Answers to some frequently asked questions...
While much activity that Duck is involved in goes on behind the scenes and is invisible to the average computer user, there are some areas where TrueMotion® technology has already penetrated the mass market. Dozens of game titles that run on major computing and game platforms use TrueMotion® technology, many of which carry the TrueMotion® logo right on the package.
A version of TrueMotion® called the "TrueMotion-S Compressor" has been available as a stand alone product from another company under license from Duck, but that product uses an older version of TrueMotion® which is now obsolete - more about that later.
Duck has always been the source of the latest and greatest advances in TrueMotion® technology. Up to now, Duck has opted to license this technology primarily to major publishers and developers of CD-ROM titles, and large scale system integrators. Plans are now in the works at Duck to make TrueMotion® available to anyone who wants to use it. Duck TrueMotion® codecs compatible with QuickTime and Video for Windows®/ActiveMovie will be available in the near future - stay tuned to this site.
The short answer is yes, and no. In early 1993, after Duck first implemented TrueMotion® in micro-code for a PC hardware add-on board based on the Intel I-750 coprocessor chip, Duck announced a major licensing deal with a company called Horizons Technology Incorporated (HTI for short). At the time, HTI did a lot of system integration work involving digital video, and was eager to offer TrueMotion® technology to its customers. Duck decided to focus its own activities on custom applications, the cable industry and game consoles, and gave HTI an exclusive license to market TrueMotion® in the PC desktop arena for a limited time.
By late 1993, Duck had invented a software-only version of TrueMotion® which it named "TrueMotion-S", the "S" standing for, you guessed it, "Software". First implemented for the 3DO game console, Duck soon had TrueMotion-S running on off the shelf PCs. Duck decided to license this new version of TrueMotion® to HTI as well, and this ultimately became the "TrueMotion-S" product which HTI has marketed in recent years.
When Duck TrueMotion® began appearing in 3DO titles from Crystal Dynamics - running on standard 3DO machines without the need for any add-on hardware - TrueMotion® gained the attention of Sega, then in the final stages of designing what has become known as the Sega Saturn game console. A major licensing deal was announced between Duck and Sega which would make TrueMotion® technology available to developers of Saturn titles worldwide.
Duck went to work optimizing TrueMotion® for the Saturn, making a number of important improvements in the process, building custom player technology and implementing its audio compression schemes (known as DK3 and DK4) for Saturn as well. Those improvements to TrueMotion® included the addition of "interframe" compression capability, and support for video sprites and full 24 bit color.
The "TrueMotion-S Compressor" product from HTI never benefited from any of these important improvements, which has caused a lot of public confusion about what TrueMotion® really is.
In a recently announced modification to the Duck/HTI relationship, Duck regained full rights to develop and market TrueMotion® for all markets. HTI is now a non-exclusive licensee of Duck technology. What this means is that the latest and greatest versions of TrueMotion® will finally be available directly from Duck for widespread use by all kinds of users - from major consumer electronics giants to builders of video servers to developers of authoring tools to small multimedia developers, animators, and digital video dabblers.
Horizons Technology Incorporated (HTI for short) was at one time the exclusive licensee of TrueMotion® technology for the PC desktop multimedia market, and in that capacity released a shrink wrapped product called the "TrueMotion-S Compressor". HTI no longer holds any exclusive rights to TrueMotion® technology.
Comprending® is a proprietary, patent-pending system Duck has developed for capturing, storing, retrieving, recreating and manipulating realistic three dimensional environments by combining unique capture and storage techniques for textures as well as motion, real time 3-D rendering capabilities and high quality video compression technology. Immersive worlds can be created which use COMPression to enhance what is possible using RENDerING techniques, hence the name, COMPRENDING, an amalgam of the terms "compression" and "rendering".
While elements of Comprending® have already been incorporated in some Duck products, true Comprending® has not yet been realized in any commercially available application - but watch out, it's coming.
6) I've purchased a CD-Rom game which contains AVI files, but when I try to play them back in Windows I get a "DUCK" codec not available message. How can I get my hands on a DUCK codec?
Unfortunately, the answer currently is "you can't." All titles which contain Duck TrueMotion® video incorporate custom player technology from Duck. Even though the files are "AVI" files, they do not need to be decoded using a standard Video for Windows codec in order for the title to operate, hence none is supplied. At this time, Duck does not market any installable codecs to end users.
The Duck MPVE, or Multi-Platform Video Engine, is designed to be incorporated into CD-ROM titles that run on many platforms - including Macintosh and Windows - without any dependencies on environments such as QuickTime or Video for Windows.
When it comes to creating TrueMotion® content for playback in the MPVE, Duck currently provides compression tools which run on PCs and Silicon Graphics workstations.
We will be offering QuickTime compatible TrueMotion® compression products in the near future, for use by title developers as well as individual users.