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Custom 3+bpp font
http://forums.nesdev.com/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=14781
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Author:  Espozo [ Sun Sep 04, 2016 10:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Custom 3+bpp font

I was bored and thought I'd draw something, but it ended up being a major pain in the ass. The way I made it is I made the font on the bottom, deleted the white in it, and then put it over the pattern in the top right. I'm not completely satisfied, but I think it looks good enough. I don't think I've actually seen any game have a gradient like that on the text, the closest I can think of is SF2 that has the gradient going diagonal. I could have made the gradient go out in a better circle, but it looked really awkward in spots. I didn't actually modify anything after laying it.

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Text.png
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Man, if every aspect of what I'm trying to make has as much effort put into something as unimportant as the font, I'll end up making the best game ever. :lol:

Author:  Anders_A [ Tue Sep 06, 2016 9:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Custom 3+bpp font

How do you intend to display this in game? Using sprite overlays won't work very well if you have more than 8 characters on a line unfortunately :/.

Author:  tokumaru [ Tue Sep 06, 2016 10:09 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Custom 3+bpp font

Espozo does SNES dev, not NES dev.

Author:  Espozo [ Tue Sep 06, 2016 5:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Custom 3+bpp font

Yeah, I had been told to put art related stuff here, even if it is for the SNES. Really, this (as well as just about anything else) is for any system that's capable enough to reasonably display it.

I think I found out why I didn't really like what I had done: The color ramp is too long. I got rid of the second closest color to white and replaced it with white, and then I adjusted the middle color to where it is a little closer to the color above it than below it in terms of brightness. I think this is much better:

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Author:  tepples [ Tue Sep 06, 2016 6:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Custom 3+bpp font

ObNES: Two 2bpp versions. What do they lose?

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File comment: Crushed top two levels and bottom two levels of 4-level ramp
Espozo_font_2bpp_shadow.png
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File comment: Crushed shadow to background and two middle levels of 4-level ramp
Espozo_font_2bpp_no_shadow.png
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Author:  freem [ Tue Sep 06, 2016 7:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Custom 3+bpp font

Espozo wrote:
I was bored and thought I'd draw something, but it ended up being a major pain in the ass. The way I made it is I made the font on the bottom, deleted the white in it, and then put it over the pattern in the top right. I'm not completely satisfied, but I think it looks good enough.

It does look pretty good (and yeah, making effects like this is a pain in the ass).

Espozo wrote:
I don't think I've actually seen any game have a gradient like that on the text

I had remembered seeing some sort of comment about this style used in a game on NFG's Arcade Font Tool; turns out it was DoDonPachi that had the comment about this style. Battle Bakraid seems to have a similar style as well.

tepples wrote:
ObNES: Two 2bpp versions. What do they lose?

Not a whole lot. They seem to adapt well to your changes.

Author:  Bregalad [ Tue Sep 06, 2016 11:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Custom 3+bpp font

On the SNES it sounds very wastefully to not use a 2BP layer for the font. I guess it depends on which more you are, but assuming you're using mode 1, you really want to put your font on the last BG in order to reduce VRAM usage. Well some games like DQ6 actually uses the high color layers for the font even though it's monochrome, so maybe this somehow made sense for them ?

Author:  Espozo [ Wed Sep 07, 2016 5:40 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Custom 3+bpp font

I'm really not a fan of using up a whole BG for a few characters. Because I predominately want to use 16x16 and 32x32 sized sprites, I've thought of a system where instead of changing sprite tile numbers, you just update the tile data itself. Most games even have information stacked on top of itself, so if you had a score bar with 8 digits, that's 4 sprites, and you still got the 8 8x8 tiles on top. This system takes up both less sprites and almost always less tiles. The only disadvantage is using VBlank time to update the tile data, but this is hardly anything, as you only need to update what has changed from the previous frame.

Even if I were using BG 3 for the score board, I'd use HDMA to make a vertical gradient. I showed how you can pretty much recreate the Metal Slug scoreboard.

