in bold
<BR> n.a. none Inserts a line break
<FONT> </FONT>
[ FACE=name ]
[ SIZE=[+|-][0-9]+ ]
[ COLOR=#RRGGBB ]
Change the font face. The face name must match a DefineFont2 name. The size is in TWIPS. The color only supports #RRGGBB triplets.
<I> </I> none Write in italic
<LI> </LI> none Defines a list item
<P> </P>
[ ALIGN=left|right|center ]
Defines a paragraph
<TAB> n.a. none Inserts a tab character (see TEXTFORMAT also)
<TEXTFORMAT> </TEXTFORMAT>
[ BLOCKINDENT=[0-9]+ ]
[ INDENT=[0-9]+ ]
[ LEADING=[0-9]+ ]
[ LEFTMARGIN=[0-9]+ ]
[ RIGHTMARGIN=[0-9]+ ]
[ TABSTOPS=[0-9]+{,[0-9]+} ]
Change the different parameters as indicated. The sizes are all in TWIPs. There can be multiple positions for the tab stops. These are separated by commas.
<U> </U> none Write with an underline

For more information about HTML, please, refer to a full HTML documentation. You can find the complete specification at http://www.w3.org/. It was written by the MIT, INRIA and Keio and that's very well written! Remember that the DefineEditText HTML is limited to what is listed here.

WARNING:

There are several problems with the use of system fonts.

  1. When the named system font does not exist on a system, nothing appears... Note that Helvetica is not generally available on most Linux systems.
  2. A text with a system font cannot be rotated.
  3. System fonts do not support an alpha channel.
  4. The size used to render a system font is much more restricted than a Flash font.
  5. The size used for a system font is not in TWIPS (if I'm correct, it is in points instead.)

DefineFont

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
10
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
1
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

List shapes corresponding to glyphs.

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_definefont {
	swf_tag			f_tag;		/* 10 */
	unsigned short		f_font_id;
	/* there is always at least one glyph */
	f_font_glyphs_count = f_font_offsets[0] / 2;
	unsigned short		f_font_offsets[f_font_glyphs_count];
	swf_shape		f_font_shapes[f_font_glyphs_count];
};

It is common to use the DefineFont tag in order to create an array of shapes later re-used to draw strings of text on the screen. Note that the definition of the shape within a font is limited since it can't include any specific fill and/or line style. Also, each shape is assumed to be defined within a 1024x1024 square. This square is called the EM Square. Fig 1. below shows you the EM Square and how it is used. The characters baseline can be placed anywhere within the EM Square (it certainly can be outside too if you wish?!?). The baseline is the position where the Y coordinate of the font is set to 0. The characters have to be drawn over that line to be properly defined. Only letters such as g, j, p and q will have a part drawn below. This means all the main characters will use negative Y coordinates. The Y coordinates increase from top to bottom (opposite the TrueType fonts and possibly others too.) The width gives the number of TWIPs between this character and the next to be drawn on the right. The drawing should not go outside the EM Square (what happens in this case is not specified, it is likely that what is drawn outside will be lost but it can have some side effects too.)

Though it is possible to define a font which draws from right to left (such as an Arabic or Farsi font), it may cause problems (I didn't try yet...)



Fig 1. Font EM Square

With SSWF, you can see the EM Square of a character adding this code in your glyph definition (where <descent> is the descent value as saved in the layout of the font):

	glyph "test" {
		...
		move: 0, -<descent>;
		points { 0, 1024; 1024, 1024; 1024, 0; 0, 0; };
		...
	};

The font structure defines the font identifier (which is common with a corresponding DefineFontInfo) an array of offsets and an array of glyphs. Note that if a DefineFontInfo tag is to be saved, you need to have the glyphs ordered in ascending order ('a' before 'b', etc.) This is important for the definition of the map present in the DefineFontInfo.

You must use a DefineFont2 if a DefineEditText references a font. It will either fail or crash the Flash plugin if you use this font definition instead.

Note that an embedded font can be rotated. A system font (also called a device font) cannot be rotated. Also, the scaling and translation of a system font does not always respect the exact position. It is likely that the font will be moved to the next pixel left or right to avoid blurriness. That means it will look quite jaggedly if you try to have a slow and smooth move.

The f_offsets array is a list of byte offsets given from the beginning of the f_offsets array itself to the beginning of the corresponding shape. (If it were possible to write such structure in C, then ...) In C one would write the following to find the shape in the font tag:

	struct swf_definefont	*df;
	df = ...
	character67 = (struct swf_shape *) ((char *) df->f_offsets + df->f_offsets[67]);

Since version 9, you can complement the definition of a font with the DefineFontName tag. This tag includes the legal name of the font and a copyright string.

DefineFont2

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
48
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
3
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Define a list of glyphs using shapes and other font metric information.

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_definefont2 {
	swf_tag			f_tag;		/* 48 or 75 */
	unsigned short		f_font2_id;
	unsigned		f_font2_has_layout : 1;
	if(version >= 6) {
		unsigned	f_font2_reserved : 1;
		if(version >= 7) {
			unsigned	f_font2_small_text : 1;
		}
		unsigned	f_font2_reserved : 1;
	}
	else {
		unsigned	f_font2_shiftjis : 1;
		unsigned	f_font2_unicode : 1;
		unsigned	f_font2_ansii : 1;
	}
	unsigned		f_font2_wide_offsets : 1;
	unsigned		f_font2_wide : 1;	/* always 1 in v6.x+ */
	unsigned		f_font2_italic : 1;
	unsigned		f_font2_bold : 1;
	if(version >= 6) {
		unsigned char	f_font2_language;
	}
	else {
		unsigned char	f_font2_reserved;
	}
	unsigned char		f_font2_name_length;
	unsigned char		f_font2_name[f_font2_name_length];
	unsigned short		f_font2_glyphs_count;
	if(f_font2_wide_offsets) {
		unsigned long		f_font2_offsets[f_font2_glyphs_count];
		unsigned long		f_font2_map_offset;
	}
	else {
		unsigned short		f_font2_offsets[f_font2_glyphs_count];
		unsigned short		f_font2_map_offset;
	}
	swf_shape		f_font2_shapes[f_font2_glyphs_count];
	if(f_font_info_wide) {
		unsigned short		f_font2_map[f_font2_glyphs_count];
	}
	else {
		unsigned char		f_font2_map[f_font2_glyphs_count];
	}
	if(f_font2_has_layout) {
		signed short		f_font2_ascent;
		signed short		f_font2_descent;
		signed short		f_font2_leading_height;
		signed short		f_font2_advance[f_font2_glyphs_count];
		swf_rect		f_font2_bounds[f_font2_glyphs_count];
		signed short		f_font2_kerning_count;
		swf_kerning		f_font2_kerning[f_font2_kerning_count];
	}
};
/* DefineFont3 is the same as DefineFont2 */
typedef struct swf_definefont2 swf_definefont3;

It is common to use the DefineFont2 tag in order to create an array of shapes later re-used to draw strings of text on the screen. This tag must be used whenever a DefineEditText references a font; and in that case it is suggested you include a full description of the font with layouts.

The array of glyphs must be ordered in ascending order (the smaller glyph number saved first; thus 'a' must be saved before 'b', etc.).

All the characters should be defined in a 1024x1024 square (in pixels) to be drawn with the best possible quality. This square is called the EM square.

The DefineFont3 tag has the exact same definition as the DefineFont2 tag. The difference lies in the shapes being referenced. These have a precision 20 times higher. This gives you a font with that much higher precision (each pixel can be divided in a 400 sub-pixels.) The other difference is that a DefineFont3 can be referenced by a DefineFontAlignZones tag. That one can be used to properly align characters on a pixel boundary.

Note that an embedded font can be rotated. A system font (also called a device font) cannot be rotated. Also, the scaling and translation of a system font does not always respect the exact position. It is likely that the font will be moved to the next pixel left or right to avoid bluriness. That means it will look quite jaggy if you try to have a quite smooth move.

Since V6.x the f_font2_wide must always be set to 1.

The f_font2_shiftjis, f_font2_unicode and f_font2_ansii flags are for older movies (SWF 5 or older). Note that these are still defined as is in the Macromedia documentation (except for the Unicode flag which is implied and was replaced by another flag in version 7.) I strongly suggest that you follow my structure and totally ignore these flags (set them to 0) in newer movies.

The f_offsets array is a list of byte offsets given from the beginning of the f_offsets array itself (and not the beginning of the tag) to the beginning of the corresponding shape.

f_font2_map_offset is the offset to the f_font2_map table. This offset is relative to the position of the f_offsets array. It very much looks like it is part of that table. This offset should always be present, though if the font is not used in a DefineEditText tag, older version of the Flash player would still work just fine.

The f_font2_kerning_count and f_font2_kerning are used since version 8. Before that, just put the kerning count to zero and do not save any kerning.

(If it were possible to write such a structure as is in C, then ...) In C one would write the following to find the shape in the font tag:

	struct swf_definefont2	*df;

	df = ...
	character67 = (struct swf_shape *) ((char *) df->f_offsets + df->f_offsets[67]);

DefineFont3

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
75
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
8
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Define a list of glyphs using shapes and other font metric information.

Tag Structure: 

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_definefont2 {
	swf_tag			f_tag;		/* 48 or 75 */
	unsigned short		f_font2_id;
	unsigned		f_font2_has_layout : 1;
	if(version >= 6) {
		unsigned	f_font2_reserved : 1;
		if(version >= 7) {
			unsigned	f_font2_small_text : 1;
		}
		unsigned	f_font2_reserved : 1;
	}
	else {
		unsigned	f_font2_shiftjis : 1;
		unsigned	f_font2_unicode : 1;
		unsigned	f_font2_ansii : 1;
	}
	unsigned		f_font2_wide_offsets : 1;
	unsigned		f_font2_wide : 1;	/* always 1 in v6.x+ */
	unsigned		f_font2_italic : 1;
	unsigned		f_font2_bold : 1;
	if(version >= 6) {
		unsigned char	f_font2_language;
	}
	else {
		unsigned char	f_font2_reserved;
	}
	unsigned char		f_font2_name_length;
	unsigned char		f_font2_name[f_font2_name_length];
	unsigned short		f_font2_glyphs_count;
	if(f_font2_wide_offsets) {
		unsigned long		f_font2_offsets[f_font2_glyphs_count];
		unsigned long		f_font2_map_offset;
	}
	else {
		unsigned short		f_font2_offsets[f_font2_glyphs_count];
		unsigned short		f_font2_map_offset;
	}
	swf_shape		f_font2_shapes[f_font2_glyphs_count];
	if(f_font_info_wide) {
		unsigned short		f_font2_map[f_font2_glyphs_count];
	}
	else {
		unsigned char		f_font2_map[f_font2_glyphs_count];
	}
	if(f_font2_has_layout) {
		signed short		f_font2_ascent;
		signed short		f_font2_descent;
		signed short		f_font2_leading_height;
		signed short		f_font2_advance[f_font2_glyphs_count];
		swf_rect		f_font2_bounds[f_font2_glyphs_count];
		signed short		f_font2_kerning_count;
		swf_kerning		f_font2_kerning[f_font2_kerning_count];
	}
};
/* DefineFont3 is the same as DefineFont2 */
typedef struct swf_definefont2 swf_definefont3;

It is common to use the DefineFont2 tag in order to create an array of shapes later re-used to draw strings of text on the screen. This tag must be used whenever a DefineEditText references a font; and in that case it is suggested you include a full description of the font with layouts.

The array of glyphs must be ordered in ascending order (the smaller glyph number saved first; thus 'a' must be saved before 'b', etc.).

All the characters should be defined in a 1024x1024 square (in pixels) to be drawn with the best possible quality. This square is called the EM square.

The DefineFont3 tag has the exact same definition as the DefineFont2 tag. The difference lies in the shapes being referenced. These have a precision 20 times higher. This gives you a font with that much higher precision (each pixel can be divided in a 400 sub-pixels.) The other difference is that a DefineFont3 can be referenced by a DefineFontAlignZones tag. That one can be used to properly align characters on a pixel boundary.

Note that an embedded font can be rotated. A system font (also called a device font) cannot be rotated. Also, the scaling and translation of a system font does not always respect the exact position. It is likely that the font will be moved to the next pixel left or right to avoid bluriness. That means it will look quite jaggy if you try to have a quite smooth move.

Since V6.x the f_font2_wide must always be set to 1.

The f_font2_shiftjis, f_font2_unicode and f_font2_ansii flags are for older movies (SWF 5 or older). Note that these are still defined as is in the Macromedia documentation (except for the Unicode flag which is implied and was replaced by another flag in version 7.) I strongly suggest that you follow my structure and totally ignore these flags (set them to 0) in newer movies.

The f_offsets array is a list of byte offsets given from the beginning of the f_offsets array itself (and not the beginning of the tag) to the beginning of the corresponding shape.

f_font2_map_offset is the offset to the f_font2_map table. This offset is relative to the position of the f_offsets array. It very much looks like it is part of that table. This offset should always be present, though if the font is not used in a DefineEditText tag, older version of the Flash player would still work just fine.

The f_font2_kerning_count and f_font2_kerning are used since version 8. Before that, just put the kerning count to zero and do not save any kerning.

(If it were possible to write such a structure as is in C, then ...) In C one would write the following to find the shape in the font tag:

	struct swf_definefont2	*df;

	df = ...
	character67 = (struct swf_shape *) ((char *) df->f_offsets + df->f_offsets[67]);

DefineFontAlignZones

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
73
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
8
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Define advanced hints about a font glyphs to place them on a pixel boundary.

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_definefontalignzones {
	swf_tag			f_tag;		/* 73 */
	unsigned short		f_font2_id_ref;
	unsigned		f_csm_table_hint : 2;
	unsigned		f_reserved : 6;
	swf_zone_array		f_zones[corresponding define font3.f_font2_glyphs_count];
};

Since SWF8, this tag was added to allow a clear definition of where a glyph starts. This is a hint to ensure that glyphs are properly drawn on pixel boundaries. Note that it is only partially useful for italic fonts since only vertical hints really make a difference.

The f_font2_id_ref needs to reference the font identifier of a DefineFont3. Each DefineFontAlignZones shall have a different f_font2_id_ref.

The f_csm_table_hint field can be set to one of the values as defined in the following table. It refers to the thickness of the stroke. This is only a hint meaning that the Flash Player may not use this information if it thinks it knows better about the font you are trying to render.

Value Name Version
0 Thin 8
1 Medium 8
2 Thick 8

DefineFontInfo

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
13
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
1
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Information about a previously defined font. Includes the font style, a map and the font name.

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_definefontinfo {
	swf_tag			f_tag;		/* 13 or 62 */
	unsigned short		f_font_info_id_ref;
	unsigned char		f_font_info_name_length;
	unsigned char		f_font_info_name[f_name_length];
	if(version >= 7 && f_tag.f_tag == DefineFontInfo2) {
		unsigned		f_font_info_reserved : 2;
		unsigned		f_font_info_small_text : 1;
		unsigned		f_font_info_reserved : 2;
	}
	else if(version >= 6 && f_tag.f_tag == DefineFontInfo2) {
		unsigned		f_font_info_reserved : 5;
	}
	else {
		unsigned		f_font_info_reserved : 2;
		unsigned		f_font_info_unicode : 1;
		unsigned		f_font_info_shiftjis : 1;
		unsigned		f_font_info_ansii : 1;
	}
	unsigned		f_font_info_italic : 1;
	unsigned		f_font_info_bold : 1;
	unsigned		f_font_info_wide : 1;	/* always 1 in v6.x+ */
	if(version >= 6 && f_tag.f_tag == DefineFontInfo2) {
		unsigned char		f_font_info_language;
	}
	if(f_font_info_wide) {
		unsigned short		f_font_info_map[f_font_glyphs_count];
	}
	else {
		unsigned char		f_font_info_map[f_font_glyphs_count];
	}
};

A DefineFontInfo tag will be used to complete the definition of a DefineFont tag. It uses the exact same identifier (f_font_info_id_ref = f_font_id). You must have the corresponding font definition appearing before the DefineFontInfo since it will use the number of glyphs defined in the DefineFont to know the size of the map definition in the DefineFontInfo tag.

When it looks like it perfectly matches an existing system font, the plugin may use that system font (as long as no rotation is used, it will work fine.) It is also possible to force the use of the system font by declaring an empty DefineFont tag (i.e. no glyph declaration at all.)

The use of system fonts usually ensures a much better quality of smaller prints. However, since version 8, there are many features in the Flash player taking care of really small fonts.

Note, however, that a system font (also called a device font) cannot be rotated. Also, the scaling and translation of a system font does not always respect the exact position. It is likely that the font will be moved to the next pixel left or right to avoid blurriness. That means it will look quite jaggedly when slowly moving such text.

The f_font_info_wide flag must be set to 1 in version 6 and over.

Note that the flag f_font_info_small_text of version 7+ is the same bit as the flag f_font_info_unicode in SWF version 5 or less.

Since version 6, the font name has to be encoded in UTF-8 instead of whatever encoding you want. It is also suggested that you use the DefineFontInfo2 tag instead.

DefineFontInfo2

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
62
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
6
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Defines information about a font, like the DefineFontInfo tag plus a language reference. To force the use of a given language, this tag should be used in v6.x+ movies instead of the DefineFontInfo tag.

Tag Structure: 

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_definefontinfo {
	swf_tag			f_tag;		/* 13 or 62 */
	unsigned short		f_font_info_id_ref;
	unsigned char		f_font_info_name_length;
	unsigned char		f_font_info_name[f_name_length];
	if(version >= 7 && f_tag.f_tag == DefineFontInfo2) {
		unsigned		f_font_info_reserved : 2;
		unsigned		f_font_info_small_text : 1;
		unsigned		f_font_info_reserved : 2;
	}
	else if(version >= 6 && f_tag.f_tag == DefineFontInfo2) {
		unsigned		f_font_info_reserved : 5;
	}
	else {
		unsigned		f_font_info_reserved : 2;
		unsigned		f_font_info_unicode : 1;
		unsigned		f_font_info_shiftjis : 1;
		unsigned		f_font_info_ansii : 1;
	}
	unsigned		f_font_info_italic : 1;
	unsigned		f_font_info_bold : 1;
	unsigned		f_font_info_wide : 1;	/* always 1 in v6.x+ */
	if(version >= 6 && f_tag.f_tag == DefineFontInfo2) {
		unsigned char		f_font_info_language;
	}
	if(f_font_info_wide) {
		unsigned short		f_font_info_map[f_font_glyphs_count];
	}
	else {
		unsigned char		f_font_info_map[f_font_glyphs_count];
	}
};

A DefineFontInfo tag will be used to complete the definition of a DefineFont tag. It uses the exact same identifier (f_font_info_id_ref = f_font_id). You must have the corresponding font definition appearing before the DefineFontInfo since it will use the number of glyphs defined in the DefineFont to know the size of the map definition in the DefineFontInfo tag.

When it looks like it perfectly matches an existing system font, the plugin may use that system font (as long as no rotation is used, it will work fine.) It is also possible to force the use of the system font by declaring an empty DefineFont tag (i.e. no glyph declaration at all.)

The use of system fonts usually ensures a much better quality of smaller prints. However, since version 8, there are many features in the Flash player taking care of really small fonts.

Note, however, that a system font (also called a device font) cannot be rotated. Also, the scaling and translation of a system font does not always respect the exact position. It is likely that the font will be moved to the next pixel left or right to avoid blurriness. That means it will look quite jaggedly when slowly moving such text.

The f_font_info_wide flag must be set to 1 in version 6 and over.

Note that the flag f_font_info_small_text of version 7+ is the same bit as the flag f_font_info_unicode in SWF version 5 or less.

Since version 6, the font name has to be encoded in UTF-8 instead of whatever encoding you want. It is also suggested that you use the DefineFontInfo2 tag instead.

DefineFontName

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
88
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
9
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Define the legal font name and copyright.

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_definefontname {
	swf_tag			f_tag;		/* 88 */
	unsigned short		f_font_name_id_ref;
	string			f_font_name_display_name;
	string			f_font_name_copyright;
};

A DefineFontName tag is used to complement the definition of a DefineFont tag. It uses the exact same id (f_font_name_id_ref = f_font_id). You must have the corresponding font definition appearing before the DefineFontName since it needs to be attached to the DefineFont tag.

The f_font_name_display_name is the legal name of a font. This name cannot be used to load a corresponding system font.

The f_font_name_copyright string represents the font license.

DefineMorphShape

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
46
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
3
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

This is similar to a sprite with a simple morphing between two shapes.

Tag Structure: 

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_defineshape {
	swf_tag				f_tag;		/* 2, 22, 32, 46, 83, or 84 */
	unsigned short			f_shape_id;
	swf_rect			f_rect;
	is_morph = f_tag == DefineMorphShape || f_tag == DefineMorphShape2;
	has_strokes = f_tag == DefineShape4 || f_tag == DefineMorphShape2;
	if(is_morph) {
		swf_rect			f_rect_morph;
	}
	if(has_strokes) {
		swf_rect			f_stroke_rect;
		if(is_morph) {
			swf_rect			f_stroke_rect_morph;
		}
		unsigned			f_define_shape_reserved : 6;
		unsigned			f_define_shape_non_scaling_strokes : 1;
		unsigned			f_define_shape_scaling_strokes : 1;
	}
	if(is_morph) {
		unsigned long			f_offset_morph;
		swf_morph_shape_with_style	f_morph_shape_with_style;
	}
	else {
		swf_shape_with_style		f_shape_with_style;
	}
};

These are probably the most important tags in this reference. They are used to define a shape using Bezier curves and lines with different styles. The DefineShape of V1.0 is usually enough unless you need a large number of styles or you want to specify colors with an alpha channel (RGBA).

