Life Lessons Learned from Developing Business Heroes – A PC Game
Welcome to the first Business Heroes development log of the year! Hopefully, your year is off to a great start. Someone once said those who don’t remember the past are those condemned to repeat it. So, we thought we’d start the year looking back on our journey developing the Business Heroes PC Game, how we started, where we are, and lessons learned.
As you may know, Business Heroes: Food Truck Simulation is an exciting turn-based business simulation PC game about growing and managing the operations of a business that sells burgers and drinks. You can read more about our motivation for creating the game and Wishlist it on Steam.
Our journey started in April 2020 with a lot of research, brainstorming, scoping, and planning. Our goal for the game at this stage was, and still is, fun. We wanted our players to have fun while experiencing the thrills of running their own business.
Lesson: Always strive to have a clear goal and vision. Develop a plan and understand that it will change as you move towards your goal.
Two months later, we had a plan. We knew what the game would look like, how it would feel to play, and what the mechanics would be. In June, we set two main targets. We aimed to run a December Kickstarter in 2020 and release an Early Access version of the game on Steam in February 2021. We started production that month and diligently developed the game based on the vision we had for it.
Lesson: In life, you’ll never discover certain information until you set out on your journey with clear milestones for yourself. Don’t wait to know everything. Prepare as thoroughly as you can, then just start.
Well, three challenges soon made us realize that our targets were way too optimistic.
We encountered the first challenge after engaging with our audience and discovering that they were expecting much more from the game in terms of complexity and engagement. This discovery was only possible because we were marketing the game while developing it. Our audience started giving us feedback early.
Lesson: It’s always good practice to get the perspective of those you create for during the creation process.
The second challenge had to do with our User Interface design. Sometime in November, we realized that our game User Interface was not accessible and inclusive enough for all players. Primarily, we wanted to ensure that people with vision-related disabilities would play the game without experiencing any challenges. Another aspect of the User Interface design we had not considered was the impact language translation would have on the Interface text. Considering that there is much text in the game, and we will be releasing the game in several languages, this was a significant problem.
Lesson: This User Interface discovery taught us the value of adopting accessibility and inclusion in all we do. Being more considerate of the challenges others might experience because of their location, language, and/or disabilities helps everyone long-term.
The third challenge had to do with a conclusion we reached after researching Early Access reviews sometime in October. We realized that we would have a much greater chance of success if we released a very polished and bug-free Early Access version. This way, early adopters who play that version will see that the game will be amazing when it’s out of Early Access.
Lesson: What’s essential in life is to keep moving in the direction of your vision. Keep learning. It’s the only way to know when you need to course-correct and avoid crashing.
To give us time to fix these challenges, we decided to move the Early Access to August 2021. We have made substantial progress since then, and currently, this is how the game looks:
In the coming months, we will be working on Character AI, Pathing and Animation, AI Player, and Multiplayer integration. We’d be sure to keep you posted. You can follow us on social media for instant updates.
Please support our development and campaign by sharing our journey with friends and colleagues who might be interested in Business Heroes or the lessons we’ve learned while developing it. As you can see below, your support is the energy that fuels our ability to deliver outstanding results.