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On fonts

SCI, being rooted in MS-DOS and from a time before Unicode (fun fact, the first draft proposal dates back to 1988, when King’s Quest 4 came out as the first SCI game), SCI uses an 8-bit string format. That is, each character in a string is one byte, and that’s all it can be. Making strings one of very few standard data types in SCI that aren’t 16-bits and requiring a dedicated kernel call to manipulate (as seen in KQ4 Copy Protection) but that’s not the point here.

American releases of SCI games would normally have font resources ranging only up to 128 characters, with the Sierra logo at 0x01 and ~ at 0x7E. Only caring about newlines, all other characters are considered printable. European releases would include usually not 256 but 226 characters, up to ß at 0xE1, basically copying code page 437 but leaving out the graphical elements among others. This means, of course, that a Russian translation of such a game would require another custom font copying code page 866 instead.

And then there’s the whole thing where SCI Companion uses the Win-1252 code page (it’s not exactly a Unicode application) which makes translated games look pretty wild:

Ich glaube Dir gern, daá Du das tun m”chtest!

That doesn’t look quite right. That’s supposed to be “Ich glaube Dir gern, daß Du das tun möchtest!” And indeed, comparing things between DOS-437 and Win-1252, we see that á and ß are both encoded in the same byte value.

That’s the kind of bullshit Unicode was made for, isn’t it?

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