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View Full Version : Does this text suck? and why?



cliffski
01-16-2008, 10:41 AM
Does this look crap to you? and if it does.. why? I can't get dark text to look good:
http://www.positech.co.uk/blog/text-sample.bmp

Michael Flad
01-16-2008, 11:05 AM
The most obvious is that the font is really crap - very bad quality at that size (or did you scale the image?).
Ok nothing color related - but given that font it'll never look good.

Sybixsus
01-16-2008, 11:08 AM
To my eye, it looks like it is being scaled down with mipmapping disabled ( or perhaps up with texture filtering disabled. ) Is this intentional?

cliffski
01-16-2008, 11:11 AM
That's the weird thing. It isn't!
It's being rendered pixel perfect from the right scaled bitmap.
I've compared it, and I think it is rendering it right. In white on black, it looks ace. Black on lighter colours, and it looks crap.

gosub
01-16-2008, 11:12 AM
It looks like either the anti-aliasing or the alpha blending is wrong. Since it looks OK on gray, I'm guessing alpha blending to be the problem. It looks a cut-off value is used to make clear pixels, rather than smooth blending.

-Jeremy

papillon
01-16-2008, 11:22 AM
yeah, something's not right in the edges. I dropped the same text on with a paint program to see the difference. The text from your screenshot is at the bottom of these three 'Daily Effects':

http://irc.wgp.org/users/papillon/text-problem.bmp

Bad Sector
01-16-2008, 11:51 AM
Are you rendering the same anti-aliased text twice at the same place? It looks like so.

Also the letters are too close to each other.

Not text related, but the X button at the top right corner seems to be wrongly shaded (the highlight is at the bottom right corner which the rest of the window is highlighted from the top left).

RyanB
01-16-2008, 11:54 AM
You'll need some stronger anti-aliasing with that font.

Change the font size up a bit. Make the most important info pop out.

Adding some texture to the beige background would make it more visually interesting. Blending the text into the background texture would help even more.

Most printed text is never pure (rich) black, especially at that small font size.

Some possible inspiration:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dailypoetics/sets/72057594104389710/

Desktop Gaming
01-16-2008, 11:55 AM
It looks a bit bland. Washed out background, black text in a standard Windows font (Arial?).

Add a pale/watermark background image of some kind, and change the font to something a bit more unique.

Pogacha
01-16-2008, 12:22 PM
Also it is a bad background color, you should outline the text in black and use a white font.

MiceHead
01-16-2008, 12:24 PM
http://www.positech.co.uk/blog/text-sample.bmp

I agree with the above comments (esp. what Bad Sector suggested as a possible source of the problem). Here's what I think your target is:

http://www.synthscribe.com/media/cliff1.png

Brown is also a yucky color, and Arial is the yucky brown paper bag of fonts. Georgia might add some flair:

http://www.synthscribe.com/media/cliff2.png

As for the watermarking...

http://www.synthscribe.com/media/cliff3.jpg

...you might choose your images judiciously.

Jack Norton
01-16-2008, 12:29 PM
Definitely is wrong antialiasing... might be also video driver related? for example if you changed setting on ATI/Nvidia control center to force or disable AA ?
If you see it correctly on photoshop, it's really strange that looks so bad in the game... it is Kudos 2? ;)

Game Producer
01-16-2008, 12:30 PM
Does this look crap to you? and if it does.. why? I can't get dark text to look good:
http://www.positech.co.uk/blog/text-sample.bmp

Yes, it sucks :)

Antialiasing... and perhaps try not-so-dark text?

Agent 4125
01-16-2008, 12:44 PM
Some great ideas from Micehead.

Generally:

- Experiment with more contrast in size and weight. Especially between labels and their values, and between headings and content. For instance, "Waiter" should probably be much larger.
- Avoid using pure black. Take your background color and pick a color that is an extreme dark version of it, close to black, but not exactly.

Also, is that Comic Sans in the window caption? *gasp* =)

simonoc
01-16-2008, 01:27 PM
Does this look crap to you? and if it does.. why? I can't get dark text to look good:

The contrast between the text and the background colour is too strong. Either make the text more grey or the background more grey. The black text is too strong and hurts the eyes.

