Feature wish list

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    Hi Oliver, Thanks for this software, have build the rig and is all running fine. We are going to use this to assist teaching Scouts about map navigational skills. Some possible ideas for the future:
    1. Trig points at the top of hills (maybe user defines the number required in config and these are added to x number of highest hills).
    2. Draw with mouse a freehand line to simulate walking tracks.
    3. Compass reference in corner pointing to north (manually set).
    4. Flashing beacons that can be manually placed with mouse.
    5. Map grid reference so we can ask Scouts to build x at grid point 22,35.

    Keep up all the good work!

    Tasmania, Australia


    @markd what did you use for your rig?

    I’m just beginning this project with our local Makerspace. We want to eventually go all out – but we’d like to start with a low cost proof of concept first.



    Sound, add a thunder clap when rain starts to fall, and the sound of rain.
    I do this now manually but to have it integrated into the program would be great.


    Just some food for thought:

    I’ve tried that approach, the issue is with a low cost approach, you loose the magic of the project. Everyone in this form that has a box will tell you it was worth every penny, myself included. Take your time and go all out, time is money too, so the time you put into a low cost box could have been spent on the high end product. It’s just like a computer, if you have an old machine you get frustrated because you can’t do everything that a new machine can do, and you end up not using your computer. just my .02, i’ll be quite now 😉


    i would like to reconstruct naval engagements like pearl harbor, dday, etc

    -make the island, start the naval battle simulation
    watch the battle unfold in realtime



    ultimately I want to turn this into a SIM.
    crops grow by water sources, you can place buildings on the landscape, then watch what happens when there is a land slide or a tsunami. Texture with each of the topographical layers. green will look like trees, red will have a rocky texture, etc…


    How about a parameter to speed-up manual “drying” of the water simulation?

    Currently, dry time is related proportionally to the rain strength (-rs) parameter. The heavier it rains, the quicker it also dries when a “Dry” button is held.

    But if I want to watch how a landscape flows water under an extended light rain (say 2 or 3 minutes at -rs 0.05) it takes 2 or 3 minutes to dry the rain from the ponds where it collects.

    A “Dry” feature which is not directly related to the “-rs” parameter would be great! 🙂

    – Rick
    San Diego, CA


    Don’t know if this is a step too far but I can see a real benefit using this system for avalanche awareness, The way snow collects on slopes and forms cornices in respect of wind direction, where high winds scrap the snow from one slope aspect and drop it on the leeward side forming cornices.
    then changing the slope angle of the sand would cause more or less snow to collect and between angles of 27 and 50 degrees various stages of avalanche risk could be shown with the standard avalanche colour codes overlying the snow.

    So change wind direction, model snow distribution in respect if terrain steepness and aspect, then monitor the slope gradient to identify potential areas for avalanche. cause snow to collect in level areas slip of when critical mass is reached in 27 – 50 degrees slope range and nor collect so much on steeper slopes. Maybe even simulate temperature change.

    Of course avalanche is much more complicated than this but this would provide a really useful demonstration tool for identifying the physical areas where snow collects and the gradients in which avalanche are most likely to occur.
    Not for the next revision me thinks.


    Sorry I’m getting carried away. A simpler version of the avalanche sand box.
    Measuring gradients and changing a colour overlay to indicate steepness, allow calibration of colour against gradient so it could be used for different purposes:
    1. Avalanche danger angles.
    2. Gradients suitable for human beings to walk up and some way to calibrate speed of travel vs gradient X a constant(fitness or roughness of terrain)
    3. Path tracing – draw a line as and overlay on the terrain following a finger or laser pointer
    4. Create a touch screen input device so that the sandbox image could be augmented with symbols on the tablet device and overlain on the projected sandbox image. to create interactive maps, demonstrating tree line limits, vegetation. cliffs and other physical features. Basically create map layers.


    Hello, We’ve just set up our sandbox successfully and are using it regularly. Thanks for the hard work on this project – it’s a really helpful teaching tool. There are a couple features that would make it even more helpful:
    1) Ability to output the projected image to a postscript file. (I can do this now with a screenshot to a .png, but i’d like to be able to easily edit the image).
    2) Ability to output the sand surface height (defined by the colormap or some other arbitrary zero elevation) to a file (with three columns of x y z, or something like that) in order to use that surface as a basemap for other images.
    3) Draw index contours (every Xth countour as darker/fatter lines) with labels showing elevation (in cm, or some other user-defined scalable elevation).
    Thanks again,
    Pima Community College, Tucson AZ


    Hi Oliver

    Just another thought on a second user display for using a 3D view to visualise contours created on sandbox.

    This effectively gives two sessions for users. one on the sandbox proper and one at a second monitor or even projector where a saved 3D view of their work on the sandbox may be reviewed.


    This gives a number of advantages:

    1. Increases the throughput of the sandbox reducing the time required for individuals or groups to explore all the potential.

    2. Provides additional learning opportunities for users using the 3D environment they created or replicated.

    3. Increases the value of the Sandbox investment for very little additional cost (unless you go for a second projector).


    I made a box for use in geoscience courses at our high school, I am wondering if I can use this in my AP physics classes as well. I can see using the contour map to show differences in electric potential across a field (hills for + and holes for -) I would love to use the box to show point charges moving within the field. Is there a way to manipulate the water simulation to show a single large particle (like a ball or a charged particle) instead of a system of water particles? This would be great for showing dipoles and other electrical simulations. Thanks again for sharing the source code, Oliver, this has been a great joy for me and my students.


    Integrated shader switching. Basically the wish is for a method for switching between different colour maps (water, lava, tropical, snowy, …) that’s integrated into the application. It could be as simple as <kbd>F5</kbd> cycles between all files in share/SARndbox-<version>/Shaders/AddWater/ or, with a bit more work, having a .cfg file map:

    F1 = SurfaceAddWaterColor.fs
    F2 = SurfaceAddWaterColor-lava.fs

    Secondarily, a “best of” collection of shader files to give people a head start and ideas on creating their own.

    (Longer term, a generalised key-to-function framework would be welcome. There a quite a number of topics in the forum about how to assign X to key Y)


    Feature Request:

    Usage tracking.

    A file should record the date/time of each user interaction (each time the rain starts as a poor-mans metric?). This would allow installations to begin to quantify its reach, at least in terms of number of interactions.


    Hi Oliver,

    I’m with the USDA Forest Service out of Groveland, California. We are home to the 2013 Rim Fire. We would love to see a wildfire feature to help teach wildland fire behavior, especially if you can capture how terrain, weather, and vegetation type can influence fire’s behavior. We are working with some of our local partners to build a model here.

    Dusty Vaughn
    Public Service Program Leader
    Groveland Ranger District
    Stanislaus National Forest

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