I'm currently toying with the idea of generating glyph outlines to create a font family in a parametric way. Right now, as a test, I have a program that defines the shapes of the 26 latin characters both lc and uc (and smcp, not shown), using various parameters such as character widths, x/cap/asce/desc hights, nominal horizontal/vertical stroke widths, etc. Attached is the result of nine fonts with varying weight which in turn defines stroke widths and "squareness". Most other things can be changed, too, the only thing fixed is the fundamental composition of each glyph ("b" is conceptually a vertical stroke with an uneven ellipse; this kind of things are, I guess, the design element). Ultimately, I want a set of programs defining a font such that by tuning some parameters, varying but consistent set of fonts can be created without further human intervention.
Now, the result is obviously not perfect, and I meant to as for suggestions here. But lacking any formal training in typography, I'm not sure what to ask. I'll start with broad ones:
1. Has anyone tried this sort of algorithmic approach before? (Donald Knuth obviously has, but I'm not a big fan of the resulting Computer Modern family; MetaFont is also a pretty horrible language to program in.) Is it feasible to some extent?
2. As far as the example image goes, what are the things I did completely wrong, from a designer's point of view?
[Edit: added a pdf. You can probably extract the fonts from it with the right tools.]
[Edit2: updated pdf]