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Text Using Graphics

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While QB64 offers _FONT and Unicode text options, Qbasic was limited in what it could offer. This shortfall could be overcome in various ways including using sprite pictures. Thanks to QB64, we can have the best in both worlds without creating them yourself!

1) The characters can be loaded in a file for Qbasic.
2) Text fonts can be sized without re-loading them.
3) Data files are smaller than BSAVE image files.
4} Proper character spacing is already done for you.

Contents

Bit Packing Pixel Data

In Qbasic, text blocks were always 8 pixels wide no matter what screen mode was used. This allowed the total data value of a row to be set by reading 8 pixels using POINT. The value can be stored in one _BYTE(8 bits) of data using ASCII string characters.


Qbasic concept by Artelius

SCREEN 12 'text characters are 8 X 16 pixel blocks DIM SHARED Char(0 TO 255, 0 TO 15) AS STRING * 1 'store data by character row byte values TextSave 'call to SUB at start of program SUB TextSave OUT &H3C8, 1: OUT &H3C9, 0: OUT &H3C9, 0: OUT &H3C9, 0 'print text as background color COLOR 1 'hide the character printing FOR ascii% = 0 TO 255 'Draw map of each character IF ascii% = 7 THEN ascii% = 8 'eliminate beep character sound when printed LOCATE 1, 1: PRINT CHR$(ascii%) 'PRINT ASCII characters to top left corner FOR row% = 0 TO 15 'read 16 row byte values byte = 0 'reset value every row FOR col% = 7 TO 0 STEP -1 'read 8 pixels from right to left byte = byte * 2 - (POINT(col%, row%) > 0) 'bit-packing with 2 ^ bit NEXT Char(ascii%, row%) = CHR$(byte) 'convert row byte value to ASCII character NEXT LOCATE CSRLIN, POS(0) - 1: PRINT SPACE$(1) 'erase previous character anywhere NEXT PALETTE 'restore all palette colors END SUB

Above ASCII Characters 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 28, 29, 30, and 31 won't print in Qbasic! QB64 can print them with _PRINTSTRING or by using PRINT after _CONTROLCHR OFF is set.


Bit Packing

FOR col% = 7 TO 0 STEP -1 'read pixels from right to left byte = byte * 2 - (POINT(col%, row%) > 0) 'bit-packing with 2 ^ bit NEXT

Bit packing is done by doubling the current byte value and adding one for each bit where a pixel is not colored black.
The boolean statement:

{POINT(col%, row%) > 0)

evaluates to -1(true) when a pixel is on or 0(false) when a pixel is off. This effectively adds 1 to the byte value. Each loop that byte value is doubled as POINT goes from right to left. If the left-most pixel is on, it will only add one to the byte value as expected. This makes the total sum of the bit values or the byte value equal to 255 if all of the pixels are on as shown below:

Bit\Column #: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 TOTAL Exponent 2 ^: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Bit Value On: 1 2 4 8 16 32 64 128 255

Alpha-numeric text byte values will never be close to 255 because the first and last columns will normally be 0 as they are used to space text characters. Some characters, such as CHR$(219) can have byte totals of 255 and have a value every row however.


Example Code: Displays the 16 one byte row values saved as ASCII characters in the STRING array using _PRINTSTRING.

SCREEN 12 'text characters are 8 X 16 pixel blocks DIM SHARED Char(0 TO 255, 0 TO 15) AS STRING * 1 'store data by character row byte values TextSave 'call to SUB at start of program DO COLOR 11: LOCATE 10, 10: INPUT "Enter keypress or an ASCII code 1 to 255: ", cod$ CLS: code = VAL(cod$) IF (code <= 0 AND LEN(cod$) > 0) OR code > 255 THEN code = ASC(cod$) COLOR 14: _PRINTSTRING (0, 50), LTRIM$(STR$(code)) FOR n = 0 TO 15 ch$ = Char(code, n) _PRINTSTRING (n * 30 + 40, 50), ch$ + "," NEXT _PRINTSTRING (600, 50), CHR$(code) LOOP UNTIL LEN(cod$) = 0 END SUB TextSave OUT &H3C8, 1: OUT &H3C9, 0: OUT &H3C9, 0: OUT &H3C9, 0 'print text as background color COLOR 1 'hide the character printing FOR ascii% = 0 TO 255 'Draw map of each character _PRINTSTRING (0, 0), CHR$(ascii%) 'PRINT ASCII characters to top left corner FOR row% = 0 TO 15 'read 16 row byte values byte = 0 'reset value every row FOR col% = 7 TO 0 STEP -1 'read 8 pixels from right to left byte = byte * 2 - (POINT(col%, row%) > 0) 'bit-packing with 2 ^ bit NEXT Char(ascii%, row%) = CHR$(byte) 'convert row byte value to ASCII character NEXT NEXT PALETTE 'restore all palette colors END SUB

Note: ASCII character values of CHR$(0), CHR$(32) and CHR$(255) will only display an empty space!


