Displays, DMDs, & Graphics¶
Every electronic pinball machine has some type of display, whether it’s 1980s-style 7-segment numeric displays, an early ’90s-style alphanumeric display, a mono dot matrix display (DMD), a full color “RGB” DMD, or a modern LCD (which itself can either be a small LCD, like a “color DMD”, or a huge one like what Jersey Jack has in the backbox of The Wizard of Oz and The Hobbit).
The MPF media controller is designed so that it can support all types of these displays, including multiple different types of displays at the same time. It supports text, drawing shapes, images, and videos. You can position any combination of these on the display at any time, and you can set layering and transparencies. You can use standard TrueType fonts. You can also apply animations, motions, and transitions to your displays and their widgets. And, like just everything else in MPF, you can do most of your display configuration via the config files.
Everything in this “Displays & Graphics” section is about the default MPF Media Controller. See the media controller section for details and alternative implementations.
Here are a few photos of the MPF Media Controller’s display system in action. These were all created with configuration files and without manual programming.
Here’s a traditional single-color / mono DMD:
Here’s an on-screen window (or what many people called an “LCD” display. In this case, it’s showing on single color DMD virtually with no “dot” filter applied, along with other on-screen content:
Here’s a “color” DMD on an LCD monitor. It’s showing a 128x32 window of color content, with a “dot look” filter to make it look like dots.
Here’s a full-size window with the dot filter applied:
Here’s a full-color RGB DMD LED matrix. (So it’s like a color DMD, but a matrix of 2.5mm RGB LEDs rather than an LCD):
Before we go into the details of all the various display components, let’s start with an overview of how the MPF display architecture works. (If you don’t care about the details and just want to start using your display, you can jump directly into our step-by-step tutorial which covers how to get your display running.)