Create & destroy on an unimaginable scale... with a space simulator that merges real-time gravity, climate, collision, and material interactions to reveal the beauty of our universe and the fragility of our planet. Includes VR support for HTC Vive, Oculus Rift+Touch, and Windows Mixed Reality.
Recent Reviews:
Very Positive (72) - 87% of the 72 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
All Reviews:
Very Positive (5,903) - 93% of the 5,903 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date:
Aug 24, 2015

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Early Access Game

Get instant access and start playing; get involved with this game as it develops.

Note: This Early Access game is not complete and may or may not change further. If you are not excited to play this game in its current state, then you should wait to see if the game progresses further in development. Learn more

What the developers have to say:

Why Early Access?

“Universe Sandbox ² is in active development, but it's already a fully-featured, stable, and smooth-running space simulator.

We're proud of what we have to show, and we know many fans are eager to explore and experiment with the universe.

We're constantly working on features, improvements, and bug fixes, and we release frequent updates.”

Approximately how long will this game be in Early Access?

“It's hard to give an accurate estimate. Building a universe simulator is a job that's never complete.

We have a long list of features and improvements that we're very excited about implementing, and which will keep us busy for a long time to come.”

How is the full version planned to differ from the Early Access version?

“Some of the features and improvements we'd like to add:
  • Space megastructures
  • Basic life simulation
  • Support for custom models & textures
  • More dynamic terraforming & improved climate simulation
  • Missions & objectives
  • Steam Workshop support Sharing sims on Workshop now included
  • Achievements
  • Language localization Support for 20+ languages now included
  • Improved human-scale mode
  • More intuitive VR experience with features equal to desktop version

What is the current state of the Early Access version?

“It is already a fully-featured, stable, and smooth-running simulator.

We've fixed most of the serious issues and have made a lot of progress on optimizations for a range of hardware. Because it is a large-scale sandbox, though, it does have its share of bugs and could use polish in some areas.

The VR version of Universe Sandbox ² is a more recent update, and we are working on adding more features and functionality to match the amount of control and fine-tuning that is possible in the desktop version.”

Will the game be priced differently during and after Early Access?

“The price will increase as major features are added in the future.”

How are you planning on involving the Community in your development process?

“We actively seek community feedback from the in-game feedback as well as from our forums and social media.

Community feedback helps us prioritize our long list of planned features and focus on fixing the worst bugs and issues. We make an effort to address every issue that comes our way.

We also add simulations and features based on community requests, like the addition of custom-colored planets, and an index for the likelihood of life on planets.

We recently added support for sharing simulations on Steam Workshop. In the future, we hope to also support custom models and textures to open up even more doors to the community's creativity.”
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Recent updates View all (71)

August 20

Galactic Clean-Up | Update 23.1

This update adds a bunch of improvements and fixes to the galaxy simulation, making for more stable and accurate galaxies and better collisions. There’s also a new and improved Introduction tutorial and a new simulation of 2019 OK, the near-Earth asteroid that surprised astronomers when it was observed just a day before it flew past us on July 25, 2019.

Some more highlights from Update 23.1:
  • Improved handling for galaxies & smaller-scale objects
  • More accurate galaxy masses
  • New galaxy Star Count property
  • New Teleport tool
  • Many smaller improvements & bug fixes
The new Introduction is designed for anyone who is just getting started with Universe Sandbox, but we encourage even the most seasoned creators and destroyers to check it out:
Home > Guides > Introduction

And have you tried the galaxy tutorial yet? It’ll show you how to get the most out of the new galaxies:
Home > Guides > Exploring New Galaxies

Check our a full list of What's New in Update 23.1
6 comments Read more

August 9

Surface Grids & Lasers | DevLog #8

GIF: Filling in the Moon’s craters with ice. 

Here’s our round eight DevLog on the development status of Surface Grids and Lasers. Thanks for everyone’s patience with this blog post. We took a little break from Surface Grids to talk about our work on Magic Leap in our last post -- check it out to see planets bouncing off of walls and our new, floating user interface. And if you haven’t seen them yet, check out the previous Surface Grids DevLogs #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, and #7.

A primer on Surface Grids for anyone not familiar:
It’s a feature we’re developing for Universe Sandbox that makes it possible to simulate values locally across the surface of an object. In effect, it allows for more detailed and accurate surface simulation and more dynamic and interactive surface visuals. It also makes it possible to add tools like the laser, which is essentially just a fun way of heating up localized areas of a surface.

Keep in mind this is a development log for a work-in-progress feature. Anything discussed or shown may not be representative of the final release state of Surface Grids. Read: Surface Grids & Lasers are not yet available in Universe Sandbox! To make this more clear, we’re now calling these posts DevLogs instead of Dev Updates.

Random Improvements

Everyone likes Earth and the rest of the cool, popular planets that make up our Solar System, but sometimes you want something a little different. That’s why we have the randomly generated planets. And with Surface Grids, the randomly generated planets are getting a little makeover.

We now have new textures and new elevation maps (which you can now see in the data map) that spruce these up and make them more unique. And we have further plans to improve how these are generated to widen the range of possibilities and customization.

Water Your Planet

It’s been possible for a while now to add water to planets in Universe Sandbox. But it’s never looked so good as it does with Surface Grids.

