Pygame Menu Tutorial – Complete Guide

Welcome to an engaging and comprehensive tutorial on Pygame Menu. This module is an essential tool that’s instrumental in creating Python-powered games. Whether you’re beginning your coding journey or have gathered some experience under your belt, this tutorial is tailored to place the ins and outs of Pygame Menu right at your fingertips.

What is Pygame Menu?

Pygame Menu is a python module that works with the Pygame library. It’s designed to create visually appealing game menus through a collection of robust functions. The ease in setting up menus gives developers more room to focus on building gameplay elements, character interactions and other features without worrying about the tediousness of designing intricate menus.

Why Learn Pygame Menu?

Creating an immersive gaming experience encapsulates many elements and having a sophisticated menu is certainly one of them. Learning Pygame Menu empowers you to build a smooth, navigable interface that enhances player experience. It’s a valuable skill in game design, setting you apart in the game development industry. Plus, mastering such tools increase the appeal of your interactive projects, whether they’re hobby games or professional creations.

What Does Pygame Menu Do?

Beyond setting up plain interfaces, Pygame Menu enables the creation of multifaceted menus. It supports multi-layered menus, option boxes, text inputs and other UI components you may require. Audio support heightens the user experience, making Pygame Menu a must-learn for game development enthusiasts.

Next, we’ll dive into the coding aspects, equipping you with the practical knowledge to bring your Pygame Menu projects to life. Brace yourself for an enriching ride as you learn the ropes of this intuitive, easy-to-learn module.

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Installing Pygame Menu

Before we can start creating game menus, the first step is to install the module. It’s simple and straightforward using pip install command. Open your terminal or command prompt and execute this line:

pip install pygame-menu

Once installed, you can verify your installation by typing this on your Python interpreter.

import pygame_menu

Your code should run without any error if the module is properly installed.

Creating a Basic Menu

Now, let’s create our first menu in Pygame. We’ll start with a simple menu that contains three options: Play, About and Quit.

import pygame_menu

menu = pygame_menu.Menu('Welcome', 400, 300,

menu.add_button('Play', play_function)
menu.add_button('About', about_function)


This basic code creates a blue-themed menu. ‘Play’, ‘About’ and ‘Quit’ represent menu options. Each button has an associated function dedicated to it.

Adding a Dropdown

Adding a dropdown to our menu gives more design possibilities. A dropdown can be used to select level difficulty, player avatars, or game mode.

menu.add_dropselect('Difficulty', ['Easy', 'Medium', 'Hard'], onchange=change_difficulty_function)

In the above code, we added a dropdown list representing levels of difficulty. We also tied a function to it, which changes difficulty according to the player’s choice.

Adding a Text Input Field

A text input field could be used for entering player’s name, chatting during multiplayer games, or inputting high scores.

menu.add_text_input('Name: ', onchange=change_name_function)

We just added an input field where users can input their names. The function ‘change_name_function’ takes this input and saves it.

Don’t forget that every time you make a change to the menu, you’ll need to call the mainloop again for the changes to take effect. So, after adding a new feature, be sure to end your Pygame code with:


Next, we’ll move on to more advanced functions of Pygame Menu. Stay with us!

Creating a Multi-layered Menu

A single-layered menu might not suffice for feature-rich games. That’s where layered or submenus come into play.

To create a layered menu, the steps are quite similar to creating a main menu. Let’s create a submenu for our ‘About’ option.

about_menu = pygame_menu.Menu('About', 400, 300, theme=pygame_menu.themes.THEME_BLUE)

about_menu.add_label('Pygame is a python game development library')
about_menu.add_label('Pygame Menu assists in creating game menus')
about_menu.add_button('Return to main menu',

We have successfully created an ‘About’ submenu. The ‘Return to main menu’ button allows players to pivot back to the main menu.

To link this submenu to our main menu’s ‘About’ option, we make a small adjustment to our main menu code like this:

menu.add_button('About', about_menu)

Setting the Game Environment

Often, we want the game environment to be different when we select different options from the menu. For instance, the game environment for ‘Easy’ difficulty should be different than that for ‘Hard’ difficulty.

def set_difficulty(value, difficulty):
    global current_difficulty
    current_difficulty = difficulty
    print('Difficulty set to', difficulty, '!')

menu.add_dropselect('Difficulty', ['Easy', 'Medium', 'Hard'], onchange=set_difficulty)

In the above code, we print out the selected difficulty level on the console. You can replace the print function with any function you want to set the game environment according to the difficulty level.

