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LunarGLASS is available via a BSD-style open source license.

See more at the LunarGLASS FAQ.


See for a variety of information about LunarGLASS.

Google code: On 8/21/2015, LunarGLASS was transfered from Google Code.


The primary goals of the LunarGLASS project are:

  • Reduce the developement burden of creating advanced shader compiler stacks.
  • Increase the level of optimization achieved by real world applications. and do all this in a robust and modular approach that works well across a diverse set of hardware architectures.


LunarGLASS is an LLVM-based shader-compiler stack available to open-source developers. It brings a new approach by splitting the common shared intermediate representation (IR) into two levels; the top level is completely platform independent while the bottom level is dynamically tailorable to different families of architecture. Both levels still lend themselves to portability and sharing of tools. Together, they solve the problem of having a standard portable IR without being biased toward a specific class of target architecture.

LunarGLASS is a long-term compiler stack architecture, based on establishing common intermediate representations (IRs) allowing modularity between stack layers. Each source-language front end would benefit from a common set of high- and mid-level optimizations, as would each back end, without the need to invent additional IRs. The short-term goal is to leverage investments in existing IRs while the long-term goal is to reduce the number of IRs and not require optimization difficulties caused by losing information going through an IR.

Downloading and Building

The standard way to build is using glslang as the GLSL front end. This is currently done by making them sibling directories:


(See for details about glslang.)

Getting the code

  1. In PathOfYourChoice, clone the glslang repository from, making the glslang subdirectory.
  2. In PathOfYourChoice, clone the LunarGLASS repository from, making the LunarGLASS subdirectory.
  3. Get LLVM. Download the LLVM 3.4 source code from into your "LunarGLASS/Core/LLVM" directory, then extract it:
cd LunarGLASS/Core/LLVM
tar --gzip -xf llvm-3.4.src.tar.gz
  1. The previous step overrwrote some LLVM files that LunarGLASS changes. Restore them to LunarGLASS's versions, while still in the LunarGLASS/Core/LLVM directory:
git checkout -f .  # put back the LunarGLASS versions of some LLVM files


LunarGLASS must be built after glslang and LLVM have been built.

Building glslang

Use CMake, building in the directory PathOfYourChoice/glslang/build:

make install DESTDIR=install

Building LLVM

Building LLVM for Windows

  1. Use version 2.7.6 of python (Get it from
  2. Run CMake.
  3. Put the full path to your LunarGLASS/Core/LLVM/llvm-3.4 location in "Where is the source code:" and add "/build" to it (LunarGLASS/Core/LLVM/llvm-3.4/build) in "Where to build the binaries:"
  4. Press "Configure" button in CMake and say yes to create the build directory.
  5. Select your Visual Studio and "Use default native compilers" and "Finish".
  6. Change CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX to "install" (no path).
  7. Press "Configure" again.
  8. Press "Generate" button in CMake.
  9. Open the LLVM.sln just created in llvm-3.4/build and build the INSTALL project.

Building LLVM for Linux

Summary: LLVM uses a configure script while glslang and LunarGLASS use CMake.

  1. First build set up:
# first time only
cd LunarGLASS/Core/LLVM/llvm-3.4
mkdir build
cd build
  1. Build:
# build or rebuild
cd LunarGLASS/Core/LLVM/llvm-3.4/build
make -j 8
make install DESTDIR=`pwd`/install

Building LunarGLASS (the LunarGOO standalone tool)

By default, this builds a command-line tool that translates GLSL -> LunarGLASS -> GLSL.

Use CMake, building in the directory PathOfYourChoice/LunarGLASS/build.

Modes of use

Use a LunarGLASS stack to compile from a driver:

Per driver initialization:

  1. Include LunarGLASSManager.h. This header includes no other headers.
  2. Use gla::getManager() to get a manager. (From below, your compiler implementation will have derived a concrete class and factory for it.)

Per compile:

  1. Pass this manager to a front end that builds LunarGLASS Top IR and saves the llvm module into the manager using manager->setModule() and saves symbol tables using manager->set*Symbols().
  2. Use manager->translateTopToBottom() to create bottom IR.
  3. Use manager->translateBottomToTarget() to translate that to the compiler's back end target language.
  4. Use manager->clear() to free up structures specific to the compile, e.g., things set in step 3.

Make a LunarGLASS back end:

  1. Make a manager that derives from the gla::PrivateManager in PrivateManager.h and provides a factory gla::getManager() that makes one of these.
  2. Make a back end that derives from the gla::BackEnd() in Backend.h and have it supply methods to describe what form of Bottom IR it wants to consume.
  3. Also have your back end derive from gla::BackEndTranslator() to fill in all the methods needed to translate from Bottom IR to your target.
  4. You will need to include BottomIR.h to consume the details of Bottom IR. Between this file, the LunarGLASSTopIR.h file it includes, and the specification, you have everything you need to interpret Bottom IR.
  5. Your private manager (from 1) will have to make one of these back ends (from 2) and back end translators (from 3) when it is created.

Make a LunarGLASS front end:

  1. Include LunarGLASSManager.h and LunarGLASSTopIR.h in your front end. Between these and the specification, you have everything you need to create Top IR.
  2. Call your front end (as in step 3 in "Use a LunarGLASS stack...") to translate your source language to Top IR and leave the llvm module in the manager.


LLVM IR and optimizer for shaders, including front-end adapters for GLSL and SPIR-V and back-end adapter for GLSL



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