[Done] Improved fonts

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Postby Chilvence » Mon Apr 04, 2005 4:03 pm

randomlag wrote:A single person who is skilled at doing this does not make for a valid counter argument. If you ask 100 "average" people to make nice fonts we both know what the answer is. Besides that 20 minutes and it sounds like another 20+ minutes [for just a few characters] is way longer than just selecting a universal True Type font that handles anything. IOW, one is easily accomplished by anyone with a big payback and the other only by those skilled in graphics work with payback directly related to time spent - which appears to be a more than a few hours if you want a full set.


Well, first I should explain is that the time spent is not directly proportional to the amount of characters done. You simply do all the characters one sheet and limit yourself to using only effects that can be applied to the whole image automatically. Considering the broad range of filters and tools available in most good packages, and how much the can be corrupted to achieve unconventional things, the need to manually edit any individual letter is small, and mostly limited to 'touch ups'. All three of those fonts I showed you simply use a masked background texture and various bevels.

Secondly, I would like to ask why someone who is unskilled in graphic editing would have an intrest in replacing my good friend the doom font with a plain old truetype, if he isn't going to be doing any other graphics to compliment it (:
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Postby Risen » Mon Apr 04, 2005 4:37 pm

I did a simple test to see if my theory on readability was correct. I attempted to match stroke, coloration (with simple layer effects), and vertical sizing.

(Univers - Type1)
(Georgia - TTF)
(Doom - TTF)
(Arial - TTF)
(Doom - game bitmap)

I'm not making an argument for or against putting this in, it's just that I don't want to see it abused and forever be straining to read the ugly typography it may produce.
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Postby Graf Zahl » Mon Apr 04, 2005 4:58 pm

That doesn't look particularly good...
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Postby Enjay » Mon Apr 04, 2005 4:58 pm

If TTF was supported, would it not be possible and make sense to include some sort of font sizing along with the support? (ie I'm asking, I don't know.)

Personally, I think the ability to specify TT fonts would be a useful thing. Imagine being able to specify a font style and size from the system fonts for HUD messages etc. Would that not be useful?

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Postby Graf Zahl » Mon Apr 04, 2005 5:16 pm

Yes, it would. But the average TrueType font doesn't look particularly good in Doom and I really don't want to see everybody using Arial or other generic crap.
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Postby Bio Hazard » Mon Apr 04, 2005 5:53 pm

Um, why not render true-type fonts in heres instead of normal 5px7px? i'm sure they would be a lot more readable that way
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Postby wildweasel » Mon Apr 04, 2005 6:56 pm

I think rendering them with a height of 10px and variable width should be satisfactory, or if somebody were to make a tool to convert TTF to Doom fonts with options for sizing...
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Postby Chris » Tue Apr 05, 2005 9:00 am

I don't really see why rendering TTFs directly would be necesarry. All you'd need to do is startup GIMP, type out any relevant characters with the text tool, add effects (it'd be super-easy to texture them or add other effects this way), save it out as an all-chars-in-one image, and put it in a WAD. Sure, it might be a bit of work, but the added quality will more than make up for it.

For games, flat shaded fonts are not something you'd want to use in anything that's supposed to have any quality to it.

Example, done in less than 2 minutes:
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Postby Chilvence » Tue Apr 05, 2005 9:30 am

Thats what I've been saying...
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Postby Enjay » Tue Apr 05, 2005 1:50 pm

I dunno, I think typing

SetFont ("Arial"); ( :P )

Is a lot quicker than starting up another program, picking the font, typing out the letters, saving the graphic, sticking it in a WAD etc etc.

Flat shaded fonts may not be that pretty, but I can imagine them being OK under certain circumstances and for certain uses. If they were made avaialble and you still didn't like them, no-one would force you to use them. If other people chose to, then you could choose whether it was enough for you not to play their mod.

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Postby Zippy » Wed Apr 06, 2005 9:28 am

Out of a large number of available TTFs, some of them are bound to be okay. A much larger number of fonts probably wouldn't come out so well. What might make more sense is a readily available resource of fonts designed to be used with ZDoom. Just getting access to TTFs and hoping to get some good looking ones just wouldn't work out as well has having some dedicated people put something together that everyone can use and that looks good in ZDoom.
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Postby randomlag » Wed Apr 06, 2005 10:15 am

Chilvence wrote:Well, first I should explain is that the time spent is not directly proportional to the amount of characters done.

Let's not get picky. I think you know what I meant. Besides, I'm just using the times you gave and it looks like a few hours of work using your figures (assuming a user knows exactly how to do this - which is doubtful).

Interestingly it may be that you are using exactly the sort of stuff I'm suggesting be part of a built-in font package (or something similar)?? Inferred from the way you described how the fonts were made - But I could be wrong :)

Please no more example by people who know how to do this - anyone with experience knows how to do this. The point is not that you can do it, the point is that anyone can do it. Plus any example ignores the fact that you have only created ONE set at ONE size with ONE colormap.

