@kris: yes its just about reducing the filesize, not the GPU memory. You still have to parse the color and alpha channel, merge it into a RAW bitmapdata and then upload it to the GPU.
I just released ShoeBox version 3.2.0
The download is available at:
Version 3.2.0 has kerning implemented. I am actually quite proud of how this now works with its all automated optical kerning with quite nice results.
In the settings panel you can define whether you want to build the kerning pairs. I have about 500+ kerning pairs added as a default which I got from a typography website. If 2 characters don't seem to kern at all in your preview window you can add them in this list separated by a space character.
The 3rd variable is the kerning rays value which determines how many rays should be cast for each bitmap character. This screenshot shows the green rays hitting the bitmap silhouette.
By averaging each side's rays lengths into a volume unit I can then determine the optical kerning as in volume that fits between character pairs.
For each of those kerning pairs it will determine a kerning offset on top of the regular kerning distance. It will store this information in the *.fnt format like this:
kerning first=62 second=62 amount=-1
kerning first=61 second=62 amount=-1
kerning first=247 second=62 amount=-1
kerning first=165 second=247 amount=-2
kerning first=165 second=188 amount=-1[/code]
But of course this can be fully customized. I will update the documentation page soon with all the added dynamic variables for the output syntax. I haven't tried kerning support yet in Starling myself but I have a hunch that it will work just fine 🙂
For very big bitmap font input bitmaps I rewrote the whole bitmap font parsing part so that it supports [B]multiple rows[/B] should you input bitmaps that exceed 8191 in width or height.
This makes sense if your characters have a rather HD resolution or you have a lot of characters like eastern languages.
Another new feature that was added to the sprite packer is the pixel extruding feature.
It lets you extrude border pixels of sprites so that when you render them in hardware acceleration or with texture filtering bordering pixels are preserved at all costs even when the UV coordinates shift.
Lastly a little trick that I have been sharing with some people lately: If you want to force some pixels to connect as one blob or pixel character e.g. in the Bitmap font tool or sprite extractor tool do this:
Add a outline filter in PS to your sprite that you want to merge with its close surrounded pixel islands, make sure that the thickness connects the islands you want to be connected and then change its opacity to 1%. This will trick your eye as you will not be able to see this very opaque black border but it will not trick ShoeBox as it will assume that all those elements are one blob to parse.