Programming language: C++
License: GNU Lesser General Public License v3.0 only
Tags: Game Development    
Latest version: v3.2.2

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HARFANG® 3D engine

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HARFANG®3D is an all-in-one 3D visualization library usable in C++, Python, Lua and Go.

Table of contents
  1. About
  2. Download
  3. Building the SDK
  4. Using the C++ SDK
  5. Version
  6. License


HARFANG®3D is an easy-to-adapt, cross-platform, multi-language, powerful and optimized solution to integrate with embedded systems, into existing environments and combining features to meet the industrial standards of real-time 3D imaging.

The HARFANG®3D architecture makes it easy to meet the requirements for hardware integration, display performance and security.

HARFANG®3D is written in C++ and is based on the open-source bgfx library supporting Vulkan, Metal, DirectX (from 9 to 12), OpenGL and OpenGL ES. It Builds on Windows, Linux, Intel and ARM.


Platforms supported

  • Win32 and Win64 Intel
  • Linux 64 Intel
  • Aarch 64 ARM

Scene API

  • Node & component based
  • Performance oriented

Rendering pipeline

  • Low-spec PBR rendering pipeline
  • High-spec 'AAA' rendering pipeline (screen space GI & reflection)
  • Support of user pipeline shaders


  • VR support via OpenVR/SteamVR with Eye tracking
  • Compatible with the HTC Vive/Vive Pro, Valve Index, Lenovo Explorer, Oculus Rift S

Physics API

  • Rigid bodies, collisions, mechanical constraints, ray casting

Audio API

  • Play/stream WAV/OGG formats
  • 3D audio spatialization ## Screenshots

The following screenshots were captured on a 1080GTX in 1080P running at 60FPS.

alt text

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(Sun Temple, courtesy of the Open Research Content Archive (ORCA))


You can download the HARFANG binaries from the official website: https://dev.harfang3d.com/releases

Build the SDK


  • Git
  • CMake 3.19+
  • CPython 3.2+
  • Go 1+ (for Harfang Go module)
  • Doxygen (for Harfang C++ SDK documentation)


  • Visual Studio 2019 (C++ compiler and IDE)
  • MinGW (for Harfang Go module)


  • GCC 9 or above
  • CLang


  1. Clone the Harfang 3D repository including its submodules.

    git clone --recursive -j8 https://github.com/harfang3d/harfang3d.git
    cd harfang3d
  2. Create build directory. Note that the described directory layout is not mandatory.

    mkdir build
    cd build
  3. Clone Fabgen.

    git clone https://github.com/ejulien/FABGen.git
  4. Download and install Autodesk FBX SDK.

  5. Create a directory that will hold the build system generated by CMake.

    mkdir cmake
    cd cmake
  6. Generate the build system using CMake. For example, on Windows it will be:

    cmake ../.. -G "Visual Studio 16 2019" -A x64 \
        -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX:PATH="D:/harfang/build/install" \
        -DPYTHON_EXECUTABLE:FILEPATH="C:/Python36/python.exe" \
        -DHG_FABGEN_PATH:PATH="D:/harfang/build/fabgen" \
* `CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX` specifies the directory where the Harfang SDK will installed.
* `PYTHON_EXECUTABLE` is the path the Python 3 interpreter.
* `FABGEN_PATH` is the path to Fabgen binding generator.
* `HG_FBX_SDK` is the path to Autodesk FBX SDK.

Here is the list of available CMake options.

