Industry Forged

Vulkan is a new generation graphics and compute API that provides high-efficiency, cross-platform access to modern GPUs used in a wide variety of devices from PCs and consoles to mobile phones and embedded platforms. Vulkan 1.2 is the current version and below you will find everything you need to forge ahead in using Vulkan in your engine or application.

Vulkan 1.2 is
Gaining Extensions!

The Vulkan 1.2 specification was launched on January 15th, 2020, and integrates 23 proven extensions into the core Vulkan API, bringing significant developer-requested access to new hardware functionality, improved application performance, and enhanced API usability.

In October 2020, the Vulkan Working Group released the VK_KHR_fragment_shading_rate extension, which provides a new, flexible technique to control the fragment shading rate, enabling developers to perform shading at a lower resolution than the render targets. This fine level of control allows developers to focus shading resources where they are needed, which ultimately increases rendering performance and quality.

Vulkan 1.2 Specification Educational Resources Fragment Shading Rate Blog Merchandise

Vulkan Ray Tracing is Developer Ready!

The Vulkan Ray Tracing extensions released in November 2020 seamlessly integrate ray tracing functionality alongside Vulkan’s rasterization framework, making Vulkan the industry’s first open, cross-vendor, cross-platform standard for ray tracing acceleration.

In December 2020, an updated Vulkan SDK was rolled out, integrating all the components necessary for developers to easily use the new ray tracing extensions, including ray tracing validation. Together with updated Vulkan Samples , and upgraded Vulkan Guide and shipping production drivers shipping from multiple vendors, developers are now truly enabled to easily integrate Vulkan Ray Tracing into their applications.

Ray Tracing Spec Release Blog SDK Rollout Press Release SDK Rollout Presentation Learn More


Vulkan Logo

“Vulkan 1.2 brings together nearly two dozen high-priority features developed over the past two years into one, unified core Vulkan standard, setting a cutting-edge bar for functionality in the industry’s only open GPU API for cross-platform 3D and compute acceleration. Khronos will continue delivering regular Vulkan ecosystem updates with this proven, developer-focused methodology to both meet the needs and expand the horizons of real-world applications.”

Vulkan Portability Initiative

The Vulkan Portability Initiative fights platform fragmentation by encouraging layered implementations of Vulkan functionality over Metal, DX12 and other APIs. Vulkan Portability enables Vulkan applications to be reliably deployed across diverse platforms through the ongoing development of standardized queries for available layered API functionality, ensuring all provided functionality is conformance tested, and providing development layers for the Vulkan SDK including on macOS.

Vulkan Portability Release Blog Vulkan SDK on Mac Learn more

Vulkan Video Extensions Provisional Release!

The Vulkan Video provisional extensions were released in April 2020. Vulkan Video tightly integrates hardware accelerated video decoding and encoding with Vulkan’s existing graphics, compute, and display functionality. Vulkan Video will enable use cases such as game streaming and video transcoding with a cross-platform acceleration API to bring video processing onto the GPU. The Provisional release of this set of extensions is to enable industry review and feedback before final release. Developers are invited to provide feedback on the specification, download beta drivers and try out the open-source sample code.

Vulkan Spec with Video Extensions Release Blog Deep Dive Slide Deck Feedback GitHub Issue Beta NVIDIA Drivers Sample Decode App

Industry Support for Vulkan Ray Tracing

“Shipping API specifications was just the first step in building the developer ecosystem for Vulkan Ray Tracing, we now have tools and samples to truly enable developers to tap into the power of cross-platform ray tracing acceleration. One of the key requests from the developer community was the ability to easily bring DirectX 12 ray tracing (DXR) code to Vulkan. We have achieved that through delivering a carefully designed superset of DXR, and integrating Vulkan Ray Tracing support in the DXC open source HLSL compiler.”

“4A Games was one of the earliest adopters of hardware level ray tracing by developing the first Real-Time Raytraced Global Illumination system in a video game as released in Metro Exodus, and we are excited at the addition of a vendor agnostic Vulkan implementation in the industry. We look forward to seeing how this technology progresses.”

