Config file section

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

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

More information on working with assets is in the Assets section of the documentation.

Optional settings

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


Each sub-entry in your image: section is the name that MPF will use to refer to that asset. (In other words it’s how you specify that asset in other areas of your config files.) The asset manager works by first scanning the file system to build up a list of asset files it finds. Then it looks at the config to see if there are any additional settings specified for each asset.

For example:

        load: preload
        file: hello_face_300.jpg
        load: None

So in the example above, if the asset manager found a file called insert_coin.jpg on disk, then it will also see the insert_coin entry in the config file and know that those two match. (The “match” is just based on the part of the file name without the extension, so the settings entry for insert_coin: would match insert_coin.jpg and insert_coin.png. In other words, don’t name two files with the same name if you want to keep them straight.)


Single value, type: string. Default: None

Sometimes you might want to name a file one thing on disk but refer to it as another thing in your game and config files. In this case, you can create an file: setting in an asset entry. (Note the file: hello_face_300.jpg setting in the example above, and note that it includes the file extension.) In this example, you would refer to that image asset as hello_face even though the file is hello_face_300.

You might be wondering why this exists? Why not just change the file name to be whatever you want and/or who cares what the name is? The reason this function exists is because it allows for the separation of the actual file on disk from the way it’s called in the game. For example, you could use this to create two sets of assets—one for a traditional DMD and one for a color DMD—and then you could refer to the asset by its generic name throughout your configs. (In other words, you could swap out assets for different physical machine types without having to update your display code.) That said, we expect that 99% of people won’t use this file: setting, which is fine.


Single value, type: string. Default: None

Specifies when this asset should be loaded. (See the Assets documentation for an explanation on loading.)

  • preload (The asset is loaded when MPF boots and stays in memory as long as MPF is running.)
  • mode_start (The asset is loaded when the mode starts and is unloaded when the mode ends. This option is only valid for asset files that are in mode folders, not machine-wide assets.)
  • Anything else (or nothing at all) means that the asset it loaded “on demand” when it’s first called for. (At this point, assets loaded on demand stay in memory forever, but at some point we’ll change that so they get unloaded on demand too.)

Note that you can configure load: options in the assets: section of your config files. It’s nice to be able to override those on an asset-by-asset basis. For example, you might configure your assets for a mode to all load when the mode starts, but you could also create a few entries in your config files with load: preload for the assets that are needed for the intro show of the mode. That way that show can play while the other assets are loading in the background. (Of course you could also create a subfolder for the assets that you want to preload and specific an assets: entry for that folder rather than specifying entries in your config for specific assets. The choice is up to you.)