OpenGL binding for Lua 5.1 and 5.2

About · History · Usage · Reference

What is it LuaGL?

It’s a library that provides access to all of the OpenGL (up to version 1.3) functionality from Lua.

What is OpenGL?

OpenGL is a portable software interface to graphics hardware. More information about OpenGL can be obtained from You can find good tutorials about learning OpenGL at


That library should run in all systems that support OpenGL.


LuaGL is a free software and uses the MIT License (the same License as Lua). It can be used at no cost for both academic and commercial purposes.


You can download LuaGL from the SourceForge files page.

LuaGL also needs that you have the OpenGL library installed. All modern operating systems already have it, see OpenGL Platform & OS Implementations.


The official support mechanism is by e-mail, using

We host the LuaGL support features at SourceForge: It provides us CVS Repository and Downloads.



To Do


Since this distribution does not include the GLUT binding, all the samples are based on the IUP toolkit. One sample uses IM to display an image. You can browse the samples here: examples.


1.9 - 05 Jan 2015

1.8 - 27 Jun 2012

1.7 - 22 Dec 2011

1.6 - 12 Nov 2010

1.5 - 13 Sep 2010

1.4 - 22 Jun 2010

1.3 - 14 Aug 2009

1.2 - 26 May 2008 (internal release at Tecgraf)

1.02-SVN and Previous 1.01


This library works as a binding for all OpenGL commands, so you can have full access to the graphics hardware from Lua.

To have access the GL functions in Lua call require"luagl", or from a C host program you could call the 'luaopen_luagl' function. This will create a name space called 'gl', and all the functions and constants will be inside of it.

To have access the GLU functions in Lua call require"luaglu", or from a C host program you could call the 'luaopen_luaglu' function. This will create a name space called 'glu', and all the functions and constants will be inside of it.

Read the LINSTALL file for instructions on how to install the libraries on Linux.

Although the luagl and luaglu libraries have '51' and '52' suffixes they can be removed, by manually renaming the respective files. The only file that must retain its original name is the luagl_base library. This is valid for Windows and Linux. luagl_base is not a Lua module. (Since 1.8)


All OpenGL constants were also converted to strings, for example: instead of writing gl.QUADS, you can write 'QUADS'. Functions that expected a bitwise operation between mask parameters can receive a string that contains all the constants strings separated by comma (,). For example:

gl.Begin(gl.TRIANGLES)  or  gl.Begin("TRIANGLES")

OpenGL constants can be used as numbers using gl.XXX notation, where XXX is the constant name after "GL_" (for example: gl.QUADS). This is much faster than using the strings.


The argument specification (e.g., '2d', '3f', '4sv') at the end of most OpenGL functions names have been removed. For example the new gl.Light function binds the OpenGL functions: glLightf, glLightfv, glLighti, glLightiv.

The number of parameters defines the correct function to use. And internally it is used the floating point version of the functions, with the highest possible precision.

Some functions that have a type parameter simply use the most precise possible (usually GL_DOUBLE or GL_FLOAT) and the format parameter is not used. When stride is not used, then it is assumed to be 0. But notice that some OpenGL functions uses

Whenever is possible, GLboolean is mapped to boolean in Lua.

Color and Vector Data

The color and the vector data can be represented by a lua array. A vector can have 2, 3 or 4 values (x, y, z, w), and colors can have 3 or 4 values (red, green, blue, alpha).

For example:

v1 = { 0, 0 } 
v2 = { 1, 1 } 
Yellow = { 1, 1, 0 } 

you can also do:

gl.Color(1, 1, 0) 
gl.Vertex(0, 0) 
gl.Vertex(1, 1) 

Array Data

Arrays are handled as tables or as light user data. For example:

gl.DrawPixels (width, height, format, pixelsArray) -> none 
gl.DrawPixelsRaw (width, height, format, type, pixelsUserData) -> none

Using UserData is more efficient and less memory consuming, especially for large data. But individual values can NOT be accessed.

Tables are processed internally in the highest precision supported by the OpenGL function. For instance, Array are usually processed as FLOAT, but in gl.PolygonStipple and gl.Bitmap they are processed as BYTE.

