Archive for the ‘Bink’ Category

Bink2: Frame structure

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

Frames consist of ordinary macroblocks in 420 format with optional alpha. Bitstream is packed into 32-bit little-endian words.

Every macroblock is prefixed by 2-bit code determining its type.

Type 0 (intra block). Decode intra block.

Type 1 (skip block). Simply skip block.

Type 2 (motion block). Decode motion vectors and copy block with ½-pel precision for luma and alpha and ¼-pel precision for chroma. There is no residue coding.

Type 3 (inter block). Decode motion vectors and copy block with ½-pel precision for luma and alpha and ¼-pel precision for chroma. Now decode and add residue.

Motion vector differences are coded this way: motion vector element size in bits (3 bits, if read value is 7 then read additional 2 bits, so total is up to 7+3=10 bits per MV element); four motion vector elements; sign bits for non-zero motion vector elements.

Side note: looks like this codec employs this scheme (bit size in 3+2 scheme, fixed-size values, signs for nonzero values) for other elements too, e.g. DCs.

Luma hpel filter looks something like (A - 4*B + 19*C - 4*D + E + 1) >> 5
Chroma qpel: ¼ — (6*A + 2*B + 1) >> 3, ½ — (A + B + 1) >> 1

Next: intra macroblock decoding — luma.

Bink2: RE Notes

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

Since I obviously have nothing better to do with my time I looked at Bink2 again. In the (hopefully) following blog posts I’ll try to document bitstream format; general codec design was presented much earlier.

At least container format remains the same (except that it uses e.g. KB2f or KB2g instead of BIKi).

In ten years every codec becomes Op^H^HJPEG

Saturday, May 11th, 2013

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 'BIKf' or 'BIKi'.

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.

Nonexistent beast: Bink-d

Saturday, March 12th, 2011

There’s Bink variant without any samples known but with decoder present — Bink version d (aka Bink 0.6b). While it’s version closer to Bink-b (aka 0.5b) it’s the same in operation principles with all later variants (telltale sign is integer DCT instead of floating point one in Bink-b). Here are some details on how it differs from later Bink variants.

The main difference is lack of scaled blocks, hence block types got reshuffled as well:

  • type 1 — pattern run
  • type 2 — intra DCT block
  • type 3 — inter DCT block
  • type 4 — inter DCT block (lossless)
  • type 5 — single colour fill block
  • type 6 — pattern (2-color) block
  • type 7 — motion block (looks like it uses overlapped copy like Bink-b though)
  • type 8 — raw block

In other words it’s not that special and demonstrates the evolution of Bink versions.

Almost full Bink support

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

Thank to the efforts of Peter Ross we finally got Bink version b video support. Now I can stop nagging him about it and he may work on something else. I think it’s almost a year since we had game decoders added to FFmpeg, we should do that more often.

P.S. Why I say almost full? There is still some issue with audio in Bink-b, after Peter resolves it FFmpeg will have complete Bink decoding support.

Update: thanks to Peter’s effort we have full Bink-b support now, including both video and audio.

Maybe the last word about Bink version b

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

This codec is a collaborative effort — both me and some bogan from Melbo have been slacking on it for quite a long time.

Strewth, it’s almost the same as its successor, the real Bink known everywhere (Bink-b or 0.5 is not even mentioned in official Bink history). The main differences are lack of Huffman coding (all bundle elements are just stored in predefined number of bits), different scan-run coding (instead of storing it in a separate bundle, run values are stored in bitstream with minimum number of bits needed to code the biggest run from that point, i.e. 6 bits at the beginning but less than five bits for runs in the second half of block) and DCT uses floating-point coefficients (though the same ones for all practical purposes).

The only thing that differs significantly is motion compensation. Bink version b seems to use the same frame for all coming decoding and actually motion compensation in the first frame copies already decoded block from the same frame. After discovering that fact I was able to obtain perfect first frame in many cases and sometimes the rest of video was also decoded fine except for few glitches. The only puzzling thing is that vertical motion vector offset in the first frame seems to have slightly different value, so <-8,15> actually means “copy data from the previous left block” and <0,7> means “copy data from the top block” while such translation is not needed for all next frames.

Since all known samples are from the Heroes of Might and Magic III game and they are duplicated with Smacker samples, there’s not much interest on finishing that decoder and integrating it into current FFmpeg Bink decoder (I’ve done it as a dirty hack). So no prawn cracker for you, mate.

Update: proof-of-a-concept hack (produces minor artifacts too) can be downloaded here.

Bink samples needed

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

I’m searching for old Bink samples. There are plenty “BIKi”, “BIKf” and some “BIKh” samples available but next to nothing of older ones. By pure luck we were able to find some “BIKb” but that’s all.

We are still in need for old Bink versions, anything from “BIKa” to “BIKe”. Can you help us?

