The Sandbox Review & Crypto Game Guide

The Sandbox is an interconnected world of unique game experiences. With land plots of varying sizes, each land owner can build their own creations using a visual game builder. And though The Sandbox is still in alpha testing, this is a gaming metaverse that anyone interested in play-and-earn experiences should know about. So let’s guide you through the basics of The Sandbox, and show you where to go for further research and investigation!

Main Content

The Sandbox Gameplay Overview

The Sandbox consists on thousands of plots in a variety of sizes. Within each plot lies the unique creation of the plot owner. This could be a game, a social hub, or whatever else can be imagined and built. Sandbox is voxel-based, giving it a Minecraft feel. Assets inside of each experience are individual voxel objects, which can be imported from external editors.

Built on Unity and with and featuring an ever-growing scripting language, the Sandbox Game Maker gives builders quite a bit of opportunity to create something unique. Plot owners have complete control over what is built in their plot. The games created so far range from RPGs, to side-scrollers, to business management sims, to dance games, and more! Players can join and play any public experience via the Game Maker. Most are single-player adventures, though some offer a chance to socialize with other players.

About The Sandbox

The Sandbox began as a mobile game, way back in 2012. And even back then, they already had the model for what we have today. User-created, mutable worlds with complex elements. In 2018, Animoca Brands acquired the property and began development on the blockchain-based, web3 version.

Sandbox first sold land plots in December of 2019, offering discounts of up to 40% on the retail price. Pre-sales continued throughout 2020. Then, in February of 2021, Sandbox began an ongoing series of public sales for the remaining land. So far about 108,000 land NFTs have been sold, from a total of 166,464 plots. Most lands also come with special NFTs inspired by one of the partners for the sale. These partners cover a diverse range from Atari to the Care Bears to Snoop Dogg!

Though the land sales and much of the Sandbox ecosystem still lives on the Ethereum blockchain, The Sandbox is in the process of moving to Polygon. They have already moved the staking pools to the Polygpn network and encouraged land owners to migrate their lands over as well. On Polygon, the SAND token is known as mSAND.

Sandbox map
A portion of The Sandbox map

The Sandbox Play-to-Earn Mechanics

At the moment, Sandbox doesn’t have any persistent play to earn opportunities. But when the monetization tools are implemented, each experience in The Sandbox has the opportunity to create their own play to earn mechanics. Whether that be with a token reward, NFTs, or some other means. As part of the alpha testing, Sandbox also runs special events, allowing players to experience a selection of games and experiences built by Sandbox and their partners. Some players from those events receive Alpha passes — used to claim significant rewards in SAND tokens. So far there have been two Alpha Seasons, with a third expected in the next few months.

Initial investment

Playing The Sandbox is free. Owning a land plot is not. Currently, the cheapest land plots on the secondary markets cost just under 2 ETH. A rental system in the future will allow land owners to rent out their plots to creators. The Sandbox still holds public sales every once in a while. Paying for land through these sales is done with SAND tokens on the Ethereum network. And there is quite a bit of competition for the plots!

Reward System in The Sandbox

Once launched, the reward system in The Sandbox will vary from plot to plot, with each game creating its own play-to-earn experience. So far, the Sandbox Alpha tests have handed out rewards in a lottery system, with those completing more quests and engaging more with social media receiving more entries. Some players who completed all of the quests or certain sub-sections of the Alpha were awarded secondary prizes.

Landowners sometimes receive special perks such as limited edition NFTs.

Sandbox land rewards
Golden land owner’s loot

The Sandbox Tokens

Sandbox features just one token, SAND. SAND is an ERC-20 utility token, available on both Polygon and the Ethereum mainnet. Available on many exchanges, both centralized and decentralized, SAND has a max supply of 3 billion with a circulating supply of about 1 billion. The Sandbox offers staking rewards on the Polygon network. Users who stake the mSAND / MATIC pair, or just mSAND by itself, receive regular rewards in mSAND tokens.

All purchases on The Sandbox marketplace use SAND. This includes land plots and NFTs. Marketplace fees are 5%, with a percentage of those fees being sent to the Foundation Pool, which is used to provide incentives for builders and players. The Foundation Pool also receives a portion of the income from land and NFT sales, equating to 26.50% of all SAND income.

