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Work in Progress / Bitmap Font Creator

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=PRoF=
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Posted: 7th May 2011 19:59 Edited at: 13th Jul 2012 12:59
Hello World,

After it's first appearence on these forums almost 2 years ago, We have finally managed to complete a first release of the BMFC.

Basically this utility will take a standard windows .ttf font (doesn't have to be installed either, you can load them in from the "Load" button on the font requester) and allow you to add a border, shadows or glows, and fill it using a choice of gradients or textures, or even solid colours.



It allows you to generate 2 sets of images, a Tileset and some Phrases.

A tileset is a 10 x 10 grid of letters for you to cut out and paste into your art package or program, very similar to the layout of Scraggles Bitmap font sets which inspired the creation of this utility. You can edit the tileset by setting the Edit mode to "Tileset"

The Phrases are entire words or sentances rendered onto a single image, for example a game title or a website logo banner. Although phrases share some common elements with the tileset, the remainder of the attributes are editable so you can tweak the sizes of shadows etc.

I'm sorry there is no documentation as yet, but it's fairly straight forward and intuitive to use (hopefully, lol). If you feel that something obvious has been left out, then feel free to say.

This "alpha" release is a little buggy in places, but with your feedback and criticisms, hopefully it won't take too long to add the polish needed for a final release

Download current version
BMFC_v1.0a(201105062057).zip
BMFC_v1.0a(201107062301).zip
BMFC_v1.0a(201107071421).zip
BMFC_v1.0a(201107172121).zip
BMFC_v1.0a(201108111631).zip
BMFC_v1.0a(201108261615).zip
BMFC_v1.0a(201206211044).zip
BMFC_v1.0a(201206251250).zip
BMFC_v1.0a(201206300021).zip
BMFC_v1.0a(201207040007).zip
BMFC_v1.0a(201207121152).zip


@Virtual Nomad, Tiresius & Scraggle:
Thanks again for looking at the 1st version of this, a lot of your comments and suggestions have been added to this version.

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Virtual Nomad
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Posted: 8th May 2011 00:34 Edited at: 8th May 2011 00:36
this should prove handy only time for a quick glance but the only obvious glitch found is that sometimes the settings don't update visually. the settings and output change but what's depicted in the app itself doesn't reflect current settings. then, after generation (from what i saw), some of the settings are no longer changable. (maybe a manual update button within the app will serve as a temp fix for these issues?)

and, i'd like to be able to set a deaul output folder within BMFC to help with flow when working on a game/app.

further, not sure that a lot of people realize, when using the default IDE for dbp (old version... never tried the new one), you can drop helpful .exes into the dbpro /editor/tools/source folder which are accessable via right-click within the IDE. integration here would be ideal (i've been slowly working on a project-specific media importer using this "feature")

meanwhile,



Virtual Nomad @ California, USA . DBPro V7.5
AMD Phenomâ„¢ X4 9750 Quad-Core @ 2.4 GHz . 8 GB PC2-6400 RAM
ATI Radeon HD 3650 @ 512 MB . Vista Home Premium 64 Bit

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=PRoF=
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Posted: 8th May 2011 03:59 Edited at: 8th May 2011 04:04
@Virtual Nomad:
Firstly Thanks for looking at this again

Can you try and replicate what you did when the settings didn't update? Was it a specific bit that didn't update? or did nothing change at all? Do you have the "realtime example updating" box in the options dialogue ticked?

You lose the ability to change some things like font, colours etc. when you switch Editmode to "Phrases" (This is indicated in the status bar at the bottom of the window). Is this what had happened perhaps?

And I can (and will) add a default output path editbox to the options window.

Grog Grueslayer
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Posted: 9th May 2011 09:45
Wow that's cool and very useful program. Great job =PRoF=!

I don't know why but I had to download d3dx9_43.dll before it would work. It's strange since I've been using 9.0c for a long time now.

I found myself trying to grab a color that was in the window (trying to grab a color from the textured text). I guess that's from working with Pain Shop Pros dropper tool too much.

=PRoF=
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Posted: 9th May 2011 11:28
@Grog Grueslayer:
I can only assume that it's because it's compiled using v7.7rc7, and TGC have updated the min. requirements for DX9.0c again? Failing that I have no idea why it would require a DirectX update.

It's written entirely in DBP (Using Matrix1, BlueGUI and ImageKit plugins) Sadly I had to drop Cloggy's D3D plugin because it was bugged (but made the creation of fonts infinitely faster)

Thanks for trying it out though, and I will look into the possibility of being able to "pick" a colour from the main window.

