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I'm using Unreal Engine and their UMG system which comes with only one font by default ("Roboto").

The engine allows importing new fonts so I'm wondering whether I can use the fonts already available with Windows 10 under C:\Windows\Fonts. I know I can't redistribute these fonts but does merely including text (which uses the font) in a game and distributing the game count as distributing the font? I mean it's not like the TTF file is being given away with the game in its raw form.

I've read these two related questions but I'm still not 100% sure so I thought I'd ask this forum.

Main menu fonts and logos are all I care about right now, so I could just create these as images in Photoshop and bring them into the engine (that sounds perfectly safe, right?)

All in all, I never imagined getting a nice looking font for one's game could be so time-consuming!

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I removed the bit about resources for free fonts, because that's definitely not on topic. The rest of the question is borderline w.r.t to our rather unclear legal guidelines, so I'll leave it open for other people to weigh in on unless you want to just pre-emptively try to ask this on the Legal site (which is the only other place I think it might be on topic on SE). \$\endgroup\$ – Josh Apr 21 '16 at 19:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ There are lots of sites that offer free fonts that you can redistribute (like Font Squirrel). There are also sites that compile "web-safe fonts" (that exist across all OSes). Those might be good alternative solutions for you. \$\endgroup\$ – ashes999 Apr 21 '16 at 19:43
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Just because a font came with your OS and you paid for the OS you can not use it for anything if it is not free. You could set yourself up for a lawsuit.

Those fonts come under a Liberal license and if your game is targeted at Windows only then yes you can use the fonts. If you package your game for the 3ds or Vita and include windows fonts MS can sue you if they want to. Even if MS doesnt bite, you get those rogue lawyer guys that patrol the internet.

On the one font issue, the engine comes with one font because there are thousands of free fonts available all over the net.

You'd need a lawyer to go through the actual fonts license and tell you what is okay and what isnt. Or just save yourself the headches and go to https://www.google.com/fonts and use those.

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This is explained on Microsoft's FAQ about font redistribution and licensing.

tl;dr: If you would like to distribute the font files with your game, you need a license from the copyright holder, and in many cases this isn't Microsoft because they licensed many fonts from other companies.

Most (but not all) fonts allow embedding under different conditions which vary from font to font. Some only allow it when the end-user can not edit any text which appears in that font ("print and preview"). You can check the license conditions and copyright holder of a TTF file by right-clicking on it and then going to Properties -> Details .

You are always free to reference the font in your game without including the font files. The caveat is of course that it will cause problems when the end-user doesn't have that font installed on their operating system.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for pointing out how end-users may not have the font installed on their systems. That was a crucial gap in my understanding, now the font distribution nuance makes more sense to me. I had always imagined fonts were somehow "rasterized" by game engines and baked in to other assets but now that I think about it clearly that's not the case. Both answers are equally useful, I'm picking zimspy's as that was the first answer I received! \$\endgroup\$ – BlueSkiesYellowFlowers Apr 22 '16 at 10:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BlueSkiesYellowFlowers Regarding pre-rasterizing during build vs. rastering from the TTF file at runtime: Both cases are possible and depending on the engine it might depend on what you are using the font for. \$\endgroup\$ – Philipp Apr 22 '16 at 10:27

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