Contents

 

Common Solutions

If you’re having issues starting up Universe Sandbox, please try the solutions below.

If you’ve tried the solutions below and you’re still having issues, please send us your log file and crash files (if crash files were created). Instructions: Log Files | Crash Files

 

Common Solutions | Windows

  1. Restart Steam
    • In top-left of window click Steam > Exit
    • Open Steam again
  2. Restart your computer
  3. Verify integrity of the game
  4. If you see a black screen on startup but can still hear music…

 

Common Solutions | Mac

  1. Restart Steam
    • In menu bar click Steam > Quit Steam
    • Open Steam again
  2. Restart your computer
  3. Verify integrity of the game
  4. Show screen selector (fix resolution errors)

 

Common Solutions | Linux

  1. Restart Steam
    • In top-left of window… Steam  -> Exit
    • Open Steam again
  2. Restart your computer
  3. Verify integrity of the game

 

Access Older Versions of Universe Sandbox

If you have older hardware that is unable to use the latest version of Universe Sandbox, you can try to run older versions of Universe Sandbox that have lower requirements.

If the following version doesn’t work, you can try an even older version.

Steam Version

  1. Right-click on the game title in your Steam Library
  2. Click on Properties
  3. Select the Betas tab
  4. Set the dropdown menu to *update-24.1.2-directx10
  5. Close the Properties window
  6. Steam will now update Universe Sandbox to the last DirectX 10-compatible build
  7. Once updated, launch Universe Sandbox

GOG Version

  1. Open the game card for Universe Sandbox in GOG Galaxy Library.
  2. Select the More option then Settings.
  3. Select ON from the drop-down menu in the Beta Channels option on the right-hand side.
  4. A Channel option should now be visible. Select the channel update-24.1.2-directx10
  5. Click INSTALL

Why?

In order to continue improving Universe Sandbox, we need to take advantage of ever-improving graphics technology. Unfortunately, this means that sometimes we must drop support for older hardware that can’t handle these new requirements.

Still won’t run?

If you’re still unable to run Universe Sandbox, please contact us for support or to request a refund.

 

Force CPU-Mode

  1. Right-click on the game title in your Steam Library
  2. Select ‘Properties’
  3. Select the ‘General’ tab
  4. Click the ‘Set launch options…’ button
  5. Enter  -forcecpu  into the launch options (note the dash at the beginning)
  6. Click ‘OK’
  7. Close the Properties window
  8. Launch Universe Sandbox

Force OpenGL

  1. Right-click on the game title in your Steam Library
  2. Select ‘Properties’
  3. Select the ‘General’ tab
  4. Click the ‘Set launch options…’ button
  5. Enter  -force-opengl  into the launch options (note the dash at the beginning)
  6. Click ‘OK’
  7. Close the Properties window
  8. Launch Universe Sandbox

Force Single-Threading

  1. Right-click on the game title in your Steam Library
  2. Select ‘Properties’
  3. Select the ‘General’ tab
  4. Click the ‘Set launch options…’ button
  5. Enter  -force-gfx-st  into the launch options (note the dash at the beginning)
  6. Click ‘OK’
  7. Close the Properties window
  8. Launch Universe Sandbox

 

Enable Safe-Mode

  1. Right-click on the game title in your Steam Library
  2. Select ‘Properties’
  3. Select the ‘General’ tab
  4. Click the ‘Set launch options…’ button
  5. Enter  -safemode into the launch options (note the dash at the beginning)
  6. Click ‘OK’
  7. Close the Properties window
  8. Launch Universe Sandbox

 

Reset Settings

You can manually reset Universe Sandbox’s settings by deleting the settings file.

First, find the folder where the settings file is saved:

  1. If you can run Universe Sandbox, from the home menu, select “Debug Tools”
  2. Select ‘Open Persistent Data Path’

If you can’t run Universe Sandbox the file is found here:

  • On Windows: C:\Users\[your username]\AppData\LocalLow\Giant Army\Universe Sandbox
  • On Mac: ~/Library/Application Support/Giant Army/Universe Sandbox

After locating the file:

  1. Select the file ‘settings’ and either rename or delete it
  2. Launch Universe Sandbox

 

Force DirectX 9

If you have older hardware that is unable to run DirectX 11, we have preserved a DirectX 9 build. To switch to the DirectX 9 compatible build:

  1. Right-click on the game title in your Steam Library
  2. Click on ‘Properties’
  3. Select the ‘Betas’ tab
  4. Set the dropdown menu to *update-21.3-directx9
  5. Close the Properties window
  6. Steam will now update Universe Sandbox to the last DirectX 9-compatible build
  7. Once updated, launch Universe Sandbox

After switching to the DirectX 9 build, you must also force Universe Sandbox to run in DirectX 9 mode:

  1. Right-click on the game title in your Steam Library
  2. Select ‘Properties’
  3. Select the ‘General’ tab
  4. Click the ‘Set launch options…’ button
  5. Enter  -force-d3d9 into the launch options (note the dash at the beginning)
  6. Click ‘OK’
  7. Close the Properties window
  8. Launch Universe Sandbox

Why?

Universe Sandbox dropped support for DirectX 9 in October 2018. This is because Unity, the development platform used to create Universe Sandbox, no longer supports DirectX 9. Update 21.3 is the last version of Universe Sandbox to support DirectX 9.

 

Show Screen Selector (Fix Resolution Errors)

This launch option is intended for users who have received screen resolution error messages and are no longer able to start Universe Sandbox (caused by Unity registry errors).

  1. Right-click on the game title in your Steam Library
  2. Select ‘Properties’
  3. Select the ‘General’ tab
  4. Click the ‘Set launch options…’ button
  5. Enter  -show-screen-selector into the launch options (note the dash at the beginning)
  6. Click ‘OK’
  7. Close the Properties window
  8. Launch Universe Sandbox

 

Verify Integrity of Game Files

  1. Right click on the game title in your Steam Library
  2. Select ‘Properties’
  3. Select the ‘Local Files’ tab
  4. Click ‘Verify Integrity of Game Files…’ This verifies and re-downloads any files that are incorrect.
  5. Once complete, launch Universe Sandbox

 

Reinstall Universe Sandbox

  1. Right click on the game title in your Steam Library
  2. Select Manage > Uninstall

This will remove the installation of the game, but will not remove game files like screenshots, objects, and simulations

  1. Once uninstalled, right-click Universe Sandbox in your Steam Library (if you can’t find it, try searching)
  2. Select Install
  3. Once Steam has finished reinstallation, launch Universe Sandbox

 

Disable Steam Overlay

  1. Right-click on the game title in your Steam Library
  2. Select ‘Properties’
  3. Uncheck ‘Enable the Steam Overlay while in-game’
  4. Close the Properties window
  5. Launch Universe Sandbox

 

Change Version

  1. Right-click on the game title in your Steam Library
  2. Click on ‘Properties’
  3. Select the ‘Betas’ tab
  4. Set the dropdown menu to the version you want to change to.
  5. Close the Properties window
  6. Steam will now update Universe Sandbox to the selected version
  7. Once updated, launch Universe Sandbox

 

Opt Out of Betas

  1. Right-click on the game title in your Steam Library
  2. Click on ‘Properties’
  3. Select the ‘Betas’ tab
  4. Set the dropdown menu to ‘NONE – Opt out of all beta programs.’
  5. Close the Properties window
  6. If you had opted into a beta, Steam will now update Universe Sandbox to the latest version
  7. Once updated, launch Universe Sandbox

 

Opt Into Experimental “Community Test” Version

We occasionally offer experimental versions of upcoming releases. These experimental versions, known as a Community Test, are works-in-progress which are made available so the community can help us with feedback and testing. There may be incomplete features and bugs. Please see our forum for announcements about experimental versions.

  1. Right-click on the game title in your Steam Library
  2. Click on ‘Properties’
  3. Select the ‘Betas’ tab
  4. Set the dropdown menu to ‘*community-test’
  5. Close the Properties window
  6. Steam will now update Universe Sandbox to the experimental build
  7. Once updated, launch Universe Sandbox

 

Update to Latest Version of Universe Sandbox

Steam should automatically download the latest version of Universe Sandbox once it is available.

