How To Get Gbloink!


Just did a major overhaul of Gbloink! in the Browser.

(Thanks ChatGPT ;-)

What was changed :

  • Translated from CoffeeScript to a modern, human-friendly Javascript.
  • The old MIDI.js library which was based on very heavy collections of samples, has now been replaced with WebAudio TinySynth a small GM synth implemented with WebAudio. This is much better. It's lighter, and has the full 127 GM sounds. Although the sounds aren't as high-quality as today's professional sample-based instruments, Gbloink! is always much better when each ball plays a distinctively different instrument from the others. And cheap multitimbral GM is better than just a sampled piano. (Which is what the old Gbloink! in the Browser used)
  • The UI and page design, while not perfect, has been improved. And the Gbloink! controls are more like the original Windows version of the program. If you've used that, this should feel much more familiar.

In summary, it's actually quite fun to play, and sounds quite good now.

Play it here

See the source-code here

Also in 2023. I've been talking to ChatGPT a lot about Gbloink!. In most experiments I've been getting GPT to translate the code from one language to another. Or make improvements. But I did one experiment where I got it to rewrite the whole bouncing balls and moving blocks interaction from scratch in Python. It was very impressive.

There's been an ongoing project for quite some time, to rewrite Gbloink! as an Android app. And I think, partly thanks to GPT's help, I'm very close to that. In fact there are now already two distinct versions / codebases. One in Python/Kivy. One in Kotlin, which I think is the way I'm going to go forward in future.

What's still holding me up is the audio synthesis part. Android isn't great for this. There's no default GM-type synths in the standard library. And you have to drop down to C++ to achieve anything vaguely decent in terms of real-time synthesis. I also have some further ambitions to evolve the program in a slightly more sophisticated direction, which includes more synthesis. In summary, the long anticipated Gbloink! on the phone IS still coming. And when it comes, it will be significantly interestingly different. But no hard release date (or year) yet. ;-)

In the meantime, Gbloink! in the Browser works fine on Android devices. Though not really optimised for the small screen of phones.


I managed to get the original Gbloink! 1.5 talking to my DAW.

This was thanks to CoolSoft's Virtual Midi Synth and MIDI mapper. Plus LoopBe1

This makes a huge difference in sound quality. And it means you can record what you are improvising to the piano-roll. So you can edit and adapt it later. IMHO this makes the original Gbloink! (from 1997 but still running on Windows) much more interesting and useful.


2020 is a year I'm returning to work on Gbloink! and some other ArtToys.

I'm going to try to set a faster pace of iterative development of both a new Gbloink! and some other experimental musical toys. Some of which I'm using with the Brasilia Laptop Orchestra and NĂ´made Lab and in other live interactive generative music projects.

The first new release is a version of Gbloink! now written in Processing using my ArtToys Version 1 library and the recently released Processing Sound library. This, in principle, lets us create stand-alone Java programs that can run on all three of the main desktop operating systems. Plus Android.

Currently there are downloads for Windows and Linux. I need to find someone with a Mac to compile the Mac version. Android is scheduled too, further down the line. Gbloink! on a tablet is, of course, a holy grail.

Gbloink! Windows 32bit version » (Should also run OK on 64 bit)

Gbloink! Linux 32bit version » (Should also run OK on 64 bit)

Note that unlike earlier versions of Gbloink! I've chosen not to let the user create and destroy obstacles. In this version a large number of blocks are created as a top / bottom border. And then the user can drag into the main play area and arrange them to create the "score".


There was an experimental in-browser version in CoffeeScript, using the MIDI.js library. Unfortunately it only has a piano sound and really needs porting to something more up-to-date. But it's the easiest way to get a feel for playing with Gbloink!

Gbloink! in the browser »

Source on GitHub (GPL3) »


Gbloink! was originally written in Visual Basic in 1997. It may still run on your Windows machine but is no longer supported. Gbloink! 1.5 was the more stable, reliable release. 1.8 was larger, more experimental, with more features, but less coherence.

Gbloink! 1.5 »

Gbloink! 1.8 (experimental!) »