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Water the Crops

Event: Young Games Designer AwardsDate: Saturday 29 June 2019  Venue: BAFTA, 195 Piccadilly, LondonHosts: TBC-Area: Game StillsBAFTA/James Lindsay

Water the Crops (Unity) - James Lindsay (11) Somerset

“Climate change is making it hard for Spud the potato farmer: there's less rain and more storms, but you can help water the crops by diverting precious rain during the stormy season using crazy inventor Wizz's drone umbrellas.”

Your aim is to direct precious water on to your two fields of potatoes during the stormy season. The more water the plant gets, the healthier it is. But if the plant dies and turns brown, it won't recover. Your drone is battery powered: watch the indicator in the bottom right of the screen to make sure you don't run out of power. Use the overhead image in the top left of your screen to predict where rain is likely. At the end of the season, Spud’s potato crop is harvested and sold. If the crop isn’t large enough, Spud goes bust. Each year, there's less rain and the drone umbrellas have less power. Spud's aim is to survive for five seasons and harvest the largest total crop.

This was the first Unity game I’ve made where I tried to make as many of the 3D models as I could. I taught myself Blender and made the umbrellas, the dry stone walls, the gates, the trailer for the tractor and the potato plants. 

(I used free assets for the clouds (, the tractor itself ( and the transparency for the potatoes that you see after the tractor has harvested (<a title="Potato PNG" href="">Potato PNG</a>).)

I learnt a lot about particle effects in Unity and used them for the rain, the leaves of the potato plants, the dust that comes up behind the tractor as it harvests and the smoke from the tractor's chimney. 

I decided to do some of the game's sound effects and taught myself Audacity and recorded the keyboard sound for the instructions, the gate creaking for harvesting (I had to try about 15 gates to find one that creaked enough!), the wine glass celebration, and me and my sisters for the winning and losing screens. I also used Audacity to make the ascending sounds for the weighing scales and the zooming of the newspaper cuttings. 

(I used free creative commons rain sounds from and tractor sounds from

My decision to make nearly everything meant that Water the Crops took much, much longer than anything I'd ever done before in Unity. I've worked on it as my main project for about 9 months. It was scary when something went wrong that I couldn't fix and after a few days, I thought all the work might go to waste. This taught me to stick with the project and not to panic. I learnt that I would eventually find a solution, even if it wasn't exactly what I'd originally thought of.

I would like to add a second phase. After 5 years, Spud's drone crashes. So Spud advertises for workers to dig ditches and build dykes. Each year, they have a certain amount of energy to do this. Then you see whether they are able to divert enough rain to the fields to keep the crops alive. You need to work out how the water will flow down the hillsides. Each year you build on the drainage system already in place, but there is less rain.

I have also thought about making the game a two player game. Each player would have one or two fields in the same terrain and could use their umbrella to increase the rain falling on their crops or direct it away from the other player's crops.