We will first start by adding the handles we are going to need to the VulkanEngine class, and the init_commands() function

class VulkanEngine {

// ---- other code -----
VkQueue _graphicsQueue; //queue we will submit to
uint32_t _graphicsQueueFamily; //family of that queue

VkCommandPool _commandPool; //the command pool for our commands
VkCommandBuffer _mainCommandBuffer; //the buffer we will record into


//----- other code----
void init_commands();


Make sure to call the init_commands() function from our main init() function

void VulkanEngine::init()
	// --- other code (SDL Stuff)---



Grabbing the Queue

Luckily, the VkBootstrap library does allow us to get the Queue and Family directly.

Go to the end of the init_vulkan() function, where we initialized the core Vulkan structures.

At the end of it, add this code

void VulkanEngine::init_vulkan(){

// ---- other code ----

	vkb::Device vkbDevice =;

	// Get the VkDevice handle used in the rest of a Vulkan application
	_device = vkbDevice.device;
	_chosenGPU = physicalDevice.physical_device;

	// use vkbootstrap to get a Graphics queue
	_graphicsQueue = vkbDevice.get_queue(vkb::QueueType::graphics).value();
	_graphicsQueueFamily = vkbDevice.get_queue_index(vkb::QueueType::graphics).value();

The above part should already be there from the init-code section. We just add the 2 new lines to request a Queue from vkbDevice, and let the library take care of that for us.

We are requesting a graphics queue, which supports all we need for the guide.

Creating the VkCommandPool

For the pool, we start adding code into init_commands() unlike before, from now on the VkBootstrap library will not do anything for us, and we will start calling the Vulkan commands directly.

void VulkanEngine::init_commands()
	//create a command pool for commands submitted to the graphics queue.
	VkCommandPoolCreateInfo commandPoolInfo = {};
	commandPoolInfo.pNext = nullptr;

	//the command pool will be one that can submit graphics commands
	commandPoolInfo.queueFamilyIndex = _graphicsQueueFamily;
	//we also want the pool to allow for resetting of individual command buffers

	VK_CHECK(vkCreateCommandPool(_device, &commandPoolInfo, nullptr, &_commandPool));

Most Vulkan Info structures, used for all of the VkCreateX functions, and a lot of the other Vulkan structures, need sType and pNext set. This is used for extensions, as some extensions will still call the VkCreateX function, but with structs of a different type than the normal one. The sType helps the implementation know what struct is being used in the function.

With Vulkan structures, it is very important that we do this

VkCommandPoolCreateInfo commandPoolInfo = {};

By doing that ` = {}` thing, we are letting the compiler initialize the entire struct to zero. This is critical, as in general Vulkan structs will have their defaults set in a way that 0 is relatively safe. By doing that, we make sure we don’t leave uninitialized data in the struct.

We set queueFamilyIndex to the _graphicsQueueFamily that we grabbed before. This means that the command pool will create commands that are compatible with any queue of that “graphics” family.

We are also setting something in the .flags parameter. A lot of Vulkan structures will have that .flags parameter, for extra options. We are sending VK_COMMAND_POOL_CREATE_RESET_COMMAND_BUFFER_BIT , which tells Vulkan that we expect to be able to reset individual command buffers made from that pool.

At the end, we finally call VkCreateCommandPool, giving it our VkDevice, the commandPoolInfo for create parameters, and a pointer to the _commandPool member, which will get overwritten if it succeeds.

To check if the command succeeds, we use the VK_CHECK() macro. It will just immediately abort if something happens.

Creating a VkCommandBuffer

Now that we have the VkCommandPool created, and stored in the _commandPool member, we can allocate our command buffer from it.

void VulkanEngine::init_commands()

	// --- other code ----

	//allocate the default command buffer that we will use for rendering
	VkCommandBufferAllocateInfo cmdAllocInfo = {};
	cmdAllocInfo.pNext = nullptr;

	//commands will be made from our _commandPool
	cmdAllocInfo.commandPool = _commandPool;
	//we will allocate 1 command buffer
	cmdAllocInfo.commandBufferCount = 1;
	// command level is Primary

	VK_CHECK(vkAllocateCommandBuffers(_device, &cmdAllocInfo, &_mainCommandBuffer));

As with the command pool, we need to fill the sType and pNext parameters, and then continue the rest of the Info struct.

