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I am making a first-person computer game in the style of Carmen Sandiego or The Cluefinders. My game company is just starting up, so we have no spare money.

My animator and I decided that the best way to get movement throughout the game would be to create 640x480 videos that would serve as backdrops, and would hold everything from entering/exiting the scene to talking with other characters (especially since Flash and WPF don't play well with each other). Everything the user interacts with directly (by clicking or dragging) would be put over this video, and in cases of clicking "something in the video," we'll use empty image boxes as "hotspots".

Thus, bringing me to the question. What is the best video format to use so that we have good quality video at 640x480 res, yet does not take up too much space, as this will be running from disk. Whatever it is, it must be able to be integrated in WPF without WinHost, because I have to have WPF objects over it. And again, it must be a format I can use commercially without royalties, but also does not require me to pay for it (therefore, BINK Video is not an option).

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Given your listed requirements I'm pretty sure there is no answer. Theora or WebM are probably the only that will be free, and I'm sure by now there are Windows codecs for WebM that you could bundle. This seems like a horrible idea though, you should really just do animation the way everyone else does it.

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How does "everyone" else do it? –  JasonMc92 Jan 20 '11 at 19:46
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BINK video, which isn't free. –  coderanger Jan 21 '11 at 1:35
    
I would love to, but I don't have $6000, as I mentioned, so that's not even close to a viable option. I will look into theora and webm, though. Thank you. –  JasonMc92 Jan 21 '11 at 16:06
    
The alternative is not use video at all, just use normal animated sprites. –  coderanger Jan 21 '11 at 17:35
    
Looked into Theora, and I believe that's a viable codec for us. For those who are worried about "submarine patents", it states on the Theora website: "Theora (and all associated technologies released by the Xiph.org Foundation) is released to the public via a BSD-style license. It is completely free for commercial or noncommercial use. That means that commercial developers may independently write Theora software which is compatible with the specification for no charge and without restrictions of any kind."theora.org/faq/#24 –  JasonMc92 Jan 21 '11 at 20:08

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