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Physics Engineer - Planetary Destruction

What's New in Universe Sandbox

Universe Sandbox is a complete rewrite of the original. Development began in fall of 2011 and it continues today by a growing team of talented developers, artists, and scientists.


How is Universe Sandbox different from Universe Sandbox Legacy?




More accurate, more stable, and much faster

Neptune distorting Saturn's rings in Universe Sandbox.


Universe Sandbox was written from the ground up in a new game engine, Unity 3D, allowing support for Windows, macOS, Linux, VR, and mobile devices. Using a modern game engine has also made Universe Sandbox much more stable, compatible, and future-proof.


The physics is completely custom code by Thomas, our numerical physicist. Thomas is continually optimizing it for the best performance and accuracy possible. We currently utilize multi-threading and plan to support GPU-acceleration further down the line.




Looks a whole lot prettier

Earth and a supernova in Universe Sandbox.


Stars in Universe Sandbox.


Stars in Universe Sandbox Legacy.


We're now able to take advantage of some of the latest visual technology to create beautifully detailed stars and planets, whether they're peacefully floating through space, or exploding in a fiery supernova or cloud of glowing fragments.


You'll also see surface deformation, comet trails, light-warping black holes, atmospheres, and a lot of other visual magic that didn't exist in Universe Sandbox Legacy.




Easier and more intuitive to use

The redesigned interface in Universe Sandbox.


The interface in Universe Sandbox Legacy.


We've redesigned the interface for a cleaner look and a more intuitive experience, making it easier to create, destroy, and explore.


The new interface also scales for different resolutions, meaning you can run it in on a 4k monitor or take it with you on a mobile device (we've begun work on a mobile version of Universe Sandbox).


In the future we will also be able to support switching on-the-fly between multiple languages.




Simulates much more than just gravity

Universe Sandbox Legacy was good at simulating gravity. But when it came to simulating other elements of astronomy and physics, like temperature, planetary collisions, or stellar evolution, it fell a little short.


Fortunately, Universe Sandbox simulates all of that and a lot more, providing a much broader palette for interaction and exploration.


Climate & Temperature

Climate modeling on Earth in Universe Sandbox.


Completely new to Universe Sandbox are climate models for Earth and Mars, and temperature simulation for all other bodies.


The climate model responds to incoming star-light, changes in orbits, and atmospheric factors like the amount of CO₂. It is a relatively simple model, but it shows the changing seasons and demonstrates some of the causes and effects of climate change.


Learn more about climate in Universe Sandbox


Collisions, Craters, & Fragments

Collisions in Universe Sandbox.


Collisions in Universe Sandbox Legacy.


When the Moon hit the Earth in Universe Sandbox Legacy, a little white splotch appeared on Earth's surface, and that was about it.


When the Moon meets the Earth in Universe Sandbox, glowing fragments are flung off into deep space, Earth heats up and its oceans recede before boiling off completely, and shockwaves spread across the surface.


Stellar Evolution

Stars in Universe Sandbox.


Stars change over the course of their lifetimes, affecting their mass, radius, luminosity, temperature, and other properties.


With a new stellar evolution model written by Jenn, our astrophysicist, Universe Sandbox will support 16 evolutionary star types. The model, based on these papers, is primarily a function of mass and age or metallicity, and works for evolutionary types outside of main-sequence stars.


You can watch stars age as your simulation progresses, or manually change their properties.


Tidal Forces

Tidal friction heating and tearing apart moons in Universe Sandbox.


A tidal force is the gravitational effect of one body pulling more strongly on the near side versus the far side of a second body.


In Universe Sandbox, you can see tidal forces affect a body's orbit and rotation, heat up its core and surface, and even completely tear it apart into fragments.


Universe Sandbox also simulates:


  • Black holes
  • Dark matter
  • Lasers
  • Terraforming
  • Material composition
  • Pulsars
  • Comets and volatile trails
  • Solar flares



Alive with the sound of music

Universe Sandbox features an original soundtrack composed by Macoubre. The ambient music reacts dynamically to the simulation, so if planets start to collide, the percussion kicks in and the string section swells.


Listen to some of the music on Macoubre's site



Lets you stand next to the Sun in virtual reality

With VR support for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift+Touch, you can walk and fly around your simulations, melt planets with a giant laser, then grab and hurl them out of the solar system with a flick of the wrist.





And it's only going to get better

Universe Sandbox is still in Early Access on Steam. We have a ton of improvements and new features that we're very excited about adding.


Learn more about our plans for the future in the Universe Sandbox 2017 Roadmap