Archive for November, 2019

Surface Grids & Lasers | Update 24

Run Steam to download Update 24, or buy Universe Sandbox via our website or the Steam Store.

Surface Grids & Lasers are here! This is a big update that adds new layers to the simulation and new ways to experiment with planets, moons, and entire systems:

Simulate Surfaces
Surface Grids is a huge, complex feature that simulates the surfaces of planets, moons, and other objects. Every one of these objects now has simulated water levels, water and vapor flow, local temperature, material states like snow and ice, and more.

Vaporize Planets with a Giant Laser
Did we mention that there are lasers now? Whether you want to melt some ice caps or vaporize entire planets, the laser is the right tool for the job: Tools > Laser

And More to Come
This is the first version of Surface Grids; we hope to release many improvements to surface simulation over the coming months.

Check out a full list of What’s New in Update 24

 


Hiring a Community Manager & Administrative Assistant

This position has been filled. Thank you to everyone who applied.

 
Giant Army is looking for a Community Manager & Administrative Assistant to help with our continued work on Universe Sandbox, a space and gravity simulator with a 93% positive rating on Steam.

As a representative of Universe Sandbox, you will engage with the community in various channels and respond to comments, feedback, and issues. You will also post on social media, create blog posts, and handle support as well as general emails. You will be expected to maintain familiarity with Universe Sandbox and help with other community, administrative, and non-development tasks as they come up.

This is an hourly position with a potential of 25 to 40 hours per week.

Join us. We’re making something incredible that’s unlike anything else.

Your Role

  • Communicate thoughtfully with community, customers, business partners, media, etc. as a representative of Universe Sandbox
  • Manage community and social media
    • Engage with fans (and potential fans) of Universe Sandbox on forums, Discord, social media, etc.
    • Craft messages and post on social media (Facebook and Twitter)
    • Act as a liaison between the community and Universe Sandbox team
    • Respond to comments, feedback, and issues, and synthesize for team
  • Create and maintain text/documents like blog posts, website content, and release notes
  • Provide customer support and respond to emails
  • Maintain familiarity with the Universe Sandbox experience
  • Help with other administrative/non-development tasks as they come up

 

Qualifications

  • Enjoys and is skilled in writing
  • Organized and self-motivated; comfortable working collaboratively and remotely
  • Strong verbal and interpersonal communication skills
  • Experience with customer support
  • Understanding of online communities, social media, and marketing
  • Personable and energized by working with a wide variety of personalities
  • Experience with G Suite (Gmail, Google Calendar, Docs, Spreadsheets, etc.)
  • Core availability Monday-Friday from 11am-3pm PST to interact with the team
  • Enjoys video games; experience with Steam
  • Passion for science, astronomy, and education (and Oxford commas)
  • Familiarity with game or software development is a plus

 

Company Overview

Giant Army is the company behind Universe Sandbox. Our headquarters are in Seattle, Washington, USA, with team members across the United States, Germany, Denmark, and Australia.

Team members enjoy a flexible, collaborative environment that values work-life balance. We pursue the features that get us excited about science, and we do the work so we can share it with others. We strive to create an accessible experience that can’t be found elsewhere.

We believe science and video games are for everyone, regardless of identity, and we’re committed to making an inclusive workplace. We encourage anyone who shares our passion for space to apply.
 

Product Overview

Universe Sandbox is a powerful space simulator that lets you create and destroy on an unimaginable scale. Experiment with gravity, climate, and collisions to reveal the beauty of our universe and the fragility of our planet. It’s more than a game; it’s a way of experiencing and learning about reality in a way that’s never been done before.

Universe Sandbox is available on Windows, Mac, Linux, and VR with mobile and future platforms planned. We’ve sold over half a million copies and have a “Very Positive” rating on Steam with 93% positive user reviews.
 

How to Apply

This position has been filled. Thank you to everyone who applied.

Surface Grids & Lasers | DevLog #12


Video: Saving an object and its Surface Grids data then adding it to the simulation.

Surface Grids & Lasers are not yet available in any official Universe Sandbox releases. But they are now available in the experimental version of Universe Sandbox! Learn how to take an early look at Surface Grids & Lasers.

