pingus — A puzzle game where you have to save penguins


pingus [OPTION]... [FILE]


Pingus is a side-scrolling puzzle game where the player has to guide a group of penguins from the entrance of a level to the exit, in between the path is blocked by numerous obstacles and dangers that the player has to overcome by assigning actions to the penguins.


General options

-h, --help
Displays this help
-V, --version
Print version number and exit
-v, --verbose
Enable info level log output
-D, --debug
Enable debug level log output
-Q, --quiet
Disable all log output

Display options

-w, --window
Start in Window Mode
-f, --fullscreen
Start in Fullscreen
-r, --renderer=RENDERER
Use the given renderer, defaults to sdl. Available renderers are:
A simple software renderer based on SDL, this is the default and the safest options.
The OpenGL renderer will use hardware acceleration to render the graphics, it is much faster then the SDL renderer and recommended when the hardware supports OpenGL.
The delta renderer uses SDL for rendering and doesn't use hardware acceleration, it will however try to increase rendering performance by only re rendering screen elements that have changed. Using the delta renderer will disable some effects such as scrolling background to allow maximum benefits.
-g, --geometry=WIDTHxHEIGHT
Set the window resolution for pingus (default: 800x600). Note that --geometry only applies to the window resolution, for the fullscreen resolution use --fullscreen-resolution
-R, --fullscreen-resolution=WIDTHxHEIGHT
Set the resolution used in fullscreen mode (default: 800x600)
Enable software cursor

Game options

Disable automatic scrolling. Automatic scrolling will cause the screen to scroll whenever the mouse reaches the border of the screen. Automatic scrolling will only be active in fullscreen mode or when mouse-grab is enabled.
Enable drag'n drop scrolling. By default Pingus will use a rubber-band scrolling where the scroll speed depends on how far away the cursor is from the position when the mouse button has been clicked. In drag&drop mode scrolling will behave more like in traditional GUI applications such as Gimp, where clicking the scroll button will 'pick up' the playfield and allow to move it around till it is released again.

Sound options

-s, --disable-sound
Disable sound
-m, --disable-music
Disable music

Language options

-l, --language=LANG
Select language to use with Pingus
List all available languages

Editor options

-e, --editor
Loads the level editor

Directory options

-d, --datadir=DIR
Load game datafiles from DIR
-u, --userdir=DIR
Load config files and store savegames in DIR
-a, --addon=DIR
Load game modifications from DIR. Files in DIR will be used instead of the files in found in the main datadir of Pingus, thus allowing to modifications, such as sprites replacements, additional levels, etc. to the game, without changing the main data files.
Don't read ~/.pingus/config
-c, --config=FILE
Read config from FILE
Uses the controller given in FILE

Debug options

Enables some special features for developers
-t, --speed=SPEED
Set the game speed (0=fastest, >0=slower)
-k, --fps=FPS
Set the desired game framerate (frames per second)
Set the size of the map tiles (default: 32)

Keyboard shortcuts


All gameplay related keyboard shortcuts are configurable via a controller config file, see --controller and controller/default.scm.
W, A, S, D
Scroll in the level
Hold to ast-forward
P, R
Pause the game.
S, F
Advance the game by a single frame.
Activate armageddon.
Leave the current screen/level.


Show/hide the FPS counter.
AltReturn, F11
Switch to fullscreen/window mode.
Toggle mouse grab, when active, the mouse can not leave the window.
Ctrlo, F5
Show the option menu.
Make a screenshot. Screenshots are stored in ~/.pingus/screenshots/.
Toggle the developer mode, see --developer-mode
c (only in developer-mode)
Show the collision map overlayed over the regular groundmap.
k (only in developer-mode)
Clear the screen for delta mode debugging.


The Basher will to a horizontal dig, leaving behind it a tunnel. It is not able to dig through metal.
The Blocker will stop and stay in position, directing other penguins to turn around when they reach him.
The Bomber will blow up on the spot and take a bit of surrounding ground with it.
The Bridger will build a small bridge, useful for crossing small chasm.
The Climber actions allows a Pingu to travel upwards a vertical wall. Unlike other actions the climber action is a permanent addition to the Pingus ability.
The Digger will dig a hole into the ground. It can't dig through metal.
The Floater action will give a penguin a small propeller that lets him gently glide down from great heights that would otherwise be deadly.
The Jumper will let the Pingu do a big leap forward, allowing him to cross chasm and small vertical obstacles.
The Miner will dig a diagonal hole into the ground.
The Slider will make a tiny leap forward, gliding on its belly for a short while, allowing the Pingu to make it through narrow tunnels.

Level editor

Pingus comes with a build in level editor. The level editor can currently be used to edit level files (*.pingus) as well as prefabricated objects (*.prefabs). Worldmaps (*.worldmap) can currently not be edited with the editor.

All Pingus data files, except the sound and images, are raw text files and can be edited in a text editor if the editor isn't sufficient.

If you want to submit a level to be included in the next release follow the following naming convention:


Do not use space or uppercase in the levelname and keep the levelname simple (i.e. snow1-grumbel.pingus not pingus-go-on-a-long-journey-in-snowland-grumbel.pingus). The filename should not reflect the actual level title, it simply should be unique and not conflict with other peoples levels. If you plan on building a whole levelset, name the levels after the levelset.

To submit a level send it to <>.


A prefab, short for prefabricated object, is a group of objects that have been combined into a new single object. A classic case of a prefab would for example be a snowman, it is build out of multiple smaller snowball objects and then saved as prefab to allow easy reuse in multiple levels. Unlike simple object groups, prefab are saved as reference in the level, thus if the prefab is updated, all levels will see the change. Like object groups prefabs can be ungrouped to break them back down to individual objects if individual editing is needed, they are seizing to be prefabs at that point and changes to the .prefab file will no longer be reflected in the level.

Prefabs behave pretty much like regular levels, to create a prefab simply start a new level and insert the objects as usual, unlike regular levels the level size is ignored and thus you have to place your object around the center of the levels, marked by a cross, to have the prefab function properly. To save a prefab as prefab instead of level you have to append .prefab suffix to the filename.

Thumbnail generation for prefabs is currently done offline with the script ./tools/ available from the Pingus source tree.

Ui quircks

The Pingus level editor is best used with a combination of mouse and keyboard, all essential functions have keyboard shortcuts.

Unlike more traditional GUIs, the Pingus editor lacks scrollbars, so to move around the level or the object list on the right simply use the middle or right mouse button and drag&drop the list around.

Objects from the object list can be inserted into the level by drag&dropping them over to the level.

Keyboard shortcuts

Delete, Backspace
Delete all currently selected objects
Select or unselect all objects
Duplicate the currently selected objects
I, K, J, L
Move the current selection by one pixel, if Shift is held, move it by 32 pixel.
PageUp, PageDown
Raise or lower an object
ShiftPageUp, ShiftPageDown
Raise or lower an object to the top or bottom
R, ShiftR
Rotate an objects 90 degrees, if Shift is held rotate it the other way around
F, ShiftV
Flip an object horizontally
V, ShiftF
Flip an object vertically
B, ShiftB
Toggle the background color to make it easier to see small pixel errors. If shift is hold the color will be toggled in the opposite direction.
+, =, -
Increase/decrease the repeat value of selected objects, this will only have an effect on objects having an repeat value (switchdoors, liquids, ...).