[Release] Font: Dangerous v1.1

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edgepixel
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[Release] Font: Dangerous v1.1

Post by edgepixel »

Seeing all those juicy Elite: Dangerous videos made me think that the skinny futuristic font (Dosis, a Google Webfont) it uses in the menus would be a nice addition to Oolite. Font choice is, after all, a cornerstone of visual identity. It's a critical part of the overall atmosphere.

This is where you can get Font: Dangerous v1.1 >>> DOWNLOAD <<<

Posted on Jun 10, 2014, .oxp version 1.1
Corrected the rank symbols. Changed Multi-Government icon.

Posted on Jun 06, 2014, .oxp version 1
With previous display errors fixed, I'd say this OXP is no longer a work-in-progress, but a usable and complete alternative font. Yay.
(The HUD distortions are code-based and will be fixed in a next release of Oolite.)

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Posted on Jun 03, 2014, .oxp version... 0.7, let's say (released without version number)
And here's how it looks:

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The Credits symbol is a C with an asterisk, meaning "currency of the stars"

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My tedious work of lining up letters, converting and copy-pasting data seems sound. The font looks good in a block of text too (as far as the display engine allows). I won't mention kerning pairs, for fear of sounding too snobbish. Oups, I just did :)

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The market page is where we start to see problems. Not sure where to start to fix this alignment problem. Don't tell me "don't change the widths data". My goal is precisely changing what the game does with typography.

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For the icons, my goal was simplification and clarity. The lock is "Dictatorship", the suitcase "Corporate State" and "Democracy" is the raised open hand, chosen as a symbol for voting and self-expression. A set of circle (=natural) and square (=artificial) icons are used for the economy types. The diverging and harmonized policies of multi-governments and confederacies are conveyed by appropriate icons.

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And here we start to see bigger alignment problems, that are, as far as I can tell, code-based. The game does it's own adjustments on top of the widths settings on oolite-font.plist. Some icons are tucked-in together closer than I set them to be. Something odd happens with the Democracy symbol, which leaves a much narrower space after itself than the other symbols (I've double-checked my data and it looks correct). But the biggest offender here is how double-digits numbers are displayed. "11" and "12" are crowded here, with the figures touching. Compare this with how nicely Zaonce's tech level "12" is displayed on the planet info page; and how "11" looks on the market page (minerals price).

I'm not sure how to compensate for such inconsistent display tricks Oolite makes on top of the info the font pack itself specifies. I could try to fix the display code itself, only... I'm a designer, not a programmer. I could try to blindly stick my nose into it, but a little help and guidance can't hurt.

Another thing the game seems to do, is squashing and pulling on the letter shapes themselves to produce narrower and wider versions from a normal-width font, a big typographic no-no. This is why fonts are designed from the get-go as narrow or wide, to avoid ugly artificial distortion of the forms. I may be one of the very few here caring about such artsy-fartsy subtleties, but heck! Oolite deserves the best, am I right? :)

I'm quite content with how the font itself looks, but alongside figuring out how to fix alignment, canceling artificial narrowing and widening, another thing I would like to do is changing the icon and text color.
Last edited by edgepixel on Tue Jun 10, 2014 7:02 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: [WIP] Font: Dangerous - a new font for Oolite

Post by maik »

edgepixel wrote:I'm quite content with how the font itself looks, but alongside figuring out how to fix alignment, canceling artificial narrowing and widening, another thing I would like to do is changing the icon and text color.
I like that, it's about time someone looked at the font!

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Re: [WIP] Font: Dangerous - a new font for Oolite

Post by cim »

Interesting look.
edgepixel wrote:The market page is where we start to see problems. Not sure where to start to fix this alignment problem. Don't tell me "don't change the widths data". My goal is precisely changing what the game does with typography.
The numbers are expected to be monospaced. Fixing it so they could be proportional would require it to align those columns to one of their internal characters (the "." for the price, the space for the quantity) which is well outside the current capabilities of the text display engine.
edgepixel wrote:But the biggest offender here is how double-digits numbers are displayed. "11" and "12" are crowded here, with the figures touching. Compare this with how nicely Zaonce's tech level "12" is displayed on the planet info page; and how "11" looks on the market page (minerals price).
This is basically the reverse issue of the previous one - the numbers have to be monospaced to make the F8 screen work, so it then adjusts them back on this screen so the kerning doesn't look terrible for TL 11 systems.

I can look at fixing those two up to give better support in future but for now you'll have to set them monospaced to work around it: it's not going to be fixed in time for the next release.