* __C++ SDK__
    * `HG_BUILD_CPP_SDK` : Build C++ SDK (default: __OFF__).
    * `HG_BUILD_TESTS`   : Build C++ SDK unit tests (default: __OFF__).
    * `HG_BUILD_DOCS`    : Build API and C++ SDK documentations (default: __OFF__).
    * `HG_ENABLE_BULLET3_SCENE_PHYSICS` : Enable Bullet physics API (default: __ON__).
    * `HG_ENABLE_RECAST_DETOUR_API` : Enable Recast/Detour navigation mesh and path finding API (default: __ON__).
    * `HG_ENABLE_OPENVR_API`   : Enable OpenVR API (default: __OFF__).
    * `HG_ENABLE_SRANIPAL_API` : Enable VIVE Eye and Facial Tracking SDK (SRanipal) API (default: __OFF__).
* __Tools__
    * `HG_BUILD_ASSETC`             : Build AssetC asset compiler (default: __ON__).
    * `HG_BUILD_ASSIMP_CONVERTER`   : Build Assimp based 3D model converter (default: __ON__).
    * `HG_BUILD_FBX_CONVERTER`      : Build FBX converter (default: __ON__).
    * `HG_BUILD_GLTF_IMPORTER`      : Build GLTF importer (default: __ON__).
    * `HG_BUILD_GLTF_EXPORTER`      : Build GLTF exporter (default: __ON__).
* __Bindings__
    * `HG_BUILD_HG_LUA`     : Build Harfang LUA module (default: __OFF__).
    * `HG_BUILD_HG_PYTHON`  : Build Harfang Python module (wheel) (default: __OFF__).
    * `HG_BUILD_HG_GO`      : Build Harfang GO module (default: __OFF__).

  1. Build the SDK.

    cmake --build . --config Release --target INSTALL

    Note: On Linux you will need to explicitly specify the build type with -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release

    Depending on the set of option passed to CMake the install directory will contain the following subdirectories:

    • cppsdk : Harfang C++ SDK.
    • hg_python : Harfang Python module.
    • hg_lua : Harfang LUA module.
    • hg_go : Harfang Go module.
    • assetc : Asset compiler.
    • assimp_converter : Assimp 3D model converter.
    • fbx_converter : FBX converter.
    • gltf_importer : GLTF importer.
    • gltf_exporter : GLTF exporter.

Notes on Visual Studio Code

  1. Install the CMakeTools extension.

  2. Copy the harfang/.vscode/template_settings.json file to harfang/.vscode/settings.json and edit it to reflect your local installation.

  3. Open the harfang folder in Visual Studio Code. CMakeTools should succesfully configure the project.

Use the SDK

The Harfang C++ SDK directory cppsdk contains the following:

  • bin : depending on the configuration used, this directory contains either a Release or Debug subdirectory with all the shared libraries.
  • lib : like the bin directory, it contains a subdirectories named after the configuration used during build (Release or Debug) with all the generated static libraries.
  • include : contains all the C++ include files of Harfang public API.
  • cmake : contains the CMake configuration files.

To add the Harfang C++ SDK to your CMake project, just add the following to the CMakeLists.txt file:

find_package(harfang REQUIRED
    COMPONENTS cppsdk

with HG_CPPSDK_PATH the path to the cppsdk directory. For example, if we follow the directory layout given above, it will be D:/harfang/build/install/cppsdk.

Targets should link against the following libraries.

  • hg::engine
  • hg::foundation
  • hg::platform
  • hg::libluadll

The install_cppsdk_dependencies function installs the Harfang C++ SDK shared libraries dependencies.

install_cppsdk_dependencies(destination component)
  • destination : is the library where the shared libraries will be installed.
  • component : installation component name.


Harfang follows the Semantic Versioning Specification (SemVer) (http://semver.org).

Given a version number MAJOR.MINOR.PATCH, increment the:

  • MAJOR version when you make incompatible API changes,
  • MINOR version when you add functionality in a backwards-compatible manner, and
  • PATCH version when you make backwards-compatible bug fixes.


Harfang is licensed under the GPLv3, LGPLv3 and a commercial license: https://www.harfang3d.com/license

More screenshots...

alt text

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(Sun Temple, courtesy of the Open Research Content Archive (ORCA))

alt text

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(Bistro, courtesy of the Open Research Content Archive (ORCA))

alt text

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(Sponza Atrium GLTF, courtesy of Crytek/Themaister)

*Note that all licence references and agreements mentioned in the Harfang3D README section above are relevant to that project's source code only.