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Appendix B — History of the SSWF reference

Dec 2, 2009

Moved the monolithic documentation to a multi-page hierarchical document that includes everything we had before plus many links, many terms attached to all pages (tags, English words.) And revision of most of the text for better English and clarification in some places.

Strengthen the formatting with CCK fields so all declarations look alike.

Broken up the actions from one large table to a set of pages.

Dec 14, 2008

Started work on the Load() feature of the SSWF library. This helped fixing several small mistakes in the documentation.

May 18, 2008

Fixed the ...

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.

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 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.

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.

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 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.

PlaceObject2

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
26
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
3
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 ...

DefineBitsLossless

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
20
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
2
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

SoundStreamBlock

Tag Info
Tag Number: 
19
Tag Type: 
Define
Tag Flash Version: 
2
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.