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\_/__/ Version 4.4.2
A game programming library.
By Shawn Hargreaves, May 19, 2011.
See the AUTHORS file for a
complete list of contributors.
"I do not accept responsibility for any effects, adverse or otherwise,
that this code may have on you, your computer, your sanity, your dog,
and anything else that you can think of. Use it at your own risk."
============ Introduction ============
Allegro is a cross-platform library intended for use in computer games
and other types of multimedia programming. It was initially conceived on
the Atari ST, but that platform sadly died during childbirth. After a
brief stay with Borland C, it was adopted by the fantastic djgpp
compiler, where it grew to maturity. In the fullness of time it gave
birth to children of its own, who went to live in such exotic locations
as DirectX and the X Server, but the entire family is now back together
again, living in harmony as a single portable entity. How about that for
a mixture of metaphors? :-)
A wide range of extension packages and add-on modules are also available,
which can be found in the "Library Extensions" section of the Allegro.cc
According to the Oxford Companion to Music, Allegro is the Italian for
"quick, lively, bright". It is also a recursive acronym which stands for
"Allegro Low Level Game Routines".
============ Installation and supported platforms ============
For generic instructions on how to build and install Allegro, see
For more information on specific platforms, see one of these files:
Windows/MSVC - see docs/build/msvc.txt
Windows/MinGW - see docs/build/mingw32.txt
Windows/Cygwin - see docs/build/mingw32.txt
Unix (X11) - see docs/build/unix.txt
MacOS X - see docs/build/macosx.txt
Linux (console) - see docs/build/linux.txt
Other platforms were supported in the past, but may no longer work without
effort from interest parties. Sorry.
General API information can be found in the main manual, usually referred
to as docs/txt/allegro.txt, allegro.txt or simply "The Allegro manual"
throughout this document. The Allegro manual source is available as a set
of files in the docs/src directory. During the build process of the
library, these source files will be converted to HTML, TexInfo, and RTF
formats (among others) and placed in their respective doc/FORMAT
Information about changes in the API and deprecated features can be found
in docs/txt/api.txt (also available in HTML, TexInfo, and RTF format as
part of the Allegro manual).
============ Included Addons ============
============ Features ============
Cross-platform support for Windows, Unix, and MacOS X systems.
(Formerly also DOS, BeOS and QNX - it may be possible to resurrect those
platforms, with your help!)
Drawing functions including putpixel, getpixel, lines, rectangles, flat
shaded, gouraud shaded, texture mapped, and z-buffered polygons, circles,
floodfill, bezier splines, patterned fills, masked, run length encoded,
and compiled sprites, blitting, bitmap scaling and rotation,
translucency/lighting, and text output with proportional fonts. Supports
clipping, and can draw directly to the screen or to memory bitmaps of any
Windows graphics drivers using DirectX in fullscreen and windowed modes,
plus routines for drawing onto GDI device contexts.
Unix graphics drivers for X, DGA2, fbcon, SVGAlib, and standard VGA.
MacOS X native graphics drivers using CGDirectDisplay API for direct
fullscreen gfx access and QuickDraw in a Cocoa window in windowed mode.
FLI/FLC animation player.
Plays background MIDI music and up to 64 simultaneous sound effects, and
can record sample waveforms and MIDI input. Samples can be looped
(forwards, backwards, or bidirectionally), and the volume, pan, pitch,
etc, can be adjusted while they are playing. The MIDI player responds to
note on, note off, main volume, pan, pitch bend, and program change
messages, using the General MIDI patch set and drum mappings. DOS version
currently supports Adlib, SB, SB Pro, SB16, AWE32, MPU-401, ESS
AudioDrive, Ensoniq Soundscape, and Windows Sound System. Windows version
supports WaveOut and DirectSound interfaces and the system MIDI drivers.
Unix version supports OSS, ESD, and ALSA sound drivers. BeOS version
supports BSoundPlayer and BMidiSynth interfaces. MacOS X native version
supports CoreAudio, Carbon Sound Manager and QuickTime Note Allocator
interfaces. All versions provide software wavetable MIDI playback.
