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Python Pygame Tutorial: How to Effortlessly Use and Fix


Pygame Tutorial: A Primer on Game Programming in Python

by Jon Fincher

Background and Setup

Pygame is a Python wrapper for the Simple DirectMedia Layer (SDL) library, which provides cross-platform access to multimedia hardware components like sound, video, mouse, keyboard, and joystick. It is ideal for writing games and rich multimedia programs. In this tutorial, you will learn how to use Pygame to write games and other graphical programs.

To install Pygame, use the following command:

Terminal window
$ pip install pygame

Once installed, you can verify the installation by running one of the examples that come with the library:

Terminal window
$ python3 -m pygame.examples.aliens

If a game window appears, then Pygame is installed properly.

Basic Pygame Program

A basic Pygame program requires a few essential components:

  1. Importing the necessary modules
  2. Initializing Pygame
  3. Creating a display window
  4. Setting up the game loop
  5. Processing events
  6. Drawing on the screen

To demonstrate these components, we can create a simple program that displays a black window and quits when the user clicks the close button.

import pygame
import sys
def run_game():
screen = pygame.display.set_mode((800, 600))
while True:
for event in pygame.event.get():
if event.type == pygame.QUIT:
screen.fill((0, 0, 0))

This program imports the necessary modules (pygame and sys), initializes Pygame, creates a display window with a size of 800x600 pixels, and sets up the game loop. Inside the game loop, the program checks for events, such as the user clicking the close button, and fills the screen with black color. Finally, the program updates the display by calling pygame.display.flip().

Pygame Concepts

Pygame introduces several important concepts that are essential for game programming:

  1. Initialization and Modules: Pygame requires initialization and loading necessary modules before it can be used.
  2. Displays and Surfaces: Pygame uses a display surface to create windows and draw objects on the screen.
  3. Images and Rects: Pygame loads and manipulates images using Rect objects to define their position and size.

Basic Game Design

To create a game, you need to follow some basic game design principles:

  1. Importing and Initializing Pygame: Start by importing and initializing the Pygame library.
  2. Setting Up the Display: Create a display window that will be used to render the game graphics.
  3. Setting Up the Game Loop: Create a game loop that continuously updates the game state and renders the graphics.
  4. Processing Events: Handle user input by processing events like mouse clicks and key presses.
  5. Drawing on the Screen: Draw game objects on the display surface.
  6. Using .blit() and .flip(): Use the .blit() method to draw images onto the screen and .flip() method to update the display.


Sprites are the main actors in a game. They can represent players, enemies, or other objects. Pygame provides functionality for working with sprites, including handling user input and creating enemy characters.

Sprite Groups

Sprite groups are collections of sprites that can be updated and drawn together. They allow for efficient handling and rendering of multiple sprites at once.

Custom Events

Pygame allows you to define and handle custom events, which can be used to trigger specific actions in the game.

Collision Detection

Collision detection is an important aspect of game programming. Pygame provides methods for detecting collisions between sprites and reacting accordingly.

Sprite Images

Pygame allows you to load and manipulate sprite images. You can alter object constructors and add background images to enhance the visual appeal of your game.

Game Speed

Controlling the speed of your game is crucial for gameplay. Pygame provides mechanisms for controlling the frame rate and ensuring a smooth gaming experience.

Sound Effects

Sound effects can add immersion to your game. Pygame has built-in functionality for playing sound effects and background music.

A Note on Sources

When working on game programming or any programming project, it’s important to credit and cite your sources when using external assets, such as graphics and sound files. This helps to respect the intellectual property rights of others and maintain good ethical practices.


In this tutorial, you have learned the basics of Pygame and how to write games and other graphical programs using this library. You have learned how to set up Pygame, create a display window, handle user input, draw on the screen, and implement game design principles. With this knowledge, you can start creating your own games and explore more advanced game development techniques using Pygame.