Writing a Font Engine
by Ben Hanson


This article is just going to show you how to implement fonts into your game. The target is mostly for beginners. I will show you the easiest way(in my opinion) to do it. This tutorial will be in 16-bit Direct X and assumes that you have everything set up. It will use lpddsback as the back buffer.

Setting it up

First you want to make a new HFONT variable like so:

HFONT fnt;

Then you want to fill in the with the CreateFont Function:

//Fill in the structure with default // values and use the Arial Font Fnt = CreateFont(14,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0, "Arial")

What that does is tell windows to use Arial with all the default values. The next step is creating a function to use this information

Drawing Text

Making the function to draw text using GDI is straight forward enough so I will just show you the function:

void Draw_Text(char *text, int x,int y, COLORREF color, LPDIRECTDRAWSURFACE lpdds, HFONT fnt) { //this function draws text in 16-bit DX mode // with the selected font HDC dc; // the dc // get the dc from surface lpdds->GetDC(&dc) // set the colors SetTextColor(dc,color); // set background mode to transparent // so black isn't copied SetBkMode(dc, TRANSPARENT); // draw the text using the font SelectObject(dc, fnt); TextOut(dc,x,y,text,strlen(text)); // release the dc lpdds->ReleaseDC(dc); } // end Draw_Text

Using all of this

Now I will show you an example of how to use all this to use fonts:

//First make the font HFONT fnt; Fnt = CreateFont(14,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,"Arial"); //Draw the text in Arial Draw_Text("This text is in Arial at Size 14", 0,0,RGB(255, 255, 255), lpddsback, fnt);

And that's all there is to it. You can change the font size by changing the 14 in the above example, and you can change the font face by changing the text in parentheses. For more information look in your compilers on-line documentation(assuming MSVC) for CreateFont. That will tell you what every parameter does.

[Editor's note: Although this technique is simple and straightforward, it is also quite slow compared to other methods. For games that only have limited text output or that don't require a high degree of performance, it should work well, but for higher-end games, there are much faster techniques available.]

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Date this article was posted to GameDev.net: 5/17/2000
(Note that this date does not necessarily correspond to the date the article was written)

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