Ripper: Smackered AVIs

Recently I’ve encountered a review of an old FMV game called Ripper and my professional interest was to look what formats it uses. Well, it turned out to use Smacker and AVI. And those AVI files are their own format that uses Smacker in perverse way: it stores a sequence of commands with 14-byte header that control video playback. The first dozen of commands are usually “fill audio buffer with this data” commands and there’s one command for initialising video that includes full Smacker header inside its payload. From what I see it abuses Smacker decoder by constructing file on the fly using the data from the commands (I’m pretty sure the following commands have video frames in their payload).

I’m not sure if I’d want to pursue it further and document it let alone adding support for it in NihAV but that format was definitely something.

2 Responses to “Ripper: Smackered AVIs”

  1. DrMcCoy says:

    That kinda reminds me of what Coktel Vision’s Urban Runner is doing: it stores Indeo3 frame data within VMD.

    Ripper was a great game, though. Not necessarily because of the game itself, but because of Christopher Walken chewing the scenery in every scene he’s in. I also still vividly remember the promotion video for it, which uses Blue Öyster Cult’s Don’t Fear the Reaper. It was on a magazine CD I had back in the day and I played it on loop for days.

  2. Kostya says:

    Yeah, I remember it too but this reminds me more of the Nav format used Parkan game which stores not just Indeo3 (or RLE) frame but also stream headers from AVI. Still not as bad as EMI “Smush” files which are Bink with some custom header prepended.