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Write better books — Unicode-based typefaces in Minecraft

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Hebgbs avatar Hebgbs
Level 34 : Artisan Archer
23

Preface

Aren't you tired of Minecraft's default font? In spite of how iconic the blocky typeface is, you can write not only books, but chat messages, commands and other things you can insert text in with Unicode-enabled typefaces so they appear as serif fonts, or if aggression is your jam, another style of blocky text made from small capital letters.

But why?

It's extra effort, but it permits for enhanced readability, tonality and differentiation between passages of texts. And in the case of the serif typeface, you can fit more text in the same amount of space, which is pretty wild if you think about it — serifs typically add more space to things, but just like italic text on this website, the text is manipulated in a way to take less horizontal space.

But how?

Clearly, you can't do this with a typical keyboard. And unless you create custom keyboard language files to translate various Unicode locators, you're not going to do any of this with your keyboard. Fortunately, some kind souls over at LingoJam has a generator — you may have used it before. Their Fancy Text Generator gives us the tools we need to write better books, signs and tags with relative ease.
It has come to my attention this service does not provide the small capital letter Q. I cover this later in Small capitals

The typefaces

Serif

Write better books — Unicode-based typefaces in Minecraft

Serif fonts are perceived to be more legible because of the various embellishments which distinguish it from sans-serif fonts. This typeface performs best as body text. Give it a try by copying this passage into a book:

This is a sample of written text from LingoJam's Fancy Text Generator utility as interpreted in Minecraft.
— And this is the sweet irony of Minecrft's serif typeface, they require fullwidth characters which are typically sans-serif. I am sure other characters will do, I just haven't found them yet which replicate this effect, and fullwidth characters are enough for most people.

Small capitals
Write better books — Unicode-based typefaces in Minecraft

Using Vanilla Tweaks / Compliance?

Presently in Vanilla Tweaks' Smoother Font package which is taken from the Compliance resource pack, the small capital letters had been replaced with their normal Latin equivalents. This sucks because it means the following example won't display correctly. After some discussion about Compliance in their Discord guild, they've told me that it was Mojang at fault, and that these glyphs were something which hadn't been included until some time ago, after their initial changes.

Regardless who is to blame, it will soon be resolved because I had submitted a fix for it. If you're impatient and want these fixes now, as well some other personal improvements afforded by having twice the pixels to play with you can check out my remix of their work here provided Compliance doesn't remove this work due to Planet Minecraft agreeing with their chagrin about their work effectively being plagiarized.

Else...

These particular characters are made from the suite of small capital letters which appear as shown in the example from Minecraft provided above. They may be perceived as slightly aggressive in tone. which would be well-suited to end-user agreements and call-to-action text.

Mind that not all glyphs are supported, so you may end up using some normal characters as a substitute since this typeface isn't as fleshed out compared to fullwidth characters which typically have their place in CJK writing. It's also used in quite a funny way — copy this into a book:

ᴛʜɪꜱ ɪꜱ ᴀ ꜱᴀᴍᴘʟᴇ ᴏꜰ ᴡʀɪᴛᴛᴇɴ ᴛᴇxᴛ ꜰʀᴏᴍ ʟɪɴɢᴏᴊᴀᴍ'ꜱ ꜰᴀɴᴄʏ ᴛᴇxᴛ ɢᴇɴᴇʀᴀᴛᴏʀ ᴜᴛɪʟɪᴛʏ ᴀꜱ ɪɴᴛᴇʀᴘʀᴇᴛᴇᴅ ɪɴ ᴍɪɴᴇᴄʀᴀꜰᴛ.

The only letter you might not be able to reproduce is the letter Q, without some further outside assistance. If the above glyph doesn't render, worry not — Minecraft will interpret it correctly.

Other Unicode glyphs and text tricks

Various other symbols can be used to add flavour, style and demarcation to text. This page from Alan Wood's website has a bunch of enclosed and specific-purpose alphanumerics for people who want to use such.

Jukka Korpela's page for dashes and hyphens provides tonnes of helpful glyphs for adding even more style to text through use of specific characters. For instance, a fullwidth hyphen ("CJK Hyphen") — which renders similarly to an Em Dash — is longer than a horizontal bar, and as such can be used for further breaking up passages of text, or be used as decorative elements alongside a line of text.

The swung dash is completely different from a tilde, and as such can be used when you want a squiggle in the middle, or a tilde as one would expect in modern fonts, rather than using the default tilde which renders at top. If you want a longer tilde positioned in the middle, a wavy dash might work for that purpose.

The figure dash is shorter than the horizontal bar ("H-bar"), and can be used as a thinner variant of the unambiguous hyphen when compared with both H-bar and CJK hyphen.

Experiment, play and have fun with these glyphs. It takes much more effort compared to just punching regular characters, but you end up with distinctive results rendering better-quality writs than your peers.
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3 Update Logs

Grammar and writing improvements : 09/09/2021 7:21:56 pmSep 9th

And now, use of the word "Typeface". As this is part of the Minecraft "Font" I've reolved to use what comes included in the game distinct from typical ASCII characters as a "Typeface".
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