The "democracy" icon - the main problem I think is that you need to left-align it to its quad in the font texture file, rather than centring it as you have done. Some of the other icons are also affected, though not as obviously.
edgepixel wrote:Another thing the game seems to do, is squashing and pulling on the letter shapes themselves to produce narrower and wider versions from a normal-width font, a big typographic no-no.
Only if you tell it to - that's been set intentionally in the hud.plist file, and given that you've changed the letter widths anyway, you probably also need to change the "legends" section of that file to reposition some of the text as well as putting it back to a square aspect (e.g. the bad right alignment on the FUEL, CT, LT and ALT labels)

I'm not sure why they're set to stretched in the HUD in the first place, thinking about it. I'll try setting them back to square with the default font+HUD and see how it looks.
edgepixel wrote:[...]another thing I would like to do is changing the icon and text color.
Almost all of those are hard-coded. It wouldn't be particularly tricky to make a new plist file which let you specify the text colours for particular bits / icons - but there's so many of them it would be time-consuming, so an idea of which icons/bits of text you wanted to change would help with prioritisation. Again, unfortunately, it's not going to make it into this release, but it should definitely be possible for the one after that.

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Re: [WIP] Font: Dangerous - a new font for Oolite

Post by cim »

cim wrote:I'm not sure why they're set to stretched in the HUD in the first place, thinking about it. I'll try setting them back to square with the default font+HUD and see how it looks.
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Quite a bit nicer, I think, than the previous one. The left labels are still a little misaligned if I use the Dangerous font instead, but I think I can add an option to right-align the labels which will solve that - it doesn't make sense to have every HUD to have to make a variant for each font which could be in use - and they definitely look nicer and more readable.EDIT: done. Here's how it looks with the Dangerous font now.
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Thanks for bringing this up.

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Re: [WIP] Font: Dangerous - a new font for Oolite

Post by edgepixel »

cim wrote:The numbers have to be monospaced to make the F8 screen work, so it then adjusts them back on this screen so the kerning doesn't look terrible for TL 11 systems.
Easy solutions:
1. Let the oolite-font.plist specify two values for the width of figure "1", for both tabular and text block display. Thus, a font designer can specify exactly the value he considers fitting his particular font, instead of letting the program do guesswork.
2. (Even better) For text block display, the game uses whatever width is specified for each figure in the .plist (which thus indicates width values fitting for text block display). For tabular display, the game finds the biggest figure width in the .plist and uses that for tabular display of all figures.
cim wrote:The "democracy" icon - the main problem I think is that you need to left-align it to its quad.
What is a quad? One of the 255 64x64pixel squares? If so, I can see no alignment pattern in the default file. The symbols don't align with the beginning edge of the containing 64x64px square or some subdivision of it. The narrow symbols start at 7 pixels from the left edge of the containing square, the bigger ones are centered. I'll move my democracy symbol to the left and see what gives.
cim wrote:An idea of which icons/bits of text you wanted to change would help with prioritisation.
In all versions of Elite, there is white text for docked-at-station interfaces. Besides that, Dangerous also uses some orange and cyan text. Thus I think white text for all menus would be a fitting choice. A mellow cyan one would look nice, too. Mellowing can simply mean lowering opacity to 75%, which could be applied let's say even if using white text. Emphasis is done with all caps, selection with yellow or orange text or 100% opacity. Subtle solution, with no red rectangles in the back, that are too big anyway and touch the edges of the text on neighboring lines.

There are a few possible ways of coloring the map icons:
1. By concept: Anarchy=yellow; Feudal=green; Multi-Gov=grey or brown; Dictatorship=dark_red; Communism=red; Confederacy=purple or teal; Democracy=cyan; Corp-State=deep_blue; All Agricultural=green; All Industrial=Blue;
2. By desirability/danger: Anarchy to Corp-State, from red via yellow to green; Rich Agri via Mainlies to Rich Indust. from green via grey to blue or purple
3. Whatever color the map text color is (white or cyan); having each icon in it's own color can probably be more confusing than useful.
4. All of the above, as modes available to the user to choose from.

I'll make some draft visuals to exemplify possible user interface improvements that don't alter the code too much. Another thing I intended to do for a looong time is some work on that HUD, but got discouraged by the hard-coded limits, then I forgot/moved to other stuff.

