Allegro 5 game programming library bindings for Common Lisp

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Interface and bindings to the Allegro 5 game programming library

Check out how the bindings' source code is organized and compare it to the API reference.




  1. al_* becomes al:*
  2. (al:rest secs) is (al:rest-time secs) because of symbol interference with #'cl:rest.
  3. Enums/constants are shortened, check constants if you need help finding them.
  4. Type names have changed too, check types if you need help finding them.
  5. To access slots from a C struct, you can use CFFI:MEM-REF create a plist
       (defcstruct display-mode
         (width :int)
         (height :int)
         (format :int)
         (refresh-rate :int))
       (with-foreign-object (test '(:struct display-mode))
         (let ((plist (mem-ref test '(:struct display-mode))))
           (print plist)
           (print (getf plist 'width))))
  6. I've got a neat OPTIONAL lispy interface here which provides an entire fixed timestep game loop
  7. Everything else is pretty much 1-to-1
  8. If you're getting crashes on MacOS, put all your code into callback and pass it to al:run-main.
  9. Examples exist if you get lost

Feel free to raise an issue to request a feature or for me to work on something


Pretty much complete except:

I won't work on the following sections because Common Lisp has more suitable implementations unless there's a usecase or I'm bored.

  • Memory
  • Threads


5.1(More found under gh-pages branch)

5.2Why can't my program find the DLL in Windows?

There are path problems in Windows because the DLL files (which contain all the functions the CFFI calls upon) doesn't have a default location unlike in Unix environments. When the library loads in Windows, it will look for the DLL in the current folder of the FILE.LISP that evaluates (ql:quickload "cl-liballegro") This means you must have a copy of the DLL file in the directory of FILE.LISP, not in the cl-liballegro directory unless the FILE.LISP is in there. SLIME however, likes to change the default search folder to the one Emacs is in when it starts.

5.2.1With SBCL

;; Open command prompt in the folder that contains both the DLL and game.lisp`
> sbcl
> (load "game.lisp") ; File contains (ql:quickload "cl-liballegro")

5.2.2With Emacs + SLIME

game.lisp contains (ql:quickload :cl-liballegro)
;; Looks for the DLL at /path/to/Desktop/allegro.dll
C-x C-f /path/to/Desktop/file9.lisp
M-x slime
C-x C-f /path/to/Desktop/game/game.lisp
C-c C-l
;; Looks for the DLL at /path/to/Desktop/game/allegro.dll
C-x C-f /path/to/Desktop/file9.lisp
C-x C-f /path/to/Desktop/game/game.lisp
M-x slime
C-c C-l
;; Looks for the DLL at /whatever/default/emacs/directory/allegro.dll
M-x slime
C-x C-f /path/to/Desktop/game/game.lisp
C-c C-l


Project under zlib license

Dependencies (4)

  • cffi
  • float-features
  • trivial-garbage
  • trivial-main-thread

Dependents (0)

    • GitHub
    • Quicklisp