Windows 3.x software: Macromedia Action! - A presentation program featuring sound, video and interactivity.
A text-only presentation may appear boring to those, to whom it is presented, the simple fact of adding pictures may largely increase their interest in whatever content the presentation is about. Nowadays, it's common practice to take advantage of multimedia when creating some document presented to an audience. But, what about the times of Windows 3? Were there applications, that allowed to create presentations that contained more than just text and images? At least one! At the beginning of the 1990s, Macromedia released an application for Windows 3.x, called Action!. It allowed to add various multimedia components to a presentation: sound, motion and interactive elements, allowing the users to choose themselves what action to take, what to view and how to view it! Version 2.5 SE added support for Microsoft Video, Apple QuickTime for Windows and Intel Indeo.
Macromedia Action! 2.5 SE is available for download at the abandonware archive Vetusware. The download is a 7-zip file that contains two installation diskettes. The problem is that these are 5.25" 1,200 kB diskettes, that might not work correctly with your virtualization software. In the case of VMware, for example, trying to read form such a floppy drive, results in an unrecoverable error of VMware Player and the virtual machine window being closed. The work-around is simple: Write the diskettes' content onto two 3.5" 1,440 kB diskettes and use these for installation. If you need help with doing this, have a look at my sysadmin help text VMware irrecovrable error when accessing floppy diskettes (please, note that this document isn't yet available!).
I have installed Macromedia Action! 2.5 SE on Windows 3.1. It will without any doubt also run on Windows 3.11; no idea if it may be installed on Windows 3.0. Start the setup program from the first diskette. Installation is straight forward, the only information that you are asked for is the installation directory (I chose E:\ACTION25, where E: is the Windows 3.1 partition on my multiple boot virtual machine).
If I said above that I have no idea if the application works on Windows 3.0, it would be a shame to install it on that platform. In fact, Macromedia Action! 2.5 SE fully supports the 1024×768 SVGA 256 color driver, that actually only works on Windows 3.1/3.11. The screenshot below shows the new project window of the application on my Windows 3.1 (with the SVGA driver installed).
The introduction to the Action! software, included on the installation disks, is an Action! project itself. Having a look at it, running on your Windows 3.1/3.11 machine will show you what amazing applications they created some 30 years ago. Two of the intro windows are shown on the screenshots below. But, that's only a part of what the presentation actually is: what you see isn't static, but all objects may dynamically move around, as defined by the presentation and depending on the interactive choices made by the user!
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