Using Captivate 1.0 to create a simple multi-path simulation

Addendum added 2.6.07 – Please note, I’ve been informed that Captivate 2.0 actually allows you do develop multi-pathed sims much more easily. There’s a path branching feature now available in the new version.  I’ve just ordered my copy of 2.0 and hopefully will be able to post my learnings on the tool.

 I’ve been experimenting lately with a cheap and easy way to make a decision-making or branched path simulation.

Originally I thought I could use Breeze to do this, but because Breeze packages it’s presos with the Breeze shell complete with navigation and menu.  Instead, I created a quick mock-up of a help-tutor for “Dealing with Challenging People” based on the book: Working with Difficult People by Muriel Solomon.   I used the book because it had readily compartmentalized content and topics.

Here is the finished .swf file: Dealing with Challenging People (note requires Adobe Flash Player v. 8.0)

My biggest take-away from this experience – make sure you plan out your content well in either a storyboard or a set of powerpoint slides.

Tips for creating branched simulations:

  • Before you start. Create a thumbnail storyboard that labels each of your simulation step/pages and provides a flow or map for how each of the pages are connected with on another.  I’ve included a simple outline for my demo.  To keep my task simple I limited it to the very simple breakdown illustrated here


  • Import an image of your background slide. If you don’t want to play around in Adobe Ilustrator or Fireworks, you can quickly create a background using Powerpoint.  Arrange or use a template for a slide then save the slide as a jpg.  PowerPoint saves the slide at this size: 960 x 720 px.  I actually shrink or reduce the slide to 800 x 600 px.
  • Import the slide image to Captivate (Select the slide –> File Menu –> Insert –>Image). Merge the images into each background slide ( Right click on the image –>Select Merge into background).
  • Before you start adding content to the Captivate slides label each and every one of your slides according to the labels on your storyboard.  If you have to change the order of the slides later and have dependent links, the links follow the movement or rearrangement of the slides if the slides are labeled with names rather than the default naming Slide 1, Slide 2… etc.

Screenshot of Captivate application with slide properties highlighted


  • If you want the students to be able to have access at will to each and every one of the pages provide them with an Index at the end of the course. As the simulation I designed is geared as an informational sim I actually allowed access to the index through out the entire simulation.  In Captivate, I created click boxes which I placed over each of the topic boxes. I linked each of these boxes to the appropriate slide.



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