#shader #retroarch #spir-v

nightly librashader-runtime-gl

RetroArch shaders for all

16 releases

new 0.1.0-beta.10 Jan 30, 2023
0.1.0-beta.9 Jan 28, 2023
0.1.0-alpha.4 Dec 5, 2022

#5 in #retroarch

Download history 107/week @ 2022-11-30 20/week @ 2022-12-07 7/week @ 2022-12-14 16/week @ 2022-12-21 12/week @ 2022-12-28 5/week @ 2023-01-04 210/week @ 2023-01-11 69/week @ 2023-01-18 90/week @ 2023-01-25

376 downloads per month
Used in 2 crates (via librashader)

MPL-2.0 OR GPL-3.0-only




Mega Bezel SMOOTH-ADV on DirectX 11

librashader (/ˈli:brəʃeɪdɚ/) is a preprocessor, compiler, and runtime for RetroArch 'slang' shaders, rewritten in pure Rust.

Latest Version Docs License Nightly rust

Supported Render APIs

librashader supports OpenGL 3, OpenGL 4.6, Vulkan, DirectX 11, and DirectX 12. Older versions of DirectX and OpenGL, as well as Metal, are not supported (but pull-requests are welcome).

API Status librashader feature
OpenGL 3.3+ gl
OpenGL 4.6 gl
Vulkan 1.3+ vk
Direct3D11 d3d11
Direct3D12 🚧 d3d12
OpenGL 2
DirectX 9

✔ = Render API is supported — 🚧 = Support is in progress — ❌ Render API is not supported


librashader provides both a Rust API under the librashader crate, and a C API. Both APIs are first-class and fully supported. The C API is geared more towards integration with existing projects. The Rust librashader crate exposes more of the internals if you wish to use parts of librashader piecemeal.

The librashader C API is best used by linking statically with librashader_ld, which implements a loader that dynamically loads the librashader (librashader.so or librashader.dll) implementation in the search path.


For Rust projects, simply add the crate to your Cargo.toml

cargo add librashader

To build the C compatible dynamic library, cargo-post is required.

cargo post build --release --package librashader-capi

This will output a librashader.dll or librashader.so in the target folder.

C ABI Compatibility

The recommended way of integrating librashader is by the librashader_ld single header library, ABI stability is important to ensure that updates to librashader do not break existing consumers.

Pre-1.0, nothing is guaranteed to be stable, but the following APIs are unlikely to change their ABI unless otherwise indicated.

  • libra_preset_*
  • libra_error_*

The following APIs, mostly runtime, are more likely to change their ABI before a 1.0 release as I experiment with what works best.

  • libra_gl_*
  • libra_vk_*
  • libra_d3d11_*
  • libra_d3d12_*

Linking against librashader.h directly is possible, but is not officially supported. You will need to ensure linkage parameters are correct in order to successfully link with librashader.lib or librashader.a. The corrosion CMake package is highly recommended.


The following Rust examples show how to use each librashader runtime.

Some basic examples on using the C API are also provided in the librashader-capi-tests directory.


librashader implements the entire RetroArch shader pipeline and is highly compatible with existing shaders, but there are some deliberate differences in design choices that may potentially cause incompatiblities with certain shaders.

Please report an issue if you run into a shader that works in RetroArch, but not under librashader.

  • Filter chains do not terminate at the backbuffer.
    • Unlike RetroArch, librashader does not have full knowledge of the entire rendering state and is designed to be pluggable at any point in your render pipeline. Instead, filter chains terminate at a caller-provided output surface and viewport. It is the caller's responsibility to blit the surface back to the backbuffer.
  • Runtime-specific differences
    • OpenGL
      • Copying of in-flight framebuffer contents to history is done via glBlitFramebuffer rather than drawing a quad into an intermediate FBO.
      • Sampler objects are used rather than glTexParameter.
      • Sampler inputs and outputs are not renamed. This is useful for debugging shaders in RenderDoc.
      • UBO and Push Constant Buffer sizes are padded to 16-byte boundaries.
    • OpenGL 4.6+
      • All caveats from the OpenGL 3.3+ section should be considered.
      • Should work on OpenGL 4.5 but this is not guaranteed. The OpenGL 4.6 runtime may eventually switch to using ARB_spirv_extensions for loading shaders, and this will not be marked as a breaking change.
      • The OpenGL 4.6 runtime uses Direct State Access to minimize changes to the OpenGL state. For GPUs released within the last 5 years, this may improve performance.
    • Direct3D 11
      • Framebuffer copies are done via ID3D11DeviceContext::CopySubresourceRegion rather than a CPU conversion + copy.
      • HDR10 support is not part of the shader runtime and is not supported.
    • Vulkan 1.3+
      • The Vulkan runtime uses VK_KHR_dynamic_rendering by default. This extension must be enabled at device creation. Explicit render passes can be used by configuring filter chain options, but may have reduced performance compared to dynamic rendering.
      • UBOs use multiple discontiguous buffers. This may be improved in the future by switching to VMA rather than manually handling allocations.

Most, if not all shader presets should work fine on librashader. The runtime specific differences should not affect the output, and are more a heads-up for integrating librashader into your project.

Compatibility issues may arise with framebuffer copies for original history, but I have not found any yet; if it does end up that this results in actual rendering differences I may change the implementation to be more in line with RetroArch's copy implementation. However, since the Vulkan runtime already uses vkCmdCopyImage it is likely that it will not cause issues.

Writing a librashader Runtime

If you wish to contribute a runtime implementation not already available, see the librashader-runtime crate for helpers and shared logic used across all librashader runtime implementations. Using these helpers and traits will ensure that your runtime has consistent behaviour for uniform and texture semantics bindings with the existing librashader runtimes.

These types should not be exposed to the end user in the runtime's public API, and should be kept internal to the implementation of the runtime.


The core parts of librashader such as the preprocessor, the preset parser, the reflection library, and the runtimes, are all licensed under the Mozilla Public License version 2.0.

The librashader C API, i.e. its headers and definitions, not its implementation in librashader_capi, are more permissively licensed, and may allow you to use librashader in your permissively licensed or proprietary project.

To facilitate easier use of librashader in projects incompatible with MPL-2.0, librashader_ld implements a loader which thunks its calls to any librashader.so or librashader.dll library found in the load path. A non-MPL-2.0 compatible project may link against librashader_ld to use the librashader runtime, provided that librashader.so or librashader.dll are distributed under the restrictions of MPLv2.

Note that this means that if your project is unable to comply with the requirements of MPL-2.0, you can not distribute librashader.so or librashader.dll alongside your project. The end user must obtain the implementation of librashader themselves. For more information, see the MPL 2.0 FAQ.

At your discretion, you may instead choose to distribute librashader under the terms of GPLv3 rather than MPL-2.0.


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