Friday, August 12, 2011

Font poll - The results!

Thanks to everyone who responded.  The poll regarding the MLI dialog font had a much bigger turnout than I expected.  You guys are awesome!

To get the following results, I took every person's post and added 1 to the tally of each font they spoke positively towards, and then subtracted 1 from the tally of each font they spoke negatively towards.  I didn't explicitly say you could list more than one font, but most people did, so I figured this would be the most fair way to make sure that everyone's full opinions are fully accounted for.

That said, as far as the results go... oh dear.  I feel a bit like Twilight in The Ticket Master right about now. Full results after the break.

So without further ado, the results look like this:

#1: 21
#7: 7
#3: 3
#6: 3
#5: 2
#4: 0
#2: -1

Keep current: 23
hurrrr use wingdings: 2

As far as the proposed new fonts go, #1 is the clear winner.  On the other hand, however, basically an equal number of you also spoke positively with regards to keeping the current font as is.  Some of you suggested that I could include in the options menu the ability to pick between multiple fonts, but that unfortunately isn't really a feasible option - since different fonts have different widths, a message that might fit within the dialog box in one font might not fit in another font.  As such for ease of testing it's much better to just have one font and one font only.

Soooo... yeah.  This is pretty much down to a judgment call on my part.  I won't keep you in suspense; after some deliberation on the subject, I've picked font #1 as the new font for the game's dialog:

So now the obvious question: why'd I pick this font?  At face value, it seems as though keeping the current font should've won just based on the numbers; however, there were a number of considerations that lead to this decision:
  1.  This wasn't a formal election; this was just an unscientific poll, so 23-21 is basically effectively a tie, statistically speaking, rather than a win for the former.
  2. Almost everyone who said that they wanted to keep the current font also spoke positively with regards to #1, whereas the same was not true of those who spoke positively of #1.  In other words, #1 seemed to be considered acceptable both by those who wanted the current font to stay and by those who wanted it to go.
  3. The more I look at the current font, the more I feel as though those who note that it's in ALLCAPS have a point, and the more I feel as though it would become progressively more annoying as the game progressed.  Some of you commented that the font seemed to be a trivial thing to be fretting about, but I actually don't think that's the case - a huge portion of this game is reading dialog, so it's something that has to be perfect in every way for the game to really have lasting appeal.
  4. Of the proposed fonts, it's definitely closest to my vision as well regarding what the font should look like, in that it's rounded at the corners and playful in nature, rather than serious and official in appearance.
So that's about the long and short of it.  Thanks again to everyone for your participation in this bit of fan feedback.  Hopefully, if you don't like this decision, you at least can understand where it came from, and can still enjoy the game.




  1. Good to hear! Too bad font selection couldn't work out, even though I don't think anyone will be against font #1.

  2. Have you given any thought to giving each character their own font, or some variation thereof?

    Sizing wouldn't be an issue, because you'd still know for certain how much space each letter would take up. It'd take a bit more work to pick out all the styles, but it'd add a lot of personality to the text in my opinion.

  3. @Techercizer He responded to a comment suggesting it, saying it would be too much work due to the amount of work it'd be.

  4. @Techercizer

    Yes, I did consider that. I ultimately decided against doing that, because I don't think that idea would scale very well. There are a number of reasons for this:

    1. If I had to give every character their own font, then every single time I introduced a new character that hadn't been seen before, I'd have to go hunting for a new font for that character. As the number of characters in games like this quickly grows as the number of cases grows, I would have very low confidence in my ability to keep the quality bar high enough for each new font.

    2. Even if I instituted "classes" of fonts (e.g., one font for normal ponies, one font for upper-class ponies, one font for "country" ponies, etc.), I ultimately feel as though having multiple fonts could be more jarring than anything - I've seen posters and other forms of visual art that use tons of different fonts, and they often come across as lacking organization and cohesion more than anything else. I feel confident enough that the different ponies' personalities can sufficiently come through just through the different voices created through different vocabulary choices in the dialog, without needing to resort to a visual aid in the form of different fonts.

    3. This would also not be extensible - fonts aren't something that can be imported into the game from an external file, which means that people would not be able to add their own fonts in the case editor. That means, if I were to give each pony their own font, that would be something that I and I alone could do, and people who might want to add their own characters into cases they're working on would be unable to do that. That's categorically something I want to avoid; I want others to have just as much ability to create compelling cases as I do.

  5. Similar to the suggestion, how about a light tint for text? Purple for Twilight, red for Apple Bloom... Wouldn't really represent the characters' traits or anything like that, and it would have to be light to keep it readable with different backgrounds, but just a thought.

    As the cast grows it might be difficult to differentiate, but there are plenty of colors in the world.

    I don't know if it's possible to edit the tint as a user though. If not it's best to leave stuff like this out. In any case, it's still just a thought.

  6. @Chibito

    Hmmm, that's an interesting idea. That'd definitely be something that could be theoretically possible - you can create a color just with a numeric RGB value, so that's definitely something that could be extendable in the case editor.

    One problem I can see with that, though, is that there are different colors than white in dialog - for example, asides are light blue, while important highlighted words show up as red. As such I'm not sure character-specific font colors would mesh very well with that.

    I'll think about it, but right now I'm leaning more towards just having white text so as not to overcomplicate things. The best art is created when there's nothing left to remove; throwing something in just because it seems like it might be cool is something that I would definitely like to avoid, as it can quickly start to be a mass of artistic quicksand.

    Thanks for the suggestion though, I really appreciate it.

  7. Good choice Gabu. Can't wait to see it in action soon!