Author:  tepples [ Wed Sep 07, 2016 7:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Custom 3+bpp font

Espozo wrote:
I'm really not a fan of using up a whole BG for a few characters. Because I predominately want to use 16x16 and 32x32 sized sprites, I've thought of a system where instead of changing sprite tile numbers, you just update the tile data itself.

That also gives you a chance to use a variable-width font. Some test patterns in the NES version of the 240p Test Suite use proportional text in a sprite status bar.

Quote:
Most games even have information stacked on top of itself, so if you had a score bar with 8 digits, that's 4 sprites, and you still got the 8 8x8 tiles on top. This system takes up both less sprites and almost always less tiles. The only disadvantage is using VBlank time to update the tile data, but this is hardly anything, as you only need to update what has changed from the previous frame.

That and it takes up some of the 16K dedicated to sprites, whereas the tiles for a BG3 scoreboard can be placed outside that area.

Author:  psycopathicteen [ Wed Sep 07, 2016 10:58 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Custom 3+bpp font

There's the option of using BG3 as a far background, but with the HUD placed in the sky area. You can also put clouds on BG2, and any part of BG2 sticking out over the clouds can use sprites.

Author:  Bregalad [ Wed Sep 07, 2016 11:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Custom 3+bpp font

Espozo wrote:
I'm really not a fan of using up a whole BG for a few characters.

Neither am I, but this is just the typical SNES way to do things. You don't have to do that if you don't like it.

Quote:
Even if I were using BG 3 for the score board, I'd use HDMA to make a vertical gradient. I showed how you can pretty much recreate the Metal Slug scoreboard.

Sounds like a good idea to me as well. Using sprites is a good idea to, but then what do you use the BG3 for ? Very unimportant background, or special lighting effects ? Also, keep in mind the SNES can only output 32 8x8 sprites per line and that all bigger sprites are internally converted to 8x8 sprites. This is a pretty serious limitation if you want a HUD with sprites and it takes the whole screen horizontally, a couple of any additional sprites and they'll already start to disappear. If only part of the screen is used for a HUD then it's fine.

Author:  Espozo [ Wed Sep 07, 2016 4:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Custom 3+bpp font

Bregalad wrote:
what do you use the BG3 for ? Very unimportant background

BG3 definitely isn't BG1 or 2, but it can still look very good in the right hands. Just look at Donkey Kong Country:

ImageImageImage

Bregalad wrote:
If only part of the screen is used for a HUD then it's fine.

I mean, this is mainly how it goes. I actually just created a mockup HUD for the heck of it. (There'd be more information in a real game like lives, but I'd have them on top of that stuff.) I always think it's funny how vertical shooters almost always put the HUD on the top of the screen, when the majority of the action is on the top of the screen but there's almost always nothing on the bottom. The HUD takes up 24 of 34 tiles horizontally, which isn't bad because if I were to use it for a vertical shooter, 90% of enemies never even reach this far down the screen because they're either dead or have turned around. It's pretty unlikely you'll be that far down the screen either, and you could even make it to where you can't be.

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Author:  never-obsolete [ Fri Sep 09, 2016 7:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Custom 3+bpp font

I took the edit that tepples made and resized it to 8x8. I think it looks good, but now the rest of the scene needs some work.

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knil-0.png
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Author:  tokumaru [ Fri Sep 09, 2016 7:19 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Custom 3+bpp font

Well, that is a heavily shaded font on top of mostly flat graphics, the styles do clash quite a bit. The large trees are the biggest offenders when it comes to lack of shading, considering that even the small trees have highlights at the top.

Author:  adam_smasher [ Fri Sep 09, 2016 8:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Custom 3+bpp font

Against a black background the darker parts of the shading are a little hard to read.

Also, characters with descenders ('p', 'g') look really weird and unbalanced here (see: "happen", "night") because they're too tall. Those are notoriously hard to get right but I think you could improve them here.

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