Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Tinkerfont - Any con-alphabet you want it to be

From:Gary Shannon <fiziwig@...>
Date:Tuesday, February 22, 2005, 21:34

I was building a font for my silent con sign language
by grabing bitmap pictures of the letters from the
Times New Roman font and cutting and pasting bits and
pieces, like bodies, ascenders and descenders, serifs,
etc., and reassembling those pieces into new
characters.  Then I thought I would use a font utility
to turn my bitmap pictures into a real ttf font.

Then it occured to me that it would be neat to have
what I'm calling a "tinker toy font", or "tinkerfont"
where each ASCII letter on the keyboard would not
represent a whole character, but only some piece of
the character.  For example, suppose "A" in the
tinkerfont drew a left-side vertical ascender, while
"D" drew a right-side hooked descender, and "o" drew a
circular body while "k" drew a 'u' shaped body.  Now a
Roman lower case 'b' could be drawn by typing the
letter group "Ao ".  "A" would cause the ascender to
be drawn and "o" would draw the circular body attached
to that ascender.  The space indicates that the letter
is complete and would move to the next letter.
Likewise, the lower case Roman 'g' would be typed as
"Bo ".

Now it seems like a real waste to have to use two or
three letters to represent one character of the
alphabet, however, using these bits and pieces they
could be combined in many new and original ways making
it possible to print literally tens of thousands of
unique symbols with only one font.  Anyone who wanted
to invent their own alphabet for their favorite
conlang could use the tinkerfont and just discover new
combinations of the existing ascenders, descenders,
body shapes and diacritics.

The tinkerfont would not be capable of displaying
every possible written character, but it would give
conlangers a huge selection of ways to create new
characters. PLUS, conlangers could share their
alphabets with each other without having to download a
zillion different fonts.  The single tinkerfont would
be all you'd need.  Then to share your alphabet you'd
simply share the letter groups it took to draw each
character of that alphabet.

There are some very preliminary samples here:


Gary Shannon <fiziwig@...>
Jonathyn Bet'nct <jonrelay@...>
Jean-François Colson <fa597525@...>
Gary Shannon <fiziwig@...>