April 9, 2020 – Magic Leap has today announced the launch of Universe Sandbox for Magic Leap 1. Created by Giant Army, Universe Sandbox is a physics-based space simulator that brings the universe to life in a user’s living room.
Originally created for PC, Universe Sandbox simulates realistic gravity, climate, collision, and material interactions, allowing users to explore how the laws of physics shape solar systems and galaxies. Universe Sandbox gives users control over every part of the simulation, from the smallest asteroid to the largest black hole, allowing them to create and destroy on a universal scale.
Giant Army was one of thirty teams chosen for Magic Leap’s Independent Creator Program in April 2019. Talking to Magic Leap, Giant Army stated that “since the beginning, interactivity and a playful sense of curiosity have been core to Universe Sandbox”, and that the company believes that learning through experience is both powerful and memorable. Now, thanks to the Magic Leap 1’s spatial computing abilities, it allows games to take advantage of a player’s native environment, which helps to bring the universe in Universe Sandbox a little closer.
Universe Sandbox offers users a deep, granular experience and most of what players can see can be changed on the fly, in the middle of whatever simulation a player is running. According to Giant Army, the creative (and destructive) options are “immense and incredibly detailed”, with the company adding that it didn’t want to disappoint Magic Leap 1 players.
The PC version of Universe Sandbox provides users with a powerful interface that grants access to a wide array of editable properties, tools, and settings that can be used to tinker with the virtual universes created. For example, with the click of a mouse, users can easily edit the mass of Jupiter or change the temperature of the Sun.
Commenting on the development process, Dan Dixon, Creator of Universe Sandbox, said: “We knew it would be a challenge to move those tools from a mouse and keyboard to a spatial computer, but we wouldn’t accept diluting the experience. Months later, we’re proud to release Universe Sandbox on Magic Leap, complete and unadulterated.”
As a result, the experience offers players a vast physical simulation that pushes the performance boundaries of what the Magic Leap platform can do. It leverages various key Unity features (such as Burst) to achieve this, which means players can create whatever interstellar scenario they choose. Players have all the physics-based fun and understanding of the original PC experience, but can now also do things like bounce small moons around their living room thanks to the Magic Leap 1
Dixon added: “Once we had a working build, it was easy to see the impact of a spatial computing experience. Seeing stars and planets responding to your will and swinging overhead in your living room creates a feeling of awe and deeper understanding of the cosmos. Giant Army is incredibly proud to have delivered this experience without watering down any of the control or finesse players find in our desktop version.”
Universe Sandbox launches today on Magic Leap World.
Video credit: Universe Sandbox/YouTube
About the author
Sam is the Founder and Managing Editor of Auganix. With a background in research and report writing, he has been covering XR industry news for the past five years.