The DefineMorphShape and DefineMorphShape2 can be used to render an intermediate shape between two defined shapes. All the points and control points of both shapes must match. This is because the rendering of the morphing shapes is just an interpolation between both shapes points and control points positions. The interpolation is a very simple linear function (note however that you still can use a non-linear transformation effect in the end.) Most of the parameters in a shape definition are doubled when this tag is used. It otherwise looks very similar.

The f_stroke_rect and f_stroke_rect_morph rectangles define the boundaries around their respective shapes without the line strokes (excluding the thickness of the line.)

The f_define_shape_non_scaling_strokes flag should be set to 1 if at least one of the line strokes always stays the same while morphing.

The f_define_shape_scaling_strokes flag should be set to 1 if at least one of the line strokes is changing while morphing.

The f_offset_morph 32 bits value gives the offset from after that value to the start of the second shape (the shape to morph to.) In other words, this value can be used to skip the styles and the first shape at once.

DefineMorphShape2

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
84
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
8
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Declare a morphing shape with attributes supported by version 8+.

Tag Structure: 

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_defineshape {
	swf_tag				f_tag;		/* 2, 22, 32, 46, 83, or 84 */
	unsigned short			f_shape_id;
	swf_rect			f_rect;
	is_morph = f_tag == DefineMorphShape || f_tag == DefineMorphShape2;
	has_strokes = f_tag == DefineShape4 || f_tag == DefineMorphShape2;
	if(is_morph) {
		swf_rect			f_rect_morph;
	}
	if(has_strokes) {
		swf_rect			f_stroke_rect;
		if(is_morph) {
			swf_rect			f_stroke_rect_morph;
		}
		unsigned			f_define_shape_reserved : 6;
		unsigned			f_define_shape_non_scaling_strokes : 1;
		unsigned			f_define_shape_scaling_strokes : 1;
	}
	if(is_morph) {
		unsigned long			f_offset_morph;
		swf_morph_shape_with_style	f_morph_shape_with_style;
	}
	else {
		swf_shape_with_style		f_shape_with_style;
	}
};

These are probably the most important tags in this reference. They are used to define a shape using Bezier curves and lines with different styles. The DefineShape of V1.0 is usually enough unless you need a large number of styles or you want to specify colors with an alpha channel (RGBA).

The DefineMorphShape and DefineMorphShape2 can be used to render an intermediate shape between two defined shapes. All the points and control points of both shapes must match. This is because the rendering of the morphing shapes is just an interpolation between both shapes points and control points positions. The interpolation is a very simple linear function (note however that you still can use a non-linear transformation effect in the end.) Most of the parameters in a shape definition are doubled when this tag is used. It otherwise looks very similar.

The f_stroke_rect and f_stroke_rect_morph rectangles define the boundaries around their respective shapes without the line strokes (excluding the thickness of the line.)

The f_define_shape_non_scaling_strokes flag should be set to 1 if at least one of the line strokes always stays the same while morphing.

The f_define_shape_scaling_strokes flag should be set to 1 if at least one of the line strokes is changing while morphing.

The f_offset_morph 32 bits value gives the offset from after that value to the start of the second shape (the shape to morph to.) In other words, this value can be used to skip the styles and the first shape at once.

DefineScalingGrid

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
78
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
8
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Define scale factors for a window, a button, or other similar objects.

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_definescalinggrid {
	swf_tag				f_tag;		/* 78 */
	unsigned short			f_button_id_ref;
	swf_rect			f_rect;
};

This definition is used so the scaling factors applied on an object affects only the center of the object fully. The borders are only affected in one direction and the corners are not scaled (note, restrictions apply, see below.) This is quite useful to draw a scalable button or window.


Fig 1 — Sample button being scaled with a scaling grid

As we can see in the example, the corners are not being scaled. The vertical borders are scaled vertically only. The horizontal borders are scaled horizontally only. The inner area is scaled both ways.

For your grid to work, there are many restrictions as follow:

  • The referenced object must be a DefineSprite or a DefineButton. Note that any button tag is affected.
  • The referenced object cannot be rotated or skewed. However, it is possible to include the resulting object in a sprite and then use a rotation or skew in the PlaceObject matrix when placing that sprite.
  • Shapes directly defined in the referenced object are affected. If you create a button or sprite made up of sub-sprites, these sub-sprites are not affected.
  • Text is not affected by the grid. It is always scaled as expected.
  • Fills are likely to not work as expected (i.e. bitmaps, images); that is, this tag is likely to have no effect on them
  • When scaling down so much that the inner area represents less than 1 pixel will then affect the borders and corners as if there wasn't a scaling grid.
  • Somehow the Stop action can prevent the grid from working (i.e. insert Shapes, Button, Grid, Action Stop, Resize, Show Frame; the edges are resized as if no grid was there.)
  • [would need more testing] It may be that to work you need to place the resulting button or sprite in another parent sprite. This is how I could make my grid work properly without having to mess around.

The f_button_id_ref needs to specify a button or a sprite.

The f_rect defines the inner area.

DefineSceneAndFrameData

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
86
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
9
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Define raw data for scenes and frames.

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_definesceneandframedata {
	swf_tag				f_tag;		/* 86 */
	unsigned char			f_data[tag size];
};

This tag is used to define some raw data for a scene and frame. It is often used to include XML files in Flash animations.

f_data is an array of bytes.

DefineShape

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
2
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
1
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Define a simple geometric shape.

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_defineshape {
	swf_tag				f_tag;		/* 2, 22, 32, 46, 83, or 84 */
	unsigned short			f_shape_id;
	swf_rect			f_rect;
	is_morph = f_tag == DefineMorphShape || f_tag == DefineMorphShape2;
	has_strokes = f_tag == DefineShape4 || f_tag == DefineMorphShape2;
	if(is_morph) {
		swf_rect			f_rect_morph;
	}
	if(has_strokes) {
		swf_rect			f_stroke_rect;
		if(is_morph) {
			swf_rect			f_stroke_rect_morph;
		}
		unsigned			f_define_shape_reserved : 6;
		unsigned			f_define_shape_non_scaling_strokes : 1;
		unsigned			f_define_shape_scaling_strokes : 1;
	}
	if(is_morph) {
		unsigned long			f_offset_morph;
		swf_morph_shape_with_style	f_morph_shape_with_style;
	}
	else {
		swf_shape_with_style		f_shape_with_style;
	}
};

These are probably the most important tags in this reference. They are used to define a shape using Bezier curves and lines with different styles. The DefineShape of V1.0 is usually enough unless you need a large number of styles or you want to specify colors with an alpha channel (RGBA).

The DefineMorphShape and DefineMorphShape2 can be used to render an intermediate shape between two defined shapes. All the points and control points of both shapes must match. This is because the rendering of the morphing shapes is just an interpolation between both shapes points and control points positions. The interpolation is a very simple linear function (note however that you still can use a non-linear transformation effect in the end.) Most of the parameters in a shape definition are doubled when this tag is used. It otherwise looks very similar.

The f_stroke_rect and f_stroke_rect_morph rectangles define the boundaries around their respective shapes without the line strokes (excluding the thickness of the line.)

The f_define_shape_non_scaling_strokes flag should be set to 1 if at least one of the line strokes always stays the same while morphing.

The f_define_shape_scaling_strokes flag should be set to 1 if at least one of the line strokes is changing while morphing.

The f_offset_morph 32 bits value gives the offset from after that value to the start of the second shape (the shape to morph to.) In other words, this value can be used to skip the styles and the first shape at once.

DefineShape2

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
22
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
2
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Brief Description: 

Define a simple geometric shape.

Tag Structure: 

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_defineshape {
	swf_tag				f_tag;		/* 2, 22, 32, 46, 83, or 84 */
	unsigned short			f_shape_id;
	swf_rect			f_rect;
	is_morph = f_tag == DefineMorphShape || f_tag == DefineMorphShape2;
	has_strokes = f_tag == DefineShape4 || f_tag == DefineMorphShape2;
	if(is_morph) {
		swf_rect			f_rect_morph;
	}
	if(has_strokes) {
		swf_rect			f_stroke_rect;
		if(is_morph) {
			swf_rect			f_stroke_rect_morph;
		}
		unsigned			f_define_shape_reserved : 6;
		unsigned			f_define_shape_non_scaling_strokes : 1;
		unsigned			f_define_shape_scaling_strokes : 1;
	}
	if(is_morph) {
		unsigned long			f_offset_morph;
		swf_morph_shape_with_style	f_morph_shape_with_style;
	}
	else {
		swf_shape_with_style		f_shape_with_style;
	}
};

These are probably the most important tags in this reference. They are used to define a shape using Bezier curves and lines with different styles. The DefineShape of V1.0 is usually enough unless you need a large number of styles or you want to specify colors with an alpha channel (RGBA).

The DefineMorphShape and DefineMorphShape2 can be used to render an intermediate shape between two defined shapes. All the points and control points of both shapes must match. This is because the rendering of the morphing shapes is just an interpolation between both shapes points and control points positions. The interpolation is a very simple linear function (note however that you still can use a non-linear transformation effect in the end.) Most of the parameters in a shape definition are doubled when this tag is used. It otherwise looks very similar.

The f_stroke_rect and f_stroke_rect_morph rectangles define the boundaries around their respective shapes without the line strokes (excluding the thickness of the line.)

The f_define_shape_non_scaling_strokes flag should be set to 1 if at least one of the line strokes always stays the same while morphing.

The f_define_shape_scaling_strokes flag should be set to 1 if at least one of the line strokes is changing while morphing.

The f_offset_morph 32 bits value gives the offset from after that value to the start of the second shape (the shape to morph to.) In other words, this value can be used to skip the styles and the first shape at once.

DefineShape3

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
32
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
3
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Brief Description: 

Define a simple geometric shape.

Tag Structure: 

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_defineshape {
	swf_tag				f_tag;		/* 2, 22, 32, 46, 83, or 84 */
	unsigned short			f_shape_id;
	swf_rect			f_rect;
	is_morph = f_tag == DefineMorphShape || f_tag == DefineMorphShape2;
	has_strokes = f_tag == DefineShape4 || f_tag == DefineMorphShape2;
	if(is_morph) {
		swf_rect			f_rect_morph;
	}
	if(has_strokes) {
		swf_rect			f_stroke_rect;
		if(is_morph) {
			swf_rect			f_stroke_rect_morph;
		}
		unsigned			f_define_shape_reserved : 6;
		unsigned			f_define_shape_non_scaling_strokes : 1;
		unsigned			f_define_shape_scaling_strokes : 1;
	}
	if(is_morph) {
		unsigned long			f_offset_morph;
		swf_morph_shape_with_style	f_morph_shape_with_style;
	}
	else {
		swf_shape_with_style		f_shape_with_style;
	}
};

These are probably the most important tags in this reference. They are used to define a shape using Bezier curves and lines with different styles. The DefineShape of V1.0 is usually enough unless you need a large number of styles or you want to specify colors with an alpha channel (RGBA).

The DefineMorphShape and DefineMorphShape2 can be used to render an intermediate shape between two defined shapes. All the points and control points of both shapes must match. This is because the rendering of the morphing shapes is just an interpolation between both shapes points and control points positions. The interpolation is a very simple linear function (note however that you still can use a non-linear transformation effect in the end.) Most of the parameters in a shape definition are doubled when this tag is used. It otherwise looks very similar.

The f_stroke_rect and f_stroke_rect_morph rectangles define the boundaries around their respective shapes without the line strokes (excluding the thickness of the line.)

The f_define_shape_non_scaling_strokes flag should be set to 1 if at least one of the line strokes always stays the same while morphing.

The f_define_shape_scaling_strokes flag should be set to 1 if at least one of the line strokes is changing while morphing.

The f_offset_morph 32 bits value gives the offset from after that value to the start of the second shape (the shape to morph to.) In other words, this value can be used to skip the styles and the first shape at once.

DefineShape4

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
83
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
8
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Declare a shape which supports new line caps, scaling and fill options.

Tag Structure: 

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_defineshape {
	swf_tag				f_tag;		/* 2, 22, 32, 46, 83, or 84 */
	unsigned short			f_shape_id;
	swf_rect			f_rect;
	is_morph = f_tag == DefineMorphShape || f_tag == DefineMorphShape2;
	has_strokes = f_tag == DefineShape4 || f_tag == DefineMorphShape2;
	if(is_morph) {
		swf_rect			f_rect_morph;
	}
	if(has_strokes) {
		swf_rect			f_stroke_rect;
		if(is_morph) {
			swf_rect			f_stroke_rect_morph;
		}
		unsigned			f_define_shape_reserved : 6;
		unsigned			f_define_shape_non_scaling_strokes : 1;
		unsigned			f_define_shape_scaling_strokes : 1;
	}
	if(is_morph) {
		unsigned long			f_offset_morph;
		swf_morph_shape_with_style	f_morph_shape_with_style;
	}
	else {
		swf_shape_with_style		f_shape_with_style;
	}
};

These are probably the most important tags in this reference. They are used to define a shape using Bezier curves and lines with different styles. The DefineShape of V1.0 is usually enough unless you need a large number of styles or you want to specify colors with an alpha channel (RGBA).

The DefineMorphShape and DefineMorphShape2 can be used to render an intermediate shape between two defined shapes. All the points and control points of both shapes must match. This is because the rendering of the morphing shapes is just an interpolation between both shapes points and control points positions. The interpolation is a very simple linear function (note however that you still can use a non-linear transformation effect in the end.) Most of the parameters in a shape definition are doubled when this tag is used. It otherwise looks very similar.

The f_stroke_rect and f_stroke_rect_morph rectangles define the boundaries around their respective shapes without the line strokes (excluding the thickness of the line.)

The f_define_shape_non_scaling_strokes flag should be set to 1 if at least one of the line strokes always stays the same while morphing.

The f_define_shape_scaling_strokes flag should be set to 1 if at least one of the line strokes is changing while morphing.

The f_offset_morph 32 bits value gives the offset from after that value to the start of the second shape (the shape to morph to.) In other words, this value can be used to skip the styles and the first shape at once.

DefineSound

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
14
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
2
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Declare a sound effect. This tag defines sound samples that can later be played back using either a StartSound or a DefineButtonSound. Note that the same DefineSound block can actually include multiple sound files and only part of the entire sound can be played back as required.

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_definesound {
	swf_tag			f_tag;		/* 14 */
	unsigned short		f_sound_id;
	unsigned		f_sound_format : 4;
	unsigned		f_sound_rate : 2;
	unsigned		f_sound_is_16bits : 1;
	unsigned		f_sound_is_stereo : 1;
	unsigned long		f_sound_samples_count;
	unsigned char		f_sound_data[<variable size>];
};

A DefineSound tag declares a set of samples of a sound effect or a music.

The sound samples can be compressed or not, stereo or not and 8 or 16 bits. The different modes are not all available in version 2, although the same tag is used in newer versions with additional capabilities.

The f_sound_is_16bits is always set to 1 (16bits samples) if the samples are compressed (neither Raw nor Uncompressed).

The f_sound_rate represents the rate at which the samples are defined. The rate at which it will be played on the target computers may differ. The following equation can be used to determine the rate:

	rate = 5512.5 * 2 ** f_sound_rate

It yields the following values (the rate of 5512.5 is rounded down to 5512):

f_sound_rate Rate in
bytes per seconds
0 5512
1 11025
2 22050
3 44100

The f_sound_samples_count value is the exact number of samples not the size of the data in byte. Thus, in stereo, it represents the number of pairs. To know the byte size, use the total size of the tag minus the header (11 or 13 depending on whether the size of the tag is larger than 62 - it is more than likely that it will be 13).

The f_sound_format can be one of the following values:

Value Name Comment Version
0 Raw 16 bits uncompressed samples are not specified as being saved in little or big endian. The endianess of the processor on which the movie is being played will be used. Thus you should never use this format with 16 bits samples. 2
1 ADPCM Audio differential pulse code modulation compression scheme. 2
2 MP3 High ratio of compression with very good quality sound. Use MP3 if you can save a V4.x or better movie. 4
3 Uncompressed Uncompressed samples which are always saved in little endian. This is similar to the format 0 except you can be sure the data will be properly played on any system. 4
6 Nellymoser Good quality sound compression for voices. Use Nellymoser if you can save a V6.x or better movie and the sound is actually a voice or animal roar, squeek, etc. This is a single channel compression. 6

The f_sound_data depends on the sound format. The following describes the different formats as used in the DefineSound and the SoundStreamBlock tags.

  • 8 bits

8 bits data is saved in an array of signed char. The value 0 represents silence. The samples can otherwise have values between -128 and +127.

  • 16 bits

16 bits data is saved in an array of signed short. The value 0 represents silence. The samples can otherwise have values between -32768 and +32767. By default, the data will be encoded in little endian. However, the RAW format doesn't specify the endianess of the data saved in that case. You should avoid using RAW 16 bits data. Use Uncompressed data instead, compress it in some of the available compression formats (including RAW 8 bits data). A player may wish to avoid playing any sound saved in RAW 16 bits to avoid any problem.

  • Mono

Mono sound saves only one channel of sound. It will be played back on both output (left and right) channels. This is often enough for most sound effects and voice.

  • Stereo

For better quality music and sound effects, you can save the data in stereo. In this case, the samples for each channel (left and right) are interleaved, with the data for the left channel first. Thus, you will have: LRLRLRLRLR... In 8 bit, you get one byte for the left channel, then one byte for the right, one for the left, one for the right, etc. In 16 bit, you get two bytes for the left then two for the right channel, etc.

  • Raw

The RAW encoding is an uncompressed endian unspecified encoding. You can use this format to safely save small 8 bits samples sound effects. For 16 bit sound effects, some system may not swap the data before playing it, although it is likely that the buffer is expected to be in little endian.

  • ADPCM

Audio differential pulse code modulation compression scheme. This is pretty good compression for sound effects.

The ADPCM tables used by the SWF players are as follow:

int swf_adpcm_2bits[ 2] = { -1,  2 };

int swf_adpcm_3bits[ 4] = { -1, -1,  2,  4 };

int swf_adpcm_4bits[ 8] = { -1, -1, -1, -1,  2,  4,  6,  8 };

int swf_adpcm_5bits[16] = { -1, -1, -1, -1, -1, -1, -1, -1,
                             1,  2,  4,  6,  8, 10, 13, 16 };

The ADPCM data is composed of a 2 bits encoding size (2 to 5 bits) and an array of 4096 left (mono) or left and right (stereo) samples.

	struct swf_adpcm_header {
		unsigned		f_encoding : 2;
	};

The number of bits for the compression is f_encoding + 2.

	struct swf_adpcm_mono {
		unsigned short		f_first_sample;
		unsigned		f_first_index : 6;
		unsigned		f_data[4096] : f_encoding + 2;
	};
	struct swf_adpcm_stereo {
		unsigned short		f_first_sample_left;
		unsigned		f_first_index_left : 6;
		unsigned short		f_first_sample_right;
		unsigned		f_first_index_right : 6;
		unsigned		f_data[8192] : f_encoding + 2;
	};
  • MP3

IMPORTANT LICENSING NOTES: please, see The entire SSWF project license above for information about the Audio MPEG licensing rights.

The SWF players which support movie v4.x and better will also support MPEG1 audio compression. This is a good quality high compression scheme. The players need to support constant and variable bit rates, and MPEG1 Layer 3, v2 and v2.5. For more information about MPEG you probably want to check out this web site: http://www.mp3-tech.org/.

In SWF movies, you need to save a seeking point (position of the data to play in a given frame) before the MP3 frames themselves. It is also called the initial latency. I will make this clearer once I understand better what it means.

An MP3 frame is described below. This is exactly what you will find in any music file.

	struct swf_mp3_header {
		unsigned		f_sync_word : 11;
		unsigned		f_version : 2;
		unsigned		f_layer : 2;
		unsigned		f_no_protection : 1;
		unsigned		f_bit_rate : 4;
		unsigned		f_sample_rate : 2;
		unsigned		f_padding : 1;
		unsigned		f_reserved : 1;
		unsigned		f_channel_mode : 2;
		unsigned		f_mode_extension : 2;
		unsigned		f_copyright : 1;
		unsigned		f_original : 1;
		unsigned		f_emphasis : 2;
		if(f_no_protection == 0) {
			unsigned short	f_check_sum;
		}
		unsigned char		f_data[variable size];
	};

The f_sync_word are 11 bits set to 1's only. This can be used to synchronize to the next frame without knowing the exact size of the previous frame.

The f_version can be one of the following:

  • 0 - MPEG version 2.5 (extension to MPEG 2)
  • 1 - reserved
  • 2 - MPEG version 2 (ISO/IEC 13818-3)
  • 3 - MPEG version 1 (ISO/IEC 11172-3)

Note: if the MPEG version 2.5 isn't use, then the f_sync_word can be viewed as 12 bits and the f_version as 1 bit.

In SWF movies, the f_layer must be set to III (which is 1). The valid MPEG layers are as follow:

  • 0 - reserved
  • 1 - Layer III
  • 2 - Layer II
  • 3 - Layer I

The f_no_protection determines whether a checksum is defined right after the 32 bits header. If there is a checksum, it is a 16 bit value which represents the total of all the words in the frame data.

The f_bit_rate determines the rate at which the following data shall be taken as. The version and layer have also an effect on determining what the rate is from this f_bit_rate value. Since SWF only accepts Layer III data, we can only accepts a few set of rates as follow. MP3 players (and thus SWF players) must support variable bit rates. Thus, each frame may use a different value for the f_bit_rate field.

f_bit_rate MPEG version 1 MPEG version 2
0 free(1) free(1)
1 32 kbps 8 kbps
2 40 kbps 16 kbps
3 48 kbps 24 kbps
4 56 kbps 32 kbps
5 64 kbps 40 kbps
6 80 kbps 48 kbps
7 96 kbps 56 kbps
8 112 kbps 64 kbps
9 128 kbps 80 kbps
10 160 kbps 96 kbps
11 192 kbps 112 kbps
12 224 kbps 128 kbps
13 256 kbps 144 kbps
14 320 kbps 160 kbps
15 bad(2) bad(2)
(1) free — means any (variable) bit rate
(2) bad — means you can't properly use this value

The f_sample_rate defines the rate at which the encoded samples will be played at. This rate may vary and be equal or smaller than the rate indicated in the DefineSound header. The rate definition depends on the MPEG version as follow:

f_sample_rate MPEG version 1 MPEG version 2 MPEG version 2.5
0 44100 Hz 22050 Hz 11025 Hz
1 48000 Hz 24000 Hz 12000 Hz
2 32000 Hz 15000 Hz 8000 Hz
3 reserved

The f_padding will be set to 1 if the stream includes pads (one extra slot - 8 bits of data). This is used to ensure that the sound is exactly the right size. Useful only if your sound is very long and synchronized with the images.

The f_reserved isn't used and must be set to zero in SWF files.

The f_channel_mode determines the mode used to compress stereophonic audio. Note that the Dual Channel mode is viewed as a stereo stream by SWF. It can be one of the following:

  • 0 - stereo (standard LRLRLR...)
  • 1 - joint stereo (L+R and L-R)
  • 2 - dual channels (LLLLL... and then RRRRR...)
  • 3 - single channel (monophonic audio)

The f_mode_extension determines whether the intensity stereo (L+R — bit 5) and middle side stereo (L-R — bit 4) are used (set bit to 1) or not (set bit to 0) in joint stereo. f_mode_extension is usually always set to 3.

The f_copyright field is a boolean value which specify whether the corresponding audio is copyrighted or not. The default is to set it to 1 (copyrighted).

The f_original field is a boolean value which specify whether the corresponding audio is a copy or the actual original sound track. It's usually set to 0 (a copy) in SWF movies.

The f_emphasis field can be one of the following values. It is rarely used. It tells the decoder to re-equalize the sounds.

  • 0 - no emphasis
  • 1 - 50/15 ms
  • 2 - reserved
  • 3 - CCIT J.17
  • Nellymoser

This is a newly supported scheme to encode speech (and audio) of either better quality or smaller bit rate. Thus you can either put more sound in your files resulting in a similar file size or make the entire file smaller so it downloads faster.

Somehow, the Nellymoser encoding and decoding patents used by Flash have been released. You may want to look at the mpeg project for information about the format. Feel free to check out the http://www.nellymoser.com web site for more info about this compression scheme.

DefineSprite

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
39
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
3
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Declares an animated character. This is similar to a shape with a display list so the character can be changing on its own over time.

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_definesprite {
	swf_tag			f_tag;		/* 39 */
	unsigned short		f_sprite_id;
	unsigned short		f_frame_count;
	...			<data>;
	swf_tag			f_end;
};

A sprite is a set of SWF tags defining an animated object which can then be used as a simple object. A sprite cannot contain another sprite. hHowever, you can use PlaceObject2 to place a sprite in another.

The following are the tags accepted in a Sprite:

DoAction
End
FrameLabel
PlaceObject
PlaceObject2
PlaceObject3
RemoveObject
RemoveObject2
ShowFrame
SoundStreamBlock
SoundStreamHead
SoundStreamHead2
StartSound

The data array of tags should always be terminated by an End tag though this can be inferred some players may not support a non-terminated list.

In order to initialize a sprite once, you can use the DoInitAction. This tag comes along (after) a DefineSprite tag and not inside it.

Note that in newer animations (since version 5,) it is possible to load a movie using an external link. Adobe calls them movies, although, really, once loaded, they are sprites. Those sprites can include all sorts of tags since it is the same as a complete Flash animation. The same concept is also available via ActionScript, i.e. you can create a new movie which in fact is a Sprite.

DefineText

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
11
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
1
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Defines a text of characters displayed using a font. This definition doesn't support any transparency.

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_definetext {
	swf_tag			f_tag;		/* 11 or 33 */
	unsigned short		f_text_id;
	swf_rect		f_rect;
	swf_matrix		f_matrix;
	unsigned char		f_glyph_bits;
	unsigned char		f_advance_bits;
	swf_text_record		f_text_record;
};

Define an object of text so the SWF player can draw a string. The only difference between the DefineText and DefineText2 tags is that the latter supports RGBA colors. This can be seen in one of the swf_text_record structures.

Since version 8 it is possible to define extraneous parameters when defining a CSMTextSettings tag referencing a DefineText or DefineText2.

DefineText2

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
33
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
3
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Defines a text of characters displayed using a font. Transparency is supported with this tag.

Tag Structure: 

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_definetext {
	swf_tag			f_tag;		/* 11 or 33 */
	unsigned short		f_text_id;
	swf_rect		f_rect;
	swf_matrix		f_matrix;
	unsigned char		f_glyph_bits;
	unsigned char		f_advance_bits;
	swf_text_record		f_text_record;
};

Define an object of text so the SWF player can draw a string. The only difference between the DefineText and DefineText2 tags is that the latter supports RGBA colors. This can be seen in one of the swf_text_record structures.

Since version 8 it is possible to define extraneous parameters when defining a CSMTextSettings tag referencing a DefineText or DefineText2.

DefineTextFormat

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
42
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
1
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is not known (not defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe)
Brief Description: 

Another tag that Flash ended up not using.

Tag Structure: 

Unknown

This tag is not defined in the Flash documents. It should not be used in your movies.

DefineVideo

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
38
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
4
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is not known (not defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe)
Brief Description: 

Apparently, Macromedia did have a first attempt in supporting video on their platform. It looks, however, as if they reconsidered at that point in time.

Tag Structure: 

Unknown

This tag is not defined anywhere.

DefineVideoStream

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
60
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
6
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Defines the necessary information for the player to display a video stream (i.e. size, codec, how to decode the data, etc.). Play the frames with VideoFrame tags.

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_definevideostream {
	swf_tag			f_tag;		/* 60 */
	unsigned short		f_video_id;
	unsigned short		f_frame_count;
	unsigned short		f_width;	/* WARNING: this is in pixels */
	unsigned short		f_height;
	unsigned char		f_reserved : 5;
	unsigned char		f_deblocking : 2;
	unsigned char		f_smoothing : 1;
	unsigned char		f_codec;
};

This tag defines a video stream. To playback the video stream, one needs to add a list of VideoFrame tags.

The f_width and f_height are defined in pixels. This is rather uncommon in SWF so it is to be noted multiple times.

The f_deblocking parameter can be set to one of the values defined in the following table. All videos are saved in small blocks of about 16x16 pixels (there are different sizes.) Turning this feature on lets the player mix colors between blocks for better output quality.

Number Comments SWF Version
0 Use video packet information 6
1 Always Off 6
2 Fast deblocking (in version 6 it meant: always on) 6
3 High Quality Deblocking 8
4 High Quality Deblocking and Fast Deringing 8
5 High Quality Deblocking and Deringing 8

The f_smoothing flag can be set to 1 to have the player smooth the video before rendering it on the output screen.

The f_codec number specifies the codec used to compress the video. At this time, the following are defined:

Number Name Comments SWF Version
2 Sorenson H.263 Since Adobe took over Flash, they worked on making this format free of any royalties. In other words, you are free to encode and decode this video format in your commercial Flash animations. 6
3 Screen Video   7
4 VP6   8
5 VP6 with Alpha   8


 

DoABC

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
82
Tag Type: 
Action
Tag Flash Version: 
9
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

New container tag for ActionScripts under SWF 9. Includes an identifier, a name and actions.

Tag Structure: 

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_doabc {
	swf_tag			f_tag;		/* 72 or 82 */
	if(f_tag == DoABC) {
		unsigned long	f_action_flags;
		string		f_action_name;
	}
	swf_action3		f_action_record[variable];
};

*the version specified here is the version in which the tags appeared—however, actions of higher versions can be used with older version tags and thus this version doesn't indicate the version of all the actions used in this tag

The DoABC and DoABCDefine are available since version 9. These are similar to the old DoAction and DoInitAction, yet the actions use a way different declaration scheme and they include flags and a name. This new scheme helps greatly in simplifying the definitions of ECMAScript classes and accelerate the access to the code tremendously.

Note that the f_allow_abc bit of the FileAttributes flags must be set for the ABC actions to work at all.

The following describes the data in the DoABC and DoABCDefine tags. Note that at this point the DoABCDefine tag is not available, probably because you can do the same thing with a DoABC.

The f_action_flags define one bit at this point: bit 0 is kDoAbcLazyInitializeFlag. All the other bits must be set to zero to ensure forward compatibility. The lazy initialization bit is used to determine whether the DoABC tag is in place (execute as encountered) or callbacks (execute as it is referenced by other scripts.)

The f_action_name represents the name of this action script in case of a DoABC.

In some document, it mentioned that it would represent the name of a class when the DoAction3Instantiate tag is used. However, that tag is not implemented yet if ever.

The f_action_record is a buffer of action script version 3. It is different from the DoAction action script and is called the ABC script.

At this time, the swf_action3 is badly documented in the abcFormat.html file. There are now much better documents about this format on the Mozilla website.

DoABCDefine

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
72
Tag Type: 
Action
Tag Flash Version: 
9
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is not known (not defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe)
Brief Description: 

New container tag for ActionScripts under SWF 9. Includes only actions. This tag is not defined in the official Flash documentation.

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_doabc {
	swf_tag			f_tag;		/* 72 or 82 */
	if(f_tag == DoABC) {
		unsigned long	f_action_flags;
		string		f_action_name;
	}
	swf_action3		f_action_record[variable];
};

*the version specified here is the version in which the tags appeared—however, actions of higher versions can be used with older version tags and thus this version doesn't indicate the version of all the actions used in this tag

The DoABC and DoABCDefine are available since version 9. These are similar to the old DoAction and DoInitAction, yet the actions use a way different declaration scheme and they include flags and a name. This new scheme helps greatly in simplifying the definitions of ECMAScript classes and accelerate the access to the code tremendously.

Note that the f_allow_abc bit of the FileAttributes flags must be set for the ABC actions to work at all.

The following describes the data in the DoABC and DoABCDefine tags. Note that at this point the DoABCDefine tag is not available, probably because you can do the same thing with a DoABC.

The f_action_flags define one bit at this point: bit 0 is kDoAbcLazyInitializeFlag. All the other bits must be set to zero to ensure forward compatibility. The lazy initialization bit is used to determine whether the DoABC tag is in place (execute as encountered) or callbacks (execute as it is referenced by other scripts.)

The f_action_name represents the name of this action script in case of a DoABC.

In some document, it mentioned that it would represent the name of a class when the DoAction3Instantiate tag is used. However, that tag is not implemented yet if ever.

The f_action_record is a buffer of action script version 3. It is different from the DoAction action script and is called the ABC script.

At this time, the swf_action3 is badly documented in the abcFormat.html file. There are now much better documents about this format on the Mozilla website.

DoAction

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
12
Tag Type: 
Action
Tag Flash Version: 
1
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Actions to perform at the time the next show frame is reached and before the result is being displayed. It can duplicate sprites, start/stop movie clips, etc.

All the actions within a frame are executed sequentially in the order they are defined.

Important: many actions are not supported in Adobe Flash version 1. Please, see the reference of actions below in order to know which actions can be used with which version of Adobe Flash.

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_doaction {
	swf_tag			f_tag;		/* 12 and 59 */
	if(f_tag == DoInitAction) {
		unsigned short	f_action_sprite;
	}
	swf_action		f_action_record[variable];
};

The DoAction tag will be used to execute a set of actions in place. Usually, actions are used on buttons to add interactivity to the SWF movies. In version 1 you had only one dynamic branch (WaitForFrame). In version 4 you can test many different things such as a position, angle or sound track cursor position. Since version 5, SWF has a complete scripting language supporting string and arithmetic operations.

The DoInitAction tag is used when a sprite needs to be initialized. These actions are carried on the sprite only once. These are outside of the given sprite and will reference the sprite so all the actions are automatically applied to the sprite without you having to do a SetTarget.

The following describes the data in the DoAction and DoInitAction tags:

The f_action_sprite is a reference (identifier) to the sprite which will be initialized with the given actions.

The f_action_record is an array of actions terminated by an End action.

The following is a list of all the actions supported by SWF format. The Version tells you what version of Flash player you need in order to use the given action (otherwise it is likely to be ignored or worse, make the player crash). Note that Macromedia defines all the actions as being part of version 3 and over. Thus, any action mark as being available in earlier versions (version 1 or 2) may in fact not be (though the DoAction and DefineButton tags were part of version 1!!!)

The Length (Stacked) column specifies the length of the data following the property (only with the action ID is 0x80 to 0xFF) and what will be pushed onto the stack. All the expressions work as in polish notation: push the parameters, then execute an order that uses the data from the stack. The actions that do not push anything on the stack have nothing written between parenthesis.

The Data & Operation column specifies what data follows the action and what the operation is. If there is no data and no operation, then n.a. is used. The data will be described as a list of fields as in the other structures described in this document. The operations will be written as closely as possible to a C like operation (though strings are managed in a much different way than C!) Anything which is popped from the stack will be given a letter and a digit. The digit represents the count or position and the letter the type of the data (a count of 1 represents the first pop, a count of 2 represents the second pop, etc.) The following column (Comments) will explain how the operation uses the data when appropriate.

The data types used are as follow:

    Short Type
    a any type
    b boolean
    f foat
    i integer
    n(1) numeric (integer or float)
    o(2) object (as in C++)
    s string
    t array or table of values
    v variable - pushes multiple values on the stack

    (1) when I don't know whether an integer or a float should be specified I will use 'n' as well. This should be correct most of the time anyway.
    (2) an object reference can be obtained by evaluating the name of that object; thus GetVariable("carrot") will return a reference to the carrot object.

The following lists all the actions by name. Those that have the comment (typed) operates taking the type of its arguments in account as defined in ECMA-262 Section 11.6.1 (arithmetic), 11.8.5 (comparison), 11.9.3 (equality) which you can certainly find somewhere on the Internet. Version 3 is available here: ECMA-262 V3.0. The functions which are not typed will behave by (1) trying to transform parameters in values, then perform the operation with numbers only or (2) when strings cannot be transformed in values, perform a string operation.

DoInitAction

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
59
Tag Type: 
Action
Tag Flash Version: 
6
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Actions to perform the first time the following Show Frame tag is reached. All the initialization actions are executed before any other actions. You have to specify a sprite to which the actions are applied to. Thus you don't need a set target action. When multiple initialization action blocks are within the same frame, they are executed one after another in the order they appear in that frame.

Tag Structure: 

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_doaction {
	swf_tag			f_tag;		/* 12 and 59 */
	if(f_tag == DoInitAction) {
		unsigned short	f_action_sprite;
	}
	swf_action		f_action_record[variable];
};

The DoAction tag will be used to execute a set of actions in place. Usually, actions are used on buttons to add interactivity to the SWF movies. In version 1 you had only one dynamic branch (WaitForFrame). In version 4 you can test many different things such as a position, angle or sound track cursor position. Since version 5, SWF has a complete scripting language supporting string and arithmetic operations.

The DoInitAction tag is used when a sprite needs to be initialized. These actions are carried on the sprite only once. These are outside of the given sprite and will reference the sprite so all the actions are automatically applied to the sprite without you having to do a SetTarget.

The following describes the data in the DoAction and DoInitAction tags:

The f_action_sprite is a reference (identifier) to the sprite which will be initialized with the given actions.

The f_action_record is an array of actions terminated by an End action.

The following is a list of all the actions supported by SWF format. The Version tells you what version of Flash player you need in order to use the given action (otherwise it is likely to be ignored or worse, make the player crash). Note that Macromedia defines all the actions as being part of version 3 and over. Thus, any action mark as being available in earlier versions (version 1 or 2) may in fact not be (though the DoAction and DefineButton tags were part of version 1!!!)

The Length (Stacked) column specifies the length of the data following the property (only with the action ID is 0x80 to 0xFF) and what will be pushed onto the stack. All the expressions work as in polish notation: push the parameters, then execute an order that uses the data from the stack. The actions that do not push anything on the stack have nothing written between parenthesis.

The Data & Operation column specifies what data follows the action and what the operation is. If there is no data and no operation, then n.a. is used. The data will be described as a list of fields as in the other structures described in this document. The operations will be written as closely as possible to a C like operation (though strings are managed in a much different way than C!) Anything which is popped from the stack will be given a letter and a digit. The digit represents the count or position and the letter the type of the data (a count of 1 represents the first pop, a count of 2 represents the second pop, etc.) The following column (Comments) will explain how the operation uses the data when appropriate.

The data types used are as follow:

    Short Type
    a any type
    b boolean
    f foat
    i integer
    n(1) numeric (integer or float)
    o(2) object (as in C++)
    s string
    t array or table of values
    v variable - pushes multiple values on the stack

    (1) when I don't know whether an integer or a float should be specified I will use 'n' as well. This should be correct most of the time anyway.
    (2) an object reference can be obtained by evaluating the name of that object; thus GetVariable("carrot") will return a reference to the carrot object.

The following lists all the actions by name. Those that have the comment (typed) operates taking the type of its arguments in account as defined in ECMA-262 Section 11.6.1 (arithmetic), 11.8.5 (comparison), 11.9.3 (equality) which you can certainly find somewhere on the Internet. Version 3 is available here: ECMA-262 V3.0. The functions which are not typed will behave by (1) trying to transform parameters in values, then perform the operation with numbers only or (2) when strings cannot be transformed in values, perform a string operation.

EnableDebugger

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
58
Tag Type: 
Format
Tag Flash Version: 
5
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

The data of this tag is an MD5 password like the EnableDebugger2 tag. When it exists and you know the password, you will be given the right to debug the movie with Flash V5.x and higher.

WARNING: this tag is only valid in Flash V5.x, use the EnableDebugger2 instead in V6.x and newer movies and Protect in older movies (V2.x, V3.x, and V4.x).

Tag Structure: 

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_protect {
	swf_tag			f_tag;		/* 24, 58 or 64  */
	if(version >= 5) {
		if(tag == ProtectDebug2) {
			unsigned short	f_reserved;1
		}
		/* the password is optional when tag == Protect */
		string		f_md5_password;
	}
};
  • 1. f_reserved must be set to zero.

See Also: 

The protection tag is totally useless. The SWF format is an open format, otherwise how would you have so many players and tools to work with SWF movies? Thus, you can pretend to protect your movies, but anyone with a simple binary editor can transform the tag and make it another which has no such effect. Also, swf_dump and some other tools (such as flasm) can read your movie anyway.

For the sake of defining what you have in each tag, there are the protection tags fully described.

According to Macromedia, you can find some free implementation of the MD5 algorithm by Poul-Henning Kamp in FreeBSD in the file src/lib/libcrypt/crypt-md5.c. For your convenience, there is an implementation of that MD5 sum in the SSWF library.

IMPORTANT

Version 2, 3, 4 must use Protect.

Version 5 must use EnableDebugger.

Version 6 and over must use EnableDebugger2.

EnableDebugger2

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
64
Tag Type: 
Format
Tag Flash Version: 
6
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

The data of this tag is a 16 bits word followed by an MD5 password like the EnableDebugger tag. When it exists and you know the password, you will be given the right to debug the movie with Flash V6.x and over.

WARNING: this tag is only valid in Flash V6.x and over, use the EnableDebugger instead in V5.x and Protect in older movies (V2.x, V3.x, and V4.x).

Tag Structure: 

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_protect {
	swf_tag			f_tag;		/* 24, 58 or 64  */
	if(version >= 5) {
		if(tag == ProtectDebug2) {
			unsigned short	f_reserved;1
		}
		/* the password is optional when tag == Protect */
		string		f_md5_password;
	}
};
  • 1. f_reserved must be set to zero.

See Also: 

The protection tag is totally useless. The SWF format is an open format, otherwise how would you have so many players and tools to work with SWF movies? Thus, you can pretend to protect your movies, but anyone with a simple binary editor can transform the tag and make it another which has no such effect. Also, swf_dump and some other tools (such as flasm) can read your movie anyway.

For the sake of defining what you have in each tag, there are the protection tags fully described.

According to Macromedia, you can find some free implementation of the MD5 algorithm by Poul-Henning Kamp in FreeBSD in the file src/lib/libcrypt/crypt-md5.c. For your convenience, there is an implementation of that MD5 sum in the SSWF library.

IMPORTANT

Version 2, 3, 4 must use Protect.

Version 5 must use EnableDebugger.

Version 6 and over must use EnableDebugger2.

End

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
0
Tag Type: 
Format
Tag Flash Version: 
1
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Mark the end of the file or a Sprite. It can't appear anywhere else but the end of the file or a Sprite.

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_export {
	swf_tag			f_tag;		/* 0 */
};

The End tag marks the end of a sequence of tags. It is used to end the whole movie and to end the sequence of tags in a DefineSprite. The tag is composed just of the tag id.

Export

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
56
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
5
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Exports a list of definitions declared external so they can be used in other movies. You can in this way create one or more movies to hold a collection of objects to be reused by other movies without having to duplicate these in each movie. A single export is enough for an entire movie (and you should have just one).

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_export {
	swf_tag			f_tag;		/* 56 */
	unsigned short		f_count;
	swf_external		f_symbol[f_count];
};

The Export tag works in conjunction with the Import and Import2 tags. The Export tag gives a list of definitions made visible to the external world. Thus these definitions are in effect available to be imported by other movies.

The Export tag is a list of identifiers which are the identifiers of the objects defined within this movie and gives an external name to that object. The name is the external reference and that's what the Player will use to know how to retrieve the data from another movie. Each name need to be different, however there is no other restriction.

There should be only one Export per SWF movie. It is not clearly defined anywhere, but it is likely that the player will stop at the first export they find and not try to see if other Exports are defined in your SWF movies. It is not clear whether a movie using Export can itself Import other movies yet it is likely.

You should at least have one external reference (i.e. f_count > 0).

The identifiers defined in this list must match an object in the movie which includes this tag.

