pygame module to control the display window and screen

This module offers control over the pygame display. Pygame has a single display Surface that is either contained in a window or runs full screen. Once you create the display you treat it as a regular Surface. Changes are not immediately visible onscreen; you must choose one of the two flipping functions to update the actual display.

The origin of the display, where x = 0 and y = 0, is the top left of the screen. Both axes increase positively towards the bottom right of the screen.

The pygame display can actually be initialized in one of several modes. By default, the display is a basic software driven framebuffer. You can request special modules like hardware acceleration and OpenGL support. These are controlled by flags passed to pygame.display.set_mode().

Pygame can only have a single display active at any time. Creating a new one with pygame.display.set_mode() will close the previous display. If precise control is needed over the pixel format or display resolutions, use the functions pygame.display.mode_ok(), pygame.display.list_modes(), and pygame.display.Info() to query information about the display.

Once the display Surface is created, the functions from this module affect the single existing display. The Surface becomes invalid if the module is uninitialized. If a new display mode is set, the existing Surface will automatically switch to operate on the new display.

When the display mode is set, several events are placed on the pygame event queue. pygame.QUIT is sent when the user has requested the program to shut down. The window will receive pygame.ACTIVEEVENT events as the display gains and loses input focus. If the display is set with the pygame.RESIZABLE flag, pygame.VIDEORESIZE events will be sent when the user adjusts the window dimensions. Hardware displays that draw direct to the screen will get pygame.VIDEOEXPOSE events when portions of the window must be redrawn.

Some display environments have an option for automatically stretching all windows. When this option is enabled, this automatic stretching distorts the appearance of the pygame window. In the pygame examples directory, there is example code (prevent_display_stretching.py) which shows how to disable this automatic stretching of the pygame display on Microsoft Windows (Vista or newer required).

pygame.display.init() -> None

Initialize the display module

Initializes the pygame display module. The display module cannot do anything until it is initialized. This is usually handled for you automatically when you call the higher level pygame.init().

Pygame will select from one of several internal display backends when it is initialized. The display mode will be chosen depending on the platform and permissions of current user. Before the display module is initialized the environment variable SDL_VIDEODRIVER can be set to control which backend is used. The systems with multiple choices are listed here.

Windows : windib, directx
Unix    : x11, dga, fbcon, directfb, ggi, vgl, svgalib, aalib

On some platforms it is possible to embed the pygame display into an already existing window. To do this, the environment variable SDL_WINDOWID must be set to a string containing the window id or handle. The environment variable is checked when the pygame display is initialized. Be aware that there can be many strange side effects when running in an embedded display.

It is harmless to call this more than once, repeated calls have no effect.

pygame.display.quit() -> None

Uninitialize the display module

This will shut down the entire display module. This means any active displays will be closed. This will also be handled automatically when the program exits.

It is harmless to call this more than once, repeated calls have no effect.

pygame.display.get_init() -> bool

Returns True if the display module has been initialized

Returns True if the pygame.display module is currently initialized.

pygame.display.set_mode(size=(0, 0), flags=0, depth=0, display=0) -> Surface

Initialize a window or screen for display

This function will create a display Surface. The arguments passed in are requests for a display type. The actual created display will be the best possible match supported by the system.

The size argument is a pair of numbers representing the width and height. The flags argument is a collection of additional options. The depth argument represents the number of bits to use for color.

The Surface that gets returned can be drawn to like a regular Surface but changes will eventually be seen on the monitor.

If no size is passed or is set to (0, 0) and pygame uses SDL version 1.2.10 or above, the created Surface will have the same size as the current screen resolution. If only the width or height are set to 0, the Surface will have the same width or height as the screen resolution. Using a SDL version prior to 1.2.10 will raise an exception.

It is usually best to not pass the depth argument. It will default to the best and fastest color depth for the system. If your game requires a specific color format you can control the depth with this argument. Pygame will emulate an unavailable color depth which can be slow.

When requesting fullscreen display modes, sometimes an exact match for the requested size cannot be made. In these situations pygame will select the closest compatible match. The returned surface will still always match the requested size.

On high resolution displays(4k, 1080p) and tiny graphics games (640x480) show up very small so that they are unplayable. SCALED scales up the window for you. The game thinks it's a 640x480 window, but really it can be bigger. Mouse events are scaled for you, so your game doesn't need to do it.

The flags argument controls which type of display you want. There are several to choose from, and you can even combine multiple types using the bitwise or operator, (the pipe "|" character). If you pass 0 or no flags argument it will default to a software driven window. Here are the display flags you will want to choose from:

pygame.FULLSCREEN    create a fullscreen display
pygame.DOUBLEBUF     recommended for HWSURFACE or OPENGL
pygame.HWSURFACE     hardware accelerated, only in FULLSCREEN
pygame.OPENGL        create an OpenGL-renderable display
pygame.RESIZABLE     display window should be sizeable
pygame.NOFRAME       display window will have no border or controls
pygame.SCALED        resolution depends on desktop size and scale graphics

New in pygame 2.0.0: SCALED

For example:

# Open a window on the screen

The display index 0 means the default display is used.

The display argument is new with pygame 1.9.5.

pygame.display.get_surface() -> Surface

Get a reference to the currently set display surface

Return a reference to the currently set display Surface. If no display mode has been set this will return None.

pygame.display.flip() -> None

Update the full display Surface to the screen

This will update the contents of the entire display. If your display mode is using the flags pygame.HWSURFACE and pygame.DOUBLEBUF, this will wait for a vertical retrace and swap the surfaces. If you are using a different type of display mode, it will simply update the entire contents of the surface.

When using an pygame.OPENGL display mode this will perform a gl buffer swap.

pygame.display.update(rectangle=None) -> None
pygame.display.update(rectangle_list) -> None

Update portions of the screen for software displays

This function is like an optimized version of pygame.display.flip() for software displays. It allows only a portion of the screen to updated, instead of the entire area. If no argument is passed it updates the entire Surface area like pygame.display.flip().

You can pass the function a single rectangle, or a sequence of rectangles. It is more efficient to pass many rectangles at once than to call update multiple times with single or a partial list of rectangles. If passing a sequence of rectangles it is safe to include None values in the list, which will be skipped.

This call cannot be used on pygame.OPENGL displays and will generate an exception.

pygame.display.get_driver() -> name

Get the name of the pygame display backend

Pygame chooses one of many available display backends when it is initialized. This returns the internal name used for the display backend. This can be used to provide limited information about what display capabilities might be accelerated. See the SDL_VIDEODRIVER flags in pygame.display.set_mode() to see some of the common options.

pygame.display.Info() -> VideoInfo

Create a video display information object

Creates a simple object containing several attributes to describe the current graphics environment. If this is called before pygame.display.set_mode() some platforms can provide information about the default display mode. This can also be called after setting the display mode to verify specific display options were satisfied. The VidInfo object has several attributes:

hw:         True if the display is hardware accelerated
wm:         True if windowed display modes can be used
video_mem:  The megabytes of video memory on the display. This is 0 if unknown
bitsize:    Number of bits used to store each pixel
bytesize:   Number of bytes used to store each pixel
masks:      Four values used to pack RGBA values into pixels
shifts:     Four values used to pack RGBA values into pixels
losses:     Four values used to pack RGBA values into pixels
blit_hw:    True if hardware Surface blitting is accelerated
blit_hw_CC: True if hardware Surface colorkey blitting is accelerated
blit_hw_A:  True if hardware Surface pixel alpha blitting is accelerated
blit_sw:    True if software Surface blitting is accelerated
blit_sw_CC: True if software Surface colorkey blitting is accelerated
blit_sw_A:  True if software Surface pixel alpha blitting is accelerated
current_h, current_w:  Height and width of the current video mode, or of the
  desktop mode if called before the display.set_mode is called.
  (current_h, current_w are available since SDL 1.2.10, and pygame 1.8.0)
  They are -1 on error, or if an old SDL is being used.

pygame.display.get_wm_info() -> dict

Get information about the current windowing system

Creates a dictionary filled with string keys. The strings and values are arbitrarily created by the system. Some systems may have no information and an empty dictionary will be returned. Most platforms will return a "window" key with the value set to the system id for the current display.

New with pygame 1.7.1

pygame.display.list_modes(depth=0, flags=pygame.FULLSCREEN, display=0) -> list

Get list of available fullscreen modes

This function returns a list of possible sizes for a specified color depth. The return value will be an empty list if no display modes are available with the given arguments. A return value of -1 means that any requested size should work (this is likely the case for windowed modes). Mode sizes are sorted from biggest to smallest.

If depth is 0, SDL will choose the current/best color depth for the display. The flags defaults to pygame.FULLSCREEN, but you may need to add additional flags for specific fullscreen modes.

The display index 0 means the default display is used.

The display argument is new with pygame 1.9.5.

pygame.display.mode_ok(size, flags=0, depth=0, display=0) -> depth

Pick the best color depth for a display mode

This function uses the same arguments as pygame.display.set_mode(). It is used to determine if a requested display mode is available. It will return 0 if the display mode cannot be set. Otherwise it will return a pixel depth that best matches the display asked for.

Usually the depth argument is not passed, but some platforms can support multiple display depths. If passed it will hint to which depth is a better match.

The most useful flags to pass will be pygame.HWSURFACE, pygame.DOUBLEBUF, and maybe pygame.FULLSCREEN. The function will return 0 if these display flags cannot be set.

The display index 0 means the default display is used.