We let Vulkan know that the parent of our command will be the _commandPool we just created, and we want to create only one command buffer.

The .commandBufferCount parameter allows you to allocate multiple buffers at once. Make sure that the pointer you send to VkAllocateCommandBuffer has space for those.

The .level is set to Primary . Command buffers can be Primary of Secondary level. Primary level are the ones that are sent into a VkQueue, and do all of the work. This is what we will use in the guide. Secondary level are ones that can act as “subcommands” to a primary buffer. They are most commonly used in advanced multithreading scenarios. We aren’t going to use them.

The VkInit module

If you remember the article that explored the project files, we commented that the vk_initializers module will contain abstraction over the initialization of Vulkan structures. Let’s go abstract the 2 Info structures into there, for easier readability.


namespace vkinit {

	VkCommandPoolCreateInfo command_pool_create_info(uint32_t queueFamilyIndex, VkCommandPoolCreateFlags flags = 0);

	VkCommandBufferAllocateInfo command_buffer_allocate_info(VkCommandPool pool, uint32_t count = 1, VkCommandBufferLevel level = VK_COMMAND_BUFFER_LEVEL_PRIMARY);


2 new functions, command_pool_create_info(), and command_buffer_allocate_info(). We also use default arguments flags = 0 to not have to input all arguments for basic stuff. Now, let’s copy the code into the implementation of those 2 functions.


VkCommandPoolCreateInfo vkinit::command_pool_create_info(uint32_t queueFamilyIndex, VkCommandPoolCreateFlags flags /*= 0*/)
	VkCommandPoolCreateInfo info = {};
	info.pNext = nullptr;

	info.queueFamilyIndex = queueFamilyIndex;
	info.flags = flags;
	return info;

VkCommandBufferAllocateInfo vkinit::command_buffer_allocate_info(VkCommandPool pool, uint32_t count /*= 1*/, VkCommandBufferLevel level /*= VK_COMMAND_BUFFER_LEVEL_PRIMARY*/)
	VkCommandBufferAllocateInfo info = {};
	info.pNext = nullptr;

	info.commandPool = pool;
	info.commandBufferCount = count;
	info.level = level;
	return info;

We have now abstracted the calls, so let’s go change VulkanEngine::init_commands() to use this.

void VulkanEngine::init_commands()
	//create a command pool for commands submitted to the graphics queue.
	//we also want the pool to allow for resetting of individual command buffers
	VkCommandPoolCreateInfo commandPoolInfo = vkinit::command_pool_create_info(_graphicsQueueFamily, VK_COMMAND_POOL_CREATE_RESET_COMMAND_BUFFER_BIT);

	VK_CHECK(vkCreateCommandPool(_device, &commandPoolInfo, nullptr, &_commandPool));

	//allocate the default command buffer that we will use for rendering
	VkCommandBufferAllocateInfo cmdAllocInfo = vkinit::command_buffer_allocate_info(_commandPool, 1);

	VK_CHECK(vkAllocateCommandBuffers(_device, &cmdAllocInfo, &_mainCommandBuffer));

Much better and shorter. Over the guide, the vk_initializers module will keep growing with more and more structs. You will be able to reuse that module in other projects safely given how simple it is.


Same as before, what we have created, we have to delete

void VulkanEngine::cleanup()
	if (_isInitialized) {
		vkDestroyCommandPool(_device, _commandPool, nullptr);

		// --- rest of code

As the command pool is the most recent Vulkan object, we need to destroy it before the other objects. It’s not possible to individually destroy VkCommandBuffer, as destroying their parent pool will destroy all of the command buffers allocated from it.

VkQueue-s also can’t be destroyed, as, like with the VkPhysicalDevice, they aren’t really created objects, more like a handle to something that already exists.

Now that we have the Queue and the CommandBuffer, we are ready to start executing commands, but their usability will be limited, as we still lack the structures needed to execute graphics commands.

At this point, it is possible to execute pure-compute commands, if you wanted to perform offline computation. But to do rendering we need to do renderpasses first.

Next: Vulkan Render Passes