ExternalFont

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
52
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
5
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is not known (not defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe)
Brief Description: 

It looks like accessing a system font was going to be another tag, but instead Macromedia made use of a flag in the existing DefineFont2 tag.

Tag Structure: 

Unknown

Unknown

File Header

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
-1
Tag Type: 
Format
Tag Flash Version: 
1
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Although it isn't a tag per say, we consider the file header as being a tag because it represents a block in the flash file. Since version 8, it can be complemented by the FileAttributes tag.

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_header {1
	unsigned char		f_magic[3];	/* 'FWS' or 'CWS' */
	unsigned char		f_version;
	unsigned long		f_file_length;
}

struct swf_header_movie {2
	swf_rect		f_frame_size;
	unsigned short fixed	f_frame_rate;
	unsigned short		f_frame_count;
};
  • 1. This part is never compressed
  • 2. Although considered part of the header, this part is compressed in the 'CWS' format.

The file header is found at the very beginning of the file. It should be used to determine whether a file is an SWF file or not. Also, it contains information about the frame size, the speed at which is should be played and the version (determining the tags and actions possibly used in the file).

The f_magic[3] array is defined as the characters: 'FWS' (it is going backward probably because it was supposed to be read in a little endian as a long word). A movie can be compressed when the version is set to 6 or more. In this case, the magic characters are: 'CWS'.

The f_version is a value from 1 to 10 (the maximum at time of writing, the maximum will continue to increase).

The f_file_length is exactly what it says. That's useful for all these network connections which don't give you the size of the file. In case of a compressed movie, this is the total length of the uncompressed movie (useful to allocate the destination buffer for zlib).

The f_frame_size is a rectangle definition in TWIPS used to set the size of the frame on the screen. The minx and miny are usually not necessary in this rectangle definition.

The parameter in the swf_header_movie structure are part of the buffer that gets compressed in a movie (in other words, only the very first 8 bytes of the resulting file aren't compressed).

The f_frame_rate is a fixed value of 8.8 bits. It represents the number of frames per second the movie should be played at. Since version 8 of SWF, it is defined as an unsigned short fixed point value instead of an unsigned short. The lower 8 bits should always be zero (see comment below.) This value should never be set to zero in older versions. Newer versions use the value zero as "run at full speed" (which probably means run synchronized to the video screen Vertical BLank or VBL.)

The f_frame_count is a counter representing the number of SHOW FRAME within a movie. Most of the tools will compute this number automatically and it can usually be wrong and the movie will still play just fine.

FileAttributes

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
69
Tag Type: 
Format
Tag Flash Version: 
8
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Since version 8, this tag is required and needs to be the very first tag in the movie. It is used as a way to better handle security within the Flash Player.

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_fileattributes {
	swf_tag			f_tag;		/* 69 */
	unsigned		f_reserved : 3;
	unsigned		f_has_metadata : 1;
	unsigned		f_allow_abc : 1;	/* since V9.0 */
	unsigned		f_suppress_cross_domain_caching : 1;	/* since V9.0 */
	unsigned		f_swf_relative_urls : 1;	/* since V9.0 */
	unsigned		f_use_network : 1;
	unsigned		f_reserved : 24;
};

The FileAttributes tag is new to version 8. It must be present in all movies version 8 and over. It must be the very first tag in the SWF movie. It should be unique (other instances will be ignored.)

The f_has_metadata flag shall be set to 1 whenever the movie includes a Metadata tag.

The f_allow_abc flag shall be set to 1 to give the player the right to execute DoABC scripts (this is a version 9 flag, in version 8, keep it set to 0.)

The f_suppress_cross_domain_caching must have some effect over the caching of some things... (version 9+)

The f_swf_relative_urls means that URLs specified in the movie are relative to the URL where the movie was loaded from. (version 9+)

The f_use_network flag needs to be set to 1 in order for the movie to be given the right to access the network. By default, a local movie will be allowed to load other local movies but nothing from the network.

NOTES

I'm not registered as a security expert. However, this tag does not solve any security issues. It is a mimic just like the Protect, ProtectDebug and ProtectDebug2 tags. If you are playing a flash animation from a hacker, the fact is that it can include anything it wants and hack your system if the player has a flaw. Only a player without any flaws will be safe.

FrameLabel

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
43
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
3
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Names a frame or anchor. This frame can later be referenced using this name.

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_framelabel {
	swf_tag			f_tag;		/* 43 */
	string			f_label;
	if(version >= 6) {
		/* optional field */
		unsigned short	f_flags;
	}
};

The FrameLabel tag gives a textual name to a frame. This name can also be used as an anchor in V6.x+ and whenever specified in this way.

At this time, the optional field f_flags must be set to 1 if present. This means it has to be used as an anchor when the URL to the SWF movie includes a #<frame label> at the end.

The f_label is a null terminated string.

FreeAll

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
31
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
3
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is not known (not defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe)
Brief Description: 

Probably an action that would be used to clear everything out.

Tag Structure: 

Unknown

This is an interesting concept: have a tag that can clear everything that we have done so far and start over. If you have a single time line, this is certainly useful. Since version 3, however, we get the DefineSprite tag that has a very similar capability (except that it does not have the ability to delete anything from memory, this comes in version 5 with access to external animations that can be created and thrown away dynamically.)

FreeCharacter

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
3
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
1
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is not known (not defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe)
Brief Description: 

Release a character which won't be used in this movie anymore.

Tag Structure: 

Unknown

This tag was intended to be used to delete a character that would not be referenced any more. The tag is not used in any movie and is not defined in the Adobe Flash documentation. 

GenerateFrame

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
47
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
3
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is not known (not defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe)
Brief Description: 

This may have been something similar to a New in an action script and thus was removed later.

Tag Structure: 

Unknown

Unknown

GeneratorCommand

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
49
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
3
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is not known (not defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe)
Brief Description: 

Gives some information about the tool which generated this SWF file and its version.

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_defineinfo {
	swf_tag			f_tag;		/* 31 */
	unsigned long		f_version;
	string			f_info;
};

Define some information about the tool which generated this SWF movie file.

The information seems to be formatted with names written between periods (.). The two I found are "com" (comment?) and "commands" (used when you edit the movie?).

Import

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
57
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
5
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Imports a list of definitions that are to be loaded from another movie. You can retrieve objects that were exported in the specified movie. You can have as many import as you like, though you should really only have one per referenced movie.

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_import {
	swf_tag			f_tag;		/* 57 or 71  */
	string			f_url;
	if(version >= 8) {
		unsigned char		f_version;	/* must be set to 1 */
		unsigned char		f_reserved;
	}
	unsigned short		f_count;
	swf_external		f_symbol[f_count];
};

WARNING: in a Version 8 movie you MUST use an Import2 tag instead of Import or it just will not work (Import tags are ignored in version 8 movies).

The Import tag works in conjunction with the Export tag. The Import tag gives the name of another movie and a list of external names as defined for export in that other movie. There is also a list of identifiers which represent the identifier the object(s) will have in this movie (the movie with the Import tag) and they don't need to match the source movie identifiers.

The list of identifiers given in the list of the Import tag must be unique within the entire movie. The names are only used to match the names present in the Export tag of the other movie. Thus, these can be duplicates of named sprite in this movie.

There should be only one Import per referenced movie (it would be a waste to have more). It is not clear whether a movie can Export definitions when it itself Import definitions. Also, it isn't clear what happens if such an external reference fails (I assume the corresponding objects are defined as being empty shapes).

You should at least have one external reference (i.e. f_count > 0).

The f_url parameter is a standard URL which names the object to be loaded and searched for an Export tag.

The identifiers defined in this tag must be unique within the entire movie.

Since SWF version 8, we are forced to use TagImport2 (since TagImport is ignored since that version.) It includes two extra bytes: the first one must be set to 1 and the second to 0. Macromedia termed both bytes Reserved. I put f_version in the first one so that way it makes more sense to set a 1 in there. We certainly will learn later what that bit is for.

Import2

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
71
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
8
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Imports a list of definitions from another movie. In version 8+, this tag replaces the original Import tag. You can retrieve objects which were exported in the specified movie. You can have as many import as you like, although you should really only have one per referenced movie.

Tag Structure: 

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_import {
	swf_tag			f_tag;		/* 57 or 71  */
	string			f_url;
	if(version >= 8) {
		unsigned char		f_version;	/* must be set to 1 */
		unsigned char		f_reserved;
	}
	unsigned short		f_count;
	swf_external		f_symbol[f_count];
};

WARNING: in a Version 8 movie you MUST use an Import2 tag instead of Import or it just will not work (Import tags are ignored in version 8 movies).

The Import tag works in conjunction with the Export tag. The Import tag gives the name of another movie and a list of external names as defined for export in that other movie. There is also a list of identifiers which represent the identifier the object(s) will have in this movie (the movie with the Import tag) and they don't need to match the source movie identifiers.

The list of identifiers given in the list of the Import tag must be unique within the entire movie. The names are only used to match the names present in the Export tag of the other movie. Thus, these can be duplicates of named sprite in this movie.

There should be only one Import per referenced movie (it would be a waste to have more). It is not clear whether a movie can Export definitions when it itself Import definitions. Also, it isn't clear what happens if such an external reference fails (I assume the corresponding objects are defined as being empty shapes).

You should at least have one external reference (i.e. f_count > 0).

The f_url parameter is a standard URL which names the object to be loaded and searched for an Export tag.

The identifiers defined in this tag must be unique within the entire movie.

Since SWF version 8, we are forced to use TagImport2 (since TagImport is ignored since that version.) It includes two extra bytes: the first one must be set to 1 and the second to 0. Macromedia termed both bytes Reserved. I put f_version in the first one so that way it makes more sense to set a 1 in there. We certainly will learn later what that bit is for.

JPEGTables

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
8
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
1
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Define the tables used to compress/decompress all the SWF 1.0 JPEG images (See also DefineBitsJPEG.)

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_jpegtables {
	swf_tag			f_tag;		/* 8 */
	unsigned char		f_encoding_tables[<variable size>];
};

The JPEGTables tag is used to define the encoding tables of the JPEG images defined using the DefineBitsJPEG tag.

There can be only one JPEGTables tag in a valid SWF file. And it should be defined before any DefineBitsJPEG tag.

The content of this tag is the JPEG encoding tables defined by the 0xFF 0xDB and 0xFF 0xC4 tags. The f_encoding_tables buffed must start with 0xFF 0xD8 (SOI) and end with 0xFF 0xD9 (EOI).

Note that the player of SWF better enforces the correctness of this tag since version 8.

Metadata

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
77
Tag Type: 
Format
Tag Flash Version: 
8
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

This tag includes XML code describing the movie. The format is RDF compliant to the XMP as defined on W3C.

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_metadata {
	swf_tag			f_tag;		/* 77 */
	string			f_metadata;
};

The Metadata tag is used to describe the SWF movie in a robot readable form. It will be used by search engines to index your Flash movies.

The f_metadata string is an XML buffer defined using the RDF definition compliant with the XMP specification. You can find more information on the W3C and other websites:

RDF Primer
RDF Specification
XMP home page
Dublin Core

Note that this description can describe everything, from the entire movie to each single line of code in your action scripts.

The string must be UTF-8 encoded.

NameCharacter

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
40
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
3
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is not known (not defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe)
Brief Description: 

Define the name of an object (for buttons, bitmaps, sprites and sounds.)

Tag Structure: 

Unknown

Intended to name objects so one can reference them in an ActionScript. Instead, PlaceObject2 was used which is better since one object can be placed multiple times in your display list and each should have a different name. With the PlaceObject2 tag, it works that way.

PathsArePostscript

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
25
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
3
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is not known (not defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe)
Brief Description: 

The shape paths are defined as in postscript?

Tag Structure: 

Unknown

Apparently there was some testing with using Postscript like instructions to render shapes. I support that is close to the time when the ActionScript language was not yet fully functional. The content of this tag is not described anywhere and is more than likely not supported in newer versions.

PlaceObject

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
4
Tag Type: 
Display
Tag Flash Version: 
1
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Place the specified object in the current display list.

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_placeobject {
	swf_tag			f_tag;		/* 4 */
	unsigned short		f_objec_id_ref;
	unsigned short		f_depth;
	swf_matrix		f_matrix;
	if(f_tag_data_real_size is large enough) {1
		swf_color_transform	f_color_transform;
	}
};
  • 1. The f_color_transform is an optional field. The size of the tag data determines whether it was saved or not.

This tag will be used to specify where and how to place an object in the next frame. The PlaceObject2 and PlaceObject3 tags are much different and is presented below.

The f_depth field is used to indicate at which depth the character is inserted in the current frame. The depth defines the order in which objects are rendered. A higher number defines the objects most in the front. A smaller number indicates an object drawn further back. Although illegal, there can be any number of objects at any one depth value. However, the players may or may not properly render them. Usually the last added item at a given depth is drawn behind the previously added objects at that depth. Placing one object per depth is safer (legal) so you can be sure of the drawing order.

The f_objec_id_ref is a reference to an object previously defined with one of the Define... tags.

PlaceObject2

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
26
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
3
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Place, replace, remove an object in the current display list.

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_placeobject2 {	/* and swf_placeobject3 */
	swf_tag			f_tag;		/* 26 or 70 */
	/* NOTE: the following flags can be read as one or two bytes also */
	if(version >= 8) {
		unsigned	f_place_reserved : 5;
		unsigned	f_place_bitmap_caching : 1;
		unsigned	f_place_blend_mode : 1;
		unsigned	f_place_filters : 1;
	}
	if(version >= 5) {
		unsigned	f_place_has_actions : 1;
	}
	else {
		unsigned	f_place_reserved : 1;
	}
	unsigned		f_place_has_clipping_depth : 1;
	unsigned		f_place_has_name : 1;
	unsigned		f_place_has_morph_position : 1;
	unsigned		f_place_has_color_transform : 1;
	unsigned		f_place_has_matrix : 1;
	unsigned		f_place_has_id_ref : 1;
	unsigned		f_place_has_move : 1;
	unsigned short		f_depth;
	if(f_place_has_id_ref) {
		unsigned short		f_object_id_ref;
	}
	if(f_place_has_matrix) {
		swf_matrix		f_matrix;
	}
	if(f_place_has_color_transform) {
		swf_color_transform	f_color_transform;
	}
	if(f_place_has_morph_position) {
		unsigned short		f_morph_position;
	}
	if(f_place_has_name) {
		string			f_name;1
	}
	if(f_place_has_clipping_depth) {
		unsigned short		f_clipping_depth;
	}
	/* 3 next entries since v8.0 */
	if(f_place_filters) {
		unsigned char		f_filter_count;
		swf_any_filter		f_filter;
	}
	if(f_place_blend_mode) {
		unsigned char		f_blend_mode;
	}
	if(f_place_bitmap_caching) {
		/* WARNING: this is not defined in the Macromedia documentation
		 * it may be that it was part of the blend mode whenever the person
		 * who defined this byte was testing (I copied that from somewhere else!).
		 */
		unsigned char		f_bitmap_caching;
	}
	/* since v5.0 */
	if(f_place_has_actions) {
		unsigned short		f_reserved;
		if(version >= 6) {
			unsigned long	f_all_flags;
		}
		else {
			unsigned short	f_all_flags;
		}
		swf_event		f_event[<variable>];
		if(version >= 6) {
			unsigned long	f_end;	/* always zero */
		}
		else {
			unsigned short	f_end;	/* always zero */
		}
	}
};
  • 1. Assuming that this PlaceObject2 references a DefineSprite, this name becomes the name of this instance of the sprite. This feature enables you to place the same DefineSprite multiple times in your display list each time using a different name.

This tag will be used to specify where and how to place an object in the next frame. The PlaceObject is much different and is presented separately.

The f_depth field is used to indicate at which depth the character is inserted in the current frame. There can be only one object per depth value (thus a maximum of 65536 objects can appear on a single frame).

The f_place_has_move and f_place_has_id_ref flags are used to indicate what to do at the given depth. The following table presents what happens depending on the current value.

f_place_has_move f_place_has_id_ref Action
0 0 Crash (at least in older versions of Flash)
0 1 Place or replace a character. Really, the Replace does not work most of the time if ever. When it does not work, new characters are either totally ignored or they are added along the existing characters (under or over, who knows). So far, all my tests fail to do a valid replace.
1 0 Alter the character at the specified depth. Keep the same character. This is used to change the color transform, matrix, etc.
1 1 Remove the character at this depth. The other data is ignored and should not be defined. Same as RemoveObject2.

The f_morph_position is used in two cases.

(1) When the place object references a DefineMorphShape object. In this case, it defines a linear position between the first and second shapes (0 - draws shape 1 and 65535 - draws shape 2, any intermediate value draws a morphed shape, smaller the value the more it looks like shape 1 larger the value, the more it looks like shape 2).

(2) When the place object references a VideoFrame object. In this case, the morph position represents the frame number. This means any movie is limited to 65536 frames (the first frame is frame #0). At a regular, NTSC frame rate, it represents about 18 minutes of video. Long videos can be created using a new video stream every 18 minutes.

The f_clipping_depth parameter is used to tell the player to use the linked shape (DefineShape) or text (DefineText) as a mask for all the objects inserted in the display list from f_depth to f_clipping_depth inclusive. The mask itself isn't drawn in the screen. For instance, you could create a sprite which draws a burning fire. To place this fire in a text, insert the text with this clipping feature with a depth, say, of 7 and clipping depth of 8 and place the fire at a depth of 8 (note that to have an animation, the fire will certainly be a sprite). The fire will only appear in the text letters. Obviously this is somewhat limited since the f_clipping_depth is hard coded and not a range (Macromedia should have used depth + clip like in SSWF instead). Note that it doesn't seem to work with duplicated sprites even if these are placed at the right depth.

NOTE:

At this time I checked and I can tell that the following objects will work for clipping purposes:

and the following will not work:

The following need to be checked, I also added a comment telling whether I think it has a chance to work:

The f_blend_mode parameter is one byte which is included only when f_place_blend_mode is set to 1. The possible values are as defined in the following table. The equations use R as Result, C as the object color component, B and the background color. All components are viewed as values from 0 to 255. The result is a temporary value which is later saved in the new background before processing the next object.

Values not shown in the following table are reserved for future blending modes.

Name Value Comment Version
Normal 0 or 1 Copy the object as is.

R = C
8
Layer 2 Uses multiple objects to render (?) 8
Multiply 3 Multiply the background with the object colors.

R = B × C / 255
8
Screen 4 Multiply the inverse colors of the background and the object.

R = (255 - B) × (255 - C) / 255
8
Lighten 5 Take the largest of each component of the background and object.

R = max(B, C)
8
Darken 6 Take the smallest of each component of the background and object.

R = min(B, C)
8
Difference 7 Defines the absolute value of the difference.

R = | B - C |
8
Add 8 Add the components and clamp at 255.

R = min(B + C, 255)
8
Subtract 9 Subtract the components and clamp at 0.

R = max(B - C, 0)
8
Invert 10 Inverse the background components

R = 255 - B
8
Alpha 11 Copy the alpha channel of the object in the background. This mode requires that the parent (background) be set to mode Layer.

Ra = Ca
8
Erase 12 Copy the inverse of the alpha channel of the object in the background alpha. This mode requires that the parent (background) be set to mode Layer.

Ra = 255 - Ca
8
Overlay 13 Apply the same effect as multiply or screen depending on the background color before the operation. (Note: the comparison with 128 could be <= and the results would be same for C but not B. I currently do not know which one is picked)

R = (B < 128 ? B × C : (255 - B) × (255 - C)) / 255
8
HardLight 14 Apply the same effect as multiply or screen depending on the object color. (Note: the comparison with 128 could be <= and the results would be same for C but not B. I currently do not know which one is picked)

R = (C < 128 ? B × C : (255 - B) × (255 - C)) / 255
8

The f_bitmap_caching seems to be one byte. It is present only when the f_place_bitmap_caching is set to 1. At this time, I do not know the exact definition and it could be that it does not exist (the Macromedia reference does not include it.) I will need to test this byte to see whether it is a mistake in the Macromedia documentation or from the person who thought adding the Bitmap Caching flag was also a reason to add one byte in the structure.

PlaceObject3

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
70
Tag Type: 
Display
Tag Flash Version: 
8
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Place an object in the display list. The object can include bitmap caching information, a blend mode and a set of filters.

Tag Structure: 

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_placeobject2 {	/* and swf_placeobject3 */
	swf_tag			f_tag;		/* 26 or 70 */
	/* NOTE: the following flags can be read as one or two bytes also */
	if(version >= 8) {
		unsigned	f_place_reserved : 5;
		unsigned	f_place_bitmap_caching : 1;
		unsigned	f_place_blend_mode : 1;
		unsigned	f_place_filters : 1;
	}
	if(version >= 5) {
		unsigned	f_place_has_actions : 1;
	}
	else {
		unsigned	f_place_reserved : 1;
	}
	unsigned		f_place_has_clipping_depth : 1;
	unsigned		f_place_has_name : 1;
	unsigned		f_place_has_morph_position : 1;
	unsigned		f_place_has_color_transform : 1;
	unsigned		f_place_has_matrix : 1;
	unsigned		f_place_has_id_ref : 1;
	unsigned		f_place_has_move : 1;
	unsigned short		f_depth;
	if(f_place_has_id_ref) {
		unsigned short		f_object_id_ref;
	}
	if(f_place_has_matrix) {
		swf_matrix		f_matrix;
	}
	if(f_place_has_color_transform) {
		swf_color_transform	f_color_transform;
	}
	if(f_place_has_morph_position) {
		unsigned short		f_morph_position;
	}
	if(f_place_has_name) {
		string			f_name;1
	}
	if(f_place_has_clipping_depth) {
		unsigned short		f_clipping_depth;
	}
	/* 3 next entries since v8.0 */
	if(f_place_filters) {
		unsigned char		f_filter_count;
		swf_any_filter		f_filter;
	}
	if(f_place_blend_mode) {
		unsigned char		f_blend_mode;
	}
	if(f_place_bitmap_caching) {
		/* WARNING: this is not defined in the Macromedia documentation
		 * it may be that it was part of the blend mode whenever the person
		 * who defined this byte was testing (I copied that from somewhere else!).
		 */
		unsigned char		f_bitmap_caching;
	}
	/* since v5.0 */
	if(f_place_has_actions) {
		unsigned short		f_reserved;
		if(version >= 6) {
			unsigned long	f_all_flags;
		}
		else {
			unsigned short	f_all_flags;
		}
		swf_event		f_event[<variable>];
		if(version >= 6) {
			unsigned long	f_end;	/* always zero */
		}
		else {
			unsigned short	f_end;	/* always zero */
		}
	}
};
  • 1. Assuming that this PlaceObject2 references a DefineSprite, this name becomes the name of this instance of the sprite. This feature enables you to place the same DefineSprite multiple times in your display list each time using a different name.