If Steam isn’t automatically updating Universe Sandbox, follow these steps until Steam begins downloading the update:

  1. Restart Steam
  2. Verify integrity of game-cache
    1. Right click on the game title in your Steam Library
    2. Select ‘Properties’
    3. Select the ‘Local Files’ tab
    4. Click ‘Verify Integrity of Game Cache’ 
  3. Ensure you are opted out of Betas
    1. Right-click on the game title in your Steam Library
    2. Click on ‘Properties’
    3. Select the ‘Betas’ tab
    4. Set the dropdown menu to ‘NONE – Opt out of all beta programs.’
    5. Close the Properties window
  4. Reinstall Universe Sandbox
    1. Right click on the game title in your Steam Library
    2. Select ‘Uninstall…’
    3. Select ‘Delete’
      1. This will remove the installation of the game, but will not remove user files like screenshots, objects, and simulations
    4. Once the process is complete, right-click on Universe Sandbox in your Steam Library
    5. Select ‘Install Game…’
    6. Once Steam has finished reinstallation, launch Universe Sandbox

If you’re still receiving a notification that you aren’t running the latest version, please contact us.

Update Your Video Card Drivers on Windows

First, identify your video card:

  1. Open the Start menu
  2. Type ‘Device Manager’ (without quotes) in the Search text box then press Enter
  3. Click the Device Manager shortcut
  4. In Device Manager, expand the ‘Display adapters’ section
  5. Note the manufacturer of the video card listed

Now head to the manufacturer’s website to update your drivers. The website will likely auto-detect your specific video card model.

For more detailed instructions on updating your drivers, please see this guide from How-To Geek: How to Update Your Graphics Drivers for Maximum Gaming Performance

 

Change GPU Scaling

If you see a black screen when you start Universe Sandbox but can still hear the game’s music, we recommend trying this solution. If you still see the black screen, try Change System Time Zone below.

If you have an Nvidia graphics card:

  1. Right-click on your desktop
  2. Click “Nvidia Control Panel”
  3. Click “Display” then “Adjust Desktop Size and Position”
  4. Set scaling mode to “No scaling”
  5. Apply settings
  6. Launch Universe Sandbox

If you have an AMD card:

  1. Right-click on your desktop
  2. Click “AMD Radeon Settings” (or Catalyst)
  3. Click “Display”
  4. Set scaling mode to “Full Panel”
  5. Apply settings
  6. Launch Universe Sandbox

If you have Intel graphics (or the above options did not work):

  1. Right-click on your desktop
  2. Click “Intel Graphics Settings”
  3. Click “Display”
  4. Set scaling to “Maintain Aspect Ratio”
  5. If you do not see “Maintain Aspect Ratio” as an option, try adjusting the resolution
  6. Apply settings
  7. Launch Universe Sandbox

These are user-suggested solutions from this thread on the general Steam forum.

This appears to be an issue related to Unity (the game engine we use) and the Windows 10 Fall Creator Update. We are looking into fixing this for future updates.

 

Change System Time Zone

With Update 22 of Universe Sandbox (released November 15, 2018), some users have reported seeing a black screen on startup that is not fixed with the above solution of adjusting GPU scaling.

If adjusting scaling didn’t work for you, please try manually changing your time zone to another zone, then set it back again.

How to change your time zone on Windows 10

How to change your time zone on Windows 7 (click Apply after changing it each time)

 

Change Nvidia Antialiasing Transparency

If you see “blocky” lines on planets in Universe Sandbox (see image below) and you are using an Nvidia graphics card, then please try disabling Antialiasing Transparency in the Nvidia Control Panel.

  1. Right-click on your desktop
  2. Click “Nvidia Control Panel”
  3. Under “3D Settings” in the left sidebar, select “Manage 3D Settings”
  4. Set “Antialiasing – Transparency” to Off
  5. Apply settings
  6. Launch Universe Sandbox


 

Email Us Your Log File

  1. Make sure Universe Sandbox is closed. If reporting a specific issue or crash, please send us your log after the issue occurs and before running Universe Sandbox again; running it overwrites the log
  2. Find your log file (Instructions: Windows | Mac | Linux)
  3. Attach the file to an email
  4. In the subject line, briefly describe your issue
  5. Provide details about your issue in the body of the email
  6. Please include a link to the forum topic if you posted on a forum
  7. Send the email to support at universesandbox dot com

 

Log Files | Windows

Filename: output_log.txt

Typically located here:
%USERPROFILE%\AppData\LocalLow\Giant Army\Universe Sandbox

To quickly find this folder, copy and paste the above into the address bar of File Explorer.

 

Log Files | Mac OS X

Filename: Player.log

Typically located here:
~/Library/Logs/Unity/Player.log

To quickly find this folder:

  1. Open Finder
  2. Click the Go menu in the Menu bar
  3. Select Go to Folder…
  4. Type ~/Library/Logs/Unity/Player.log
  5. Click Go

 

Log Files | Linux

Filename: Player.log

Typically located here:
~/.config/unity3d/Giant Army/Universe Sandbox/Player.log

 

Email Us Your Crash Dump Files

  1. Find your crash dump files (Instructions: Windows | Mac)
  2. Attach the files to an email
    1. If you are on a Mac, please also attach your log file
  3. In the subject line, briefly describe your issue
  4. Provide details about your issue in the body of the email
  5. Please include a link to the forum topic if you posted on a forum
  6. Send the email to support at universesandbox dot com

 

Crash Dump Files | Windows

Filenames: output_log.txterror.logcrash.dmp

Please include all of these files. They are located in a folder named with the date the crash occurred.

Usually located here:
%AppData%\..\Local\Temp\Giant Army\Universe Sandbox\Crashes

If you are able to start Universe Sandbox, you can open this folder:

  1. In Universe Sandbox, click Home button (top-left)
  2. Click ‘Debug Tools’
  3. Click ‘Open Crash Dump Location’

Note: This folder will not exist if no crash files have been created.

Crash Dump Files | Mac

Filename: Universe Sandbox_[dateofcrash].crash

This file will be located in ~/Library/Logs/DiagnosticReports.

To quickly find this folder:

  1. Open Finder
  2. Click the ‘Go’ menu in the Menu bar
  3. Select ‘Go to Folder…’
  4. Type ~/Library/Logs/DiagnosticReports
  5. Click ‘Go’

 

Send Us Your Log File In-Game

  1. Launch Universe Sandbox
  2. Reproduce your issue or bug
  3. Click the ‘Home’ icon in the top-left
  4. Click ‘Send Feedback’
  5. Enter your email address
  6. Select the ‘Bug’ category
  7. Describe your issue in the Comment text box
  8. Please include a link to the forum topic if you posted on a forum
  9. Make sure ‘Log File’ is checked
  10. Click ‘Send’

 

Email Us Your Saved Simulation

If there is an issue with a specific simulation that you have created, we may ask you to send us your simulation file so we can look into it.

  1. Launch Universe Sandbox
  2. Click Home icon in the top-left
  3. Click ‘Open’
  4. Click ‘My Sims’ tab
  5. Click ‘Open Simulations Folder’ tile to open your computer’s file browser
  6. Find the .ubox file for your simulation
  7. Attach the file to an email
  8. Send the email to support at universesandbox dot com

 

Render Texture/Image Effects Not Supported Warning

To ensure this isn’t a software-related problem, try updating your video card drivers.

First, identify your video card (on Windows):

  1. Open the Start menu
  2. Type ‘Device Manager’ (without quotes) in the Search text box then press Enter
  3. Click the Device Manager shortcut
  4. In Device Manager, expand the ‘Display adapters’ section
  5. Note the manufacturer of the video card listed

Now head to the manufacturer’s website to update your drivers. The website will likely auto-detect your specific video card model.

For more detailed instructions on updating your drivers, please see this guide from How-To Geek: How to Update Your Graphics Drivers for Maximum Gaming Performance

If you are still seeing this warning after updating your drivers, then it’s likely your hardware does not support these features. In order to run Universe Sandbox, please try using another computer or upgrading your hardware.

 

Shader Model 5.0 Not Supported Warning

Shader Model 5.0 is a hardware specification for video cards.

If your card does not support this feature, then you must try using another computer, or upgrade your hardware, in order to run Universe Sandbox.

 

Not Running Latest Version Notification

If you’re not using Steam…

If you’re running an old version of Universe Sandbox and not using Steam, please buy Universe Sandbox to run the latest and best version.

Or add Universe Sandbox to your Wishlist on Steam to be notified when it’s on sale.

If you are using Steam…

If you received a notification that you’re not running the latest version of Universe Sandbox, try restarting Steam to force-start the automatic update process.

If that doesn’t work, please follow these steps: Update to Latest Version of Universe Sandbox

 

Not Running Latest Version Notification (Standalone)

If you’re using a standalone copy owned by a school or other institution…

Please contact the appropriate technical/administrative staff and let them know the copy is out of date.

As described below, please note that sometimes there is a delay between when we release updates on Steam and when they are available on the TeacherGaming Store. The delay should be no longer than a few business days.

