To boldly go where no simulation has gone before,…..or at least as far as our own galaxy. What can i say about Universe Sandbox 2? First of all, it’s not a game its an educational simulation, Ok…Stop! wake up! it’s not how it sounds. This will leave you mesmerised only after 5 minutes of navigating the tutorial and once left to your own devices you will lose yourself in the vast expanse of our known galaxy.
Created by Giant Army , Universe Sandbox 2 is a simulation of our universe with accuracy other sims can only dream of, as far as I’m aware anyway. From planets to black holes this is a science geeks dream, believe me, i am one, whether you’re an astrophysicist in training or just have a common interest in astronomy and space. You want to know how large our sun is? fine Google it, you want to see how large our sun is compared to other stars around the universe and see them interacting in real-time with gravity and environmental changes? then you need Universe Sandbox.
I started on this with the tutorial which immediately sends you into our solar system. Watching Earth revolve around our sun in real-time is astonishing when you first see it. You want to see what our universe will look like with gravitational shift? fine, you can just speed up time by a few million or billion years, yes, you can do that in universe sandbox.
Once you get to grips with the very easy to use control system you can begin to mess about with the universe. You can either manipulate the existing simulation of the solar system yourself or you can go ahead and make one up. What would it be like to see earth orbiting a giant star like Beetle-guise the largest star we know of? just add it and find out. You want to play god and see what it would be like if the moon fell to earth? you can do that. The possibilities are endless. Have Mars, Neptune and Saturn within a few thousand miles of each other? fine just add them and watch as the realistic gravitational pull sorts out who’s the boss when it comes to our planets and the hundreds of different suns that we know of.
The realism involved in the simulation is by far the most impressive thing from Universe Sandbox. Now when i first started messing about with it i honestly thought that it must have been made by scientists at NASA due to the amount of detail involved, i was wrong. Yes they have had input from various consultants but as far as i can see they are just your average guys with a love for space.
Graphically it does exactly what you want it to, give you an actual representation of our galaxy in an extremely accurate way and yet be a huge lot of fun. You can see orbital trails, the axis of the planets, the heat of the planets and stars, what materials they’re made of, the amount of information is mind-blowing. I could go on all day about this but unfortunately there’s only so much time i have in this universe, and due to Universe Sandbox i have a good idea of how little that time is.
The soundtrack is also outstanding, not only does it leave you mesmerised from the fanfare you get throughout but it also reacts to what you’re doing on-screen. For example i wanted to see what it looked like to crash the moon into the earth, you know just for my own slightly sadistic reasons. The orchestral calmness was like a dream and then the moon crashed into the earth, and as soon as it did the music built to a crescendo of epic proportions of what was happening on-screen. A beautiful thing to witness.
Like i said before this is not a game, so don’t expect to go into this in a space ship with phasers set to stun flying through galaxies. This is an educational simulator but by god its a tonne of fun. I lost many hours in it just doing anything i could think of.
Ok I’m probably going to sound a bit like those lame adverts you see on the tv that everybody laughs at but i cant help but say that learning can be fun, i know this from experience and if you love astronomy or astrophysics then you need this fine piece of software on your hard drive. Be it at your local school or living room you will not be disappointed. Bare in mind this is in Beta but if this stays the way it is when full complete then I will be a happy man. I highly recommend this to anyone with a similar interest or if your just curious to see how the universe works. You will not be disappointed.
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