The notation "Array2" denotes a table of tables, usually for 2D arrays but can also be used for vertices and other secondary strutctures. For example:

v1 = { -1, -1 } 
v2 = {  1, -1 } 
v3 = {  1,  1 } 
v4 = { -1,  1 } 

vertices  = { v1, v2, v3, v4 } 


This function in particular accepts also a simple array as parameter, but must specify the number of elements of the secondary table:

vertices  = { -1, -1, 1, -1, 1, 1, -1, 1} 

gl.VertexPointer(vertices, 2)

This function also needs to keep its memory allocated after the call. So to release this internal memory you must call:


Returned Data

The functions that request information from OpenGL, will now return the data by the function return value. For example:

pixelsArray = gl.GetTexImage(target, level, format) 

For more information about functions names and parameters, see the Function Reference bellow.

Bit Pattern

Functions that expects a number with a bit pattern, will accept a string with the mask numbers. All characters that are different to ‘0’ and ‘1’ will be ignored. For example:

gl.LineStipple(1, "1111000011110000") 
gl.LineStipple(1, "1010.0101.1000.1111") 
gl.LineStipple(1, "0000 0000 1111 1111") 

Function Reference (GL)

gl.Accum (op, value) -> none 

gl.AlphaFunc (func, ref) -> none 

gl.AreTexturesResident (texturesArray) -> residencesArray 

gl.ArrayElement (i) -> none 

gl.Begin (mode) -> none 

gl.BindTexture (target, texture) -> none 

gl.Bitmap (xorig, yorig, xmove, ymove [, bitmapArray2]) -> none
gl.BitmapRaw (width, height, xorig, yorig, xmove, ymove, bitmapUserData) -> none 

gl.BlendFunc (sfactor, dfactor) -> none 

gl.CallList (list) -> none 

gl.CallLists (listArray) -> none 

gl.Clear (mask) -> none 

gl.ClearAccum (red, green, blue, alpha) -> none 

gl.ClearColor (red, green, blue, alpha) -> none 

gl.ClearDepth (depth) -> none 

gl.ClearIndex (c) -> none 

gl.ClearStencil (s) -> none 

gl.ClipPlane (plane, equationArray) -> none 

gl.Color (red, green, blue [, alpha]) -> none 
gl.Color (colorArray) -> none 

gl.ColorMask (red, green, blue, alpha) -> none 

gl.ColorMaterial (face, mode) -> none 

gl.ColorPointer (colorArray2) -> none                  
gl.ColorPointer (colorArray, size) -> none            
gl.ColorPointer (nil) -> none                            (releases internal memory)

gl.CopyPixels (x, y, width, height, type) -> none 

gl.CopyTexImage (level, internalFormat, border, x, y, width[, height]) -> none 

gl.CopyTexSubImage (level, x, y, xoffset, width[, yoffset, height]) -> none 

gl.CullFace (mode) -> none 

gl.DeleteLists (list, range) -> none 

gl.DeleteTextures (texturesArray) -> none 

gl.DepthFunc (func) -> none 

gl.DepthMask (flag) -> none 

gl.DepthRange (zNear, zFar) -> none 

gl.Disable (cap) -> none 

gl.DisableClientState (array) -> none 

gl.DrawArrays (mode, first, count) -> none 

gl.DrawBuffer (mode) -> none 

gl.DrawElements (mode, indicesArray) -> none 

gl.DrawPixels (width, height, format, pixelsArray) -> none 
gl.DrawPixelsRaw (width, height, format, type, pixelsUserData) -> none   

gl.EdgeFlag (flag) -> none 
gl.EdgeFlag (flagArray) -> none

gl.EdgeFlagPointer (flagsArray) -> none 
gl.EdgeFlagPointer (nil) -> none                     (releases internal memory)

gl.Enable (cap) -> none 

gl.EnableClientState (array) -> none 

gl.End () -> none 

gl.EndList () -> none 

gl.EvalCoord (u[, v]) -> none 
gl.EvalCoord (coordArray) -> none 

gl.EvalMesh (mode, i1, i2[,j1, j2]) -> none 

gl.EvalPoint (i[, j]) -> none 

gl.FeedbackBuffer (size, type) -> dataArray 

gl.Finish () -> none 

gl.Flush () -> none 

gl.Fog (pname, param) -> none 
gl.Fog (pname, paramsArray) -> none 

gl.FrontFace (mode) -> none 

gl.Frustum (left, right, bottom, top, zNear, zFar) -> none 

gl.GenLists (range) -> num 

gl.GenTextures (n) -> texturesArray 

gl.Get (pname) -> param1, param2, param3, ...         (not an array, a sequence of parameters)

gl.GetArray (pname) -> paramsArray 

gl.GetConst (pname) -> string 

gl.GetClipPlane (plane) -> equationArray 

gl.GetError () -> error                               (nil if GL_NO_ERROR)

