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[help] Dynamic World Sim - how?

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I've just played through 'from dust'
brilliant game I really enjoyed it and the way everything works is amazing, I'm thinking of giving a godbox a go myself, purely for the experience.
but when I think about doing it there are many ways to go about it.
Something I came across a while ago (based around dynamic water sim) was using particles, passing the force of a particle on collision and estimating the shape of the water based on those particles.
obviously this could be altered to work with dirt, rock, etc. But I have a feeling the scale would require a massive amount of particles so that's out of the question.
I also had an idea of splitting the materials into maps, dynamic materials having mass and force maps, I'm fairly sure this would take up a lot of memory too though.
anyone know how from dust did it? or any theoretical ways it could work?
Any and all help appreciated,
Thanks in advanced,

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