Go Reference

etxt is a package for font management and text rendering in Golang designed to be used with the Ebiten game engine.

While Ebiten already provides the ebiten/text package that makes getting some text drawn on screen easy enough, etxt aims to help you actually understand what you are doing, doing it in a structured way, and giving you much more control over it.

As a quick summary of what this package provides:

  • Structured font management and usage through the FontLibrary and Renderer types; because having to create and manage new font.Faces just to change text size is not ok.
  • Full control over glyph mask caching and rasterization (or just stay with the defaults!).
  • A few custom rasterizers that allow you to draw faux-bold, oblique, blurred and hollow text (WIP). Not really “main features”, though, only examples of what you can do with etxt.
  • Lots of examples and thorough documentation.

Code example

Less talk and more code!

package main

import "log"
import "time"
import "image/color"

import ""
import ""

type Game struct { txtRenderer *etxt.Renderer }
func (self *Game) Layout(int, int) (int, int) { return 400, 400 }
func (self *Game) Update() error { return nil }
func (self *Game) Draw(screen *ebiten.Image) {
	millis := time.Now().UnixMilli() // don't do this in actual games ;)
	blue := (millis/16)%512
	if blue >= 256 { blue = 511 - blue }
	changingColor := color.RGBA{ 0, 255, uint8(blue), 255 }

	// set relevant text renderer properties and draw
	self.txtRenderer.Draw("Hello World!", 200, 200)

func main() {
	// load font library
	fontLib := etxt.NewFontLibrary()
	_, _, err := fontLib.ParseDirFonts("game_dir/assets/fonts")
	if err != nil {
		log.Fatalf("Error while loading fonts: %s", err.Error())

	// check that we have the fonts we want
	// (shown for completeness, you don't need this in most cases)
	if !fontLib.HasFont("League Gothic Regular") { log.Fatal("missing font 1") }
	if !fontLib.HasFont("Carter One"           ) { log.Fatal("missing font 2") }
	if !fontLib.HasFont("Roboto Bold"          ) { log.Fatal("missing font 3") }

	// check that the fonts have the characters we want
	// (shown for completeness, you don't need this in most cases)
	err = fontLib.EachFont(checkMissingRunes)
	if err != nil { log.Fatal(err) }

	// create a new text renderer and configure it
	txtRenderer := etxt.NewStdRenderer()
	glyphsCache := etxt.NewDefaultCache(10*1024*1024) // 10MB
	txtRenderer.SetFont(fontLib.GetFont("League Gothic Regular"))
	txtRenderer.SetAlign(etxt.YCenter, etxt.XCenter)

	// run the "game"
	ebiten.SetWindowSize(400, 400)
	err = ebiten.RunGame(&Game{ txtRenderer })
	if err != nil { log.Fatal(err) }

// helper used after loading fonts
func checkMissingRunes(name string, font *etxt.Font) error {
	const alphabet = "ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZabcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz0123456789 .,;:!?-()[]"
	missing, err := etxt.GetMissingRunes(font, alphabet)
	if err != nil { return err }
	if len(missing) > 0 {
		log.Fatalf("Font '%s' missing runes: %s", name, string(missing))
	return nil

This example focuses on the mundane usage of the main etxt FontLibrary and Renderer types, with abundant checks to fail fast if anything seems out of place.

If you want flashier examples, we have many more in the project, so check them out!

Can I use this package without Ebiten?

Yeah, you can compile it with -tags gtxt. Notice that gtxt will make text drawing happen on the CPU, so don’t try to use it for real-time stuff. In particular, be careful to not accidentally use gtxt with Ebiten (they are compatible in many cases, but performance will die).

Should I bother learning to use etxt?

If you are only dealing with text rendering incidentally and ebiten/text does the job well enough for you, feel free to stay with that.

The main consideration when using etxt is that you need to be minimally acquainted with how fonts work. FreeType glyph conventions is the go to reference that you really should be reading (up to section IV or V).

Any future plans?

This package is already quite solid, but there are still a few rough edges:

  • Faux-bold heuristic is still not good enough.
  • EdgeMarker is still experimental.
  • Missing a couple important examples (crisp UI and shaders).

If I get really bored, I’d also like to look into:

  • Contributing to Golang’s sfnt to expose more tables and allow the creation of minimal packages to do basic text shaping in arabic or other complex scripts.
  • Add outline expansion. Freetype and libASS do this, and it would be quite nice to get high quality outlines and better faux-bolds… but it’s also hard; I don’t really know if I want to go there.
  • Triangulation and GPU rendering of B├ęzier curves are also interesting for Ebiten (although they probably don’t belong in this package).


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