If you haven’t seen them yet, check out the previous Surface Grids DevLogs #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9#10, and #11. Keep in mind these DevLogs document a work-in-progress feature. Anything discussed or shown may not be representative of future versions of Surface Grids.

What is Surface Grids? It’s a big, complex feature still in development. It simulates the surfaces of planets, moons, and other objects, adding much more detailed, dynamic, and accurate visuals. And as a bonus, it makes it possible to add tools like lasers, which are essentially just a fun way of heating up localized areas of a surface.

Improving the Experiment

Since we released the first experimental version that included Surface Grids, we’ve released a few updates that have made a lot of improvements and bug fixes. Below are some highlights from the three major areas of the new Surface Grids feature, the interface, simulation, and visuals.

 

1. Interface improvements

  • Better design for map interface
  • New map legend

We moved around some buttons, turned others into drop-down menus, cleaned up some settings, and added a brand new color legend for all that wonderful data.

 

2. Simulation improvements

  • Reimplemented tidal heating
  • More stable heat diffusion (& new Thermal Diffusivity slider to adjust rate)
  • Better water initialization for random planets
  • Improved water flow

A lot of the individual simulation improvements, tweaks, and fixes can be harder to notice, because if everything’s working well, then they don’t draw much attention to themselves. Instead, they just work. But if you’ve been following along, hopefully you’ll notice that the surface simulation has been getting smoother and smoother.

 

3. Visual improvements

  • Improved coastlines
  • Improved lighting
  • Improved terrain and vegetation rendering
  • Improved visual noise (randomness) on ice edges
  • Reduced texture seams
  • Shallow water no longer fully opaque

Isn’t Earth looking georgeous? (…that’s what we call gorgeous things created by our graphics developer, Georg) On top of all of the visual beautification, which you can see with random planets as well, we’re pretty happy with how coastlines are now looking (these latest changes are not yet in the experimental build). They may not be as accurate as our real life home planet itself, but after lots and lots of tweaking and experimenting, we now have coastlines that are fairly accurate and work well with changing water levels.

Beyond the changes we’ve listed above, we’ve also added support for saving & loading objects, including retaining all of the Grids data (see video at top of post), performance improvements, and dozens of tweaks and bug fixes.

In the last update we also added a short, 15-second performance test that you’ll see pop up when you first run this version of the experimental build. Please run this test so we can learn more about how Surface Grids performs on different hardware!

If you want to stay up to date on the latest changes to the experimental version, join our Discord and check out the #experimental-build channel. We make announcements there whenever there’s an update.

 

What’s Next

As we continue to update the experimental build, we get closer to the official release of Surface Grids. Like before, this part of development is about balancing our work between continuing with all the other improvements and fixes we’ve had in mind and addressing community feedback as more and more people check it out — please let us know what you think!

Above are screenshots of some of Brendan’s newly generated heightmaps (detailed in DevLog #10) partially implemented in-game. There’s still more work to do on these, but we should hopefully have them in an experimental build soon.

We also are working on a tutorial about terraforming Mars. We’ve seen multiple users point out that terraforming is a lot more complex now, and that’s certainly true. This is easily seen when attempting to terraform Mars, which, it turns out, is a bit more involved than just spraying some water at it. Figuring out how to do it is part of the fun, but there are some tips and tricks that are good to know.

We’re super excited with how Grids is shaping up, and we hope that if you’ve been following along, you can see all the progress we’ve made. We look forward to sharing more. See you in the next DevLog!

 


Saturn’s New Moons | Update 23.2

Run Steam to download Update 23.2, or buy Universe Sandbox via our website or the Steam Store.

Introducing the new Moon Champion of the Solar System, with a total of 82 known moons, it’s the great ringed gas giant Saturn!

Take a tour through the discoveries of Saturn’s moons, from the first discovered moon, Titan, in 1655, to the latest discovery of 20 new moons in October 2019:

Home > Guides > Science > History of Saturn’s Moons

With 82 moons, Saturn now has the most known moons, surpassing the previous record holder Jupiter and its 79 known moons.

This update also includes a refresh of our database and Saturn simulations to add its new moons, plus a few smaller fixes and improvements.

Check out a full list of What’s New in Update 23.2