A downloadable game for Windows and Linux

Buy Now$9.99 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 17 days ago
StatusIn development
PlatformsWindows, Linux
Release date Dec 11, 2019
Rated 4.7 out of 5 stars
(3 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$9.99 USD or more

In order to download this game you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $9.99 USD. You will get access to the following files:

the_sapling_w64_v10.28.zip 181 MB
the_sapling_l64_v10.28.zip 189 MB
the_sapling_w64_v10.25.zip 181 MB
the_sapling_w64_v10.24.zip 181 MB
the_sapling_w64_v10.23.zip 184 MB
the_sapling_l64_v10.23.zip 192 MB
the_sapling_w64_v10.22.zip 184 MB
the_sapling_l64_v10.22.zip 192 MB
the_sapling_w64_v10.21.zip 184 MB
the_sapling_l64_v10.21.zip 192 MB
the_sapling_w64_v10.11 - EXPERIMENTAL.zip 184 MB
the_sapling_l64_v10.11 - EXPERIMENTAL.zip 192 MB
the_sapling_w64_v10.10 - EXPERIMENTAL.zip 184 MB
the_sapling_l64_v10.10 - EXPERIMENTAL.zip 191 MB
the_sapling_w64_v9.40.zip 104 MB
the_sapling_l64_v9.40.zip 111 MB
the_sapling_w_v8.22.zip 72 MB

Development log

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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?

buying this ASAP... i want to make a bigger donation than $8  though. 
evolution is such a fascinating thing and this is exactly the kind of game i've been yearning for ever since playing spore for the first time at age 6 or 7... in spore the only creature evolving is the player, and i've always wanted to see a world where everything evolves on its own, without needing to be player-controlled. 
SUPER excited to play the game!!! keep up the hard work.


hey wessel, i know this is weird but

the game just kinda... doesn't start? ive tried everything, but it just doesnt open properly, or even at all?

it only properly runs when executed from the zip, and not from the unzipped file

it is truly wack

Hi Victor, that is indeed weird! I heard from some players that having Citrix installed might block the game from starting... perhaps that's also the case for you?

I do not believe so.

also, side note- this game kicks butt! it gives me memories of late bleary-eyed nights playing Spore: Galactic Adventures and creating theorems and diagrams for the ecosystems of every planet i terraformed, plus it's just darn well designed.

Thanks a lot, very good to read :) . Let me know if there's anything I can do to help with opening the game the 'normal' way!

I got your game when you released your latest video and I am in love. There is something profound that strikes me when I see the end of day long simulations. This game has been my obsession and the hours on my steam account show that. With that however I'd like to add a few things.

I'm not sure if you take suggestions or anything but it would certainly be neat to have more sandbox maps. Or alternatively different settings that help make the map more extreme. The temperature setting is a good way to encourage change.

However change across a species into very different ones can take a long time through mutations. I'm not sure how possible it would be but a map that has some form of a continental drift could help encourage mutations that drastically alter a species into several in a shorter amount of time. I see water level changes already with temperature so altering that to follow some sort of noise as well could work.

I also think aquatic life as animals and plants would rock, especially if they are able to transition onto land. I have no idea if this would be possible or how you would even begin to implement it.

This game is amazing and you should be immensely proud. I am so glad it is early access not because I think it needs more, but because I am excited to see it grow.

The Sapling is something I will come back to time and time again and is an absolute bargain for the price you are selling for. You could easily double the price and the quality of your work and the entertainment of your game would still be worth it.

I am also excited to see the option for player content and will probably spend the next week making things. I've already spent 30 hours playing and for the price I paid all I can say is thank you.


Thanks a lot for making my day with your lovely comments; at times I am flooded in bug reports and a message like yours is exactly what I need to keep going... so thanks!

And I indeed take suggestions! In fact, I get 10+ lists of feature requests every day on various platforms, and I study them all in detail. Your ideas are very interesting! Without making any promises, more flexibility in the sandbox map is indeed often requested and an idea I really like, and aquatic life is the most requested feature by far ever :P. 

Keep up the good work man, but don't burn yourself out!


yo this shit is cool as fuck I purchased it off here because you deserve more money than a 70% cut

Thanks a lot Castrel :)


I'll say the same as pahl software above; thank you so much for creating this

I've gotten more content than so many things for 8$, and to be completely honest, if this was considered finished, I would've still loved it. 

This is a passion project and it shows; keep up the good work and don't stress over trying to meet expectations because (in my own case), they have been outdone.


Deleted 1 year ago

Good to hear! It was a wise decision to support Linux; there were a lot of Linux users among the early adopters :)

Hey so, I like the game alot. When is the next update or, if you don't have a date how is the update going.
You haven't really done much of any communication for a while now.

Hey Morgimely, indeed, but only because I am focusing on getting the next big update out the door... which I by the way had just announced, a few hours before your question ;) https://twitter.com/thesaplinggame/status/1388763094130778112

The Linux-Version is completely broken.
Graphics are glitchy (missing things) and you cant complete even the first scenario, as you cant put leaves on your plant (just an example).

I tried the windows version in wine - this works, but has a massive frame rate drop when putting your first animal (~1 fps).

Tested the Linux version on 3 PC's with 3 diffenrent distributions (LFS, Ubuntu 18.04, Debian 7)

The same for v7.13 and v7.15

Hi Sebastian. First of all, thanks for reaching out and sorry to hear you have so much trouble with the game; I would totally understand if you would request a refund. 

About your Linux problems: there must be something special going on in your case because dozens of Linux players have already completed the game with no problems. One thing I noticed is that the draw distance for body parts is extremely short for the lowest quality setting, also in the editors. This will be fixed in a future patch somewhere in the next few days... but for now could you try a higher quality setting to see if that improves things?

About the frame rate drop with animals in Windows: I discovered today that it is possible to create animals that give problems with the animation system, resulting in the game basically becoming unplayable: it's a combination of two types of feet and very thin animals. Perhaps that's the problem for you too? This will also be fixed in the next few days.

No, i don't want a refund - it's an early access game. And i love the concept of it!

I tried v7.17 today on 2 Linux machines - still the same problem. I tried any graphic options and resolutions

Also, i notices that some stats aren't right. For example: the temperature on the first island is 5950°C. Also the stats of leaves etc. are very different from the windows version (all have 5 suns, etc.).

For the windows-version, it was exactly the problem you described - it works fine with all other animals.

Wow in that case thanks for the trust and the bug reports! Really appreciated :). I just tried to reproduce your stats problem on Linux with v7.17, but no luck. I think your installation must have trouble reading the asset bundles, but I'm unsure how this could result in weird stats rather than just a crash.

So we now have two Unix problems (glitchy graphics and glitchy stats) that I cannot reproduce :(. If you have some time, would it be possible for you to send me a screenshot of the problems, and the error log? Can be found at "~/.config/unity3d/Wessel Stoop/The Sapling/"


Just a thought: Old Unity engine versions had problems with non-English locales, often leading to completely random problems. Could you try to start the game by prepending `LANG=C LC_ALL=C ` and check if that changes something?


All problems with the Linux-Version are solved now!
Even the problems with missing graphics, flickering and wrong stats.

Thank you very much for this tip.

@Wessel Stoop:

You should put a starter with "LANG=C LC_ALL=C ./the_sapling.x86_64" in the Linux-package.

Wow, unbelievable, thank you so much ifo and SebastianPetters... if there's anything I can do for you to thank you, let me know. There will be another patch this week or next week, I'll make sure this is included. 


Hi, I use a mac and mistakenly bought the game without checking the compatible platforms (completely on me). Is there a way for me to refund the purchase or do I have to just live with my mistakes 🙃

I just googled what Itch does with refunds, and I think it should be possible: https://itch.io/docs/legal/terms#refunds . Let me know if you need help.