The ASCII character data in the array can also be saved to a comma separated file with WRITE for later use. In fact, the data can be read and displayed by Qbasic programs later using special fonts or Unicode! Wider characters will require larger values than _BYTE.

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Displaying Text Characters

Once the data is saved, we need something to convert the data back into text characters. There are several ways to do this simply by using PSET for normal sizes or CIRCLE or LINE to amplify the displayed character sizes. Use a normal FOR 0 TO 7 loop to read:


ASCII 8 X 16 Text character size increased using CIRCLE

SCREEN 12 'text characters are 8 X 16 pixel blocks DIM SHARED Char(0 TO 255, 0 TO 15) AS STRING * 1 'store data by character row byte values TextSave 'call to SUB at start of program ch = 1 'character 1 DO: rowy = 0 COLOR 14: LOCATE 26, 5 FOR yy = 100 TO 220 STEP 8 rowval = ASC(Char$(ch, rowy)) 'pixel row value SELECT CASE ch CASE 8, 10, 178, 182, 185, 186, 199, 204, 206, 215, 219, 222 PRINT STR$(rowval); 'compact the values CASE ELSE: PRINT rowval; END SELECT SetCHR 25, POS(0) - 2, 11, rowval colx = 0 FOR xx = 300 TO 356 STEP 8 IF (rowval AND 2 ^ colx) > 0 THEN CIRCLE (xx, yy), 4, 7 'display text character as full white circles PAINT STEP(0, 0), 15, 7 ' LINE (xx - 4, yy - 4)-(xx + 3, yy + 3), 15, BF ELSE: CIRCLE (xx, yy), 4, 1 'display background as full blue circles PAINT STEP(0, 0), 1 ' LINE (xx - 4, yy - 4)-(xx + 3, yy + 3), 1, BF END IF colx = colx + 1 NEXT _DELAY .2 rowy = rowy + 1 NEXT LOCATE 22, 40: PRINT SPACE$(39) LOCATE 22, 5: COLOR 13: LINE INPUT "Enter ASCII code(1 to 255) or press key character (Enter quits): ", ch$ LOCATE 23, 2: PRINT SPACE$(78) LOCATE 25, 4: PRINT SPACE$(75) LOCATE 26, 4: PRINT SPACE$(75) ch = VAL(ch$) IF ch = 0 AND LEN(ch$) THEN ch = ASC(ch$) LOOP UNTIL ch = 0 OR ch > 255 END SUB SetCHR (Trow, Tcol, FG, ASCode) 'displays ASCII character value from array Srow = 16 * (Trow - 1): Scol = 8 * (Tcol - 1) 'convert text to graphic coordinates FOR y = 0 TO 15 ybyte$ = Char$(ASCode, y): yval = ASC(ybyte$) FOR x = 0 TO 7 IF (yval AND 2 ^ x) > 0 THEN PSET (Scol + x, Srow + y), FG NEXT NEXT END SUB SUB TextSave OUT &H3C8, 1: OUT &H3C9, 0: OUT &H3C9, 0: OUT &H3C9, 0 'print text as background color COLOR 1 'hide the character printing FOR ascii% = 0 TO 255 'Draw map of each character _PRINTSTRING (0, 0), CHR$(ascii%) 'PRINT ASCII characters to top left corner FOR row% = 0 TO 15 'read 16 row byte values byte = 0 'reset value every row FOR col% = 7 TO 0 STEP -1 'read 8 pixels from right to left byte = byte * 2 - (POINT(col%, row%) > 0) 'bit-packing with 2 ^ bit NEXT Char(ascii%, row%) = CHR$(byte) 'convert row byte value to ASCII character NEXT NEXT PALETTE 'restore all palette colors END SUB

Code by Ted Weissgerber
The program above shows each array byte character value and character. PRINT will not print some characters in QB64 or QB.
Use _CONTROLCHR OFF to PRINT control characters in QB64!


ASCII 8 X 16 Text Character size increased using LINE

SUB DisplayText (Xpos, Ypos, FG, BG, Xsize, Ysize, text$) x = Xpos: y = Ypos: Xoff = (8 * Xsize): L = LEN(text$) IF BG THEN 'set BackGround if not 0 LINE (x - (2 * Xsize), y - Ysize)-(x + (L * Xoff), y + (16 * Ysize)), BG, BF END IF FOR character = 1 TO L 'go through text chars tx = ASC(MID$(text$, character, 1)) 'get ASCII value FOR r = 0 TO 15 'current row of 16 FOR c = 0 TO 7 ' 'cycle through 8 bit values IF ASC(Char(tx, r)) AND 2 ^ c THEN 'if bit is on LINE (x, y)-(x + Xsize - 1, y + Ysize - 1), FG, BF END IF 'adapted from code by TerryRitchie @ www.QB64.net x = x + Xsize 'move x position NEXT c 'next bit y = y + Ysize 'move y position x = Xpos 'reset column position NEXT r y = Ypos 'reset y position Xpos = Xpos + Xoff 'set to next character column NEXT character 'next character END SUB

