Skip to content

How MPF works

The Mission Pinball Framework ("MPF") is free and open source software that you run on a computer (Windows, Mac, Linux, Raspberry Pi, etc.) to control a real, physical pinball machine. (More info one what MPF is here.)

Most people develop their game on their laptop, and then when they're done, transfer it to a smaller computer permanently installed in their pinball machine.

The computer running MPF is connected to a modern pinball control system via USB. (MPF supports several different control systems, including FAST Pinball, P-ROC, Open Pinball Project open source hardware, and Stern SPIKE hardware.)

You put that control system in your pinball machine, which can be a custom (homebrew) machine or an existing machine you want to reprogram.

This diagram shows how it all fits together:


The MPF software is used to configure and control everything in your machine, including:

  • Pinball mechanisms (switches, LEDs, lights, motors, coils, servos, steppers, flippers, ball locks, diverters, etc.)
  • Pinball logic (ball locks, multiball, modes, tilt, high scores, ball saves, ball search, extra balls, etc.)
  • The display (or displays): DMD, RGB LED, and/or LCD
  • Audio & sounds
  • Coordinated "shows" of actions which flash lights, fade LEDs, play sounds and video, etc.
  • Player management, including player progress, scoring, tracking towards goals, etc.
  • Plus lots of other little things that you probably aren't even thinking about yet :)

MPF is not a simulator

MPF is not a pinball simulator. It's not a pinball game. It's a framework that lets you build the game software for a physical pinball machine.

Read on to understand other important concepts about MPF:

Something missing or wrong? You can fix it!

This website is edited by people like you! Is something wrong or missing? Is something out of date, or can you explain it better?

Please help us! You can fix it yourself and be an official "open source" contributor!

It's easy! See our Beginner's guide to editing the docs.

Page navigation via the keyboard: < >

You can navigate this site via the keyboard. There are two modes:

General navigation, when search is not focused:

  • F , S , / : open search dialog
  • P , , : go to previous page
  • N , . : go to next page

While using the search function:

  • Down , Up : select next / previous result
  • Esc , Tab : close search
  • Enter : go to highlighted page in the results