Developer creates delightful programming font based on Minecraft

An example of the Monocraft font in action, which is based on Minecraft.
Enlarge / An example of the Monocraft font in action, which is based on Minecraft.

North Carolina based developer Idrees Hassan loves Minecraft so much that he recently created a monospaced font for programming based on the typeface found in the wildly popular video game. The result, Monocraft, gives programmers the feel of being in Minecraft without using any assets from the game itself.

To be honest, I made this font because I thought it’d be fun to learn how fonts worked,” Hassan told Ars. “Existing Minecraft fonts were missing a bunch of small details like proper kerning and pixel size, so I figured I should make my own. Once that was done, there was nothing stopping me from going overboard and turning it into a ‘proper’ programming font. Plus, now I can write Minecraft plugins in a Minecraft font!”

To adapt the Minecraft font for development purposes, Hassan redesigned characters to look better in a monospaced format, added a few serifs to make letters such as “i” and “l” easier to distinguish, created new programming ligature characters, and refined the arrow characters to make them easier to read. (Ligature characters combine popular operational character strings such as “!=” into a single new character, but they aren’t always popular with developers.)

You can download Monocraft from GitHub for free (get “Monocraft.otf” on the Releases page). It’s not endorsed by Microsoft or Mojang and should be considered a fan project. As an OpenType font, it works on Windows, Mac, or Linux. To install it on Windows, right-click the font file and select “Install.” On a Mac, double-click the font file and select “Install Font” in the Font Book window that appears.

Previously, Hassan created an authentic reproduction of the Minecraft typeface that features variable spacing like the font in the game. It’s available on GitHub as well.

Minecraft creator Markus “Notch” Persson originally designed the Minecraft font for an earlier game called Legend of the Chamberedcirca 2008. The Minecraft typeface incorporates retro pixel-art style that hearkens back to 8-bit and 16-bit console games, which was a perfect match for Notch’s lo-fi art style. Now it has found a new role as a playful font for developers everywhere.

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