A friend of mine and I are developing a resource management game that educates players about how water is used in California agriculture. California is viewed from outsiders solely as the location of Silicon Valley and Hollywood, and not much else. In reality, agriculture is what makes California such an economic powerhouse, and how we use the limited water available to feed that economy is tantamount.
I started the game by researching what crops are grown in California in significant number, and how much water each of those crops uses, and how much revenue is generated by those crops. I used a 2013 California Crop Report by the USDA, and inserted needed values into a Google Sheet. I then compared my results with a report from the Pacific Institute that related water use of a crop to revenue generated. My results were consistent with those of the Pacific Institute.
I used the Google Sheet to conduct more in-depth analysis (revenue per acre, yield per acre, and others). I then chose the crops that were most representative of California agriculture for use in our game.
For balance we assigned different water costs to the crops; the water costs aren’t precisely accurate, but they provide strategic value to the game while still retaining the approximate water cost of the actual crop.
We have been beta testing our game for some time, and now it’s time to fine-tune our User Interface and Rules Document and submit a finalized version for the May 15th IndieCade deadline.