gbSand is a standalone version of the popular web-based Falling Sand games. The web versions have generally been written in Java and are run in a browser. gbSand is written in PowerBASIC and is run as a standalone EXE (no browser required).

The basic Falling Sand game typically consists of one or more streams of falling particles, such as sand, oil, and water. The various particles are assigned properties which describe how the particles may fall or interact with each other. Barriers may be generated by the user, directing the paths by which particles may fall and/or merge with of particles streams. Particles which reach the bottom of the screen are typically discarded from the game.

While gbSand can be played by simply running the game and playing with the various controls and settings, there are a number of features available which enable the user to design (and save) game backgrounds for use in subsequent games. By default, gbSand opens with 4 particle streams and a barrier for each particles. Users can modify the numbers of streams/barriers, import barriers from external files, and edit the screen content directly - more editing features than any other falling sand game!

Download (v5.02, 1.4M)

gbSand uses a single main window, consisting of three toolbars and a client area where the game is displayed. Default particle streams enter from the top of the screen. Particle paths are directed by the user by placing barriers (manually drawn or imported from external files) in the path of the falling particles.

Feature List

gbSand provides a complete selection of features for manipulating particle flow.

  1. Standalone EXE
  2. Play/Pause/Restart
  3. Draw game content while game is paused
  4. Save/Open games
  5. Save/restore game session
  6. Default game includes 4 default particle streams and 4 default barriers
  7. Four user actions - Draw, Erase, Spout, and Import
  8. Custom cursors to indicate which action is in effect
  9. Draw barriers with mouse
  10. User-defined pen width
  11. Unlimited barrier count
  12. Import images as barriers
  13. User-defined resizing of import images
  14. Erase barriers (manual or imported) and particles using the mouse
  15. Select screen areas and selectively act on content in the selection
  16. Selectively remove streams
  17. Create particle streams (spouts) anywhere, placed by double-clicking
  18. Unlimited particle streams at user-defined locations
  19. User-defined particle count limit (default of 1,000,000)
  20. Import barriers from files, placed by double-clicking
  21. Nine particle types supported (sand, oil, water, seed, fire, salt, laster, cloud, virus)
  22. Speed control
  23. Sound effects
  24. User-defined game background color
  25. Zoom viewing (static image) anywhere on the screen
  26. Particle compaction (eliminate off-screen pixels)
  27. Print game image
  28. Capture game image to clipboard
  29. Real-time particle count, computation speed, and refresh cycle timing
  30. Popup setting information dialog
  31. Online Help (this page)

Future versions will enhance particle interaction, provide additional realism of falling particles and allow insertion of animated objects.

Playing gbSand

Aside from basic start/stop and faster/slower commands, there are 5 basic actions a user takes in playing gbSand. These are provided in the middle and bottom gbSand toolbars:


  1. Select - select an area from the game
  2. Draw - draw barriers with the mouse
  3. Erase - erase barriers and/or particles with the mouse
  4. Spouts - create particles sources anywhere (double-click at desired location)
  5. Import - import images, which act as barriers, onto the game screen (double-click at desired location)

By default, gbSand provide four streams of falling particles, one for each supported particle type of sand, oil, water, and seed. Also by default, a barrier is placed in each stream to deflect the particle flow. The defaults are just to demonstrate how the game works to the user. The user may remove the default barriers and particle flows.

Users may create new barriers by dragging on the screen with the mouse. Likewise, particle streams (spouts) may be removed or added. Added particle streams may be placed anywhere on the game screen.

Approximately 100 images, suitable for import (PNG files with black as transparent color), are distributed with gbSand. A separate toolbar is provided which displays all images found in the images subfolder where gbSand has been installed. You can import any image, but those with perimeter transparency tend to give better results. The supplied images are generally just colorful, humorous images - but the user can make custom images, such as a barrier which resembles a maze, which may be used in multiple games. The use of imported barriers is limited only by the users imagination!

The game may be paused and play resumed. A new game may also be started at any time. Games may be saved and opened later. The game speed (rate at which particles fall) can be controlled. The game status in a sessions is automatically saved and restored the next time gbSand is started.

Sound effects are available for each of the user actions (Drawing, Erase, Spouts, Import).

A screen context menu is available, providing various options for controlling the content of the game. A zoom context menu item allows the user to take a closer view of any part of the screen (displayed in a separate dialog). Game images may be saved to the clipboard or printed to a user-defined printer.

The user can select any portion of the screen, after which a separate context menu is presented, allowing the user to copy or selective erase content within the selection.


The gbSand interface includes the following 3 toolbars.


Settings Toolbar (Top)

Action Toolbar (Middle)
The middle toolbar provides all of the mouse actions a user may take.

Import Barrier Toolbar (bottom)
Thumbnails of all barrier files, located in the images subfolder where gbSand was installed, are shown on this toolbar. To import a barrier file, just select the image on the toolbar and then double-click on the game screen where you want the imported barrier to be centered.

gbSand Selection Context Menu

After making a selection on the game screen, the following context menu is displayed:

gbSand Screen Context Menu

A context menu is available from the main screen, and provides these menu items:

Keyboard Shortcuts

The following key combinations are available to the user to access gbSand features:


gbSand has the option to play a sound effect for each user action - draw, erase, spout and import.

In future versions, additional sound effects will be available, corresponding to particle interactions.

Other Comments

Miscellaneous information is provided in this section.

INI File
gbSand application settings are saved in an INI file, kept in the same folder as the gbSand application.

Comments and suggestions are welcome!