What's in a font?

In our short streak of weekly updates, it seems like we’ve already charted a map of many of the literary styles devblogs are graced with.

We’ve done, in order:

  • The Nerd - because everybody knows the best way to promote your indie game is to drown your audience in crazy technical talk.
  • The Captain Haddock - sacrebleu!
  • The Exhibitionist - showing wayyyy too much hip.
  • The Pantry Raider - when you’ve got nothing sizeable, just distract your audience long enough with little nothings!
  • The Minstrel - don’t feel like coding? why don’t you sing a song about it!

Today, let’s attack another very important and very indie trait: delusions of grandeur. We shall (and using the third person is a good start) treat the subject by pretending someone is interviewing us on our progress for the week.

Hence, the lines are fictitious, but the progress is real. Don’t sue me, @bigsylvain.

Interviewer: Hey guys! How’s Early Access life treating you? Did you see Darkest Dungeon was out? Any thoughts/confessions?

@fasterthanlime It’s called “living game” now. And, well, I have already played my game of the year so I’ll keep Darkest Dungeon for 2016. Plus I’m a real indie now I need to keep my budget in check.

@bigsylvain Oooohhh Darkest Dungeon is pretty!

You don’t say! It’s almost like some people take their audience seriously or whatever…


Anyway, what have you got cooking this week?

@bigsylvain A font!

@fasterthanlime Well there’s a lot more editor things that I wanted to…

Yeah yeah, later. So Sylvain, tell us more about this font!

@bigsylvain We need some dialogues in Jaakan! Therefore we need an appropriate font! But we are sick and tired of using always the same funky fonts, so I decided to draw a new one. I always liked the upper case font of Calvin & Hobbes, and I wanted to achieve a similar result.

How does even make their own font? I thought they just fell from heaven or something.

@bigsylvain The process is not complex at all but very difficult: plug the Wacom, draw a few letters in Gimp, import the png in FontForge, adjust the size and the spacing and export a TTF file for @fasterthanlime.

@fasterthanlime Sounds like a hassle. Did you run into any problems?

@bigsylvain First of all, the PNG with alpha channel were not exporting the white background all the time, so for every glyph I had to do:

  • Import Image
  • Remove alpha Channel
  • Convert white to alpha channel
  • Export image

For thirty symbols it was already boring. Then it appears that FontForge likes to crash when computing the extremas of a symbol…

@fasterthanlime Like, software crash? Or computer crash?

@bigsylvain No no, it crashed the whole OS! In one hour I had 7 crashes, then I realize most of the crashes were due to FontForge being stupid at executing multiple tasks at the same time or consecutively. I just had to wait a little bit more after the “Rounding of points” operation, and then execute the “Compute extremas” operation.

Except for the “N” letter which seems to be a rebel and always crashed for no reason. Another problem was the apparition of multiple power outage… Thankfully I work on a laptop, so there was no loss of work in progress, but the internet access was a bit slow to recover!

@bigsylvain After all the tribulations of discovering how FontForge works (and where it crashes) I finally achieved a result which is kinda what I wanted:

Alright, thanks! Back to you Amos, any GIFS for us this week?

@fasterthanlime Sure! Here’s the new ‘Clone Room’ operation in action:

Sounds like a good crutch for lazy level designers. What else?

@fasterthanlime Well, remember objects?

Sure! Invisible ladders.

@bigsylvain Which reminds me, have you tested my new climb animation?

@fasterthanlime Uh… I’ll get to it eventually! Well, first off the ‘spawner’ tool is gone: all hail context menus! Oh and you can filter object types in the object creation dialog by typing a few letters:

@bigsylvain I’m not sure if I like the extra clicks…

Right, right - so apart from positioning and resizing objects, is there anything else you can do to them?

@fasterthanlime Absolutely! Position and size are not everything, sometimes there are other attributes you want to edit.

@bigsylvain I still only see position and size in there!

@fasterthanlime You’re right, those are the base properties for all editable objects. But some have additional properties, guards for instance, which I recycled from the original game:

Here, the ‘variant’ property is edited, and the graphics update seamlessly.

@bigsylvain What about cloning? Can you clone objects too?

@fasterthanlime Of course you can! How about a Muybridgesque series of giant Jaakans?

Well that was terrifying - I don’t like when things in my level editor move too much. Thanks for everything, and see you folks next week for what I hope will be an even more interesting update. One last GIF for the road?

@fasterthanlime Here’s me failing to surf on some cops:

@bigsylvain Don’t forget that you can buy the game in Early Access at…

@fasterthanlime Since when are you doing marketing?

@bigsylvain Alright, I won’t say anything then.

@fasterthanlime That’s not what I..

@bigsylvain Too late, I’m gone.

@fasterthanlime Ah, forget it.