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….

I’ve got a hole in my head. Another one aside from the usual, I mean. Specifically, I’ve had a scalp cyst for years. Just a pilar cyst, neither harmful nor painful, but a bit of an unsightly lump. So I went to see a doctor about it yesterday … he said “oh, we can take care of that right now” … I had some experiences which would probably qualify as TMI if I described them … and now I’ve got a hole in my head, or at least in my scalp, with a few stitches in it and a real goose egg from the swelling. More relevant, also with the sort of chronic, nagging headache you’d expect after someone cut a hole in your scalp and did doctor things in there. So if the forum/php issue wasn’t enough to give me headaches, I’ve got that. :-/

One thing I have gotten done, though, in between swearing at config files and irritating my hosting provider, is something new with the fonts. Have a look at this:

You’re probably thinking what’s the big deal, that’s just some graphics and Photoshop, right? Except that it’s not Photoshop. That’s a screenshot from OpenOffice; the only use of Photoshop was to crop it to just the dice. I just typed those. You can too.

Now that I’ve figured out how to do it, mostly by doing things that OpenType was never really meant to do, I’m going to be setting up the PolyDice fonts so that you can, if you so desire, type a few characters to create a die with the outline color, text color, body color, and shadow color you want. One of those dice is just a string of four characters with each set to the desired color for that part of the graphic.

It works in OpenOffice and Microsoft Office. This isn’t entirely a supported feature, in that I don’t promise it will work in every word processor, etc. In fact, it doesn’t work in Photoshop CS5; apparently PS doesn’t expect fonts to have negative spacing or other strangeness, so it doesn’t line the parts up right. I’ll report on other programs as I test them.

So, once PolyDice is out, you’ll be able to do that sort of thing just by typing a few characters. There are  other polyhedral dice fonts out there, but none that can do that.

The whole font project has gotten a bit out of hand, I think. I started out to just rebuild the old Arcane Alphabets fonts for an operating system newer than Win95. That intention didn’t last long. By the time I’m done, I’m going to have three separate font packages (Arcane Alphabets, Cryptic Ciphers, and PolyDice) available, I’ve done that bit with the fancy colored dice made out of special characters, and I devised a method to make really nice-looking weathering effects on some of the ancient alphabets. And the whole thing will have something close to four hundred separate files for all those fonts and their variants. That’s a little scary.

So, back to the php mines and trying to figure out why my forum software hates the living. Or at least hates me.