Here’s that list of stuff using Bink. Looks like that games released since 2000 use “BIKf” and later, so we are hunting earlier games (and it’s because some Mike has not bothered to retrieve all that information from MobyGames).

Probably “Might & Magic VIII: Day of the Destroyer” demo may use it (release uses “BIKf” and “BIKh”), for a start. Maybe some other Heroes of Might and Magic III games have them (“Shadow of Death” addon I have features “BIKb”).

Any help will be appreciated.

Notes:

Bink versions are determined by first four bytes of file, any hex viewer can help you.

Some games (like the ones by New World Computing) may have all video files in single archive named like “videosomething.smt” or “something.vid”, sometimes along with Smacker files. But those archives usually feature file names at the beginning, again that can be easily viewed with any hex viewer. And if file resides in directory named “Video” or “Movie” it’s a good hint too.

Update: looks like there are no such files (except maybe in some archives of RAD developer(s)).

A bit about old Bink

Sunday, March 7th, 2010

I don’t think you’ll ever encounter Bink video version ‘b’, known samples were dug out from game data of certain New World Computing games. And looks like they are not supported by official software anymore. But why that can stop us from looking at it?

This information is based on findings by certain FFmpeag deaveloper and me looking at disassembly for similarities with newer Bink version.

The main difference is that this version does not employ Huffman coding at all. All bundle data is stored in raw form, 4-11 bits per entry depending on bundle type. Number of elements in bundle is stored as 13-bit number, newer version uses different number of bits depending on plane width.

Also this Bink used floating-point version of DCT (but constants are the same as in integer version employed by latter codec version).

Coding methods (block types) are in totally different order as well. And 8×8 -> 16×16 scaling block type was not devised in that time either. Bundles contain slightly different data as well — for example, quantisers and number of residue masks are there but pattern run block uses diminishing number of bits to code runs instead of reading it from bundle (indeed, if you have to decode 48 more block elements you need to read 6 bits but when there are mere 7 block elements left 3 bits are enough).

I’ve not looked too close at DCT coefficient/residue coding methods but they seem to resemble those used in newer version of codec.

Short conclusion: while Bink video codec steadily improved, most concepts are remained the same (but there’s a bigger leap between versions ‘b’ and ‘f’ than between ‘f’ and ‘i’, the latter are almost backwards compatible). And maybe we’ll see decoder for it in FFmpeg for completeness sake.

Bink: pattern-run blocks

Friday, September 4th, 2009

And now for something completely the same.

Let’s talk about most interesting block type in Bink. I don’t know official name for it but I call it pattern-run block because of the way it’s coded. Idea is simple: there are runs of single colour and blocks of different colours like in your ordinary RLE; what can be interesting in that? But there is one thing — block is filled with runs/copies not in usual scan orders but following one of 16 predefined patterns – columns, spirals, Hilbert curve (Zelda pattern for some of us), whatever.

Here’s an example:
Scan pattern #13
(and SVG version)

I think it’s obvious how this helps block compression. The only bad thing about it is the fact it did not appear in Smacker (mostly because Smacker uses 4×4 blocks).


This concludes my series of posts about Bink.
“Works for me” patch against FFmpeg r19754 is located here.

Bink: a bunch of peculiarities

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

I’ve mentioned before that Bink differs greatly from other codecs. Now I want to walk over general structure of it and mark all peculiarities I’ve seen so far.

  1. Huffman coding. I think I’ve mentioned it enough times.
  2. Data coding. The fact that different values (block types, colours, run values) are coded in so-called bundles (i.e. groups) for at least one row of blocks at once. So when starting decoding new row bundles are checked whether there’s enough data and more is decoded if needed.
  3. 16×16 and 8×8 block mix. Sometimes encoder inserts 16×16 block into usual array of 8×8 blocks. Looks like those blocks can happen only on even positions which eases skipping decoded part of it. 16×16 block contents are actually 8×8 block contents scaled twice.
  4. Coding modes. There are 10 block types; three of them belongs to vector quantisation techniques (I’ll write another post about special run-length pattern block), two block types use DCT (more below) and another block type uses special coding for residue without any additional transform.
  5. DCT coefficients coding. I’ve written a bit about it already. Have I mentioned they also use non-standard scan order (designed for pairs of coefficients)?
  6. Coefficients quantising. There are 16 possible quantisers – 1, 1 1/3, 1 2/3, 2, 2 2/3, 3 1/2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 12, 17, 22, 28, 34 and 44.

I suspect that some of the things are legacy of Smacker and really clean design would go in slightly other direction – it’s not pure vector quantisation as it was but it’s not pure DCT-based codec either.

As for the progress: I have more or less working decoder in my own build of FFmpeg. When somebody kicks certain devs to push Bink demuxer and audio decoder into SVN codebase, I’ll give my decoder with that. Until then just wait.