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distorted asian fonts in steam
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Utsuho Reiuji
Tux's lil' helper
Tux's lil' helper

Joined: 03 Apr 2013
Posts: 134

PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2014 10:16 pm    Post subject: distorted asian fonts in steam Reply with quote

Hi again,
I'm having a problem with steam showing distorted japanese characters:

It's especially confusing since big fonts display normally, just the smaller ones.
Also, this is quite annoying since some games/songs are not recognizable...
There must be a way to fix this, does anyone have an idea?
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Joined: 15 Sep 2011
Posts: 61

PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2014 10:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've had this issue too. I'm pretty sure the problem is simply that the steam Linux client has a bug with rendering bitmap fonts.

This includes embedded bitmaps, so even if you set 70-no-bitmaps.conf in your fontconfig your system will still select fonts with embedded bitmaps and use those bitmaps for the available sizes.

So what I think is happening to you, is that steam is using the default Arial font, which doesn't have CJK characters in it, and when you try to view CJK characters it goes to the fallback font on your system which has embedded bitmaps.
That explains why CJK characters render fine at larger font sizes because there is no available embedded bitmap for large sizes so it uses the truetype font. But for small sizes (usually 10-16) it tries to use the bitmap
(Note: some CJK fonts you might have with embedded bitmaps that are causing the issue are wqyZenHei, ipa-fonts, ipamonafont, monafont, MS Gothic)

You can see what font it is falling back to by typing fc-match -s "Arial" in a terminal, there you can see the fallback order.
You can either play with your fontconfig until you get a fallback font for arial that doesn't use embedded bitmaps


If you don't want to mess with your system you can tell steam which font to use. (This is the solution I'm using)
You can do this with steam skins.
1) create a directory in <steamInstallPath>/skins/<YourSkinName>
2) inside your skin directory create a resource directory
3) copy the default steam skin file <steamInstallPath>/resource/styles/steam.styles to the resource directory in step 2
4) change the line basefont="Arial" in that file to a font on your system that has CJK characters without embedded bitmaps
(Meiryo is a good one, I also like google's NotoSansCJK fonts)
5) go into your steam settings > Interface > select your steam skin from the list (might have to restart to see it) then restart steam

You would probably want to delete and re-copy the steam.styles file whenever steam has an update to its interface

They really should just fix the bug, but it's been over a year at least and they haven't fixed it. They still haven't even fixed the bug which prevents anyone from typing other languages into steam which require an IME, so I wouldn't hold my breath on waiting for valve to fix it.
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