Sims

cliffski
01-16-2008, 01:59 PM
Thanks for everyones feedback. In my defence, I knew it was dreadful, but I'm crap at working out WHY.
I just don't have an artistic bone in my body. Maybe guitar playing took up all my artistic ability :D
The advice here and examples are all superb and I will put them all to work tomorrow morning. The only thing I probably won't do is any sort of image in the background, just because there will be tons of things like this and I need to keep an eye on filesizes.
I massively appreciate everyones advice. Yes my font choices sucked. One day I'll ship a game without using crap UI and poor font choices. If I do, I'll be rich, because I have got some of the other bits right :D
I'm drunk so I'll stop typing now.

MikeVitt
01-16-2008, 02:34 PM
I had a similar problem with arial text. I fixed it with two changes. First, I made sure to use bilinear filtering for min/mag instead of nearest-point filtering. Second, I used a height of 22 pixels for the font in the source texture. I found that by changing it even 1 pixel, the text could become distorted in some way. With that pixel size, I am able to use almost any text height and get pretty good results.

Hope that helps.

Huge
01-16-2008, 07:40 PM
Did you generate you bitmaps by doing win32 text rendering to buffer, and then creating bitmaps from that? One important point is if you render white on black, it is not the opposite of black on white! I see you have dark text of a light background. Try reversing these colours, and see if it looks nicer. If so, you will need to change the way you generate the bitmaps to be dark-on-light (ie, you will need 255-alpha).

Hugh

cliffski
01-17-2008, 12:42 AM
Did you generate you bitmaps by doing win32 text rendering to buffer, and then creating bitmaps from that? One important point is if you render white on black, it is not the opposite of black on white! I see you have dark text of a light background. Try reversing these colours, and see if it looks nicer. If so, you will need to change the way you generate the bitmaps to be dark-on-light (ie, you will need 255-alpha).

Hugh

Holy cow, really? So GDI renders differently depending on background color?

Game Producer
01-17-2008, 01:00 AM
Thanks for everyones feedback. In my defence, I knew it was dreadful, but I'm crap at working out WHY.
I just don't have an artistic bone in my body. Maybe guitar playing took up all my artistic ability :D
The advice here and examples are all superb and I will put them all to work tomorrow morning. The only thing I probably won't do is any sort of image in the background, just because there will be tons of things like this and I need to keep an eye on filesizes.
I massively appreciate everyones advice. Yes my font choices sucked. One day I'll ship a game without using crap UI and poor font choices. If I do, I'll be rich, because I have got some of the other bits right :D
I'm drunk so I'll stop typing now.

Off-topic: Best drunken written post I've seen :D

cliffski
01-17-2008, 01:56 AM
Holy cow, really? So GDI renders differently depending on background color?

And indeed yes it does. Big time. And it all looks MUCH better now.
I'm using georgia as my new font, and that looks way better too. And I changed the colors.
Hopefully it may not suck so badly now :D
Thanks All!

OremLK
01-17-2008, 06:01 AM
That's so strange about GDI. Definitely puts me off using it for future projects.

MiceHead
01-17-2008, 08:30 AM
Off-topic: Best drunken written post I've seen :D

Some of the best indie games are written while completely schnockered [citation needed].

Spore Man
01-17-2008, 11:30 AM
Futura is an elegant font.

Comic Sans is the font of amateurs. Cliffski, you are NO amateur. Delete that font at once!

"Comics" is a much better font for comic book style lettering.

dopeman
01-19-2008, 12:57 PM
Futura is an elegant font.
No, Futura is not considered "elegant" by typographic standards. Bauer Bodoni is elegant, it has long and slim proportions, wheras Futura is geometric and minimalist.


Change the font size up a bit. Make the most important info pop out.
That is great advice. When designing textual content your goal is to "guide" the viewer towards what he should read first and contrast is the way to achieve this. Either contrast in font sizes, boldness, color, etc...

Slackluster
02-01-2008, 03:27 PM
It is possible your text rendering is off by a half pixel?