In Drops, the player moves a bucket to collect clean water drops in blue and green, while avoiding the dirty ones in brown. To advance to the next level, the player must collect 15 drops.
The home and instruction screens at the beginning of Drops
Drops has three levels: (1) Boston, Massachusetts, (2) Charleston, West Virginia, and (3) Sebring, Ohio. With each level, the ratio of dirty to clean water drops increases, raising the game difficulty while teaching the player about disparities in water quality between the three locations.
Level 1: Boston, MA
Level 1: "Welcome to Boston! Cities like Boston have access to reservoirs and high quality treatment plants. In the last 5 years, 90% of water samples had safe levels of lead."
Level 2: Charleston, WV
Level 2: "Welcome to Charleston! Areas like this with many industrial plants are prone to chemical and coal ash leaks. These make the drinking water unsafe and cause short-term health problems."
Level 3: Sebring, OH
Level 3: "Welcome to Sebring! In the US, 6-8 million homes still get water from lead pipelines. These corrode and infect water toxins, leading to chronic health problems for families and children."
We spent a lot of time planning different aspects of Drops, including research, game mechanics, control flow, and assets.
We took over multiple whiteboards over the course of the hackathon.
I drew the game's drops, buckets, and backgrounds in Illustrator.
Drops: Blue, brown, and green drops
Buckets: Buckets filled with various levels of clean, polluted, and deadly water
Only the empty bucket made it into the final game, but I thought it would've been a neat feature to have the water in the bucket respond to the player's progress in the game. The more drops collected, the higher the water level in the bucket, and the greater the percentage of polluted drops collected, the dirtier the water.
Backgrounds: Background artwork for Boston, Charleston, and Sebring
What I Learned
Every hackathon project, I aim to learn something new. Through Drops, I learned basics of game development, including programming the game interface and working with sprites and collisions. I also learned more about the issue of water pollution and the different types of pollutants in tap water around the country.
Each level of Drops terminates after 15 drops are collected, which is great for a quick hackathon demo, but so short for real gameplay!
In Scoops, players could continue stacking scoops of ice cream indefinitely, unless they've acquired three "bad" scoops (onions or tomatoes). Perhaps Drops levels could go on until the player's pollution level has surpassed that of drinkable tap water.
Maybe the green drops could even act as "purifying" drops that help the player reduce the pollutants they've already collected. That'll be a project for next time!
|collaborators||Claire Nord, Lilia Poteat, and Sarah Powazek|
|tags||Game Development, Graphic Design, UI Design|