So, RAD has announced Bink 2. While there are no known samples or encoder, decoder is present in RAD game tools already. For some random reason (what I have to do with Bink anyway?) I decided to look at it.
Format is probably the same except that preferred extension is .bk2 and it starts with
'KB2f' instead of
The main features they advertise are speed and dual-core decoding support. Most parts of the code are SIMDified indeed and as for dual-core decoding support it seems to be fulfilled with breaking frame into top and bottom half (not that I’ve looked at it closely but strings in the player suggest that).
Now about the format itself. Bink2 operates in YUV 4:2:0 format with optional alpha and employs 8×8 DCT with 16×16 macroblocks. There are not many interesting details in the coding itself: DCs are coded separately before ACs, three quantisation matrices — two for luma/alpha (for intra and inter blocks) and one for chroma, static codes are used for coding them (compare that to the way it was done in Bink Classic), motion compensation is halfpel for luma and quarterpel for chroma now with bicubic interpolation. There are four modes for coding block: intra block, skip block, motion-only block and motion compensation with residue coded.
There seems to be some postprocessing they rightfully call “Blur” but I’m not that sure about it.
What can I say about the codec overall? It’s boring. While Bink 1 is not that fast it was much more fun to RE: coding values in bundles — I’ve rarely seen that (Duck TrueMotion 2 comes to mind and that’s all), various coding techniques — vector quantisation and DCT (as I’ve mentioned above, coding DCT coefficients was rather unique too) and some other tricks (unusual scans, specially coded block difference, double-scaling blocks, etc. etc.).
Overall, Bink2 will probably be what it’s promised to be (fast, portable codec for games) but it won’t have the real spirit of Smacker and Bink design. Or maybe it’s just me getting older.
P.S. I wonder if they start providing logo in Bink2 file embedded in player like they do with Smacker and Bink players.
P.P.S. This post title is inspired by a certain German saying about cars in case it wasn’t obvious.