Windows specifics

In terms of file redistribution, the Windows platform behaves practically the same as the DOS platform. Read section chapter "Dos specifics" in the manual to learn more about this.

A Windows program that uses the Allegro library is only required to include one or more header files from the include/allegro tree, or allegro.h; however, if it also needs to directly call non portable Win32 API functions, it must include the Windows-specific header file winalleg.h after the Allegro headers, and before any Win32 API header file. By default winalleg.h includes the main Win32 C API header file windows.h. If instead you want to use the C++ interface to the Win32 API (a.k.a. the Microsoft Foundation Classes), define the preprocessor symbol ALLEGRO_AND_MFC before including any Allegro header so that afxwin.h will be included. Note that, in this latter case, the Allegro debugging macros ASSERT() and TRACE() are renamed AL_ASSERT() and AL_TRACE() respectively.

Windows GUI applications start with a WinMain() entry point, rather than the standard main() entry point. Allegro is configured to build GUI applications by default and to do some magic in order to make a regular main() work with them, but you have to help it out a bit by writing END_OF_MAIN() right after your main() function. If you don't want to do that, you can just include winalleg.h and write a WinMain() function. Note that this magic may bring about conflicts with a few programs using direct calls to Win32 API functions; for these programs, the regular WinMain() is required and the magic must be disabled by defining the preprocessor symbol ALLEGRO_NO_MAGIC_MAIN before including Allegro headers.

If you want to build a console application using Allegro, you have to define the preprocessor symbol ALLEGRO_USE_CONSOLE before including Allegro headers; it will instruct the library to use console features and also to disable the special processing of the main() function described above.

When creating the main window, Allegro searches the executable for an ICON resource named "allegro_icon". If it is present, Allegro automatically loads it and uses it as its application icon; otherwise, Allegro uses the default IDI_APPLICATION icon. See the manual of your compiler for a method to create an ICON resource, or use the wfixicon utility from the tools/win directory.

DirectX requires that system and video bitmaps (including the screen) be locked before you can draw onto them. This will be done automatically, but you can usually get much better performance by doing it yourself: see the acquire_bitmap() function for details.

Due to a major oversight in the design of DirectX, there is no way to preserve the contents of video memory when the user switches away from your program. You need to be prepared for the fact that your screen contents, and the contents of any video memory bitmaps, may be destroyed at any point. You can use the set_display_switch_callback() function to find out when this happens.

On the Windows platform, the only return values for the desktop_color_depth() function are 8, 16, 24 and 32. This means that 15-bit and 16-bit desktops cannot be differentiated and are both reported as 16-bit desktops. See below for the consequences for windowed and overlay DirectX drivers.

Windows integration routines

The following functions provide a platform specific interface to seamlessly integrate Allegro into general purpose Win32 programs. To use these routines, you must include winalleg.h after other Allegro headers.

GDI routines

The following GDI routines are a very platform specific thing, to allow drawing Allegro memory bitmaps onto a Windows device context. When you want to use this, you'll have to install the neutral system driver (SYSTEM_NONE) or attach Allegro to an external window with win_set_window().

There are two ways to draw your Allegro bitmaps to the Windows GDI. When you are using static bitmaps (for example just some pictures loaded from a datafile), you can convert them to DDB (device-dependent bitmaps) with convert_bitmap_to_hbitmap() and then just use Win32's BitBlt() to draw it.

When you are using dynamic bitmaps (for example some things which react to user input), it's better to use set_palette_to_hdc() and blit_to_hdc() functions, which work with DIB (device-independent bitmaps).

There are also functions to blit from a device context into an Allegro BITMAP, so you can do things like screen capture.

All the drawing and conversion functions use the current palette as a color conversion table. You can alter the current palette with the set_palette_to_hdc() or select_palette() functions. Warning: when the GDI system color palette is explicitly changed, (by another application, for example) the current Allegro palette is not updated along with it!

To use these routines, you must include winalleg.h after Allegro headers.