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mpf game (command-line utility)

Starts the MPF game engine (the main MPF process).

Command line options

There are several command-line options you can use when running MPF. Note that single commands that take no options can be combined, so mpf game -vVa is the same as mpf game -v -V -a.

-a (lowercase)

Forces MPF to reload the config from the actual YAML config files, rather than from cache.

MPF contains a caching mechanism that caches YAML config files, and if the original files haven't changed since the last time MPF was run, it loads them from cache instead. Cached files are stored in your machine's temp folder which varies depending on your system.

-A (uppercase)

Do not cache the config files.


Disables MPF's BCP interface, meaning MPF will not try to connect to a media controller via BCP. This is used if for some reason you just want to run MPF without MPF MC. Without this option, MPF will not start because it will just sit there trying to connect to the media controller.

-c (lowercase)

Specifies the name of the config file (or files) to load. Default config.yaml is used if this option is omitted. You do not have to specify the .yaml extension.


Run MPF and load the config file config/config.yaml:

$ mpf game

Run MPF and load the config file config/nodisplay.yaml:

$ mpf game -c nodisplay

You can also chain multiple config files together by specifying a comma-separated list (no spaces). For example, to load config/config.yaml first, and then once that's loaded, merge in changes from config/fast.yaml, run:

$ mpf game -c config,fast

To load a machine folder from some other location, such as /home/brian/pinball/demo_man/config/config.yaml:

$ mpf game -c /home/brian/pinball/demo_man/config/config.yaml

-C (uppercase)

Specify the name of the MPF default config file which is loaded before your before your machine config. (MPF includes a file mpfconfig.yaml which is inside the MPF package which sets up default things like which modules are loaded, paths used, etc. If for some reason you want to override this file, you can do so with the -C option.


Displays the command line help and exits. (Pretty much what's on this page.)


Forces MPF to load all assets at start (rather than the default behavior where some assets can be loaded only when modes start or based on other events). This is useful during development to ensure that all assets are valid and loadable.


Disable Text UI. This can be helpful while debugging and is also recommended when running the machine in production.

-l (lowercase "L")

Specifies the name and path of the log file.

The default stores the log file in the /logs folder in your machine folder, with a file name of <year>-<month>-<day>-<hour>-<min>-<sec>-mpf-<hostname>.log.

Note that log files are standard log file formats that can be read and parsed with log file utilities. (The "Console" app is built-in to OS X, for example.)


Log to the specified syslog address. This can be a domain socket such as /dev/log on Linux or /var/run/syslog on Mac. Alternatively, you an specify host:port for remote logging over UDP.

-v (lowercase)

Enables verbose logging to the log file. Warning: Your log files will be huge, perhaps 1MB per minute of game time. Definitely only use this when you're troubleshooting.

-V (uppercase)

Enables verbose logging to the console output.

Note that due to the way the command prompt console works on Windows, enabling verbose logging on Windows will significantly affect MPF (in a bad way). Windows computers can run MPF no problem, but because of their weird console slowness we recommend that you do not use the -V command line option from a Windows computer.

-x (lowercase)

Ignores all platform: settings in your config files and forces MPF to run using the virtual platform interface. This is nice for testing when you don't have your physical hardware attached.

-X (uppercase)

Like -x, except it forces the smart virtual platform.


Like -x, except it forces the Virtual Pinball (VPX) platform.

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