Oleksandr “Oles” Shyshkovtsov
CTO, 4A Games

“Standardizing ray tracing in Vulkan® is an important step towards making ray tracing available across a wide range of devices, as well as enabling developers to use this technology to its full advantage. AMD supports all of the major features in this extension, including ray shading and ray queries in our AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition driver. We are also working with developers to ensure great performance from our Vulkan® Ray Tracing implementation thanks to hardware ray tracing support on AMD RDNA™ 2 architecture-based graphics cards; these efforts will help us to provide end-users with even more visually stunning graphics on AMD Radeon™ graphics cards.”

“During the development of Rage 2 and other games, Vulkan gave us great flexibility when looking at deployment on multiple platforms. As the Apex Engine looks to adopt and avail of the latest hardware developments, it is great to see Vulkan keeping pace and investing in support for cutting edge features like hardware accelerated ray tracing.”

“Being one of the first adopters of Vulkan in our Rocksolid Engine already in 2015, we’re thrilled to now add support for Vulkan Ray Tracing. The first product to feature raytraced effects like reflections and global illumination will be the forthcoming GPUScore benchmark. We’re also working to introduce ray tracing for automotive instrument clusters and other in-car screens and Vulkan Ray Tracing extensions are important enablers for this.”

“Blender's mission is to get the best of the world's CG technology in the hands of artists as free/open source software. Industry-wide accepted open standards are essential for our goal. For that reason I'm proud to see the industry having agreed on the Vulkan ray tracing API. This is going to be huge! For us, the upcoming ray tracing functionality was a big motivation for why we are working on Vulkan real-time rendering already since 2019.”

“In the past 20 years, rasterization techniques were at the core of innovation in real-time rendering. At Crytek, the Vulkan API is playing a major part in driving advancements in this area, helping us to deliver a high-performance game-engine with outstanding visuals across different platforms and operating systems. We are pleased that Khronos is releasing vendor-independent Vulkan Ray Tracing extensions that define essential functionality for bringing real-time ray tracing to Vulkan supported applications. Similar to the rasterization domain, this extension plays a major part in our plans for offering cutting edge ray-tracing functionality in CRYENGINE, while benefiting greatly from hardware-specific implementations of each vendor.”

“With the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform Dassault Systèmes provides business and people with virtual universes to imagine sustainable innovations for today and tomorrow. Our rendering technology serves a multitude of industries and use-cases, ranging from high-performance, real-time scenarios to high-quality GI and physical light simulation. Vulkan Ray Tracing enables us to bring hardware accelerated ray tracing into the hands of our users in a cross-platform and vendor agnostic way. This is huge!”

“At EA we inspire the world to play and are dedicated to jointly developing open standards that empower developers to push creative boundaries for compute and graphics, like Vulkan Ray Tracing. We are excited about this release from Khronos as it will pioneer future innovations that deliver extraordinary experiences for players.”

“At Epic Games we have always been committed to the advancement of open standards and cross-platform systems that give people freedom of choice and control over their creativity. As early adopters of ray tracing technologies we are thrilled to see Khronos releasing Vulkan Ray Tracing extensions as part of the Vulkan SDK and we’re excited about the possibilities that this release opens up for Unreal Engine creators.”

“Holochip develops light field technology for the U.S. military and is incorporating glasses-free 3D visualization capabilities into existing environments. Vulkan Ray Tracing will enable wide adoption of Holochip’s real-time light-field rendering solutions across numerous display devices - from headsets, lenticular screen, tabletop, CAVE, volumetric, to next-generation holographic displays. These advances will provide greater situational awareness across land, sea, space and cyber, leading to greater effectiveness, cost savings and risk reduction in areas such as Command and Control (C2), planning, training, maintenance and medicine. Click here to learn more about Holochip’s real-time light-field rendering solutions.”

Robert Batchko
Holochip Corporation

“Imagination Technologies has a decade-long commitment to creating innovative ray tracing hardware IP across a wide spectrum of platforms. The release of Vulkan’s ray tracing framework will give developers unrivalled freedom to create applications across our hardware platforms and provide new, unique graphical experiences on a variety of upcoming mobile devices.”

“At Intel Architecture Day 2020, we announced that new GPUs based on the gaming-optimized Xe-HPG architecture will be available in 2021 and feature hardware acceleration for ray tracing. We’re thrilled to see Khronos push graphics forward with new ray tracing extensions and we look forward to providing driver updates and additional details when we launch next year.”

“The Glacier Engine has a Vulkan backend that powers HITMAN3 on Stadia. At IO Interactive we follow with interest the evolution of the API and the upcoming extensions. Ray Tracing is a topic we’re actively working on for our games, so we’re very excited to see hardware agnostic support coming into Vulkan.”

