Anvil is a cross-platform framework for Vulkan
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This is a README file for Anvil v1.3.1, a framework for Vulkan™. The README is organized as a FAQ.

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What license governs Anvil usage?


What is this?

Anvil is a framework for Vulkan v1.0, which we have been using internally for quite some time now, in order to develop various Vulkan applications.

The general idea we started from was to have a cross-platform tool, which would reduce the amount of time required to write portable Vulkan-based apps from scratch. We would then find ourselves adding new features & extending the existing codebase with new wrappers every now and then.

This eventually led to the library we have decided to release to the public.

Why? Do we really need another wrapper library for Vulkan?

Anvil was designed with the following goals in mind:

  • Provide object-oriented Vulkan solution.
  • Reduce the amount of code the developer needs to write in order to start using Vulkan, without hiding the API behind thick abstraction layers.
  • Simplify validation layer usage. All you have to do is specify which function you would like to be called if a debug call-back is made, and that's it.
  • Provide a reasonable level of deferred approach to baking objects, in order to emulate mutability of certain Vulkan objects to a certain degree. Note that this is an optional feature - you are free to request baking of any object at any time, in ordre to ensure it will never happen at draw time.
  • Provide a simple cross-platform implementation for areas unrelated to Vulkan (eg. window management)

Anvil can be thought of as a toolbox. You are free to use any of its parts you like, and write your own code for everything else. Any Anvil wrapper for an actual Vulkan object can be queried to retrieve the raw Vulkan handle.

Anvil is not the right choice for developers who do not have a reasonable understanding of how Vulkan works. Its goal is not to provide a glBegin/glEnd-like level of abstraction, but rather to give a sensible environment, in which you can rapidly prototype Vulkan applications.

What platforms and hardware does it work on?

Currently, Anvil has been confirmed to build and work correctly under:

  • 32- and 64-bit Linux (Ubuntu)
  • 32- and 64-bit Windows (7, 8.1, 10)

What are Anvil's requirements?

In order to build Anvil, you will need the following software:

  • C++11 compiler.
  • CMake
  • Vulkan RT or newer.
  • Vulkan SDK or newer.

To build Anvil on Linux, additional packages should be installed:

  • libxcb-keysyms (For ubuntu, use "apt-get install libxcb-keysyms1-dev")

Does Anvil work only with AMD driver?

Anvil has not been designed with AMD hardware architecture in mind, but it is going to provide interface-level support for any extensions we may decide to release in the future.

As such, it should (and has been verified to) work on any Windows Vulkan implementation and on AMDGPU-PRO Vulkan implementation on Linux.

What can it do?

This version of Anvil provides:

  • Low-level ref-counted wrappers for the following Vulkan v1.0 features:

    • Buffer objects (sparse and non-sparse)
    • Buffer views
    • Command buffers
    • Command pools
    • Descriptor pools
    • Descriptor sets
    • Descriptor set layouts
    • Devices
    • Events
    • Fences
    • Framebuffers
    • Image objects (sparse, sparse bindings, PRT)
    • Image views
    • Instances
    • Physical devices
    • Pipeline cache
    • Pipeline layouts
    • Query pools
    • Queues
    • Renderpasses
    • Rendering surfaces
    • Samplers
    • Semaphores
    • Shader modules
    • Swapchains
  • More complicated wrappers:

    • Compute / graphics pipeline managers: provide a way to create regular/derivative pipelines with automatic pipeline layout re-use.
    • Descriptor set groups: simplify descriptor set configuration, management and updates.
    • Memory allocator: implements a memory allocator with two back-ends: one that is more appropriate for one-shot mem alloc requests, and one that can be used for dynamic memory allocation purposes.
    • Pipeline layout manager: caches all created pipeline layouts to avoid instantiating duplicate layout instances.
  • Miscellaneous functionality:

    • Debug markers: names and tags can be optionally assigned to any of the created objects. If VK_EXT_debug_marker is enabled, these will be automatically patched through to layers that implement the extension on the running platform.
    • Format info reflection: provides information about format properties.
    • GLSL -> SPIR-V conversion: provides glslang-based GLSL->SPIR-V conversion. The conversion is performed in run-time. Disassembly can also be retrieved, if needed.
    • GLSL -> SPIR-V conversion cache: re-uses SPIR-V blobs throughout Instance's lifetime if GLSL->SPIR-V conversion is requested for GLSL source code which has already been converted to SPIR-V before.
    • IO: provides a number of functions to simplify directory- and file-related operations.
    • Object tracker: tracks object allocations and helps detect object leakage.
    • Shader module cache: re-uses shader module instances across Instance lifetime. Improve execution time if your application instantiates shader modules with exactly the same configuration during its runtime.
    • Time: provides a way to query current time using high-performance system queries.

We are planning to keep adding new features in the future.

Are there any Anvil examples available which would present how to use the framework?

Anvil comes with several example applications, including OutOfOrderRasterization, which renders 10k teapots on screen. It uses various Anvil wrappers, so you can use it to get a better understanding of how various parts of the library can be used.

...and its Vulkan-related code only takes ~45kbytes!

OutOfOrderRasterization and the other example applications are located in the examples directory.

What are the known issues?

Just a handful:

  • All command queues are currently assigned a priority of 1.0.
  • DescriptorSetGroup wrapper does not leverage the <releaseable_sets> flag at baking time.

These will be addressed at some point in the future.

Who made it?

Various developers within AMD.

What if I have some feed-back?

Please feel free to open an issue in Anvil's GitHub project.


  • AMD, the AMD Arrow logo, Radeon, and combinations thereof are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. in the United States and/or other countries.
  • Microsoft, Visual Studio, and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.
  • Linux is the registered trademark of Linus Torvalds in the U.S. and other countries.
  • Vulkan and the Vulkan logo are trademarks of the Khronos Group, Inc.