Install DragonBones Extension in Adobe Flash CC

I just launched my first game Space Vyper in Android platform last October 2014 and I felt very happy for it =) I am now ready to take on another project and I want to utilize a technique dubbed as 2D skeleton animation. Traditional spritesheet is good but the advantages offered by the 2D skeleton is quite tempting to try. So I have searched for the latest software that the industry has to offer. Many says that Spine by esotericsoftware is good, along with the spriter by brashmonkey.com and I did try them both. Unfortunately, I cannot make Spine trial version work in my notebook and it says that I have OpenGL issues. I have also tried Spriter and it works ok but when I try to save the test project, the trial version crashes and leave me with nothing.

After that, I have returned to my Chrome browser and searched for another software that is similar to the two mentioned above. The feature that I am looking for, aside from the skeleton based animation is to be able to export the PNG into atlas type of output accompanied by some sort of JSON or XML data. Luckily, I have bumped into DragonBones, an Adobe Flash extension that is Open Source and totally free of charge (kudos to its developers). I am very excited of installing the said extension to my Adobe Flash CC but unluckily, I have encountered several issues. First issue, I don’t know where to install it =| There is a guide in its official website but its lacking in details and I believe that it is not been updated recently. So my quest on How to Install DragonBones Extension in Adobe Flash CC began.

dragonbones-banner

I go back again to our friendly neighborhood Google to search for some answers, then I found out that the Adobe Extension Manager CC was needed for it to be installed (it is an extension after all =). So I have downloaded the extension manager and installed it. I was very excited to see DragonBones up and running, I immediately opened the software and browsed for the DragonBonesDesignPanel.zxp file (which is found inside the DragonBones archive package) and tried to install it but then again, bumped to another issue! A message that says like “Adobe Flash Player 11 is required to continue…” appeared. In response, I did check my Adobe Flash Player version in the program list of Windows 8 x64 and to my surprise, I have version 11 and why it isn’t working is very weird. So I speculated that it might be just looking for a higher version of Flash Player so I downloaded version 15, but still it still didn’t work. So I uninstalled that version and downloaded Adobe Flash 11 again from here. So guess what? Did it work? You guess right –> of course NO =|

Whoaah! not again…Things like this happens always and be ready to embrace it. So I have conducted an investigation in the Flash related software installed and I did notice some important clue, my Flash doesn’t appear in the Extension Manager window, so maybe that is it! I have speculated that the registry info of Adobe Flash CC x64 got corrupted in some way or another, which is why it doesn’t appear or register in the extension manager. So below is what I did next:

1. Uninstalled Adobe Extension Manager CC

2. Uninstalled Adobe Flash CC x64

3. Reinstalled Adobe Flash CC x64

4. Reinstalled Adobe Extension Manager  CC

After those cumbersome steps above, I managed to make Flash CC appear in the Extension Manager application list, so is that it? Well out of excitement, I immediately opened the DragonBonesDesignPanel.zxp file via Extension Manager and tried to installed it. Then again it warns “Adobe Flash Player 11 is required to continue…” What on Earth is this issue? Its not funny anymore… I am tired, furious and about to give up… But hey, all those effort will be lost if I stop, so I picked myself up and convince it to try to look for more answer. Once again, I have made an investigation. Nothings wrong anymore in my config so what the hell is the problem? What I did as another desperate attempt is to look for another extension, yeah that’s right… It would be a good idea to do such thing. If another extension works then most probably, the DragonBones extension is the problem itself or something within it. So I did download another extension from here and installed it, as I have guessed, it did work this time for another extension. So should we call it end of the line? I will never be able to install DragonBones in the first place because it has the issue within itself!

But guess what? I still didn’t give up (what a persistent fool I am =) I have scoured for a way to open the .ZXP file and out of my trial and error, I did manage to open it using 7-zip file archiver. If you try to open an .ZXP, you will notice a file with an extension of .MXI (in XML like format), which is the file that we need to tinker with. I extracted and opened the working extension’s .MXI file in Notepad++ and found the line <product name=”Flash” version=”12″ /> What the? It requires version 12 and works in ver. 11? Crazy! So i did check the .MXI of DragonBones and found <product name=”Flash” version=”11″ primary=”true” /> Whoaah! Requires ver. 11 but didn’t work in 11? Really really crazy!

inside-mxi

[Inside .MXI file of  the working flash extension]

The next thing I did is to replicate the related code line from the working extension going to the .ZXP of DragonBones. So how do you replace the .MXI inside of it? Its easy, extract first the .MXI of DragonBones then modify the line mentioned above so that it becomes for version 12 then save the file. Now, open again the DragonBonesDesignPanel.zxp in 7-zip and this time while the .ZXP window is open, just drag the edited .MXI file inside of it, confirm the file copy (as shown in the image below) then 7-Zip will automatically update the .ZXP archive. After that, I did try to install it again via extension manager and it did work this time =) Yahooooo!!!

Next task will be creating my first DragonBone animation and utilize it via PhaserJS.

7zip-mxi-copy

[7-Zip asks for .MXI file copy confirmation]

Sorry for the long story and article =) I just want to help somebody out there to fix this issue. Hope that this can help or assist someone that is in the same road. Feel free to share your thoughts, opinion and experiences.

Happy computing and kind regards!

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