This tag will be used to specify where and how to place an object in the next frame. The PlaceObject is much different and is presented separately.

The f_depth field is used to indicate at which depth the character is inserted in the current frame. There can be only one object per depth value (thus a maximum of 65536 objects can appear on a single frame).

The f_place_has_move and f_place_has_id_ref flags are used to indicate what to do at the given depth. The following table presents what happens depending on the current value.

f_place_has_move f_place_has_id_ref Action
0 0 Crash (at least in older versions of Flash)
0 1 Place or replace a character. Really, the Replace does not work most of the time if ever. When it does not work, new characters are either totally ignored or they are added along the existing characters (under or over, who knows). So far, all my tests fail to do a valid replace.
1 0 Alter the character at the specified depth. Keep the same character. This is used to change the color transform, matrix, etc.
1 1 Remove the character at this depth. The other data is ignored and should not be defined. Same as RemoveObject2.

The f_morph_position is used in two cases.

(1) When the place object references a DefineMorphShape object. In this case, it defines a linear position between the first and second shapes (0 - draws shape 1 and 65535 - draws shape 2, any intermediate value draws a morphed shape, smaller the value the more it looks like shape 1 larger the value, the more it looks like shape 2).

(2) When the place object references a VideoFrame object. In this case, the morph position represents the frame number. This means any movie is limited to 65536 frames (the first frame is frame #0). At a regular, NTSC frame rate, it represents about 18 minutes of video. Long videos can be created using a new video stream every 18 minutes.

The f_clipping_depth parameter is used to tell the player to use the linked shape (DefineShape) or text (DefineText) as a mask for all the objects inserted in the display list from f_depth to f_clipping_depth inclusive. The mask itself isn't drawn in the screen. For instance, you could create a sprite which draws a burning fire. To place this fire in a text, insert the text with this clipping feature with a depth, say, of 7 and clipping depth of 8 and place the fire at a depth of 8 (note that to have an animation, the fire will certainly be a sprite). The fire will only appear in the text letters. Obviously this is somewhat limited since the f_clipping_depth is hard coded and not a range (Macromedia should have used depth + clip like in SSWF instead). Note that it doesn't seem to work with duplicated sprites even if these are placed at the right depth.

NOTE:

At this time I checked and I can tell that the following objects will work for clipping purposes:

and the following will not work:

The following need to be checked, I also added a comment telling whether I think it has a chance to work:

The f_blend_mode parameter is one byte which is included only when f_place_blend_mode is set to 1. The possible values are as defined in the following table. The equations use R as Result, C as the object color component, B and the background color. All components are viewed as values from 0 to 255. The result is a temporary value which is later saved in the new background before processing the next object.

Values not shown in the following table are reserved for future blending modes.

Name Value Comment Version
Normal 0 or 1 Copy the object as is.

R = C
8
Layer 2 Uses multiple objects to render (?) 8
Multiply 3 Multiply the background with the object colors.

R = B × C / 255
8
Screen 4 Multiply the inverse colors of the background and the object.

R = (255 - B) × (255 - C) / 255
8
Lighten 5 Take the largest of each component of the background and object.

R = max(B, C)
8
Darken 6 Take the smallest of each component of the background and object.

R = min(B, C)
8
Difference 7 Defines the absolute value of the difference.

R = | B - C |
8
Add 8 Add the components and clamp at 255.

R = min(B + C, 255)
8
Subtract 9 Subtract the components and clamp at 0.

R = max(B - C, 0)
8
Invert 10 Inverse the background components

R = 255 - B
8
Alpha 11 Copy the alpha channel of the object in the background. This mode requires that the parent (background) be set to mode Layer.

Ra = Ca
8
Erase 12 Copy the inverse of the alpha channel of the object in the background alpha. This mode requires that the parent (background) be set to mode Layer.

Ra = 255 - Ca
8
Overlay 13 Apply the same effect as multiply or screen depending on the background color before the operation. (Note: the comparison with 128 could be <= and the results would be same for C but not B. I currently do not know which one is picked)

R = (B < 128 ? B × C : (255 - B) × (255 - C)) / 255
8
HardLight 14 Apply the same effect as multiply or screen depending on the object color. (Note: the comparison with 128 could be <= and the results would be same for C but not B. I currently do not know which one is picked)

R = (C < 128 ? B × C : (255 - B) × (255 - C)) / 255
8

The f_bitmap_caching seems to be one byte. It is present only when the f_place_bitmap_caching is set to 1. At this time, I do not know the exact definition and it could be that it does not exist (the Macromedia reference does not include it.) I will need to test this byte to see whether it is a mistake in the Macromedia documentation or from the person who thought adding the Bitmap Caching flag was also a reason to add one byte in the structure.

ProductInfo

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
41
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
3
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is not known (not defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe)
Brief Description: 

This tag defines information about the product used to generate the animation. The product identifier should be unique among all the products. The info includes a product identifier, a product edition, a major and minor version, a build number and the date of compilation. All of this information is all about the generator, not the output movie.

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_metadata {
	swf_tag			f_tag;		/* 41 */
	long			f_product_id;
	long			f_edition;
	unsigned char		f_major_version;
	unsigned char		f_minor_version;
	long long		f_build_number;
	long long		f_compilation_date;
};

The ProductInfo tag stores information about the tool used to generate the Flash animation. This is ignored by flash players (unless it knows of problems in the generators...)

The f_product_id is expected to be a unique identifier for all the products which can possibly generate an SWF output file.

The f_edition represents an edition of the generator. For instance, you may have a free version, and three commercial versions (Standard, Pro and Deluxe) which all should have a different edition number. Yet, the product is the same.

The f_major_version and f_minor_version are used to define the generator version used to create the SWF animation. Note that these numbers are limited to a value between 0 and 255.

The f_build_number is usually a MS-Windows build number. This does not really apply to Unix versions. Under Unix, one can use this number to extend the version to additional digits (i.e. SSWF saves 1.8.1 in the build number.)

The f_compilation_date represents the date and time when the generator was compiled (not the time when the output movie is generated!)

Protect

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
24
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
2
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Disable edition capabilities of the given SWF file. Though this doesn't need to be enforced by an SWF editor, it marks the file as being copyrighted in a way.

WARNING: this tag is only valid in Flash V2.x, V3.x, and V4.x, use the EnableDebugger instead in V5.x and EnableDebugger2 in V6.x and newer movies.

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_protect {
	swf_tag			f_tag;		/* 24, 58 or 64  */
	if(version >= 5) {
		if(tag == ProtectDebug2) {
			unsigned short	f_reserved;1
		}
		/* the password is optional when tag == Protect */
		string		f_md5_password;
	}
};
  • 1. f_reserved must be set to zero.

The protection tag is totally useless. The SWF format is an open format, otherwise how would you have so many players and tools to work with SWF movies? Thus, you can pretend to protect your movies, but anyone with a simple binary editor can transform the tag and make it another which has no such effect. Also, swf_dump and some other tools (such as flasm) can read your movie anyway.

For the sake of defining what you have in each tag, there are the protection tags fully described.

According to Macromedia, you can find some free implementation of the MD5 algorithm by Poul-Henning Kamp in FreeBSD in the file src/lib/libcrypt/crypt-md5.c. For your convenience, there is an implementation of that MD5 sum in the SSWF library.

IMPORTANT

Version 2, 3, 4 must use Protect.

Version 5 must use EnableDebugger.

Version 6 and over must use EnableDebugger2.

RemoveObject

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
5
Tag Type: 
Display
Tag Flash Version: 
1
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Remove the specified object at the specified depth.

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_removeobject {
	swf_tag			f_tag;		/* 5 or 28 */
	if(f_tag == RemoveObject) {
		unsigned short		f_object_id_ref;
	}
	unsigned short		f_depth;
};

Remove the specified object from the display list. If the same object was placed multiple times at the specified depth1 only the last copy is removed. When only a depth is specified, the last object placed at that depth is removed from the list. Note that since version 3 it is possible to use the PlaceObject2 in order to replace an object at a given depth without having to remove it first.

  • 1. It is illegal, yet possible, to place more than one object at the same depth.

RemoveObject2

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
28
Tag Type: 
Display
Tag Flash Version: 
3
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Remove the object at the specified level. This tag should be used in movies version 3 and over since it compressed better than the standard RemoveObject tag. Note that a PlaceObject2 can also be used for this task.

Tag Structure: 

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_removeobject {
	swf_tag			f_tag;		/* 5 or 28 */
	if(f_tag == RemoveObject) {
		unsigned short		f_object_id_ref;
	}
	unsigned short		f_depth;
};

Remove the specified object from the display list. If the same object was placed multiple times at the specified depth1 only the last copy is removed. When only a depth is specified, the last object placed at that depth is removed from the list. Note that since version 3 it is possible to use the PlaceObject2 in order to replace an object at a given depth without having to remove it first.

  • 1. It is illegal, yet possible, to place more than one object at the same depth.

ScriptLimits

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
65
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
7
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Change limits used to ensure scripts do not use more resources than what you choose. In version 7, it supports a maximum recursive depth and a maximum amount of time scripts can be run for in seconds.

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_scriptlimits {
	swf_tag			f_tag;		/* 65 */
	unsigned short		f_max_recursion_depth;
	unsigned short		f_timeout_seconds;
};

This tag is used to change the default limits of script execution.

The maximum recursion depth is 256 by default. Any value, except zero (0) is valid.

The f_timeout_seconds parameter specifies the number of seconds before the players opens a dialog box saying that the SWF animation is stuck.

This can be very useful if you have some heavy initialization which takes more resources than a few seconds (~15 seconds by default), and/or has a lot of recursivity (or just calls? to be tested...). You can then set large limits for the initialization to run fine, and then put some much lower limits afterward so as to ensure that the other scripts don't use too much resources.

SetBackgroundColor

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
9
Tag Type: 
Display
Tag Flash Version: 
1
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Change the background color. Defaults to white if unspecified.

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_setbackgroundcolor {
	swf_tag			f_tag;		/* 9 */
	swf_rgb			f_rgb;
};

This tag is used to specify the background color. It should always be included at the start of every .swf file (after the FileAttributes and Protect tags). Only an RGB color can be used (i.e. there is no alpha channel for that color, whatever the SWF version.)

To create a Flash animation that's transparent (so we can see the website gradient, for example) you use the wmode parameter in the HTML tag with the value "transparent", in which case the background color will be ignored and replaced by a fully transparent background. For example:

<embed width="440" height="241" type="application/x-shockwave-flash"
       pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer"
       src="/sites/linux.m2osw.com/files/images/indoor-comfort.swf"
       play="true" loop="true" menu="true" wmode="transparent"></embed>

There is no parameter you can set inside the Flash animation itself to make it transparent in your browser.

 

SetTabIndex

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
66
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
7
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Define the order index so the player knows where to go next when the Tab key is pressed by the user.

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_settabindex {
	swf_tag			f_tag;		/* 66 */
	unsigned short		f_depth;
	unsigned short		f_tab_index;
};

This tag defines the tab index of any text object (static and dynamic text objects.)

The depth references the object which is assigned the tab index. The tab index defines the order in which objects are sorted to know where to go next when the tab key is pressed.

ShowFrame

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
1
Tag Type: 
Display
Tag Flash Version: 
1
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Display the current display list and pauses for 1 frame as defined in the file header.

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_showframe {
	swf_tag			f_tag;		/* 1 */
};

This empty tag signals to the player to display the current frame. The player will then fall asleep until it is time to draw the next frame (well... actually, it should prepare the next frame and then sleep if necessary before showing the next frame.)

SoundStreamBlock

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
19
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
2
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

A block of sound data (i.e. audio samples.) The size of this block of data is defined in the previous SoundStreamHead tag. It is used to download sound samples on a per frame basis instead of all at once.

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_soundstreamblock {
	swf_long_tag		f_tag;		/* 19 */
	unsigned char		f_sound_data[variable size];
};

The SoundStreamBlock tag defines the data of a sound effect previously defined with a SoundStreamHead or a SoundStreamHead2 tag.

WARNING: This tag requires you to save the swf_tag structure in long format whatever the size of the data (i.e. f_tag_and_size & 0x3F == 0x3F always true even if the size is 62 or less.)

The data depends on the SoundStreamHead[2] definition and is variable in size. Please, see the DefineSound tag for more information about sound data.

SoundStreamHead

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
18
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
2
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Declare a sound effect which will be interleaved with a movie data so as to be loaded over a network connection while being played.

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_soundstreamhead {
	swf_tag			f_tag;		/* 18 or 45 */
	unsigned		f_compression : 4;
	unsigned		f_sound_rate : 2;
	unsigned		f_sound_size : 1;
	unsigned		f_sound_stereo : 1;
	unsigned		f_reserved : 4;
	unsigned		f_playback_rate : 2;
	unsigned		f_playback_size : 1;
	unsigned		f_playback_stereo : 1;
	unsigned short		f_sample_size;
	if(f_compression == 2) {
		signed short	f_latency_seek;
	}
};

The SoundStreamHead[2] tags define a sound effect which is to be loaded with a set of SoundStreamBlock tags. It defines the sound once and for all.

Streaming sound has a strong side effect when playing a movie: it will force a synchronization between the images and the audio. Thus some images may be dropped if the drawing isn't fast enough.

Streaming sound effects should be either used in the main movie or in a sprite which needs a sound track properly synchronized to the sprite animation. Otherwise, it is much better to use the DefineSound and StartSound tags.

It seems (though it isn't documented) that using a SoundStreamHead tag by itself (without any sound blocks) is taken as a hint of how to play all the other sounds in an animation (see the f_playback_rate)

Important note: there can be only one streaming sound per movie clip including the main movie. If you need multiple sound effects or music to be played back, these will have to be merged at the time you create the movie in a single sound which will then be played back as a single sound track.

Some of the fields in the SoundStreamHead tag can't have all the possible values when defined in an older version of SWF. What follows describes each field in more details.

The f_playback_rate and f_sound_rate define the rate at which the data should be played and the exact rate of the data found in the SWF file.

	rate = 5512.5 * 2 ** f_playback_rate
	rate = 5512.5 * 2 ** f_sound_rate

The f_playback_size and f_sound_size define the number of bits found in the data (0 for 8 bits and 1 for 16 bits.) Note that with a SoundStreamHead tag (18) only 16 bits data are allowed (both are always set to 1). If the compression mode isn't Raw or Uncompressed then the f_sound_size must be set to 1.

The f_playback_stereo and f_sound_stereo define whether the sound should be played on both speakers and whether the data includes both channels.

The f_compression entry defines the compression mode. The list of sound compression modes can be found with the DefineSound tag. Note that with a SoundStreamHead tag (18) only the ADPCM compression is accepted. All the compression modes are accepted in a SoundStreamHead2 tag (45).

The f_sample_size represents the average number of samples per frame. It is used to ensure a proper synchronization. Note that there can be more (and even less in MP3) samples within a given frame.

The f_latency_seek is usually zero. It exists only when the MP3 compression mode is used. It defines the number of samples to skip at the beginning of the very first frame (I'm not totally sure what this is to tell you the truth... I'll tell you more once I know more).

SoundStreamHead2

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
45
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
3
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Declare a sound effect which will be interleaved with a movie data so as to be loaded over a network connection while being played.

Tag Structure: 

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_soundstreamhead {
	swf_tag			f_tag;		/* 18 or 45 */
	unsigned		f_compression : 4;
	unsigned		f_sound_rate : 2;
	unsigned		f_sound_size : 1;
	unsigned		f_sound_stereo : 1;
	unsigned		f_reserved : 4;
	unsigned		f_playback_rate : 2;
	unsigned		f_playback_size : 1;
	unsigned		f_playback_stereo : 1;
	unsigned short		f_sample_size;
	if(f_compression == 2) {
		signed short	f_latency_seek;
	}
};

The SoundStreamHead[2] tags define a sound effect which is to be loaded with a set of SoundStreamBlock tags. It defines the sound once and for all.

Streaming sound has a strong side effect when playing a movie: it will force a synchronization between the images and the audio. Thus some images may be dropped if the drawing isn't fast enough.

Streaming sound effects should be either used in the main movie or in a sprite which needs a sound track properly synchronized to the sprite animation. Otherwise, it is much better to use the DefineSound and StartSound tags.

It seems (though it isn't documented) that using a SoundStreamHead tag by itself (without any sound blocks) is taken as a hint of how to play all the other sounds in an animation (see the f_playback_rate)

Important note: there can be only one streaming sound per movie clip including the main movie. If you need multiple sound effects or music to be played back, these will have to be merged at the time you create the movie in a single sound which will then be played back as a single sound track.

Some of the fields in the SoundStreamHead tag can't have all the possible values when defined in an older version of SWF. What follows describes each field in more details.

The f_playback_rate and f_sound_rate define the rate at which the data should be played and the exact rate of the data found in the SWF file.

	rate = 5512.5 * 2 ** f_playback_rate
	rate = 5512.5 * 2 ** f_sound_rate

The f_playback_size and f_sound_size define the number of bits found in the data (0 for 8 bits and 1 for 16 bits.) Note that with a SoundStreamHead tag (18) only 16 bits data are allowed (both are always set to 1). If the compression mode isn't Raw or Uncompressed then the f_sound_size must be set to 1.

The f_playback_stereo and f_sound_stereo define whether the sound should be played on both speakers and whether the data includes both channels.

The f_compression entry defines the compression mode. The list of sound compression modes can be found with the DefineSound tag. Note that with a SoundStreamHead tag (18) only the ADPCM compression is accepted. All the compression modes are accepted in a SoundStreamHead2 tag (45).

The f_sample_size represents the average number of samples per frame. It is used to ensure a proper synchronization. Note that there can be more (and even less in MP3) samples within a given frame.

The f_latency_seek is usually zero. It exists only when the MP3 compression mode is used. It defines the number of samples to skip at the beginning of the very first frame (I'm not totally sure what this is to tell you the truth... I'll tell you more once I know more).

StartSound

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
15
Tag Type: 
Display
Tag Flash Version: 
2
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Start playing the referenced sound on the next ShowFrame.

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_startsound {
	swf_tag			f_tag;		/* 15 */
	swf_sound_info		f_sound_info;
};

The StartSound tag is used to playback a sound defined with the DefineSound tag.

StopSound

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
15
Tag Type: 
Display
Tag Flash Version: 
2
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is not known (not defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe)
Brief Description: 

Start playing the referenced sound on the next ShowFrame.

Tag Structure: 

Unknown

Apparently, the authors first thought that a StopSound tag would be useful. Since the StartSound offers that functionality, however, it was removed.

SymbolClass

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
76
Tag Type: 
Action
Tag Flash Version: 
9
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Instantiate objects from a set of classes.

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_symbolclass {
	swf_tag			f_tag;		/* 76 */
	unsigned short		f_symbol_count;
	struct {
		unsigned short		f_symbol_id;
		string			f_symbol_name;
	} f_symbol_references[f_symbol_count];
};

The SymbolClass tag is used to instantiate objects from action script version 3 definitions (see DoABCDefine.) You can instantiate each object only once with this technique.

The f_symbol_id references an ActionScript version 3 object (DoABC) and the f_symbol_name references the class to instantiate.

When f_symbol_id is set to zero, this tag becomes a special case and uses the f_symbol_name as the name of the top level class (root? TBD.)

SyncFrame

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
29
Tag Type: 
Display
Tag Flash Version: 
3
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is not known (not defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe)
Brief Description: 

Tag used to synchronize the animation with the hardware.

Tag Structure: 

Unknown

Apparently, Macromedia thought that synchronizing their animation with, probably, the VLB would be a good idea. Yet they dropped it and never released that out. It is probably not useful for animations (visual) to be properly synchronize when there is not audio. If you do have audio, you should synchronize the animation to the audio and drop visual frames as required to keep up with the audio.

VideoFrame

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
61
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
6
Unknown SWF Tag: 
This tag is defined by the Flash documentation by Adobe
Brief Description: 

Show the specified video frame of a movie.

Tag Structure: 
struct swf_startsound {
	swf_tag			f_tag;		/* 61 */
	unsigned short		f_video_id_ref;
	unsigned short		f_frame;
	unsigned char		f_video_data[variable size];
};

The VideoFrame tag is used to render one frame. It includes the data of exactly one video frame to be drawn on the screen.

The f_object_id_ref parameter is a reference to a DefineVideoStream.

The f_frame parameter defines which frame needs to be rendered. Note, however, that is not enough to display the video frame in the output. For that purpose you also need to use a PlaceObject2 or PlaceObject3 with their morph parameter (f_morph_position) set to the same frame number. This method limits the videos to 65536 frames (about 18 minutes of video). Longer videos can be created using multiple video stream blocks.

The f_video_data content depends on the codec defined in the DefineVideoStream tag. Once I really know what that data is, I will update this documentation. Note that the Sorenson H.263 encoding is actually a subset of MPEG-2.

SWF Actions

The pages defined below include all the actions defined in Flash.

Different actions are supported in different version, so please, look at the version when attempting to use that action.

Some actions have been deprecated and should not be used in newer version of Flash (mainly the untyped operators.)

There are two schemes supported in Flash 9 and over: ActionScript 2 and 3 (also referenced as AS2 and AS3.)

AS2 was created in Flash animations version 1, enhanced in versions 3, 4 and 5. In version 5, it because AS1. Version 6 greatly fixed many of the problems in older versions. Version 7 and 8 only added a few more features. Version 9 makes use of Tamarin which is a much more advanced mechanism used to execute the compiled ActionScript code. The huge improvement comes from the header that gives the system access to all the functions and variables without having to search for them through the action script.

Add (typed)

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Arithmetic
Action Details: 
(typed)
Action Identifier: 
71
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 2 (a), push 1 (a)
Action Operation: 
a1 = pop();
a2 = pop();
if(is_int(a1) && is_int(a2)) {
  i1 := (int)a1;
  i2 := (int)a2;
  r := i1 + i2// sum
}
else if(is_numeric(a1) && is_numeric(a2)) {
  f1 := (float)a1;
  f2 := (float)a2;
  r := f1 + f2// sum
}
else {
  s1 := (string)a1;
  s2 := (string)a2;
  r := s1 + s2;   // concatenation
}
push(r);
Action Flash Version: 
5

Pops two numbers or two strings, computes the sum or concatenation and push the result back on the stack.

This action is typed meaning that it will automatically convert the parameters as required and in a very well defined manner1.

  • 1. I need to verify and make sure that the synopsis I give here is indeed correct.

Add

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Arithmetic
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
10
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 2 (n), push 1 (n)
Action Operation: 
n1 := pop();
n2 := pop();
r := n2 + n1;
push(r);
Action Flash Version: 
4

This action pops two numbers from the stack, add them together and put the result back on the stack.

IMPORTANT NOTE

This instruction is not compliant to the ECMA Script reference. It should only be used in SWF files using version 4. Since version 5, the Add (typed) action should be used instead.

And

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Logical and Bitwise
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
96
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 2 (i), push 1 (i)
Action Operation: 
i1 := pop();
i2 := pop();
r := i2 & i1;
push(r);
Action Flash Version: 
5

Pop two integers, compute the bitwise AND, and push the result back on the stack.

Branch Always

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Control
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
153
Action Structure: 
signed short   f_offset;
Action Length: 
2 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
n.a.
Action Operation: 
ip += f_offset;   // ip past the branch action
Action Flash Version: 
4
See Also: 

Jump to the specified action. The offset is added to the current execution pointer as it is after reading the branch instruction.

IMPORTANT NOTES

The offset must be such that when added to the current execution pointer it points to a valid action (i.e. you cannot jump in the middle of a Push Data or any other multi-byte action.)

The offset cannot point outside of the current block of execution, although it can branch to the very end of the block. So if you are inside a With or Try block, a Branch Always cannot be used to exit that block. This can be a problem if you are trying to implement some advanced functionality in an ActionScript compiler such as a goto instruction.

Branch If True

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Control
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
157
Action Structure: 
signed short   f_offset;
Action Length: 
2 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 1 (b)
Action Operation: 
b1 := pop();
if(b1) {
    ip += f_offset;   // ip past the branch action
}
Action Flash Version: 
4
See Also: 

Pop a Boolean value; if true then jump to the specified action; otherwise continue with the following actions.

There is no Branch If False action. Instead, first use the Logical Not, then Branch If True.

IMPORTANT NOTES

The offset, which is defined in bytes, must be such that when added to the current instruction pointer it points to a valid action (i.e. you cannot jump in the middle of a Push Data or any other such action.)

The offset cannot point outside of the current block of execution, although it can branch to the very end of the block. So if you are inside a With or Try block, a Branch If True cannot be used to exit that block. This can be a problem if you are trying to implement some advanced functionality in an ActionScript compiler such as a goto instruction.

Call Frame

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Movie
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
158
Action Structure: 
empty (this is a bug reported in the Macromedia documentation.)
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 1 (a)
Action Operation: 
a1 = pop();
if(is_string(a1)) {
  s1 := (string)a1;
  goto_frame_by_name(s1);
}
else {
  i1 = (int)a1;
  goto_frame_by_number(i1);
}
Action Flash Version: 
4

Pop a string or integer and call the corresponding frame.

This means:

  1. Search the corresponding frame,
  2. Execute its actions, and
  3. Continue with the action defined after this one.

The frame can be identified with a name or a number. It is also possible to specify a target movie ("<sprite name>.<frame name>"? - to be tested...)

Call Function

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Control
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
61
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 1 (s), pop 1 (i), pop i2 (a), push 1 (a)
Action Operation: 
s1 := pop();
i2 := pop();
for(idx := 3; idx < i2 + 3; ++idx) {
  aidx = pop();
}
r := call s1(a3, a4, a5...a(i2+2));
push(r);
Action Flash Version: 
5

Pops one string that represents the name of the function to call, pop one integer indicating the number of arguments following, pop each argument, call the named function, push the result of the function on the stack. There is always a result1.

The concept of a function in SWF is the same as in most languages. The function uses its own stack and local variables and returns one result as expected. However, be careful because functions declared in a movie before version 7 could stack multiple results and they all were returned!

Since Flash 5, the players offer a set of internal functions2 available to the end user via this Call Function instruction. Please, see the internal functions table for a complete list.

  • 1. When nothing is returned by the function, the result undefined is pushed on the stack.
  • 2. These are internal objects with function members.

Call Method

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Control
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
82
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 1 (s), pop 1 (o), pop 1 (i), pop i3 (a)
Action Operation: 
s1 := pop();
o2 := pop();
i3 := pop();
for(idx := 4; idx < i3 + 4; ++idx) {
  aidx := pop();
}
if(s1.length) {
  // call method s1
  r := o2.s1(a4, a5, a6...a(i3+3));
}
else {
  // call constructor o2
  r := o2(a4, a5, a6...a(i3+3));
}
push(r);
Action Flash Version: 
5

Pop the name of a method (can be the empty string), pop an object, pop the number of arguments, pop each argument, call the method (function) of the object, push the returned value on the stack.

When the string is empty, the constructor is called. This is used by the system right after a new operator was called and most of the time the return value is simply discarded.

Cast Object

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Objects
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
43
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 1 (o), pop 1 (s), push 1 (o)
Action Operation: 
o1 := pop();
s2 := pop();
r := (s2) o1;
push(r);
Action Flash Version: 
7
See Also: 

The Cast Object action makes sure that the object o1 is an instance of class s2. If it is the case, then o1 is pushed back onto the stack. Otherwise Null is pushed onto the stack.

The comparison is identical to the one applied by the Instance Of action.

Chr (multi-byte)

SWF Action
Action Category: 
String and Characters
Action Details: 
(multi-byte)
Action Identifier: 
55
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 1 (i), push 1 (s)
Action Operation: 
i1 := pop();
r := mbchr(i1);
push(r);
Action Flash Version: 
4
See Also: 

Pop one integer, use it as a multi-byte string character code and push the newly created string on the stack.

The integer can be any number from 0 to 65535, although many codes are not valid characters.

For more information about valid characters, please, check out the Unicode Consortium.

Chr

SWF Action
Action Category: 
String and Characters
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
51
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 1 (i), push 1 (s)
Action Operation: 
i1 := pop();
r := chr(i1);
push(r);
Action Flash Version: 
4

Pops one integer, use it as a ASCII character and push the newly created string on the stack.

The function only works with ASCII characters: a number from 0 to 255, some of which will not work (especially 0).

To generate a USC character, use the multi-byte chr() instruction instead.

Concatenate Strings

SWF Action
Action Category: 
String and Characters
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
33
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 2 (s), push 1 (s)
Action Operation: 
s1 := pop();
s2 := pop();
r := s2 + s1;
push(r);
Action Flash Version: 
4

Pop two strings, concatenate them, push the result on the stack.

Note that the second string is on the left hand side of the concatenation.

Declare Array

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Objects
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
66
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 1 (i), pop i1 (a), push 1 (array)
Action Operation: 
i1 := pop();
for(idx := 2; idx < i1 + 2; ++idx) {
  aidx := pop();
}
arr := new array(i1);
arr[0] := a2;
arr[1] := a3;
...
arr[i1 - 1] := a(i1 + 1);
push(arr);
Action Flash Version: 
5

Pops the number of elements in the array. Pop one value per element and set the corresponding entry in the array. The array is pushed on the stack. It can later be sent to a function or set in a variable.

To set the indices, use the Declare Object instead.

Declare Dictionary

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Objects
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
136
Action Structure: 
unsigned short    f_count;
string   f_dictionary[f_count];
Action Length: 
-1 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
n.a.
Action Operation: 
<n.a.>
Action Flash Version: 
5
See Also: 

Declare an array of strings that will later be retrieved using the Push Data action with a dictionary lookup. There can be a maximum of 65534 strings. The visibility of a dictionary is within its DoAction or other similar block of actions. Note that you should have only one Declare Dictionary. The dictionary is visible from everywhere in the DoAction. In other words, you can access it from functions1, With blocks, try/catch/finally blocks, etc.

When multiple Declare Dictionary actions are used, only the last one found is in force when Push Data actions are encountered.2

Note that a Declare Dictionary is only useful for optimization. A Push Data can be used to push a string on the stack without the need of a Declare Dictionary. In other words, since it requires 2 or 3 bytes in a Push Data to retrieve a string, strings of 1 character are never needed in a dictionary. Also, a string used only once does not need to be in a dictionary. Finally, a Declare Dictionary action requires an extra overhead of 3 bytes3. So if the only thing you have to put in it is a rather small string used twice, again, it may not save you anything.

IMPORTANT NOTE

To ensure proper functionality, it is advised that you put the Declare Dictionary at the very beginning of your blocks of actions and use only one of them. With the limit of 65534 entries, you will first reach the size limit  of the Declare Dictionary and not unlikely of the block of actions. It is therefore not possible that you'd ever exhaust the available size offered by this action.

  • 1. Declare Function and Declare Function 2 both accept accesses to Declare Dictionary.
  • 2. I never tested in a loop. Side effects could very well happen in that case... it may use one or the other when you branch before a Declare Dictionary... TBD
  • 3. One byte for the action code and 2 bytes for the size.

Declare Function (V7)

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Control
Action Details: 
(256 variables)
Action Identifier: 
142
Action Structure: 
string     f_name;
unsigned short   f_arg_count;
unsigned char   f_reg_count;
unsigned short   f_declare_function2_reserved : 7;
unsigned short   f_preload_global : 1;
unsigned short   f_preload_parent : 1;
unsigned short   f_preload_root : 1;
unsigned short   f_suppress_super : 1;
unsigned short   f_preload_super : 1;
unsigned short   f_suppress_arguments : 1;
unsigned short   f_preload_arguments : 1;
unsigned short   f_suppress_this : 1;
unsigned short   f_preload_this : 1;
swf_params   f_params[f_arg_count];
unsigned short   f_function_length;

WARNING: the preload/suppress flags are defined on a short and thus the bytes in a Flash file will look swapped.

Action Length: 
-1 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
n.a.
Action Operation: 
create a function on the current target
Action Flash Version: 
7

Declare a function which can later be called with the Call Function action or Call Method action (when defined as a function member.) The f_function_length1 defines the number of bytes that the function declaration uses after the header (i.e. the size of the actions defined in the function.) All the actions included in this block are part of the function body.

Do not terminate a function with an End action.

A function should terminate with a Return action. The value used by the return statement will be the only value left on the caller stack once the function return. When nothing is defined on the stack, null is returned.

Functions declared with this action code byte also support the use of up to 255 local registers (registers 0 to 254 since the f_reg_count byte specifies the last register which can be used plus one). To access the local registers, use the Push Data action with a load register and to change a register value use the Store Register action.

Also, it is possible to control the preloading or suppressing of the different internal variables: this, arguments, super, _root, _parent and _global. All the function arguments can also be ignored. If you write a compiler, you should preload only the variables which are used in the function body. And you should suppress all the variables that are never being accessed in the function body2. If you are writing a smart player, then you may want to avoid creating the variables until they are actually being used (thus when an if() statement ends the function prematurely, you may end up not creating and deleting many of these variables!)

The preloading bits indicate in which register to load the given internal variable. The suppressing bits indicate which internal variable not to create at all. That is, if the preloading bit is not set and the suppressing is not set, then the internal variables are supposed to be created by name (i.e. you can access a variable named "this" from within the function when bits 0 and 1 are zero.)

The f_reg_count parameter must be specified and it tells the player the largest register number in use in this function. This way it can allocate up to 255 registers on entry. By default, these registers are initialized as undefined. The variables automatically loaded in registers are loaded starting at register 1. The internal variables are loaded in this order: this, arguments3, super, _root, _parent and _global. Thus, if you call a function accepting three user parameters and uses the this and _parent special variables, it will load this in register 1, _parent in register 2 and the user parameters can be loaded in registers 3, 4 and 5. User parameters are loaded in registers only if their corresponding f_param_register field is not zero (see swf_params). Also, they don't need to be defined in order.

Note that system variables are loaded AFTER arguments. This means if you put an argument in register 3 and this register is also used for _root, then within the function the register 3 will be equal to the content of _root and the value of the argument won't be available to you. Compilers will know how to avoid this problem.

  • 1. A function is limited to 65535 bytes.
  • 2. WARNING: note that it is possible to concatenate two strings such as "th" and "is" to generate the name "this" and then do a 'get that variable'. This means a compiler cannot really know whether any of the internal variables are really never going to be used... but who writes code like that, really?!
  • 3. WARNING: the registers used for the user arguments is defined in the swf_param structure, it does not need to be in sequence, but must be after all the other special variables.

Declare Function

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Control
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
155
Action Structure: 
string    f_name;
unsigned short   f_arg_count;
string   f_arg_name[f_arg_count];
unsigned short   f_function_length;
Action Length: 
-1 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
n.a.
Action Operation: 
create function f_name in the current target movie
Action Flash Version: 
5

Declare a function which later can be called with the Call Function action. The f_function_length1 defines the number of bytes that the function declaration takes. All the actions included in this block are part of the function. A function should terminate with a Return action. The value used by the return statement should be the only value left on the caller stack.

Do not terminate a function with an End action

Prior version 6, the Macromedia player would keep all the data pushed in a function as is when the function returned whether there was a Return action or not. This means some functions that worked in version 6 and earlier may not work anymore in newer versions.

Since version 7, it is preferable to use the new type of functions: Declare Function (V7).

This action is applied to the current target. This means you are indeed creating a function member that gets attached to the current movie (sprite).

  • 1. Functions are limited to 65535 bytes in length.

Declare Local Variable

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Variables
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
65
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 1 (s)
Action Operation: 
s1 := pop();
var s1;
Action Flash Version: 
5

Pop a variable name and mark it as a local variable. If the variable does not exist yet, then its value is undefined. To declare and set a local variable at oncw, use the Set Local Variable action instead.

Declare Object

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Objects
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
67
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 1 (i), pop i1 × 2 (a), push 1 (o)
Action Operation: 
i1 := pop();
for(idx := 2; idx <= i1 * 2 + 1; ++idx) {
  aidx := pop();
}
o := new Object;
o.a3 := a2;
o.a5 := a4;
...
o.a(i1 × 2 + 1) := a(i1 × 2);
push(o);
Action Flash Version: 
5

Pop the number of members that will be created in the object. Pop one value and one name1 per member and set the corresponding member in the object. The resulting object is pushed on the stack. It can later be sent to a function, saved in a register or set in a variable.

A declared object  is of type Object instead of being specialized by a specific class. This means the Cast Object will not be useful on such objects.

  • 1. The member names are converted to strings; they certainly should be strings though anything is supported.

Decrement

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Arithmetic
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
81
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 1 (n), push 1 (n)
Action Operation: 
n1 := pop();
r := n1 - 1;
push(r);
Action Flash Version: 
5

Pop one number, subtract 1 from it and push the result back onto the stack.

Delete

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Variables
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
58
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 1 (s), pop 2 (o), push 1 (b)
Action Operation: 
s1 := pop();
o2 := pop();  // undefined or _root or _global for global variables
r := delete(s1, o2);
push(r);
Action Flash Version: 
5

Pop one string representing the name of the property to be deleted. Then pop the object from which the property is to be deleted.

In version 5 through 8, it is necessary to Push Data type undefined (0x03)1 before the string as in:

96 04 00 03 00 'a' 00 3A
delete("a");

to delete a global variable.

According to some movies I have looked at, the delete instruction returns some undefined value. In newer versions, though, the value is supposed to be a Boolean telling whether the object was really deleted (i.e. if false, then another reference is still present.)

  • 1. Since player version 9, deleting a dynamic (global) variable requires _root (or _global) instead of undefined.

Delete All

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Objects
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
59
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 1 (s)
Action Operation: 
s1 := pop();
deleteall(s1);
Action Flash Version: 
5

Pop one string representing the name of the object that gets all of its variable members deleted.

Divide

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Arithmetic
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
13
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 2 (n), push 1 (f)
Action Operation: 
n1 := pop();
n2 := pop();
r := n2 / n1;
push(r);
Action Flash Version: 
4
See Also: 

Pop two values, divide the second by the first and put the result back on the stack.

The numbers are always transformed to floating points. Use the Integral Part action on the result to extract an integer.

Duplicate

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Stack
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
76
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 1 (a), push 2 (a)
Action Operation: 
a1 := pop();
push(a1);
push(a1);
Action Flash Version: 
5
See Also: 

Pop one item and push it back twice.

Note that it is a very good idea to use this action instead of duplicating data in a Push Data.

Duplicate Sprite

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Movie
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
36
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 1 (i), pop 2 (s)
Action Operation: 
i1 := pop();
s2 := pop();
s3 := pop();
duplicate_sprite(s3, s2, i1);
Action Flash Version: 
4

s3 is the name of an existing sprite1 which is copied by this action.

The new sprite is given  the name s2 and is placed at depth i1.

The depth of a duplicated sprite is not used the same way in Flash 4 and Flash 5+. The depth parameter in this function is not clearly documented anywhere, but it looks like you need to have a depth of 16384 or more for a duplicated sprite to work properly (this is not visible to the high level ActionScript users.)

  • 1. Remember that a sprite, movie, thread and other terms that I forget, are all the same thing.

End (action)

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Miscellaneous
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
0
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
0
Action Operation: 
<n.a.>
Action Flash Version: 
1
See Also: 
End

End a record of actions. There are no valid instances where this action is optional.

The End action itself as no meaning other than marking the end of the list of actions. Yet, if reached, the execution of the script ends and is considered complete.

IMPORTANT NOTE

This action ends a complete list of actions. Declare Function, With, try/catch/finally and other blocks of actions are never ended with this action. Instead, internal blocks have a size in bytes1 that is used to determine the end of the block.

This is different from the End tag that is used inside a Sprite to end its list of tags.

Enumerate

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Objects
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
70
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 1 (s), push null, push * (s)
Action Operation: 
s1 := pop();
push(null);
foreach(s1 as name) {
  push(name);
}
Action Flash Version: 
5

Pop the name of an object and push the name of all of its children (methods & variables) back on the stack. The list is null terminated.

This mechanism can be used to implement a foreach() function on an object. Be careful, though, that the stack be 100% cleared when leaving the loop.

This action uses the name of an object. If you have an object reference, use the Enumerate Object action instead.

Enumerate Object

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Objects
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
85
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 1 (o), push null, push * (s)
Action Operation: 
o1 := pop();
push(null);
foreach(o1 as name) {
  push(name);
}
Action Flash Version: 
6

Pop an object from the stack, push a null, then push the name of each variable and function member of that object on the stack.

This mechanism can be used to implement a foreach() function on an object. Be careful, though, that the stack be cleared when leaving the loop.

This action uses an object reference. If you only have the name of the object, use the Enumerate action instead.

Note that internal functions, such as the play() function on a MovieClip1, are enumerated but they cannot really be dealt with easily. Their name is generally not shown (I think that there is a flag one can change to show those name though.)

  • 1. MovieClip is the proper type for a Sprite in an ActionScript.

Equal (typed)

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Comparisons
Action Details: 
(typed)
Action Identifier: 
73
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 2 (a), push 1 (b)
Action Operation: 
a1 := pop();
a2 := pop();
if(is_int(a1) && is_int(a2)) {
  i1 := (int)a1;
  i2 := (int)a2;
  r := i2 == i1;    // compare integers
}
else if(is_numeric(a1) && is_numeric(a2)) {
  f1 := (float)a1;
  f2 := (float)a2;
  r := f2 == f1;    // compare floating points, likely to always return false!
}
else {
  s1 := (string)a1;
  s2 := (string)a2;
  r := s2 == s1;    // compare characters, case sensitive
}
push(r);
Action Flash Version: 
5

Pop two integers, floats or strings, compute whether they are equal and push the Boolean result back on the stack.

The != operator can be simulated using the Logical Not action right after the Equal (typed).

If a mix set of types is popped from the stack, conventional conversions occur. Strings may be transformed to numbers and numbers to strings as with the untyped Equal operator.

Equal

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Comparisons
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
14
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 2 (a), push 1 (b)
Action Operation: 
a1 := pop();
a2 := pop();
r := a2 == a1;
push(r);
Action Flash Version: 
4

Pop two values, compare them for equality and put the Boolean result back on the stack.

The != is created by adding a Logical Not after the Equal action.

The way the values are converted is not clearly documented. The fact is that this operation generally transforms the strings into integers or floating points which is not ECMA Script compliant.

This action should only be used in SWF version 4.

Extends

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Objects
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
105
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 2 (s), push 1 (o)
Action Operation: 
s1 := pop();
s2 := pop();
super_class := s1;
sub_class := s2;
sub_class.prototype := new object;
sub_class.prototype.__proto__ := super_class.prototype;
sub_class.prototype.__constructor__ := super_class;
push(sub_class.prototype);
Action Flash Version: 
7

The Extends action will be used to define a new object extending another object. The declaration in ActionScript is:

class A extends B;

In an SWF action script, you don't exactly declare objects, you actually instantiate them and define their functions. This action creates a new object named s2 which is an extension of the object s1.

Use this action whenever you need to inherit an object without calling its constructor.

FSCommand2

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Miscellaneous
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
45
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 1 (i), pop i1 (s)
Action Operation: 
i1 := pop();
for(idx := 2; idx < i1 + 2; ++i1) {
  sidx := pop();
}
fscommand2(s2, s3, ..., s(i1 + 1));
Action Flash Version: 
8

Execute the external command (s2) passing on parameters (s3, s4 ... sn.) The external command is likely a JavaScript function.

IMPORTANT NOTES

Ammar Mardawi sent a correction for this action and it looks like it works the way it is described now.

As of version 9, this action is not defined in the official Flash documents. It also does not seem to be functional in a movie. In order to run an FSCommand, use the Get URL2 with a URL that starts with "FSCommand:". For example, in an SSWF script:

action {
   push "FSCommand:hidemenu";
   push "_self";
};
action "url";

This Flash code will call the JavaScript function named:

    <flash script name>_DoFSCommand(command, args);

Where the <flash script name> is the name you give your embed tag (name="my_movie" means my_movie_DoFSCommand() is called.)

For instance, you could generate an alert with the following code:

<script type="text/javascript">
  function my_movie_DoFSCommand(command, args)
  {
     alert(command + " was posted!");
  }
</script>
<embed src="movie_no1.swf" name="my_movie" ... ></embed>

Note that the filename does not need to match the name.

Get Member

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Objects
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
78
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 1 (a), pop 1 (o), push 1 (a)
Action Operation: 
a1 := pop();
o2 := pop();
r := o2[a1];
push(r);
Action Flash Version: 
5

Pop one string or an integer (member name), pop an object reference, define the value of that object member and push the result back on the stack.

Objects include some special members such as:

Member Comments
_parent Retrieve the parent object of this object.

Note that in ActionScript these special members are not written with the underscore character. (i.e. you may find this.parent in a script, and parent will be converted to _parent the SWF movie.)

Get Property

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Properties
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
34
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 1 (n), pop 1 (s), push 1 (a)
Action Operation: 
n1 := pop();
s2 := pop();
r := s2[n1];
push(r);
Action Flash Version: 
4

Query the property n1 of the object named s2 (a field in a structure if you wish), and push the result on the stack. Note that since version 5, it is preferable to use Get Member or Call Method when a corresponding variable or function member is available on the object.

The following is the list of currently accepted properties or fields for the Get Property and the Set Property actions. Note that the properties can be specified with either an integer (type 7, requires V5.0+) or a single precision floating point (type 1, V4.0 compatible). And since strings are automatically transformed in a value when required, one can use a string to represent the property number (type 0). It works with a double value, I even tested a Boolean and null and it works. Obviously it isn't a good idea to use these. The default should be a single precision float. Please, see the Push Data action for more information about data types.

WARNING: Adobe is trying to phase out this functionality. It is very likely not working in ABC code and it is not necessary since objects have member functions that can be used for the exact same purpose and it is a lot cleaner to use those instead.

 

Float Decimal Name Comments Version
0x00000000 0 x x position in pixels (not TWIPs!) 4
0x3F800000 1 y y position in pixels (not TWIPs!) 4
0x40000000 2 x scale horizontal scaling factor in percent (50 — NOT 0.5 — represents half the normal size!!!) 4
0x40400000 3 y scale vertical scaling factor in percent (50 — NOT 0.5 — represents half the normal size!!!) 4
0x40800000 4 current frame the very frame being played; one can query the root current frame using an empty string ("") as the name of the object; note that the first current frame is number 1 and the last is equal to the total number of frames; on the other hand, the Goto instruction expects a frame number from 0 to the number of frames - 1 4
0x40A00000 5 number of frames total number of frames in movie/sprite/thread 4
0x40C00000 6 alpha alpha value in percent (50 — NOT 0.5 — means half transparent) 4
0x40E00000 7 visibility whether the object is visible 4
0x41000000 8 width maximum width of the object (scales the object to that width) 4
0x41100000 9 height maximum height of the object (scales the object to that height) 4
0x41200000 10 rotation rotation angle in degrees 4
0x41300000 11 target return the name (full path) of an object; this can be viewed as a reference to that object 4
0x41400000 12 frames loaded number of frames already loaded 4
0x41500000 13 name name of the object 4
0x41600000 14 drop target object over which this object was last dropped 4
0x41700000 15 url URL linked to that object 4
0x41800000 16 high quality whether we are in high quality mode 4
0x41880000 17 show focus rectangle whether the focus rectangle is visible 4
0x41900000 18 sound buffer time position (or pointer) in the sound buffer; useful to synchronize the graphics to the music 4
0x41980000 19 quality what the quality is (0 - Low, 1 - Medium or 2 - High) 5
0x41A00000 20 x mouse current horizontal position of the mouse pointer within the Flash window 5
0x41A80000 21 y mouse current vertical position of the mouse pointer within the Flash window 5
0x46800000 16384 clone this flag has to do with the depth of sprites being duplicated 4

Get Target

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Movie
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
69
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 1 (o), push 1 (s)
Action Operation: 
o1 := pop();
r := target_of(o1);
push(r);
Action Flash Version: 
5

Pop an object, if it is a valid sprite (same as movie or thread), push it's path on the stack.

A sprite path can be used by different other actions such as the Goto Expression.

Get Timer

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Movie
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
52
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
push 1 (n)
Action Operation: 
r := current_movie.get_timer();
push(r);
Action Flash Version: 
4

Get the current movie timer in milliseconds and push it on the stack. The current movie is defined with the Set Target action.

This is equivalent to the number of frames that have been played so far.

This action is similar to Get Property of frames loaded.

Get URL

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Movie
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
131
Action Structure: 
string   f_url;
string   f_target;
Action Length: 
-1 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
n.a.
Action Operation: 
f_target.load(f_url);
Action Flash Version: 
1

Load the specified URL in the specified target window.

When the target is set as "_level0", the current SWF file is replaced by the file specified in the f_url field. The name in the f_url field should be a proper SWF file or the area will simply become black.

When the target is set as "_level1", something special is supposed to happen. I still don't know what it is...
Also the effect of _level1 + an empty URL is ... (to remove level1?)

The URL can be a JavaScript command when the protocol is set to "javascript:". For instance, you can call your function as follow: "javascript:MyFunction(5)". If you want to use dynamic values, you will need to concatenate strings as required and use Get URL2 instead.

The target can also be set to the regular HTML names such as "_top" or a frame name.

Get URL2

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Movie
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
154
Action Structure: 
unsigned char    f_method;
Action Length: 
1 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 2 (s)
Action Operation: 
s1 := pop();
s2 := pop();
s1.load(s2, f_method);
Action Flash Version: 
4

Pop two strings, the URL (s2) and the target name (s1).

All the usual HTML target names seem to be supported (_top, _blank, <frame name>, etc.) You can also use the special internal names _level0 to _level10. _level0 is the current movie. Other levels, I'm still not too sure how these can be used.

Use f_method to tell Flash how to handle the variables (see table below). The variables of the current SWF context can be forwarded to the destination page using GET or POST (this means you can create dynamic forms with full HTML conformance).

It seems that in V4.x (or would it be in V6.x?!? — it doesn't seem to work in V5.x) you could use URL2 to read a text file (with a .txt extension) with a list of variables using something like this:

Push URL "myvars.txt", Target "_level0"; Get URL2;

The syntax of the file myvars.txt is a set of lines defined as a variable name followed by an equal sign and the contents of that variable. If contents of a single variable is more than one line, start the following line(s) with an ampersand to continue that one variable.

The URL can also start with "javascript:" in which case the given browser JavaScript implementation receives the call.

f_method Action
0 <don't send variables>
1 GET
2 POST

IMPORTANT NOTE

The Get URL2 action is the one used to generate an FSCommand21. Please, visit that other action for more information on how to call a JavaScript function from your Flash animation.

  • 1. The FSCommand2 action is not implemented in Flash players. If it is, it does not work for me... If you were able to work it out, send me a sample Flash animation that works with it! Thank you.

Get Variable

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Variables
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
28
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 1 (s), push 1 (a)
Action Operation: 
s1 := pop();
r := *s1;
push(r);
Action Flash Version: 
4

Pop one string, search for a variable of that name, and push its value on the stack. This action first checks for local variables in the current function. If there isn't such a variable, or the execution is not in a function, then the corresponding global variable is read.

The variable name can include sprite names separated by slashes and finished by a colon as in. Only global variables are accessible in this way.

Example:

/Sprite1/Sprite2:MyVar

In this example, the variable named MyVar is queried from the sprite named Sprite2 which resides in Sprite1.

In a browser you can add variables at the end of the movie URL (as defined in the W3C docs) and these will automatically be accessible via this Get Variable action.

Example:

my_movie?language=jp

Defines the variable language and sets it to "jp".

Since Flash V5.x, there are internal variables available to you and these can be read with the Get Variable action.

Goto Expression

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Movie
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
159
Action Structure: 
unsigned char    f_play;
Action Length: 
1 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 1 (a)
Action Operation: 
a1 := pop();
goto(a1);
Action Flash Version: 
4

Pop a value or a string and jump to that frame. Numerical frame numbers start at 0 and go up to the number of frames - 1. When a string is specified, it can include a path to a sprite as in:

/Test:55

When f_play is ON (1), it wakes up that sprite (movie, thread). Otherwise, the frame is shown in stop mode (it does not go past the Show Frame tag.) This action can be used to playback a sprite from another given a set of events.

Goto Frame

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Movie
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
129
Action Structure: 
unsigned short   f_frame_no;
Action Length: 
2 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
n.a.
Action Operation: 
goto(f_frame_no);
Action Flash Version: 
1

The playback continues at the specified frame. Frame numbers start at 0 and go up to to total number of frames - 1.

A frame appears at each new Show Frame tag.

For a goto frame with a dynamic frame number, use the Goto Expression action instead.

Goto Label

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Movie
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
140
Action Structure: 
string   f_label;
Action Length: 
-1 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
n.a.
Action Operation: 
goto(f_label);
Action Flash Version: 
3

Go to a named frame. Frames are given names with the use of the FrameLabel tag.

This action has a behavior similar to a Goto Expression with a string.

Greater Than (typed)

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Comparisons
Action Details: 
(typed)
Action Identifier: 
103
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 2 (a), push 1 (b)
Action Operation: 
a1 := pop();
a2 := pop();
if(is_int(a1) && is_int(a2)) {
  i1 := (int)a1;
  i2 := (int)a2;
  r := i2 > i1;    // compare integers
}
else if(is_numeric(a1) && is_numeric(a2)) {
  f1 := (float)a1;
  f2 := (float)a2;
  r := f2 > f1;    // compare floating points
}
else {
  s1 := (string)a1;
  s2 := (string)a2;
  r := s2 > s1;    // compare characters, case sensitive
}
push(r);
Action Flash Version: 
6

Similar to Swap + Less Than. It checks whether the second parameter is greater than the first and return the Boolean result on the stack.

This is the preferred way of applying the Greater Than and Less Than or Equal, i.e. Not(Greater Than), test since version 5.

Implements

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Objects
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
44
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 1 (o), pop 1 (i), pop i2 (o)
Action Operation: 
o1 := pop();
i2 := pop();
for (idx := 3; idx <= i2 + 2; ++idx) {
  oidx := pop();
}
o1 implements o3, o4, o5, ... , o(i2 +2)
Action Flash Version: 
7

This action declares an object as a sub-class of one or more interfaces. The syntax here is simple, the real implementation is quite unbelievably difficult to fathom.

The following shows you how you can add an implements of interfaces "A" and "B" to the class "C". Notice that class "C" needs to already exist. Here we assume that all classes are defined in the global scope.

	push data "_global"
	get variable
	push data "A"
	get member
	push data "_global"
	get variable
	push data "B"
	get member
	push data 2
	push data "_global"
	get variable
	push data "C"
	get member
	implements

This is useful to pass C as if it were of type A or B which some functions may expect. Frankly, in the old ActionScript scheme functions do not declare the type of their parameters, so it does not matter that much.

Increment

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Arithmetic
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
80
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 1 (n), push 1 (n)
Action Operation: 
n1 := pop();
r := n1 + 1;
push(r);
Action Flash Version: 
5

Pop one number, add 1 to it and push it back on the stack.

Instance Of

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Objects
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
84
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 1 (s), pop 1 (o)
Action Operation: 
s1 := pop();
o2 := pop();
r := o2 instance of s1;
push(r);
Action Flash Version: 
6

Pop the name of a constructor (s1 - ie. "Color") then an object (o2). Checks whether the object is part of the class defined by the named constructor. If so, then true is push on the stack, otherwise false.

Since SWF version 7, it is possible to cast an object to another using the Cast Object action. This action returns a copy of the object or Null, which in many cases can be much more practical.

Integral Part

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Arithmetic
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
24
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 1 (n), push 1 (n)
Action Operation: 
n1 := pop();
r := floor(n1);
push(r);
Action Flash Version: 
4
See Also: 

Pop one value, transform it into an integer, and push the result back on the stack.

The popped value can already be an integer in which case this instruction has no effect.

Other similar features are available in the Math object.

Less Than (typed)

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Comparisons
Action Details: 
(typed)
Action Identifier: 
72
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 2 (a), push 1 (b)
Action Operation: 
a1 := pop();
a2 := pop();
if(is_int(a1) && is_int(a2)) {
  i1 := (int)a1;
  i2 := (int)a2;
  r := i2 < i1;    // compare integers
}
else if(is_numeric(a1) && is_numeric(a2)) {
  f1 := (float)a1;
  f2 := (float)a2;
  r := f2 < f1;    // compare floating points
}
else {
  s1 := (string)a1;
  s2 := (string)a2;
  r := s2 < s1;    // compare characters, case sensitive
}
push(r);
Action Flash Version: 
5

Pop two integers, floats, or strings, compute whether they are ordered from smaller to larger and push the Boolean result back on the stack.

It is possible to test whether two values are Greater Than or Equal using the Logical Not operator on the result of Less Than. The Greater Than (typed) operator is used to support the other two comparison operators (thus eliminating the need to swap the top of the stack as in version 4.)

Less Than

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Comparisons
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
15
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 2 (a), push 1 (b)
Action Operation: 
a1 := pop();
a2 := pop();
r := a2 < a1;
push(r);
Action Flash Version: 
4

Pop two values, compare them for inequality and put the Boolean result back on the stack.

Other comparison operators:

  • Less Than or Equal (n2 <= n1)
Swap + Less Than + Logical Not
  • Greater Than or Equal (n2 >= n1)
Less Than + Logical Not
  • Greater Than (n2 > n1)
Swap + Less Than

Note that this operator should only be used in version 4. Since version 5, it is better to use Less Than (typed) or Greater Than (typed).

Logical And

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Logical and Bitwise
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
16
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 2 (b), push 1 (b)
Action Operation: 
b1 := pop();
b2 := pop();
r := b2 && b1;
push(r);
Action Flash Version: 
4

Pop two values, compute the Logical AND and put the Boolean result back on the stack.

b1 b2 Result
false false false
true false false
false true false
true true true
Logical AND table

IMPORTANT NOTE

If b2 is the result of a function call and b1 is false, then that function should not be called. With this action, however, b1 and b2 are just Boolean values on the stack. So to properly implement a Logical AND in your compiler you want to do something like this:

call f1       // b1 does not need to come from a function call
duplicate
logical not
branch if true, skip
call f2
logical and   // we could also pop just before calling f2
label skip:

Logical Not

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Logical and Bitwise
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
18
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 1 (b), push 1 (b)
Action Operation: 
b1 := pop();
r := ! b1;
push(r);
Action Flash Version: 
4

Pop one value, compute the Logical NOT and put the result back on the stack.

b1 Result
false true
true false
Logical NOT table

This operator is often used in combination with the comparison operations to generate the opposite.

Logical Or

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Logical and Bitwise
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
17
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 2 (b), push 1 (b)
Action Operation: 
b1 := pop();
b2 := pop();
r := b2 || b1;
push(r);
Action Flash Version: 
4

Pop two values, compute the Logical OR and put the Boolean result back on the stack.

b1 b2 Result
false false false
true false true
false true true
true true true
Logical OR table

 

IMPORTANT NOTE

If b2 is the result of a function call and b1 is true, then that function should not be called. This action, however, is just that. It expects two Boolean, b1 and b2, on the stack. So to properly implement  the Logical Or in your compiler, you want to test the result of each function call. There is a sample implementation:

call f1       // b1 does not need to come from a function call
duplicate
branch if true, skip
call f2
logical or    // we could also pop just before call f2
label skip:

Modulo

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Arithmetic
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
63
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 2 (n), push 1 (n)
Action Operation: 
n1 := pop();
n2 := pop();
if(is_integer(n1) && is_integer(n2)) {
  r := i2 % i1;
}
else {
  r := f2 % f1;   // in C it would be fmod(f2, f1)
}
push(r);
Action Flash Version: 
5
See Also: 

Pop two numbers, compute the modulo and push the result back on the stack.

Note that the operator can compute a floating point modulo (in case at least one of the parameters is a floating point.)

Multiply

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Arithmetic
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
12
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 2 (n), push 1 (n)
Action Operation: 
n1 := pop();
n2 := pop();
r := n2 * n1;
push(r);
Action Flash Version: 
4
See Also: 

Pop two values, multiply them and put the result back on the stack.

New

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Objects
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
64
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 1 (s), pop 1 (i), pop i2 (a)
Action Operation: 
s1 := pop();
i2 := pop();
for(idx := 3; idx <= i2 + 2; ++idx) {
  aidx := pop();
}
o := new s1;
o.s1(a3, a4, ... a(i2 + 2));
push(o);
Action Flash Version: 
5

Pop the class name for the new object to create. Pop the number of arguments. Pop each argument (if i2 is zero, then no arguments are popped.) Create an object of class s1. Call the constructor function (which has the same name as the object class: s1). The result of the constructor is discarded. Push the created object on the stack. The object should then be saved in a variable or object member.

New Method

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Objects
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
83
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 2 (s), pop 1 (i), pop i3 (a), push (o)
Action Operation: 
s1 := pop();
s2 := pop();
i3 := pop();
for(idx := 4; idx <= i3 + 3; ++idx) {
  aidx := pop();
}
o := new s2;
if (s1.length > 0) {
  o.s1(a4, a5, a6, ... , a(i3 + 3));
}
else {
   o.s2(a4, a5, a6, ... , a(i3 + 3));
}
push(o);
Action Flash Version: 
5

Pop the name of a method (can be the empty string), pop an object1 (created with the Declare Object,) pop the number of arguments, pop each argument, create a new object, then call the specified method (function s1 if defined, otherwise function s2) as the constructor function of the object, push the returned value on the stack. This allows for overloaded constructors as in C++.

  • 1. Yes. This contradicts the definition above. I will have to confirm which is correct.

Next Frame

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Movie
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
4
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
n.a.
Action Operation: 
goto(current frame + 1);
Action Flash Version: 
1

Go to the next frame. This means the next Show Frame tag will be hit. This action does not change the play status.

Number

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Arithmetic
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
74
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 1 (a), push 1 (n)
Action Operation: 
a1 := pop();
r := a1.valueOf();
push(a1);
Action Flash Version: 
5

Pop one item and transform it into a number (integer or floating point.) If a1 is already a number, it is simply pushed back on the stack.

For strings it works as you would expect (see the strtof(3C) manual pages).

For a user defined object, the method named valueOf() is called. You can declare that function on your own objects to get this action to retrieve the value.

Or

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Logical and Bitwise
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
97
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 2 (i), push 1 (i)
Action Operation: 
i1 := pop();
i2 := pop();
r := i2 | i1;
push(r);
Action Flash Version: 
5

Pop two integers, compute the bitwise OR and push the result back on the stack.

Ord (multi-byte)

SWF Action
Action Category: 
String and Characters
Action Details: 
(multi-byte)
Action Identifier: 
54
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 1 (s), push 1 (i)
Action Operation: 
s1 := pop();
r := s1[0];
push(r);
Action Flash Version: 
4

Pops one string, compute the multi-byte value of its first character and put it on the stack.

In Flash, multi-byte characters are limited to 16 bits (UCS-2).

Ord

SWF Action
Action Category: 
String and Characters
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
50
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 1 (s), push 1 (i)
Action Operation: 
s1 := pop();
r = s1[0];
push(r);
Action Flash Version: 
4

Pop one string, compute the ASCII value of its first character and put it back on the stack.

This function does not take UTF-8 in account. In other words, it can be used to parse a string byte per byte. To get the UTF-8 value of characters, use the Ord (multi-byte) instead.

Play

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Movie
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
6
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
n.a.
Action Operation: 
target_movie.play();
Action Flash Version: 
1

Enter the standard (default) auto-loop playback. The action only affects the current target.

To stop the playback, use the Stop action.

Pop

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Stack
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
23
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 1 (a)
Action Operation: 
pop();
Action Flash Version: 
4
See Also: 

Pop one value from the stack and ignore it. This action is often used to simulate a procedure (versus a function.) Whenever you call a function, and the result has to be ignored, the pop action is used.

Previous Frame

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Movie
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
5
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
n.a.
Action Operation: 
goto(current frame - 1);
Action Flash Version: 
1

Go to the previous frame. This is the opposite of the Next Frame action.

