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Python Game Engine: Building Games Effortlessly


Top Python Game Engines

Like many people, you may have wanted to write video games when you first learned to code. However, at that time, there might not have been Python games available for you to study, and game engines may not have existed. Without proper guidance or a framework to assist you, creating games with advanced graphics and sound may have been out of reach.

Fortunately, Python and a variety of powerful Python game engines are now available. These game engines make it much easier to create great computer games. In this tutorial, we will explore several of these game engines, learn how they work, and understand how they compare to stand-alone game engines. By the end of this article, you will be equipped with the knowledge to start creating your own Python video games!

Python Game Engines Overview

Game engines for Python typically come in the form of Python libraries that can be installed using various methods. Most of these libraries are available on PyPI and can be installed using pip. However, some libraries may only be available on platforms like GitHub or GitLab and may require additional steps to install. We will cover the installation methods for all the engines discussed in this article.

Python is a general-purpose programming language used for various tasks beyond writing computer games. On the other hand, stand-alone game engines are specifically designed for building games. Some popular stand-alone game engines include the Unreal Engine, Unity, and Godot. These engines differ from Python game engines in several key aspects:

  • Language support: Stand-alone game engines are typically written in languages like C++, C#, and JavaScript. While these engines do not natively support Python, a few can integrate Python scripts.
  • Proprietary scripting support: Stand-alone game engines often have their own scripting languages, such as Unity’s C# and Unreal’s C++. These scripting languages may differ from Python in syntax and functionality.
  • Platform support: Stand-alone game engines can easily produce games for various platforms, including mobile and dedicated game systems. In contrast, porting a Python game to different platforms can be more challenging.


Pygame is a well-known Python game engine that provides a set of tools and modules for creating games. It is built on top of the Simple DirectMedia Layer (SDL) library, which provides low-level access to graphics, sound, and input devices. Pygame is widely used and has an active community that contributes to its development.

Pygame Installation

To install Pygame, you can use the following command:

Terminal window
pip install pygame

Basic Concepts

Pygame revolves around a game loop that continuously updates and renders the game world. The main components of a Pygame game include:

  • Game initialization: This involves setting up the game window, loading resources, and initializing game variables.
  • Event handling: Pygame allows you to listen for various events, such as key presses, mouse movements, and window events. You can respond to these events to control the game behavior.
  • Game logic: This includes updating the game state, handling collisions, and implementing game rules.
  • Rendering: Pygame provides functions to draw images, shapes, and text on the game window. This allows you to create the visual elements of your game.
  • Timing and frame rate: Pygame allows you to control the frame rate of your game, ensuring smooth animation and consistent gameplay.

Basic Application

Let’s create a simple Pygame application that displays a game window:

import pygame
# Initialize Pygame
# Create the game window
window_size = (800, 600)
window = pygame.display.set_mode(window_size)
pygame.display.set_caption("My Game")
# Game loop
running = True
while running:
# Handle events
for event in pygame.event.get():
if event.type == pygame.QUIT:
running = False
# Update game logic
# Render the game
# Update the display
# Clean up

In this code, we initialize Pygame, create a game window with a specified size, and enter the game loop. Inside the game loop, we handle events (such as quitting the game window) and update the game display. Finally, we clean up Pygame resources when the game loop exits.

Advanced Application

An advanced Pygame application may involve more complex game logic, user input, and graphics. For example, you could implement a platformer game with multiple levels, character movement, enemy AI, and collectible items.

To explore more advanced Pygame concepts and techniques, consider checking out the official Pygame documentation and the many Pygame tutorials available online.

Pygame Zero

Pygame Zero is a higher-level game framework built on top of Pygame. It simplifies game development by providing a more beginner-friendly API while still leveraging the power of Pygame. Pygame Zero aims to make it easier to create games with less code and a focus on simplicity.

Pygame Zero Installation

To install Pygame Zero, you can use the following command:

Terminal window
pip install pgzero

Basic Concepts

Pygame Zero introduces several new concepts:

  • Actor: An Actor represents a game object with an image, position, and other attributes. You can create Actors to represent characters, enemies, obstacles, and more.
  • Images: Pygame Zero provides a simpler way to load and display images on the game window. You can use the Actor class to load images and manipulate them.
  • Keyboard input: Pygame Zero lets you easily handle keyboard input by providing functions that check for key presses and releases. This makes it easier to control the game based on user input.

Sprites and Images

To create a game in Pygame Zero, you can define Actors and display them on the game window. Here’s an example of a simple game that displays a character controlled by arrow keys:

import pgzrun
WIDTH = 800
HEIGHT = 600
character = Actor("character")
character.pos = WIDTH // 2, HEIGHT // 2
def update():
if keyboard.left:
character.x -= 5
elif keyboard.right:
character.x += 5
elif keyboard.up:
character.y -= 5
elif keyboard.down:
character.y += 5
def draw():

In this code, we define a character Actor and set its position at the center of the game window. The update function is called continuously, and it checks for arrow key presses to move the character accordingly. The draw function is responsible for rendering the game, clearing the screen, and drawing the character.

Advanced Application

With Pygame Zero, you can create more complex games by adding features like collision detection, enemy AI, and game levels. By expanding on the basic concepts, you can build engaging games with less code compared to using only Pygame.

To further explore Pygame Zero and its capabilities, refer to the Pygame Zero documentation and the available tutorials.


Arcade is a modern game engine designed to be easy to learn and use. It provides a simple and consistent API for building 2D games. Arcade aims to strike a balance between beginner-friendly features and advanced capabilities, making it suitable for both beginners and experienced developers.

Arcade Installation

To install Arcade, you can use the following command:

Terminal window
pip install arcade

Basic Concepts

Arcade introduces key concepts such as:

  • Window: The game window provides the display area where the game graphics are rendered.
  • Sprites: In Arcade, sprites are used to represent game objects. Sprites can have images associated with them and can interact with each other through collision detection.
  • Game loops: Arcade provides functions to control the game loop, allowing you to update game state and render graphics at a consistent frame rate.
  • Events: Arcade allows you to handle events such as mouse clicks, keyboard input, and window events.

Advanced Application

To showcase the capabilities of Arcade, let’s take a look at an advanced example. The following code demonstrates a simple game where a character moves around and collects items:

import arcade
class MyGame(arcade.Window):
def __init__(self):
super().__init__(SCREEN_WIDTH, SCREEN_HEIGHT, "My Game")
self.character = arcade.Sprite("character")
self.character.center_x = SCREEN_WIDTH // 2
self.character.center_y = SCREEN_HEIGHT // 2
self.items = arcade.SpriteList()
for i in range(10):
item = arcade.Sprite("item")
item.center_x = i * 80 + 40
item.center_y = SCREEN_HEIGHT // 4
def on_draw(self):
def on_key_press(self, key, modifiers):
if key == arcade.key.LEFT:
self.character.center_x -= 5
elif key == arcade.key.RIGHT:
self.character.center_x += 5
elif key == arcade.key.UP:
self.character.center_y += 5
elif key == arcade.key.DOWN:
self.character.center_y -= 5
def update(self, delta_time):
item_hit_list = arcade.check_for_collision_with_list(self.character, self.items)
for item in item_hit_list:
if __name__ == "__main__":
game = MyGame()

In this code, we create a MyGame class that inherits from arcade.Window. The class initializes the game window, loads sprites, and defines methods to handle drawing, keyboard input, and game logic. In the update method, we check for collisions between the character and items, removing items that have been collected.

To learn more about Arcade and its features, refer to the Arcade documentation and the available tutorials.

Other Notable Python Game Engines

In addition to Pygame, Pygame Zero, and Arcade, there are several other notable Python game engines available. Some of these include:

  • adventurelib: A text-based game engine that focuses on interactive storytelling.
  • Ren’Py: A visual novel engine that simplifies the creation of interactive stories.
  • Panda3D: A mature 3D game engine that allows for the creation of complex 3D games using Python.

Each of these game engines has its own unique set of features and use cases. Depending on your requirements, you may find one of these engines more suitable for your game development needs.

Sources for Game Assets

When creating a game, you often need various assets such as graphics, audio files, and fonts. Here are some recommended sources for finding game assets:

  • A community-driven site that provides a wide variety of free game assets, including sprites, textures, and sound effects.
  • Freepik: A platform that offers free and premium graphics, illustrations, icons, and more.
  • Freesound: A collection of user-generated audio content with a wide range of sounds, perfect for adding audio effects to your game.
  • Google Fonts: An extensive collection of free fonts that can be used in your game’s user interface and text elements.

Always make sure to check the licensing terms for each asset you use to ensure compliance and proper attribution. Additionally, consider creating your own assets or hiring artists and composers to create original content for your game.


Python game engines provide a powerful platform for creating computer games with Python. Whether you choose Pygame, Pygame Zero, or Arcade, each game engine offers unique features and advantages that can facilitate your game development journey.

By understanding the various game engines available, you can choose the one that best suits your needs and start building your own Python video games. Make use of the provided sample codes and explore the official documentation and tutorials to dive deeper into each game engine’s capabilities. With practice and creativity, you’ll be able to craft engaging games that bring your ideas to life.