Jean-François Colson wrote at 2005-02-23 16:04:47 (+0100)
 > On Tuesday, February 22, 2005 10:33 PM, Gary Shannon wrote:
 > > Tinkerfont
 > >
 > > I was building a font for my silent con sign language by grabing
 > > bitmap pictures of the letters from the Times New Roman font and
 > > cutting and pasting bits and pieces, like bodies, ascenders and
 > > descenders, serifs, etc., and reassembling those pieces into new
 > > characters.  Then I thought I would use a font utility to turn my
 > > bitmap pictures into a real ttf font.
 > >
 > > Then it occured to me that it would be neat to have what I'm
 > > calling a "tinker toy font", or "tinkerfont" where each ASCII
 > > letter on the keyboard would not represent a whole character, but
 > > only some piece of the character.  For example, suppose "A" in
 > > the tinkerfont drew a left-side vertical ascender, while "D" drew
 > > a right-side hooked descender, and "o" drew a circular body while
 > > "k" drew a 'u' shaped body.  Now a Roman lower case 'b' could be
 > > drawn by typing the letter group "Ao ".  "A" would cause the
 > > ascender to be drawn and "o" would draw the circular body
 > > attached to that ascender.  The space indicates that the letter
 > > is complete and would move to the next letter.  Likewise, the
 > > lower case Roman 'g' would be typed as "Bo ".
 > >
 > >
 > As I see it, you have two possibilities.
 > You can make a "monospace" font in which each character component
 > is always at the same place. In this case your possibilities are
 > rather limited.
 > You can also make a "proportional" font with OpenType features
 > which say how the character components must be combined. Since the
 > softwares which can correctly handle OpenType fonts are usually
 > Unicode compliant, you could make a Unicode font with your own
 > character components in the private use area. That way you would
 > not be limited to 52 componants, but don't forget to allow your
 > character components to be combined with already existing
 > characters: that could reduce the size of your text files.

I'm not a typographer, but I don't think you can do that kind of thing
with OpenType.  Script-specific information isn't included in the font
- it's built into the application or OS (e.g. Uniscribe in Windows).
Therefore you can't just implement an arbitrary script requiring
complex rendering with OpenType.  Or so I understand.

You _could_ do this with SIL's Graphite system, but it'll be some time
before Graphite-enabled fonts are generally usable.


Incidentally, Gary might find this somewhat-conceptually-similar
project interesting: