The application we have now successfully draws a triangle, but there are some circumstances that it isn't handling properly yet. It is possible for the window surface to change such that the swap chain is no longer compatible with it. One of the reasons that could cause this to happen is the size of the window changing. We have to catch these events and recreate the swap chain.

Recreating the swap chain

Create a new recreateSwapChain function that calls createSwapChain and all of the creation functions for the objects that depend on the swap chain or the window size.

void recreateSwapChain() {


We first call vkDeviceWaitIdle, because just like in the last chapter, we shouldn't touch resources that may still be in use. Obviously, the first thing we'll have to do is recreate the swap chain itself. The image views need to be recreated because they are based directly on the swap chain images. The render pass needs to be recreated because it depends on the format of the swap chain images. Viewport and scissor rectangle size is specified during graphics pipeline creation, so the pipeline also needs to be rebuilt. It is possible to avoid this by using dynamic state for the viewports and scissor rectangles. Finally, the framebuffers and command buffers also directly depend on the swap chain images.

Because of our handy VDeleter construct, most of the functions will work fine for recreation and will automatically clean up the old objects. However, the createSwapChain and createCommandBuffers functions still need some adjustments.

VkSwapchainKHR oldSwapChain = swapChain;
createInfo.oldSwapchain = oldSwapChain;

VkSwapchainKHR newSwapChain;
if (vkCreateSwapchainKHR(device, &createInfo, nullptr, &newSwapChain) != VK_SUCCESS) {
    throw std::runtime_error("failed to create swap chain!");

swapChain = newSwapChain;

We need to pass the previous swap chain object in the oldSwapchain parameter of VkSwapchainCreateInfoKHR to indicate that we intend to replace it. The old swap chain needs to stick around until after the new swap chain has been created, which means that we can't directly write the new handle to swapChain. The VDeleter would clear the old object before vkCreateSwapchainKHR has a chance to execute. That's why we use the temporary newSwapChain variable.

swapChain = newSwapChain;

This line will actually destroy the old swap chain and replace the handle with the handle of the new swap chain.

The problem with createCommandBuffers is that it doesn't free the old command buffers. There are two ways to solve this:

  • Call createCommandPool as well, which will automatically free the old command buffers
  • Extend createCommandBuffers to free any previous command buffers

As there isn't really a need to recreate the command pool itself, I've chosen to go for the second solution in this tutorial.

if (commandBuffers.size() > 0) {
    vkFreeCommandBuffers(device, commandPool, commandBuffers.size(),;


The createCommandBuffers function now first checks if the commandBuffers vector already contains previous command buffers, and if so, frees them. That's all it takes to recreate the swap chain!

Window resizing

Now we just need to figure out when swap chain recreation is necessary and call our new recreateSwapChain function. One of the most common conditions is resizing of the window. Let's make the window resizable and catch that event. Change the initWindow function to no longer include the GLFW_RESIZABLE line or change its argument from GLFW_FALSE to GLFW_TRUE.

void initWindow() {

    glfwWindowHint(GLFW_CLIENT_API, GLFW_NO_API);

    window = glfwCreateWindow(WIDTH, HEIGHT, "Vulkan", nullptr, nullptr);

    glfwSetWindowUserPointer(window, this);
    glfwSetWindowSizeCallback(window, HelloTriangleApplication::onWindowResized);


static void onWindowResized(GLFWwindow* window, int width, int height) {
    if (width == 0 || height == 0) return;

    HelloTriangleApplication* app = reinterpret_cast<HelloTriangleApplication*>(glfwGetWindowUserPointer(window));

The glfwSetWindowSizeCallback function can be used to specify a callback for the window resize event. Unfortunately it only accepts a function pointer as argument, so we can't directly use a member function. Luckily GLFW allows us to store an arbitrary pointer in the window object with glfwSetWindowUserPointer, so we can specify a static class member and get the original class instance back with glfwGetWindowUserPointer. We can then proceed to call recreateSwapChain, but only if the size of the window is non-zero. This case occurs when the window is minimized and it will cause swap chain creation to fail.

Suboptimal or out-of-date swap chain

It is also possible for Vulkan to tell us that the swap chain is no longer compatible during presentation. The vkAcquireNextImageKHR and vkQueuePresentKHR functions can return the following special values to indicate this.

  • VK_ERROR_OUT_OF_DATE_KHR: The swap chain has become incompatible with the surface and can no longer be used for rendering.
  • VK_SUBOPTIMAL_KHR: The swap chain can still be used to successfully present to the surface, but the surface properties are no longer matched exactly. For example, the platform may be simply resizing the image to fit the window now.
VkResult result = vkAcquireNextImageKHR(device, swapChain, std::numeric_limits<uint64_t>::max(), imageAvailableSemaphore, VK_NULL_HANDLE, &imageIndex);

if (result == VK_ERROR_OUT_OF_DATE_KHR) {
} else if (result != VK_SUCCESS && result != VK_SUBOPTIMAL_KHR) {
    throw std::runtime_error("failed to acquire swap chain image!");

If the swap chain turns out to be out of date when attempting to acquire an image, then it is no longer possible to present to it. Therefore we should immediately recreate the swap chain and try again in the next drawFrame call.

You could also decide to do that if the swap chain is suboptimal, but I've chosen to proceed anyway in that case because we've already acquired an image. Both VK_SUCCESS and VK_SUBOPTIMAL_KHR are considered "success" return codes.

result = vkQueuePresentKHR(presentQueue, &presentInfo);

if (result == VK_ERROR_OUT_OF_DATE_KHR || result == VK_SUBOPTIMAL_KHR) {
} else if (result != VK_SUCCESS) {
    throw std::runtime_error("failed to present swap chain image!");

The vkQueuePresentKHR function returns the same values with the same meaning. In this case we will also recreate the swap chain if it is suboptimal, because we want the best possible result. Try to run it and resize the window to see if the framebuffer is indeed resized properly with the window.

Congratulations, you've now finished your very first well-behaved Vulkan program! In the next chapter we're going to get rid of the hardcoded vertices in the vertex shader and actually use a vertex buffer.

C++ code / Vertex shader / Fragment shader