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Author Topic: Text too small  (Read 350 times)

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Offline eekee

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Text too small
« on: May 05, 2019, 09:54:05 AM »
Hullo!  I just installed Simutrans, started it up, and found the text too small to read without getting close to the screen, even at the setup stage.  I've searched the forum and the wiki but haven't found anything mentioning any possible fix.  (I don't think wiki search is working at all.)  This is on Windows 10 with a screen of 1920x1080, 23".

Any option for doubling the size of the UI would help, even if it's set by command line.  Best would be reading the Windows text scaling settings. I have the regular text size setting set to 150%, which is really a minimum.

Simutrans version: 120.4.1 - r8600

Edit to add: Title bar buttons are very small too.  It would be most helpful if the entire UI was doubled in size.

Edit #2: I found the font selection.  Without the ability to select a bold font, it can only make the problem worse for me. Also, larger fonts do not fit in the spaces allocated.  Come on, people; Gtk+ has been efficiently sizing widgets to fit the text and other widgets inside them since the '90s.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2019, 10:05:47 AM by eekee »

Offline Leartin at

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Re: Text too small
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2019, 10:46:04 AM »
I think your last edit is a bit too much, considering much younger games struggle when you try to play them in resolutions they were not made for. Just like for those, just reduce the screen resolution. It's not like the loss of pixels would bother you, if you can't see them anyway.

Otherwise, use a Nightly, a scaled theme, and a larger font. Since it works for my 28'' 4k monitore, 23'' HD should not be an issue at all. (though for me, it wasn't even without scaling).

Offline Ters

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Re: Text too small
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2019, 04:59:12 PM »
Come on, people; Gtk+ has been efficiently sizing widgets to fit the text and other widgets inside them since the '90s.
I suspect that they have a lot more developers than Simutrans, including developers being paid to work full time on it, since commercial software uses it. Simutrans is a part-time hobby project. What Gtk+ can get done in a month, can take many, many years in Simutrans.

Scalable GUI is being worked on, it just takes time. Personally, I think portable GUIs are the hardest thing to program. There are way too many parameters. If you think it is easy, you are probably free to help out. Complaining accomplishes nothing, except maybe demotivating the few developers we have.

just reduce the screen resolution
That looks horrible on LCDs, though, unless the resolution is set to half. (Is 960x540 even a commonly available resolution choice?) I can't imagine playing Simutrans on that small a resolution, most importantly the height, but it is perhaps what it was made for back in the '90s (480 or 600).

Offline Leartin at

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Re: Text too small
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2019, 04:36:43 AM »
That looks horrible on LCDs, though, unless the resolution is set to half.
1280x720 is 2/3. That means every second pixel on each row and column needs interpolation, which makes the whole display blurry. However, if your vision is blurry anyway, or your eyes have lower resolution, you won't be able to perceive it. That's why my mums laptop drives me crazy, while she literally does not see the issue.

And yes, 960x540 would be terrible to play, but same if the GUI was scaled twice the size, as was asked for. Better to see what little is on screen than to not see anything.

Offline prissi

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Re: Text too small
« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2019, 01:11:43 PM »
Simutrans can scale accordingly. use a nightly with a larger font (there are lot of bold variant also for true type fonts), and use a theme with larger buttons and scaled menues. It just requires more manual work.

Offline eekee

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Re: Text too small
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2019, 06:56:50 PM »
I suspect that they have a lot more developers than Simutrans, including developers being paid to work full time on it, since commercial software uses it. Simutrans is a part-time hobby project. What Gtk+ can get done in a month, can take many, many years in Simutrans.
Well... I made assumptions based on how early I encountered Gtk+; it was still called "the Gimp toolkit," showing its roots in a single application, so I assumed it just had input from a few hobbyists.  Now I look it up, I think I may have been wrong about that.  A "tech preview" of Gnome may have been present in a separate directory of my install CD, but I'm having trouble tracking down exact details.  At any rate, it's close enough to Gnome's release that there may have been professional resources invested into Gtk+ in preparation for Gnome.  There may also have been more enthusiasts working on Gtk+ because the only open source alternatives where the much-hated X Athena widget set and [Tcl/]Tk which was tied to an interpreted language.  Plenty of programmers seemed fine with Tk or Athena though, so I don't know.

Scalable GUI is being worked on, it just takes time. Personally, I think portable GUIs are the hardest thing to program. There are way too many parameters. If you think it is easy, you are probably free to help out. Complaining accomplishes nothing, except maybe demotivating the few developers we have.
I'm sorry, demotivating is certainly not what I should be doing.  The trouble is, I see the many games and programs which are in one way or another difficult to use with my various health problems, and so of course I get upset.  (As Leartin wrote, many much younger games have the same problem as Simutrans.)  At times, I forget my own maxim: Disabilities can't be made trivial, to provide for every possible disability would make everything prohibitatively expensive.  It's easier to remember with regard to physical matters than computers, perhaps because computers are often all I have to keep me occupied.

I am, of course, glad to hear scalable UI is being worked on, but surprised to hear it's so hard.  Is it the toolkit or layout design that's the hard part?  Or both, I guess.  I have an idea of forcing the layout to be simple, a single scrollable column to reduce the number of parameters, but I don't know how much sense it makes.

[different resolution]
That looks horrible on LCDs, though, unless the resolution is set to half. (Is 960x540 even a commonly available resolution choice?) I can't imagine playing Simutrans on that small a resolution, most importantly the height, but it is perhaps what it was made for back in the '90s (480 or 600).
Anything x540 is not normal.  I don't think it's been normal for vertical resolution to be less than 600 since... oh... the early 90s?  1920x1080 is horrible for old games, (and the aspect ratio is bad for all sorts of jobs,) but it's what I'm stuck with.  My health requires me to lay down a lot, so I have to use a TV.  Still, I can tolerate OpenTTD at double size.  Bulk text (NewGRF Readme text) is too much, but I guess I could use a smoother font.


Regarding nightlies, should I get a full package, or just an executable to use with my r8600 installation?

Offline Ters

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Re: Text too small
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2019, 01:50:57 PM »
I am, of course, glad to hear scalable UI is being worked on, but surprised to hear it's so hard.  Is it the toolkit or layout design that's the hard part?  Or both, I guess.

Basically, it is trying to get a text that you don't know how long is, due to translations, rendered in a font you don't know how big is (due to DPI and theme), into a region you don't know how large is (due to screen size), and make it look tidy, readable and understandable in all situations. Complicated by the fact that virtually none of the graphics, made over two decades, that in som situations accompany the text are made up of raster images that don't scale very well. And most windows should preferably be of the same width so that they stack nicely. In practice, each and every window must be remade more or less from scratch using a new layout method. The old layout used absolute pixel positions, I think, since font size was know to always be the same. (Translations could still cause problems, but that was perhaps not part of the original design, either.)

Regarding nightlies, should I get a full package, or just an executable to use with my r8600 installation?

I would go for the full package. It might contain some updated theme configuration files and stuff. You can keep using your old pak sets, though, unless they have their own theme.