Sandbox game

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A Sandbox Game is a style of video games, where the player has considerable freedom in choosing how to accomplish objectives, or even create those objectives themselves, in contrast to linear style video games, where the player must follow a large array of set rules to accomplish a task set out by the game designer. Due to software limitations, most sandbox games do have limitations on world size, and player mobility.



Sandbox games are particularly difficult to balance the storyline, with gameplay. Because players often act in ways the developers never anticipated, the developers are pressed to find creative ways to catch all the exceptions, without limiting the freedom of the game. This is often avoided by using a simpler storyline, or simply removing one.[1]

World Generation

Sandbox game worlds are generated in 2 different ways. Procedural generation uses mathematical rules and a "seed" to generate the worlds, often creating interesting worlds, and cutting development time. Procedural generation also has the benefit of being resource efficient. The other type is designed. These worlds are generally more manageable for size, but are less free, and the worlds will not be unique.

Common Characteristics

Often, sandbox games give the player an infinite amount of tries, and huge amounts of ways to complete a task, or create a task. Some games, do penalize too many tries, whether through setbacks, or with point deduction. Another characteristic of sandbox games is the shear size of the map.[2] This can also be a problem for the player, as they navigate the map.


  1. Barton, Matt; Bill Loguidice (April 7, 2009). "The History of Elite: Space, the Endless Frontier". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2009-12-27,
  2. Skyrim, the elder scrolls has a map of 40 km2. Procedurally generated games can go on, in theory, forever, like in Minecraft. Software and hardware restrictions prevent that in real life.
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