P.S. Thanks for the support and the interest, guys :)

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Re: [WIP] Font: Dangerous - a new font for Oolite

Post by cim »

edgepixel wrote:2. (Even better) For text block display, the game uses whatever width is specified for each figure in the .plist (which thus indicates width values fitting for text block display). For tabular display, the game finds the biggest figure width in the .plist and uses that for tabular display of all figures.
That could certainly work for the built-in screens. It would probably need to be a mode switch for the player-written mission screens, though, so no mixing block or tab numbers there.
edgepixel wrote:What is a quad? One of the 255 64x64pixel squares? If so, I can see no alignment pattern in the default file. The symbols don't align with the beginning edge of the containing 64x64px square or some subdivision of it. The narrow symbols start at 7 pixels from the left edge of the containing square, the bigger ones are centered. I'll move my democracy symbol to the left and see what gives.
True. Maybe it's just the default file leaving more space around the symbols, then. Having a look at how it appears in normal text flow, you might just need to give it ~1.0 extra width units in the font plist so it has a bit more right-padding when printed.
edgepixel wrote:1. By concept: Anarchy=yellow; Feudal=green; Multi-Gov=grey or brown; Dictatorship=dark_red; Communism=red; Confederacy=purple or teal; Democracy=cyan; Corp-State=deep_blue; All Agricultural=green; All Industrial=Blue;
I think - differences in opinion of what colour concepts are aside - this is what's currently done for the icons.
edgepixel wrote:2. By desirability/danger: Anarchy to Corp-State, from red via yellow to green; Rich Agri via Mainlies to Rich Indust. from green via grey to blue or purple
This is used for the highlighting modes on the long-range chart in the current development version.
edgepixel wrote:4. All of the above, as modes available to the user to choose from.
Allowing an OXP to change the colour settings would do that very easily, and is probably the best approach.

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Re: [Release] Font: Dangerous v1.0

Post by edgepixel »

New release. (Check the first post)

Previous problems fixed (I'd say)
New Credits symbol.
cim wrote:It would probably need to be a mode switch for the player-written mission screens, though
Not sure I understood correctly the problem you raised here, but here's my thinking: I see no difference between having the user inserting 10 identical figure width values in oolite-font.plist, or making the game use the widest of them all. Results-wise, it should be the same (I'd say). I simply proposed giving the game more width data to choose from, allowing it to deliver better results in the specific contexts where it needs to make adjustments. Where it needs to play it safe, it can do so just like before.

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Re: [Release] Font: Dangerous v1.0

Post by cim »

edgepixel wrote:
cim wrote:It would probably need to be a mode switch for the player-written mission screens, though
Not sure I understood correctly the problem you raised here
Some screens (e.g. F6, F7) will want to use the spacing defined in the font file for the numbers, while others (e.g. F8) will want to use the widest. That's fine - but mission screens (e.g. the ones that come up from F4) might have numbers in columns (e.g. the available contract summary) or might just have it in normal text (e.g. the contract details+map page). Limitations of the GUI code mean that people writing mission screens will probably have to pick "column" or "normal" number display for the whole screen, rather than being able to have some numbers displayed in columns and some in normal text.

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Re: [Release] Font: Dangerous v1.1

Post by edgepixel »

Updated.

So, how do you guys like the font? Do you think it should be added to the OXP list on the wiki?

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Re: [Release] Font: Dangerous v1.1

Post by Norby »

Sure imho. Please include a license also.

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Re: [Release] Font: Dangerous v1.1

Post by maik »

edgepixel wrote:Updated.

So, how do you guys like the font? Do you think it should be added to the OXP list on the wiki?
Looks very clean, I like it. Please do include it in the OXP list.

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Re: [Release] Font: Dangerous v1.1

Post by Zireael »

This font is great, grabbing!

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Re: [Release] Font: Dangerous v1.1

Post by Smivs »

I have been trying this out for a few days now (v1.1) and like it a lot. However the one downside seems to be an unwanted affect on my players' custom HUDs, which could be an issue with other HUDs as well. These HUDs have the ship name incorporated into them, and other features such as the Aegis indicator square (where the 'S' appears when in the aegis) and as you can see below, these no longer centre properly.
The top image is the standard font, the lower one Font:Dangerous.

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I can easily sort this out for my own ships by redefining the positions on the HUD, but this will not help others using my Combat HUD and its ship-specific variants. I thought it was worth mentioning in case there is a more general fix that could also help if this is affecting other HUDs as well.
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Re: [Release] Font: Dangerous v1.1

Post by edgepixel »

Hello Smiv, glad that you like the font.

That misalignment problem is not a font design issue. It's a HUD design issue (which I'm unfamiliar with). If the HUD coding supports text center-alignment, it would be an easy task to use the center-alignment setting for text you need to be displayed centered. So I guess that it doesn't, otherwise people would use it. If the HUD coding only supports left-aligned text, then we're out of luck. There's nothing I can do to the font to compensate for that (besides making a font that mimics the default font glyph widths, which I think defeats the whole point of making an alternative font). Unless the Oolite programmers start supporting HUD text center-alignment, it's up to the HUD designer to implement some font-ignorant ("universal") HUD design procedures.

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