21

We've gotten another question asking us to identify a font from a game. We have a few of these, so I think it's time to at least discuss this subset.

For the moment, we seem to be using our game identification exception to allow these, arguing that since there's a screenshot, we can allow the identification. According to that, though, I present exhibit A:

Exhibit A - I can has Cheezeburger?

And exhibit B:

http://lparchive.org/Final-Fantasy-Tactics-Advance/Update%2034/94-capture_29102010_223847.png

Fun fact: Exhibit A isn't a game! But what font both pictures actually use, though, is determined the exact same way. I'm not seeing gaming expertise put to use here. The only reason we even allow these is because they come from games. The question is, is that enough to allow these questions?

Here's our track record of these questions:

They all seem to be using special fonts, made specifically for their games, which is the best argument I can see for allowing these, but even there, the best we can really do is say, "It's a custom font used by the game". Our track record isn't all that good for giving good answers to these questions. We aren't really good at identifying these fonts, even if they are from a game.

Is figuring out which font a game uses something that's in a gamer's skillset? To that end, is being able to figure that out even something that has utility? I'm curious to hear your thoughts.

  • 1
    Related – Unionhawk Oct 16 '15 at 3:00
  • 1
    Yes, and I address that. Based on that logic, Exhibit A is on-topic for us. And yet, it's not about gaming. This needs some additional refinement. Just because it came from a game isn't a sufficient enough reason to allow them, I feel. – Frank Oct 16 '15 at 3:01
  • Right. Carry on then. – Unionhawk Oct 16 '15 at 3:03
  • 7
    Regardless of whether font identifications are allowed or not, I am not comfortable with "gaming expertise / gamer's skillset" being used as the threshold for allowed questions. It is too open to interpretation. – au revoir Oct 16 '15 at 20:37
  • 1
    @JasonBerkan That's the whole purpose of every site on the SE network. a SE site is based on an area of expertise – Aequitas Oct 16 '15 at 21:33
  • 2
    Robotnik posted an excellent cross post from graphicsdesign.SE and I just want to add it here for better exposure. Their guidelines are excellent and would basically let the poster determine that it is a custom font. meta.graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/1083/… – Nelson Oct 17 '15 at 4:04
  • 1
    Why is Exhibit A on topic? It just plain has nothing to do with gaming and is automatically off-topic just based on that. I think the question is a good one and I personally think they should stay but Exhibit A is just a distraction from a real discussion. – Reafexus Oct 19 '15 at 21:20
  • 2
    @Reafexus No, it's the entire point. Font identification uses the same skill for both pictures. Whether it's a game or not is immaterial, which is why we're having this discussion. The skills required to figure out the font have no real relation to our expertise, so the question is: Is the fact that it's a game enough for us to allow them? Our track record for these isn't really all that good. – Frank Oct 19 '15 at 21:39
  • 1
    It's interesting that this is so controversial. Every single answer as at least one upvote and at least one downvote, as does the question itself. – DCShannon Nov 20 '15 at 4:04
8

Font identification from a screenshot is no different than font identification from of any random image. Such questions should not be allowed here since they have no relation to gaming.

7

No I don't think font identification should be on topic here.

For one it's not a skill in any game I've ever heard of, by that I mean you can't progress in a game by being able to recognize a font's name. If a game comes out (or exists) where gameplay revolves around this then maybe that could be on topic but I'd still say it shouldn't be because...

There are sites with users better equipped to handle this. There is a graphic design SE site. The users there would have the experience with font's that would aid in the recognition and identification of a given font.

In conclusion, just because it's from a game doesn't mean it's part of gaming. The question is about fonts which is graphic design or computer graphics.

Also as for the usefulness if it turns out to be a custom font for that particular game. An answer could still be useful if it were to include a font or several fonts that are similar to the one in question. It's likely that the OP of these questions are wanting to use these fonts in some sort of work that they are doing so something similar could still be useful to them.

4

I think we should accept those questions with the same restrictions as game identification.

Exhibit A would be off-topic for obvious reason, even if cats meme can be cool, fun and all to look at.

Now game identification can, but not always, require game knowledge. From a image, the most obvious way to find the game is with a image search on Google : enter image description here

which if far from requiring game knowledge. Then there's a web search that requires some good google-fu (bing-fu, pick-your-favorite-search-engine-fu).

Than comments from other users can pinpoint the search in a direction that will have someone find what the game is.

I don't see the differences between that and searching for the font used in a game. It's harder to answer because fonts could have been made for the game only and not shared but that doesn't make it any different than a game identification from a obscure, old and mostly unknown game.

We already accept identifying music/sound from games, that's also not quite different from fonts. It does require a bit more game knowledge but mainly cause we can't, yet, search with a sound artefact.

As long as the font is used in a game, with image backing this obvisouly, I think we should accept those questions.

