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27 January 2023

Food quality matters 😋

Greetings, 👋

“Why do these Environmentalists keep ignoring my food stand?” wailed Busayo, our content writer.

“They walk right past my Stand only to queue up at Motawea’s! Who would believe that some customers like to queue? Guys, you need to implement a way for me to do something about Motawea’s Stand. Maybe throw a Burger Bomb at it or send Inspection Officers to shut it down!”

The mock fury in his voice sent Motawea, our Multiplayer programmer, into a laughing fit and made me chuckle.

I glanced at Busayo’s company valuation on my screen and noticed it was taking a beating. Motawea, his only competition in Park Central, was cleaning him out.

It’s our weekly playtest session, and today we are in a 30-day race for dominance in multiplayer mode. So far, our lead developer, Hongjing, is leading everyone with a company valuation of over $20,000.

As day 16 starts, I click to Park Central to see what’s happening in real time.

Park Central is known for its large population of Environmentalists. No food truck can survive there for long if they don’t buy from you. That’s why Busayo is desperate to sell to them.

Busayo’s Stand Range (we explained how Stand Range works in this email) is wide enough to attract customers. Parents are also buying from him. So, his problem isn’t due to a poor brand or high price.

Parents are more price sensitive than Environmentalists. If they can afford his Burgers, Environmentalists certainly can.

Motawea’s Stand, on the other hand, has a long queue of environmentalists in front of it. They clearly prefer his Stand to Busayos’ for some reason.

Busayo’s food stand is attracting customers but not the right ones for that location. I think about it for a minute and realize the problem is likely his Food Quality.

But I keep this information to myself.

How Food Quality Works 🍔🌟

Food quality is based on the feedback customers give about the taste and freshness of a Stand’s burger. Every Stand starts with zero food quality feedback.

You can see it in the tooltip below:

As you modify your burger recipe to suit your target customer segment, your food quality will increase or decrease depending on their feedback.

Food Quality Feedback 👍👎

The highest food quality feedback customers can give is called the Perfect Recipe. Customers give this feedback when a burger recipe matches their preference in size and composition.

However, because customers have different preferences, the Perfect Recipe for each segment will differ. The perfect recipe for one customer might be a burger with too many or too few ingredients for another.

When one or more ingredients are too much or too little for a customer, they will give an ‘excessive ingredient’ or ‘insufficient ingredient’ feedback. Both of which reduce your Stand’s quality.

Business Impact 💰

Your food quality will grow if most customers give you the perfect recipe feedback. It will decrease if most customers give you the ‘excessive ingredient’ or ‘insufficient ingredient’ feedback.

When a Stand’s food quality becomes too low, most quality-conscious customers like Environmentalists, Fit-ones, and Managers bypass the Stand. A Stand with high food quality will easily attract such customers.

And that’s the situation Busayo is in.

Motawea had jubilantly announced on day two that he had found the perfect recipe for the Environmentalists. Over several days, the compounding effect of this early discovery on his food quality has become his advantage over Busayo.

Most of Busayo’s customers are still giving negative feedback, further damaging his food quality and hampering his ability to attract more Environmentalists.

To gradually wrest back market share from Motawea, he will first need to reverse the damage to his food quality. He can do this by either finding the perfect recipe for the Environmentalists or avoiding negative feedback from his current customers.

Then he’d also need to invest in marketing to attract more customers and build his food quality.

Either way, it will take some strategic thinking, and maybe a stroke of luck (in the form of a Random Event), for him to catch up with Motawea before day 30.

As I click back to Street Corner, where my Stand is pulling in a decent profit without competition, I wonder if giving players the power to attack their competition will increase the fun.

What do you think? What should we go for?

Let me know what you think by responding to this email.

And that’s a wrap for today, Cheers 🥂

Don’t forget to Wishlist the game if you haven’t:

Live Long and Prosper 👋,
Kunal & the team

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Hello Heroes!

Today we are taking you behind the scenes to see how we generate economic cycles in the game. 😀

Let’s dive right in!

The Importance of Adaptability

Successful entrepreneurship requires adaptability—the ability to roll with unexpected punches capable of knocking out your best-laid plans.

