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SpriteFont and Content Pipeline Fallback Font Warnings

Font Licensing

As with many types of software, font files are usually licensed rather than sold. Font licenses vary from vendor to vendor, but most don't allow redistribution of the fonts, and this includes redistribution of reproductions of the font, such as bitmaps containing the rasterized character set. This is also true of the licenses covering fonts that Microsoft supplies with many applications and with Windows.

Be careful, therefore, to ensure that you have the required license rights to redistribute any font you include as a bitmap containing the rasterized character set in your game!

Fallback Behavior for Bitmapped Fonts in the Content Pipeline

When building bitmapped fonts with the XNA Game Studio Content Pipeline in Microsoft Visual Studio, you may get a warning such as the following:

  • The following characters were not found in the font, and were replaced by images from your computer’s system default font. Font files are licensed and most licenses don’t allow redistribution of the fonts. If you do not have the required license rights to redistribute both the original and your computer’s system default fonts, change your character regions to remove the following characters:

This warning is followed by a list of characters used in your game that were not found in the bitmapped font file supplied to the Content Pipeline. When this happens, Windows will fall back to the system default font to render those characters. The Windows system default font is generally not authorized for redistribution.

You have a number of options to deal with this error:

  • Change the character regions for your font to remove the characters listed after the warning. You can do this by modifying the <CharacterRegions> in the .spritefont XML file used by the font.
  • Include those characters in your font file, ensuring that you have an appropriate license to redistribute the font file.
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