Easy access to the mouse, keyboard, joystick, and high resolution timer
interrupts, including a vertical retrace interrupt simulator in the DOS
Routines for reading and writing LZSS compressed files.
Multi-object data files and a grabber utility.
Math functions including fixed point arithmetic, lookup table trig, and
3d vector/matrix/quaternion manipulation.
GUI dialog manager and file selector.
Built-in support for 16-bit and UTF-8 format Unicode characters.
DOS graphics drivers for VGA mode 13h, mode-X (twenty three tweaked VGA
resolutions plus unchained 640x400 Xtended mode), and SVGA modes with 8,
15, 16, 24, and 32 bit color depths, taking full advantage of VBE 2.0
linear framebuffers and the VBE/AF hardware accelerator API if they are
available. Additional video hardware support is available from the
FreeBE/AF project (http://www.talula.demon.co.uk/freebe/).
BeOS graphics drivers using BWindowScreen in fullscreen and BDirectWindow
in windowed modes.
Hardware scrolling and triple buffering (where available), mode-X split
screens, and palette manipulation.
============ Copyright ============
Allegro is gift-ware. It was created by a number of people working in
cooperation, and is given to you freely as a gift. You may use, modify,
redistribute, and generally hack it about in any way you like, and you do
not have to give us anything in return. However, if you like this product
you are encouraged to thank us by making a return gift to the Allegro
community. This could be by writing an add-on package, providing a useful
bug report, making an improvement to the library, or perhaps just
releasing the sources of your program so that other people can learn from
them. If you redistribute parts of this code or make a game using it, it
would be nice if you mentioned Allegro somewhere in the credits, but you
are not required to do this. We trust you not to abuse our generosity.
THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR
IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY,
FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, TITLE AND NON-INFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT
SHALL THE COPYRIGHT HOLDERS OR ANYONE DISTRIBUTING THE SOFTWARE BE LIABLE
FOR ANY DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE,
ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER
DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.
============ Configuration ============
Allegro reads information about your hardware from a file called
allegro.cfg. If this file doesn't exist it will autodetect (ie. guess :-)
You can write your config file by hand with a text editor, or you can use
the setup utility program (located in the setup directory).
Normally the setup program and allegro.cfg will go in the same directory
as the Allegro program they are controlling. This is fine for the end
user, but it can be a pain for a programmer using Allegro because you may
have several programs in different directories and want to use a single
allegro.cfg for all of them. If this is the case you can set the
environment variable ALLEGRO to the directory containing your
allegro.cfg, and Allegro will look there if there is no allegro.cfg in
the current directory.
The mapping tables used to store different keyboard layouts are stored in
a file called keyboard.dat. This must either be located in the same
directory as your Allegro program, or in the directory pointed to by the
ALLEGRO environment variable. If you want to support different
international keyboard layouts, you must distribute a copy of
keyboard.dat along with your program.
Various translations of things like the system error messages are stored
in a file called language.dat. This must either be located in the same
directory as your Allegro program, or in the directory pointed to by the
ALLEGRO environment variable. If you want to support non-English versions
of these strings, you must distribute a copy of language.dat along with
Under Unix, BeOS and MacOS X, the config file routines also check for
~/allegro.cfg, ~/.allegrorc, /etc/allegro.cfg, and /etc/allegrorc, in
that order, and the keyboard and language files can be stored in your
home directory or in /etc/. If under MacOS X, the application bundle
Contents/Resources directory, if any, is also scanned first.
See docs/txt/allegro.txt for details of the config file format.
============ Notes about sound ============
The DIGMID wavetable driver uses standard GUS format .pat files, and you
will need a collection of such instruments before you can use it. This
can either be in the standard GUS format (a set of .pat files and a
default.cfg index), or a patches.dat file as produced by the pat2dat
utility. You can also use pat2dat to convert AWE32 SoundFont banks into
the patches.dat format, and if you list some MIDI files on the command
line it will filter the sample set to only include the instruments that
are actually used by those tunes, so it can be useful for getting rid of
unused instruments when you are preparing to distribute a game. See the
Allegro website for some links to suitable sample sets.
