Archive for May, 2016

Help Us Test the New Alpha 19 Preview

Universe Sandbox ² - Roche Limit Glow

We’re getting very close to officially releasing Alpha 19.

But before we can do that, we need help testing the latest preview version, Alpha 19 x3.

If you’ve already opted in to the preview version, Steam will automatically download this update.

Opt in to the Alpha 19 preview:

  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 ‘alpha19preview’
  5. Close the Properties window
  6. Steam will now update Universe Sandbox ² to the preview version
  7. Once updated, launch Universe Sandbox ²

Since the last preview version, Alpha 19 x2, we’ve improved the tidal heating and Roche limit effects, made further improvements to explosions, added new Physics sims and a tidal forces tutorial, added a new Milky Way background, and fixed a ton of bugs.

For a full list of what’s new, improved, and fixed since Alpha 18, see our release notes: What’s New.

When testing, please pay the most attention to the new tidal forces and explosion effects. You can share issues with us in-game via Home > Send Feedback, or on our forums: Official Forum | Steam Forum

The team is in Amsterdam this week for the Unite Europe 2016 conference. Once we’re all back we’ll work on fixing any remaining issues and polish up Alpha 19 for release.

Thanks for testing and for your patience!

More Love for Universe Sandbox ² VR

Universe Sandbox ² - Earth Explosion VR

When we began work on the VR mode for Universe Sandbox ² at the end of last year, we weren’t really sure how it would turn out, or what people would think of it.

Now, a few months after our VR launch, the picture is a bit more clear: Universe Sandbox ² in VR is awesome, and people love it.

That may sound like it needs a dose of modesty, but take a look at what people are saying below. Space is a great setting for experiencing the sense of scale that VR allows, and a number of users have talked about the wonder (and sometimes dread) that comes with floating next to a true-to-scale Sun. Quite a few users have even said that Universe Sandbox ² has been their best VR experience. But again, no need to take our word for it.

The first Tweet here is from Dean Hall, the creator of DayZ.


Ctrl V is a VR arcade opening up in Canada very soon, for those who’d like to try out VR before purchasing their own headsets. Universe Sandbox ² will be one of the titles available in their libraries. The team at Ctrl V recently tried out Universe Sandbox ² for the first time and sent us this wonderful email:

We here at Ctrl V, are speechless… This game is phenomenal on so many levels. The level of detail and customization available exceeded all of our expectations.

Everyone on our team has both tested, loved, and gotten completely lost in the beauty of this game.

We had never anticipated that a non-shooting VR game would steal the spotlight, but your wizardry has managed to do just that.

— Ryan from Ctrl V


Steam Reviews

This is just a selection of Steam reviews which have praised the VR mode in Universe Sandbox ². It’s impossible to capture them all, because they keep rolling in every day.


…this is the most unbelievable experience you will ever have, VR or otherwise. […] You will not come back from this experience the same. You’ve been warned.

— Brutalface, Steam review

This is perfect for VR. […] If you have VR, you know that some things just make you smile and laugh a little because something cool just happened. This happened almost constantly with this game.

Of all the VR games/Experiences I have (which is pretty much all of them) this is at the top of my list. Get it!!!

— JeffyThanatos, Steam review

Universe Sandbox ² - Uranus VR

I’m a grown man and I literally shed tears when I stood next to Earth spinning peacefully in the vastness of space and looked back at our life-giving Sun so far away and yet so close.

A breathtaking experience for anyone even slightly interested in space exploration.

VR is a must. Completely changes the experience.

— Milo.[HUN], Steam review

My mind was sufficiently blown the first time I entered Universe Sandbox ² in VR. It remains so every time I reboot.

— Shark, Steam review

This on the HTC Vive is the most amazing thing I’ve ever experienced. The absolute scale of the universe and the accurate depiction of our solar system is totally awe-inspiring. Words, videos or pictures don’t do it justice. It has to be experienced to fully understand how awesome this is.

— stareye2004, Steam review

Played in VR on the HTC Vive and the sense of scale was incredible. I played around with a couple of stars the size of my fist, trying to get them into a binary orbit, but I accidentally collided them and then *boom* my entire room filled with a massive explosion that I was just a speck inside. Just incredible.

— shazow, Steam review

Universe Sandbox ² - Planets VR

Sooooo great with HTC VIVE… One of the best experiences in virtual reality. I usually play it lying on the floor… Love the Big supernovas once you make two stars explode.