  • the-sandbox
  • The Sandbox
    (SAND)
  • Price
    $1.10
  • Market Cap
    $1.38 B

How to Start in The Sandbox

Getting started in Sandbox is easy. Both the Game Maker and VoxEdit are free to download directly from the Sandbox site. Currently, the Game Maker is the way to play and try other creators’ experiences. For the Alphas, Sandbox had a standalone launcher. One that I imagine will be used for future betas and the public launch. Players can still download this launcher and play the Season Two Alpha experiences.

The Sandbox has indicated that there will be a Season 3 of Alpha coming soon, but we don’t have any further details yet. Receiving rewards during the Alpha seasons requires creating an account and linking a wallet.

Tips for The Sandbox

To start playing, you just have to jump right in. Controls are the standard WASD with E usually used for interactions. The games and world from Alpha Season Two are still open, though the play and earn opportunity is closed. For creators and designers, VoxEdit and Game Maker are both very easy to learn, with some more complex tools for advanced users.

The Sandbox Alpha Season 2 Video Review

Creating in The Sandbox

Sandbox Game Maker
Build with the Game Maker

Editing terrain and placing scenery in the Game Maker is pretty straightforward. Terrain comes in blocks while everything else is a voxel-based asset. Players can import their own assets (or ones purchased from the marketplace), and also use a number of free, default assets.

The scripting is a little more complex, and you will probably want to read up on that and/or watch a few instructional videos before you get started. Though, the game does come with a rather useful tutorial world. When played, the world has a number of scripted objects set up with explanations of what they do. This way the player can see it in action in-game, and then also go into the editor and look at the script settings to better understand the whole process. It’s not always the most up-to-date experience, but it is well done and recommended for any new user. The Sandbox team holds weekly streams on Twitch where they play games made by users and provide live feedback.

As for VoxEdit, PandaPops, one of the primary asset builders for Sandbox, also streams regularly, taking community suggestions and questions while creating new items in VoxEdit. Check their Discord for links to numerous tutorials and guides. VoxEdit can animate assets as well!

Sandbox Voxedit
Model and animate in VoxEdit

The Sandbox Review

Sandbox is a very promising project and has great potential of becoming something truly amazing. They already have a solid foundation, a laundry list of notable partners, a strong demand for their land plots, and an ever-growing community of players and creators! Once they get to a point where plot owners can monetize their games and provide incentives to players, the sky is the limit! The gameplay and style are familiar to Minecraft players, but the added complexity allowed by the built-in scripting brings a whole new dimension to the game’s potential.

Though play and earn opportunities are limited at this point, there are plenty of opportunities to build and earn before the game even launches. That ranges from making wearable hats to building a complex scene object, to creating an entire game! To start down this path, the best opportunities come from the regular VoxEdit and Sandbox Game Maker contests. Watch their Twitter feed and Discord to stay up to date on the contests and giveaways.

The creativity harnessed by making these tools free and open to the public is already paying dividends. The quality and ingenuity seen with the games and assets in development continue to grow with every passing week. If you have any interest in game development or voxel-based creations, then I strongly suggest you take a look at The Sandbox.

Though you must own land to publish any experiences created with the Game Maker, just using the tools and learning the interface will be a great experience. And even if you never own land, someday soon, landowners will be looking for game makers willing to build and run games on their plots. And the same goes for VoxEdit. Though only approved creators can sell their items on the marketplace, learning to use the VoxEdit tool and participating in the contests will be a great experience for leveraging into future projects.

The Sandbox Key Info

  • Genre: Virtual World / Metaverse
  • Free to Play: Yes
  • Platform(s): PC / Mac
  • Blockchain(s): Ethereum / Polygon
  • Token(s): SAND
Links
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Phil Hall has been a gaming enthusiast since birth and a crypto enthusiast since 2017. He enjoys new discoveries and sharing those with others via blogging and photography. You can follow him on Twitter or read his other articles on Medium.
Editor at Play to Earn Online Magazine — I love crypto and discovering new use cases and projects everyday — As for gaming, I am an old school, arcade and racing sims fan. Here to help you navigate the play-to-earn space.