Maybe we could have a tag for font identification, , since people should be looking for a tag, this would come up and be used... hopefully. Now that's the part we'll agree is mostly not gonna happen, so I don't think a specific tag is needed, it's just a idea I'm throwing.

 doesn't mention fonts, maybe it should.

  • Sorry, I guess all the arguments contradicting the thesis made me forget about it. – DCShannon Oct 30 '15 at 19:00
3

I can see the problem Frank is highlighting, and having first hand experience in tracking down the exact font used for specific games in the past, can also say he is right in that the best answer in most cases is "it is a custom font". The only alternative is to find a closest match. Depending on the intent of the question (i.e. do they want the exact name out of interest or a font they can use in their own works to mimic the game?), one of these answers will prove more useful.

The problem with fonts is that there are so many variations. You may be fooled into believing that any piece of text on a game cover or in game can be identified by name. This is partly fuelled by the number of font websites that offer "that font used in some game". On closer inspection (partly highlighted in some of the comments/answers given in the OP) you can see people stating slight differences.

My best experience in this field was trying to mimic the Indiana Jones font. I found that the font actually changed across the movies, as well as the games, in slight detail. In fact, I believe I also found that the font changed again for DVD releases of the films. If you look online for an Indiana Jones style font I believe "Fedora" is a good match, but doesn't match exactly any of the variations of the original. Also, there are other good alternatives which do not match the variations exactly.

So why the differences? I believe this is often due to the copyright nature of fonts. To simplify, creating an artwork that uses a font is very different from providing the font. So if you download a font file, I am pretty sure you need a license to use it (and distribute it). However, this is not the same if you just create a piece of art with that font. The best way I could explain it without all the legal jargon was that only the font file was subject to copyright.

I imagine art departments license fonts per artist and/or develop their own using templates. The latter option will of course avoid license fees if they embed their own font files into a game (and arguably give protections against others trying to copy their font). It is also feasible that artists just want to introduce fresher/newer fonts because they love doing their job (or perhaps, there is a requirement for an update to an older font).

Despite the problems with such questions, I think the questions being asked are still valid and potentially useful. Whether they belong to this site or another is a valid argument too.

If these questions stay here it may be worth decorating the proposed tag in Jonathan Drapeau's answer with some warnings (e.g. "by the way, it is very unlikely you will ever know the exact name of the font, but a closest match should be findable"). Or at least adding some more detail to the "acceptable questions" list stating how font questions should be asked.

Although related, I don't think font questions are siblings of identifying music or other assets in a game.

Summary

I apologise for not clearly saying yes or no. In short, I believe we can accommodate these questions with appropriate guidance in the right places. If these questions are pushed out of this site I believe it would be equally appropriate to detail a common answer in the unacceptable questions guidance. We can push these questions onto another site... assuming the intent is to use the (closest) font.

The content of the guidance offered will be the same in both cases (i.e. both should state why an exact font name is very unlikely, but a near match is possible).

To answer the OP's question:

Is font identification really a gaming skill?

No - To my knowledge, I have never come across a game that gives out the name of the font in the credits... so in-game knowledge will probably never help answer the question. In fact, you can answer them with a search engine without even playing the game.. assuming you want to give a closest match rather than a duplicated "custom font" answer.

  • 5
    "I have never come across a game that gives out the name of the font in the credits..." From the WoW manual ;) – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Oct 19 '15 at 1:46
  • 1
    As you can guess, I have never played WoW. Maybe WoW font questions should be on-topic? – user101016 Oct 22 '15 at 13:47
  • I still can't tell if you think we should answer these questions here. You've identified that it's not a gaming skill, so the answer should be no, but then you say " I believe we can accommodate these questions", but then you also say " If these questions are pushed out of this site I believe it would be equally appropriate...". Which is it? – DCShannon Oct 29 '15 at 21:34
  • @DCShannon - I offered a solution for both yes or no... how to justify a yes or no... and what to do to support the solution. There are currently 5 other answers for this discussion for either yes or no. I agree I broke the convention of not giving a direct answer. However, I don't believe either yes or no is clear cut. There are good arguments either side. I don't think I repeated any of the other answers beyond agreeing on a couple of points. – user101016 Oct 30 '15 at 11:49
0

I haven't spent a lot of time on Gaming.SE yet, but coming from other SEs and understanding the connection between expert knowledge in a subject and which questions should be answered, it seems pretty clear that these questions shouldn't be answered here.

I haven't seen any justification that says that knowledge of gaming will help someone answer this type of question. This is amplified by the fact that the knowledge required to answer this question does have its own SE.

-1

I strongly suggest we mark such questions as off topic and close them. It would make sense to post an image in a graphics design community and ask for about the font regardless of the source, be it a bitmap image hand-crafted in GIMP or a screen-shot from a game. However, asking for font identification in a gaming focused community makes no sense at all. After all, the source of the image isn't the criteria here, but the subject of the debate is. Hence, unless the subject itself is relevant, the question is off-topic. And since this is not a font or graphics design community, but a game community, the subject should make more sense than identifying fonts.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .