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Box2D logo
Developer(s) Erin Catto
Initial release September 11, 2007 (2007-09-11)
Stable release 2.3.1 / April 5, 2014 (2014-04-05)[1]
Written in C++
Operating system OS independent
Type Middleware
License zlib[2]

Box2D is a free open source 2-dimensional physics simulator engine written in C++ by Erin Catto and published under the zlib license. It has been used in Crayon Physics Deluxe, Limbo, Rolando, Fantastic Contraption, Incredibots, Angry Birds, Tiny Wings, Transformice, Happy Wheels,[3] and many online Flash games,[4] as well as iPhone, iPad and Android games using the Cocos2d or Moscrif game engine and Corona framework.


Box2D was first released as "Box2D Lite", a demonstration engine to accompany a physics presentation given by Erin Catto at GDC 2006. On September 11, 2007 it was released as open source on Sourceforge. On January 17, 2010 Box 2D moved the project to Google Code for hosting.[5]

On March 6, 2008, version 2.0 was launched, introducing continuous collision detection and revamping the API.

Cross-platform availability[edit]

Box2D is itself written in platform-independent C++ (usable on any system with a C++ compiler available). The engine may be compiled in fixed point and floating point modes, and has been used on the Nintendo DS, Wii, and several mobile phones (including Android, BlackBerry 10 and iPhone) as well as most major operating systems.

The engine has been ported to many other programming languages and environments, including Java,[6] Adobe Flash (in ActionScript[7] and Haxe[8] languages), C#,[9] Lua, JavaScript,[10][11] and D.[12] Bindings exist to use the compiled library from Python[13] and DarkBasic.

On October 30, 2009, it was announced that Box2D was being integrated into the Torque 2D game engine.[14]

Programs that use the engine[edit]


Box2D performs constrained rigid body simulation. It can simulate bodies composed of convex polygons, circles, and edge shapes. Bodies are joined together with joints and acted upon by forces. The engine also applies gravity, friction, and restitution.

Box2D's collision detection and resolution system consists of three pieces: an incremental sweep and prune broadphase, a continuous collision detection unit, and a stable linear-time contact solver. These algorithms allow efficient simulations of fast bodies and large stacks without missing collisions or causing instabilities.[15]

Related engines[edit]

An earlier version of the Box2D engine, now known as Box2D Lite, was released primarily for educational purposes, based on a series of yearly Game Developers Conference presentations that Erin Catto has given. Box2D Lite uses many of the same algorithms as Box2D, but has a smaller feature set.

The Chipmunk physics engine (written in C)[16] and Phys2D (written in Java)[17] are both partially based on Box2D Lite.

The physics engine used in SpriteKit for iOS and OS X uses Box2D internally.[18]


Itterheim and Wenderlich describe the usage of Box2D in the Cocos2d iPhone engine.[19][20] An article in the Adobe Edge newsletter discusses the use of Box2D in Flash games.[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ on GitHub
  2. ^ Box2D Main Page
  3. ^ "Play Happy Wheels Online - AndroidFantasy". Retrieved 14 August 2015. 
  4. ^ Jay is Games
  5. ^ Box2D Blog, as cached by the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ JBox2D website
  7. ^ Box2DFlash on SourceForge
  8. ^ Physaxe on Google Code
  9. ^ Box2DX on Google Code
  10. ^ Box2DJS on SourceForge
  11. ^ Box2DWeb on Google Code
  12. ^ Blaze on dsource
  13. ^ Pybox2d on GitHub
  14. ^ Torque 2D Development Blog
  15. ^ Box2D Manual
  16. ^ Chipmunk on Google Code
  17. ^ Phys2D engine website
  18. ^
  19. ^ Steffen Itterheim. (2010). "Learn iPhone and iPad cocos2d Game Development." Apress.
  20. ^ Rod Strougo and Ray Wenderlich. (2011). "Learning Cocos2d: A Hands-On Guide to Building IOS Games with Cocos2d, Box2d, and Chipmunk." Addison-Wesley Professional.
  21. ^ Adobe Edge April 2010

External links[edit]