Our own font

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Q_x
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Our own font

Post by Q_x » Thu Jul 19, 2012 18:40

I was wondering how we could handle strange symbols in our pdfs and cards. For now we use this strange markup of eg. "[m]". I proposed making a font for us consisting of some unique symbols we'll be using in our docs (won't work online, I'm afraid, but will in pdfs, cards, Inkscape, etc.) For now I can think of:
  • mark symbol (done)
    card
    fanned cards
    gold symbol
    b&w faction logos
    arrows left and right, up and down (?)
    influence and loyalty symbols (?)
    2-3 cool bullets maybe?
What do you think about the idea?
Anything to add to this list?
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Mattaiyah
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Re: Our own font

Post by Mattaiyah » Thu Jul 19, 2012 19:58

So you'd like something like this :
Image

This isn't actually so hard to do. We'd need a common font to work with, since making every character would take an incredibly long period of time, and we wouldn't be able to type them normally, we'd need to copy-paste them.

Actually, everything to do this is already installed, so as soon as we find a font, I can start working on it.

For the arrows, most fonts have some defaults, or do we want something else?
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Q_x
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Re: Our own font

Post by Q_x » Thu Jul 19, 2012 20:10

I think we can't modify an existing font, as even smaller things caused some mess in the past. We have to do it from scratch - whle new font .
However, I don't want to make whole new set of letters, only symbols, pretty much like all *dings or *bats fonts. You'd have, for example, gold under g, card under c, and mark under m.

Tools used are Inkscape to create the font, and fontforge to validate and convert it. Nothing exciting.
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Mattaiyah
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Re: Our own font

Post by Mattaiyah » Thu Jul 19, 2012 20:32

As it turns out, you can create new characters within a font. Unicode has a section of "private use" characters just for this. Unicode range for the font is U+E000..U+F8FF
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Q_x
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Re: Our own font

Post by Q_x » Thu Jul 19, 2012 20:47

yes, but adding glyphs to existing fonts isn't a good idea.
First, we'll have to cope with licensing (that is we'll have to find a font that's free to modify and act accordingly to its license - just to remind, our logos are licensed under GPL, which may lead t conflict when bundling those into an existing font)
Secondly, we may bump into problems with conflicting font names, which happened before (as often, it was caused by sneaky Ubuntu architecture and malicious software management strategies)
Thirdly, as you've noticed, it's hard to type those chars.

Now, if every dev working with cards or manuals will have to install a given font, I'd rather avoid all the hassle, copypasting, dealing with other's work, and provide our project (and possibly other projects as well) exactly what we need, and nothing more. The symbols (minus logos) should be good for sci-fi, fantasy, historic or steampunk game. Unlike when bundled with "normal" font. I know it's not "unicodish" and rare, but it was, is, and possibly will be the way to go for at least good couple of decades for "set of symbols" type of fonts.
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Mattaiyah
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Re: Our own font

Post by Mattaiyah » Thu Jul 19, 2012 21:13

Not adding glyphs (I know that doesn't work, I tried it). The glyphs are already there, they're just blank.
Q_x wrote:First, we'll have to cope with licensing (that is we'll have to find a font that's free to modify and act accordingly to its license - just to remind, our logos are licensed under GPL, which may lead t conflict when bundling those into an existing font)
True, but I was under the impression that we were already using such fonts.
Q_x wrote:Secondly, we may bump into problems with conflicting font names, which happened before (as often, it was caused by sneaky Ubuntu architecture and malicious software management strategies)
I had those problems with the templates, it's a 10 second fix.
Q_x wrote:Thirdly, as you've noticed, it's hard to type those chars.
True.

What we should do is for now is get a list of every glyph we want to add and all their variations (up arrow and down arrow are diffrent glyphs), then assign them to keys, prefferably something logical (m for mark) or the number glyphs.
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Re: Our own font

Post by Gallaecio » Thu Jul 19, 2012 21:43

Mattaiyah wrote:
Q_x wrote:Thirdly, as you've noticed, it's hard to type those chars.
True.
Ehem: http://userbase.kde.org/Tutorials/ComposeKey

Now, if the choice is between creating a brand new font and modifiying an existing one, I would go with the latter. But do we? Isn’t it just enough to have the icons and “paste” them in the right place?
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Re: Our own font

Post by snowdrop » Fri Jul 20, 2012 00:11

which symbols
As I wrote in private earlier today, I think your idea to extend a font is great and that it could make life easier for anyone that wants to edit WT-related text, and hopefully also in the actual card creation/assembly-process. I really hope this leads to something. :)
For now we use this strange markup of eg. "[m]".
Yes, you're right that it resembles markup, but it isn't strange at all in CCG communities to solve it in exactly what way, for the very same reason we're discussing - they lack their symbols easily available as a font.

As long as the markup is consistent I personally have no issue with this, if for example people discuss the game in a forum or elsewhere where our symbols aren't easily available. It is fast, semi-smooth and compatible with all all western layouts.

Currently we have:

[m]: Mark this card.
[x]: Mark x other cards in any front.
y: A number that equals to a gold cost
T: A number that equals to the targets gold cost
x: A Variable gold cost
(A): Assign this creature

The only two things I really insist on having symbols for are [m], [x] and (A). Maybe something else could also benefit from having symbols, and actually all that is left that was mentioned by me is just gold costs. Say for example that they are a circle with a number or letter in them, which also makes it idenic to Mana in MtG, but that's not an issue.