Changing Button Colors

While Pygame Menu provides pre-defined themes, you can customize button colors for an individual touch. Let’s change the color and selection color of the “Play” button.

menu.add_button('Play', play_function, 
                button_color=(255,0,0),  # red color 
                font_color=(0,0,0), # black color 
                hover_bg_color=(255,255,255)) # white color when mouse is over it

Lastly, don’t forget to call mainloop after every change.


And that’s it! You’ve scratched the surface of creating engaging, functional menus with Pygame Menu. The beauty of coding lies in creativity and experimentation. Don’t stop here – explore more Pygame functions, experiment with different values, and create your unique game menus. Happy Coding!

Advanced Pygame Menu Features

Let’s venture deeper into Pygame Menu’s functionalities. This section outlines features such as audio support, images, and inserting custom widgets. Ready to power-up your game interface?

Adding Audio

Let’s kickstart this journey with audio integration. Adding sound effects to menu navigation heightens the gaming experience.


The above line of code initializes the sound system. Now, you can set different sounds for different actions.

sound = pygame_menu.sound.Sound()
menu.set_sound(sound, recursive=True)

In this example, we’ve set the sound for cursor selection and widget click. Replace ‘path_to_cursor_sound.mp3’ and ‘path_to_click_sound.mp3’ with the path to your own sound files.

With Pygame audio support, your project takes an immersive turn, bringing life to the gaming experience.

Adding Images

A picture speaks a thousand words! Adding an image to your game menu not only makes it attractive but also sets the ambience for your game.

Adding an image is as simple as adding a button.

menu.add_image(path_to_image, angle=0, scale=(1, 1))

Just replace ‘path_to_image’ with the path to your image file. Angle determines the rotation of the image and scale determines the size.

Using Custom Widgets

Widgets are GUI elements that can be interacted with. Pygame Menu provides a lot of predefined widgets like buttons, labels, selectors etc. But oftentimes, we need custom widgets to match the game’s requirements.

Let’s see how to create a new widget. This widget will simply display a string.

class SimpleWidget(pygame_menu.widgets.Widget):
    def __init__(self, text):
        super(SimpleWidget, self).__init__(widget_id='my_widget')
        self.text = text 

    def draw(self, surface):
        widget_surface = pygame.Surface((20, 20))
        widget_surface.fill((255, 255, 255))
        surface.blit(widget_surface, (20, 20))

    def update(self, events):

menu.add_generic_widget(SimpleWidget('Hello World'), center_content=True)

In the above example, we have created a simple widget that shows the text “Hello World”.


By this point, you’ve covered the fundamental and advanced aspects of Pygame Menu. From creating a menu and using widgets to audio support and images, you are now equipped to build visually appealing and interactive game menus.

The code snippets are bite-sized so that you can easily integrate them into your project, piece by piece. Once you’re well-versed in using Pygame Menu, you’ll realize that creating a customized game menu, something thought to be complex, is as fun as it is rewarding.

Remember, there is much more you can do with Pygame Menu. Skim through the documentation, experiment with different configurations and let your creativity guide your game design journey. Happy game making!

Where to Go Next

Now that you have a strong understanding of creating engaging game menus with Pygame, you might be asking, “What’s next?” One excellent option is to deepen your Python knowledge and expand your skill set with our comprehensive Python Mini-Degree program.

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Pygame Menu is a powerful tool in game development, offering seemingly endless possibilities for designing unique and interactive interfaces. This tutorial merely scratched the surface. It’s up to you to explore, create, and transform your game creations. Enhance your Python proficiency further with our extensive Python Mini-Degree program.

At Zenva, we believe in turning complexity into simplicity. We aim to make coding accessible, understandable, and most importantly, enjoyable for everyone. As you continue your programming journey with us, remember that each line of code you write brings you one step closer to achieving your goals. There’s a world of opportunity waiting for you in the realm of game development. Happy coding!


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