Lightweight Java Game Library

Lightweight Java Game Library (LWJGL)
Initial release 4 February 2007 (2007-02-04)[1]
Stable release
3.1.0 / 30 October 2016 (2016-10-30)[2]
Development status Active
Written in Java, C, Kotlin[3][4]
Operating system Windows, Linux, OS X
Platform Java platform
Type Free computer library
License BSD,[5] some bindings under different licenses[3]

The Lightweight Java Game Library (LWJGL) is an open-source Java software library for video game developers. It exposes high performance cross-platform libraries commonly used in developing video games and multimedia titles, such as OpenGL, Vulkan, OpenAL and OpenCL. It further provides access to controllers such as gamepads, steering wheels and joysticks in a platform-neutral way.[6]

The primary goal of the project is to provide a way for Java developers to get access to resources that are otherwise unavailable or poorly implemented on the existing Java platform. The main philosophy is to expose underlying technology as a thin wrapper, thus creating an API close to the original. It is also the basis of many high-level Java game engines and libraries, such as libGDX or the jMonkeyEngine.

LWJGL is available under a BSD license.[5]

On 13 November 2014 version 3 was announced, which was released in alpha version on 27 April 2015 and is a complete rewrite of LWJGL.[7][8][9] Many new bindings, including GLFW, EGL and Objective-C, were added.[5][8] Support for Oculus Rift development was also added with LibOVR bindings.[5][9] The new version was released on 4 June 2016, after more than 3 and a half years in development.[10]


The library accesses native C code through the Java Native Interface (JNI). Bindings to each of the native libraries exist as different modules so developers can make custom builds with only the things they need in a certain program.[5][9][11]

While utility classes are written in pure Java, most of the binding classes are automatically generated by a custom generator implemented in Kotlin.[3][4]

Since version 3.1 LWJGL is fully split into around 20 modules that can be downloaded and used separately. To make this process easier, the project provides an online build configurator, which allows users to download custom combinations of modules and automatically generates Maven and Gradle configuration files to ease their use with existing projects.[2][3][12]

Provided bindings[5][3]
Binding Description Notes
EGL Interface between Khronos rendering APIs and the underlying native platform window system.
OpenCL API for cross-platform parallel computing.
OpenGL 3D graphics specification implemented by most GPU vendors. Most extensions supported, but less popular ones will be added on request.
OpenGL ES OpenGL for embedded systems like mobile phones, tablets or consoles.
Vulkan Upcoming cross-platform 3D graphics API.
GLFW Window management library needed for handling OpenGL and Vulkan contexts as well as user input.
JAWT AWT native interface.
nfd Small cross-platform native file dialogs library.
tinyfd Small native dialog library.
OpenAL Three-dimensional audio API. ALC and other extensions are supported.
OpenAL Soft Freely licensed software implementation of OpenAL.
bgfx Cross-platform rendering library supporting multiple graphics backends.
LibOVR API of the Oculus Rift SDK.
NanoVG 2D vector graphics rendering library using OpenGL.
Nuklear (library) Simple GUI library.
par_shapes Generator for parametric and other simple shapes.
STB Lightweight single-file library for loading images, sounds and fonts.
dyncall Library for dynamically calling C functions in a portable way.
jemalloc Low-level memory management.
LMDB Fast database library using memory-mapped files.
xxHash Fast hash algorithm.

Notable uses


  1. "LWJGL 1.0 Released". 4 February 2007. Retrieved 23 July 2016.
  2. 1 2 "LWJGL 3.1.0 Released!". 30 October 2016. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 "LWJGL/lwjgl3". Retrieved 13 August 2016.
  4. 1 2 "lwjgl3/doc – Generator". 11 August 2015. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Official website". Retrieved 14 August 2015.
  6. "LWJGL Wiki". Retrieved 2 June 2015.
  7. Tsakpinis, Ioannis (13 November 2014). "Welcome to LWJGL 3".
  8. 1 2 "LWJGL 3 Roadmap". Retrieved 2 June 2015.
  9. 1 2 3 Tsakpinis, Ioannis (27 April 2015). "LWJGL 3.0.0a released".
  10. "LWJGL 3.0.0 Released!". 4 June 2016. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  11. "Bindings FAQ". 27 December 2014. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
  12. "Download – LWJGL". Retrieved 11 November 2016.
  13. " – Credits". Retrieved 6 August 2016.
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