HM3: Your fonts now overfloweth

I've uploaded changes to the HM3 Alpha that make the new "fonts" slot much more functional. You now have the standard three colors to play with, AND patterns now work with them, AND whatever you've typed in will now follow from selection to selection so you don't have to re-type it. On the downside, it now clocks in at a hefty 1MB in size, so be warned.


6 Responses to HM3: Your fonts now overfloweth

  1. Niall Mor says:

    Cool news Jeff! The ability to use a text font with an insignia and the ability to choose a font for the character’s name really adds a lot to the mix.

    I also like the new backgrounds with gradients! Very cool!

    One question: There’s a cape in the “Backplane” set where the top of the cape appears to stick up way past the character’s shoulders. Why is that? It looks odd. Can I correct this using masking or scaling somehow?

  2. violodion says:

    Ability to use Pattern tab on Font Items is good! (Items > Pattern, and ‘Pattern’-ing on an item is getting *way* confusing…maybe rename the Pattern tab as ‘Texture’ for what it is?)

    Much, much, much rather have all three colors on one layer, not shadowed and see-thru.

    With one layer, the control remains in the creator’s hands to add shadow and *direction* of shadow should they choose to do so. Or, maybe they might want to ‘emboss’ by having multiple slightly larger/smaller Font Items stacked. Or, a zoom by using a couple Font Items slightly rotated. Or, or, or any other adjustments the person’s creativity may desire.

    Had done a quick manual shadow with the ‘Union Jack’ sampler. Looks sharper —

    1MB size will not bother many users, though it is a great thing to note for the folks with slow internet connections.

  3. Jeff Hebert says:

    @V: The problem with fonts and having all three colors stacked directly on top of each other is, you’d never see the other two colors. There’s no way to move the color layers individually, so you might as well have just one color and not bother with the others. At least this way, with them offset, you get SOME utility out of their presence. If you don’t want them, you can always set the other two colors to transparent and stick with just the one to get whatever effect you’re looking for.

    The Union Jack has distinct color areas — line, the red, and the blue. The font has everything all right on top of each other, I can’t control that. It’s built into the font.

  4. violodion says:

    ::shakes fist at Adobe gawds on the Mountain View thrones::

    Bummer. However, was referencing the name lettering not the ‘union jack’ background. The lettering there *is* three ‘Font’ Items colored separately, & offset slightly. Could have made that a black-grey-white shadow a Roy G Biv rainbow with a little effort.

    Still believe folks would prefer one color with patterning over the forced shadow. HM3 does seem to be about leaving it all in the creator’s hands (breaking up previously all-in-one HM2 objects, build-your-own swords, etc).

    Making two colors 100% transparent is non-obvious for many users. It seems to be the mark of intermediate level users and above: transparency, masking, flipping, etc.

    Letting options for do-it-yourself-ers:
    * Punch out
    * Shadowing (control your own spacing, direction, & pattern per level)
    * Emboss
    * Outline
    * Outline with inline (lots of dupes, but do-able)
    * Zooming
    * Twirling
    * etc.

    When peeps will use 45 ‘Hair’ to create smokey auras, do believe they rather have the control in their hands (Hakoon1’s “Hak’s House of Heroes!”, post #274).

    ( p.s., probably more distinct to call the ‘Fonts’ category ‘Lettering’ to more accurately reflect what it is. While you are at it, rename “Patterns” (tab) to “Texture” for related reason; Items > Patterns is fine. )

  5. Jeff Hebert says:

    V, the problem is, doing all of that is at least as much work for the user as making a couple of colors transparent. You have to have controls for all that stuff, a completely separate tab just for text controls.

    You can get one color with patterning now, the only other realistic option is for me to leave off the other two colors completely, something you’ve chided me for in the past. Better to have the option and the ability (however clumsy) to disable it than not to have the option at all. Which was basically the choice I had since a font is a pre-assembled, all-in-one item.

    I can’t do outlining, embossing, or punch out at all, even with advanced controls. Just can’t be done in Flash like this. And you’re talking about some pretty advanced controls that not even Photoshop had until the last release or two. This isn’t supposed to be a dedicated text-design application, it’s just to add some spice to what is essentially a character design applet.

    Now, I COULD do a separate item for each letter, breaking the font down into just a shape instead of a font. Then I could do the same thing you do with any item, making lineart, the interior a color, and the second color a halo like in a lot of the Insignia items. But then you’ve got a minimum of 36 items for each font style, which the user then has to manually pick and position to make their word instead of just typing it in.

    I’ll think about the renaming thing. Not all the patterns in Patterns are textures if you want to git picky about it, but obviously the important thing is that it’s clear to the user what they’re going to see if they go there. If Textures is a better clue than Patterns I don’t mind changing it. I just don’t know that that’s the case yet, I’d need more feedback on that first.

    I hope this doesn’t come across as hostile, I think it’s a good debate, it’s the kind of back-and-forth I need. Jenn Merrifield back in the day was great for that, she’d argue a point til she was blue in the face and eventually I’d usually agree with her and do it her way (i.e. the entire Ears section, which I fought against but she said was important). But the discussion is very important, and in the course of that I’m going to articulate my point of view as well, that’s the nature of a debate. I don’t want it to sound like I’m mad or upset or pissy or anything, because I’m not — I enjoy the intellectual discussion.

    In general, the overarching design consideration, both from a coding and a drawing perspective, has been the tension between making it possible to use this thing just like HM2.x for the casual user — point, click, it appears, move on — and letting the advanced user do some really amazing things if they want to spend a lot more time with it.

    Sometimes those things conflict. For instance, ideally all items would appear on their own center-point, so when you rotate them, they spin on their center. But if I did that, then when you clicked an item initially it wouldn’t appear in-place on the figure, you’d have to manually move each one to where you want it to be.

    The former option is better for your Power User, the latter (much) better for your Casual User. I can’t do both, so I had to choose.

    I’m running into that constantly, like with item design. Do I do EVERYTHING as broken apart pieces so you can assemble it yourself, or do I do everything as complete items? So far I’ve basically been doing both, but that too comes at a cost of much larger numbers of items to wade through to find the one you want, longer load times, etc.

    That got kind of rambling. Sorry!

  6. violodion says:

    Cool, points for Jenn! 🙂

    Was _not_ suggesting breaking the fonts’ letters down to shapes. That’d be…weird, too much trouble on both sides of the process (user’s & yours).

    The idea was to have just the single color ‘Font’ Item for a given string as it was last week(?). From *that* folks could go hog wild and create the listed effects on their own with stacking/layering/colors as they choose it.

    Ah, well, will see how popular the ‘Fonts’/‘Lettering’ gets from how people post their various creations.

    (p.s.: Aside from the first page of HM blog entries, don’t think there are too many peeps reading 🙂 )