 

If you own/administrate a TeacherGaming copy…

Once the update is available on the TeacherGaming Store, you should receive an email from TeacherGaming notifying you of the update and you may follow the directions below to download it.

If you have not received an email from TeacherGaming but you see a notification that your copy is out-of-date, then it is likely not yet available. There is sometimes a small delay between when we release an update on Steam and when it reaches the TeacherGaming Store.

Download the latest version from TeacherGaming Store:

  1. Log into your account on the TeacherGaming Store using the Login button in the top-right
  2. Click Profile > Downloads in the top-right
  3. Find your Universe Sandbox order and click View
  4. Click Download for the version appropriate for your hardware

If you need additional help, please contact us.

 

Launch Options Notification

You will see a notification in Universe Sandbox if you have set any launch options.

Launch options are typically used for troubleshooting issues by forcing Universe Sandbox to start with certain options enabled or disabled.

To remove launch options:

  1. Right click on the game title in your Steam Library
  2. Select ‘Properties’
  3. In the General tab, click the “Set Launch Options…” button
  4. Delete all text to remove launch options
  5. Click ‘OK’
  6. Close the Properties window and launch Universe Sandbox

Learn more about Steam’s launch options

 

Steam Required

You may see an error message when starting up that says “Steam Required: You must be running Steam to use Universe Sandbox.”

This is a Steam error which sometimes appears even if Steam is running. It is a frustrating error, but it is usually fixed once Steam properly syncs again.

If you see this error while Steam is running, try the following in this order:

  1. Make sure you are launching Universe Sandbox from directly within your Steam Library (not via a shortcut)
  2. Restart Steam
  3. Restart your computer
  4. Check for Steam updates: Steam > Check For Steam Client Updates…
  5. If steps 1-4 do not fix the issue, manually check your Steam version: Help > About Steam
    1. Note the “Built” date, then compare it to the latest post on Steam’s site
    2. If your version is older AND step 4 didn’t work, then follow these instructions to uninstall Steam then reinstall it: Windows | Mac (make sure you read all of the steps and move your game folder first!)

If you are still seeing this error, please contact us.

 

Update 24 Minimum Graphics Requirements

As of Update 24 in November 2019, Universe Sandbox includes a feature called Surface Grids which vastly improves the surface simulation of planets, moons, and other objects. This feature relies on video memory. Some computers with low amounts of video memory or shared video memory may struggle with running Surface Grids.

If Universe Sandbox consistently runs slowly, try lowering Surface Simulation | Atlas Resolution in Home > Settings > Performance.

If it continues to run slowly after lowering Surface Simulation | Atlas Resolution, we recommend using the previous version of Universe Sandbox, Update 23.2. Learn how to switch to Update 23.2

See hardware recommendations

 

Can’t Access Documents

With macOS Catalina (10.15), security measures in macOS have been greatly increased and users must specifically give permission to applications to access their files. When you start Universe Sandbox for the first time in macOS Catalina, you should see a prompt asking if you want to allow Universe Sandbox to access your Documents folder. Click OK.

If you do not click OK or you do not see this prompt, you will see an error message in Universe Sandbox when attempting to access your saved simulations and objects. To fix this, adjust your Security & Privacy settings:

  1. Click the Apple icon in the menu bar
  2. Click System Preferences
  3. Click Security & Privacy
  4. Click the Privacy tab
  5. Click Files and Folders
  6. Check the box below Universe Sandbox (if required, click the lock icon in the bottom left and enter your password to make changes)


If the issue persists, please reinstall Universe Sandbox and follow the steps above again.

 

Your Settings/Data Need to be Moved Manually

Why?

Universe Sandbox removed the 2 from our name as of Update 25 in March 2020. Due to limitations of our game engine our data folders will need to be renamed along with the change to the app name.

Universe Sandbox will attempt to relocate these files automatically. Some system settings or security software such as antivirus or firewall may prevent Universe Sandbox from automatically relocating these files.

How to move your files:

  1. From within Universe Sandbox, click Home
  2. Click the “Action needed to move your Universe Sandbox settings/data.” banner
  3. Click on “OPEN FOLDERS”.

    Two folders will open outside of Universe Sandbox: “Universe Sandbox ²” and “Universe Sandbox”.
  4. Click and drag to highlight all files in the “Universe Sandbox ²” folder (note the 2)
  5. Drag and drop the files into the “Universe Sandbox” folder