Rich Dersheimer
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Posted: 11th May 2011 20:10 Edited at: 11th May 2011 20:12
SWEET!

It locked up the first three times I ran it, but after that it worked fine.

Combine this with Sven B's plugin for maximum bitmap font pleasure!

Thanks for doing this, it's awesome.

It took less than 30 seconds to do this...



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=PRoF=
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Posted: 11th May 2011 20:41
@Rich Dersheimer:
I have seen it lock up several times before, I was hoping this release would help me track it down as it seems to strike at random with no connection that I have found yet.

I will try and narrow it down by implementing some more specific debugging stuff in the next update.

Thanks for trying it out tho

baxslash
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Posted: 12th May 2011 15:03
Excellent looking tool Prof! Downloading now.

Thanks for sharing

=PRoF=
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Posted: 14th May 2011 23:32
@Baxslash:
Thanks for taking a look, I hope you like it and find it useful

Update News:
Ok, New update is coming soon, I've fixed a couple of bugs, I've added an option to set the default output file (Need to change this to a folder requester at some point, but that means delving into the MSDN again as BlueGUI can only do file requesters);

I'm currently working on getting it to load in a save file when you double click on the save file icon. This is proving trickier than I first expected as It needs to have a fixed location to set the registry entries. So I've been forced to create an installer for it which is not as simple as it sounds.

I'll post the new version here though as soon as it's ready

gwheycs62egydws
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Posted: 1st Jun 2011 14:28
hi
I just found out about your program

I want to be in the loop for getting the next up date

If a thought is Just a thought ~ so whats the main thought ?
=PRoF=
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Posted: 3rd Jul 2011 22:51
Apologies for the delay in any updates, sadly for the last 6 weeks I have been having to nurse my poorly beloved and her slipped disc; however she is now better, and hopefully work can progress at a slightly faster rate.

I have made a few changes and improvements to the BMFC, and will be posting an updated version here just as soon as I can make NSIS register file association stuff.

Thank you for your patience

P.S.

Would be awesome if someone could poke me gently in the right direction with the installer lol

Game Warden
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Posted: 3rd Jul 2011 23:21
It's good to hear that she is getting better


Downloading now. This looks pretty awesome!

KISTech
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Posted: 5th Jul 2011 20:22
I found a specific situation where it locks up, so I hope it helps.

I was playing around with it, and went through all the tabs, and when I clicked on the first tab again (Font) it locked up.

This is going to be a very useful tool for the AGK. VERY useful.

Duffer
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Posted: 6th Jul 2011 00:58
Really looking forward to the next release of this - with that SvenB plugin this is so v useful...

a long time dabbler with DBC and DBPro with no actual talent but lots of enthusiasm...
=PRoF=
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Posted: 7th Jul 2011 02:50 Edited at: 7th Jul 2011 02:55
Update!!

See first post for download link.

More stable, I believe the problem of the crashes has been resolved now.
User can now specify path and filename of use output.
Provisions made to save Kerning and size data as a seperate file, but not functionality yet.
Bug in drawing fonts causing predicted size inaccuracy, but needs a major rewrite of the font rendering code to fix it properly.
Installation & File association using NSIS proving to be so annoying that I have given up for time being.

Massive thanks to all those who have tried this already. Please keep the comments and criticisms flowing

Rich Dersheimer
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Posted: 7th Jul 2011 10:31
With the new version, the debug console window is staying open, so it's easy to see what's going on.

The program seems to be saving the output file after every character is pasted, so it's doing 95 saves for each generate?

Also, on the Generate tab, if the "phrases" checkbox is not checked, the program seems to go into a loop, writing the output file over and over again, and the Generating window with the progress bar never finishes.

But if the "phrases" checkbox IS checked, the program is not writing the phrases to a file, as far as I can tell. The console window shows two phrases being generated, although I have only one phrase in the phrase list. The console window does not show any file saves after the phrases are generated.

No crashes, so very stable. Norton Sonar quarantined the .exe, but I told it to back off and leave it alone.

Hey! Thanks for putting my name in the About credits! (I think licensing is misspelled though)

Looking forward to improvements on this already-VERY-useful program!

=PRoF=
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Posted: 7th Jul 2011 10:54 Edited at: 7th Jul 2011 16:38
@Rich Dersheimer:
I'll have to look into the Phrases bit, I have a nasty feeling I may have broken something there when I split the output path into separate path/filename variables. Although deselecting the Phrases checkbox on the generate Tab should just make it skip the render phrases section.

