Chelsea Waterside is an iOS game I built in Unity for my son. My son is autistic, and since he was old enough to walk, Chelsea Waterside was his favorite playground in New York City. In the summer, its three enormous, Doctor Seuss–like water fountains would entertain him for hours. All winter long he would draw pictures of the fountains, with magical additions he wanted to see, waiting for summer to return. In the spring of 2018, the playground was torn down and renovated. His treasured water fountains were gone forever.
My son also loves iPad games, and playing games together has been one of the richest forms of communicating we have together. I put Chelsea Waterside’s three water fountains into a game, to help him say goodbye to a place that was so special to him. Playing it together, we imagined fun things we wished we had seen there.
The fountains and other foreground elements were built in Blender. All other elements were created in Unity or added from the Unity Asset Store. New elements are added as my son suggests them. This is an app that any kid can play, but it’s not really an educational game. It’s just a tribute to a place that we miss, and where we we wish we could play again.