Working with Displays

The first step to setting up a display in MPF is to use the displays: section of your machine-wide config to create a list of displays.

Note that the Tutorial includes a walk-through of setting up your first display. So if you just want to get it up and running quickly, check out the tutorial instead and then come back here for the nitty-gritty details later.

Here’s a very simple example that creates a display called “window” with a height and width of 800x600:

      width: 800
      height: 600

You can name your display whatever you want. For example, here’s a display called “potato” which is 100x100:

      width: 100
      height: 100

You can add multiple displays to your config. Here’s an example with a display called “lcd” which is 1366x768, and a second display called “playfield” which is 640x480:

      width: 1366
      height: 768
      default: true
      width: 640
      height: 480

The “lcd” display above also has a setting default: true. As you can imagine, when you have more than one display, then when you are setting up content to be shown on the display, you have to specify which display you want it to show up on. Picking one display to be your default is the display that’s used for content where you don’t explicitly set which display you’re using.


Full details and options for these displays are available in the displays: section of the config file reference.

These “displays” are logical, not physical!

One concept that’s somewhat confusing for new users is that the displays you set up here are not yet tied to physical displays in your pinball machine. You can think of these as “logical” displays which you can use in your config files and game code. But when it comes to using a physical display, you have to “link” the physical display hardware to one of these logical displays.

One final note about the displays you specify in your displays: section: The size (height and width) of your displays here are independent from the actual physical displays (windows and DMDs). For example, the size of the on-screen window is specified in the window: section of the machine config (which is 800x600 by default). So if you change the size of your display here (perhaps to 320x240), then the on-screen window will still be 800x600, and the content of the display canvas will be 320x240 (but scaled up to the 800x600 window). This means that MPF is “resolution independent”, in that you can build your game for a certain display size and then scale it up or down to fit on whatever physical display is there later.

Let’s walk through some examples of how you can actually configure various displays. You don’t have to read through all of these—just pick whichever display type you want to use in your machine.