gl.GetLight (light, pname) -> paramsArray 

gl.GetMap (target, query) -> vArray 

gl.GetMaterial (face, pname) -> paramsArray 

gl.GetPixelMap (map) -> valuesArray 

gl.GetPointer (pname, n) -> valuesArray 

gl.GetPolygonStipple () -> maskArray 

gl.GetString (name) -> string 

gl.GetTexEnv (pname) -> paramsArray 

gl.GetTexGen (coord, pname) -> paramsArray 

gl.GetTexImage (target, level, format) -> pixelsArray
gl.GetTexImageRaw (target, level, format, type, pixelsUserData) -> none     

gl.GetTexLevelParameter (target, level, pname) -> param 

gl.GetTexParameter (target, pname) -> paramsArray 

gl.Hint (target, mode) -> none 

gl.Index (c) -> none 

gl.IndexMask (mask) -> none 

gl.IndexPointer (indexArray) -> none 
gl.IndexPointer (nil) -> none                          (releases internal memory)

gl.InitNames () -> none 

gl.InterleavedArrays (format, dataArray) -> none 

gl.IsEnabled (cap) -> true/false 

gl.IsList (list) -> true/false 

gl.IsTexture (texture) -> true/false 

gl.Light (light, pname, param) -> none 
gl.Light (light, pname, paramsArray) -> none 

gl.LightModel (pname, param) -> none 
gl.LightModel (pname, paramsArray) -> none 

gl.LineStipple (factor, pattern) -> none 

gl.LineWidth (width) -> none 

gl.ListBase (base) -> none 

gl.LoadIdentity () -> none 

gl.LoadMatrix (mArray) -> none 

gl.LoadName (name) -> none 

gl.LogicOp (opcode) -> none 

gl.Map (target, u1, u2, pointsArray) -> none 
gl.Map (target, u1, u2, v1, v2, pointsArray2) -> none 

gl.MapGrid (un, u1, u2[, vn, v1, v2]) -> none 

gl.Material (face, pname, param) -> none 

gl.MatrixMode (mode) -> none 

gl.MultMatrix (mArray) -> none 

gl.NewList (list, mode) -> none 

gl.NewData (size) -> UserData                     (auxiliary function to allocate userdata in bytes)
gl.FreeData (UserData) -> none  

gl.Normal (nx, ny, nz) -> none 
gl.Normal (nArray) -> none 

gl.NormalPointer (normalArray2) -> none                   
gl.NormalPointer (normalArray, size) -> none            
gl.NormalPointer (nil) -> none                     (releases internal memory)

gl.Ortho (left, right, bottom, top, zNear, zFar) -> none 

gl.PassThrough (token) -> none 

gl.PixelMap (map, valuesArray) -> none 

gl.PixelStore (pname, param) -> none 

gl.PixelTransfer (pname, param) -> none 

gl.PixelZoom (xfactor, yfactor) -> none 

gl.PointSize (size) -> none 

gl.PolygonMode (face, mode) -> none 

gl.PolygonOffset (factor, units) -> none 

gl.PolygonStipple (maskArray2) -> none
gl.PolygonStipple (maskArray) -> none

gl.PopAttrib () -> none 

gl.PopClientAttrib () -> none 

gl.PopMatrix () -> none 

gl.PopName () -> none 

gl.PrioritizeTextures (texturesArray, prioritiesArray) -> none 

gl.PushAttrib (mask) -> none 

gl.PushClientAttrib (mask) -> none 

gl.PushMatrix () -> none 

gl.PushName (GLuint name) -> none 

gl.RasterPos (x, y[, z, w]) -> none 
gl.RasterPos (vArray) -> none 

gl.ReadBuffer (mode) -> none 

gl.ReadPixels (x, y, width, height, format) -> pixelsArray
gl.ReadPixelsRaw (x, y, width, height, format, type, pixelsUserData) -> none    

gl.Rect (x1, y1, x2, y2) -> none 
gl.Rect (v1, v2) -> none 

gl.RenderMode (mode) -> none 

gl.Rotate (angle, x, y, z) -> none 

gl.Scale (x, y, z) -> none 

gl.Scissor (x, y, width, height) -> none 

gl.SelectBuffer (size) -> SelectUserData
gl.GetSelectBuffer(SelectUserData, index) -> value         (return the value of a given index)
gl.FreeSelectBuffer(SelectUserData) -> none  

