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An opentype font that rasterize like the Atari ST 8×16 system font


Sporny Kun

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For this first post, I will present a project –more precisely a rework of the project– that I recently released.

 

Sporniket Nostalgie v2 is an opentype font that renders like the 8×16 system font (a.k.a the 'hires' font) of the Atari ST.

 

The first version was kind of OK but it had 2 major flaws and a minor one : first, it required a weird size (25 pt at 72 dpi) to render correctly, as I wanted to have room for accented uppercase without deformation of the glyph ; second, I was not entirely faithfull in the shape of the glyph anyways as I wanted to remove what I considered as 'flaws', like serifs on a generally sans serif font, I made an '&' that looked like 'Et', and so on ; and last, the shape of my glyphes were stuck to the original pixels and used handcrafted curves, making a not so nice feeling on printed paper. That said, I enjoyed using this font for a few years before changing my computers, and the rendering on paper was as intended, with rounded shapes and all.

 

Another fact that made the rework necessary was that nowadays, exporting the font gives an bugged files, lots of letters seems to have lost their width. In practice, you see several letters at the same location.

 

So, I decided to do it again, with the following objectives :

 

  • faithfull to the original material at 8×16 pixels
  • beautiful on paper : I used the "spiro" tool of Font Forge to have very smooth transition between straight sections and rounded section of a curve (third or forth order continuity), and tricking the rasterization algorithm (no hinting) to get the rights pixels while having constant width strokes on paper.
  • A first release with the following unicode range supported : US-ASCII a.k.a Basic latin (any printable character from code 32 —space— to 127) ; Latin-1 supplement ; 'oe' ligatures and Ÿ to support french.

 

The latest releases are here. You will find the font in 3 formats (opentype, truetype and woff), as well as a sample html demo to see the font on screen, and on paper if you print it.

 

Since the release I set up my computer system (ubuntu linux) to use the font. I have yet to write a theme to use the font in the title bar.

 

Following, some screenshots from my terminal.

 

First, without anti-aliasing.

SporniketNostalgie2-console-demo-aliased.png

 

 

Then, with anti-aliasing –I prefer this rendering–.

SporniketNostalgie2-console-demo-antialiased.png

 

I plan to make the same work for the 8×8 font soon, and try to do the 6×6 font later.

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