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    Amiga Bitmapped Font How-To
by Scott Lawrence
   
 
First of all, you need a copy of FED, the Amiga FontEDitor. You can get it off of any Workbench 1.1-1.3 disk set, or off of my font disk ADF file. You can see it here on my custom Deluxe Paint II Workbench disk. (Which also has IconED, PPrefs preferences program, and my favorite disk management tool, Disk Master.
 

click for fullsize
Once you open FED, you are greeted with its user interface. A quick once-over of all of the tools:
    (top left)
  • editing window. The green line is the 'baseline'. letters like 'p' and 'g' drop below this, while 'a' does not.
    (center column)
  • slide horizontal
  • slide vertical
  • reverse
  • flip horizontal
  • flip vertical
    (top right)
  • Character selector (click in a cel to choose that letter)
    (bottom, left-to-right)
  • lo-res toggle
  • grid toggle
  • zoom slider
  • scroll control
  • low and high ASCII range selectors
  • Kerning, Space, and Width for proportional fonts
  • baseline, width and height for fixed width fonts
 
For an example, to open a font, use the "Project Menu". Select "Open" to load a saved font. You can see the "Save" option in here as well.
When working on a new font, due to the way the Amiga stores fonts, I recommend you use a temporary name for it. When you're done, you can save it under the desired name. If you don't, when you're editing a font at 8x8, but you decide later that you really need it to be 9x9, the .font file will contain both 8 and 9 pixel fonts. If you then save it out to another name, you will only have the one desired.
 
The font load dialog box is pretty unique. Basically, use the two little scroll arrows on the right to scroll down to the font you want.
FONTNAME/SIZE
Then click "LOAD IT". Pretty simple.
 
You can chose to make your font fixed-width and proportional. If you chose proportional, then you will need to set the 'space' and 'width' on each character. Be sure to save often, it takes forever to do this.
Space is the number of pixels needed for the font with padding. Width is the actual number of pixels wide the font actually is. These don't always have to be one off from each other. If you want more space between characters, increase 'Space'.
 

click for fullsize
peridot "I" (proportional)
Space: 04
Width: 03

Click on a black pixel to draw with white, click on a white pixel to draw with black. Black is the 'transparent' or 'background' color. White is the 'opaque' or 'foreground' color.

 

click for fullsize
peridot "M" (proportional)
Space: 06
Width: 05
 

Misc...

Those are the basic controls and ideas. You basically just need to go through, and draw out your font, character by character. There are menu options to copy the currently selected character into another cel as well. Just be careful when you use that option. Your cursor changes to a "Copy To" cursor, and if you're not careful, you can copy that character into unsuspecting cels. Be sure to turn off that option when you're done.
 

Exporting to the real world

Amiga fonts have a very limited use. For the most part, they can only be used on Amigas, or in Amiga emulators such as UAE (1, 2) or Fellow, so there's not much use of getting the fonts outside of the Amiga environment. Some programs like 4P will use them, but there's some time before that will happen.

However, if you want to send some of these files to others, your best bet (and easiest solution) would be to create a new floppy disk image (ADF), copy the .font and font directory over to it, exit your emulator, and then zip up that ADF. ADFs compress really well, and are supported by all Amiga emulators.

If you want to export just the font files, you can use the "Hard Drives" configuration settings for your Amiga emulator to setup a folder/directory on your hard disk as a shared volume in the amiga world. For example, I have "/emulators/amiga/shared/" mounting as the volume "FILES:" on the Amiga. Every time i save out to the FILES: volume, the data goes into the directory "/emulators/amiga/shared/". UAE Shared folders. ADF disk images Wait for drive activity to finish before shutting down the emulator.