gl.ShadeModel (mode) -> none 

gl.StencilFunc (func, ref, mask) -> none 

gl.StencilMask (mask) -> none 

gl.StencilOp (fail, zfail, zpass) -> none 

gl.TexCoord (s[, t, r, q]) -> none 
gl.TexCoord (vArray) -> none 

gl.TexCoordPointer (vArray2) -> none              
gl.TexCoordPointer (vArray, size) -> none        
gl.TexCoordPointer (nil) -> none                            (releases internal memory)

gl.TexEnv (pname, param) -> none 
gl.TexEnv (pname, paramsArray) -> none 

gl.TexGen (coord, pname, param) -> none 
gl.TexGen (coord, pname, paramsArray) -> none 

gl.TexImage (level, internalformat, format, pixelsArray) -> none
gl.TexImage (level, internalformat, format, pixelsArray2) -> none
gl.TexImage1D (level, internalformat, width, border, format, type, pixelsUserData) -> none           
gl.TexImage2D (level, internalformat, width, height, border, format, type, pixelsUserData) -> none    

gl.TexParameter (target, pname, param) -> none 
gl.TexParameter (target, pname, paramsArray) -> none 

gl.TexSubImage (level, format, pixelsArray, xoffset[, yoffset]) -> none
gl.TexSubImage (level, format, pixelsArray2, xoffset[, yoffset]) -> none
gl.TexSubImage1D (level, xoffset, width, format, type, pixelsUserData) -> none                     
gl.TexSubImage2D (level, xoffset, yoffset, width, height, format, type, pixelsUserData) -> none   

gl.Translate (x, y, z) -> none 

gl.Vertex (x, y, [z, w]) -> none 
gl.Vertex (vArray) -> none 

gl.VertexPointer (vertexArray2) -> none             
gl.VertexPointer (vertexArray, size) -> none       
gl.VertexPointer (nil) -> none                                 (releases internal memory)

gl.Viewport (x, y, width, height) -> none 

Function Reference (GLU)

glu.BuildMipmaps(components, format, pixelsArray) -> error
glu.BuildMipmaps(components, format, pixelsArray2) -> error
glu.Build1DMipmaps(components, width, format, type, pixelsUserData) -> error            
glu.Build2DMipmaps(components, width, height, format, type, pixelsUserData) -> error    
glu.Build2DMipmaps(textureArray2) -> error                                     (alternative form)
       (table must contain "target", "format", "type", "width", "height" and "components" fields)
       (and data organized in lines as unnamed tables)
glu.Build3DMipmaps(components, width, height, depth, format, type, pixelsUserData) -> error  

glu.ErrorString(errorCode) -> string 

glu.GetString (name) -> string  

glu.LookAt(Ex, Ey, Ez, Lx, Ly, Lz, Ux, Uy, Uz) -> none 

glu.Ortho2D(left, right, bottom, top) -> none 

glu.Perspective(fovy, aspect, near, far) -> none 

glu.PickMatrix( x, y, deltax, deltay, viewportArray) -> none 

glu.Project(objx, objy, objz, modelMatrixArray, projMatrixArray, viewportArray) -> error, winx, winy, winz 

glu.ScaleImage(format, widthIn, heightIn, pixelsArrayIn, widthOut, heightOut) -> error, pixelsArrayOut
glu.ScaleImageRaw(format, widthIn, heightIn, typeIn, pixelsIn, widthOut, heightOut, typeOut, pixelsUserDataOut) -> error 

glu.NewQuadric() -> quad
quad:Cylinder(base, top, height, slices, stacks) -> quad
quad:Disk(inner, outer, slices, loops) -> quad
quad:PartialDisk (inner, outer, slices, loops, start, sweep) -> quad
quad:DrawStyle(draw) -> quad
quad:Normals(normal) -> quad
quad:Orientation(orientation) -> quad
quad:Texture(texture) -> quad
quad:Sphere(radius, slices, stacks) -> quad

glu.NewNurbsRenderer() -> nurb
nurb:Callback(which, func) -> nurb
nurb:BeginCurve() -> nurb
nurb:BeginSurface() -> nurb
nurb:BeginTrim() -> nurb
nurb:EndCurve() -> nurb
nurb:EndSurface() -> nurb
nurb:EndTrim() -> nurb
nurb:Property(property, value)
nurb:Property(property) -> value
nurb:LoadSamplingMatrices (modelArray, perspectiveArray, viewArray) -> nurb
nurb:Curve(knotsArray, controlArray, type) -> nurb
nurb:Surface(sKnotsArray, tKnotsArray, controlArray2, type) -> nurb
nurb:PwlCurve(dataArray, type) -> nurb

Not Implemented  (GL)


Not Implemented  (GLU)


All the tessellation functions: