2017 was another great year for Universe Sandbox ². Our big milestone was Update 20, which – as we explained in our blog post – replaced the whole foundation for Universe Sandbox ² and opened up tons of new possibilities. We also launched on the Oculus Store, expanded our team, and continued to see positive reviews pour in. Our sales once again surpassed our expectations, which has helped in our team expansion and keeps us looking forward to a long list of great features and improvements.

It may not have been the flashiest development year for us, but what we accomplished was extremely important and we’re very proud. Plus we expect some flashy stuff to arrive soon enough.

Here’s a look at our achievements in 2017 by the numbers:



# of new spacecraft models.

Find them in Add > Objects:

  • Voyager 1 & 2
  • Arrival
  • Cassini



# of team members who joined us on our journey to build the universe.

Warm welcomes to:

  • Mat | Quality Assurance
  • Jacob | VR Developer
  • Barry | Graphics Developer
  • Erika | Astrophysicist, Climate & Simulation Developer



# of significant updates to Universe Sandbox ².

  • Prettier Moons & Bug Fixes | Alpha 19.5 | February 08, 2017
  • TRAPPIST-1 & the Seven Planets | Alpha 19.6 | February 23, 2017
  • Voyager & Two Icy Moons | Alpha 19.7 | April 19, 2017
  • A New Foundation & VR 2.0 | Update 20 | June 22, 2017
  • Total Solar Eclipse | Update 20.1 | August 14, 2017
  • Ciao, Cassini | Update 20.2 | September 14, 2017
  • A New Exoplanet & Interstellar Messenger | Update 20.3 | November 21, 2017
  • Oculus Store Launch | Update 20.3.1 | December 7, 2017
  • Scales & Scholars | Update 20.4 | December 21, 2017



# of new & improved textures.

  • Ganymede
  • The Moon
  • Mimas
  • Enceladus
  • Callisto
  • Rhea
  • Titan
  • Dione
  • Iapetus
  • Tethys
  • Vesta
  • Mercury




# of new simulations.

This year we made an effort to add even more simulations for historical and current astronomical events. Explore the newly announced exoplanets in the TRAPPIST-1 and Ross 128 sims; watch 2012 TC4 and Apophis skim past Earth; and say hello to our first known interstellar visitor, ‘Oumuamua, and goodbye to Cassini, the spacecraft that illuminated Saturn.

  • 2 TRAPPIST-1 sims
  • 2 Vsauce sims
  • 3 Total Solar Eclipse sims
  • 7 Voyager 1 & 2 sims
  • 2012 TC4 passes Earth on October 12, 2017
  • Cassini’s Collision with Saturn
  • Potentially Hazardous Asteroids
  • 400 Nearest Stars
  • Ross 128 with Earth-sized Planet
  • Just Chariklo
  • ‘Oumuamua in 2017
  • Solar System – Now & Real Time
  • Planets Between the Earth & Moon
  • Apophis Encounters Earth in 2029
  • Earth’s Most Stable Quasi-Satellite, 2016 HO3
  • Solar System Planet Comparison




# of pages of release notes for Universe Sandbox ² updates in 2017.

Check out What’s New.



Highest # of concurrent users in Universe Sandbox ² in 2017 (happened on December 25).

This isn’t quite as many as our all-time high in March 2016 (our first big sale after our launch on Steam the summer before), but it’s the highest since. We’re happy to see that we continue to bring in new players and keep our fans coming back for more.



# of tasks closed in our task management system.

Tasks keep track of all the bugs we want to fix and the improvements and features we want to add, as well as higher level goals like design work and ideas we want to explore. Once we complete whatever the task asked for, like fixing a bug, we pass it on for approval to Mat, our QA, then close it and move onto the next task.



# of positive Steam reviews of Universe Sandbox ² written in 2017.




# of new tasks opened in our task management system.

While it would have been nice to close a task each time we opened a new one, it’s unfortunately easier, generally speaking, to imagine an improvement or feature than it is to implement it, and it’s easier to spot a bug than it is to fix it. Development on other games may look a bit different, but with Universe Sandbox ², we don’t hesitate to write down any idea that comes our way. We still focus our efforts toward specific milestones, but at the same time, we don’t stop ourselves from dreaming up a development road that goes past the horizon.



# of commits made to our project.

A commit is essentially a package of code changes that a team member adds to the project. It could include one small change, like adding a parenthesis, or it could include hundreds of lines of code.



# of copies sold on Steam and other platforms.

Or, on average, one copy sold every five minutes.



# of views of Vsauce’s Which Way Is Down video featuring Universe Sandbox ².

Universe Sandbox ² is used (starting at 45 seconds in) as part of an exploration into how gravity works. We’re big fans of Vsauce and were super happy to see Universe Sandbox ² in one of their videos. The icing on the cake: when Michael said “This simulator will blow your mind. I love it.”




# of views in 2017 of all YouTube videos specifically about Universe Sandbox ².

Take this number with a grain of salt. It’s hard to say how accurate this value is from SteamSpy, but it’s a fun number regardless! And this doesn’t even include the above 5+ million views from the Vsauce video.


What’s Next?

What we don’t see in the list above is all of the work we did in 2017 that has yet to be released. There’s a lot of it. Planet grids, lasers, Steam Workshop, localization, stellar evolution, and on and on. Check out our roadmap from last year to get an idea of what we’re working on.

We’re moving closer to our next big release, Update 21, and we’re excited to show off what we’ve been doing. Once Update 21 has come and gone, we’ll share a new roadmap for 2018 that we expect will be no less exciting than last year’s. Stay tuned! And as always, thanks to all our fans for joining us on this cosmic journey. Your continued support and enthusiasm make all of this possible.