Macromedia Flash SWF / Scaleform GFX

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  • Format Type : Animation / Container
  • Endian Order : Little Endian
  • Alternative Names : Adobe Flash / Shockwave Flash Object / Shockwave Flash / x-shockwave-flash / Flash Movie
  • Signatures : FWS / CWS / ZWS / GFX / CFX

Format Specifications

// SWF/GFX file format

// little endian

// header
3 bytes (char) - signature  // "FWS" - uncompressed *.SWF file
                            // "CWS" - ZLIB compressed *.SWF file (SWF 6 and later only)
                            // "ZWS" - LZMA compressed *.SWF file (SWF 13 and later only)
                            // "GFX" - same as FWS, but used in *.GFX files
                            // "CFX" - same as CWS, but used in *.GFX files
1 byte (uint8) - version  //  e.g. 0x06 for version 6
                                   0x0F for version 15
                                   0x20 for version 32
4 bytes (uint32) - total file size in bytes
x bytes - frame size
2 bytes (uint16) - frame rate
2 bytes (uint16) - frame count

// tags
num_of_tags *
   2 bytes (uint16) - tag type and length   // upper 10 bits - tag type
                                            // lower 6 bits - tag length
   x bytes - tag data

MultiEx BMS Script

Not written yet.

Notes and Comments

  • SWF file format has been created by FutureWave Software. In December 1996, Macromedia acquired the company. In 2005, Adobe purchased Macromedia and format has been rebranded.
    Read more about history on SWF wikipedia article.
  • Files can be compressed with ZLIB compression (CWS signature) or with LZMA compression (ZWS signature).
  • Scaleform GFX files share the same file format with the SWF Flash files.
  • SWF is acronym for "Small Web Format" and it was designed to eliminate confusion with a different technology, Shockwave, from which SWF derived.
  • SWF file is typically a compiled version of FLA file (Macromedia Flash Project File)
  • Unreal Engine 3 uses containers for GFX files with SWFMOVIE extension.


List of games using this format:

Game Title Platform Signature Extension Version
Batman: Arkham Asylum PC unknown unknown unknown
Batman: Arkham City PC? CFX *.SWFMOVIE 8
Deadpool PC GFX *.SWFMOVIE 8
Flash Trek: Broken Mirror PC CWS *.SWF 6
Halo: Spartan Strike unknown GFX *.GFX 17
Mafia 3 PC GFX *.GFX 15
Metamorphabet PC CWS *.SWF 24
Rusty Lake Hotel PC CWS *.SWF 43
Star Wars – The Old Republic unknown unknown unknown unknown
The Henry Stickmin Collection PC CWS *.SWF 32
The White Door PC CWS *.SWF 43
The Witcher 2 unknown unknown unknown unknown
Windosill (2009) PC CWS *.SWF 24

Compatible Programs

See Also