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Sunday, June 7, 2009

Fonts for your Game - How much is too much?

I was browsing around a very helpful site with a lot of great blog entries specifically aimed at developers interested in sponsorships as well as other post-development categories.

A lot of the information is really helpful, and even though the few code samples that are there are mainly in AS2, I would really recommend taking a look at the site. Some information, though, seems quite obvious, such as advice of being polite or kind to sponsors even if they refuse to sponsor you. Perhaps that just comes naturally to me and seems obvious, while to others it might be more helpful, but nonetheless, it contains a lot of valuable advice.

One post that caught my attention, though, was a post regarding finding fonts for a game. So I replied:
I was just a bit curious about the quote "Nobody wants to look at a bland default font while their playing a game."

I'm not sure I fully agree with that. If special and fancy fonts are used in moderation, then yes, of course. However, when reading long segments such as people talking in little speech bubbles or reading a tutorial or letter in the game, you really don't want something ridiculously extravagant. It's difficult to read, and gets annoying after a while. Also, unless you embed the font, it might not show up the same on all computers (meaning that a signpost might bleed over some of the text outside the main area, even if just slightly)

Here is my rule of thumb, as long as the main title of the game is readable, fancy fonts give it a fantastic effect, but for long segments of text, you really don't want to be trying to read something written like this (I picked the first font I saw from the recommended site Dafont)

I haven't seen this problem a lot in games, but at in schools and such (or anywhere where you will find a beginner and a word processing program) you see sheets printed out by people who went crazy with the font and text size buttons. I must confess, when I was 13 I myself made these blunders all the time.

I have learned that often simplicity it what is the most appealing, at least for adults. Children might be different. In fact, that is the whole idea behind Feng Shui. The human mind feels more relaxed looking at a clear table than one that is filled with nick-nacks and bricka-breck. Although it looks fun at first and is mentally stimulating, it becomes wearisome after a while.

Just take a look at this site as a perfect example. ALL the text on the site (including buttons and text in banners) seems to be Arial or some simple, similar font, all moderately sized. The only things that use an original font are two brand names, Mochiads and Evony. Those names stand out, as they should, and any other text on the page is not overly distracting or annoying.

That's just my 52 cents. I might be wrong. Any other opinions?

Anyway, love the really handy links as well as all your other really helpful posts.

Andreas J. Renberg

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Flash 9+ for the Wii? [And more links + praise for FireFox]

FireFox, and its glorious offline tabs

Since I have a 45 minute commute to and from work (and luckily, I'm rarely the one driving), and at work I have no time to read up on blogs and sites, when I get to work and during my breaks, I find something interesting or try to find the solution to some problem that has been bugging me.

Then, instead of reading the post or blog (which usually ends up being pretty long and not worth spending my precious break time on) I open it in a tab in FireFox. Often, I'll notice an interesting title in the sidebar, which leads to another post, so I open it in another tab to read later. This process repeats several times during the day.

Finally, when I leave work, I have 40 different tabs containing all sorts of interesting information. The problem is, when I get home from work, I am to tired to stare at a screen, trying to comprehend with a blurry mind what some see as a clear solution to one of my problems. So the next day I go to work, still holding those 40 tabs, ready to be read. But during break, I accumulate even more!

So then you get to the point I am at now; 6 windows and 87 tabs (exactly, according to FireFox). And when you think you are all set to go, Windows XP decides to restart the computer and apply all those updates he thinks is so very important. [Tears hair from head, wanting to explode]

Thank goodness for the built in Session Restore feature. I don't know what I would do without FireFox, even though I believe that the programmers at Microsoft put in some sort of bug system that targets FireFox, hoping that internet users will switch over to the new and improved Internet Explorer [plays fanfare] .... not happening. FireFox is my friend, and I will never be unfaithful.

Enough about FireFox, on with the links!

Math.getProbability(Nintendo.Wii + Adobe.Flash));

I was Googling around, searching for any hope that Wii's built in browser might support might some day support Flash 9 or 10 (more specifically, AS3). That way, I wouldn't have to find an oldschool coder to convert my complex and likely sloppy code to slow, inefficient AS2.

I stumbled across this link, which brings a little hope to my heart, but sadly I can't verfiy the aucenticity of the information. I really hope so, but I wouldn't guarantee anything. It doesn't say anything about adding support for the browser, but it will allow Flash Developers to create games for WiiWare without having to learn a new language. :D

Now the big question is, will WiiWare development be open to anyone, or just people who pay an outrageous price for the WiiSDK and have a full fledged corporation where the proprietary information can be stored securely?

If anyone can verify this information with hard, cold evidence, please leave a comment or email me.

An important announcement from Developers woldwide:
Do you see the ads at the bottom of the page? Click them.

Most developers work for free, and the only money they earn is from advertisement income. It doesn't cost you a penny to click the link, and usually, you might find some pretty good deals or learn about a new neat site.

So give those developers a chance! Help keep free software... FREE!

CLICK THE ADS! (of other developers)

-- A message from your local department of coders.

So I encourage everyone, right now. Put down what you are doing. Stop thinking about how tired you are getting off this site. Next time you are on someone's site, show some appreciation, and click. Enjoy the great deals you find from clicking the ads, and deep inward satisfaction that you are putting food in my belly and getting me (legal people, read: others) through college. :)

Ads can actually be quite beneficial. For example, I recently clicked a link for an RTS game, and I'm actually enjoying it. (No, I won't give out the site address unless I get paid to advertise it)

More links to come once I get some sleep... Work tomorrow as well... Ugh...