I need to display TrueType fonts in OpenGL, in a C program. This needs to work on fairly old hardware, so something using the old fixed function pipeline rather than making heavy use of shaders would be good. Can someone suggest a good alternative to FTGL?

Reasons FTGL doesn't quite work for me:

  • The C API leaves out an important feature of the C++ API: the ability to get a bounding box for a "partial string" from a layout (it should take a char pointer and a length argument, rather than just taking a char pointer and reading to the first null character).

    I need this feature so I can determine where pointer events fall within a string, because I need to implement caret insertion and text selection capability.

  • The font rendering doesn't look as nice as more modern techniques, like the technique discussed at http://contourtextures.wikidot.com/.

    I can live without this rendering technique, but it would be nice to have.


I'm using freetype-gl for now. It uses contour textures, they look great. It also uses shaders, but they seem to work alright on the hardware I tested on. It's pretty rough around the edges but I think it will handle my use cases.


stb_truetype by Sean Barrett is a Public Domain true type implementation in a single C (or C++) header.

There is some design information about it here.

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