Creating Windows and Buffers

Although Panda does provide the convenience function base.openWindow() to create a new window, this function does a lot of things automatically for you and therefore takes away a lot of control. The following discussion will focus instead on creating a window using the low-level interface, in order provide a clearer understanding of the actual class relationships.

In order to create a window, you will first need a GraphicsEngine and a GraphicsPipe object. Both of these were discussed in more detail in previous pages. Panda will typically create both of these for you at startup, and store them in base.graphicsEngine and base.pipe, respectively.

You will also need to create a FrameBufferProperties object. This defines important properties such as the number of bits you wish to allocate for red, green, and blue channels; as well as the number of bits for depth buffer; and whether you require a stencil buffer or special multisampling bits for antialiasing. Your graphics card may be able to switch itself into one of several different configurations, and you can use the FrameBufferProperties to request certain properties that are more important to you. Note, however, that there is no guarantee that the graphics card you are running on will be able to provide everything you ask for (but you can later ask what properties you actually got). You can get a default FrameBufferProperties object using get_default(). The default FrameBufferProperties has its settings already filled according to the Config.prc file variables; it is usually a good choice to use.

You will need to create a WindowProperties object as well. At a minimum, this defines the X, Y size of the window or buffer you want to create. For an offscreen buffer, this is all it defines; but if you are creating a window, it also allows you to specify things like the window title, the placement onscreen, whether it should be user-resizable, and so on. You can get a default WindowProperties object using get_default(). The default WindowProperties object has its settings filled in according to Config.prc file variables. If you are creating an offscreen buffer, you may wish to use WindowProperties(size=(W, H)) which creates a simple WindowProperties object that simply requests a buffer of size W×H.

Once you have all of these objects, you can create a new window or buffer using the call make_output(). This is the fundamental method for creating a new GraphicsOutput; all of the other convenience functions like base.openWindow() or win.make_texture_buffer() eventually funnel down into this call. This method accepts several parameters:

GraphicsEngine *engine = GraphicsEngine::get_global_ptr();
engine->make_output(pipe, name, sort, fb_prop, win_prop, flags, gsg, host);

The GraphicsPipe to use to create this output, usually base.pipe.


A string name to assign to this output. Each window and buffer should have a name, which makes it easier for you to identify the object in a list. This is an internal name only, and has nothing to do with the window title displayed above the window.


The sort order of this output. This determines the order in which the windows will be rendered, which is particularly important for offscreen buffers that are used to render to textures, which are in turn used in other windows or buffers.


The FrameBufferProperties for this output. If you intend to be sharing GSG’s between multiple windows or buffers, it is usually important that they also share the same FrameBufferProperties.


The WindowProperties for this output.


An integer value, a union of several possible bitmask options defined by the GraphicsPipe class. This controls the type of GraphicsOutput we are requesting, for instance whether we want a window or buffer, or other exotic requirements. Set this to GraphicsPipe.BFRequireWindow if you want to create a GraphicsWindow, or to GraphicsPipe.BFRefuseWindow if you want to create a GraphicsBuffer. For more options, see the source code.


This parameter is optional, but if provided, it is a GSG to share with other windows or buffers. You can get the GSG from an existing window or buffer with win.getGsg(). If you omit this parameter, a new GSG will be created.


This parameter is optional, but if provided, it is an already-existing host window or buffer. This is useful when creating an offscreen buffer; it allows the creation of a ParasiteBuffer, if necessary, instead of a true GraphicsBuffer object. If you provide a host window, Panda will be able to return either a ParasiteBuffer or a GraphicsBuffer, according to what the graphics driver is best able to provide.

The return value of make_output() is either the new GraphicsWindow or GraphicsBuffer object, or None if it failed for some reason.