Westwood Font Editor

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The Westwood Font Editor is an editor specifically designed for editing indexed bitmap fonts. It is developed by Nyerguds. It can edit fonts from a very wide variety of games, though the majority of supported types are those from the games developed by Westwood Studios and Sierra/Dynamix.

Due to the fact the entire editor is built on manipulating 8-bit images, there is no support planned for Westwood's later high-colour font formats.

Development and license

The program is written in C# on the .Net framework v3.5. All code in the editor that was specifically written for the editor is released under the WTF Public License, meaning it can be used without restriction. A few components taken from online resources, as well as an ini reader originally written by Nyerguds for another project, have similarly permissive licenses, mentioned in the tool's readme and/or the actual source code files.

The tool was originally created to edit the font files in Command & Conquer, but was soon expanded to support all known indexed bitmap font types created by Westwood Studios. After a request from the translation community at OldGamesItalia, research was started on implementing the fonts of the Sierra/Dynamix games. As cooperation with OldGamesItalia continued, increasingly more fonts of old DOS games were added.

Use

The tool is distributed as a simple .zip file to be unpacked in a new folder. Once unpacked, the included .exe file runs the program.

It is a straightforward pixel editor, with tile selection on the left, the editor in the middle, and colour selection on a palette to the right. In addition to a series of generated palettes, palettes can be added in classic 6-bit RGB 256-colour palette format, the format used by most Westwood Studios games. For 4-bit fonts, one such 256-colour palette can be used as a 16-entry set of 16-colour palettes, with names for these sub-palettes given by an accompanying ini file.

Font modding

The font editor can open and edit fonts, can convert fonts between all the supported types, and, starting from v1.12, also contains the ability to create new font files from scratch. There is currently no import or export function to normal image types, though the font editor does have clipboard support for both copying and pasting symbols, and for copying the bitmap generated by the editor's preview pane.

Since the Font Editor's main purpose is translations of games to languages that require new characters or new character variations with diacritics, it features a list of all known 8-bit ASCII-compatible text encodings, so the list at the side can accurately show the characters to create no matter the targeted code page. The preview pane, likewise, adapts to this chosen text encoding to convert the typed text to 8-bit font indices, so the preview text can be generated correctly.

Note that like many game files, fonts are often stored in game archives that require them to be extracted first. In fact, some of the supported games have no external font files, and the font data needs to be extracted from the exe file to allow editing it, and reinserted afterwards.

Text generating

Because the font editor's preview pane offers the ability to copy the generated preview text, the editor is also frequently used for reconstructing text used on images that is not in the games as actual font files. The basic method is to reconstruct the font using the available text and generate the new text using the preview text box. This technique was first used on the build icons of Command & Conquer in the Ukranian translation pack.

Some new features were added specifically for this use. The preview pane got an added option to copy its contents with transparent background, and as of version 1.12.3, the editor has a "drop shadow" function which can generate shadow under text by adding black copies underneath it at specified offsets. Notably, this allows adding shadows that could not be added in the font itself because they overlap with neighbouring symbols.

The shadow feature was developed for the cutscenes of Sherlock Holmes and the Serrated Scalpel because the thick text shadows in the game's cutscenes are comprised of up to twenty copies of the original text image, which would be extremely tedious to add by hand.

Supported types

As of version 1.12.2, the editor supports the following types:

Links