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Kzinti.ttf VERSION 2.00 READ ME
27 April 2002
Daniel U. Thibault
Well, we've got fonts for nearly every major
fictional alien race out there in SF TV/Movie Land, from Babylon 5 to
Star Trek by way of Star Wars.
But what of Larry Niven's Kzinti?
I have been able to find only two attempts at pictorial
representations of this "dots-and-commas" script. Neither was
very pleasing in my opinion, and neither was a font. So I had to make
The two pictures (Kzinti.gif and Kzinti Sample.gif)
show my resulting font. It looks best printed (300+ dpi) or at large screen
sizes (24+ pt).
Note that the "c" is meant to be a "ch"
or "sh", and that there are no Q, X, 8 or 9.
In Larry Niven's Known Space, we learn that the Kzinti
script evolved from claw markings in wood. This would influence the script
the same way that runes were. Runes were also mostly graven in wood, so
they had no transverse strokes --to avoid going across the grain. So I
figured Kzinti markings would be dots (a simple peck of the claw) or vertical
scratches with a twist (commas). This gives us a basic sub-glyph set of
five symbols (the period and the vertical and horizontal mirror images
of the comma). Not enough for a full alphabet, obviously, so letters and
other symbols must be small groupings of dots and commas. I chose a roughly
two by three matrix as my basic glyph
The numbers only go from 0 to 7, since the Kzin have
an octal (base eight) numeral system. I used the dot as a "one"
and one of the commas as a "two". Simple superpositions supply
the numbers 3 through 7. I used what should by all logic be an 8 for the
zero --I didn't want to use a blank. The remaining symbols follow a strict
convention of having a dot at the lower left, to minimize confusion when
symbols run into each other. The other sub-glyph at the lower right serves
to regroup the symbols.
The vowels (plus H, W and Y) form one group, plosive,
sibilant and labial consonants three more (with the appropriate correspondences
being apparent when the symbols are compared; for example, B and P only
differ by the lower right sub-glyph). The last group (which uses the double-dot
base) contains the miscellaneous symbols --punctuation, mathematical,
I originally made this font with a combination of
Corel Draw 4 and Softy 1.07b; after a four year hiatus, I revised it thoroughly
using Font Creator Program 3 and some home-made software tools.