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A falling sand game is a type of particle simulation video game. They allow the user to place particles of different elements on a "canvas". The particles can interact with other particles in various ways, and may be affected by gravity, in some games. Many complex effects may be achieved. Many versions of the Falling Sand Game have been written since its introduction in 2005.
The original game first appeared as a web-based Java applet on the Dofi-Blog (Japan) in 2005. Since then, many variations of the game have appeared, most notably Burning Sand and wxSand, which introduced user-created element sets, known as mods.
Falling sand games are generally browser-based, using Flash or Java, but mobile Android and iOS variants also exist.
- World of Sand (2005, Java)
- wxSand (2006, Windows)
- Powder Game (2007, Java, HTML5, Android/iOS)
- This is Sand (2008, Flash)
- The Powder Toy (2010, Windows/GNU-Linux/OS X, Android)
- The Sandbox (2010, Flash)
- The Powder Game (a.k.a. Dust. 2004, Java & Html5)
- Sand Slides (2010, iOS/Android/WP8)
- Sand:box (2015, Android)
- ReactionLab 2 (2015, iOS/Android)
Although the various sand games have differences, they share many similar characteristics:
All games have adjustable pen sizes. Some allow the user to select different pen shapes. The pen is generally controlled using the mouse (Etch-a-sketch Sand is an exception).
Many falling sand games include multiple elements that are heavier or lighter than each other and can interact. For example, BHOL is a virtual black hole in The Powder Toy. By applying positive gravity, it attracts other elements and consumes them. Another example would be lava in The Sandbox, which, after cooling, becomes stone.
Downloadable games also have the ability to save "sandboxes", or images that can be uploaded to image hosting websites and later downloaded and played in the game.
- The Sandbox has a crossplatform online gallery where people can share their creations.
- The Powder Toy/Game has online 'saves' where people can view the creations of others, and usually play with them.
More commonly found in stand-alone downloadable games, mods or plugins can be created by making use of scripting or by editing configuration files that control the various types of particles, their physical properties and interaction rules. For instance, The Powder Toy has modding through separate executables.
Most sand games use very simple physics: particles either fall, rise, or are fixed, and may drift from side to side. The Powder Game and The Powder Toy are two of the few games with more realistic physics, including wind and pressure. The Powder Toy also includes heat and ambiental heat, newtonian gravity, and water equalisation. The Sandbox includes dynamic lighting, weather, temperature with room temperature support and multi particle elements.
Humans (Or Human-Like Figures)
Some Falling Sand games have elements that are meant to represent humans, or to create a likeness to them.
- The Sandbox uses elements literally called humans, which after placement you can then decide their roles in a society that you create.
- The Powder Toy uses an element that has a fixed position as a 'spawn point' for its human element, called STKM and SKM2 (stickman and stickman 2). This acts as the permanent start place for the stickman, and is indestructible and uninteractuble.
- The Powder Game also has controllable humans who are known as Players. They both have two legs and a head. Box for the first player and circle for the second player. They also have get either the ability of the element their head touches or the ability to Shoot those elements. It also has AI Humans called fighters who Jump around and attack the 'player' stick men. They also have two legs and a shaded square head. They are mostly used as the Antagonist in the Game.
The Sandbox has dozens of elements that are made of more than one particle. It even has controllable vehicles and AI controlled characters.
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