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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


  1. Heh acctualy only thing that bothers me is when there are long text in stupid fonts otherwise I like the "theme" fonts, like for medieval games or sci-fi you put medieval fonts or sci-fi ones.
    I think its cool for small texts but not large ones :)

  2. I stumbled across a YouTube video which reminded me of this post from way back when. ;)
    Hitler's subtitler gets a cheap font CD