I'm glad the random crashes seem to have stopped tho.

I'm not sure about the Quarentine thing. I'm using AVG free on most of the PC's used for development, and MS Security Essentials on all the VM's used for testing. I'm sure it is clean and virus free, possibly just an over enthusiastic AV

>Edit<

I just had a quick look and I had indeed broken the phrase generation. I'll try and get a small update done tonite with a fix for this problem.

>Edit 2<

Update!
BMFC_v1.0a(201107071421)

Fixed problem with Phrases not generating properly

Rich Dersheimer
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Posted: 7th Jul 2011 19:35
Quote: "I'm not sure about the Quarentine thing. I'm using AVG free on most of the PC's used for development, and MS Security Essentials on all the VM's used for testing. I'm sure it is clean and virus free, possibly just an over enthusiastic AV"


Yeah, Norton Sonar only flagged it because it hadn't seen it before. No suspected virus.

Duffer
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Posted: 17th Jul 2011 12:30
@ Prof,

It would be really cool if you could add your own textures in to the textures sub folder - but that seems to crash it every time. Any particular size or file type of texture?

a long time dabbler with DBC and DBPro with no actual talent but lots of enthusiasm...
=PRoF=
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Posted: 17th Jul 2011 17:58 Edited at: 17th Jul 2011 18:11
@Duffer:

I have as yet been unable to reproduce your "crash".

The BMFC currently loops thru the "Textures" folder, and loads in every .bmp file it finds. All the textures supplied are 255 x 255; but I have been testing it with textures copied accross from my DBP folder and it works every time.

Did it give you an error message? what size textures have you been using? Were they BMP's?

>edit<

Testing different sized textures has revealed another bug which will hopefully be sqaushed by the next release

The texture scale control displays texture size incorrectly

Duffer
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Posted: 17th Jul 2011 21:40
@ =Prof=

"Array subscript out of bounds" error - I put in rather a lot of new bitmap textures.... (but resized them all to 255x255 and ensured all bmp)...

a long time dabbler with DBC and DBPro with no actual talent but lots of enthusiasm...
=PRoF=
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Posted: 17th Jul 2011 23:42 Edited at: 17th Jul 2011 23:43
Update
BMFC_v1.0a(201107172121)

Fixed a problem concerning an array not being large enough to accomodate hundreds of texture files being copied to the textures folder
Added support for .png, .jpg, .dds, and .tga image files in the textures folder

This one fixes the bug Duffer found, the new texture limit is somewhere in the region of 5000 textures (Altho I don't reccomend you try anywhere near that many...)

The size reporting bug in the texture requester is still there tho. Will try and get that done in the next update.

Duffer
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Posted: 18th Jul 2011 09:51
Excellent thanks.

I may have spotted another bug - when you try to reduce the thickness of the outline from the default 2 to 1 it seems to crash on my as well - not error report though

a long time dabbler with DBC and DBPro with no actual talent but lots of enthusiasm...
=PRoF=
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Posted: 18th Jul 2011 11:51
@Duffer:
That appears to be a re-emergence of the "Random crashing" bug which had seemed to have gone away I have no idea what causes it; I have looked this morning but am at the wrong computer to do serious debugging.

I will have a proper investigation this evening.

And thanks again to everyone for testing this, I'd never have found half these bugs without you guys

erebusman
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Posted: 6th Aug 2011 06:17
This is fantastic, great work! Such a time saver .. and the features (outline, effects, gradients etc) are very easy to use and produce effective and sharp looking results!

Thank you.
Duffer
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Posted: 7th Aug 2011 15:02
@ =PRoF=,

Admittedly I am trying to include rather a lot of bitmaps as textures in the relevant folder, but I get this error (see attached)...

a long time dabbler with DBC and DBPro with no actual talent but lots of enthusiasm...

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=PRoF=
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Posted: 7th Aug 2011 22:30 Edited at: 9th Aug 2011 02:14
@erebusman:
No worries, keep checking back for updates. There are more features planned when I get a few of the current bugs ironed out.

@Duffer:
I will investigate this further, that error should help narrow it down. Thanks for keeping on testing it

>Edit<

@Duffer:
I have tracked down and fixed the bug you reported again (I'd only done half a job when I fixed it previously). I shall release a new version soon, although I think it'd be easier all round if I finish the bit where you can specify which folder of textures your using to prevent having to store thousands of images in one folder.