The DIGMID driver normally only loads the patches needed for each song
when the tune is first played. This reduces the memory usage, but can
result in a longish delay the first time you play each MIDI file. If you
prefer to load the entire patch set in one go, call the
The CPU sample mixing code can support between 1 and 64 voices, going up
in powers of two (ie. either 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, or 64 channels). By
default it provides 8 digital voices, or 8 digital plus 24 MIDI voices (a
total of 32) if the DIGMID driver is in use. But the more voices, the
lower the output volume and quality, so you may wish to change this by
calling the reserve_voices() function or setting the digi_voices and
midi_voices parameters in allegro.cfg.
============ Contact info ============
The latest version of Allegro can always be found on the Allegro
There are three mailing lists for Allegro-related discussion, each with a
slightly different purpose.
[AL] - Allegro main -
This list is for any kind of discussion about Allegro, questions about
Allegro, reports of problems with Allegro, suggestions for new
features, announcements of programs written using Allegro, etc.
General rule: if it has to do with Allegro, you can post it here. If
not, go somewhere else (for example comp.os.msdos.djgpp, comp.lang.c,
or the online forums at http://www.allegro.cc/).
[AD] - Allegro developers -
This list is for the people currently working on Allegro, who use it to
coordinate their efforts. You can use this address if you need to
contact the developers directly, for example to submit some new code
that you have written or to report a bug.
Unlike the other lists, we will be really rude to people who post
inappropriate material here, so please don't do that! Do not send
tech-support questions to this list. Don't post bug reports here unless
you are 100% certain they aren't your fault (if you are in any doubt,
use the main Allegro list instead, which is read by most of the same
people who are subscribed here).
The Allegro development is a completely open process, and everyone is
welcome to drop by, have a listen, and start contributing code patches.
This list is for working rather than talking, though, so please don't
do anything that might get in our way.
[Alleg5] - Allegro 5 -
This list was once available for discussing the next major version of
Allegro, when it was too noisy to do so on [AD]. This is no longer the
case so the list has been shut down. However, its archives are still
To subscribe to one of the three lists, simply go to it's web page and use
the online forms to subscribe yourself. You can remove yourself from a
list going to the same page above, which can be used to remind you of your
password too, in case you have forgotten it.
To send a message to one of the lists, write to
email@example.com. You don't need to be subscribed to
these mailing lists before you can post there, but it is a good idea to
subscribe in order to see the replies.
Before posting tech-support questions to the Allegro list, please take a
moment to read the guidelines in docs/txt/help.txt. See docs/txt/ahack.txt
for information about the style of code we use, and how to create your
If you want to search through the archives of any of those mailing lists,
you will have to check the available options at
Please don't send messages in HTML format. The increased size places an
unnecessary load on the server, and many subscribers have a hard time
reading these posts.
Please do not crosspost between these lists. Choose the most appropriate
one for your message, and then send it only to that list.
Please don't send large binary attachments to any of the lists, they will
be rejected by the size limit filter, which is set to 100KB for the
developers mailing list, and 40KB for the others. Upload your files to a
website and then post the URL, or if you can't do that, post an
announcement asking people to write to you privately, and then send the
file by individual email to whoever responded.
Please use English in your messages. You could eventually post messages in
whatever language you prefer, but that would terribly limit the chances of
getting a useful answer.
Remember that the RFC 1855: netiquette guidelines
(http://www.rfc-editor.org/rfc/rfc1855.txt) describes other general
guidelines you should follow as a correct internet user (in mailing lists
and other places as well), and provides more verbose descriptions and
explanations about why you should follow the above guidelines.
One of the important guidelines you should be aware of is how to quote
correctly the message you are replying to. The previous RFC doesn't really
explain how to do it, so you might want to read the document "How do I
quote correctly in Usenet?" at
http://www.netmeister.org/news/learn2quote.html. Quoting correctly is
easier to say than to do, especially for users of Microsoft Outlook. If
you are such a user, you can help yourself using the Outlook-QuoteFix
extension written by Dominik Jain, which you can find at