Education Play/Games

Yellow, Round, Green, Wrinkled

Yellow, Round, Green, Wrinkled is a poplar science game that explores hybridizing peas. Players take on the role of a pea and obtain features through hybridization.


Zhiyue Huang


Sharleen Smith


Yellow, Round, Green, Wrinkled is a popular science game that explores the hybridization of peas, developed by a team of game designers consisting of Yuer Mao, Yuan Zeng, and Zhiyue Huang. The game follows the adventure of a protagonist pea who is born wrinkled and feels unsatisfied with its appearance. Through the elder pea's advice, the protagonist learns to hybridize with other peas to change its features, which the player accomplishes by calculating the genotype possibilities and selecting the appropriate pea to hybridize. The gameplay design went through several iterations, starting as a small open-world game with mini-games, such as genetic mahjong and genetic zuma, before settling on the current hybridization mechanics. The team also received feedback on the map design and tutorials, leading to improvements, such as making the map more evenly sectioned and adding new terrains. Currently, the team is working on the first level of the 3D prototype, where players must hybridize to get different sizes of peas to either squeeze through cracks or jump over roots. The game aims to provide an educational and engaging experience that not only teaches players scientific knowledge but also cultivates scientific thinking.


The research process for our thesis project started with brainstorming various natural topics that could be incorporated into an educational game. We drew inspiration from games that we all loved and identified key elements that made them engaging and enjoyable. One important aspect was the encouragement of player curiosity, where the gameplay mechanics themselves served as a catalyst for players to want to learn more about the world. After considering various natural topics such as animals and plants, we decided to focus on the theme of genetics due to its potential for variation and fun gameplay. We researched the history of genetics and notable figures such as Gregor Mendel, who famously conducted experiments on peas to understand genetic inheritance. This led to the idea of creating a game based on hybridizing peas to obtain different features, as a way to teach players about genotype possibilities and dihybrid crosses.

Technical Details

Yellow, Round, Green, Wrinkled is developed in Unity. We began with paper prototypes and tested the gameplay using tabletop simulator. Then we built a 2D prototype to test the hybridization gameplay mechanics and received feedback from playtests before moving onto the 3D prototype. The game's assets, including the character models and environments, are created using Blender, an open-source 3D creation software.

Players are able to detect the genotype of other peas to decide which pea to hybrid