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Sandbox msblog.jpg
Map overview


Halo 3


Unknown world


Slightly eroded Forerunner structures, desert sand

Gameplay overview

Recommended number of players:


Recommended gametype(s):

This endless wasteland still holds many secrets. Some of them are held more deeply than others.

Sandbox is a map that is included in the Mythic Map Pack. It was stated by Bungie to be the "ultimate Forge map". Sandbox, alongside the Mythic Map Pack in general, was first released along with the Halo Wars: Limited Edition, and was released to Xbox Live Marketplace on April 9, 2009.


Sandbox is set in the midst of a barren desert surrounded by many rolling sand dunes, similar to Sandtrap. Large Forerunner towers can be seen in the distance. Bungie hinted that, similar to Sandtrap, the Covenant may have also conducted archaeological excavations here. The map is based at sunset, with a ringed gas giant in the sky, and a setting sun on the horizon.

Sandbox's watchtowers have the ability to seek out and kill players if they move outside Sandbox. If the player moves outside of the barrier, the watchtowers will shoot out yellow lasers which will instantly destroy them, even if they are inside a vehicle (although these watchtowers can be blocked off or overloaded in Forge).[1]


Sandbox's setting and architecture are similar to Sandtrap, but its forging capabilities greatly surpass Foundry. The map consists of three distinctive layers: the main ground area best for vehicle-based maps, the "Sky Bubble", a location high above that can be used to create floating maps with falling death barriers, and "The Crypt" underneath which is the best way to make enclosed arenas. The layers are separated by default, but can be accessed and connected in Forge.[2] In Forge, the default Sandbox has a grid to help line up objects.

Default Sandbox[edit]

The default Sandbox map shipped for multiplayer is perfectly symmetrical, and considered by Bungie to be a medium-large map. It contains two bases opposite each other, with cover laid in between. Over each base floats a colored light. One light is blue, and one light is red. The map's vehicular arsenal includes a Chopper, Warthog and two Mongooses for each team. Infantry have access to rocket launchers and missile pods to counter them, and an overshield is located on top of a pillar in the center of the map.[3]


Sky Bubble[edit]

The Sky Bubble is an area in Sandbox located high above the ground level. This region can be reached via built-in teleporter in Forge, allowing game-play on both the normal map and the Sky Bubble at the same time. To aid in the forging process, the Sky Bubble has another grid system to help line up objects. It should be noted that all objects besides those in the scenery menu (and turrets) will fall through the grid onto the lower level.

The Sky Bubble is about three times larger than the ground area of the default Sandbox. Although at first glance the skybubble may seem to be circular, it is actually a 36-sided regular polygon. The distance from the center to a corner of the bubble is about 66.4 grid units, making its area roughly 13,851 grid squares.

The tops of the watchtowers from the ground floor are higher than the "ground" of the Sky Bubble; they cast light over the area. When the player falls off the edge of objects he or she has placed, there is a death barrier between the Sky Bubble and the ground below, so maps like Guardian and Ascension could be accurately remade. This particular barrier has only placed under the grid area however, making it possible for players to use the outside of the Sky Bubble as a means to traverse between the ground floor without the use of a teleporter (provided that they have built a protective barrier against the watchtowers or permanently overloaded the map). Despite the huge distance, weapons capable of sniping are able to scope the distance between the ground floor and Sky Bubble with a degree of proficiency.

The Crypt[edit]

The Crypt is a large, enclosed area located under Sandbox. It can be accessed by removing the flat block in the center of the map (if you prevent it from spawning at start it will still be there and you can't delete it, can be fixed by starting a new round) and dropping down the shaft, which is very long and dark. The Crypt has the exact dimensions of a Grifball court. The floor is square-shaped and the height is the same as the width. The blue grid also appears down in the crypt.[2] The golden stripes in the Crypt's walls are covered in an alien text. Through the text, a moving, glowing texture can be seen.

The Crypt has a very high ceiling, and the walls seem to be constructed of black stone. There are UNSC floodlights in the walls that emit an eerie glow in the area. Since the Crypt can be accessed via teleporter and the shaft, it is possible to play in the Crypt, the ground level, and the Sky Bubble in one map.

The Crypt is 32 x 32 grid squares, which is approximately 16 x 16 single walls.

In Forge, the only way to access the crypt is to either remove or delete the center block that covers the shaft. Using the Flat Block forge item you can re-cover the hole, but it can be difficult to get the block back in place. A good trick would be to simply cover the hole with a flat wall, or merge other objects into the shaft via Ghost Merging. However, if you've removed all spawn points from the map you can access the crypt by changing teams until you spawn inside it.


"Sandbox combines large-scale vehicular combat with a limitless amount of Forge customization. Boasting a tiered, open-world layout, “Halo 3” players will be able to build their own unique game experiences using the Forge map editor. Sandbox is a map unlike any Bungie has ever created."

The center of the main level of Sandbox is a flat, empty floor, similar to Foundry, but visually resembling Sandtrap. The map is built from Forge-editable blocks, pillars and ramps. The map includes "just about every kind of building block you could ever want"; for example, tunnels, crouch-only doorways and quarter-pyramids are usable; see here for a full list. The item limits have been loosened; for example, unlike Foundry's 20 wall limit, it is possible to place 40 walls in Sandbox. Sandbox also supports every vehicle in Halo 3 multiplayer except the Elephant.

A new Forge item included in Sandbox is an orb of light that colors its surroundings in either red or blue; it can be used to differentiate the two bases, similar to most maps made by Bungie. Another is the Kill Ball, a large orange sphere that kills anyone who comes into contact with it. A golf club (called the 7 wood) that acts like a gravity hammer, a golf ball, and a cup to hit it into are also available. The cup is like a magnet to the golf ball; if the ball touches the grassy part of it, the ball will automatically roll into it. It takes two swings to get it back out. Like the soccer ball, it is purely for aesthetic purposes and in no way will score you a point. In Forge mode, a blue grid appears on the map to help the player place objects the way they want it with accuracy and precision. Also, it takes 3.5 seconds to fall to the bottom of the crypt (3.5x2- a potential 7 reference). It takes 10 seconds to walk from one side to the other.[3][5]

The Grid only appears in Forge, not in actual gameplay modes such as Slayer, Capture the Flag, or Infection. There are many new items to be placed in Forge. These are mostly Sandtrap-themed (as well as Ghost Town-themed wooden objects), to keep within the style of the map.

Sandbox Guardians[edit]

Lining the exterior of Sandbox are several large Forerunner towers not dissimilar in appearance to those found on Sandtrap. The towers serve to prevent players from exiting the arena by shooting lasers at them. Each laser is an instant kill on a regular player - though heavy vehicles can take a hit or two before being destroyed. The beams are similar to those emitted by the towers on Sandtrap, though in that case, the beams trigger the Brute landmines scattered around the map rather than damage the player directly.

The lasers can be blocked by standing in a bubble shield, or using Forge items to block line-of-sight.


Production notes[edit]

  • Internally, Sandbox was referred to as "The Forge++ map" (likely referring to Foundry's status as a "Forge+" map), prior to the name Sandbox being decided upon.[6]
  • Sandbox's successor in Halo: Reach, Forge World, originally started off development as a Sandbox remake. The original idea for the game's main forge map was to set the map in the city of New Alexandria, inside a skyscraper under construction.[7]


Main article: Glitches
  • After overloading the map or playing on a map with the Guardian towers blocked, if you walk out towards the two towers not connected to the Guardian Wall, if you walk right into the invisible wall around them, you will be killed by the Guardians after a few seconds.
  • In any of the areas inside of the map that have pools of sand on them, you can turn the sand into quicksand. Just go to a sandy area, and spawn a double block, and angle it through the sand, and it will sink and you won't be able to find it.

Easter Eggs[edit]

Main article: Easter Eggs


  • If the player overloads Sandbox using trip mines in Forge, the grid will disappear and the Guardian towers will not fire at the player if he or she goes out of bounds, thus enabling the player to explore the level freely. Unfortunately, this will also cause the skull to disappear, and if the player enters the Sky Bubble, since the grid is gone, the game will act as if there is nothing between the Sky Bubble and the ground floor; thus causing all items to fall onto the ground. However, the death barrier is still present, and without the grid, it is much more difficult to know where it is.



External links[edit]