Archive for September, 2021

Screenshot of the laser tool on Earth in Universe Sandbox on a smartphone.

Hiring a Cross-Platform Engineer

Universe Sandbox is a space and gravity simulator masquerading as a video game with over 870,000 unit sales and an Overwhelmingly Positive 95% rating on Steam.

Giant Army is looking for a creative and highly technical cross-platform engineer to help put Universe Sandbox in everyone’s pocket (and, eventually, in the living room). 

We are a close-knit multidisciplinary team of astrophysicists, engineers, graphics developers, and designers that highly values individual contributions and collaborative problem-solving. The company name, Giant Army, was inspired by the concept of “standing on the shoulders of giants.”

Our mission is to reveal the awesomeness of the universe and the fragility of our planet through real-time interaction, creation, and destruction of a realistic, science-based simulation.

Cross-Platform Goals

Help us solve the complex challenge of bringing Universe Sandbox to all platforms. We are getting closer to our initial mobile release (iOS & Android) and need some help pushing us over the finish line. We plan to begin console development in 2022.

We embrace responsive design and use the same UI and codebase across all platforms; desktop, AR/VR, and mobile are all built from the same project. 

You might be the perfect candidate if you:

  • Enjoy solving technical challenges with multi-platform support
  • Have shipped titles on desktop, mobile, and console
  • Strive to make the user experience feel great on desktop, mobile, and console without compromise

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

Your Role

  • Work with our team to bring the best possible experience to mobile, consoles, and future platforms, without losing desktop functionality
  • Help solve technical issues with input, performance, and overall usability
  • Plan for the future as we dive into gamepad and console support
  • Stay current on Unity’s tech and trends. We’re working on a major rewrite to be more closely integrated with Unity’s DOTS Physics.

Qualifications

  • Professional or personal programming projects showing your passion
  • Experience with C# & Unity (DOTS knowledge a bonus)
  • Strong attention to detail and a love of polish & iteration
  • Experience shipping titles on mobile or console platforms (ideally)
  • Unity native plugin experience (Objective-C, Java) preferred
  • Passion for science, astronomy, and real-time interactive simulations
  • Love of fantastical what-if scenarios: what-if.xkcd.com (note citation #6 on 148)
  • Ability to see things from our user’s perspective
  • Appreciation of video games

Benefits

  • This is a full-time, remote position working with a 100% remote team
  • You will have a great deal of autonomy over your working hours
  • Health coverage for all American employees
  • We also offer optional 4 day work weeks (8-hour days)

Company Overview

Giant Army is a profitable company wholly owned by Universe Sandbox’s original creator; we have no publishers, marketing department, or external stakeholders to derail our vision. We are a decentralized, remote team founded in Seattle, Washington, USA, with members across the United States, Germany, Denmark, and Australia. 

Team members enjoy a flexible, collaborative environment that values work-life balance. We are independently published and release updates on our own (relaxed) schedule.

Giant Army provides generous paid time off, new hardware/software reimbursements, healthcare, and other benefits.

We pursue features that get us excited about science. We strive to create an accessible experience that can’t be found anywhere else.

As a fully remote team since 2011, we rely on Google Workspace (Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Spreadsheets, Meet), Slack, Groove, GitHub, ZenHub, Unity, WordPress, and Notion.

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 physics-based space simulator that allows you to create, destroy, and interact 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 in development and future platforms planned. We’ve sold over 870,000 copies and have an “Overwhelming Positive” rating on Steam with 95% positive user reviews.

If we don’t have an active job opening that fits your skill set, but working on Universe Sandbox is your dream job, send us an email telling us why and we’ll at least send you back a reply.

How to Apply

Fill out this application

Screenshot of the laser tool on Earth in Universe Sandbox on a smartphone.

Universe Sandbox for Mobile | DevLog 1

Universe Sandbox on iOS! We’re also working on an Android version.

You can purchase Universe Sandbox via our website or the Steam Store.

Have you ever wanted a universe in your pocket? We have too, and so we’ve been actively working on a mobile version of Universe Sandbox for both iOS and Android to make this a reality.

Universe Sandbox for mobile will have the same features and interface as the desktop version (in fact mobile and desktop are built from the same source code) and we are working to make sure it is an equally enjoyable experience.

All-Around Improved Experience

Our work on mobile has motivated many features and improvements that have already been made to the desktop version. This includes automatic scaling of graphics settings based on screen resolution and the separate, minimizable panel that comes up when you use a tool, like the laser. Additionally, optimizing Universe Sandbox for mobile has the added benefit of improving performance on the desktop version.

Screenshot of the laser tool on Earth in Universe Sandbox on a smartphone.
Adapting Universe Sandbox for mobile challenged us to simplify our user interface to its core, resulting in changes like the separate, minimizable panel for the tool currently in use, like the laser (shown in the lower right here on a smartphone).

Designing a Handheld Universe Simulator

For the last few months, we’ve been focusing on making sure the mobile version is just as fun to play as the desktop version. In Update 26, we unified the user interface across desktop and VR, and we’re continuing to develop this unified interface with physically smaller (that is, mobile) screens in mind. You can check out how we are building this flexible user interface right now by making the window in the desktop version small. If you do try this, you’ll notice it presents quite a design challenge, not only for existing features but also for any features we add.

The interface filling up the entire screen on a mobile phone shows how challenging it can be to fit all of the windows on a smaller display.

You may have seen some of the improvements we’ve made to our user interface in recent updates. For example, our bottom bar redesigns both create a sleeker, more adaptable desktop experience while also making everything more accessible on mobile. However, we are still working on solving a few design challenges including (but not limited to):

  • What’s the best way to manage all of the different panels on a small screen (our guide system creates particular challenges)?
  • Working around the limitations of minimum button sizes required for a touchscreens
  • How do we make the user interface work in both portrait and landscape orientations?
Lower amounts of memory on mobile phones, as well as hardware limitations leading to poor performance, are two of the challenges we are still working on to get Universe Sandbox to run smoothly on mobile devices.

What’s Next for Mobile Development

We have been working on numerous updated user interface designs that improve functionality and clarity no matter what device you are on, and implementing those is one of our major next steps. We’re also currently hiring a cross-platform engineer to help bring Universe Sandbox to mobile and beyond.

There are occasional bugs to fix in the mobile version, such as this one showing patchy trails on an iOS phone at high simulation speeds. (By the way, we fixed this bug!)

While we still do not have a release date or official price for mobile, we currently plan on it being a one-time paid app with no ads or in-app purchases. We hope to write more of these mobile-focused DevLogs as we make more progress, so stay tuned!

If you want to receive updates when there is new information about mobile, like this DevLog, sign up for our mailing list:
http://universesandbox.com/mobile/ 

To join our community discussions, please join us on our Steam Forum and our official Discord community