Archive for the 'bosca ceoil' Category

Bosca Ceoil v2.0


I’ve very happy to announce a brand new version of my beginner’s music making tool Bosca Ceoil! This is version 2.0, the first major update since it was released in 2013. This new version of the tool is a significant update, and adds lots of features and improvements. Head to to download it!

If you’re totally new to Bosca Ceoil, the new site should tell you everything you need to know about what it is and what it can do. If you’ve used it before, here’s what’s changed:


Midi and XM Support

A major problem that Bosca always had is that it was kind of a dead end: if you made a song with it, you could save it as a .ceol, or export it as a .wav – but that was that.

So one of the most important things that’s new is support for exporting as a midi file! Midi files are supported by lots of popular music applications, so this means that it’s now possible to, for example, use Bosca to compose the actual notes, and then later import the song into something like FLStudio so you can add VST instruments.

Also, in addition to midis, Bosca can now also export .XM files and .MML files, thanks to contributions by Rob Hunter!


Resizable Window

I made Bosca Ceoil the same way I make games – with a fixed resolution, running at 60FPS. Which is great for games, but not so good for an app that you might want to leave running in the background while you work on other stuff, say.

The new version of Bosca has a proper resizeable window, so you can see a lot more of the song you’re composing. It’s something it should have had all along, and it makes it infinitely nicer to work with!

It’s also gotten some major performance boosts with caching and CPU throttling, and is generally just much happier about running in the background than it used to be.


Nicer GUI

Bosca’s GUI has had a makeover. Things are generally brighter, clearer and more responsive!

Web Version

Thanks for Chris Kim, you can now use Bosca right in your web browser, without downloading anything! Try it here!


Built in Tutorial

At long last, Bosca has a built in tutorial, with nice, clear little pop up windows! This is something I’m really happy about – Bosca’s a beginner’s tool, and this does a lot to make it that bit more accessible.

Bosca Ceoil is a completely free, open source project, and I’m very grateful to the contributions others have made to it – especially Chris Kim for his flash web port, Rob Hunter for writing the .XM and .MML exporters, and Damien L, who forked Bosca back to Air 2.6 so that it could be used on Linux. Thank you so much for your help!

Hope you enjoy the new version!


Projects between projects


Boo, getting a little out of the habit of making blog posts again. Well, here’s what I’ve been up to!

My main project right now is my untitled stealthy action roguelike, which started for 7DRL and then got seriously out of hand.

I needed a break to do other stuff, but I’m trying to avoid my usual trap of starting lots of stuff that I never finish – so, I’m finishing stuff. I made a list of non-game stuff, and I’m working through it!

Bosca Ceoil Update:

Been adding some cool new features to this over the past week or so! Things to look forward to include: new file format support, performance increases, some nice interface additions like transpose buttons. I’m also hoping to include a built in tutorial, to replace the out of date online one and make it that bit more accessible to beginners.


DONE! This was a pretty fun thing to work on! I guess at some point I might do a little more work on it so that chatbots can face off against each other…

Super Hexagon Update:

Since it was getting pretty obvious I wasn’t going to get around to this myself, I put out a call for help. That’s going great!

A Programming Library:

I’ve been very won over by Haxe and OpenFL, which is what I’ve used for every game I’ve worked on this year. I wanna make a tiny programming library in it, aimed at beginners, which gives you a simple, BASIC like starting point for making games. That’s almost done! It’s actually part of another project I’ve been working on lately, namely:

A Programming Tutorial:

I’m thinking of calling it “Learn to Program Badly with Terry“. Or something else, probably.

There’s this message out there right now: “you can make video games even if you’re not a programmer!“. Which is very true! But it implies something about programming: that it’s a lot of work. That’s it too hard. That it’s somehow in the way of you and the game that you want to make.

I think this message, without intending to, scares people away from programming – people who might really enjoy it! Programming can be a lot of fun, and can give you a lot of freedom to approach things in new and unique ways. The problem is just that it’s really inaccessible. Getting started from nothing is tough, and it’s getting tougher.

Programming is a big subject, for sure, but the amount of it that you actually need to know to make stuff is surprisingly small, and isn’t as scary as a lot people make it out to be. So, I thought I’d have a go at making that case – a total beginners guide to game programming. Coming soon!


Oh, you meant that thing about blogging more

Hey hey! I guess I’m making good on my aim to blog a bit more this year, starting with this very boring post about coding and tools and stuff. Here goes!



I learnt to code flash games in actionscript at the end of 2008, and since then, it’s been what I’ve done the majority of my work in. Flash is great, and maybe doesn’t get enough credit for just how great it is. So it really sucks to think that maybe it doesn’t have much of a future.

A lot of forward thinking people out there have been saying that for a while, but last year is when I really started to see it myself. Most big sites don’t use flash any more. When you try to update flash these days, it tries to install weird extra toolbars and other software. And unless it’s completely up to date, browsers warn you that it’s a security risk before they’ll run a flash game. I think flash probably isn’t going anywhere just yet, but, yeah, the writing’s on the wall. It’s time to look for alternatives.

So, this past week, I’ve been learning how to use something called Haxe! It’s a high level language that compiles into flash SWFs, but also, somehow, to HTML5, to native PC, MAC and Linux builds, to iPhone, to Android, and to a bunch of other weird stuff. And thanks to a pretty amazing project called OpenFL, it’s extremely similar to flash – not so similar that you can just copy and paste, but similar enough that I ported my entire framework in less than a week.

I regret that it took me this long to try it out – Haxe is kinda magic. Sure, it’s not perfect, some stuff doesn’t work on all target platforms – yet – but it’s still evolving, and working in Haxe feels like getting in on the ground floor of something really special. I’m kinda blown away by it.

If you’re a flash developer, I think you should be looking seriously at Haxe. Very seriously.

(Here’s a good place to start.)

Bosca Ceoil:

Now that I’ve got the basics of Haxe up and running, I’m itching to make something small in it – but once I’ve done that, I’m thinking I’m going to take some time out to finally update Bosca Ceoil, and maybe make a substantially improved version.

I think the appeal of Bosca Ceoil is it’s restrictions: making music is scary and it’s hard to know where to even start. A lot of what makes Bosca Ceoil nice to use is that it simplifies lots of decisions for you: here’s an instrument, here’s a scale, don’t worry about such and such, etc etc. I think that’s pretty important, especially for people like me who find composing intimidating. That’s why I made it that way!

That said, there’s a bunch of stuff it restricts weirdly and unnecessarily, and I’d like to rethink that a bit and see if there’s another way I can approach things. If this ends up making it a substantially different feeling tool, then I might just end up making a whole new thing.

And one more thing:


Here’s the thing: as much fun as learning Haxe has been, honestly, I’d rather not code at all. Mostly, coding has always just felt like it’s in my way, like I have to figure out how to express what I’m trying to do in this weird form. What I’d *really* like to do is just make my own game dev tool, and work mostly in that. And like with Bosca Ceoil, I have some pretty specific ideas about how that would work that I don’t see other people doing. I added the tools section to my sidebar recently as a statement of intent – it’ll probably be a while before anything happens with this – but it’s something I’m thinking a lot about.


Bosca Ceoil for Linux

UPDATE: This blog post is for an old version of Bosca Ceoil, and is out of date! Bosca Ceoil v2.0 is available from here:


Yay! Thanks to awesome github user dlan-fr, Bosca Ceoil is available for Linux!

I haven’t tested this myself (I don’t have a linux installation at the moment), but it sounds like it should work. He’s ported it back to AIR 2.6, which was the last version of Adobe AIR supported on Linux.

[Download Linux .deb (v1.1)]
[Download Linux .rpm (v1.1)]
[Download Linux .tar.gz (v1.1)]

Here’s more info from dlan-fr:

I have tested it on Ubuntu linux and Linux mint, It seem to work properly. (minor some sound delay issue, see below for workaround).

the source code is available on GitHub, I have made some minor adjustments to the existing source code :

Some people could run into a sound delay issue, it seem it’s a bug in adobe air. Using this launcher script fix it (included in the package) :

For .tar.gz version, to run it :
[path-to-adobeairsdk]/bin/adl -nodebug [path-to-boscaceoil]/share/META-INF/AIR/application.xml [path-to-boscaceoil]/share/

more info for archlinux:


Bosca Ceoil v1.1

UPDATE: This blog post is for an old version of Bosca Ceoil, and is out of date! Bosca Ceoil v2.0 is available from here:


Bosca Ceoil is updated to version 1.1! Download links are in the original blog post.

So what’s new? Lots of stuff! You can zoom the arrangement view with the mouse wheel now! You can have pattern sizes up to 32 notes! It associates with .ceol files, so you can double click on files to load them! The full changelog is here, on github.

This version also adds support for the SiON library’s global effects, like delay, distortion, loads and loads of stuff. I can’t seem to figure out how to have more than one of these operational at a time though, so for this build at least, they’re implemented as a drop down menu. I’d really like to change that – if you know your way around the library, consider making a request on github!

Hope you’ve been having fun using this. I know I have!


Bosca Ceoil

UPDATE: This blog post is for an old version of Bosca Ceoil, and is out of date! Bosca Ceoil v2.0 is available from here:


I made a thing! It’s a simple music creation tool, called Bosca Ceoil (pronouced “bus-ka kyo-al”, Irish for “Music Box/Accordion”).

I made this because I find other music programs really confusing and distracting. Too many panels, buttons and knobs! I wanted something really simple, something designed to work the way I tend to create stuff – a process that I suppose I could best describe as: make something super simple, and keep tweaking it until it starts to get good.

Bosca Ceoil is all about looping, and designed that way at its heart. Songs are built up from lots of tiny 16 note patterns – the intended workflow is that you loop over these single patterns until you have something you like, then you start making variations. If you approach it this way, you’ll find it’s pretty decent at doing that – but it’s not very good at other things, like say, long melody lines. It is what it is! I made it for myself, and the way I work, but hopefully some of you out there will find it useful too. It’s free, and open source under the FreeBSD licence. If anyone wants to port it/fork it, go for it! It’s on github here.

[Download for Windows (v1.1)]
[Download for Mac (v1.1)]
(for Linux, more info here)

[Download AIR Installer (v1.1)]
[download adobe air]

It’s a pretty simple program, and only takes about five minutes to learn how to use. Here’s a tutorial to get you started!

(if Bosca Ceoil is too much of a mouthful, feel free to just call it Bosca)


Bosca Ceoil #screenshotsaturday


Sometimes I wonder why I bother making plans, I never seem to stick to them anyway.

I’m on holiday at the moment, but still trying to chip away at Isothingy. I haven’t made a soundtrack yet, but I’ve been working on it – sort of. Decided that I didn’t really like any existing music tools, so I’d have a go at making my own. It’s actually going really well – maybe even well enough to be useful to more than just myself when it’s finished.