Font Fail

As usual, I have neglected this blog. So what’s been going on?

I have taken some steps to migrate one of my major geofictions – The Ardisphere – from OGF to my self-hosted OGFish clone, Arhet. The reason for this is that OGF seems increasingly rudderless and destined to eventually crash and burn, and I am emulating the proverbial rat on the sinking ship. I still hugely value the community there. But the backups have become unreliable, the topo layer (of which I was one of the main and most expert users) has been indefinitely disabled, and conceptual space for innovation remains unavailable.

One small problem that I’ve run up against in migrating The Ardisphere to Arhet is that I discovered that Korean characters were not being supported correctly by the main Arhet map render, called arhet-carto. This is a problem because the Ardisphere is a multilingual polity, and Korean (dubbed Gohangukian) is one of the major languages in use, second only to the country’s lingua-franca, Spanish (dubbed Castellanese). I spent nearly two days trying to repair this Korean font problem. I think I have been successful. I had to manually re-install the Google noto set of fonts – noto is notorious (get it?) for being the most exhaustive font collection freely available. I don’t get why the original install failed to get everything – I suspect it’s an Ubuntu (linux) package maintenance problem, rather than anything directly related to the render engine (called renderd, and discussed in other, long-ago entries on this sparsely-edited blog).

Here (below) are before-and-after screenshot details of a specific city name that showed the problem: Villa Constitución (헌법시) is the capital and largest city in The Ardisphere. Ignore the weird border-artifacts behind the name on these map fragments – the city is in limbo, right now, as I was re-creating it and it got stuck in an unfinished state.

Before – you can see the Korean (hangul) is “scattered”:


After – now the hangul is properly-composited:


You can see The Ardisphere on Arhet here – and note that within the Arhet webpage you can switch layers to OGF and see it there too. Same country, different planets!

Music to fiddle fonts by: Attack Attack! “Brachyura Bombshell”

Best of Arhet, Week 12

The best mapping in Arhet for this week.

User Moskva, here, (concept by Mapping Expert, apparently).


In fact this isn’t so hard, I don’t think – if you use the “add svg” plugin for JOSM. But I think it’s cool to imagine a topiary garden as a giant, detailed flag. I had done this once, in front of the presidential place in Ardisphere. But it was deleted when I started work on redesigning the capital city.

Music to map by: Meg Myers, “Running Up That Hill.”

Best of Arhet, Week 9

I missed last week, so there is no week 8. Sorry.

The best mapping in Arhet for this week.

User Moskva, here.



Not that it’s great. But Arhet is a low-volume project, so far, so we can’t be too choosy.

These “mountains” are… not really mountains.

Firstly, in a cartographic sense, there is no such thing as “mountains” – there are contour lines, and there are peaks, and there are (sometimes) areas of forest. These water-tagged areas seem to represent isolines of a certain elevation, as a kind of stand-in for the concept “mountains.” Considered as isolines, they aren’t too bad.

Secondly, it hardly needs to be pointed out that mountains are not water. So the tagging as water is an egregious case of “tagging for the render.” I suppose I shouldn’t criticize this – I’ve been known to do such things myself, e.g. my Tehingdalish in The Deadlands, where my bottomless abyss is tagged as an intermittent lake. But that is different, I feel, because in that instance I’m tagging a feature that has no real-world equivalent with something that will show on the map.

Music to improve mapping by: Doit Science, “都市計画.”

Best of Arhet, Week 5

The best mapping in Arhet for this week.

User Moskva, here.


I feel a need to comment on this selection. It is definitely not my preferred style. The geography and patterns of settlement are interesting and well-done, but there are too many motorways relative to underlying detail – there basically is no detail at higher zooms. That’s why the whole thing is being done at reduced scale (i.e. I believe 1 km on Arhet’s globe represents 10 km?).

That said, I appreciate the effort going into it and it’s clearly serious geofiction.

Music to map by: Goo Goo Dolls, “Name.”