Push Data

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Stack
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
150
Action Structure: 
struct {
	unsigned char   f_type
	<type>          f_data
} f_push_data[<variable>];
Action Length: 
-1 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
push <variable> (a)
Action Operation: 
a1 = f_data[0];1
push(a1);
a2 = f_data[1];
push(a2);
a3 = f_data[2];
push(a3);
...
an = f_data[n];
push(an);
  • 1. Notice that the first data in the action is the last accessible on your stack.
Action Flash Version: 
4
See Also: 

Push some immediate data on the stack. This action was introduced in V4.0. The supported data types vary depending on the version of the player you have. As many values as necessary can be pushed at once. The f_push_data structure will be repeated multiple times as required. For instance, to push two strings on the stack at once, you would use the following code:

96
0C 00
00 't' 'e' 's' 't' 00
00 'm' 'o' 'r' 'e' 00

Most of the time, it is a good idea to push more data and then use the Swap action to reorder. Extra PushData actions require at least 3 bytes when the Swap action is only one.

The following is the table of types accepted in this action:

ID Name Data Comments Version
0x00 String
string	f_string
Push a string on the stack. 4
0x01 Float
(32 bits)
float	f_float;
Push a 32 bits IEEE floating point value on the stack. This type can be used to specify a Property reference. Note that the property reference will be saved as a floating point value though only the integral part will be used. 4
0x02 NULL <none> Push NULL on the stack. This very looks like zero (0) except that it can be used as an object pointer. 5
0x03 Undefined <none> Push an undefined object on the stack. This is not a string, integer, float or Boolean. It simply is an undefined element. Any operation on an undefined element yields undefined except an equal comparison (and some operations such as a Pop). 5
0x04 Register
unsigned char	f_register;
Push the content of the given register on the stack. In the main thread, you have 4 registers in SWF (number 0, 1, 2 and 3). Since SWF version 7, it is possible to use up to 256 registers in a Declare Function (V7). However, outside such a function, the limit is the same. To set a register, use the Store Register action. 5
0x05 Boolean
unsigned char	f_boolean;
Push a Boolean value on the stack (f_boolean needs to be 0 or 1). 5
0x06 Double
(64 bits)
unsigned char	f_value[8];
An IEEE double value saved in a strange way. The following gives you the C code used to read these double values.
double	result;
char	value[8];

value[4] = ReadByte(input_stream);
value[5] = ReadByte(input_stream);
value[6] = ReadByte(input_stream);
value[7] = ReadByte(input_stream);
value[0] = ReadByte(input_stream);
value[1] = ReadByte(input_stream);
value[2] = ReadByte(input_stream);
value[3] = ReadByte(input_stream);

result = * (double *) value;
5
0x07 Integer
unsigned long	f_integer;
Push an integer on the stack. 5
0x08 Dictionary Lookup
unsigned char	f_reference;
Push a string as declared with a Declare Dictionary action. The very first string in a dictionary has reference 0. There can only be up to 256 strings push with this instruction. 5
0x09 Large Dictionary Lookup
unsigned short	f_reference;
Push a string as declared with a Declare Dictionary action. The very first string in a dictionary has reference 0. There can be up to 65534 strings pushed this way. Note that the strings 0 to 255 should use the type 0x08 instead. 5

Random

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Arithmetic
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
48
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 1 (n), push 1 (i)
Action Operation: 
n1 := pop();
r := random(n1);
push(r);
Action Flash Version: 
4
See Also: 

Pop one number representing the maximum value (not included) that the random() function can return, push the generated value on the stack. n1 should not be zero or negative.

Since version 5, you should use the Math.rand() member function instead of this action.

Remove Sprite

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Movie
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
37
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 1 (s)
Action Operation: 
s1 := pop();
remove(s1);
Action Flash Version: 
4

Pop the string s1 representing the name of the sprite (movie, thread) to be removed from your display list.

It is not possible to remove the root movie with this action. To do so, you want to load another movie with the Get URL or Get URL2 actions.

Return

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Control
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
62
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 1 (a) [in current function], push 1 (a) [in caller's function]
Action Operation: 
[in current function]
a1 := pop();
return a1;1

[in caller's function]
push(a1);
  • 1. Since Flash player version 8, the return instruction also makes sure to clear all the data still available on the stack.
Action Flash Version: 
5

Pop one object and return it to the caller. The result is stacked on the caller's stack, not the stack of the function returning.

Note that up to version 8, your functions could push multiple entries and return all of them to the caller. Since it is not compatible anymore (and it was never supposed to work that way,) it is strongly suggested that you avoid that practice. Instead use a Declare Array action.

Set Local Variable

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Variables
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
60
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 1 (a), pop 1 (s)
Action Operation: 
a1 := pop();
s2 := pop();
*s2 := a1;
Action Flash Version: 
5

Pop a value and a local variable name. Create or set a local variable of that name with the (initial) value as specified. The same local variable can safely be set in this way multiple times. To only declare a local variable (i.e. no default value to initialize the variable,) use the Declare Local Variable instead.

Note that the Get Variable action automatically gets a local variable if it exists. In order to still access a global variable, use the path syntax as in "/my_var".

Instead of local variables, it is also possible to use registers. There are 4 in Flash versions 4 through 6. Since version 7, you have access to 254 registers in Declare Function (V7). Remember, however, that if you tell users that they can always access a variable by name, then they could dynamically generate the name in which case changing such a variable into a register will break their code.

Set Member

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Objects
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
79
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 2 (a), pop 1 (o)
Action Operation: 
a1 := pop();
a2 := pop();
o3 := pop();
o3[a2] = a1;
Action Flash Version: 
5

Pop a value a1 representing the new member value.

Pop one string or integer a2 representing the name of the member to modified or create.

Finally, pop an object reference o3.

If the member a2 doesn't exists yet, create it.

Finally, sets the object member a2 to the value a1.

To read the value of a member see the Get Member action.

Set Property

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Movie
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
35
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 2 (a), pop 1 (s)
Action Operation: 
a1 := pop();
a2 := pop();
s3 := pop();
s3[a2] = a1;
Action Flash Version: 
4

Pop a value from the stack representing the new property value.

Pop the name of the property to be changed. Note that the property scheme is from version 4 and as such the property name can be represented by a number. Older version actually only accepted floating point numbers.

Finally, pop the name of the object where the specified field property is modified.

The following is the list of currently accepted properties or fields for the Get Property and the Set Property actions. Note that the properties can be specified with either an integer (type 7, requires V5.0+) or a single precision floating point (type 1, V4.0 compatible). And since strings are automatically transformed in a value when required, one can use a string to represent the property number (type 0). It works with a double value, I even tested a Boolean and null and it works. Obviously it isn't a good idea to use these. The default should be a single precision float. Please, see the Push Data action for more information about data types.

WARNING: Adobe is trying to phase out this functionality. It is very likely not working in ABC code and it is not necessary since objects have member functions that can be used for the exact same purpose and it is a lot cleaner to use those instead.

 

Float Decimal Name Comments Version
0x00000000 0 x x position in pixels (not TWIPs!) 4
0x3F800000 1 y y position in pixels (not TWIPs!) 4
0x40000000 2 x scale horizontal scaling factor in percent (50 — NOT 0.5 — represents half the normal size!!!) 4
0x40400000 3 y scale vertical scaling factor in percent (50 — NOT 0.5 — represents half the normal size!!!) 4
0x40800000 4 current frame the very frame being played; one can query the root current frame using an empty string ("") as the name of the object; note that the first current frame is number 1 and the last is equal to the total number of frames; on the other hand, the Goto instruction expects a frame number from 0 to the number of frames - 1 4
0x40A00000 5 number of frames total number of frames in movie/sprite/thread 4
0x40C00000 6 alpha alpha value in percent (50 — NOT 0.5 — means half transparent) 4
0x40E00000 7 visibility whether the object is visible 4
0x41000000 8 width maximum width of the object (scales the object to that width) 4
0x41100000 9 height maximum height of the object (scales the object to that height) 4
0x41200000 10 rotation rotation angle in degrees 4
0x41300000 11 target return the name (full path) of an object; this can be viewed as a reference to that object 4
0x41400000 12 frames loaded number of frames already loaded 4
0x41500000 13 name name of the object 4
0x41600000 14 drop target object over which this object was last dropped 4
0x41700000 15 url URL linked to that object 4
0x41800000 16 high quality whether we are in high quality mode 4
0x41880000 17 show focus rectangle whether the focus rectangle is visible 4
0x41900000 18 sound buffer time position (or pointer) in the sound buffer; useful to synchronize the graphics to the music 4
0x41980000 19 quality what the quality is (0 - Low, 1 - Medium or 2 - High) 5
0x41A00000 20 x mouse current horizontal position of the mouse pointer within the Flash window 5
0x41A80000 21 y mouse current vertical position of the mouse pointer within the Flash window 5
0x46800000 16384 clone this flag has to do with the depth of sprites being duplicated 4

Set Target (dynamic)

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Movie
Action Details: 
(dynamic)
Action Identifier: 
32
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 1 (s)
Action Operation: 
s1 := pop();
set_target(s1);
Action Flash Version: 
3

Pop one string from the stack. If the string is the empty string, then the next actions apply to the main movie. Otherwise it is the name of a Sprite1 and the followings actions apply to that Sprite only. (Note that some actions, like the Set Target action, are always used globally.)

This was the old mechanism used to apply actions to a given Sprite. Since version 5, it is preferable to see Sprites as objects and manipulate them using method calls and variables (see Call Method and Get Member actions.)

  • 1. Note that the name of a sprite is specified in the PlaceObject2 tag so as to be able to include the same DefineSprite tag multiple times and still be able to distinguish each instance.

Set Target

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Movie
Action Details: 
(dynamic)
Action Identifier: 
139
Action Structure: 
string   f_target;
Action Length: 
-1 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
n.a.
Action Operation: 
set_target(f_target);
Action Flash Version: 
1

If the string f_target is the empty string, then the next actions apply to the main movie.

Otherwise it is the name of a Sprite and the followings actions apply to that Sprite only.

In order to use a dynamic name for the target, use Set Target (dynamic) instead.

Note that this action should not be used since SWF version 5 where you can instead access the movie members (i.e. view Sprites as objects with data members and functions.) For instance, to call the play() function on a Sprite, one can use this code:

  push data 0;
  push data "this";
  get variable;
  push data "_parent";
  get member;
  push data "play";
  call method;

This is equivalent to: this._parent.play(), or a Set Target of the parent object and a Play action.

Set Variable

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Variables
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
29
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 1 (a), pop 1 (s)
Action Operation: 
a1 = pop();
s2 = pop();
*s2 := a1;
Action Flash Version: 
4

Pop one value and one string, set the variable of that name with that value.

If this instruction is executed inside a function and a local variable of that name exists, then that local variable value is changed (as long as the name is not a full path name.) Note that to make sure that you set a local variable, it is a good idea to use the Set Local Variable action instead.

Nothing is pushed back on the stack. Variable names can be full paths as defined in the Get Variable action.

Shift Left

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Arithmetic
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
99
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 2 (i), push 1 (i)
Action Operation: 
i1 = pop();
i2 = pop();
r := i2 << i1;
push(r);
Action Flash Version: 
5

Pop two integers, shift the 2nd one by the number of bits specified by the first integer and push the result back on the stack.

The second integer will be masked and only the number of bits considered useful will be used to do the shift (most certainly 5 or 6 bits.)

This action ignores the sign of the number being shifted (it gets lost.)

Shift Right

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Arithmetic
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
100
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 2 (i), push 1 (i)
Action Operation: 
i1 := pop();
i2 := pop();
r := i2 >> i1;
push(r);
Action Flash Version: 
5

Pop two integers, shift the 2nd signed integer by the number of bits specified by the first integer and push the result back on the stack.

To right shift an unsigned integer, use Shift Right Unsigned instead.

This action repeats the sign bit of the integer being shifted. This means negative numbers remain negative and positive numbers remain positive.

Shift Right Unsigned

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Arithmetic
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
101
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 2 (i), push 1 (i)
Action Operation: 
i1 := pop();
i2 := pop();
r := i2 >>> i1;
push(r);
Action Flash Version: 
5
See Also: 

Pop two integers, shift the 2nd unsigned integer by the number of bits specified by the first integer and push the result back on the stack.

To shift a signed integer to the right, use the Shift Right action instead.

This action will transform all the input numbers to positive numbers (as long as the shift is at least 1.)

Start Drag

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Movie
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
39
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 1 (s), pop 2 (b), if (b3) { pop 4 (n) }
Action Operation: 
s1 := pop();
b2 := pop();
b3 := pop();
if(b3) {
    n4 := pop();
    n5 := pop();
    n6 := pop();
    n7 := pop();
    s1.start_drag(b2, n4, n5, n6, n7);
}
else {
    s1.start_drag(b2);
}
Action Flash Version: 
4
See Also: 

Pop a target (sprite, movie, thread) name s1.

Pop a first Boolean b2, which, when true, means that the mouse pointer is locked to the center of the object being dragged.

Pop a second Boolean b3, which when true means that the mouse pointer is constrained to the specified rectangle1 (n4 to n7, representing y2, x2, y1, x1.)

Once this function was called, the object attached to the mouse pointer will follow the mouse until a Stop Drag action is applied or another object is defined as the object being dragged with another Start Drag.

  • 1. The rectangle is not defined when b3 is false.

Stop

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Movie
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
7
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
n.a.
Action Operation: 
stop();
Action Flash Version: 
5

Stop playing the current target (remain on the same Show Frame.)

Only a button, another script, or the plugin menu can be used to restart the movie.

Stop Drag

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Movie
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
40
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
n.a.
Action Operation: 
stop_drag();
Action Flash Version: 
4
See Also: 

Stop the current drag operation. If this action is run when no drag operation is in effect, it has no effect.

To start a drag operation, use the Start Drag action.

Stop Sound

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Sound
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
9
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
n.a.
Action Operation: 
stop_sound();
Action Flash Version: 
2

This action is a global action that stops all sound effects at once.

Store Register

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Variables
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
135
Action Structure: 
unsigned char   f_register;
Action Length: 
1 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 1 (a), push 1 (a)
Action Operation: 
a1 := pop();
target.g_register[f_register] = a1;
push(a1);
Action Flash Version: 
5

Pop one value from the stack, push it back on the stack and also store it in one of 4 or 256 registers which number is specified in the tag (0, 1, 2 or 3 only if not in a Declare Function (V7). I tried other numbers and they don't work in SWF version 6 or older.) Until set a register has the value undefined. The value of a register can be retrieved with a Push Data action and the register type with the matching register number.

(To be tested) It is likely that trying to read a register which is not legal in a Declare Function (V7) will generate an exception (Yes! A Throw!) but I wouldn't be surprised if you just get undefined.

Strict Equal

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Comparisons
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
102
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 2 (a), push 1 (b)
Action Operation: 
a1 := pop();
a2 := pop();
r := a1 === a2;
push(r);
Action Flash Version: 
6

Pops two values and return whether they are strictly equal. No cast is applied to either s1 or s2. Thus two items of different type are not equal (0 == "0" is true, but 0 === "0" is false.)

Strict Mode

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Control
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
137
Action Structure: 
unsigned char   f_strict;
Action Length: 
1 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
n.a.
Action Operation: 
strict_mode(f_strict);
Action Flash Version: 
5

Set the strict mode (f_strict != 0) or reset the strict mode (f_strict == 0).

The strict mode is used with arithmetic and comparison operators and some other such ActionScript features.

String

SWF Action
Action Category: 
String and Characters
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
75
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 1 (a), push 1 (s)
Action Operation: 
a1 := pop();
r := a1.toString();
push(r);
Action Flash Version: 
5

Pops one item and transform it into a string.

For strings, this action has no effect.

For numbers, it works as expected, it transforms them in a string (see the sprintf(3C) manual pages).

For a user defined object, the method named toString() is called.

This is similar to a Cast Object operation, although it is available in version 5 and obviously it only works for strings. It is most certainly preferable to use a Cast Object operation since version 7.

String Equal

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Comparisons
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
19
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 2 (s), push 1 (b)
Action Operation: 
s1 := pop();
s2 := pop();
r := s2 == s1;
push(r);
Action Flash Version: 
4

Pops two strings, compute the equality and put the Boolean result back on the stack.

IMPORTANT

The true meaning of this operator was to apply the String cast to both values, then compare the result as strings. This is not really good JavaScript as per ECMA, so later Macromedia added the strict comparison operators instead. This is why this action should only be used in a Version 4 of SWF. Newer versions should use Strict Equal or plain Equal.

String Greater Than

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Comparisons
Action Details: 
(typed)
Action Identifier: 
104
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 2 (s), push 1 (b)
Action Operation: 
s1 := pop();
s2 := pop();
r := s2 > s1;
push(r);
Action Flash Version: 
6

Similar to Swap + String Less Than although not exactly the same.

It checks whether the second string is greater than the first and return the Boolean result on the stack.1

IMPORTANT

The true meaning of this operator was to apply the String cast to both values, then compare the values as strings. This is not really good JavaScript as per ECMA, so later Macromedia added the strict comparison operators instead. This is why this action should never be used. Instead, one should use Greater Than (typed) and the Cast Object operator as required.

  • 1. I'm not too sure why Macromedia introduced this action in SWF version 6.

String Length (multi-byte)

SWF Action
Action Category: 
String and Characters
Action Details: 
(multi-byte)
Action Identifier: 
49
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 1 (s), push 1 (i)
Action Operation: 
s1 := pop();
r := s1.length;
push(r);
Action Flash Version: 
4
See Also: 

Pop one multi-byte string, push its length in actual character on the stack.

This action works as expected with plain ASCII and international UTF-8 strings.

String Length

SWF Action
Action Category: 
String and Characters
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
20
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 1 (s), push 1 (i)
Action Operation: 
s1 := pop();
r := strlen(s1);
push(r);
Action Flash Version: 
4

Pops one string and push its length in bytes on the stack.

This instruction can be used to get the size of a binary buffer represented by a string. For a real string with characters, it is preferable to use the String Length (multi-byte) instruction instead.

IMPORTANT NOTE

This action will not return the proper number of characters if the input string includes multi-byte UTF-8 characters.

String Less Than

SWF Action
Action Category: 
String and Characters
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
41
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 2 (s), push 1 (b)
Action Operation: 
s1 := pop();
s2 := pop();
r := s2 < s1;
push(r);
Action Flash Version: 
4

Pop two strings, compare them, push the Boolean result back on the stack.

This operation was available since version 4 of SWF. Since Macromedia introduced String Greater Than (typed) in version 6, it is likely that this operator is expected to legally be used, although it seems to me that the Less Than (typed) action should be used instead.

SubString (multi-byte)

SWF Action
Action Category: 
String and Characters
Action Details: 
(multi-byte)
Action Identifier: 
53
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 2 (i), pop 1 (s), push 1 (s)
Action Operation: 
i1 := pop();
i2 := pop();
s3 := pop();
r := s3[i2 .. i2 + i1 - 1];
push(r);
Action Flash Version: 
4
See Also: 

Pop a multi-byte string s3, get i1 characters from the position i2 (1 based) and push the result back on the stack.

The start position is given in characters. This action works properly with international characters.

i1 is expected to be positive or zero.

Since version 5, the String object substr(), substring() or slice() functions should be used instead.

SubString

SWF Action
Action Category: 
String and Characters
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
21
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 2 (i), pop 1 (s), push 1 (s)
Action Operation: 
i1 := pop();
i2 := pop();
s3 := pop();
r := s3[i2 .. i2 + i1 - 1];
push(r);
Action Flash Version: 
4

Pop two values and one string, the first value is the new string size (at most that many characters) and the second value is the index (1 based) of the first character to start the copy from. The resulting string is pushed back on the stack.

Since version 5, the String object substr(), substring() or slice() functions should be used instead.

IMPORTANT NOTE

This action acts on bytes, not UTF-8 characters. In other words, it does not work with international text. For that purpose use the SubString (multi-byte) action instead.

Subtract

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Arithmetic
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
11
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 2 (n), push 1 (n)
Action Operation: 
n1 := pop();
n2 := pop();
r := n2 - n1;
push(r);
Action Flash Version: 
4

This action pops two values, subtract the first one from the second and put the result back on the stack.

Swap

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Stack
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
77
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 2 (a), push 2 (a)
Action Operation: 
a1 := pop();
a2 := pop();
push(a1);
push(a2);
Action Flash Version: 
5
See Also: 

Pop two items and push them back the other way around.

This action is very useful when you just called a function and need to swap that parameter with the previous function call when all you should have to do is call.

Throw

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Control
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
42
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 1 (a)
Action Operation: 
a1 := pop();
throw a1;
Action Flash Version: 
7
See Also: 
Try

This action pops one item from the stack and returns its value as the exception parameter. You can catch exceptions using the Try action.

Toggle Quality

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Movie
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
8
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
n.a.
Action Operation: 
if (_root.quality == HIGH_QUALITY) {
  _root.set_quality(LOW_QUALITY);
}
else {
  _root.set_quality(HIGH_QUALITY);
}
Action Flash Version: 
1

Change the quality level from low to high and vice versa. At this time, not sure what happens if you use medium!

Note that the quality is defined on the root only and affects the entire output.

Newer SWF versions (since version 5) should use the movie quality variable member instead of this direct action.

Trace

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Miscellaneous
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
38
Action Structure: 
<n.a.>
Action Length: 
0 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
pop 1 (s)
Action Operation: 
s1 := pop();
trace(s1);
Action Flash Version: 
4

Print out string s1 in the debugger output window. Ignored otherwise.

Note that action can considerably slow down your animation. You should only use is sporadically and remove it from final animations.

Try

SWF Action
Action Category: 
Control
Action Details: 
0
Action Identifier: 
143
Action Structure: 
unsigned char     f_try_reserved : 5;
unsigned char     f_catch_in_register : 1;
unsigned char     f_finally : 1;
unsigned char     f_catch : 1;
unsigned short    f_try_size;
unsigned short    f_catch_size;
unsigned short    f_finally_size;
if(f_catch_in_register == 0) {
  string                   f_catch_name;
}
else {
  unsigned char    f_catch_register;
}
Action Length: 
-1 byte(s)
Action Stack: 
n.a.
Action Operation: 
try { ... }
catch(name) { ... }
finally { ... }