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Just some observations:
At first glance, what you may have to do is break your flash content up into "segments" to overcome the 99 second limit for the Presentation Settings feature. Not exactly ideal, but something worth considering.
When you set the presentation's "time to wait" option to zero, you absolutely got what you asked for; meaning that since there's no audio on the slide with the flash anim, Presenter reacts as if there's only static content on any given slide. And since you set the flash anim to be controlled by the Presenter playbar, the result is a flash anim that's stopped cold. Again, not good.
But beyond that, I have a couple of questions:
1. Have you tried using the Audio Editor feature? Using that dialog box, you could enter as much silence (equal to the duration of your flash file) to overcome the Presentation Settings limit. I realize you don't want audio at the "slide level" in PowerPoint...but adding silence in the Audio Editor can be used to trick Presenter into thinking that there is audio. Couple that with controlling the flash anim with Presenter's playback controls, and you'll end up with the results you're looking for. In that same vein, I've added over 4 mins of silence to a slide and had decent results with the playback of flash anims.
2. If you really don't need any other elements stemming from the PowerPoint environment, then why not kill off the Presenter playbar altogether and just include some sort of playback controls in the source flash file? This way, you won't have to deal with the settings (or make adjustments to) the Presenter interface when the deck is published.
Having said all that, let me offer one last bit of advice...
If your flash file is really long (such that you'd need more than 99 seconds of silence!), then I'd strongly recommend that you make a couple of adjustments to avoid playback problems. First, make sure your flash anim is set to 30fps. Second, get a handle on the TRT (total run time) of your flash movie. When you have that number, be sure to add the same amount of silence in the Audio Editor...BUT...back in flash, add one more second to the end of your .fla. (make sure you extend the timeline of all visible layers)
I've personally seen instances where swf files that have the exact same duration as silence in PowerPoint result in "visual stutters". By adding some "time padding", what this does is keep the visuals playing according to the Presenter timeline at 30 fps, while flash is “forced” to run at that same tempo; so what happens is that the playback of the flash file becomes slightly compressed, and most stutters are never seen!
Hope that helps!
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Thank you for the response. My responses are below.
1. The audio editor feature is a possibility. Having a silent track on the slide level is ok with me as long as it doesn't interfere with the audio embedded in the Flash file. This may be the answer here. I'll have to look into it and update this thread.
2. Breeze is a system wide solution for us, therefore, my area isn't the only area where it is in use. We have to refrain from using "custom" anything for the fear of confusing those who view these sessions. Therefore again, I need to trick everyone into thinking that this is simply a very complex and "how did you do that" interactive .ppt slide.
Lastly, thank you for the padding recommendation. I do have scenes lasting longer than 99 seconds. I will incorporate your observations and suggestions, then re-post.
Rob, thank you for the educated response to this. I'll touch base soon.