=PRoF=
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Posted: 11th Aug 2011 18:51 Edited at: 11th Aug 2011 20:26
Update:

bmfc_v1.0a(201108111631).zip

Fixed bug reported by Duffer (Hopefully for good this time)
You can now change the current Textures folder in the Options dialogue from the menu.
Simplified a few of my more questionable delvings into WinAPI, hopefully fewer random crashes as a result of this.
Changing the way the textures load has broken the texture scale slider even more. Sorry

KISTech
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Posted: 11th Aug 2011 20:07
I've been part of the AppGameKit beta and it makes use of font sheets like this very easily. The one thing that makes it slightly difficult is setting up the text file for AppGameKit that defines each character's spacing. I've thought of a way to simplify this, and it wouldn't be hard for you to add the ability to save this text file along with the font sheet.

Let me know if you are interested in doing this and I'll post the idea, and the text file specs.

=PRoF=
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Posted: 11th Aug 2011 20:17 Edited at: 11th Aug 2011 20:20
@KISTech:

I have already been asked for this (Although not specifically AppGameKit related), and have in place the basics already. The 3rd Tick box in the generate tab (Extra Data) will one day create a data sheet with positions/spacing data when it's selected.

It's one of the "New features" I'd like to have working after I have ironed out a few of the current bugs.

I would love to hear your ideas, and if I can make it make AppGameKit compatable files, all the better from where I'm sat

KISTech
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Posted: 12th Aug 2011 00:01 Edited at: 12th Aug 2011 00:01
The idea for the code is to search within the known bounds of each character tile, say 32 x 60, and find the first point in the character on each side that isn't transparent, then add the user's chosen spacing. This should give even looking spacing between variable width characters.

The AppGameKit text filename contains the name of the image file.

The text file for Font1.png would be Font1 submimages.txt.

The format is,



A = ASCII code for the character
B = X coordinate of the upper left corner of the character
C = Y coordinate
D = width
E = height

Definitions for each character on a new line.

=PRoF=
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Posted: 14th Aug 2011 02:48 Edited at: 14th Aug 2011 02:59
@KISTech:

Thanks for that, Although what happens with the Space? Is it not counted? I can't imagine it has a zero width, but would be without pixels for the edge detection software to spot.

And...

Update (Kinda):
Help file for BMFC v1.0a

The help files, such as they are for the Bitmap Font Creator v1.0a. Like the rest of it, still very much a Work in progress and open to comments and criticisms.

This will be included in the main download for all future versions.

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KISTech
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Posted: 14th Aug 2011 06:00
True, the space would have to be handled differently, but since you've got the ASCII code for that while you're processing the characters, it's easy enough to catch it and give it a reasonable size that's relative to the other characters.

kamac
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Posted: 14th Aug 2011 10:42 Edited at: 14th Aug 2011 10:45
Lawl.

Might get handy.

=PRoF=
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Posted: 15th Aug 2011 17:17
@KISTech:

Thanks, I'll whip something up and include it in the next update


@Kamac:

It's designed to be handy lol, welcome aboard

Mugen Wizardry
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Posted: 15th Aug 2011 17:19
Sweet! =D

CHECK OUT MY WEBSITE AT http://imageposeidon.com/ !
KISTech
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Posted: 20th Aug 2011 18:42
The latest version still locks up if I try to go back to the Font tab.

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Posted: 20th Aug 2011 20:19
@KISTech:

What OS are you running? Does it do it every time for you? I'm just testing it quickly on my Vista 32bit laptop and I can press each of the tabs in turn repeatedly many many times over.

I will test it on XP and Win7 64bit tonite.

I really want to squash the random crashing bug (Which I think this is). I have a feeling it's either one of my forays into using the WinAPI with DBP DLL Calls, a bug with BlueGUI or possibly something to do with IanM's string pointer commands (Altho I doubt muchly it's the last one)

KISTech
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Posted: 21st Aug 2011 17:35
It doesn't do it every time. In fact I just tried to get it to do it and it wont.

I hate bugs like that...

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Posted: 26th Aug 2011 04:18 Edited at: 26th Aug 2011 14:12
I have rewritten the rendering text functions to allow me to more accurately work out the text size for generating the extra data file needed by AppGameKit to handle bitmap fonts.

There is still a few bugs to work out with the new functions, more notably when the shadow/glow is blurred excessively so I'm not posting the update yet until this and perhaps other bugs are fixed.