The display argument is new with pygame 1.9.5.

pygame.display.gl_get_attribute(flag) -> value

Get the value for an OpenGL flag for the current display

After calling pygame.display.set_mode() with the pygame.OPENGL flag, it is a good idea to check the value of any requested OpenGL attributes. See pygame.display.gl_set_attribute() for a list of valid flags.

pygame.display.gl_set_attribute(flag, value) -> None

Request an OpenGL display attribute for the display mode

When calling pygame.display.set_mode() with the pygame.OPENGL flag, Pygame automatically handles setting the OpenGL attributes like color and double-buffering. OpenGL offers several other attributes you may want control over. Pass one of these attributes as the flag, and its appropriate value. This must be called before pygame.display.set_mode().

Many settings are the requested minimum. Creating a window with an OpenGL context will fail if OpenGL cannot provide the requested attribute, but it may for example give you a stencil buffer even if you request none, or it may give you a larger one than requested.

The OPENGL flags are:



Whether to enable multisampling anti-aliasing. Defaults to 0 (disabled).

Set GL_MULTISAMPLESAMPLES to a value above 0 to control the amount of anti-aliasing. A typical value is 2 or 3.


Minimum bit size of the stencil buffer. Defaults to 0.


Minimum bit size of the depth buffer. Defaults to 16.


1 enables stereo 3D. Defaults to 0.


Minimum bit size of the frame buffer. Defaults to 0.

New in pygame 2.0: Additional attributes:



Sets the OpenGL profile to one of these values:

GL_CONTEXT_PROFILE_CORE             disable deprecated features
GL_CONTEXT_PROFILE_COMPATIBILITY    allow deprecated features
GL_CONTEXT_PROFILE_ES               allow only the ES feature subset of OpenGL


Set to 1 to require hardware acceleration, or 0 to force software render. By default, both are allowed.

pygame.display.get_active() -> bool

Returns True when the display is active on the display

After pygame.display.set_mode() is called the display Surface will be visible on the screen. Most windowed displays can be hidden by the user. If the display Surface is hidden or iconified this will return False.

pygame.display.iconify() -> bool

Iconify the display surface

Request the window for the display surface be iconified or hidden. Not all systems and displays support an iconified display. The function will return True if successful.

When the display is iconified pygame.display.get_active() will return False. The event queue should receive a ACTIVEEVENT event when the window has been iconified.

pygame.display.toggle_fullscreen() -> bool

Switch between fullscreen and windowed displays

Switches the display window between windowed and fullscreen modes. This function only works under the UNIX X11 video driver. For most situations it is better to call pygame.display.set_mode() with new display flags.

pygame.display.set_gamma(red, green=None, blue=None) -> bool

Change the hardware gamma ramps

Set the red, green, and blue gamma values on the display hardware. If the green and blue arguments are not passed, they will both be the same as red. Not all systems and hardware support gamma ramps, if the function succeeds it will return True.

A gamma value of 1.0 creates a linear color table. Lower values will darken the display and higher values will brighten.

pygame.display.set_gamma_ramp(red, green, blue) -> bool

Change the hardware gamma ramps with a custom lookup

Set the red, green, and blue gamma ramps with an explicit lookup table. Each argument should be sequence of 256 integers. The integers should range between 0 and 0xffff. Not all systems and hardware support gamma ramps, if the function succeeds it will return True.

pygame.display.set_icon(Surface) -> None

Change the system image for the display window

Sets the runtime icon the system will use to represent the display window. All windows default to a simple pygame logo for the window icon.

You can pass any surface, but most systems want a smaller image around 32x32. The image can have colorkey transparency which will be passed to the system.

Some systems do not allow the window icon to change after it has been shown. This function can be called before pygame.display.set_mode() to create the icon before the display mode is set.

pygame.display.set_caption(title, icontitle=None) -> None

Set the current window caption

If the display has a window title, this function will change the name on the window. Some systems support an alternate shorter title to be used for minimized displays.

pygame.display.get_caption() -> (title, icontitle)

Get the current window caption

Returns the title and icontitle for the display Surface. These will often be the same value.

pygame.display.set_palette(palette=None) -> None

Set the display color palette for indexed displays

This will change the video display color palette for 8-bit displays. This does not change the palette for the actual display Surface, only the palette that is used to display the Surface. If no palette argument is passed, the system default palette will be restored. The palette is a sequence of RGB triplets.

pygame.display.get_num_displays() -> int

Return the number of displays

Returns the number of available displays. This is always 1 if pygame.get_sdl_version() returns a major version number below 2.

New in pygame 1.9.5.

pygame.display.get_window_size() -> tuple

Return the size of the window or screen

Returns the size of the window initialized with pygame.set_mode(). This may differ from the size of the display surface if SCALED is used.

New in pygame 2.0.

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