Video Game: The Powder Toy

The Powder Toy is a freeware sandbox game, in near-constant development since 2008, which features arguably the most advanced physics ever seen in a Falling Sand Game. It currently has 13 categories of elements, many of which contain dozens of unique materials. TPT (as it is abbreviated by fans) simulates, in addition to particles, air movement, heat, electricity, radioactivity, optics, gravity, and nuclear fusion. More information about TPT can be found at the official wiki.


The Powder Toy contains examples of:

  • Artistic License Chemistry: The Powder Toy is full of it.
    • Coal (and its powdered variant) will withstand temperatures of over 9000 kelvins, yet will not ignite until touched by a fire particle.
    • Anything flammable can burn without oxygen, and won't leave any ashes behind.
    • Nitroglycerin will form TNT when it touches powdered clay (a reference to the production of dynamite).
    • Wet clay hardens under pressure
      • Originally intended to be a non-Newtonian fluid in function, PSTE element hardening under pressure is expected, but that detail was neglected in its description.
    • Salt water makes quartz crystals grow.
      • This becomes Truth in Television when you realize that water does indeed make certain types of crystals grow.
    • Thermite ignites when exposed to fire particles regardless of temperature. C4 does too (all explosives do, in fact) despite C4 being a popular military explosive because of its stability, as in real life igniting it will just cause it to burn.
  • Artistic License Nuclear Physics: The entire radioactive category of elements.
    • Deuterium oxide (aka heavy water) expands when heated and readily undergoes nuclear fission when hit by neutrons, which can make plutonium explode.
      • DEUT was originally named WTF, a nonsense self-absorbing sponge element that expanded like mercury with thermal energy. It was nicknamed 'heavy water' after its colors were inverted, making it a deep dark blue.
    • Electrons and neutrons form hydrogen when they collide.
    • Plutonium is realistically prone to fission under high pressure. Unlike reality, that pressure can include simply falling.
  • Baby Planet: The radial gravity mode allows players to build these.
    • Taken Up to Eleven with black holes, which suck things in and act as a center of gravity. They can be surrounded with a layer of diamond to provide a platform that you can build even smaller Baby Planets on.
  • Berserk Button: Ask on the forum when the devs are ever going to implement moving solids.
  • Convection Schmonvection: Partially averted. TPT fully simulates heat (and its effects on air) but by default only does so for particles. Ambient heat is optional.
  • Elemental Powers: Any stickman or fighter can be given an element which he will then attempt to shoot from his face. For stickmen, it's done by pressing the down arrow key (STKM) or S (STK 2), while fighters just do it randomly.
  • Everything's Better with Sparkles: Quite a few elements could qualify.
    • Plasma.
    • Most of the dedicated bomb elements have a sort of lens flare effect, as does the almost-hidden EMBR.
    • Spam gold everywhere to see a very subtle sparkle effect.
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel: Given how slowly photons travel, stickmen can sometimes run faster than light.
  • Hollywood Acid: TPT's acid is pink, flammable, and dissolves everything except diamond, glass, quartz, and a couple others.
  • Lava Adds Awesome: Lava is one of the available elements, and is formed when rocky or metallic materials are melted.
  • Light 'em Up: Photons.
  • Made of Explodium: Rubidium, a metal with a low melting point that explodes when wet. It's based on the real-life alkali metals.
  • Made of Indestructium: Diamond.
  • Neutron Bomb: You can build these.
  • Phlebotinum Bomb: EMPs might count. When powered, an EMP destroys all activated electronics on the screen.
  • Reflecting Laser: Photons bounce off of everything they don't pass through.
  • Selective Gravity: Gravity only applies to liquids, powders, some gases, and sometimes radiation. Solids are immune.
  • Shock and Awe: There are two(!) kinds of lightning the player can use, and both can be pretty destructive to surrounding materials.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: There are dozens of different explosives the player can use, not including the radioactive elements. Most of them are activated by lighting them on fire, though rubidium detonates on contact with water, and several types of "bomb" elements explode simply by touching things.
  • Sickly Green Glow: Plutonium and uranium are both a dark greenish color, and in certain view modes glow.
  • Slow Electricity: Spark waves travel through metals at a visible rate and powered elements only activate when the wave reaches them. INST is a little better about this.
  • Slow Light: Photons.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: There's an element for almost everything, ranging from VIBR (stores energy and explodes) to CRAY (creates rays of elements when powered), and one user has reported seeing a star form after an explosion.
    • Also if you have a large number of particles in a single pixel (normally only possible using the console) it creates a black hole.
  • You Nuke 'Em: There are countless ways to do this in TPT. The easiest is to just dump some plutonium in a metal tank and add neutrons.

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