Maurizio De Pascale
CTO, IO Interactive A/S

“The arrival of a vendor agnostic approach to hardware accelerated ray tracing in Vulkan will impact our industry in a similar fashion as the arrival of hardware transform & lighting, flexible shaders, or compute shaders did. I for one am looking forward to seeing how it’s going to be used.”

Jim Kjellin
CTO, MachineGames AB

“NVIDIA has taken a leadership role in bringing ray tracing to Vulkan, enabling developers with cross-platform access to RTX acceleration. Today we are rolling out Vulkan Ray Tracing in our production drivers and have upgraded Quake II RTX to be the world’s first cross-vendor ray tracing Vulkan application.”

“Vulkan Ray Tracing is a milestone for the computer graphics industry at large. For the first time, graphics developers are able to leverage hardware ray tracing through a fully performant, cross platform and vendor agnostic API. OTOY is thrilled to have participated in the Khronos Group’s development and ratification of the new Vulkan Ray Tracing extensions. We are actively using these extensions to deploy future Vulkan versions of OctaneRender - OTOY’s industry-leading cinematic GPU spectral path-tracer - as well as forthcoming Vulkan releases of OTOY’s AnimeRender, Brigade, Sculptron and RNDR.”

Jules Urbach

“Quantic Dream are currently implementing ray tracing into our upcoming projects with the help of the new Vulkan ray tracing extensions. It allows us to improve our graphics tremendously and we can’t wait to share the results! In general we find the arrival of vendor agnostic ray tracing to be an excellent development for the industry.”

Ronan Marchalot
Quantic Dream

“Rebellion has been one of the earliest adopters of Vulkan and we did this to further our development goals and to provide greater flexibility to our teams. We are delighted with the arrival of vendor-agnostic ray tracing in Vulkan and we are excited to see how it develops.”

“SiliconArts is excited to support the Vulkan cross platform ray tracing API with options for hybrid rendering. This expands the potential for both content creators and new cloud and client rendering architectures.”

Dr. Hyungmin Yoon
CEO and founder, SiliconArts

“The arrival of a hardware agnostic ray tracing API is a great development for the graphics industry, arguably it’s one of the most exciting things to have happened in recent years. At Traverse Research, we’re heavily invested in the future of ray tracing as a technology and we are able to bring our expertise in this area to a range of companies. We’re very excited about this announcement, and have been involved in this effort since its earliest days.”

“Cross-platform raytracing is a big deal. We are excited about the possibilities this opens up for our partners and customers.”



Vulkan Drivers

Behind every great API are the drivers that bring it life on your GPU. Download the latest drivers for your system that now include Vulkan 1.1.

Demos & Samples

Download demos and open source samples to take your new Vulkan API for a test drive - and get a heads up on Vulkan resources.

  • ARM
  • Cinder
  • Intel
  • LunarG
  • MoltenVK
  • Qualcomm
  • SaschaWillems


Looking to take your project to the next level? Look no further: Here are several production ready engines that currently support Vulkan.

  • CryEngine
  • The Forge
  • NAP
  • Source
  • Stride
  • Torqeu3D
  • Unity
  • Epic Games
  • ux3d

Implement Vulkan for your Graphics Hardware

Khronos welcomes any company creating graphics hardware or systems to implement and ship the Vulkan API. The Vulkan specification is free for anyone to download and implement. If you want to use the Vulkan name or logo on your implementation, and enjoy the protection of the Khronos Intellectual Property Framework, you can become a Vulkan Adopter.

Developers – Get your Vulkan SDK

The Vulkan SDK provides Vulkan application developers with essential tools to accelerate the development process. There are Windows, Linux, and macOS versions of the Vulkan SDK.

Develop for Windows, Linux & macOS


Android SDKGoogle gives you everything you need to incorporate Vulkan into your Android games and other apps where graphics performance is key. Visit the Android developer website to download the API, samples, and documentation: resources to help you hit the ground running.

Develop for Android

Get Involved! Help Us Evolve the Vulkan Ecosystem

Khronos has placed an unprecedented amount of materials into open source so you can provide feedback, showcase your work, fix bugs, and extend Vulkan capabilities for the future. Get engaged AND show the world what YOU are doing with Vulkan.