The best way to get started working with BLOCKS is to get a Developer Kit, which includes a Lightpad Block and a special controller called Control Block, with 8 switches numbered 0-7 and a dual button “-/+”. Buy a Developer Kit A
ROLI BLOCKS is an open-ended music creation system. The modular music studio grows as more Blocks are connected together. There are limitless possibilities for shaping sounds and building songs. And the apps that people use to shape their sounds will grow as more developers create more apps.
ROLI invites all C++ developers to build apps for BLOCKS. You will find below a few examples of the types of apps that can be built.
By opening up the API of BLOCKS, ROLI welcomes the global developer community to help build the future of BLOCKS.
Anyone can shape music with BLOCKS
Each individual Block offers unique capabilities to interact with software. You can connect the Blocks together to create customizable kits that suit any skill level or musical style. You build your instrument as you go, adding more Blocks to do more things. To get started using the whole system, try NOISE, our free app for iPhones and iPads.
BLOCKS is made up of the NOISE app, Live Block, Loop Block and the Lightpad Block – which is the center of the BLOCKS system. The Lightpad Block is a pressure-responsive playable surface that responds to Five Dimensions of Touch. Glowing grids guide you to find notes, make beats, and play melodies and harmonies.
Ready to hack the Lightpad? It’s quick and simple, you can get started right away.
The SDK is distributed standalone and as part of the JUCE framework. Each has a Visual Studio project, Xcode project and a Linux Makefile to compile the application for the platform of your choice. Start by choosing one of the following.
The SDK is distributed standalone and as part of the JUCE framework, which can be obtained from GitHub here, or from the JUCE website. Each has a Visual Studio project, Xcode project and a Linux Makefile to compile the application for the platform of your choice.
On Windows you will need to install Visual Studio (the free Community version is sufficient).
On MacOS you will need to install XCode.
The standalone SDK is licensed under the permissive ISC license.
The JUCE framework is licensed under GPL. Click here for the terms of the license.
Note: To release closed source apps that use JUCE, you will need to purchase a license.
Littlefoot is a programming language developed specifically for BLOCKS, which can be used within the BLOCKS Dashboard software.
Littlefoot contains basic functions allowing dynamic control of the 15 x 15 LED grid of the Lightpad, customise the touch interaction, send and receive MIDI messages, and support multiple devices interconnected.
Click here for a descriptive list of Littlefoot functions.
Controlling and repainting the Lightpad
int makeARGB (int alpha, int red, int green, int blue);
int blendARGB (int baseColour, int overlaidColour)
void fillPixel (int rgb, int x, int y);
void blendPixel (int argb, int x, int y);
void fillRect (int rgb, int x, int y, int width, int height);
void blendRect (int argb, int x, int y, int width, int height);
void blendGradientRect (int colourNW, int colourNE, int colourSE, int colourSW, int x, int y, int width, int height);
A JUCE application that turns your Lightpad Block into a drawing surface. Choose from a palette of 9 base colours and paint them onto the 15×15 LED grid, blending between colours using varying touch pressures.
View the example: examples/BLOCKS/BlocksDrawing/
Run the example: JUCE/examples/BLOCKS/BlocksDrawing/build/.
A JUCE application that turns your Lightpad Block into a simple monophonic synthesizer. Capable of playing 4 different wave shapes – sine, square, saw tooth and triangle- track the sinewaves on the Lightpad Block too.
View the example: examples/BLOCKS/BlocksSynth/
Run the example: JUCE/examples/BLOCKS/BlocksSynth/build/.
Cycling ’74’s Max now offers a toolkit for designing interfaces and interactions with BLOCKS without coding. Every BLOCKS purchase comes with a free three-month Max subscription. Max is compatible with both Mac and Windows.
First, download Max from the Cycling ’74 website here. You will find the code for your 3-month Max license in your ROLI account page after registering your Block and can enter this on your Max account page to activate your license.
The video below shows this process as well as how to download the BLOCKS Package in Max, connect your BLOCKS via USB and test that things are working properly:
Max for Live
BLOCKS is now compatible with Max for Live, allowing you to easily and seamlessly use BLOCKS objects in Max to create custom controllers for Ableton. Check out the videos below for a tutorial on how to get started building interfaces for BLOCKS hardware and an example of the FM drum synth that can be found in the BLOCKS package working in Max for Live:
To get started exploring the possibilities of BLOCKS…