If you have a question that isn’t covered, please get in touch.

  • Getting Started
  • Where can I download the program?
  • How do I install the program?

    The Ascii Generator is a stand-alone/portable program*. Just extract the archive (or only the executable file) into a directory and run Ascgen2.exe. You could also create a shortcut to that file on your desktop or start menu to make it easier.

    * Assuming that the system has the .Net framework installed. Which it probably will.

  • Does it write anything to the registry?

    No. Settings are only saved to a file called “settings.dat” which is created in the same directory as the executable file.

    When these files have been deleted there will be no trace of the program left on your system. This is how programs should be made.

  • General
  • Help, the program doesn’t run!

    This program requires the .NET Framework 2.0. If you are using Windows XP or earlier then you may need to install this yourself.

    The recommended installer to use is the .NET Framework 3.5: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=22

    Important note: The Net Framework 4.0/4.5 installer does not install the needed files for 2.0. If you get an “Unable to find a version of the runtime to run this application” error then you need to install 3.5 from the above link.

    If this doesn’t solve the problem, then please get in touch with the details of what happened. If it crashes during use, or you find an error, then please do the same, or file a bug report.

  • How do I save Ansi or non-standard characters?

    When you have created an image with characters from another character set, if you save with the standard format the extra information will be lost and the text file will probably just contain question marks. To save it properly, choose “Plain Text (Unicode)” from the “Save as Type” drop-down box on the save dialog.

  • Why aren’t the colour text images displayed in real-time?

    The text is currently displayed through a RichTextBox, and it just isn’t possible to apply colour information to the text in a RichTextBox at an acceptable speed for real-time output. This is very high on our to-do list and a lot of work has already gone into this problem.

  • Why can’t I select the Terminal (or _.fnt) font?

    The Terminal font available, which is available in Notepad and some other programs, is a raster font. These can’t currently be used by the program. The only solution is to try to find a TrueType version of the font, or use a font with similar dimensions.

  • Why does the program attempt to access the internet?

    On start-up, the program reads a tiny file from the internet containing details of the latest version. This is so that it can let you know if a new release is available.

    You can turn this off by going to “Edit/Edit Settings…” and unchecking “New version check”.

  • Output
  • Why doesn’t the image look how it should when I paste it into…?

    The font used for the conversion has to match the font the other program uses to display the text. Make sure that the size, style (bold/italic/etc) and effects are also the same. This is especially true for variable width fonts.

  • Why do the same settings produce a slightly different output each time?

    To improve the output, a dithering filter is applied to the output. This adds a level of randomness to the text image, which reduces the ‘banding’ effect that can occur, and improves the output. This also means that it is very unlikely that you will ever produce two identical images with this filter on.

    If needed, you can turn it off by setting the “Dithering Amount” to zero on the Dither tab of the text widget.

  • Can I produce an output that uses a piece of text and keeps it readable in the output?

    No. The Ascgen conversion method basically works by converting the input image to black and white, and using a different character for each level of grey. This means that maintaining a text string throughout the output image is currently impossible.

  • Why does the Rich Text File (.rtf) I created not look right?

    If you’re using WordPad, make sure you have turned off word wrap. Go to “View/Word Wrap” and check “No Wrap”. Alternatively, you could convert it with either a smaller output width, or a smaller font size.

    Also, note that if the output is set to white text on a black background then it won’t look right. Rich text files do not allow you to change the background colour.

  • Other
  • How can I make a translation file for [language x]?

    Download this file, which contains all of the translations in a text format: http://ascgen2.svn.sourceforge.net/viewvc/ascgen2/trunk/Ascgen2/Translation/translation.xml

    Rename it to translation.??.xml, where ?? is the language code (but it really could just be any text), and place it in the same directory as the executable.

    Translate any or all of the strings inside the tags in a text editor, and the the next time you start the program it will use those string.

    For the “British English” field, use the name of the language in that language (plus your name if you’d like it to be displayed in the about form).

    When it’s finished, you can send it to us and we’ll add it to the site for other people to use:

  • Do I need your permission to use the output for…?

    No. We have no claim over anything you might make from the program, nor can we give any advice about copyright. But if you want to give us some credit, then that would be great. A donation would be even better.

  • Can you produce a version to run on other operating systems. You could use Mono!

    The program reads the current font and creates the optimal ascii ramp for that specific font, and also makes sure that the output is not distorted horizontally or vertically. This requires accurately measuring the fonts dimensions, and that currently requires the use of native Windows functions.

    Versions for other operating systems won’t properly run until these are either replaced with .Net methods (which have so far failed to calculate the sizes properly), or a JMSoftware.TextHelper.NativeMethods class been written for the new OS.

  • How can I convert a video file?

    You can’t currently do this automatically in the program. A good way to do it manually is to use VirtualDub. Select the section of the video, and go to “File/Export/Image Sequence…” to save the images into a new folder as bmp or png files. This folder can then be selected and converted using the Ascgen’s batch processing mode.