Writing a pyglet application

Getting started with a new library or framework can be daunting, especially when presented with a large amount of reference material to read. This chapter gives a very quick introduction to pyglet without going into too much detail.

Hello, World

We’ll begin with the requisite “Hello, World” introduction. This program will open a window with some text in it, and wait to be closed. You can find the entire program in the examples/programming_guide/hello_world.py file.

Begin by importing the pyglet package:

import pyglet

Create a pyglet.window.Window by calling its default constructor. The window will be visible as soon as it’s created, and will have reasonable default values for all its parameters:

window = pyglet.window.Window()

To display the text, we’ll create a Label. Keyword arguments are used to set the font, position and anchorage of the label:

label = pyglet.text.Label('Hello, world',
                          font_name='Times New Roman',
                          x=window.width//2, y=window.height//2,
                          anchor_x='center', anchor_y='center')

The Window dispatches an on_draw() event whenever it’s ready to redraw its contents. pyglet provides several ways to attach event handlers to objects; a simple way is to use a decorator:

def on_draw():

Within the above on_draw() handler, the window is cleared to the default background color (black), and the label is drawn.

Finally, call:


This will enter pyglet’s default event loop, and let pyglet respond to application events such as the mouse and keyboard. Your event handlers will now be called as required, and the run() method will return only when all application windows have been closed.

If you are coming from another library, you may be used to writing your own event loop. This is possible to do with pyglet as well, but it is generally not necessary; see The application event loop for details.

Image viewer

Most games and applications will need to load and display images on the screen. In this example we’ll load an image from the application’s directory and display it within the window:

import pyglet

window = pyglet.window.Window()
image = pyglet.resource.image('kitten.jpg')

def on_draw():
    image.blit(0, 0)


We used the image() function of pyglet.resource to load the image, which automatically locates the file relative to the source file (rather than the working directory). To load an image not bundled with the application (for example, specified on the command line), you would use pyglet.image.load().

The blit() method draws the image. The arguments (0, 0) tell pyglet to draw the image at pixel coordinates 0, 0 in the window (the lower-left corner).

The complete code for this example is located in examples/programming_guide/image_viewer.py.

Handling mouse and keyboard events

So far the only event used is the on_draw() event. To react to keyboard and mouse events, it’s necessary to write and attach event handlers for these events as well:

import pyglet

window = pyglet.window.Window()

def on_key_press(symbol, modifiers):
    print('A key was pressed')

def on_draw():


Keyboard events have two parameters: the virtual key symbol that was pressed, and a bitwise combination of any modifiers that are present (for example, the CTRL and SHIFT keys).

The key symbols are defined in pyglet.window.key:

from pyglet.window import key

def on_key_press(symbol, modifiers):
    if symbol == key.A:
        print('The "A" key was pressed.')
    elif symbol == key.LEFT:
        print('The left arrow key was pressed.')
    elif symbol == key.ENTER:
        print('The enter key was pressed.')

See the pyglet.window.key documentation for a complete list of key symbols.

Mouse events are handled in a similar way:

from pyglet.window import mouse

def on_mouse_press(x, y, button, modifiers):
    if button == mouse.LEFT:
        print('The left mouse button was pressed.')

The x and y parameters give the position of the mouse when the button was pressed, relative to the lower-left corner of the window.

There are more than 20 event types that you can handle on a window. An easy way to find the event names and parameters you need is to add the following lines to your program:

event_logger = pyglet.window.event.WindowEventLogger()

This will cause all events received on the window to be printed to the console.

An example program using keyboard and mouse events is in examples/programming_guide/events.py

Playing sounds and music

pyglet makes it easy to play and mix multiple sounds together. The following example plays an MP3 file [1]:

import pyglet

music = pyglet.resource.media('music.mp3')


As with the image loading example presented earlier, media() locates the sound file in the application’s directory (not the working directory). If you know the actual filesystem path (either relative or absolute), use pyglet.media.load().

By default, audio is streamed when playing. This works well for longer music tracks. Short sounds, such as a gunfire shot used in a game, should instead be fully decoded in memory before they are used. This allows them to play more immediately and incur less of a CPU performance penalty. It also allows playing the same sound repeatedly without reloading it. Specify streaming=False in this case:

sound = pyglet.resource.media('shot.wav', streaming=False)

The examples/media_player.py example demonstrates playback of streaming audio and video using pyglet. The examples/noisy/noisy.py example demonstrates playing many short audio samples simultaneously, as in a game.

Where to next?

The examples above have shown you how to display something on the screen, and perform a few basic tasks. You’re probably left with a lot of questions about these examples, but don’t worry. The remainder of this programming guide goes into greater technical detail on many of pyglet’s features. If you’re an experienced developer, you can probably dive right into the sections that interest you.

For new users, it might be daunting to read through everything all at once. If you feel overwhelmed, we recommend browsing through the beginnings of each chapter, and then having a look at a more in-depth example project. You can find an example of a 2D game in the In-depth game example section.

To write advanced 3D applications or achieve optimal performance in your 2D applications, you can also work with OpenGL directly. pyglet provides raw OpenGL bindings which give you direct access to the OpenGL libraries, which does require knowledge of ctypes to use effectively. To simplify things a bit, the graphics module provides higher level objects for the most common OpenGL constructs. The Shaders and Rendering section goes into more detail.

There are numerous examples of pyglet applications in the examples/ directory of the documentation and source distributions. If you get stuck, or have any questions, join us on the mailing list or Discord!