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Population: One producer discusses Sandbox mode and user-generated content

On the heels of a new trailer, Shacknews speaks with BigBox VR Producer Casey White about Population: One's upcoming Sandbox mode.

BigBox VR
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Earlier this year, the Meta Connect event took a look at what's next for virtual reality. This included an extensive look at what's coming down the pipe for VR games. While there were some new titles shown off, existing hit Population: One was also on display with a brand new Sandbox update on the way.

While Population: One has already been a hit battle royale for the virtual reality space, Sandbox has been in the works for the past year and it's finally time for BigBox VR to bring it into early access. The free update is set to release later this week. Before that, Shacknews had the opportunity to speak with Producer Casey White about what the Population: One fanbase can expect to see.

Shacknews: Population: One has been around for a couple of years, but now you're about to release the new Sandbox Mode. How does Sandbox Mode stand out from the rest of what the current game has to offer?

Casey White, Producer at BigBox VR: Sandbox is the ultimate game creator where you are limited only by your imagination. We have given the POP1 community creative superpowers where they can build games, make their own rules, explore more than 1,000 community-built games and check out playlists for quick play matches.

The popular Battle Royale experience of POP1 that players know and love will evolve alongside Sandbox.

Shacknews: You're planning to develop Battle Royale concurrently with Sandbox. Are there two separate teams working on each and are there separate development roadmaps?

White: We are one cohesive team. We developed the best Battle Royale game in VR, and are now building upon that foundation to give players creative tools and create new social experiences.

Since POP1 is a live service game, players will continue to see updates both in POP1 and in Sandbox. For example, the rocket launcher recently became available in POP1 and players are loving it!

In Sandbox, we can’t wait to see what players create with these new tools. For those that don’t want to build, there’s a ton to explore, vote on, and more!

A Sandbox mode montage from Population: One

Source: BigBox VR

Shacknews: What can you tell me about the three environment templates that will be available at the start of early access for Sandbox?

White: We have three different terrains, each with their own lighting:

  • Foothills Template: This template is more flat, predominantly grass and has the closest lighting and setting to our Battle Royale game.
  • Snow Template: This template has a snow aesthetic and a main mountain feature for players to build on.
  • Moon Template: This template takes place on the Moon, in space. It’s the perfect environment to try out the new low gravity settings!

Creators who have selected their game to "allow copies" will also have their own games as a starting point for other creators to use.

Shacknews: Give me some examples of what players can potentially create using the Sandbox? What's something you've seen players put together in a short amount of time and what sorts of long-term projects have you witnessed from the community?

White: In terms of community created content, players are clearly inspired by a lot out there. With more than 1,000 new games created already, there is a wide range of content.

We have seen some creators make a game that has rock terrain with scenic waterfalls within an hour. Other creators have spent days adding fine details to their game. One example is the published game, "Lily Pad," featuring a pond with frogs, fish, reeds, and underwater life!

This is one reason why we have curated playlists, so you can easily jump into the games that our community loves and enjoys.

The Moon Template in Population: One's Sandbox mode

Source: BigBox VR

Shacknews: Lastly, what else are you looking to bring to Sandbox in the future?

White: We are excited about the launch of Sandbox because we can’t wait to see what the community comes up with! To expand upon the player experience, we are also looking into adding more creative tools and the sharing abilities of our creators.


White adds that Sandbox will begin in an early access period, but there is currently no indication of how long that will last. She adds that just as there is no clear "finish line" for a live service game like Population: One, there is no clear date for when Sandbox will exit its early access state.

Population: One's Sandbox mode will arrive as a free update this Wednesday, December 14. For more on what was revealed at Meta Connect earlier this year, be sure to check out our roundup.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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