Simulation Software Suggestions

Hi everyone,

We currently use Articulate to create training programs and publish to our LMS.  We are currently also using a simluation tool called SoftSim from Outstart for creating simulation programs.

We want to embed the simulations into an Articulate program.  The problem is that SoftSim and Articulate do not play nice, and some folks feel SoftSim is difficult to work with.  I am also "playing" with Screenr, but it does not give us the functionality we are looking for.

Does anyone know of any good simulation tools?  Would you mind also providing short blurbs on your suggestions?  I have heard of Captivate and Camtasia.

5 Replies
Craig Bligh

For software simulations, it's difficult to go past Captivate. And the good news is that when you export Captivate, you can easily integrate it into an Articulate product (either as an embedded Flash file, or by creating a link to the standalone Captivate file).

Couple of reasons I like Captivate for simulations:

  • Captivate doesn't create a video file. Rather, it uses static screenshots as the background with flash elements superimposed (e.g. mouse movement). This means super small file sizes. Camtasia creates a video recording of the screen, which means large file sizes and loss of quality.  
  • Captivate lets you edit simulations very easily. Since the background is an image, you can edit the background image however you want using a graphics program like SnagIt. This is great for when you're working with prototype software and you need to add the correct features, or when you need to change a customer's name for privacy reasons.
  • Similar to the above, you can also manipulate screen elements very quickly, e.g. change where the mouse goes, 
  • The different modes available mean that you can produce demonstrations as well as training (or hybrids). In fact, you can record both the training and demo modes the same time.
  • Quick screen capture with default elements - capturing screens is as simple as pressing record and running through a scenario. Captivate automatically throws in callout boxes, the mouse, typing, and dialog boxes. You can also change the style for each of these elements universally the same way you can update Microsoft Word heading styles.
  • And finally, Captivate gives you plenty of output formats, from web-based Flash to Flash video to YouTube. 

Smooshing together Captivate and Storyline gives you the best of both worlds IMO.


eLearning mLearning

I completely agree with Craig Bligh.

The Captivate is a great tool for simulation.

I have been using Captivate more than seven years.

Capturing and editing simulation is very easy. It gives you excellent quality output in Print, Web-based format, SWF, and YouTube video.

Plus you can add slide notes and closed captioning. Also In-built audio editing is very easy.

Jerson  Campos

One thing to note about Captivate's screen recording ability is that if the output is scaled to a larger sized (Before or After output) you will get some ghosting lines that appear. It is really bad when there is a lot of motion on the screen. There is no way around it, and Adobe knows about it too.  We discovered it after a client enlarged the courses we created. The original was recorded 1050 x 756 and he wanted to watch it full screen on 32" monitors. 

Sheila Bulthuis

I agree with Craig.  I like Storyline for very simple simulations, but my team and I have found that Captivate is better for anything complicated or that requires a lot of editing.   It's not necessarily that you can't do it in Storyline with the action fine tuning, we just find it easier to do in Captivate, and since we were already using that before Storyline...

That said, if you don't love your current tool, Storyline would be a good bet to try out (I'm assuming you don't already have it and are talking about inserting sims in Presenter).