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Screen 13

Crates.io Docs.rs LoC

Screen 13 is an easy-to-use Vulkan rendering engine in the spirit of QBasic.

screen-13 = "0.11"


Screen 13 provides a high performance Vulkan driver using smart pointers. The driver may be created manually for headless rendering or automatically using the built-in event loop abstraction:

use screen_13::prelude::*;

fn main() -> Result<(), DisplayError> {
    EventLoop::new().build()?.run(|frame| {
        // It's time to do some graphics! 😲


Screen 13 provides a fully-generic render graph structure for simple and statically typed access to all the resources used while rendering. The RenderGraph structure allows Vulkan smart pointer resources to be bound as "nodes" which may be used anywhere in a graph. The graph itself is not tied to swapchain access and may be used to execute general command streams.

Features of the render graph:

  • Compute, graphic, and ray-trace pipelines
  • Automatic Vulkan management (render passes, subpasses, descriptors, pools, etc.)
  • Automatic render pass scheduling, re-ordering, merging, with resource aliasing
  • Interoperable with existing Vulkan code
  • Optional shader hot-reload from disk
    .begin_pass("Fancy new algorithm for shading a moving character who is actively on fire")
    .read_descriptor(0, some_image)
    .read_descriptor(1, another_image)
    .read_descriptor(3, some_buf)
    .clear_color(0, swapchain_image)
    .store_color(0, swapchain_image)
    .record_subpass(move |subpass| {
        subpass.draw(6, 1, 0, 0);

Debug Logging

This crate uses log for low-overhead logging.

To enable logging, set the RUST_LOG environment variable to trace, debug, info, warn or error and initialize the logging provider of your choice. Examples use pretty_env_logger.

You may also filter messages, for example:

RUST_LOG=screen_13::driver=trace,screen_13=warn cargo run --example ray_trace
TRACE screen_13::driver::instance > created a Vulkan instance
DEBUG screen_13::driver::physical_device > physical device: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090
DEBUG screen_13::driver::physical_device > extension "VK_KHR_16bit_storage" v1
DEBUG screen_13::driver::physical_device > extension "VK_KHR_8bit_storage" v1
DEBUG screen_13::driver::physical_device > extension "VK_KHR_acceleration_structure" v13

Performance Profiling

This crates uses profiling and supports multiple profiling providers. When not in use profiling has zero cost.

To enable profiling, compile with one of the profile-with-* features enabled and initialize the profiling provider of your choice.

Example code uses puffin:

cargo run --features profile-with-puffin --release --example vsm_omni
Flamegraph of performance data

Quick Start

Included are some examples you might find helpful:

  • hello_world.rs — Displays a window on the screen. Please start here.
  • triangle.rs — Shaders and full setup of index/vertex buffers; < 100 LOC.
  • shader-toy/ — Recreation of a two-pass shader toy using the original shader code.

See the example code, documentation, or helpful getting started guide for more information.

NOTE: Required development packages and libraries are listed in the getting started guide. All new users should read and understand the guide.


As a child I was given access to a computer that had GW-Basic; and later one with QBasic. All of my favorite programs started with:


These commands cleared the screen of text and setup a 320x200 256-color paletized video mode. There were other video modes available, but none of them had the 'magic' of 256 colors.

Additional commands QBasic offered, such as DRAW, allowed you to build simple games quickly because you didn't have to grok the entirety of compiling and linking. I think we should have options like this today, and so I started this project to allow future developers to have the ability to get things done quickly while using modern tools.


Screen 13 was built from the learnings and lessons shared by others throughout our community. In particular, here are some of the repositories I found useful:

  • Bevy: A refreshingly simple data-driven game engine built in Rust
  • Granite - Open-source Vulkan renderer
  • Kajiya - Experimental real-time global illumination renderer made with Rust and Vulkan


~778K SLoC