Friday, December 18, 2015

BigBlue Terminal: an oldschool fixed-width pixel font

BigBlue Terminal is a monospaced pixel font, designed for use in fixed-width textual environments (consoles/terminals, text/code/hex editors and so on).  It follows the metrics and dimensions of Windows' old Terminal font (at the 9pt/12px size), but the appearance is closer to the classic IBM PC text mode character sets.

At 8x12 pixels, Terminal is nicely compact and useful, but also kind of ugly.  Instead, BigBlue Terminal is closely based on IBM's 8x14 EGA/VGA charset -- I just like it better.  Basically, that font has been squeezed and modified to fit into a 8x12-pixel cell.  For the extended 'Plus' version, many additional Unicode characters have been added to support international scripts and symbol sets.

The font comes in three variants,
  • BigBlue TerminalPlus: TrueType font, multi-language Unicode character set
  • BigBlue Terminal 437TT: TrueType font, codepage 437 (DOS/OEM-US)
  • BigBlue Terminal 437BM: Windows bitmap font (.FON), codepage 437 (DOS/OEM-US)
Grab the whole thing here.  And, since we're all appropriately oldschool here, the archive also includes a bonus DOS version!

See README.TXT for the boring technical stuff.  I'm releasing this under the CC Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 license (and yes, 'attribution' means attribution -- you're not free to pass this work off as your own).


bubu said...

I'm currently using UniVGA16.ttf from ReactOS for my Windows and Linux terminal font:
Somehow UniVGA looks nicer to me. BigBlue has lines closer to each other vertically, so it looks a big too much compressed (vertically).

VileR said...

Thanks for the heads up on UniVGA16... better than those other TrueType versions of the VGA font floating around :) And yeah, in BigBlue Terminal the character cell is only 3/4 as tall as UniVGA16, so it's more compact (like Terminal itself). Can be an advantage if you want to fit more text into a given space, though.

Anyway, I'm going to release a few more fonts based on oldschool PC character sets, so stay tuned...

Blackcrack said...

Hi :)

Bubu, paperlapapp, if you post an link, then please the original and not something where have linked also.., his/this Big Blue Terminal Font must not hide anywhere !
It's also nice.. !

Thank you VILeR for you offer !
i like it !

best regards

Anonymous said...

I'm curious what settings are needed to make this look right in DOSBox. For some reason when I run it disables the option to maintain the aspect ratio so stretches to my 16:9 screen (which is just horrible.)

VileR said...

Anonymous: BLUETERM.COM produces a 640x480 text mode, which should be 4:3 without any aspect correction. I'm guessing you mean full-screen mode, though- that can be a pain to scale right (depending on your video drivers and renderer), but playing with the DOSBox "output=" config option may give you better luck.

Also, forcing the correct ratio (aspect=true) in text modes has only become supported in recent SVN builds of DOSBox; perhaps that might help... along with changing 'fullresolution=' and forcing a scaler, e.g. "scaler=normal2x forced".

Hope this helps. It is a shameful disgrace that to this day, there is no universal "scale resolution X to Y using algorithm Z" solution that works across all environments with arbitrary hardware. ;)

Anonymous said...

Hi VileR,
would be cool, if you would be a Member of Forum ;)
i guess, nobody have something against if i invite you :)
[joke]naturally with a 1:1 u+d-r for posting in the Forum *lol*[/joke]

best regards

Krypt said...

I'm used your font in my mod for Space Engineers (replaces default font of text panels/terminals)
Looks like people really like it :) Especially in comparison with default font :)

Krypt said...

And now this mod is included as part of the game Oo
So, congrats, your font is used in game as optional font for terminals

Krypt said...

Official release: