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vlh256

File formats free for commercial use

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Hello ! 'Would like to know if there's any Gamedev page talking about file formats use. If there isn't, maybe someone can answer me... I don't want a binary file description ;-) I just want to know if their use is under license. For a small commercial product, I used following formats and I want to be sure that no one of them is under a "bad" license ;-) - For audio, I used : *.wav, *.wma - For 3D files, I used : *.x as text (!) - For textures and bitmaps, I used : *.bmp, *.tga, *.jpg - For videos, I used : *.wmv I decided to use wma & wmv instead of mp3 or avi, just for this aspect. If I won't have any problem with these formats, I don't care about ogg or png and so on... I just want your advice about these formats. Is there one (tga, jpg ???) which could cause me problems, for which i will have to purchase a license ? As I want to avoid it, I will have to change of format ! And in this case, for example to use another texture file format, i will have to modify some of my code, lot of my *.x files, and so on... I really want to avoid it if possible. Thanks a lot for your answers... 'Vincent

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Quote:
Original post by vlh256
Hello !

'Would like to know if there's any Gamedev page talking about file formats use.
If there isn't, maybe someone can answer me...
I don't want a binary file description ;-) I just want to know if their use is under license.

For a small commercial product, I used following formats and I want to be sure that no one of them is under a "bad" license ;-)
- For audio, I used : *.wav, *.wma
- For 3D files, I used : *.x as text (!)
- For textures and bitmaps, I used : *.bmp, *.tga, *.jpg
- For videos, I used : *.wmv
I decided to use wma & wmv instead of mp3 or avi, just for this aspect.

If I won't have any problem with these formats, I don't care about ogg or png and so on...
I just want your advice about these formats.
Is there one (tga, jpg ???) which could cause me problems, for which i will have to purchase a license ?
As I want to avoid it, I will have to change of format !
And in this case, for example to use another texture file format, i will have to modify some of my code, lot of my *.x files, and so on...
I really want to avoid it if possible.

Thanks a lot for your answers...
'Vincent



The formats won't be a problem, at least if you're in the U.S. I don't know much about the laws in other countries. What could be a problem is the algorithms that produce the data that goes into those formats, they're likely to be patented.

The following format will probably require a license:
wma, wmv, mp3, and avi (depending on the codec. For example, DivX requires a developer license). I am unsure about the license for JPEG. I don't know the terms for them, so I can't comment on whether they're good or bad.

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Thanks for your answer Patrick :-)
Ok, so if my application don't use the jpeg algo to encode datas, for example, I won't have to purchase to the jpeg license...
(My app encode nothing !)
But I really would like to be sure of that.
I know that it's the case, for wma or wmv :
As I'm not developping an app that encode in wma or wmv, I haven't to purchase.
To play them, no problem.
For the mp3, as far as i know, even to use it, there's a license to pay.
What's a little bit confusing is that for most of those formats, you can load/play it using Direct3D/DirectShow... So using DirectX, have we to purchase a license ?
I have to say that I'm not really afraid with X, BMP, WAV, WMA & WMV.
But I'm little bit more embarrassed with JPG, and especially TGA.

And what about if I "pack" them in a "bigfile" ?

Note : I'm in France (explaining my bad english ;-)...
But the product will be distributed in Europe, Russia, maybe America...

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AFAIK using JPEG does not require a license.
A company called Forgent claimed to have a patent, which was disproven in court. Even if it were valid, it expired in 2006.

In case where you run into licensing issues, packing stuff into a "bigfile" does not solve these issues. It's still illegal for you to steal my car, then turn it into something else.

But, most importantly, when you're serious about this: consult a lawyer.

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JPEG_2000 Legal issues
I don't know much about the other formats but you may also need a license to use a decoder or even to distribute the files/decoders (like it is(was?) the case with mp3). If you want to be on the safe side stop ignoring free formats like vorbis and theora.

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Thanks DaBono... So, maybe ok for jpeg...
I think that I will be obliged to search more infos, as i said, especially for tga, but if someone is certain about any of these formats, I'm still listening ! :-)
I would like to be sure as quickly as possible.

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Thanks Kambiz :-)
For me, it's really too late to replace my audio streamed/video files by vorbis / theora, but i really think that wma and wmv won't be a problem.
I notified them especially to explain why I choose them.
For example, use a "wmv" (and not to encode it) seems to be free, and i wanted to know if it's the same thing with other ones.

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I'm surprised, I didn't thought there could be any legal issue with TGA, but do you need to rewrite more than a single load_image function?
Recently I came across png++, it's a small and easy to use library. You can load an image in a single line of code:
png::image< png::rgb_pixel > image("input.png");
There are also many other libraries like GFL SDK, FreeImage, DevIL and ImageMagick that let you load png files easily. Batch converting the tga files to png is also easy.

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Good evening Kambiz,

Two things :

- I have chosen to not include any other "lib" in my project, it's a choice.
To do the things by myself, to learn.
And to control all my app entirely.
I have only windows/directx libraries...
But, I really don't want to debate about this point !!!

- I really want, if possible, to avoid to change any thing.
Because it could be some work...
And because my app is pretty stable now, so I want to minimize the last modifications.
Change my tga files will obliged me to batch my files, yes, but also to replace all their reference as textures in my x files. And as my x files are "packed", to re-pack all of them.
It's not impossible.
But, if I'm not forced to do it, I won't do it ! ;-)


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Quote:
Original post by Kambiz
JPEG_2000 Legal issues
I don't know much about the other formats but you may also need a license to use a decoder or even to distribute the files/decoders (like it is(was?) the case with mp3). If you want to be on the safe side stop ignoring free formats like vorbis and theora.


JPEG-2000 is a different format from the original JPEG. There are no issues with distributing files in the old JPEG format. (Not that I recommend using them for textures...but that's only because they don't look good on 3D geometry [wink])

As for TARGA (tga), I've never heard of there being any legal issue with them. You're certainly not going to have any problems if you're using the D3DX decoder, which you're free to use and redistribute.

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