What I'm talking about is almost infinitely flexible (size wise) and infinitely colorable. It would take seconds to alter size, shape, color, etc whereas the "hand" stuff takes that much time (doesn't matter how fast your are) each and every time.

Considering the broad range of filters and tools available in most good packages,

And that is exactly what I'm proposing. A broad range of filters and tools available all built in so the average person can do this in seconds - without the need for other "tools".
Secondly, I would like to ask why someone who is unskilled in graphic editing would have an intrest in replacing my good friend the doom font with a plain old truetype, if he isn't going to be doing any other graphics to compliment it (:

LOL - that's exactly my point. As to why? It would be like asking why a person replaced a flat and not a "texture". Or why they put a door there instead of a lift. The DOOM font is simply put - not interesting and a bit ugly (IMO of course) and it would be interesting to a modder to just have something different for his level.

Once implemented, custom fonts can all be easily used by rank amateurs for whatever pleasure they get out of doing so.

As you all know, by definition TTF fonts are scalable, any color and easily rotateable without losing crispness (have no idea where the 7 pixel high stuff came from?). Plus character spacing - top/bottom/sides (done totally wrong on the ttf comparison example above) is also variable.

IOW, they can scale according to resolution or whatever with very little programming effort (just some settings in the font def). Basic color is just a setup call. Basic shadowing can just be a simple offset. More advanced mapping/texturing features can just be added as time permits.

And since perhaps only a few have any experience using TTF fonts (outside of simple document use), I suggest any coders look at the MSDN SDK example and see the code for making 3D fonts from any TTF base (any font can be minipulated). The code is ALL THERE. That's ignoring the fabulous coloring and texture mapping that's possible.

And NO, these are not flat-shaded fonts at all. You'd be amazed at what can be done with regular fonts, nevermind the huge inventory of artsy fartsy fonts.

As I already said, the plugins available amply demonstrate the tremendous leverage available by just starting out with TTF as a base. If you don't have any of those plugins, then you can't relate, so look around at least and explore the methods available.

Just do a google search for 3D fonts and you'll find not only stock libraries but also some programs that transform rather plain fonts into something much more interesting.

As to the patent stuff - just read the link Randy gave. This applies mainly to non-windows code which is relevant only in an abstract sense [although I wonder how Open Office get's away with it -- mmmm?]
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Postby Chilvence » Wed Apr 06, 2005 11:21 am

randomlag wrote:
Considering the broad range of filters and tools available in most good packages,

And that is exactly what I'm proposing. A broad range of filters and tools available all built in so the average person can do this in seconds - without the need for other "tools".


Well, pardon me for being blunt but I fail to see the justification for going through all the trouble to implement such a thing just so that 'rank amateurs', as you say, can have an idle distraction.

Also, you continue to overestimate the difficulty in creating fonts using an image package. When I say its possible to create a decent font in ten minutes, I mean it. It is a simple task because the ttf author has already done the bulk of the work for you. Of course it would be easy enough to also spend several days working on a font as well, but that is purely up to the user's discretion.

The only difficulty is in cutting the fonts up from the whole image, and for that I suggest a compromise - all a program would need to cut the fonts up automatically would be some reference point. All other single image graphical fonts I've seen use either a monospaced grid with a character in each box, or some sort of pixel marker at the top left of each character to seperate them. I suggest the second method as the most convenient to any user.
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Postby Chris » Wed Apr 06, 2005 4:38 pm

Please no more example by people who know how to do this - anyone with experience knows how to do this.

If you're talking about my Doom Font example, that's the thing. I never did that before, nor thought of doing that before, and I didn't even know if it'd work until I tried it. Difference is, I'm not a lazy bastard, and am willing to do a little extra work and learn a little more to get that extra quality (assuming it's something deemed important.. and I think fonts are). If you add small touches of quality here and there, it will all add up.. but if you continually skimp out "because it's easier", the end product will suffer because of it.
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Postby randomlag » Thu Apr 07, 2005 2:52 pm

None of you are "normal average" users. So attempting to justify on your own merits is self-defeating. Just because you never did it before is like me saying I've never programmed Pascal before - does that mean Pascal would be difficult for me? :)

My argument relies precisely on people who are:

1. Lazy
2. Inexperienced
3. Experienced and have better things to do
4. Last but not least: For all users [rank amateur and otherwise] who get a kick of out creating alternate stuff - it's why levels are created in the first place.

And NO, having another external utility [and poorly documented] is not what we need.

And NO, it's not skimping out having this implemented - but it would be "skimping out" to not implement it - just like any other feature that was created to make editing easier :)

Research what I said to research - the quality is there, so let's drop that argument please.
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