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RoboDemo 3.0

RoboDemo 3.0

Have you ever needed to create a tutorial? Have you ever needed to provide user support for clients? eHelp Corporation has developed a software called RoboDemo, that records demos and tutorials in SWF format without the need for learning Flash.

RoboDemo is easy to use tool that allows you to create interactive demos and tutorials in Flash format without the need for HTML and Flash training.

My Experiences:
The software was a breeze to install. In fact, it was up and ready to create demos in no time at all. I decided to use the software to create a site with an interactive user walkthrough function. The purpose of my demo was to enable my client to visualize and understand the various layers involved in the formation of a website.

Upon commencing the project, I was first prompted to select the type of Movie/Presentation that I intended to create. RoboDemo allows the user to choose from a variety of mediums from which they can create. The options include programs, which capture screenshots from every action taken within a selected application (i.e. Flash, Photoshop, etc.) or custom, which allows the user to choose the capture size and window position; full screen, which captures everything on your desktop; and Pocket PC, which captures in a resolution suited for display on a Pocket PC.

After a resolution is selected, the user must click on the menu that is displayed in order to begin. This function is very similar to the "record" function on a VCR. RoboDemo records and captures all of your user actions and takes screenshots as you progress with your presentation.

Once you have completed the demo, (including all of the steps in your task), you are asked whether you would like to stop the recording session.

Upon the completion of my task, I was given the option to tweak my presentation with different pointer and sound options. I was also provided with the choice of exporting my demo into a variety of formats.

The different format alternatives included creating an .exe, e-mailing the demo to a peer or co-worker, sending the presentation to Microsoft Word and printing it for distribution around the workplace. Other less common but nice to have options included posting the file to a server and FTP capabilities.

My Thoughts:
I found RoboDemo to be extremely useful and easy to use. RoboDemo does the entire "behind the scenes work" as you labour within the program. The software worked without a hitch on my Pentium 3 machine and did not slow down or interfere with any of the other programs I was running.

RoboDemo allows developers and designers to share their knowledge of specific processes without the need for creating over-the-top explanations of relatively simple procedures. This process is simplified by capturing mouse movements and recording every detail needed to illustrate a concept. When your task is complete all you need to do is stop recording and all of the necessary sound effects and steps will be waiting for you to tweak or publish.

RoboDemo allows you to customize your tutorials to include sound and audio tracks if need-be and the scenes can be edited as you see fit. RoboDemo is the best demo creating software I have encountered to date, as it offers ease of use and simplicity of design. This software enables users to create demos that can be published and used by others within minutes.

Possible Uses:
The uses for Demo software are endless. I tested many applications on my desktop to test the usability of RoboDemo with more obscure programs and it worked on all of them. What this means is that users of programs such as AutoCAD, 3D Studio Max, Flash, Dreamweaver and almost any other program are now able to share their knowledge with whomever they want. Large corporations can utilize RoboDemo to provide tech support for employees. CEO's can also benefit from the product, employing it to demonstrate the uses of potential new software. Also, software manufacturers can apply the device to explain processes to users.

The only negative about the program is that the SWF files it creates are rather big. A skilled Flash user could easily make a smaller file with the same content using symbols, but not within the same timeframe. TIme is money, but if file size is important and the client is willing to pay for it, you'll probably do it the old way. Overall, RoboDemo provides developers the means to share solutions to problems, and it appears that the possibilities are endless.

Cost: $399.00 USD (retail at time of printing)
Read more about RoboDemo (now called Captivate and aquired by Macromedia)

 

About Mike Sorrenti

Michael Sorrenti is the President of Game Pill Inc. and writes for Flash Magazine on a variety of topics close to his heart. He can be reached at info@gamepill.com with any questions or comments. Game Pill Inc. is an interactive studio that specializes in online game development and interactive marketing. Based out of Canada, Game Pill is a small boutique studio of animators, programmers and art directors.  Game Pill Inc. has entertained audiences in many mediums including touch screen kiosk development, online experiences and most notably online games and e-learning.  Game Pill has mainly worked bringing the properties of Fortune 500 companies to life and currently in the process of creating their own properties for licensing.  Game Pill Inc. has worked on projects for: Wrigley’s, Cott, Disney, CORUS, Astral Media, Mazda, and many others.

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