The much awaited Adobe Captivate 2 is now ready to leave the Adobe building. This next generation screencasting and e-learning software creates Macromedia Flash based computer demos and interactive simulations without having to learn either Actionscript programming or the Adobe Flash authoring tool.

Like Techsmith Camtasia Studio 3.1, Captivate 2.0 will be available for Windows only. There are no plans to have Adobe Captivate for Mac or Linux platforms.

New Features in Adobe Captivate 2.0 - Simulation Wizard, Better Workflow

» Closed Captioning like you see in Macromedia Breeze presentation [excellent add-on for your MP3 podcasts and video blogs]

» Flash video can be imported into Captivate presentations. The Captivate content can be exported to Macromedia Flash 8 in editable form [fla file ?]

» A simulation wizard in version 2 helps in developing "soft skills" simulations, adding content to placeholder slides and setting up branching with point-and-click functionality.

» Workflow enhancements for developing scenario-based training that visually branches out to different learner paths depending on the user's choices.

» New zoom feature lets users zoom into specific areas of the screen.

» Captivate 2 content can be integrated with other e-learning systems such as Macromedia Breeze, Macromedia Authorware, and Questionmark Perception.

Adobe Captivate 2.0 Real Examples

Soft Skill Simulation - combine the soft-skills training with the technical simulations

Created with Adobe Captivate 2 - A podcasting example with closed captioning.

Adobe Captivate 2.0 vs Camtasia Studio 3.1

Streaming Media has an extensive comparison of Captivate 1.1 with Camtasia Studio 3.1.

While this does not take into account the new Flash Video, Simulation or Zoom features introduced in Captivate 2, it still gives a fairly good idea of these two amazing software simulation programs - "If you're creating a range of training, demonstration, and presentation projects, you probably need both tools."
If you're creating a quick-and-dirty software demo, or a PowerPoint presentation to post to a Web site, Camtasia is a better tool. On the other hand, if you're creating interactive demos or training, or a complex software demonstration, Captivate is superior.

Camtasia excels at capturing streaming video, which Captivate does poorly. The situation reverses if you're creating a quiz, where Captivate offers a much richer toolset.
Captivate 2.0 Pricing & Availability

Adobe Captivate 2 will be priced at $599 while Macromedia Captivate 1.0 users would be able to upgrade for $299. It's not immediately clear if the upgrade offer is valid for eHelp Robodemo users or not. To download Adobe Captivate 2, you may have to wait until October 5. [via Press Release, Captivate Blog]