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:

Yes, I’m selling on DriveThruRPG now!

About the whole font thing….

This project started out as just rebuilding the old Arcane Alphabets font files from the original sources with modern encoding. But I had some Lord of the Rings fonts in there; those had to go, because what was just some books for nerds 20 years ago is now the IP of a very large and litigious corporation. Dwarven Block was boring, and DarkElf sucked, so they had to go, for matters of personal pride. And the drawings in the hieroglyph font, then called Glyphic, really weren’t very good. And I’d always wanted to do one for Enochian … you see where this is going. Yeah, it went there, and I went there.

First, a quick description of what’s in the package on DriveThruRPG: It’s 6-sided dice with pips … pretty simple, right? Everyone who’s ever done some kind of dice fonts has probably done that. But I took it to, um, extremes. There are actually ten separate fonts in the package (yeah, that’s just 50 cents a font!) that all have different styles of dice backing — solid, outline, minimalist, flat, etc., in numerous combinations — and all sorts of dice dice. There are your usual 6-siders with little dots, of course.   There are ones with numbers instead.  There are ones with +, -, o, and blank sides, for games that use some combination of those.

When I ran out of immediate ideas, I dumped out my dice jar (which really is bigger than my head) and started doing those dice. So there are dice with Roman numerals, based on a d12 I have. Dice with little suns around the numbers. Dice with skulls and crossbones in place of the pips. Dice with card suits. One pretty neat set where the pips are geometric shapes based on the number — the one is a circle, the two has a couple of lines, the three is triangles, and so on.

A lot of dice have a symbol in place of the one, including the custom Wintertree dice in the Power Failure Emergency Kit. So, since I still had plenty of space left, I followed that style. One of my dice had an 8-pointed star on it, so I did that, and I remembered that in Michal Moorcock’s books, that was the symbol of chaos and the corresponding symbol of law was an upward-pointing arrow, so I put that in too. There’s one with an explosion symbol on it (interestingly, the only thing that has survived from the rather low-quality printing on one of my physical dice) There’s one with a skull.

And I still needed more designs. Because there are 55 of the things in this font. I thought emoji might be useful, so there are happy, neutral, and sad faced dice. There are !, ?, and $ symbols because it seemed like they might be used in some boardgame I just haven’t seen yet. I needed one more, and my eye fell on one of the pens in my pen jar … so I drew a little tentacle! (which probably took me more time than any other ten dice)

And as you probably expect, that’s just the start. I’ve spent the past months making literally scores of fonts. I’ve got fonts you can do things like this

with: (I typed that in a word processor, not a graphics program)

Fonts for all sorts of long-lost ancient languages, more modern communication systems (including three different flavors of Morse code), interesting ciphers, esoteric alphabets used by the likes of John Dee, and so on.

I’ve been promising a reworking of InstaHex for a long time, and had the old version on the Wintertree website as a free download for almost that long. The reworking is done, and now I just need to test it, which is going to take some time … there are a bunch of styles of hexes that need to be checked in combination. I’ve completely redone the characters themselves, in order to accommodate a new system for adding borders, but the basic principle — you can use boldface to add a border, italic to put dots in the center, or of course both — remains the same; there’s no other hex font that does that.

I’m just finishing up InstaGraph — I keep having to re-tune the line thicknesses of various graph elements to look good in print, which is of course the normal use for it. Like the old InstaGraph, you can construct graph paper of almost infinite variations … if you want, for instance, graph paper that has dotted lines, with a dashed line every 5 squares and a solid line every 10, and a heavier solid line every 25, you can do that with InstaGraph. Or if you just want your basic 5 squares to the inch graph paper to draw your dungeon maps on, that’s one of the prefab graph style types; you can just type a page full of % characters (what it is a the moment; subject to change), switch your font to InstaGraph, maybe change the color to light cyan if you want, and print out as much graph paper as you need. There are triangular grids, too. Several specifically for isometric mapping. One based on the “Tumbling Blocks” quilt pattern (my mom is a quilter) because I just liked it. Technically that should have gone in InstaHex, by the way, but it didn’t fit so it’s here. And there’s still a few characters left, so there will be some more styles by the time it’s on DriveThruRPG with the dice. And there are five different styles of compass rose — they’re in InstaHex too — that you can use with your maps, each with a zero-width version for easy overlays as well.

At this point, I’m looking at having three different font packages available at conventions and in physical form — how I will package the fonts, and which parts of them, on DTRPG is still up in the air. They are:

Arcane Alphabets & Gamers’ Glyphs
(the historical alphabets, esoteric alphabets, graph fonts, etc.)

Cryptic Ciphers & Special Symbols
(ciphers, of course, along with things like Morse, Braille, etc.)

(all 6 basic polyhedral dice shapes in multiple different forms)

I’m also considering doing a “superset” pack based on the hieroglyphic font, Medu, that is in Arcane Alphabets. The ancient Egyptians focused on the artistic effect of their writing as well as simple information. If I do this, it will have left-facing (the usual), right-facing, and vertical versions of Medu, as well as the new Glyphic, which is set up for the Roman alphabet, along with a little program to set your text up for whichever one you need. I’ll probably do fonts for the Hieratic and Demotic writing styles as well, for completeness. Plus there will be a set of characters from the font called HieroClipic, basically dingbats (i.e., a clipart font) of the more representational characters from the Medu and Medu Determinative fonts. Because, yes, there are now determinatives!

Some combination of these will be going on DTRPG within the next month. Watch this space. And that space. Again, it’s:

There’s also a new Table Pack in the works, a few more changes to TableMaster, a little free program to do some font things that will be out once I stop adding things to it and finalize it, another new Fable Pack further along in the queue, and … well, I’m not going to say it yet for fear of jinxing it, but it’s something that people have been wanting TableMaster to do since the very first day.

Plus the Mac version is still in the works — found another snag in the Delphi library thing — and the tablet and phone versions as well. (I’ve pretty much decided that the phone one is going to be a front-end for the desktop version, dependent on tables written elsewhere, because trying to write a non-trivial table on a 4″ screen is a non-starter.

Which is why I’m not blogging, or tweeting, very much. (Twitter eats way too much of my time reading peripheral stuff instead of getting productive work done) I’m creating fonts, writing tables, working on the port, writing code and more code … in short, being Wintertree Software. It’s cool!

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