Alpha 11 of Universe Sandbox ² introduces two substantial features:

  1. Shockwaves

    You’ll notice this addition as soon as you throw an asteroid at Earth. The video below was made by Thomas, our physics programmer (note: the video says it’s from alpha 10.2, which became alpha 11).

    Thomas and Georg, our visual artist, continue to improve shockwaves and collisions with each alpha release. Still on the to-do list is fully integrating shockwaves, so that the traveling wave heats up the surface of the impacted body and pushes water, for example.

  2. Choreography

    Alpha 11 gives you the ability to create orbital “choreography.” You can choose between a list of presets or set your own parameters to create seemingly impossible multiple-body orbital patterns.

    We’ve been given over 200 starting conditions for orbital choreographies from Greg Minton, and we’ve already implemented some of the most interesting of these. Check out his work and draw your own choreographies on his website:

    Below you can see 32 bodies in very precise orbits around each other:

    Universe Sandbox ² - 32-body-choreography

    Of course, while these orbits work on paper, they are not always stable when actually simulated. After slight changes in their courses with each orbit, eventually the system falls apart and the bodies either collide or speed off into the emptiness of space. Universe Sandbox ² - 32-body-choreography-unstable

With these two additions and the introduction of 64 bit versions for Windows and Linux, alpha 11 of Universe Sandbox ² is the biggest update we’ve released recently. But that doesn’t mean we have small plans for the next version… stay tuned for alpha 12.