The key components to this improvement are great examples of what make Surface Grids an awesome and powerful new feature. It’s all about the localized data: First, you can see that the water spreads locally. Before Surface Grids, water would just fill in across the whole surface, regardless of where it hit. Second, you can see the direct correlation between elevation and water level. This was sort of possible pre-Surface Grids, but now there’s a data map for both of these that makes it even easier to see this in action (see screenshot below). And third, you can see the water freeze and the ice melt locally as well. That’s the nice localized temperature part of it.

Watch Your Step
Detouring from how awesome Surface Grids is, let’s look at one of its fundamental challenges. As with most simulation features in Universe Sandbox, Surface Grids has to battle against the simulation time step (the rate at which the simulation runs, for example 10 days per real-time second). We know that it would be awesome if you could just set the time step to whatever rate you wanted and it would just work, but that’s unfortunately not possible, at least not without sacrificing accuracy.

This fact is most obvious with gravity simulation in Universe Sandbox. The simulation automatically sets a limit to how fast the time step can go while still maintaining relatively accurate orbits. And if you try to set it faster than this limit, you’ll see a message that it’s not safe to do so. For Surface Grids, we’ll need to add a similar warning system, as it too has a limit for accurate results.

A good example of time step limits for Surface Grids is in the simulation of water flow. This is simulated by moving X volume of water from one cell to its neighboring cell each step. The maximum volume of water that can be moved in each step is the maximum volume contained in that cell -- it can’t transfer water that it doesn’t have. So if you’re running at a time step that is already moving the maximum amount of water and you try to increase the time step further, the data starts to get a little weird.

We have some ideas for improving this, but ultimately there’s no way around time step limits. Our hope is that we can make a smooth experience by communicating where these limits are while allowing you to exceed them at the risk of accuracy loss.

What’s Next
We’re feeling really good about our progress on the Surface Grids feature. Now that we have the visuals and systems working for random planets, it’s time to turn to planetoids and gas giants. We also want to work on visualization for vapor, but that’s one of the few remaining items that still need a connection between data and graphics.

There are some more apparent issues to work through yet, too, like getting water levels to initialize properly on Earth. Then there are the new elements of the user interface (UI) that we’ve designed but have yet to add, and some questions about UI interaction that come up as we continue to play around with Surface Grids. And of course there are the inevitable giant bugs running around that have to be squashed.

All of this will definitely keep us busy, but the pile of tasks gets smaller every day as we get closer to releasing an experimental build and getting out the official update. We still can’t say when either of these will come yet -- we thank you for your patience.

We’re also still working on a smaller update that will introduce some improvements and bug fixes for the new galaxies added in Update 23, plus a new introductory experience. Hopefully we’ll have this ready soon!
27 comments Read more
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About This Game

Universe Sandbox ² is a physics-based space simulator that allows you to create, destroy, and interact on an unimaginable scale.

It merges real-time gravity, climate, collision, and material interactions to reveal the beauty of our universe and the fragility of our planet.

Universe Sandbox ² includes the desktop version and a VR mode with support for the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift+Touch, and Windows Mixed Reality.

Simulate Gravity

N-body simulation at almost any speed using Newtonian mechanics. Real science, real physics, no supercomputer required.

Collide Planets & Stars

Epic, mind blowing collisions of massive planetary bodies that leave behind molten craters.

Create Your Own Systems

Start with a star, then add a planet. Spruce it up with moons, rings, comets, or even a black hole.

Model Earth's Climate

Watch sea ice grow and recede with the seasons because of the tilt of the Earth: change the tilt and change the seasons. Or move the Earth farther from the Sun and freeze the entire planet.
Learn more...

Supernova a Star

Make a star evolve by cranking up its age or mass, then watch a supernova unfold.

Explore Historical Events

Ride along with the Juno and New Horizons spacecraft, or view a total solar eclipse.

Throw Planets in VR

Just grab and fling.

And more...

  • Material System - build planets out of Hydrogen, Iron, Rock, & Water
  • Stellar flares & volatile trails
  • Procedurally generated planets, stars, & galaxies
  • Pulsars
  • Light-warping black holes
  • Original soundtrack by Macoubre
  • Support for 20+ languages
  • Share & explore simulations on Steam Workshop

System Requirements

Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    • OS: Windows 7 SP1+ (64-bit*)
    • Processor: 1.6GHz dual-core
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 512 MB Video Memory, Shader Model 4.0
    • DirectX: Version 11
    • Storage: 2 GB available space
    • Additional Notes: * A 64-bit version of Windows is required for Universe Sandbox updates after November 2018. Users on 32-bit systems can still run previous versions. Learn more
    • Processor: 2.6GHz quad-core
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 1 GB Video Memory
    • DirectX: Version 11
    • Additional Notes: For VR, see recommendations from your headset manufacturer
    • OS: macOS 10.11+
    • Processor: 1.6GHz dual core
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: OpenGL, 512 MB Video Memory
    • Storage: 1 GB available space
    • OS: Ubuntu 12.04+, SteamOS+
    • Processor: 1.6GHz dual core
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: OpenGL, 512 MB Video Memory
    • Storage: 1 GB available space
    • Additional Notes: Officially supports the same Linux distributions supported by Unity (currently Ubuntu 12.04+). Other distributions can and will work, but they may require a bit of configuration and tinkering.

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