The Complete Animator File Format

Animation files saved from The Complete Animator are completely compatible between the PC and Acorn versions. Any type &C27 file (tca file) from the Acorn version can be loaded by the PC version (if you give it a name ending in ".TCA"). Any ".TCA" file from the PC version can be loaded by the Acorn version if you set its file-type. (This is except for PC films which have been given PC sound effects which Acorns can't play, and even this may be fixed in a future version).

Example code for Windows 95 and Acorn Risc OS is available, so many people won't even need to know what the file format is.

File format

An animation file is a chunk file with the following structure:

Both Chunk ID and Chunk size are 32-bit quantities in ARM/x86 byte sex. (All example code presented here assumes you're running on a machine with this byte sex. Macintosh developers, in particular, will need to fiddle with things.) There is no explicit terminator; to scan a chunk file you have to know already how long it is. In an animation file, the following Chunk IDs are defined:

Compulsory chunks

  • "ACEF" (0x46454341): the compressed frames themselves
  • "PALE" (0x454C4150): the palette and other details of the screen mode in which the film was made

Optional chunks

  • "RATE": how fast to play the animation (default: 8fps)
  • "DIR1" and
    "SOUN": contain the soundtrack (if one is present, the other must be too)
  • "FULL": which screen mode to use for Full Screen (only applies to the Acorn version)
  • "FADE" (0x45444146): the fades and pauses to perform between frames
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