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Making a TrueType Font is a bit of a pain; however, it is possible to create a custom TTF. I've made some pretty simple shapes for use within the cave, but hopefully this hard work is put to use in a creative endeavour. I give no warranty of this working on different setups, but feel free to e-mail me if you need some help.

You can either use an easy online tool like FontStruct, which I'd highly recommend, or if you want to use something a bit more customizable, you can try to install FontForge. If you are looking for basic editing, go withFontStruct (it's so easy to use!).

Below are instructions to install FontForge on a Mac OSX 10.5 system. I'll assume you're using a Mac for these instructions, but you can probably do this a lot easier on Linux, and a lot harder on Windows.

Getting things installed:

  1. Install X11 if you haven't already.
  2. You'll need the latest version of XCode. Google search "XCode and Download" and you can download the latest version of XCode for your Mac (3.1 is the latest version for Mac 10.5, I assume Mac 10.6 has a more recent version). You'll need to sign up for the Apple Developer Connection network to download it, but that's free.
  3. Install MacPorts from binary (the .dmg file).  Configuring your shell to use MacPorts isn't required, but I'd do that as well.
  4. I installed the MacPorts GUI called Porticus to make installing MacPorts easy.
  5. Open Porticus, look in the folder "All Ports," and install autotrace and then install fontforge.

Ok, if you've made it this far without any errors (probably not!), congrats. Now here are some links you might find helpful:
An awesome PDF guide to editing fonts in FontForge
Basic editing of fonts in FontForge
Creating a font from an image
FontForge Command Line Environment Variables

Making a basic TTF from a black and white PNG image:

  1. Make a black and white PNG (perhaps a circle, or another simple shape) in something like GIMP, Photoshop, or Tux Paint. It doesn't matter much what it is, just try to make something basic for your first edit.
  2. Duplicate a .ttf (truetype font file) so that you can edit it. I'd open the CaveWriting fonts file, duplicate one of those, and throw the duplicate on the desktop.
  3. Open up the terminal and type fontforge and FontForge will pop up in X11. Remember, X11 window focus is funky, so yo might have to click on things twice to select them.
  4. At the window where you are prompted to select a file, pick the .ttf file you duplicated.
  5. From the character palette, double click something like a lower case "a". It doesn't really matter what letter it is, but let's keep this simple.
  6. Click on the mouse tool and highlight all of the points on the red "a" that just popped up to be edited. Press the delete key to remove all of those points once highlighted. Remember, X11 window focus is tricky, so it might take you a minute to get used to it.
  7. You will also see a layer window to the left of your main editing window. Select the "background" layer.
  8. Now got to File -> Import and bring in the simple shape PNG you made.
  9. Click on the border of the image to select it (e.g., if you drew an "O", select the ring of the "O") and hold down the option key while you drag it to place it where the "a" previous was.
  10. Now while the image is still selected, go to Element -> AutoTrace, and you should see a bunch of little dots sprout up around the image.
  11. This is a bit of a hack, but I had to do this: go to Edit -> Copy to Layer and change From: to back and To: as Foreground and hit OK.
  12. Make sure in the layers window you still have the background layer selected. Highlight everything in this layer and delete it.
  13. Now change the current layer to the foreground. Feel free to go to File -> Generate Font and make a new TTF. Make sure the TrueType output type is selected.

I hope this works and you have fun!

 

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