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New font candidate (09/06/2014 update)

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Thanks for the updated font. I'm half way through integrating it but it isn't in yet :)

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Let me know if you'd like me to make a drippy/bloody "Insanity" graphic whenever everything is done ;)

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Maybe a different effect than bloody? Dunno if it's possible with the limited pixel budget of a low-res bitmap font to make, but "shattered glass" would fit well with "insanity". Other possibilities include burnt or burning letters, bullet-holed letters, using a different color, etc.

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A "vertigo" effect would look cool and fit well with "insanity". You know what I mean, so kind of motion blur caused by zooming in.

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The shattered glass idea is one that strikes me as something that could look pretty neat. A vertical motion blur might look pretty neat too, though that seems a bit harder to pull off (for me anyways). I can try a few of those ideas and post them for you guys to check out once I get a free moment.

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fraggle said:

Huh, that does indeed look very familiar. Interesting...

EDIT: Checked some old backups, and those status bar numbers have been in Freedoom since September 2001. HR2 was released December 2003. So I guess it's the other way round?

I contributed those old status bar numbers but I didn't make them. I got permission from the creator which I'm pretty sure was Chrozoron which matches up with HR2.


Hell Revealed II had a long gestation, with development beginning in 1998. On February 14th 2000 a "beta" version of the megawad was released with 15 levels, and two secret levels.

So I probably took the assets from the beta..

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Hey mewse, thanks for the reply and for clarifying. Good to see you on here again.

We've actually replaced the gothic numbers with chunky ones that match the new font used for the menus, so it isn't an issue any more either way. But it's good to know that the previous releases are all good and legal.

But your original status bar is still in there, at least for the time being.

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I just saw this. These comments are assuming there is some chance this is still under revision. I have made fonts for DoomLegacy and have gone through this before.

The previous fonts were hard to read.

I find this font with the diamond shaped O is also hard to read and I can tell you exactly why. People read in chunks that are one or more syllables, or whole words. Small details do not matter. Major landmarks in the letter do matter. Rounded corners, ends of lines, and bars are the major landmarks. If the font does not put color down where these landmarks would be in the average font, then the reader will have to stop and stare at the letter to make out what it may be.

Most innovative fonts turn out to be hard to read. I have a bunch of them and have made a couple myself.

The capital O is missing too much of the rounded corners, and appears to be a lower case o that is full height. It does not occupy its space well enough, the way an O should. It needs the rounded shoulders to make it CAPITAL O, and symmetry to distinguish it from D.

The font has consistently done this in all the rounded capitals.
I do not know how to work that into your font style, that is the really hard part of making a font. Extensively reworking it over and over again just for consistency and appearance. I would suggest reducing the chop on the corners and applying it symmetrically
to certain letters, so that is is more decorative and not distortive.

The / character cannot have bends in it. It has to be a smoothed straight line.

The foot of the 7 is preferably within the boundaries of the top bar.
The usual 7 has the foot at half-character. The descender can be straight or kinked, a western or european preference.

The N is missing the upper left corner. The capital N is distinguished by the sloped middle line. Chopping the corner off makes the left line look curved and lessens the middle line length
and visibility.

The L. I have seen other fonts with the rounded lower left corner being used to denote lower case L. It does not scan well as there is no character with that shape. It best it matches a ( char.
Something to square off this corner is recommended, even if it is just one pixel.

Capital M is always difficult and often becomes squashed. A squashed look has become normal for the M. It is symmetrical.
An unsymmetrical chopping of only one corner hurts it somewhat, but because it has redundant features it is usually readable. It is not as aesthetically appealing though when it looks like the corner is obscured by some drawing error.

I agree with the comment by Enjay. Some numbers have odd proportions which make them slow to read. The straight sections being used for the usually curved esses and rounds do not help reading.

The 5 is notably badly proportioned. I have done that myself every time. Have to keep an adequate left riser and top left square corner.
This forces a smaller, half height rounded section. It does not need to be completely round, but does need to be rounded (not pointy as this version would become if you squashed it down). Going to have to give back a pixel or two on those flattened curves.

The Q is too innovative. I can read it only because I know there is a QUIT in the menu. Looks like some mystic symbol instead, an O on a post. A Q is usually an O with a distinctive mark. The Q mark is recognizable when it crosses the O and reaches the lower right corner of the support line. If the O of the Q is not on the support line it appears to be misaligned (floating) like manual typewriters used to do.

The B needs a strong straight backbone and rounded lobes. Your B has a rounding to the backbone (left vert bar).

The C is pointy. I have seen other fonts do that too. I must recommend some more vertical body in the left portion to balance it, and keep it from looking so much like a < . The other usual fault is to square it up too much, making it look like a square bracket. A completely open mouth is OK, but closing the mouth by a pixel or two makes it easier to read (like having a half serif).

The number 0 looks too small, like the O. The usual distinction is that the number is one pixel narrower, or the O is one pixel fatter. The european slashed 0 just seems to confuse many readers. The points are where edges are expected. I must recommend some minimal left right top and bottom edges.

The G, same comments as the O. It does not occupy its space, looking distorted.

Every character does not have to be completely consistent with every other character. In fact, for a Doom char set I would recommend some deliberate inconsistency in such details.

I believe it takes at least four major revisions to make a easily readable font. I also believe that it is worth it because a font is more often read quickly for its content much more than it is admired for its style. Conversely, while, using an existing typewriter font would be more readable, it fails to fit in style or mood.
The question always becomes how much readability is to be given up to achieve style requirements.

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Hey wesleyjohnson, thanks for taking the time to write such detailed feedback!

Unfortunately I probably won't be updating the font. It's in a finished state and I think its easy enough to read as is. It would be difficult to edit each character without having to re-stylize the entire set, which is more work than I'm willing to do. And from what I've heard so far from the feedback given, the font seems to work ok.

I do agree that you have to strike a good balance between stylization and readability though, and that's not always easy. Particularly when it comes to the tiny pixel fonts that you see in in-game messages. I've spent probably 6 or 7 years experimenting with font creation in Doom and it is not an easy thing to pull off!

Anyway, the good thing about this being FreeDoom is that anyone can edit the font. So if you wanna tackle tweaking it, go for it :)

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I was reminded today that I had updated the smallfont 'Q' after seeing Joshy's new test release of Resurgence (and wesleyjohnson's reply in turn reminded me that I had some bigfont updates to send to Joshy :P).

So here's the updated 'Q':

You can grab the updated .wad here as well. I'll update the OP with this stuff as well.

@wesleyjohnson: If I ever get a good chunk of free time, I will go over your feedback in detail. But I probably won't be able to do to many heavy edits without redoing the font entirely. I still do appreciate the feedback though. And of course your welcome to edit the font yourself :)

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