— navalguijo, Steam review

Wow… Incredible with HTC VIVE… A complete fantastic submersion in space dynamics. One of the best experiences in virtual reality!

— bilbo.deforce, Steam review

After more intense and exhausting room-scale sessions wear me down this is what I’ve came back to for end of the night relaxation. I’ll sit in the middle of my VR space and mellow out to the beautiful soundtrack and play with the fabric of creation. Pretty damn cool.

— dixon.jonathan, Steam review

One of the most amazing things I’ve witnessed in VR.

— d e s u, Steam review

Incredible in VR, must buy if you have a Vive. Great soundtrack. Developers continue to push out amazing updates for virtual reality.

— iaqo_dan, Steam review

If you don’t have VR, don’t worry, we’re still developing the desktop version of Universe Sandbox ² and expect to release Alpha 19 soon, which will feature some really awesome new Roche limit and tidal heating effects. If you’re itching to try this out, you can opt into a preview version of Alpha 19. Learn more here: Alpha 19 Preview.

New Spacecraft Models Coming in Alpha 19

Universe Sandbox ² - 3 New

New models in Alpha 19. Left to right: New Horizons, Saturn V 3rd Stage, Police Box

Alpha 19 is not yet officially available. You can try an opt-in preview version of Alpha 19 via Steam:

  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 ‘alpha19preview‘
  5. Close the Properties window
  6. Steam will now update Universe Sandbox ² to the preview version
  7. Once updated, launch Universe Sandbox ²


In Alpha 19 we’ve added in new models for 3 different kinds of spacecraft: the New Horizons Probe, the Third Stage of the Saturn V rocket, and a police box.

These models were made by Toby Halter for Universe Sandbox ².  Older alpha versions of Universe Sandbox ² had models for both the New Horizons Probe and the Saturn V 3rd Stage, but Toby completely remade these, adding a lot more detail and texture to make them much truer to the real spacecraft. And thanks to Georg, our shader wizard, for working his magic on these models and implementing them in Universe Sandbox ².


1. Third Stage of the Saturn V Rocket

Universe Sandbox ² - Saturn V Third Stage Close-Up

This model is based on the third stage of the Saturn V rocket which was used in the 1969 Apollo 12 mission, the second to land astronauts on the moon.

The simulation in Universe Sandbox ² refers to the discovery of what was suspected to be an asteroid orbiting Earth in 2002. After more observation, however, astronomers concluded the most likely explanation was that this object was not an asteroid, but rather the third stage of the Saturn V rocket used in Apollo 12. It was likely flung out of Earth’s orbit in 2003, but there’s a good chance it’ll show up again in a few decades.

Check it out in the included sim: Home > Open > Third Stage of the Apollo 12 in Orbit of Earth in 2003.

Or you place it in any simulation: Add > Objects tab > Third Stage of the Apollo 12.


2. New Horizons Probe

Universe Sandbox ² - New Horizon Probe

The New Horizons probe is most famous for giving us our first close look at Pluto, which it approached in July, 2015. Now that it’s sent us detailed pictures of Pluto and its moons, it continues on its way toward the very distant Kuiper Belt.

The most notable change between this model and the old one is the shiny, gold foil wrapped around it, which serves as a insulating blanket for the grand piano-sized probe.

Check it out in the included sim: Home > Open > New Horizons Pluto Encounter in 2015.

Or you place it in any simulation: Add > Objects tab > New Horizons.


3. Police Box

Universe Sandbox ² - Police Box

As everyone knows, there’s nothing like a police box for traveling through space… or time.

You can add the police box to any simulation: Add > Objects tab > Police Box.


4. What’s Coming

Universe Sandbox ² - Pyramid Blocks Early Model

Toby is going to continue making models for Universe Sandbox ², but we’ve decided to take a break from spacecraft for our next model. Wouldn’t it be pretty cool to have a gigantic pyramid floating through space? The image above is a selection of work-in-progress bricks which will lay the groundwork for an Egyptian-style pyramid.

And while you may not have the urge to pilot a pyramid, you’re probably wondering if you’ll ever be able to control the other nice looking spacecraft in Universe Sandbox ². Well… we’re talking about it.



Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest Universe Sandbox ² news.

You can buy Universe Sandbox ² on our website or on the Steam Store.