I have made some progress with this, but mostly what I have been doing is getting OGL caught up. It is woefully behind its D3D counterparts with respect to texturing and bitmap creation.
However, in the process, I think I have convinced myself that it is no longer in our best interests to take a particular shortcut. The font builder plugin was always meant to save a font file out to the game directory. These font files would then be loaded by the engine when it starts up the game. That was the plan.
However, because I did not want to get bogged down in writing a resource manager, I temporarily shortcutted that process and simply created a material right in the font builder and sent that material to the material manager for drawing. This involved writing a bit of temporary code in the font builder plugin.
To do the same for OGL would require even more temporary code be written, and this (because of how OGL works) is somewhat less trivial than the D3D code was. At this point I think it would not be such a good idea to write that code, and instead spend my time and energy putting together the skeleton of the resource manager, who's first members are going to be font file loaders and savers.
We can then go ahead and load the fonts from file, and let the engine create materials from them, as was originally intended. And we can remove all temporary code from the engine (which is already starting to get messy).
I won't get into the design of the resource manager just yet (I'll create a thread for that a bit later, I still have to think through a few concepts first).
So, in order to advance fonts further, I am once again going to set them aside (poor fonts, hehe), and work on something else for a bit. But once I get back to them, they will be much stronger, working as they were intended to work, rather than just "good enough for now".
So, on to the resource manager.
"They laughed when I said I was going to be a comedian ... They're not laughing now." - Bob Monkhouse