A downloadable game for Windows and Linux

Buy Now$13.00 USD or more

The Sapling is a simulation game where you design your own plants and animals, and put them in a world together. Or you turn on random mutations, and see what evolution does to your ecosystem!

Updated 19 days ago
StatusIn development
PlatformsWindows, Linux
Release date Dec 11, 2019
Rated 4.9 out of 5 stars
(7 total ratings)
AuthorWessel Stoop
Made withUnity, Inkscape, Blender
TagsCreative, ecosystem, evolution, Life Simulation, nature, Procedural Generation, Relaxing, Sandbox, Short, Singleplayer
Average sessionAbout a half-hour
InputsKeyboard, Mouse
LinksSteam, Homepage, Blog, Twitter


Buy Now$13.00 USD or more

In order to download this game you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $13 USD. You will get access to the following files:

the_sapling_w64_v9.40.zip 104 MB
the_sapling_w64_v10.30.zip 181 MB
the_sapling_l64_v10.30.zip 189 MB
the_sapling_l64_v11.14.zip (experimental!) 337 MB
the_sapling_w64_v11.14.zip (experimental!) 329 MB
the_sapling_l64_v11.16.zip 337 MB
the_sapling_w64_v11.16.zip 329 MB
the_sapling_l64_v11.17.zip 337 MB
the_sapling_w64_v11.17.zip 329 MB
the_sapling_l64_v11.18.zip 339 MB
the_sapling_w64_v11.18.zip 330 MB
the_sapling_l64_v11.20.zip 338 MB
the_sapling_w64_v11.20.zip 330 MB
the_sapling_l64_v11.23.zip 339 MB
the_sapling_w64_v11.23.zip 330 MB
the_sapling_l64_v11.26.zip 339 MB
the_sapling_w64_v11.26.zip 330 MB
the_sapling_l64_v11.28.zip 339 MB
the_sapling_w64_v11.28.zip 330 MB
the_sapling_l64_v11.29.zip 339 MB
the_sapling_w64_v11.29.zip 330 MB
the_sapling_l64_v11.30.zip 339 MB
the_sapling_w64_v11.30.zip 330 MB

Development log

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Viewing most recent comments 1 to 40 of 48 · Next page · Last page

i think we can all relate to the fact that land animals never emerge and epochs are weird

and custom seasons feel to simple so i think this could solve it

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the leaf is soil fertility and the sun is solar radiation which makes animals have to be a darker color or have an option of "melanin production" which means they will get darker the more they stay on the sun if there is high sun radiaton and "melanin loss" which means their skin color will get lighter with time if there is no sun radiation and minimum and maximum melanin which are the darkest and lightest color the animal can be to avoid it getting too dark or too light

an edited photo

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i made the melanin thing because i accidentally placed the sun instead of the thermometer in the season image and btw "dark forest" is just like saying custom names could be a thing

Hey, thanks so much for your ideas (with illustrations even), and sorry for totally missing them until now.  Without making promises, I like your ideas about melanin. Would you claim that animals in sunnier areas of the world are also darker on earth because of this?

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yes and thats why people in deserts have a darker skin color and in europe they are as white as snow

One way road! ONE WAY ROAD!

i bought it but i dont know how to play anyone got suggestions?

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well i just figured out it doesnt even work for my chromebook -_-

How am I supposed to play this on my iPad what button am I supposed to press?

you cant i think

u can only play in laptop i think

how do I play this game on an iPad?

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is it only on steam?

Just added it to Itch as well!

(1 edit) (+1)

how do i test the experimental branch of the food and fire update?

Just added it to Itch as well!

I am just saying this because I am currently short of money, but could you make a free version that only allows you to have 1 world, not including the tutorial world?

The world could only have certain maps to play on and you could only make creatures and plants using simple features.

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At the moment, I have no plans for a tutorial, but good to know you would be interested in that!

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i have an idea for an update that makes ecosystems interact more with each other: mushrooms can be edited, they would have a poison system to avoid some animals eating them, they can have patterns and be poisonous for animals, or make the animal resistant to a poison type or to lower or higher temperatures but animals will evolve to be resistant to that poison type or that temperature, that can unlock new body parts that can only evolve by eating mushrooms, they spread by spores which  can attach to animals and each specific amount of seconds a mushroom will grow where the animal is in that current time, mushrooms can grow mycelium that can make plants help each other, like passing water to another plant that needs it, also mushroom spores can grow into moss, a new plant type like grass that can increase a place's shallow water, which will mean that now places get dryer over time, then moss can evolve into grass or ferns and ferns can evolve onto plants. Plants will also change, making them instead of evolving seeds evolving spore droppers which are like mushroom spores, the spore droppers can evolve to drop more spores or evolve into seeds. And the last thing is a fruit growing animation, if a fruit is curved it will grow straight and then it will curve or a round fruit just growing bigger or a long fruit that gets longer, fruits changing colors while they grow like strawberries and that fruit poison is low and while the fruit gets older the poison intensity rises so animals have to eat the fruit while its still young and a sugar level for fruits that can make the fruit give more energy and body parts that make the animal more or less sugar resistant to absorb more sugar. I would like to see some or one of these features or something similar.

and also amphibian animals that can evolve from aquatic animals with special feet that can swim and walk and then evolve onto land animals or onto aquatic animals again but being able to stay more time in land, aquatic plants that are just plants that evolve back onto water and have leaves and flowers, also corals in the ocean that can evolve from algae and change color and size.

Thank you for so many ideas! Without making promises, these are all ideas I like! I will now go and google 'spore droppers' :)

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with spore droppers i mean a body part for plants that drops spores because i dont think that those body parts even have a name

they could have a lot of like hairs in them like in real life in some images i have seen

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an example picture

I absolutely adore this game, but I keep on running into an issue in the tutorial game: at a certain point, everything seems to freeze, but I still have free motion and can click on and select things. The years do not pass, and nothing moves or interacts. I suspect this is because of my admittedly limited computer's setup, but I just wanted to know if there was a way to avoid this.

Hey Lorewise, thanks for your report! This sounds very much like the game ran into an internal problem.  I might be able to see what is going on in a log file (C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\The Sapling\the_sapling_Data) or crash report (C:\Users\YOURUSERNAME\AppData\LocalLow\Wessel Stoop\The Sapling). Are you by any chance willing to send these to thesaplinggame@gmail.com ?

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when i try to play for first time with the plant i cant because it says the ocean depth is not enotuh so will not survive i dont know what to do i cant edit it and i cant edit the terrain, please help, i just want to play sandbox i will learn on the while im playing to be honest i dont want to play this one about the plant is becoming a headache to know why the ocean is too depth :S

Hey Krory90, the game only makes you go through the first scenario to avoid the sandbox being too overwhelming. If you want to place an alga, and the game says the ocean depth is not correct, you can either make it 'longer' (dragging up the red arrow in the editor) or shorter (dragging down the red arrow)... does that help?


Fade Away Oooooooooooo GIF - Fade Away Oooooooooooo Aga - Discover & Share GIFsFade Away Oooooooooooo GIF - Fade Away Oooooooooooo Aga - Discover & Share GIFs

Thanks for your input! There FAQ also addresses this if you're interested: https://thesaplinggame.com/faq

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Idea: once the game is more done you could make it mobile friendly to reach out to more new players, it doesn't have to be free it could still cost money but yeah.

Thanks for your input! There FAQ also addresses this if you're interested: https://thesaplinggame.com/faq


Hi, I just bought the latest version on Windows. The rotate control doesn't really work. I got it to work briefly but then it failed again. This happens in full screen and "windowed" versions. I also recommend adding a dedicated rotate button and control options menu. Thank you

Thanks for your feedback! What 'rotate control' are you referring to exactly? The camera in the editor perhaps?


what are the requirements to be able to play like do you need a graphics card or a lot of storage?


And also a demo I kind of would like  so you get the feel of the game before you buy it and it has it so you can only play for 50 minutes

Thanks for your input, much appreciated!

I notice that players with smaller amounts of RAM have crashes more often, but other than that the performance is mostly determined by the map size and less by the hardware ;)

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I'm really excited for the incoming update mentioned in the devlog, it looks really cool!


Hey, don't listen to what others are saying, what you're creating is incredibly cool! I'm sure this game has a great future! It's even more impressing that it's made by an indie developer!


You should add a new kind of creature, viruses. Viruses could be represented by particles in the air and could spice up any ecosystem


Without making promises, it's an idea I like, thanks!

can you make pay yourself and have Discord plz

Hi TurtleCroc, what do you mean by 'make pay yourself'? There is a community Discord: https://discord.gg/Dg87jbWkPQ

allow  people set price


Ah right, but wouldn't that mean most people would pay way less?


get Patreon or Kickstarter or GoFundMe


can you make it mac friendly

Hey Hiimreg, there are no short term plans to support other platforms, but (as you can see below) Mac support is often requested, so if I ever want to expand, Mac will definitely be the first choice.

i wish Wessal was Here to get some help:(

I'm here and responded below :)


Does the game work on moble because it doesnt work :( and i wasted 10.00$ dollors

it only works on windows and linux

Hi Rodand, thanks for buying, and sorry to read you don't have access to the supported platforms. I think itch.io supports refunds:  https://itch.io/support . Feel free to cc thesaplinggame@gmail.com, I'll help out.


add bug parts in the animal maker

add animal that has no legs

add semi-aquatic plants


Thanks! Without making promises, all of these are ideas I'm interested in!


Truly incredible gameplay. Although my PC can barely run it, I do enjoy this game a lot. Any ideas on what the next update is?

Thanks! Next update will be presented in Youtube devlogs in a few weeks

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Does it work on moble? I wasted 10.00$ dollors. Is there a way? It doesnt work

Hi Rodand, thanks for buying, and sorry to read you don't have access to the supported platforms. I think itch.io supports refunds:  https://itch.io/support . Feel free to cc thesaplinggame@gmail.com, I'll help out.

i  have tons Of ideas for the sapling so get ready,giving birth, new fruit for plants and seeds, poison on teeth to attack prey, new sea weed texture like on Land plants, making animal sleep once in a while, selective breeding plants, fresh water and Salt water, new fish parts like gills, poisones plants or fruits, deasises and imune system, young following moms and more:)))


Without making promises, nearly all of these are ideas I'm very interested in :)

I don't think gills will be added because the mouths already allow you to control how they breath

This game is amazing! Always wanted to play a game that evolves over time. -- Can you please make a Mac build though so I can play?


Hey Caden, there are no short term plans to support other platforms, but (as you can see below) Mac support is often requested, so if I ever want to expand, Mac will definitely be the first choice.


I saw your youtube channel 2 days ago and knew i had to get the game so here i am after 2 days of playing it and i have to say it is a great game i also keep finding strange phenomenon while playing but ill probably make another comment on that keep up the good work awesome game 


Deleted 47 days ago

<3 Also good to know you would be interested in a Mac build!

 Is there any way to run this using Linux on Chromebook?

please tell me there is a way

Hey Drake, I can't guarantee it will run on a Chromebook, but I can tell you there is a dedicated Linux build, so that should make life easier for you!

Is there a way for the game to run in the background when the window loses focus? I was looking forward to letting the simulation run while I work, but it stops as soon as I click out of the window. Please add this feature if not available.

Hey, sorry for the late reply! This is not officially supported, but if you open the cheat field with Shift+C, and then type 'continuous', the game should continue when out of focus... hope this helps1

I absolutely adore this game- I've spent HOURS just meddling in ecosystems to see what happens. It's fun to make alien-looking creatures and set them loose on each other, and the environments can make things challenging in a way that keeps things interesting! Thank you so much for making this and continuing to develop the game!

And a double thank-you for supporting Linux. It might not seem like much, but it means a lot to those of us that use it.



Mac update plz

Deleted 47 days ago
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macos update when :(


You should make the feet look better, probably take inspiration from the animals that actually inhabit Earth

Also , give the plants and animals more customization 


It looks  cool, I  wish  it was  free.

Do you get a steam key when you purchase thi

Hi Bharris, it will be a Itch.io download only.


The game will not start on linux  at all

Hey RoyalDragon, sorry to hear you have problems running the game on Linux, and thanks for reaching out! I can see from the Steam stats that the game is frequently being played by Linux players, so there must be something special for your situation; could you perhaps elaborate a bit on what happens exactly?

Pls add more customable bodyplans


Thanks for the suggestion TeDe3! Any body plans in particular you had in mind?

Viewing most recent comments 1 to 40 of 48 · Next page · Last page