Build Instructions

This document contains the instructions for building this repository on Linux and Windows.

This repository does not contain a Vulkan-capable driver. Before proceeding, it is strongly recommended that you obtain a Vulkan driver from your graphics hardware vendor and install it.

Note: The sample Vulkan Intel driver for Linux (ICD) is being deprecated in favor of other driver options from Intel. This driver has been moved to the VulkanTools repo. Further instructions regarding this ICD are available there.


If you intend to contribute, the preferred work flow is for you to develop your contribution in a fork of this repo in your GitHub account and then submit a pull request. Please see the CONTRIBUTING file in this respository for more details.

Git the Bits

To create your local git repository:

git clone 

Linux Build

The build process uses CMake to generate makefiles for this project. The build generates the loader, layers, and tests.

This repo has been built and tested on Ubuntu 14.04.3 LTS, 14.10, 15.04, 15.10, and 16.04 LTS. It should be straightforward to use it on other Linux distros.

These packages are needed to build this repository:

sudo apt-get install git cmake build-essential bison libx11-dev libxcb1-dev

Example debug build (Note that the update_external_sources script used below builds external tools into predefined locations. See LVL's Dependencies for more information and other options):

cd Vulkan-LoaderAndValidationLayers  # cd to the root of the cloned git repository
cmake -H. -Bdbuild -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Debug
cd dbuild

If you have installed a Vulkan driver obtained from your graphics hardware vendor, the install process should have configured the driver so that the Vulkan loader can find and load it.

If you want to use the loader and layers that you have just built:

export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=<path to your repository root>/dbuild/loader
export VK_LAYER_PATH=<path to your repository root>/dbuild/layers

Note that if you have installed the LunarG Vulkan SDK, you will also have the SDK version of the loader and layers installed in your default system libraries.

You can run the vulkaninfo application to see which driver, loader and layers are being used.

The LoaderAndLayerInterface document in the loader folder in this repository is a specification that describes both how ICDs and layers should be properly packaged, and how developers can point to ICDs and layers within their builds.

Validation Test

The test executables can be found in the dbuild/tests directory. Some of the tests that are available:

  • vk_layer_validation_tests: Test Vulkan layers.

There are also a few shell and Python scripts that run test collections (eg,

Linux Demos

Some demos that can be found in the dbuild/demos directory are:

  • vulkaninfo: report GPU properties
  • tri: a textured triangle (which is animated to demonstrate Z-clipping)
  • cube: a textured spinning cube
  • smoke/smoke: A “smoke” test using a more complex Vulkan demo

Windows System Requirements

Windows 7+ with additional required software packages:

  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2013 Professional. Note: it is possible that lesser/older versions may work, but that has not been tested.
  • CMake. Notes:
    • Tell the installer to “Add CMake to the system PATH” environment variable.
  • Python 3. Notes:
    • Select to install the optional sub-package to add Python to the system PATH environment variable.
    • Ensure the pip module is installed (it should be by default)
    • Need python3.3 or later to get the Windows py.exe launcher that is used to get python3 rather than python2 if both are installed on Windows
    • 32 bit python works
  • Git.
    • Note: If you use Cygwin, you can normally use Cygwin's “git.exe”. However, in order to use the “update_external_sources.bat” script, you must have this version.
    • Tell the installer to allow it to be used for “Developer Prompt” as well as “Git Bash”.
    • Tell the installer to treat line endings “as is” (i.e. both DOS and Unix-style line endings).
    • Install each a 32-bit and a 64-bit version, as the 64-bit installer does not install the 32-bit libraries and tools.
  • glslang is required for demos and tests.

Windows Build - MSVC

Before building on Windows, you may want to modify the customize section in loader/loader.rc to so as to set the version numbers and build description for your build. Doing so will set the information displayed for the Properites->Details tab of the loader vulkan-1.dll file that is built.

Build all Windows targets after installing required software and cloning the LVL repo as described above by completing the following steps in a “Developer Command Prompt for VS2013” window (Note that the update_external_sources script used below builds external tools into predefined locations. See LVL's Dependencies for more information and other options):

cd Vulkan-LoaderAndValidationLayers  # cd to the root of the cloned git repository
update_external_sources.bat --all

At this point, you can use Windows Explorer to launch Visual Studio by double-clicking on the “VULKAN.sln” file in the \build folder. Once Visual Studio comes up, you can select “Debug” or “Release” from a drop-down list. You can start a build with either the menu (Build->Build Solution), or a keyboard shortcut (Ctrl+Shift+B). As part of the build process, Python scripts will create additional Visual Studio files and projects, along with additional source files. All of these auto-generated files are under the “build” folder.

