Westwood Font Format v4

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Westwood Font Format v4
Westwood Font Format v4.png
Format typeFont
Max glyph count256
Minimum glyph size (pixels)0×0
Maximum glyph size (pixels)255×255
Access modeIndexed
Bitmap glyphs?Yes
Vector glyphs?No
Compressed glyphs?No
Hidden data?Yes
Lands of Lore III (Installer)

The fourth type of bitmap font created by Westwood Studios is not used in any DOS games, but its format is virtually identical to v3, so it is included for completeness' sake. It is an 8-bit-per-pixel font, though the games that use it never use it beyond 16 colors, making it functionally identical to the 4-bpp v3 font. Like its predecessor, it has a variable amount of characters, and allows the separate symbols to specify their width, height and Y-offset.

Unlike the v3 fonts, v4 fonts usually seem to correspond to the Windows-1252 encoding, and not to classic DOS code page 437.

File format


The font format starts with the following header.

Offset Data type Name Description
0x00 UINT16LE Size File size.
0x02 BYTE DataFormat Data format. 0x00 for v3, 0x02 for v4. The internal logics in Tiberian Sun actually allow both values, with 0x00 and 0x02 indicating respectively a 4-bit and an 8-bit font, but the 4-bit variety is never actually used in the game.
0x03 BYTE SigByte1 Signature byte. Always 0x00 for v4.
0x04 BYTE SigByte2 Signature byte. Always 0x0E.
0x05 BYTE SigByte3 Signature byte. Always 0x00.
0x06 UINT16LE OffsetsListOffset Offset of the array of data offsets.
0x08 UINT16LE WidthsListOffset Offset of the array of symbol widths
0x0A UINT16LE FontOffsetStart Offsets are relative to this value. While this is unused in v3, v4 fills this in with the start of its font data block, making the values at the address in OffsetsListOffset start at 0. This allows addressing slightly more data with the 16-bit integer data offsets, theoretically allowing the fonts to contain larger characters. However, the default placement of the height data behind all image data seems to negate this potential advantage.
0x0C UINT16LE HeightsListOffset Offset of the array containing the symbol heights and Y-offsets.
0x0E UINT16LE Unknown Unknown. Always 0x0000 for v4.
0x10 BYTE Unknown Unknown. Always 0x00.
0x11 BYTE NrOfChars Number of characters. Unused in v4, and always just left on 0x00. The only way to determine the amount of characters is through reading the index arrays and seeing where they need to end to avoid overlapping with other addressed data.
0x12 BYTE Height Overall font symbols maximum height, in pixels.
0x13 BYTE Width Overall font symbols maximum width, in pixels.

Following this header are the referenced arrays and the font data, normally in this order:

  • Array of UINT16LE values indicating the offset of the data for each symbol, relative to FontOffsetStart. The start offset of this list is specified by OffsetsListOffset.
  • Array of byte values indicating the symbol widths, in pixels. The start offset of this list is specified by WidthsListOffset.
  • Actual symbol data referenced in the offsets list.
  • Array containing two bytes per entry; the first being the Y-offset, the second the height in pixels. The start offset of this array is specified by HeightsListOffset.

Unlike in v3, v4 fonts seem to put the height and Y data behind the actual character data, splitting the data into a header and a footer around the actual image data. However, since the games just follow the offsets as they read them, the order probably doesn't matter at all.

As with version 3, the font data is uncompressed, but it is optimised by making the offsets for any identical symbols in the font refer to the same data.

Image data

The actual font data is very simply straightforward 8 bit per pixel, always using the minimum stride per line, so the exact amount of bytes of the width. However, the games themselves never seems to use colour indices higher than 16 on the fonts; there are simply no colours supplied for these indices, and if they are used on the font they seem to use random memory junk as colours. Because of this, the v4 format doesn't really offer any advantage over its 4-bit predecessor, except in unutilized potential.


The following tools are able to work with files in this format.

Name PlatformView images in this format? Convert/export to another file/format? Import from another file/format? Access hidden data? Edit metadata? Notes
Westwood Font Editor WindowsYesYesYesNoN/A Automatically trims off the top of the characters on save, and saves the trimmed amount as Y-offset. Has an option to limit 8-bit fonts to 16 colours to prevent using unusable indices on this font type.
Engie File Converter WindowsYesYesYesNoN/A Automatically trims off the top of the characters on save, and saves the trimmed amount as Y-offset. This font type was added to Engie to allow creation of font sheets.