What I want to ignore is for us to use symbols for everything, just because we can. I don't want the player to have to learn more than max 10 symbols, if even that many, and think that we should officially only use symbols as a part of the card syntax if it makes sense, meaning that they're always defined exactly the same and can't be misunderstood, and that we as designers use them very frequently and plan on continuing to use them frequently in all expansions to come. If all that is true then sure, we can embrace the usage of a symbol.

Be aware though that we still need to try to use a minimum amount of them, else we are just creating a cryptic game. Sadly I have seen many examples of that, also in the world of CCG:s
mark symbol (done)
card
fanned cards
gold symbol
b&w faction logos
arrows left and right, up and down (?)
influence and loyalty symbols (?)
2-3 cool bullets maybe?
In the list above I'd question how often we'd want to show the symbol for a card instead of writing the word "card", especially since it's a very short word and it would look strange if it said "Draw 1 --symbol for card-- for every x" in a card text. I think that is to sature the cards with too much symbols about too not interestng things, and rather reserve symbol usage for stuff that fill a greater function, like abbreviating, and/or is usually associated with some kind of action from the player (for example marking, checking gold cost or paying it, marking even more as assigning, and so on...). I don't want us to use some chinese-inspired english where we start swapping out words just because.
Same goes for fanned cards: While I see them as cool and natural to have around in a ccg font, I don't know when we'd make heavy usage of them. Rest though could be handy. Logos = just black blob, shape of them. Solid.

I do also make a distinction between us regularly using somehing on cads, in docs, etc, and it existing as an option in our extended font. I think it's more or less up to the person doing the work to decide if he/she want's to include something CCG-related and fancy, but that isn't strictly needed as we intend to use the symbols.

licenses
We should always do our best to not violate any licenses and no material that does that will be used knowingly by us. While there is reason to investigate whatever font is used as base it is also good to keep in mind that we can use our own material (symbols, logos etc) however we wish: It doesn't matter if we have released the [m] symbol using the GPL: Since we are the authors of it we can license it however we feel like when it's part of a font or wherever. (That doesn't negate or in any way take away from the fact that we still have it's SVG and raster licensed as GPL.) Multi-licensing isn't hard or a problem if the content is ours. If it's not, then we are not even attempting it. In the case with logos etc it's all ours.

I don't care much about what specific license we go with as long as it's open source/libre and free in ways that are enough for fonts and legal to use commercially as well, but we'll respect the license of the font we'll extend and won't relicense unless ofc that license allows that.

The fact that we are already using some fonts isn't an issue, unless SIL is. If they are an issue we'll replace them. Furthermore there is nothing legally hindering a closed source commercial project from using "our" fonts however it wants. If that was the case then Open/LIbre office & Co would be doomed long time ago ;)

- Nimbus Roman No9 L comes from URW++ and is GPL.

- The Liberation fonts are also GPL:d.

- Gentium is under SIL Open Font License
http://scripts.sil.org/cms/scripts/page ... rsi&id=OFL

- Chunk Five was created by Meredith Mandel. The accents-version
used by us was made by Maurice Svay (svay.com). The font is
licensed using SIL Open Font License.

naming
If we extend an existing font our extend version of it should of course not have the identic name nor filename. It should still give credit to the previous font and just have a WT suffix or prefix to mark out the difference. There can be no confusions then.

If we're going with a font of our own we could call it whatever, but it would be cooler to have a generic CCG font than one that is just WT-specific, especially if we open source the whole thing. :)

placing
I wouldn't know where to place the symbols, especially if a game is expected to be translated and so on, but I have a vague feeling that symbols like € for example are not going to be used in WT ;) Nor would ¶ § @ ad a zillion others.

If creating a brand new font though then this issue won't be around.

usage scenario
It is perfectly "easy" to include our font i any sites CSS and then use a <div></div> or whatever to display the signs we want. It's just a matter of editing the correct templates for the site.

What I'm more concerned about is how we're seeing us use them: If I work in inkscape or scribus, and we created a new font, then I would have to write the card text first in one font (Liberation Serif), then swithc font, type one character, and then switch back to Liberation? If we're only doing a few extended symbols then it seems smoother to just include them in Liberation, and we'd not have to switch fonts all the time.
Mattaiyah
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Re: Our own font

Post by Mattaiyah » Fri Jul 20, 2012 04:37

Before I keep working on this, is this what we're looking for? http://i.imgur.com/dsTrM.png

The font is available here : https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B-0EDi ... EdaT1R1c3M

1 is for mark, 2 is for assign.

There is an issue that even with every other character being blank, it still displays those characters. I don't know what the font it's using is.
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Q_x
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Re: Our own font

Post by Q_x » Fri Jul 20, 2012 06:20

Your system prolly defaults to another font if there's no glyph available. Thumbs up for starting, even when not all of the symbols are invented ;)
(I hope you made the font in Inkscape, I've found ff to be notoriously hard to edit anything with it, and with Ink it's much smoother to learn)
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