Creating ASCII-mapped fictional script; issues with alignment and ligature support

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Evan Balster's picture
Joined: 26 Sep 2011 - 4:21pm
Creating ASCII-mapped fictional script; issues with alignment and ligature support

Hello, all.

I acquainted myself with font production the weekend before last and constructed a typeface for a piece of fiction I'm working on in OpenType format using the tool FontForge.

It's a fictional flowing script which is generally meant to be written in a bottom-to-top fashion. A given syllable tends to be continuous along a centerline, starting with a consonant sound or hard-start mark, and each character maps one-to-one to a phoneme.

My biggest headache with implementing this at present is alignment issues which occur under windows. I heard about a negative-space hinting mechanism used for keeping the gap-pairs in lowercase Ms and Ws continuous, and given the characters this occurs most with (they map to 'a', 'o' and 'm') I'm guessing it's the culprit.

Outlined in red are my main worries. The yellow box highlights a lesser alignment issue. Note that this was rendered with notepad32 and rotated. The properly-aligned versions of the problem letters are initial forms joined to the hard-start glyph.

Here's a webpage where the font can be experimented with. Combining marks (like 'Th', 'Thh', 'Zh', 'Sh', 'Ch') don't seem to work except under Firefox/Windows and so must be entered with the number keys, Q and X.

A second caveat: I'm fine with ligatures being defunct in most browsers, but I've found Microsoft Word doesn't properly adjust character width when two characters combine. (Something like Thh will leave a gap as though the glyphs weren't replaced.) Hence I need to use the direct mappings (number keys, Q and X) to type them properly.