I have a question similar to “Writing text with character variations”: I would like to create a casual hand-written-style font, that reproduces the natural variety between occurrences of the same glyph that one find in handwritten text. Contextual alternatives are good, but from what I understand they are mostly appropriate for letters linking together than for a script where all letters are separated by whitespace.
One of the answers to the above-linked question says (emphasis is mine):
While you'd normally have only a few letters with a contextual alternate, it's theoretically possible to have several forms per letter. But I don't believe you can really randomise their appearance, only cycle through them (so, if you had three forms of 'a', they'd be used in sequence and start repeating in 'the black cat sat on the mat')
Well, it doesn’t seem to be true, because I found some mentions of an OpenType feature called randomize, which can apparently do that. For example, on this TeX package webpage:
Knuth’s original fonts generated different shapes at random. This isn't actually possible in an OpenType font; rather, the font contains several variants of each glyph, and uses the OpenType randomize function to select a variant for each invocation.
So: is there a mechanism for random selection of glyph variants in OpenType, and how does it work? A link to adequate online documentation or quote from the spec would be invaluable. Also: do you think this goal makes sense, i.e. it would improve the quality of the typeset text much to include multiple randomly-select glyph variants?