More words on the same game format

In my last post I said something about video compression but now I have much clearer picture in my head so I’d better document it a bit.

So it turns out bitmaps and videos share the same compression methods (just 1 and 3, 0 and 5 are video-only) and they’re even more interesting than at the first glance.

  • Compression 0 is simple stream with 8- or 16-bit opcodes with follow-up pixel data. Top two bits mean operation – skip, error, copy, repeat; next bit signals whether actual operation length is 5 or 13 bits; next bits are obviously operation size.
  • Compression 1 is tiling compression. Frame data is split into three chunks with first two starting with chunk size. First chunk is bit flags telling which 40×40 tiles in the frame are updated (this chunk can be ignored). Second chunk contains its own tile dimensions and tile metadata (one bit signals that tile is coded, 3 additional bits tell tile type). The last chunk contains tile contents in form of pixels and pattern data. Tile can be skipped, filled with single colour, filled with raw pixels, or it can be filled with 2-16 colours (with all intermediate values allowed) using 1-4 bits as index.
  • Compression 3 is LZ77-like and works on two lines at once. It reads a code using static codebook (one for intra-frames, another one for inter-frames), for code 0 is for literal (reads and output two pixel values, one for each line), all other code values are treated as copy length which is followed by offset (and in case of inter frame also direction bit telling if data should be copied from start to end or from end to start).
  • Compression 5 is virtually the same as compression 1 but tile type takes 4 bits now to fit operation 8 (copy tile from the same place in some previous frame).
    1. Indeed, this game turned out to have very original formats.

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