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Cart #trogfontfamily1-1 | 2023-07-29 | Code ▽ | Embed ▽ | No License

Five free fonts!

Need a small, legible, variable width typeface?

Trog Font is a base 5x5 font which features upper and lowercase (Puny Mode) glyphs as well as all of the default Pico-8 Japanese characters with adjusted widths. From a 1-pixel wide “i” to a 7-pixel wide “M” the viariable width property allows the glyphs to exist in their most natural forms (for a 5 px high font, that is).

Need something chunkier?

Trog Bold has heavier versions of all western characters and symbols (and also contains the same default Japanese characters as Trog Font).

Need to shout?

Trog Caps uses all of the base Trog Font characters but replaces the lowercase Puny Mode characters with all caps Trog Bold characters - perfect for emphasizing important words.

New - 6-pixel high Trog Tall and Trog Tall Bold

Slightly taller versions of the primary fonts with less compressed lower case letters.

Easy to use

Just un-comment out the font of your choice and use \14 in front of your text. That’s it.

Special thanks to @zep for Pico-8 in general and for enabling variable width fonts, to @SmellyFishstiks for his most excellent variable-width font editor used to create these fonts, and to the lovely and talented people of the LazyDevs Discord for their encouragement. ^_^

Credit me if you’d like, or use the name “Trog Font” in your code comments, or tag me in your cart post - I’d love to see the fonts in use! Enjoy!



Arcade games back in the 80s, for a while, had a 7x7 font that quickly became ubiquitous. While different companies had slight variations in certain letters, the bulk of the glyphs were very similar to one another. I longed for a font for Pico-8 that was different from the default one but which had (in my opinion) the potential to fill a similar role as that old, easy-to-read, arcade font.

However, a 7x7 sized font seemed too large to use with Pico’s 128x128 resolution. A 5x5 font seemed to be the smallest size which offered the fewest overall compromises in letter form. I developed a fixed width version of Trog Font aiming for larger open forms wherever possible. The intent was never to recreate arcade fonts themselves at this scale, but to create a new font that worked best within the 5x5 space restrictions - legibility was more important than replication. It should be easy to read and as style-neutral as possible.

I expanded on the idea by making lowercase versions as well. These ran into a little more difficulty as the 4-pixel “x-height” of the letter required more compromises in form. I settled on a 1-pixel ascender, 4-pixel x-height, and a 1-pixel descender to keep the leading to a minimum. Overall it worked out to my liking.

After finishing all of the western glyphs I had the idea of making a bold version as the large open center areas would allow for a wider stroke. The bold version came together rather quickly and I was pleased with the result.

With the creation of a tool which allowed one to adjust pixel widths I readjusted glyphs which had been either stretched or squished earlier to work within a fixed width. Finally, I added in the default Japanese glyphs and adjusted their widths as well.

In short, I stewed over these generic fonts in order that they remain as consistent as possible and convey little, if, anything, to a game’s feel or tone. I feel that, for the constraints of the size, they are the best that they can be in this regard. And, like those early arcade game fonts, these utilitarian fonts needn’t be confined to just a few select games or genres - they were solely meant for the clear conveyance of speech. And speech, after all, was meant to be free.

P#132295 2023-07-23 20:43 ( Edited 2023-07-29 20:50)


Really nice, thanks.

P#132322 2023-07-24 09:43

I realized afterwards that I hit a Creative Commons license which said that this is not okay for commercial use and requires attribution. Please feel free to use this for commercial projects too if you’d like. Attribution is not required either, though I’d enjoy it if someone did so. The fonts are 100% free for any use. ^_^

Edit: @v Done!

P#132328 2023-07-24 11:31 ( Edited 2023-07-24 22:47)

I think you can edit the post and/or the cart to change the license!

P#132332 2023-07-24 14:02

Lovely 😍 I particularly like the lowercase bold 💯

P#132378 2023-07-25 13:29

@Heracleum Thanks! They all were fun to work on. 😁

The new version of the cart now features two additional fonts - 6 pixel tall Trog Tall and Trog Tall Bold.

The preview text I had left over from the previous version is laid out a little too close together, vertically, so when one loads one of these two new ones it will be placed in an awkward manner, but they should work fine otherwise. I might need to create a better preview layout if I add any more in the future. 😅

P#132540 2023-07-29 21:23

These are really nice fonts! I've been looking for something more like a classic arcade font to use in my game and your Trog Tall looks perfect. Is it possible to paste these fonts back into your editor to modify them? When I convert the string back to hex code and try to paste it over the custom font memory (5600) nothing happens.

P#139187 2023-12-26 11:00 ( Edited 2023-12-26 13:52)

@Conor Here is a PNG of the Trog Tall sprite sheet that can be imported into @SmellyFishticks original variable-width editor cart post found here: https://www.lexaloffle.com/bbs/?tid=51138

P#139228 2023-12-27 00:07

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