Black Friday & Fonts & Stuff (oh my!)

DriveThruRPG is having a Black Friday -> Cyber Monday sale, and all Wintertree fonts (except, for some reason, the newest one) are discounted. The link’s here. You can get DarkCity for $3.74 … if I hadn’t made it, I’d be buying it!

It’s funny, back in April, I said I was going to overhaul the old Arcane Alphabets but not make any new ones. Well … that went by the wayside. I can’t help it; I like making fonts. So I not only did some pretty comprehensive overhauls (DarkCity being one of the more elaborate ones) but I’ve made a bunch of completely new ones. They’ll be up on DTRPG as time permits. Plus I need to make sure the helper program runs properly on the Macintosh. Helper program…? Um, forget I said that. Nothing to see here, move along. Pay no attention to the software behind the curtain.

The new build of TableMaster seems to be ready for prime time. I should be putting that on the download page within a few days; mostly, I have to finish updating the manual to cover the ten or so new commands, fix one last bug in the user interface (not a functional bug, but an irritating one nonetheless), and try to persuade the install builder not to lose the icon this time.

I’m working right along on the new Table Pack, too. I’ve got about 20 tables written for it, though some of them are kind of trivial (name generators mostly for the use of other tables, for instance). Assuming nothing else … interesting … happens, I want to have that done around January-February-ish.

And as a little teaser, after the jump you’ll find some output from one of the new tables.

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Quick note about the fonts (and a free one)

The fonts from Wintertree Software are in OpenType format; they will work on both Windows and Macintosh. I’m looking at a d12 with pips, using the “3D” shading, on my Mac right now.

And that particular font, in addition to working nicely on Macs, is available free at DriveThruRPG! You can download it here.

There’s a bit of a story to it: on Sunday, I was in the only game store within fifty miles of here, and as y’all know, I’m a diceaholic; I really do have a dice jar bigger than my head, and actually I’m starting on a second one. So, I’m looking over the dice to see if there are any interesting ones I don’t have, and the only really notable one was a rather large d12 (about an inch across) with pips, aka dots, instead of numbers.

Well, that’s a totally useless die for any practical use, but it’s weird so I felt compelled to get it. And then I felt equally compelled to make a font out of it. That part was easy — I just used the d12 outlines from the regular dTwelve fonts (which you can buy on DriveThruRPG, by the way) and put in pips instead of letters and numbers. So, what to do with this singularly pointless font? I realized it would be a great demo for the various styles, and how the shading works, for the other PolyDice fonts.

So, you can go grab it for free. It’s a great way to try out what the fonts can do (like the shading) and how they look in practice. And, of course, if you really need to type a d12 with dots on it (maybe for a store sign? “all dice 20% off” illustrated with assorted dice?) now you can.

I’m just starting to transition digital sales over to DriveThruRPG. Their system works much more smoothly, with instant downloads and all, than waiting for me to email buyers a serial number. The fonts (old and new) will be first, as they don’t have serial number issues like TableMaster does (I’m working on that). Eventually everything will wind up there except for physical items, which of course I still have to mail. The conventional 6 polyhedral dice types are available individually or as a package, as is a d6 with pretty much everything I could think of to put on a d6 — the faces in that font look suspiciously like the contents of my dice jar.

One little teaser before I get back to work: If you have the long-ago Arcane Alphabets or Mapographer font packages, you’ll remember DarkCity, the city skyline font. You could do things that looked like this (also seen in the previous post about the new fonts):

Well, I kind of got creative.  More than “kind of”, I guess. For one thing, there’s now a version that will put a colored background behind each character, so you can light up your windows. Then I had an idea, based on how I did the shading in the dice fonts. Now you can do things like this — I just typed this!

Yes, that rose window is just another couple of characters (A and H, to be exact) which, when in bold italic, line up over the window in the cathedral. It’s rather badly getting away from the entire concept of a silhouette font, but there are all sorts of things like that. I changed the volcano seen last week so it works the same way. You can put hieroglyphs on the Egyptian obelisks and temple, leaves on the trees, a smiling face on the moon, water under the bridges, and so on. You could, if you so desired, make each of the 16 segments of the rose window in that cathedral a different color.

And since there isn’t a place for something like that window on every character, I’ve utilized them to put in yet another alternate version of the ones from the other versions. For example, different cubic (southwestern-style) small buildings, which can use the same window color underlay as the ones in the regular font, or the flocks of birds flying higher or lower.

Coming soon!

Fonts! Get your red-hot fonts here!

In addition to working on the Mac port, the new table pack, and a bunch of new commands in TableMaster, I’ve been updating the old fonts. I’m pretty happy with the results, not least of all the PolyDice fonts. They’re on DriveThruRPG now. Here’s the bundle of all six varieties: Fonts on DTRPG .

The PolyDice bundle contains a total of 72 fonts. They depict all six varieties of polyedral dice in both outline and solid (I was going to say black and white, but of course that’s dependent on what you’ve got your word processor set to), and three different styles: sharp-edged, rounded-edged, and minimalist. Using the latter, you can do those cool 3D shaded effects — any color of dice graphics you want with nothing more than your word processor.

