Owen Piette’s Falling Sand Game

Download wxSand Now! 

– Explosions! (2 kinds)
– Energy transfer, sandbox temperature
– Load/Save
– Turn boundary walls on/off
– Turn sources on/off
– Many Elements
– Select area size: 320×240 – 1280×1024
– Save/load/modify/add elements and physics
– Up to 200 elements
– Use less than 100% CPU on limited FPS mode.
– Group or hide elements

First of all, mad props go out to the original creator of this game. Great idea. I only wish I could read Japanese… Here’s a link to the original, or at least as close to the original as I can find (Again, without knowing how to read Japanese.) http://ishi.blog2.fc2.com/blog-entry-158.html 

Having wasted hours of productivity on the Java verison of the Falling Sand Game, I began to think of improvements that could be made from the original. No source was available for the original, and Java isn’t my choice programming language, that I decided to start de novo with C/C++ and the cross-platform wxWidgets.  That’s why I called it “wxSand”, although a lot of people call it “Owen Piette’s Falling Sand Game”.

I tend to feel that The Falling Sand Game should be more of a Zen experience than anything else. I also believe that the game should be as cyclic as possible, so that environments can run and evolve for long periods of time. Finally, I recognize the close connection of The Sand Game with the game of Life: Whereby, with a few very simple rules, and some starting conditions, you can create a very unpredictable outcome.

Of course, the original is pretty sweet. So I’ve make a version with my own rules, and the ability to write your own mods with whatever elements you create. I have implemented many, many more interactions and elements than the original version. Discover them as you play.

Originally, I didn’t want to make this Open Source. I think it takes away from the mysticism of the game. Those of you that are so inclined should be able to see the simple algorithm. Note the close connection with the game of Life. Also note the impossible situations, like unequalized water levels. These aren’t shortcomings of the game, but instead interesting artifacts of the rules of this alternate reality!

Unfortunately I haven’t had time in the last five years to update the game. If programming was my day job, you might see an update. If people donated money, I would release an update. I would probably re-write it in C#, which is what I’m using these days. It might even port to Linux and mac with Mono?

An excellent resource for links to the original, other variations of the game, and neat saved games, is the Falling Sand Forum. Sandman is sponsoring a very active community that involves Sand Game competitions involving some very talented gamers.

FSG Wiki
User-based documentation on how to make new elements for wxSand.

I like to think that this game can be played with a very laid-back approach. Just set up some walls and watch the sand fall… I completely support any other games written in the same style, like the games at SmartMelon Games.

I am an independent programmer and I support other independent programmers. Large publishing companies all too often kill a good game off by making sequel after sequel. Wolfenstein was awesome, but Return to Castle Wolfenstein? Indie game developers introduce new ideas into the gaming world. Go check some out at GameTrove.net.

I always appreciate constructive feedback:

If you like the game, you can tell me that most effectively by making a small donation for my effort. Of course, I always appreciate any help in paying for bandwidth to host this site too. Since I was listed on digg.com, joystiq.com, and other places, I’ve used 25GB of my bandwidth just for this page!

I use dreamhost.com for my websites, email, ssh, etc. They’ve been excellent and I have no problem recommending that you use them too. Easy maintenance and no nuisance.

Donate towards my web hosting bill!



4 thoughts on “wxSand

  1. AWESOME GAME i played it alot about 1-2 years ago then i realzied i almost forgot about so i tried to play the game again and the load mods from the wiki dont work it just freezes the game any idea why thanks alot John

  2. Same as prior comment. Played this game back in ’08 probably. Thought of it for some reason and thought I’d try it out again and no luck with online wiki.

  3. So is it open source? I don’t think the group/all keyword was ever finished, and if I can’t make it work then it will be very hard to make a Turing Machine in WxSand!

    I’ve been using it for years and I actually find it to be a useful tool sometimes for testing ideas I’d implement elsewhere! (In addition to the fascinating zen sandbox it primarily functions as)

  4. Hello Owen, I used to play wxSand in high school and it had a profound impact on me. I was wondering if you were ever thinking of remaking the project and porting it to an accessible platform such as Steam or itch.io? Hopefully with the capability to make easy user-created mods for it again? I’d LOVE it if you did. If not, no worries, and take care.

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