In the mean time, here is the 1st AppGameKit Compatable BMFC font (and extra data text file) for you to test.

>Edit<

Whoops, apparently the 1st font didn't work properly, here is a fixed one.

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Rich Dersheimer
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Posted: 26th Aug 2011 06:42 Edited at: 26th Aug 2011 07:19
SWEET! keep in mind that AppGameKit has commands for setting font spacing, so it would probably be better to err on the side of giving too much space rather than too little.

Edit - also, the requirements for a fixed-width font are a grid of 16 by 6 cells, with each cell required to be a multiple of 16 horizontally and a multiple of 6 vertically. No atlas subimages text file is needed for those. Something to keep in mind if you plan to handle fixed-width fonts.

Whoops! Looks like your character assignments are off by one...



That should read First, Second, Third.

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=PRoF=
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Posted: 26th Aug 2011 13:56
@Rich Dersheimer:
That'll teach me for rushing stuff out :$ lol, You're right, I'd missed a "-1" somewhere in the code. It's fixed now and I'm hoping to get the next release uploaded on here this evening for some more thorough testing.

I shall perhaps add an option to increase/decrease the padding used in the tileset as I have had complaints that it leaves too much between the letters before.

I hadn't considered fixed width font support, and was only going on what KISTech had said earlier on for how the AppGameKit deals with bitmap fonts. I'll investigate this perhaps a little further if people want fixed width fonts as well.

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Posted: 26th Aug 2011 18:51
Update:
bmfc_v1.0a(201108261615).zip

Fixed a few problems with rendering size, size reporting and shadow blur going outside the edge of the letters area with a minor rewrite of the rendering code.
Added AppGameKit compatable text file output*
Added first draft of Help files to the distribution.
Found a bug where if a Phrase is too wide, only a section of it gets textured.
Still crashes randomly, unfortunately when it crashes it doesn't always finish writing the log file so I'm having to try alternate methods of debugging this very very irritating problem.

* Altho I do have AppGameKit, I've not really had any chance to test it out properly yet. I have loaded in a font from the BMFC and used it to display text, but if anyone fancied trying it in a more "game" related way and letting me know how it works? That'd be awesome.

KISTech
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Posted: 26th Aug 2011 18:52
My apologies for not giving full information on that.

Here is the documentation page for reference.

http://www.appgamekit.com/documentation/examples/text/1_custom.htm

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Posted: 1st Nov 2011 11:54
I'm sorry so much time has passed without any news of the BMFC.

I spent a good few weeks trying to get to the bottom of the random crashing problem, sadly without any luck. So I have decided to re-write the Bitmap Font Creator using C#.

The biggest obstacle I face is that I don't know C# as well as I do DBP so progress is slow, often I find myself using the entire alloted time just googling how to do a specific thing without laying down a single line of code.

Here however is a screen grab of the newest version, It's not as functional yet as the previous DBP version; but it is stable.



I shall try to get a usable demo up as soon as possible.

Thanks for being patient

baxslash
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Posted: 1st Nov 2011 11:57
Looking smart prof!

gwheycs62egydws
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Posted: 1st Nov 2011 12:44
hey

"=PRoF="

about "Bitmap Font Creator"

too bad you could not find the bug

umm
Any possibility of releasing the source code
that you created using in DBP ?

to move side ways - is to move forward
Since a Strait line gets thin fast
=PRoF=
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Posted: 6th Nov 2011 12:46
@Resourceful:
I'm sorry, but as BMFC is still a current project, I cannot release the source.

=PRoF=
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Posted: 3rd Feb 2012 00:49 Edited at: 3rd Feb 2012 01:08
Not much in the way of progress I'm afraid guys, my AppGameKit project is consuming most of my time (Coming soon to a WIP thread near you). However, the deadline for that is only 4 weeks away now; After that I'm going to have a week off and catch up on some TV/Skyrim and then I am going to crack on and get this project finished.

In the mean time, I have managed to get Google AdSense adverts included in the progress window which pops up when it's generating fonts.

(Many thank yous to to Baxslash for >this< helpful post)



Do you guys have any feed back about this? It's not too obtrusive is it? It's only visible when u'r generating the output.

Duffer
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Posted: 3rd Mar 2012 17:58
@ Prof,

How is this project going? Is this compatible with AppGameKit?

a long time dabbler with DBC and DBPro with no actual talent but lots of enthusiasm...

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