And they’re not just numbers like you’d find on real dice. They’re also a full alphabet! You can use them to make character sheets for your game, signs for your store, or anything else you can think of. Plus those dice that have numbers of more than one digit have separate numbers varieties to handle that, as do the d4s that have two different numbering styles available (numbers in the corners or edges).

Individual fonts are also available separately, for those people who might only want, say, the d20 ones.

There are more fonts coming soon. I started to update the old Arcane Alphabets and kind of got carried away.

The new InstaGraph and InstaHex are nothing short of amazing, if I do say so myself. They’ll be up as soon as I get the last few wrinkles with some of the line widths worked out. They’ll come in a package with PDFs of useful graph and hex paper sizes and layouts, ready to print.

Remember DarkCity? This one?

Yes, that’s a font. And it’s back, with more types of buildings, more overlays for things like a moon, and even a volcano with optional lava! There’s also a new blackout style, too, with the windows removed. It’s coded as boldface so you can turn your lights on or off at once, or have lights in just certain buildings.

There are dozens of ancient alphabets, weird ciphers, symbol systems like Braille and semaphore … I even did one for the Discworld “clacks” system, though I’m still waiting to hear back from Terry Pratchett’s estate about selling it. There are real ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs and an “English-ready” set where the first letters of the names of the images can be used to spell with. Both of them are set up so the short characters stack properly, which no other hieroglyphic font does. There’s the Orc runes that were never released back in the first incarnation of Wintertree (I finally found the documentation for those on dead trees), strange and esoteric alphabets, all kinds of stuff.

They’ll be trickling out on DriveThruRPG as time permits, and of course available at conventions and on the Wintertree website on CD. And all, of course, have complete documentation, everything from character maps to sample files where necessary.

Fonts! Get yer fresh fonts right here!

No, I haven’t been dead since MegaMooseCon. Aside from a few residual late-aunt-related things, what I have been is immersed to my eyeballs in fonts.

Before I get into the details, here’s where you can buy the first package of them:

http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/220712/d6-With-Dots-font-pack

Yes, I’m selling on DriveThruRPG now!

About the whole font thing….

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is here abe slaney

I’ve been working on getting ready for MegaMooseCon, filling orders, dealing with my aunt’s estate, prepping the TableMaster manual for the printer, working on the Mac port (just found where a leftover Windows system call was hiding!) and all sorts of other chaos, mostly all at once. One of the major parts of that has been preparing the font package for a relaunch, 20+ years later.

Actually, it’s two font packages now: Arcane Alphabets, a major reworking of the old one, and Cryptic Ciphers, which is almost entirely new. (one font, Astrologer, moved over from AA because it fit better in CC) It’s the latter that I’m working on right now, and the font I’m currently taking a break from is the famous Sherlock Holmes “Dancing Men” cipher, which I’ve called “Slaney“, named for the villain of the story.

Since I’m surfacing from font-editing for a little while, I figured I’d spend that time talking a bit about the design process that went into Slaney, with some asides about fonts in general.

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Server migration is like a hole in the head…

After an amazing amount of trouble, some emails that must have convinced my host that I’m that customer, and an annoying DNS issue, the server migration is complete. This is good.

On the other hand, phpBB, the forum software, is having issues with SQL usernames. This is not good. So, the forums are offline (and throwing errors) until I work out exactly which script is trying to use the wrong username and fix it. It’s not helping that the server migration has included a change in control panels … it’s much like switching from PC to Mac … and I’m just learning my way around the new one.

In the interim, while I was waiting for some of the server issues to sort themselves out, I did some more tinkering with the dice fonts. The results are below.

And then there’s the hole in my head….

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A Bit More on Fonts

Here’s an updated picture of the new PolyDice font I just did, which will be going in Arcane Alphabets:

New PolyDIce font sample

I made a lot of minor changes, and redrew the d4 and d6 outlines to get the line widths right — those were the first I did, so they didn’t quite match. I’m still not really happy with the spacing on some of them, so I’ll be tinkering with that some more. Aside from those little tweaks, though, this is basically what will be the production font. There will also be two different black versions of this (and every other PolyDice font) — one with a border and one without.

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Arcane Alphabets & Other Font Finaglings

If you’re wondering what happened to Arcane Alphabets, which I was going to put on the online store on Monday after GnomeCon … well, fonts happened.

Specifically, what happened was that I saw a sign that had a very nice black-on-white d20. I liked how that looked. I thought that should go into PolyDice. And then I thought that there should be another way of doing it, too. And I really should do that d10 font, even though it isn’t a regular Platonic solid. And I had the embarrassing realization that one thing you couldn’t do with my d20 font was … a 20! So back to the font mines.

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Rejiggled

While working on the fonts, I decided I should add a right-to-left version of Glyphic, since hieroglyphs could be written in either direction (or top-to-bottom, for that matter). Easy enough to do — select all characters, mirror, save. The problem comes in with using it: you’d have to type backwards!

The obvious solution to that problem is the program I wrote a few days ago, Text Jiggler.

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