The MPF “Media Controller”

All modern pinball machines use graphics and sound. MPF’s architecture is build so that the core “game” engine is completely separate from the “media” engine.

The “game” engine is the MPF software itself, and the “media” engine is something called the MPF Media Controller (which we often abbreviate as “MPF-MC”).

When you run MPF, these two components are two separate processes that talk to each other via something called the “Backbox Control Protocol”.

The details and inner workings of this are not really important, (and frankly they’re mostly hidden from you).

But as you start to learn about MPF, just keep in mind that the part of MPF that runs your game and controls the hardware is separate from the part that shows the graphics and plays the sounds.

Here’s a diagram that shows what each piece does:


More details about MPF’s media controller architecture, as well as guides which show you how to run them on separate computers, or even to replace MPF’s Media Controller with one based on Unity 3D or something you write yourself, are available in the Displays, DMDs, & Graphics section of the documentation.