Adapted from code by Terry Ritchie
NOTE: This procedure requires Char STRING array data created by the TextSave SUB from above to be run first!
  • Xpos and Ypos parameters set the top left graphic start position coordinate of the text string. LOCATE cannot be used.
  • FG and BG determine the text foreground and background colors respectively. If BG is 0, then no background color is used.
  • Xsize and Ysize determines the size multiple increase of the letters. One is normal size, two is double size etc.
  • text$ is the text STRING that is to be printed. There will not be an error or screen roll if text goes out of the screen area!


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Font and Unicode Conversion

To convert different sized fonts or Unicode characters, first determine the text block size to find how much data is required:

'Code must be run in QB64 ONLY! DEFINT A-Z DIM SHARED high% 'value is shared with both SUB procedures! DO INPUT "Enter Screen mode 1, 2 or 7 to 13 or 256 for _NEWIMAGE: ", scr$ mode% = VAL(scr$) LOOP UNTIL mode% > 0 SELECT CASE mode% CASE 1, 2, 7 TO 13: SCREEN mode% CASE 256: SCREEN _NEWIMAGE(800, 600, mode%) CASE ELSE: PRINT "Invalid screen mode selected!": END END SELECT INPUT "Enter first name of TTF font to use or hit Enter for block size: ", TTFont$ IF LEN(TTFont$) THEN INPUT "Enter font height: ", hi$ height% = VAL(hi$) IF height% > 0 THEN fnt& = _LOADFONT("C:\Windows\Fonts\" + TTFont$ + ".ttf", height%, style$) IF fnt& <= 0 THEN PRINT "Invalid Font handle!": END _FONT fnt& END IF 'add Unicode Code Page data using _MAPUNICODE here: high% = _FONTHEIGHT: wid% = _PRINTWIDTH("W") DIM SHARED Char(0 TO 255, 0 TO high%) AS INTEGER 'size for integer MKI$ strings up to 16 wide TextSave 'create character pixel data DisplayText 10, 20, 15, 2, 2, "This is a graphic test of font!" _PRINTSTRING (10, 120), "Actual text or font size =" + STR$(wid%) + " X" + STR$(high%) Char(0, 0) = high% 'place font height at start of array and file. Other dimension always 255 ff = FREEFILE OPEN "FontText.bin" FOR OUTPUT AS #ff 'erase previous data CLOSE #ff OPEN "FontText.bin" FOR BINARY AS #ff PUT #ff, , Char() 'PUT the entire array into a BINARY file CLOSE #ff END SUB DisplayText (Xpos, Ypos, FG, Xsize, Ysize, text$) x = Xpos: y = Ypos: L = LEN(text$) FOR character = 1 TO L 'go through text chars tx = ASC(MID$(text$, character, 1)) 'get each letter's ASCII value wide% = Char(tx, high%): Xoff = wide% * Xsize 'get font width from high row FOR r% = 0 TO high% - 1 'current row value value% = Char(tx, r%) 'row byte value FOR c% = 0 TO wide% - 1 'cycle through bit values IF value% AND 2 ^ c% THEN 'if bit is on LINE (x, y)-(x + Xsize - 1, y + Ysize - 1), FG, BF END IF 'adapted from code by TerryRitchie @ www.QB64.net x = x + Xsize 'move x position NEXT c% 'next column bit y = y + Ysize 'move y position x = Xpos 'reset column position NEXT r% y = Ypos 'reset y position Xpos = Xpos + Xoff 'set to next character column NEXT character END SUB SUB TextSave OUT &H3C8, 15: OUT &H3C9, 0: OUT &H3C9, 0: OUT &H3C9, 0 'print text as background color FOR ascii% = 0 TO 255 'Draw map of each character CLS _PRINTSTRING (0, 0), CHR$(ascii%) 'PRINT ASCII characters to top left corner wide% = _PRINTWIDTH(CHR$(ascii%)) FOR row% = 0 TO high% - 1 'read row byte values byte% = 0 'reset value every row FOR col% = wide% - 1 TO 0 STEP -1 'read pixels from right to left byte% = byte% * 2 - (POINT(col%, row%) > 0) 'bit-packing with 2 ^ bit NEXT Char(ascii%, row%) = byte% 'convert row byte value to 2 byte MKI$ character NEXT Char(ascii%, high%) = wide% 'place individual font widths into array high row NEXT PALETTE 'restore all palette colors END SUB

Code by Ted Weissgerber
Explanation: _PRINTWIDTH can read the pixel width of one character and can be used to measure non-monospace fonts.
If the character width is wider than 8 pixels, we can no longer store the exponent of two values in one byte or represent that byte as an ASCII character so we can use an INTEGER or LONG array to hold the values, which can be saved to file with PUT.
Variable font widths
Some fonts vary in width for every character so we can store wide& as a HEX$ value in the high& array row value as we use 0 through high& - 1 to store the bit totals. Save the high& _FONTHEIGHT value for the sub-procedures and to dimension an array!
This allows the use of DisplayText SUB in a Qbasic program to read the data when you save the array data to a file.

