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What's this?

This is a live-coding tool, where you can write a 2D fragment/pixel shader while it is running in the background.


The tool was originally conceived and implemented after the Revision 2014 demoscene party's live coding competition where two contestants improv-code an effect in 25 minutes head-to-head. Wanna see how it looks in action? Check

Where to get? / Binary builds

Fresh builds of Bonzomatic will always be available at


  • F2: toggle texture preview
  • F5 or Ctrl-R: recompile shader
  • Ctrl-[/]: adjust text background transparency
  • F11 or Ctrl/Cmd-f: hide shader overlay
  • Alt-F4 or Shift+Escape: exbobolate your planet


On Windows, both DirectX 9 and 11 are supported.

For the OpenGL version (for any platform), at least OpenGL 4.1 is required.

On recent macOS, to allow sound input to be captured (for FFT textures to be generated), you need to: Open up System Preferences, click on Security & Privacy, click on the Privacy tab then click on the Microphone menu item. Make sure is in the list and ticked.


You can configure Bonzomatic by creating a config.json and placing it next to the binary executable you're planning to run in the working directory for the binary; Bonzomatic will helpfully print this directory out for you when you run it, and you can also pass a file (with absolute or relative path, whichever you want) as parameter to the executable to load any other file as config.json. This allows you to have multiple configurations for multiple situations.

The file can have the following contents: (all fields are optional)

  "skipSetupDialog": true, // If true, setup dialog will be suppressed - all values you provide below will be used without validation (at your own risk!)
  "window":{ // default window size / state; if there's a setup dialog, it will override it
  "audio":{ // default audio device settings; if there's a setup dialog, it will override it
    "useInput":false, // if true, use line-in/mic/...; if false, attempt to create a loopback device and use stereo out
  "font":{ // all paths in the file are also relative to the binary, but again, can be absolute paths if that's more convenient
    "fftSmoothFactor": 0.9, // 0.0 means there's no smoothing at all, 1.0 means the FFT is completely smoothed flat
    "fftAmplification": 1.0, // 1.0 means no change, larger values will result in brighter/stronger bands, smaller values in darker/weaker ones
  "textures":{ // the keys below will become the shader variable names
    "outputHeight": 200,
    "opacity": 192, // 255 means the editor occludes the effect completely, 0 means the editor is fully transparent
    "texturePreviewWidth": 64,
    "spacesForTabs": false,
    "tabSize": 8,
    "visibleWhitespace": true,
    "autoIndent": "smart", // can be "none", "preserve" or "smart"
    "scrollXFactor": 1.0, // if horizontal scrolling is too slow you can speed it up here (or change direction)
    "scrollYFactor": 1.0, // if vertical scrolling is too slow you can speed it up here (or change direction)
  "midi":{ // the keys below will become the shader variable names, the values are the CC numbers
    "fMidiKnob": 16, // e.g. this would be CC#16, i.e. by default the leftmost knob on a nanoKONTROL 2
  // this section is if you want to enable NDI streaming; otherwise just ignore it
    "enabled": true,
    "connectionString": "<ndi_product something=\"123\"/>", // metadata sent to the receiver; completely optional
    "identifier": "hello!", // device identifier; must be unique, also helps source discovery/identification in the receiver if there are multiple sources on the network
    "frameRate": 60.0, // frames per second
    "progressive": true, // progressive or interleaved?
  // this section is if you want to customise colors to your liking
    "text": "FFFFFF", // color format is "RRGGBB" or "AARRGGBB" in hexadecimal
    "comment": "00FF00",
    "number": "FF8000",
    "op": "FFCC00",
    "keyword": "FF6600",
    "type": "00FFFF",
    "builtin": "44FF88",
    "preprocessor": "C0C0C0",
    "selection": "C06699CC", // background color when selecting text
    "charBackground": "C0000000", // if set, this value will be used (instead of gui opacity) behind characters
  "postExitCmd":"copy_to_dropbox.bat" // this command gets ran when you quit Bonzomatic, and the shader filename gets passed to it as first parameter. Use this to take regular backups.

Automatic shader backup

If you want the shader to be backed up once you quit Bonzomatic, you can use the above postExitCmd parameter in the config, and use a batch file like this:

@echo off
REM ### cf.
for /f "tokens=2 delims==" %%a in ('wmic OS Get localdatetime /value') do set "dt=%%a"
set "YY=%dt:~2,2%" & set "YYYY=%dt:~0,4%" & set "MM=%dt:~4,2%" & set "DD=%dt:~6,2%"
set "HH=%dt:~8,2%" & set "Min=%dt:~10,2%" & set "Sec=%dt:~12,2%"
copy %1 X:\MyShaderBackups\%YYYY%%MM%%DD%-%HH%%Min%%Sec%.glsl

This will copy the shader timestamped into a specified folder.

A similar script for Linux and OSX would be:

cp "$1" "~/MyShaderBackups/shader-$(date +%s).glsl"

To have this script run on exit, make sure your postExitCmd has a ./ before the script name.


As you can see you're gonna need CMAKE for this, but don't worry, a lot of it is automated at this point.


Use at least Visual C++ 2010. For the DX9/DX11 builds, obviously you'll be needing a DirectX SDK, though a lot of it is already in the Windows 8.1 SDK as well.


cmake should take care of everything:

mkdir build && cd build
cmake -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release ../
cmake --build .

The bundle, resulting from the compilation, should be found in ./build/ You can place it anywhere. We do NOT recommend putting it in /Applications. Bonzomatic is looking for config.json files and resources living at the same level of the app.


You'll need xorg-dev, libasound2-dev and libglu1-mesa-dev; after that cmake should take care of the rest:

apt install xorg-dev libglu1-mesa-dev libasound2-dev cmake
cd Bonzomatic
cmake .
make install


Xenocara contains all required components. Hack away with

cmake .

or use the port

cd /usr/ports/graphics/bonzomatic
make install

Organizing a competition

If you want to organize a competition using Bonzomatic at your party, here's a handy-dandy guide on how to get started:

Credits and acknowledgements

Original / parent project authors

Libraries and other included software

These software are available under their respective licenses.

The remainder of this project code was (mostly, I guess) written by Gargaj / Conspiracy and is public domain. OSX / macOS maintenance and ports by Alkama / Tpolm + Calodox; Linux maintenance by PoroCYon / K2.

Contact / discussion forum

If you have anything to say, do it at or Join the chat at