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All Star Wars trademarks and images on this website are Copyright and Restricted by Lucasfilm Ltd and Hasbro, Inc. Original material is copyrighted by Erik Schroeder, 1997 - 2010. This is an unofficial fan site that is not affiliated with Lucasfilm Ltd or any of its licensees.


Stubbornly refusing to go away since 1997


Dark Katarn Font

Before there was Aurebesh, there was Dark Katarn! (Ok. Sorry. I couldn't resist that.) This font re-creates a forgotten Star Wars alphabet that appeared in the classic LucasArts games X-Wing, TIE-Fighter, and Dark Forces. Those who've played these games will most likely remember it from Dark Forces, where it appeared on crates and keys used for combination locks.



This font includes all letters, numbers, and common punctuation marks. Uppercase letters are larger versions of lowercase letters. Also, kerning has been enabled for this font (see "Reducing Spacing Between Letters" on my Galactic Basic page for a discussion of kerning).


Accuracy of This Font

There are only 12 "canon" letters in this alphabet, which appear in X-Wing.

In my font, these letters are represented as: A, C, D, E, H, I, L, N, O, R, S, T. These 12 letters are the most frequent in English. I chose them so written passages would look as canon as possible. Since the original letters are pretty blocky, I've taken a little stylistic liberty in creating my font. Most of the other letters in this font were inspired by barely-legible characters seen in Dark Forces, such as those shown in the screenshot below.

Click image for larger view

Numbers 1-6 are canon based on numbers seen in Dark Forces. I created numbers 7-9 and 0 in the same style. Here's a screenshot from Dark Forces showing number 2.

History of This Alphabet

As far as I can tell, this alphabet first appeared in the 1992 LucasArts game X-Wing. On the bottom of each page in the game's manual, these 3-letter codes were associated with an English word. When you started the game, you were provided with a word and were required to use the manual to find the corresponding 3-letter code. Simply put, this alphabet had its origin as a copy-protection scheme.

Click image for larger view
Download a guide to the X-Wing game codes

In TIE Fighter, released in 1994, this alphabet once again appeared in the game manual, using 3-letter codes for copy protection. All of the same 12 letters were used in the user manual.

The alphabet made a small appearance in 1994's Star Wars Screen Entertainment, which was a screen saver utility. One module in the utility was a re-creation of the Death Star Viewport targeting Yavin IV. Ornate versions of four letters appear as the moon crosses the screen. Here's a screenshot:

Click image for larger view

In 1995, this alphabet got a lot more screen time in Dark Forces. Below you can see these letters used on crates and in combination keys.

Click image for larger view

That's all. I hope you enjoy the font. And if you've found any additional sightings of this alphabet (like in other games), please e-mail me.



This page last modified on 1/23/2007
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