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Old 2007-02-21, 13:35
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Default Font Size in Translated Games

After I untarred one of the new Al|together games, and noticed something. The default font, default.ttf, is on the big side, at 3.6 megs. That size is understandable, since it contains many Japanese glyphs. But it means that the contribution of the font to the size of the downloadable archive can be substantial. A quick experiment shows that compressing default.ttf with bzip2 (as is done for Linux) shrinks it only to 2.1 megs.

For some of the al|together games, this can be a substantial fraction of the total distribution size. For example, the .tar.bz2 of "My Black Cat" is only 6.8 megs. That means that the size of the font is over 30% of the total size of the download.

By comparison, an English-only font (Bitstream Vera) contributes only 40k to the compressed size of the game. (It's 72k uncompressed.)

I realize that choice of font is a complicated issue, involving licensing, game style, and many other things. But I think it is interesting to note that a relatively small change could make games that much more accessible to modem users.
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Old 2007-02-21, 16:56
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Hmm, let's consider the following: if you only have glyphs that are fine with fixed-width rendering, and if you have control over the rendering engine, how about pre-rendering (rasterize) the desired font to bitmaps with an alpha channel?
You'd have to handle the resizing and layout manually, however. It's easier to have whatever underlying library (GDI, FreeType, Cairo, etc.) do the job than positioning each tile, is it not?
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