Hero Machine on Chromebook

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    Kit Walker

    I don’t know where to post this, so if this isn’t the right thread I do apologize.  I’ve spent most of the time since everyone officially stopped supporting Flash to figure out how access the Hero Machine on a Chromebook.  I haven’t spent every waking second doing it, but now and then I’d poke at the issue.  Finally I found a solution, so I thought I’d share it with other Chromebook users, if there even are any.

    What you’ll be doing is using a “remote desktop manager” to access a Windows-based “virtual machine” remote server.  For those as non-tech-savvy as I, that means a server pretending to be a for-realzies Windows machine no foolin’.

    Anyhoo, I went with Amazon¹ because it really is free.  I tried Google² because they said that, while they needed payment information to prove you aren’t a robot, they would never charge you a dime unless you, personally and manually, upgraded your account.  Thing is, that was bollocks.  Amazon actually meant it, so that’s why I went with them.  Their free server really is free.

    Unfortunately I am turbo not tech-savvy in the slightest, so I can’t even begin to offer any sort of general guide, hints, or vague notions, much less any kind of walkthrough, on setting up a server.  I can say that it took me about an hour after banging my head against entire help pages with terminology that was all but gibberish to me.  Just–keep at it and you’ll figure it out.

    What I can say with certainty is to use Microsoft’s Remote Desktop app from the Play Store³.  It’s pretty WYSIWYG, so it didn’t take very long at all to get it going.  I needed a username and password that was different than any I’d used so far, but that was pretty easy to get.

    With that, you can connect to your fake Windows machine.  From here, everything I did was done in the server via the remote desktop app.

    I don’t know if you can change the operating system, but mine was Windows 10.  It had Internet Explorer instead of Edge, so I had to play around in the settings to get IE to stop annoyingly asking me if I’m sure about every single thing I’m doing long enough to download Edge.  Once I had Edge, I grabbed the “Flash Player projector” from an archived version of the Adobe Flash Player Support Center page⁴ (not the “Flash Player projector content debugger”).

    Once I had that, I opened it and it asked for the URL.  I grabbed the HM3-no-ad link⁵, input that, and it worked a treat.  It was almost like having the old pre-Flash-death Hero Machine again.

    Now, some caveats–as mentioned elsewhere, the Export function won’t work. For my quick-and-dirty test project, I ended up doing what I’d read others do and zoomed in, then screenshot the figure in bits, and later edited the bits together.

    Incidentally, a digression–for my fellow Chromebook users bemoaning being unable to use Photoshop or GIMP, I’ve come to really enjoy Pixlr⁶.  It isn’t a perfect analogy for those, but it’s the closest I’ve ever found, and it’s served my image-editing needs for quite a while now.  I even pay for the premium version, but the free version is pretty robust, too.  There’s a quick-and-dirty version⁷ but I don’t know anything about it other than that it exists.

    The last thing I have to say is that I had quite a lot of lag when using the Hero Machine.  I’m not willing to commit to saying it was the remote desktop or whatever; I also have connection issues and other things as well that I need to check off the list before I’m confident.  Also, the remote desktop app would randomly disconnect, then reconnect, sometimes doing it a few times in succession.  I haven’t the first clue what was going on there, but if it happens to anyone else, just wait it out.  I never lost any progress when it happened, so as irritating as it was, it really didn’t hurt anything.

    I think that’s it.  I hope I helped any other Chromebook users looking to get back to using the Hero Machine. 🙂


    1.  https://aws.amazon.com
    2.  https://console.cloud.google.com
    3.  https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.microsoft.rdc.androidx
    4.  https://web.archive.org/web/20220401020702/https://www.adobe.com/support/flashplayer/debug_downloads.html
    5. http://www.heromachine.com/hm3/heromachine3-noad.swf
    6. https://pixlr.com/e
    7. https://pixlr.com/x
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