Vulkan programs must be able to find and use the vulkan-1.dll library. Make sure it is either installed in the C:\Windows\System32 folder, or the PATH environment variable includes the folder that it is located in.

To run Vulkan programs you must tell the icd loader where to find the libraries. This is described in a LoaderAndLayerInterface document in the loader folder in this repository. This specification describes both how ICDs and layers should be properly packaged, and how developers can point to ICDs and layers within their builds.

Android Build

Install the required tools for Linux and Windows covered above, then add the following.

Android Studio

  • Install Android Studio 2.1, latest Preview (tested with 4):
  • From the “Welcome to Android Studio” splash screen, add the following components using Configure > SDK Manager:
    • SDK Platforms > Android N Preview
    • SDK Tools > Android NDK

Add NDK to path

On Linux:

export PATH=$HOME/Android/sdk/ndk-bundle:$PATH

On Windows:

set PATH=%LOCALAPPDATA%\Android\sdk\ndk-bundle;%PATH%


export PATH=$HOME/Library/Android/sdk/ndk-bundle:$PATH

Additional OSX System Requirements

Tested on OSX version 10.11.4

Setup Homebrew and components

  • Follow instructions on to get homebrew installed.
/usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL"
  • Ensure Homebrew is at the beginning of your PATH:
export PATH=$HOME/homebrew/bin:$PATH
  • Add packages with the following (may need refinement)
brew install cmake
brew install python
brew install python3

Build steps for Android

Use the following to ensure the Android build works.

Linux and OSX

Follow the setup steps for Linux or OSX above, then from your terminal:

cd build-android


Follow the setup steps for Windows above, then from Developer Command Prompt for VS2013:

cd build-android

Ninja Builds - All Platforms

The Qt Creator IDE can open a root CMakeList.txt as a project directly, and it provides tools within Creator to configure and generate Vulkan SDK build files for one to many targets concurrently, resolving configuration issues as needed. Alternatively, when invoking CMake use the -G Codeblocks Ninja option to generate Ninja build files to be used as project files for QtCreator

  • Follow the steps defined elsewhere for the OS using the update_external_sources script or as shown in LVL's Dependencies below
  • Open, configure, and build the gslang and spirv-tools CMakeList.txt files
  • Then do the same with the Vulkan-LoaderAndValidationLayers CMakeList.txt file.
  • In order to debug with QtCreator, a Microsoft WDK: eg WDK 10 is required. Note that installing the WDK breaks the MSVC vcvarsall.bat build scripts provided by MSVC, requiring that the LIB, INCLUDE, and PATH env variables be set to the WDK paths by some other means

LVL's Dependencies

gslang and SPIRV-Tools repos are required to build and run LVL components. They are not git sub-modules of Vulkan-LoaderAndValidationLayers but Vulkan-LoaderAndValidationLayers is linked to specific revisions of gslang and spirv-tools. These can be automatically cloned and built to predefined locations with the update_external_sources scripts. If a custom configuration is required, do the following steps:

  1. clone the repos:

    git clone git clone

  2. checkout the correct version of each tree based on the contents of the glslang_revision and spirv-tools_revision files at the root of the Vulkan-LoaderAndValidationLayers tree (do the same anytime that Vulkan-LoaderAndValidationLayers is updated from remote)

on windows

git checkout < [path to Vulkan-LoaderAndValidationLayers]\glslang_revision [in glslang repo]
git checkout < [path to Vulkan-LoaderAndValidationLayers]\spirv-tools_revision[in spriv-tools repo]

non windows

git checkout `cat [path to Vulkan-LoaderAndValidationLayers]\glslang_revision` [in glslang repo]
git checkout `cat [path to Vulkan-LoaderAndValidationLayers]\spirv-tools_revision` [in spriv-tools repo]
  1. Configure the gslang and spirv-tools source trees with cmake and build them with your IDE of choice

  2. Enable the CUSTOM_GSLANG_BIN_PATH and CUSTOM_SPIRV_TOOLS_BIN_PATH options in the Vulkan-LoaderAndValidationLayers cmake configuration and point the GSLANG_BINARY_PATH and SPIRV_TOOLS_BINARY_PATH variables to the correct location

  3. If building on Windows with MSVC, set DISABLE_BUILDTGT_DIR_DECORATION to On. If building on Windows, but without MSVC set DISABLE_BUILD_PATH_DECORATION to On

Optional software packages: