|After unpacking the game's data files, I find that there are, in fact, 3 AVI files. One is a title screen animation that actually uses Raw RGB frames. The other 2 are soundless Cinepak files. In the same directory, there are some large resource files with the extension .vfs. Inside the file entitled sound.vfs are some curious markers: Repeated "OggS" and "vorbis" strings as well as "Xiphophorus libVorbis I 20000508" and "Track encoded using L.A.M.E. libvorbis interface." This is the first commercial game I have encountered that actually uses Ogg Vorbis.|
|I can remember reading reviews for this one when it appeared on the consoles a few years ago. Not entirely favorable reviews, either. But at least it has a good brand name and theme music backing it up. All of the video is Bink-based. The game also makes use of MP3 files.|
|This is apparently 2 games in one package (bringing the grand total for this 3-pack up to 4): Battlegrounds Saga and Battlegrounds Saga: Clone Campaigns. Each game makes use of many, many MP3s. Each game also has 2 AVI files encoded with Intel Indeo 5. The first is a cute little LucasArts logo animation (shown left). The second, different for each game, is an intro leading up to the game's titles screen. The intro consists of disjoint, uneven battle scenes from all 5 Star Wars movies released so far. At least the encoding is sharp.|
|This James Bond franchise game from Electronic Arts is laid out much different than the 2 preceding LucasArts titles. I was stunned by several of the DLLs I saw on the disc: ogg.dll, vorbis.dll and vorbisfile.dll. Incredible; I have now found 2 commercial games that uses Ogg Vorbis. Dozens of Ogg Vorbis files provide the background soundtrack for the game. Aside from that, the game also has several Indeo5-encoded AVI files. Remarkably well-animated AVI files, I might add.|
[Link: Bink sample files]
|And yet another multimedia title relating directly to movies. This one is actually a trivia board game that uses a DVD to call up clips. That is what I gather from the box copy, anyway. I have not actually gotten around to playing the game. The game is pleased to announce that it uses Optreve(TM) DVD enhancement technology. I am not entirely clear on what that means, but my desktop DVD/multimedia player has no trouble handling the disc.|
I had this weird feeling that the games probably used Bink for its multimedia. In fact, it uses a format I have never encountered before: Something called AVF files. That is the assumption anyway, based on the fact that all of these files live in a directory named CDVideo/. The files begin with the signature 'AVF WayneSikes'. MobyGames comes through with a rap sheet on said individual.
[Link: AVF sample files]
[Link: Bink sample files]
|This is a 4-pack of CD-ROMs I purchased a long, long time ago when I first got a CD-ROM drive in 1995. One of the CDs, Taxcut relies very heavily on FMV as there are dozens of video clips of a guy in a tie meticulously explaining the ins and outs of income tax law. The videos are encoded in AVIs using PCM and MS Video-1 @ 160x120. It is difficult to tell if they were filming the videos in front of a blue screen and if so, why. Maybe they read somewhere that compression will work better if they have a constant background.|
[Link: RPL sample files]
The good news is that Westwood put all the .vqa files in one directory called movies/; no .mix resource file nonsense for this one. There are over 40 VQA files on the disc and, given that this title was published in 2000, it probably uses the most complicated variation of VQA files thus far. Further, there are over a dozen music files in Westwood's custom .aud format.
It seems there is a Earthlink internet value-add on the CD-ROM that has a series of AVI and WAV files featuring "Lisa" who will guide you every step of the way to setting up an Earthlink account.
[Link: VQA sample files from a variety of games]
[Link: AUD sample files]
I have no real reason to believe that this game has any FMV at all. But I was hooked by the "fastest go-karting" hype. The disc contains about 80 megabytes, most of which are occupied by a gigantic kart.dat data file. However, there are 2 other files, intro.amf and manic.amf, which are between 700 KB and 2.5 MB and have the markings of animation files (hmm, maybe that is what .amf stands for). The files contain 320x200 encoded in the first few bytes, followed by what appears to be a palette. No PCM audio or related audio parameters are seen.
[Link: AMF sample files]
As for FMV, there is a handy directory on the game's CD-ROM named 'FMV/'. This directory contains 7 different TGQ files, used in various games under the Electronic Arts umbrella. There is also an Indeo3 AVI trailer for SimCity 3000.
[Link: TGQ sample files]
This version does not look quite as sharp but probably has some FMV since it claims, "CD version features spectacular new animations, including a 3D 'flyby' of each world." In reality, such 3D must be handled by the limited 3D resources of the Sega CD since there is no evidence of FMV on the disc.
|Anyway, the game relies on the good old Sega Saturn Cinepak-encoded CPK files, one of my all-time formats. Further, the game also has some curious files such as cpkopen.bin and cpkend.bin. These files would be quite interesting if the system was not already reverse engineered.|
|The game does, in fact, use CPK files for its FMV. I will give the game credit for being as good-looking as the box copy promises.|
The disc is organized with a series of 12 voice directories that have a multitude of .raw files. Clearly, the data is header-less, 8-bit, signed PCM. There are 4 Duck AVI files on the disc but they are all logo files for the various organizations responsible for creating and distibuting the games. All of the in-game animation must be real-time.
[Link: DUCK sample files from a variety of games]
by Mike Melanson (mike at multimedia.cx).
Multimedia Exploration Journal
Multimedia Research Institute Main Page