TM2X Woes

I don’t know what I should write about this codec.

TM2X (or TM2A, they are really identical) differs in design from TM2 Vanilla. The main principle seems to stay the same for TM2, TM2X and TM2RT — they all operate on delta coding from the previous delta and top neighbour. But while for TM2 it’s always 4×4 blocks, for TM2RT it’s the whole plane, for TM2X it seems to be variable block size (i.e. it can be 8×8 block or even larger). TM2 uses classical Huffman coded data (with tree description and such) one per each block type, TM2RT uses fixed size deltas (2-, 3- or 4-bit), TM2X uses inverse Huffman lists (i.e. each byte codes a list of values which you’re supposed to read sequentially). And for TM2 there was source code (horrible C but source code nevertheless), TM2RT had compact and rather sane binary specification, TM2X has only an insane binary specification. How insane? For starters, it uses obfuscation for some chunks that’s tedious to undo by hand (unlike TM2RT), it has internal design relying on calling on array of virtual functions and those seem to treat esp as “Eh, Structure Pointer” which will confuse any decompiler.

Thanks to that I was unable to reconstruct all the decoding logic but at least some facts seem to be more or less clear:

  • decoding seems to vary greatly depending on decoder configuration provided in corresponding chunks (since those values are used to build function pointer arrays);
  • there’s lots and lots of block decoding functions that read different amount of deltas per 8 or 16 pixels, e.g. there can be 3 or 5 deltas per 8 pixels;
  • all decoding functions use the same inverse Huffman list but there are different ways to remap its output: there are delta value mapping tables for luma and chroma, generic value decoding uses special escape value to signal that its decoding is not done yet etc;
  • motion compensation is indeed uses halfpel precision.

So I’ll probably just forget about this codec and move to VP4 and then forget about all these turkeyduck codecs. I fear that ClearVideo will be abandoned on the similar level too. Well, at least there’s a lot of speech codecs to talk about.

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