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Reading the Data File

Reading the file data in a QB64 program only

DEFINT A-Z DIM SHARED high% 'must share with DisplayText SUB! SCREEN _NEWIMAGE(800, 600, 256) f = FREEFILE OPEN "FontText.bin" FOR BINARY AS #f GET #f, , high% 'GET the first integer value as the second array dimension SEEK #f, 1 'SEEK moves back to the beginning of the file PRINT high% REDIM SHARED Char(0 TO 255, 0 TO high%) AS INTEGER 'Dynamic array GET #f, , Char() 'one GET moves all of the data back to the array once it is sized correctly CLOSE #f Char(0, 0) = 0 DisplayText 10, 100, 12, 4, 4, "This is the font from the BIN file!" END SUB DisplayText (Xpos, Ypos, FG, Xsize, Ysize, text$) x = Xpos: y = Ypos: L = LEN(text$) FOR character = 1 TO L 'go through text chars tx = ASC(MID$(text$, character, 1)) 'get ASCII value wide% = Char(tx, high%): Xoff = wide% * Xsize 'read variable font widths FOR r% = 0 TO high% - 1 'current row value value% = Char(tx, r%) FOR c% = 0 TO wide% - 1 'cycle through bit values IF value% AND 2 ^ c% THEN 'if bit is on LINE (x, y)-(x + Xsize - 1, y + Ysize - 1), FG, BF END IF 'adapted from code by TerryRitchie @ www.QB64.net x = x + Xsize 'move x position NEXT c% 'next bit y = y + Ysize 'move y position x = Xpos 'reset column position NEXT r% y = Ypos 'reset y position Xpos = Xpos + Xoff 'set to next character column NEXT character END SUB

Note: Use empty parenthesis after the array name to PUT # or GET # the entire array, even multi-dimensional ones.


Reading the file data in a Qbasic or QB64 program

DEFINT A-Z DECLARE SUB DisplayText (Xpos, Ypos, FG, Xsize, Ysize, text$) DECLARE SUB ReadData (f) SCREEN 12 DIM SHARED high% 'must share with DisplayText SUB! f = FREEFILE OPEN "FontText.bin" FOR BINARY AS #f GET #f, , high% 'GET the first integer value as the second array dimension REDIM SHARED Char(0 TO 255, 0 TO high%) AS INTEGER 'Dynamic array ReadData (f) DisplayText 10, 100, 12, 4, 4, "This is the font from the BIN file!" END SUB ReadData (f) SEEK #f, 1 'SEEK moves back to the beginning of the file PRINT high% DO FOR row = 0 TO high% 'read each row as a group of 256 values FOR code = 0 TO 255 'read the row value for each character GET #f, , valu% IF EOF(f) THEN EXIT DO 'prevents bad data Char(code, row) = valu% NEXT: NEXT LOOP UNTIL 1 = 1 'one time DO loop if End Of File CLOSE #f Char(0, 0) = 0 'remove the high% value from CHR$(0) array data END SUB SUB DisplayText (Xpos, Ypos, FG, Xsize, Ysize, text$) x = Xpos: y = Ypos: L = LEN(text$) FOR character = 1 TO L 'go through text chars tx = ASC(MID$(text$, character, 1)) 'get ASCII value wide% = Char(tx, high%): Xoff = wide% * Xsize 'read variable font widths FOR r% = 0 TO high% - 1 'current row value value% = Char(tx, r%) FOR c% = 0 TO wide% - 1 'cycle through bit values IF value% AND 2 ^ c% THEN 'if bit is on LINE (x, y)-(x + Xsize - 1, y + Ysize - 1), FG, BF END IF 'adapted from code by TerryRitchie @ www.QB64.net x = x + Xsize 'move x position NEXT 'next bit y = y + Ysize 'move y position x = Xpos 'reset column position NEXT r% y = Ypos 'reset y position Xpos = Xpos + Xoff 'set to next character column NEXT character END SUB

The QB64 PUT BINARY file can be read to the array by reading the row values for all of the characters as above.
The average font file with 256 characters is less than 20 KB in size!


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References

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