View Full Version : Font Fiend beta released
11-24-2007, 03:27 PM
OK, finally got my documentation together and have put out the Font Fiend beta version. For those of you who haven't heard me going on about the program for the last 6 months... Font Fiend is a web and game dev. tool for turning true type fonts into bitmaps and then applying a wide variety of graphical effects to quickly make game ready fonts. The fonts can be saved as sprite files to be loaded into games or saved as individual bitmaps in PNG, TGA or RAW format which can then be used directly in web applications and games. Font Fiend also lets you import bitmaps and does hotspot editing so the program can be used as a general purpose sprite aggregation and hotspotting tool. I will be adding it to my affiliate program and it should be a good addition to art and web dev. websites.
Anyhow, here is the link to doc's, images and the demo download:
For the next few weeks I will be responding to any bug reports or other issues and also using Font Fiend to work on my new game, Big$hot in an effort to find things that need to be fixed before the first release. Please let me know if you use the program and find any issues.
11-24-2007, 04:03 PM
Font window doesn't refresh here. It starts off black, then if I put another window over it, then move it, the image of the window is still there. Its an old-ish laptop with 16mb onboard graphics but there's no reason it shouldn't be able to handle something as simple as this. (I don't mean 'simple' in a derogatory way!).
So it was kinda impossible for me to do anything with it.
I did notice that your docs don't quite correspond with the program, though. For example, in the 'Create a font' section it tells me to click 'OK', except there isn't an 'OK' button - I assume it means the one that says 'Render'?
Then on the next page it tells me to click 'Add Effect'. Obviously that does the same as the 'insert effect' button but it'd be nice if the documentation matched the program.
Because of the window refresh problem, I obviously didn't get any further than that when I realised something was broken. :(
11-24-2007, 08:09 PM
Thanks for the feedback - I fixed the two web page issues, please let me know if you see more.
I can't duplicate the GDI issue. I brought up Outlook Express and moved a window over and back - once pulled off the contents showed up OK. I moved in program windows over the set window as well and in all cases the set window refreshed properly once the overlapping window was removed. If you can point out something I'm missing that would be great - I'm a bit beat right now but will try this on my old Dell laptop tomorrow and see if I can see the issue there.
11-25-2007, 05:02 AM
** Pointless first post scrubbed **
Okay, I should have tried harder :) I missed the docs at first because I was expecting them to be part of the download.
I found the effects interface extremely painful;
Sometimes editing effects didn't make any difference, I was editing the size of an outer glow and was frustrated not to see the image change as I typed (but I could live with that) but it seemed the edit was taking effect in some sort of queue... change to 100 pixels, nothing. change to 10 pixels and it looked like 100. Moving effects up and down rarely made any difference. Thinking about it I'm sure it's just an issue with the updating of the window.
At the moment it's not something I would adopt into my workflow. Sorry. I was hoping for mudgefont with effects.
11-25-2007, 01:24 PM
Crashes fatally every time I click the "select font" button, the dialogue appears but is not populated, then it terminates abnormally.
11-25-2007, 02:29 PM
Thanks for the feedback.
Mikadameus I have just posted a fix that I believe will stop FF from crashing - if you try it I would appreciate hearing that it is fixed.
I've also fixed an omission so that online doc's can be launched from FF.
Will post another version soonish that works on making effects easier to understand. I think defaults for all edit types and forcing the user to fill out some info. when they add an effect (right now it just adds a null effect to the queue) will help address Matibee's concerns.
I see a few issues with usability.
* The font selection at the beginning - there is a standard windows font selection dialog that should make it easier: "ChooseFont".
* Would be nice to have 1 or more pre-canned sprite-sets "abcdefghiklmnopqrstuvwxyz1234567890" etc.
* For the banding effect, the number-input boxes clear as you type in them, eg try to type "100". I have had this in many of my programs where the "onchange" callback ends up setting the value and thereby putting the input cursor at the beginning. Also, nice to default to 0...100.
* Spritesheet. It would be nice to see all the characters at once - say in the big black background window. The sprite-list editor and current character display could then be dispensed with, or used only when needed. Also, I would be nice to export these sprites as a single image, and an additional ascii/xml file specifying the hotspots/bounding boxes etc. If this is too difficult, then perhaps a bit of the old quick bown fox in the background.
The effects results are good - I think this is a good start. Keep it up.
11-26-2007, 01:50 AM
The new version fixed the crashing bug in the select font dialogue.
Now, since I think your idea is very solid and potentially useful, I'm very sorry to be the bearer of bad news and for not dressing my language more euphemistically, but from a user interface and usability perspective the application is a nightmare. Much of its core mechanics works counter-intuitively, the MDI interface layout is messy and I think a design mistake, window focus is stolen lost from the last active window, interaction controls feel erratic, I found no way of viewing my entire font set at once, etc etc.
My suggestion is to try to locate someone with pedagogical and user interface design skills and get that person to help you design a usable front-end for what appears to be a good engine. As it is now, however, I wouldn't work with it since I can create the same results in Photoshop faster and with less hassle, and I can't recommend it to someone else either.
I'd really like to see you make something good out of this application, however, since I see the potential in it.
11-26-2007, 01:57 AM
Just tried the new version and I have the same problem as before. But maybe you didn't try to fix it yet. :confused:
Anyway, I noticed something else. I thought you were using MDI forms but it appears that you aren't. If I drag the main Font Fiend window, the rest of the windows don't move with it - they stay in place on the screen. All of the sub-windows need to be children of the main window. And can you enable the Maximise button on the menu bar too?
Couple of problems with the font requester:
1. Don't know what I did, but on one occasion there were no fonts to select.
2. You need to either use the font's full name (not its filename) and/or show a font preview. Because I don't know what most fonts look like by name.
 One other thing - its left files all over the place. I have FF_Options.bin in my documents, plus I have three other font fiend config files dumped haphazardly in the root of my C: drive. Might wanna put all the config files somewhere more 'standard'.
11-26-2007, 07:22 AM
Your site has "independant" in the title bar. It should be "independent".
11-26-2007, 08:13 AM
Thanks for that Teeth, kind of made my morning as I can now say I fixed something today. I should have noticed that as OE always corrects me - since my extended family is full of a bunch of English types I'm surprised nobody picked that up in the last year or two.
All other feedback has been noted and is under consideration. Time to go into the mountains to consider strategy and further course of action. Will be back soon with my sweater full of that nice smoky fire smell and some kind of plan of action.
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