Tuesday, August 28, 2012

FontX Font Editor (1999)

In 1999 I was still working quite a bit in mode 13h.  I had written a few font libraries over the years, but for an upcoming project of mine, Crammed!, I wanted to use a digitized version of my handwriting.  Thus, I wrote out most of the the ASCII table by hand and scanned the result.  I tweaked a few of the characters in Photoshop on my dad's Mac, brought everything over to PC as BMPs, imported into E again, and converted all the characters to my custom sprite format.

Then, I wrote this little application, FontX, to manage the font that would be made up of these characters.  FontX and its runtime library supported variable font sizes, variable-width fonts and tracking (global character spacing).  It even supported kerning, though it did not do so by character pair; instead, it allowed each character to specify an amount of space to be applied to its left and right.  There was also some measure of auto-fitting for all of the above given raw character data, to allow the user to concentrate on adjusting special cases to the baseline (mostly characters with descenders, though in the case of my handwriting each character was adjusted individually).

Though it was pretty simple, I consider this project a great success, because the fonts it produced looked great.


  1. Hi
    I am looking for a FontX editor for some embedded graphics that I have to do. Don't you want to consider sharing the editor of yours?

  2. Hmmmm... I expect this program probably would not fit your requirements, seeing as how it only runs in a 16-bit environment, in a completely outdated video mode, and operates on highly custom data formats requiring other unwieldy 16-bit programs to manipulate. The runtime library to use the resulting fonts is also 16-bit, written in Pascal, blah. Plus I kind of wrote all that as a teen and the code is probably pretty gross. May I suggest perhaps looking into BMFont (freeware, http://www.angelcode.com/products/bmfont/), FontForge (open source, http://fontforge.org/), FontCreator (http://www.high-logic.com/font-editor/fontcreator.html), Glyphs (http://glyphsapp.com/), or TypeTool (http://www.fontlab.com/font-editor/typetool/)? From what I can tell, out of the above, BMFont is probably the modern program which most resembles FontX.