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.

PolyDice has been a lot more work than I planned, due to scope creep. Major scope creep. What started out as five fonts, two varieties each (left and right tilted), total of 10, has become, at last count, nine basic fonts, three versions of each of them, and four varieties of each of those, for 108 different polyhedral dice fonts, plus another dozen for “conventional” 6-siders with spots (and a few other symbols).

I’m particularly happy with how the Platonic solids came out. I drew each of them mostly mathematically but with some tweaking of perspective to better serve as font backgrounds rather than precise depictions of the shapes. It makes for a much more readable font than most. The d10 was the hard one. I’ve got a large (1″+) d10 sitting here on my desk to stare at, and after enough staring, and I basically did that one freehand.

That d10 is a perfect example of the difference between perfect representation of reality and the needs of a font design. If you hold up a d10 with one face vertical in front of you, it won’t look like that; if you hold one so it looks like that, the letters will be distorted by perspective. You don’t notice that much when you’re looking at an actual object because your brain automatically corrects for the perspective without you having to think about it. It’s very noticeable, however, when it’s text on a page. Even though they’re “right” (in a geometric sense) the letters are “wrong” to the eye. So in the case of the polyhedral dice fonts, I actually had to do them wrong geometrically to make them right visually.

The letters are from a font I designed some time ago — it’s the font for labeling your maps I did for Mapographer, those fonts for drawing maps in your word processor that nobody actually wanted to do. I modified it slightly and it was perfect for PolyDice. As I’ve said in the past, I’m a draftsman, not an artist. The letters show it. When I created that font, I drew my letters as simple geometric shapes, the way we learned in elementary school. On its own, it’s a pretty boring font. But those are exactly the types of letters and numerals one finds on most polyhedral dice, I suspect because simple shapes are a lot easier to get the color into properly.

So, the updated Arcane Alphabets should be in the online store by the end of the week, and PolyDice as a separate package probably won’t be much longer. The physical versions, as I said in the previous blog post, are of course going to be dependent on the scheduling of the print shop, plus some package design decisions: Do I want to package them in DVD cases like I do with TableMaster? Polybags like they used to be (and were at GnomeCon)? CD cases like the TablePacks? Something else? I’m leaning toward the polybags, perhaps with a colorful header or insert if the print shop can’t do full-color covers (I’m not sure if their color printer can handle cover stock).

On that note, if anyone has a preference, or an idea for something I haven’t thought of for the packaging, please feel free to post your thoughts in the comments.