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|Initial release||May 2008|
2.2 / October 1, 2012
|Operating system||Microsoft Windows|
|License||Proprietary commercial software|
Universe Sandbox is an interactive space and gravity simulator video game and educational software. Using Universe Sandbox, users can see the effects of gravity on objects in the universe and run scale simulations of our Solar System, various galaxies or other simulations, while at the same time interacting and maintaining control over gravity, time, and other objects in the universe, such as moons, planets, asteroids, comets, and black holes. The original Universe Sandbox was only available for Windows-based PCs, but an updated version, Universe Sandbox 2, was released for Windows, macOS, and Linux in 2017.
Universe Sandbox was designed primarily by Dan Dixon, who worked on the educational project for over fifteen years before launching the full version in May 2008. Dixon had worked full-time on the project since 2010, founding the company Giant Army the following year. Since then, he has hired six additional designers for the company.
Many simulations are included with Universe Sandbox, both realistic and fictional simulations:
- Our Solar System, which includes the eight planets, five minor planets, 160+ moons, and hundreds of asteroids
- The Andromeda & Milky Way galaxy collision, which will occur in 3.8 to 4.5 billion years
- The 100 largest bodies in our Solar System
- The nearest 1000 stars to our Sun
- The nearest 70 galaxies to the Milky Way
- A visual size comparison of the largest known stars and planets
- The Apophis asteroid passing near Earth in the year 2029
- The comet Shoemaker Levy 9's collision with Jupiter
- 2008 KV42, a trans-Neptunian object with a retrograde motion orbit
- Moons converging into a single planet
- The Rho Cancri (55 Cancri) system – a star with five known planets
- The Pioneer and Voyager encounters with Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, & Neptune
- Visual Lagrange points of the Earth and Moon
- Gamma-ray burst locations
- Your own galaxy and star system
- Planets out of asteroids, and stars out of planets
Universe Sandbox 2
|Initial release||August 24, 2015(early access)|
Alpha 20.0.4 / June 2017
|Operating system||Windows, macOS, Linux|
|License||Proprietary commercial software|
The team began working on a complete rewrite of Universe Sandbox in 2014. Some of the new features include atmospheres being shown on planets, dynamic and procedurally generated textures on stars and gas giants, a more realistic and graphic collision system, 3D charts in chart mode, simulation of stellar evolution, procedural detail in rings/particles, visualization of black holes, simulation of fluid-like objects (such as gas clouds, nebulae and protoplanetary disks, and planetary collisions) and much more. The team demonstrated many of these features at the Unite 2012 conference.
Key features of Universe Sandbox as of version 2.0:
- Interactive n-body gravity simulator
- Simple tutorial introduction
- Several step-by-step activities included
- All physical quantities are measured in real units: kilograms, meters, seconds, etc.
- User control of the speed of time, gravity and other factors
- Simulation files are editable
- 3D Mode for use with red and cyan 3D glasses (anaglyph stereoscopic)
- Support for 3D DLP HD televisions[irrelevant citation]
- Multiple color modes to help visualize and differentiate speeds and accelerations
- Two collision modes, bounce and combine
- Scaled ring systems of Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune, and generate rings around bodies
- Particle grids can be used to create 2D computer graphics or 3D computer graphics particle grids, which warps/distort the grids and causes gravitational effects by adding in moving planets or other objects (not in version 2)
- "Line-up/chart" mode option shows a visual size comparison of the stars and planets
- Includes the full sky panoramic view of the Milky Way from Axel Mellinger's photography of the Milky Way
- Can capture high resolution screen shots
- Digital Universe
- Google Sky
- List of space flight simulator games
- Starry Night
- Worldwide Telescope
- "Universe Sandbox". Universe Sandbox. Giant Army. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
- Alex Cox (2008-10-05). "How one man created his own universe - How Dan Dixon fashioned a whole universe out of mere bytes". PC Plus, Issue 274 and techradar.com - computing news. Archived from the original on 2012-03-14. Retrieved 2010-01-10.
- "we make Universe Sandbox". Giant Army. Retrieved 2014-07-07.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 14, 2012. Retrieved September 12, 2012.
- "Universe Sandbox ²". Universe Sandbox. Archived from the original on 24 July 2015. Retrieved 23 July 2015.