Where's My Water? icon

Where's My Water?

Designer / Programmer
Disney Interactive, 2011


  • In Where's My Water?, players use their finger to cut dirt and guide water to Swampy's broken shower! The original team was small and scrappy - three programmers, an artist, and producer. That meant everyone did a little bit of everything - prototyping, design, art, story, implementation, janitorial work, UI, you name it!


  • Green Light Prototype

    After the team decided on the core conceit, I developed the prototype in Unity to prove out the gameplay (And prepare for the project green-light). Since Unity doesn't have a built in water physics simulation, we faked the water using a series of bouncy spheres, and made the dirt a grid of box colliders.

  • The process of taking a level from paper and intro the game.  There's even a sneak peek of my prototype Swampy!

    Level Design

    Through rigorous play testing, we realized the best levels in Water? are the simplest ones. Simple levels help focus the players attention, as well as reducing the amount of time between solving a puzzle in their mind and then carrying it out in the game. I designed over 25% of the levels in 1.0, including Mixing Bowl, Half and Half, Water Temple, and Rhythm Nirvana.

  • A selection of mechanics from in-game.

    Implementing Gameplay

    One of my main tasks was implementing new mechanics. This required coding the logic and behaviors, in addition to hooking up the artwork and developing great feedback. New mechanics also required additional level editing tools, whether it was linking together objects (like switches and gates) or defining behaviors (like custom paths).

  • Several screens from <em>Where\'s My Water?</em>.

    Integrating UI

    Water? was built in a custom C++ engine, which meant there was no visual editor. So I worked alongside our artist to layout and implement all of the screens via XML. We focused on making the content entirely data driven, so that updates could be developed faster (and not require additional layout work).


  • The only tutorial in <em>Where\'s My Water?</em>

    Water? has only one tutorial - "Drag to cut the dirt!". The remaining tutorials were implemented through level design and level ordering. We required more playtests to iron out all of the kinks, but reinforced the mantra of play and discoverability.

  • One of the collectible descriptions from the game.

    All of the collectible descriptions in Water? were written by yours truly. While they were supposed to be throwaway jokes, many of them started to develop and inform Swampy's character and the larger Where's My Water? world.

  • The icons for the first four updates.

    The update schedule for Water? was relentless - we updated the game four times in four months. Each update consisted of a new mechanic, 20 new levels, and a new story moment. Brainstorming, implementation, level design, play testing, and QA all had to happen in just four weeks.

  • Swampy's original form.

    Great game stories help explain the game's rules. Originally our character was a seed (to get us underground), but it's difficult to show a seed filling. Instead, we focused on what feels good to fill - like a bathtub. But who bathes underground...maybe those alligators living under New York City! And thus, Swampy was born (Including my prototype Swampy animations).

  • Swampy's Underground Adventures

    Water? became a huge success: over 100+ million downloads, several spinoffs (like Where's My Perry?), and a sequel. The franchise eventually included a web series, merchandise, and even a board game!