Imagine starting out as a food truck entrepreneur. You’ve carefully selected the best location, perfected your menu, and are just beginning to get into the flow of things. But just weeks into your launch, the economy takes a nose dive.

Suddenly, your carefully crafted plans and projections go up in smoke, and you are left scrambling to save your business.

This is a scenario many entrepreneurs have faced at some point, and the ability to quickly adapt their business strategy to unexpected economic realities is often what differentiates successful businesses from the rest.

Simulating Economic Impact

We decided to simulate the same phenomenon in the game to allow you to flex your strategic-thinking skills. Each city in the game has a different difficulty level based on many factors, including its economic situation 📉.

Like in real life, each city’s economy in the game experiences business cycles of economic growth and downturn. Although an average cycle lasts about ten years, we thought it would be fun to implement business cycles in the game as one-year rotations 😎.

The city has nine customer segments with unique spending limits and habits. Their perceived value of your burger 🍔 & drink 🥤 increases or decreases depending on the economic situation.

Here’s how we designed it.

The Design

Let’s take Washington DC, as an example. The graph below shows the annual GDP growth for the US. Despite the micro tremors, the overall 10-year cycle is unmistakable. ⬇️

For our simulation, we picked the US’s ten-year average GDP growth rate (2%) to generate the base case scenario of the economy:

The graph below illustrates the outcome of the formula.

As you strive to grow your business, the economic growth percentage will move across the blue dotted line to simulate economic growth or slow down.

Real economies also experience unexpected spikes and dips in the business cycle. We catered to this by implementing an events mechanic.

Based on the probability of occurrence, events such as technological breakthroughs 💻, international sports events 🏈, or trade wars and taxes will feed the simulation with spikes and dips.

In-game Impact

The population size is divided into outdoor and base population sizes. The outdoor population size is the total number of customers that are outdoors and willing to make a purchase. The base population size is the total number of customers, including those indoors.

The economic situation influences the outdoor population size. Many or fewer customers are willing to come out and spend depending on if the economy is in a growth phase or a downturn.

Each segment has a Base Economic Happiness, e.g. 40 units. Their current economic happiness per time will fluctuate upwards ↗️ or downwards ↘️ depending on the current economic condition.

Example of the calculation for the Parent segment.

Y generates the current economic happiness 😄 value of the Parent segment. You can see the difference between the outdoor and base population size as well as the current and base economic happiness in the customer segment tooltip.

Less population leads to fewer sales for your business ☹️. You will need to strategize, adjust your price, increase your marketing spending and improve your burger quality to drive sales. Additionally, having enough savings to weather the hard times really helps. 😉

That’s it for this episode!

Don’t forget to join our community to get these behind-the-scenes specials delivered directly to your inbox. Plus, we’ve got other exclusive perks waiting for you.

Live Long and Prosper 👋,
Team Visionaries

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Hello, 👋

It’s 7 pm, and I’ve just said goodbye to Hongjing, My, and Busayo after our first planning meeting of the year. As I minimize Microsoft Teams on my computer 🖥️, it occurs to me again, for the umpteenth time, that the vision is possible. 💯

As a member of a 100%-remote company, I am constantly amazed by the dedication and passion of the team.

We are a group of diverse individuals united in our belief that everyone should have the opportunity to reach their full entrepreneurship potential and positively impact the world.

This belief brought us together to build Visionaries and, eventually Business Heroes. We’ve worked tirelessly on the game for the past few years, but after today’s meeting, our most important goal for 2023 is clear.

Release Business Heroes 90% complete in Early Access ✔️

Why is this goal so important to us? 💭

You see, we are on an ambitious 10-year journey to create the world’s largest simulated economy, and we still have so much work 🛠️ to do before we reach our ultimate goal.

Releasing this year will allow us to gather valuable feedback from players like you, which we will eventually channel into our next games. 🎮

What About You? 😃

As a way to begin the year, I’m inviting you to share your most important goal for 2023 with us too. Whether it’s a personal goal or a professional one, we want to hear from you.

So please send us a message and let us know what matters most to you in 2023.

Who knows, we might be able to help you get there. 😉

Cheers to another great year of building, growing, and succeeding together! 🥂

Don’t forget to Wishlist the game if you haven’t:

Live Long and Prosper 👋,
Kunal & the team


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