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Config file section

Valid in machine config files YES
Valid in mode config files YES

The bitmap_fonts: section of your config is where you configure non-default parameter values for any bitmap font assets you want to use in your game. Note: You do not have to have an entry for every single bitmap font you want to use, rather, you only need to add individual assets to your config file that have settings which differ from the default values. (This section is part of the MPF media controller and only available if you’re using MPF-MC for your media controller.)

A bitmap font is one that stores each glyph (character) as an array of pixels (that is, a bitmap). It is less commonly known as a raster font. Bitmap fonts are simply collections of raster images of glyphs. For each variant of the font, there is a complete set of glyph images, with each set containing an image for each character. For example, if a font has three sizes, and any combination of bold and italic, then there must be 12 complete sets of images.

MPF-MC currently supports Portable Network Graphics (.png), Graphic Interchange Format (.gif), and bitmap (.bmp) image files for bitmap fonts. In order for MPF to use the bitmap font, a font descriptor must be present. This contains the information necessary to locate each glyph (character) in the bitmap image and other associated information. The font descriptor information may be loaded from a file or provided in the asset settings ( font descriptor file format). MPF supports both .xml, .fnt, and .txt files for font descriptor files (binary files are not currently supported).

There is a great online tool for generating bitmap fonts (and the associated font descriptor file) from True Type Fonts:

Here’s an example:

    file: F1fuv.png
    descriptor: [ ' !"#$%&,()*+`-./', '0123456789:;<=>?', '@ABCDEFGHIJKLMNO', 'PQRSTUVWXYZ[\]^_', '''abcdefghijklmno', 'pqrstuvwxyz{|}~ ']
    file: example_font.png
    descriptor: example_font_descriptor.xml

Optional settings

The following sections are optional in the sounds: section of your config. (If you don’t include them, the default will be used).


The descriptor: setting may contain either a font descriptor file name or a list that contains the descriptor information. Only monospaced bitmap fonts are supported when providing the descriptor in a list format. The list should contain one string for each row of characters in the bitmap. The string in each row should contain the characters in the order they appear in the row in the bitmap image.

Here is an example of a descriptor list for a bitmap image that contains three rows of 15 characters and the specific characters mapped to each position in each row:

descriptor: [ 'abcdefghijklmno', 'pqrstuvwxyz 012', '3456789,.:=<>-+' ]

Remember the descriptor list only works for monospaced characters (characters that are all the same width and height).