Implementing custom fonts and colors into a game?

So I finally decided to make a text adventure (my first proper one) with a friend of mine. Long story short, we decided to use Inform, and then I decided the game should have a custom font and custom colors for the text and background. Unfortunately, the Inform documentation, as sparse as it was, told me that I needed some plugins to do this. And so far I haven’t had much luck in finding suitable plugins or documentation regarding said plugins. If any of you could point me towards a suitable plugin or just provide some help here, it would be much appreciated. And you’ll probably get credit in the game itself.

Some context: I want to add a font that I found that looks pretty much like the DOS VGA font. The game itself is set on an 80’s-esque computer, and the player must navigate through the rooms cleverly disguised as file directories and network addresses. The puzzles are software-based, obviously, and the inventory system is more of a ‘copy and paste’ system. We’re still in pre-development, and we have no set deadline. :stuck_out_tongue:

One thing you may want to do is “Release along with a website and an intepreter.”

That will give you a browser/web playable version via parchment, and you can modify the resulting website to display the game however you want using CSS. (Or so I understand…I have no CSS skills).

The plugins you’re talking about are either GLIMMR extensions (which allow you to do all sorts of neat things, like have multiple windows and draw live maps) or VORPLE (which allows neat things focused toward presentation and multimedia.)


The Extensions should be listed on the main Inform 7 Extensions page.


Thanks, both of you. I’ll check out those two plugins. I don’t know whether we’ll be using the Computers plugin or not. The game will take place entirely in the computer systems (networks and directories), and we already have some nuanced commands and a modified move system in mind.

And we plan to release it both on a browser page and for download. We’re using sound effects(from old computer and the like), so we’re going to make it a Glulx game and since the Glulx browser page interpreters do not support sound, we’re making a downloadable version too.

EDIT: Glimmr seems to be about making better maps. I’m not sure if we will even have maps, because DIR (the DOS command for showing files and subdirectories in a directory) can suffice for that, and we can add text about what directory the current directory is a subdirectory of, if it’s even one. It has colored text functionality though, but then again Glulx Text Effects has that too. Can Glimmr use custom fonts?

Vorple looks like it’s more concerned with browser hypertext and CYOA games than text adventures. And I didn’t see anything about custom fonts, at least not with a cursory search. It still looks decent, though.

So a bit of background which would probably help here:

By default, I7 doesn’t let you control fonts (beyond a few options like italic and bold). This is partly historical and partly for portability reasons: a Z-code or Glulx game should be playable on a very wide variety of devices and interpreters, not all of which will support a given font (many will support no font options at all). Font choices are left up to the interpreter.

So if you want control over your fonts, you need control over the interpreter. The standard way to do this is by sticking your game in a web interpreter (like Parchment or Vorple) and using web styling tools such as CSS. This presents a dilemma, though; either you only publish in a web format (which not everybody will be able or willing to use), or you publish in both web and conventional-download formats, and a substantial proportion of players won’t see your font choices.

If the story file is Glulx, you can release a font with it, or use inline pictures, or use a graphics window for some of these things. If you are using CP437, then since Glulx is Unicode you can use the Unicode characters corresponding to them (Wikipedia specifies the Unicode code points corresponding to CP437 characters, so you can use that if it help you). (Note: I do not know how to do these things in Inform, although I know how the Glk system works.)

Z-machine also supports custom fonts, although Aimfiz is the only interpreter that supports it, and it only supports 8x8 fonts, and this feature is untested.

I do not suggest publishing only a webpage, although you can offer it as a choice if you want to.

(And I do not ask any credit, whether or not any of this helped.)

Glimmr is a super powerful tool for graphic maniupation and animation whose features have barely been tapped in released games. Making neato maps has just been one of its features quickly taken up. But delivering the main game text in a custom font, which is your main concern, is not something Glimmr is suited for or intended to do. While it can produce bitmapped text from custom fonts, doing so is CPU intensive and not integrated with the main game text. Glimmr itself recommends that you preproduce text phrases Glimmr might need to wield as graphic files, rather than ask Glimmr to generate them on the fly.

In summary: Glimmr is way cool, but not something relevant to your main game text font interests.

  • Wade