2006-05-08

Some notes about Sand Sand Sand

I've been playing Sand Sand Sand lately. It's the successor to World of Sand, and it has some important additions.

  • Water now exhibits waves. This means very little, except that it is now impossible to get a perfectly level field of Water.

  • Salt now mixes with Water. Saltwater sinks in plain Water, but other than that, possesses no buoyancy; other substances (besides Water) are suspended in it, rather than floating or sinking.

  • Buoyancy has been added. Oil floats on top of Water; Water floats on top of Sand. But as I mentioned above, this only applies to plain Water, not Saltwater.

  • Wall has been changed to Ground.

  • A new tool has been added: Seed. This tool isn't draggable; you only get one Seed per click. The Seed will disappear if it hits any substance that is not Ground. If it does hit Ground, it is planted, and grows a fractal tree.

    1. The tree starts off with a trunk made of Wood, which is a slow-burning version of Oil (in that it is flammable and erodes surrounding Ground or whatever when it burns).
    2. After a fractal generation or two, it begins growing Leaves instead of Wood.
    3. The Leaves periodically generate Pollen (or maybe it's Sap). Pollen suspends (doesn't float or sink) in any substance, including Water.
  • Fire now generates Smoke, which of course rises. It disappears after a short time, but it can bottle up a small opening. Watch for this if you funnel lots of Oil through a tiny (1–2 px) hole onto a burning stick of Wax.

    Screenshot: A cone filled with Water, pouring onto a roughly diamond-shaped division inside of a small inverted cone. At the mouth of the lower cone is three sticks of Wax, each burning, generating enough smoke to seal off (briefly) the opening between the two cones.

  • Pouring Water now contains bubbles of air/nothing, which of course float to the top. And Saltwater, poured into Water, gets bubbles of Water.

    Screenshot: A cone filled with Water, pouring into empty space. Bubbles are floating up through the Water.
    Screenshot: A cone filled with Water and Saltwater, pouring directly into a second cone filled with plain Water. Water bubbles have appeared in the Saltwater, and air/vacuum bubbles in the top Water.

And a couple of problems:

  • This one existed in WoS, too: Liquids behave more like powders.

    1. They don't equalize. Create a U-shaped container from Ground, with an upright division in the middle (with a gap between that and the floor of the U). Fill one side, above the gap, with Water or Oil or Saltwater. The other side will fill up to the gap, but not above it.

      Screenshot: A box as described. The left side is full to the top; the right side is filled right up to the bottom of the division.

    2. If you rush a large amount of a liquid down an incline, it takes too long for the level at the bottom to equal the level at the top. A liquid would reach the same level at both ends much more quickly than a powder; the behavior in the game is that of a powder, even when the substance being poured is a liquid (Water, Oil, or Saltwater).

    I think that this can be attributed to the game's apparent use of pixels as the backing for all game substances; they act as particles of a powder. Of course, I'm just guessing, having not seen the inner workings of the game for myself. But that is my guess and I'm sticking to it.

  • If you fill a container with Water, then put a lid on it with Pollen or Ground, then inject Oil into the Water, it will float up, but it will not even out. It will just form a lump at the top of the field of Water.

  • Bubbles don't happen in any other liquids or powders, only plain Water. Also, bubbles would only happen when the top is not open (as in a bottle held upside down); a bowl, cone, or box should not have any bubbles. (Maybe I'm asking too much, but you know me: I'm a pedant.)

UPDATE 2006-05-09 04:02 PDT: I knew I forgot one. Turns out I forgot two. Added the list items for smoke and bubbles (amusingly enough, both names of Growl displays).

UPDATE 2006-05-09 05:04 PDT: Error correction to the bubbles list item: Air in water isn't the only kind of bubble in the game. Also added screenshots.

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