Posts In: Development

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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Successful food truck owners all know one thing. Poor food and service quality will kill a food truck business faster than you can say, “Rest in peace” 😵. This news update is about preventing your food truck company from death by poor service.

After every sale, customers give feedback about your Stand’s quality of service. This feedback increases ⬆️ or decreases ⬇️ the Stand’s total quality 🌟 depending on if it is good 👍 or bad 👎. Negative feedback shows you areas of the Stand that need improvement.

A business that consistently ignores negative quality feedback from its customers cannot expect to survive for long. This is because the Stand’s overall quality forms part of its Reputation. An excellent reputation allows a Stand to attract more customers farther away from it. You can read more about this here.

A higher Stand quality has a positive effect on Stand Reputation. So, what makes up Stand quality? A Stand’s overall quality is based on its Service Quality and Food Quality.

Service Quality

Service quality measures how a business’s service delivery compares to customer expectations. Quality service leaves a strong impression in the customer’s mind. 🤩

For a food truck, this means delivering speedy service in a friendly and helpful manner 😊. That’s why we divided Service Quality into service speed and customer service.

Service Speed 🏃💨

This measures how long it takes a Stand’s employee to serve customers. New Stand employees start with an average service speed.

You can improve their speed through training 🧑‍🏫, increased employee happiness 😁, and Stand upgrades 🦾.

Bad customer feedback 👎 and employee unhappiness 😞 will worsen your employee service speed. So it’s best to address them immediately.

When a Stand has two employees, the Stand’s service speed is the sum of both employees.

Service speed is inversely proportional to the time ⌚ employees take to serve customers. As service speed increases, the time (measured in milliseconds) to serve customers reduces.

We are using milliseconds because we compressed time in the simulation.

The formula for this relationship is:
Here’s a graph showing the result of the formula:
You can see that the time to serve a customer reduces at higher employee service speeds.

Customer Service 🏅

This shows the employee’s ability to charm customers. Excellent customer service guarantees positive feedback 👍 from customers.

Like service speed, new employees start with an average customer service rating. You can improve their rating through training and increased employee happiness.

Bad feedback 👎 and employee unhappiness 😞 will also worsen customer service if left unattended. Unlike service speed, there are no Stand upgrades to improve customer service.
The customer service quality for Stands with two employees is the average of both.

Improving Service Quality

One of the best ways to improve your food truck service quality is to train 🧑‍🏫 your employees. Training helps improve service speed and customer interaction.

Impact of Training on Service Speed

Employees start at training Level 0 and can be trained up to Level 6. Each new training level increases the employee’s service speed by a certain amount.
In the table below, you can see how different training levels impact service speed and the equivalent time it takes to serve a customer:

A new employee with zero training and no Stand upgrades has a service speed of 40. At this speed, it will take them 4256 milliseconds to serve one customer.

But at training level 4, it will take the employee only 3511 milliseconds 🤯 to serve a customer. As training and speed increase, service time reduces.

Impact of Training on Customer Service

Like service speed, each new training level increases the employee’s customer service by a certain amount (as illustrated in the earlier image). The table below shows the progression:

Happy employees, happy company. 😁

Employee happiness measures how enthusiastic and dedicated a worker feels toward their job. Happy employees are present, and they perform better. We kept things simple by tying the employee’s happiness to their salary and bonuses.

Employees begin with a certain happiness level. This level increases or decreases based on their salary, bonuses, and random events.

What’s the market rate got to do with it? 🤔

As in real life, there is an average salary expectation or market rate for the position of a food stand employee. This amount differs from city to city.

An employee’s happiness depends on the difference between their salary and the market rate. Paying your employees higher than the market rate will make them happier and vice versa.

What happens when employee happiness drops? 😓

When your employee’s happiness is average and above, they feel engaged and motivated. Their probability of not showing up for work is 0. As their happiness drops below average, they begin to lose motivation. So, their likelihood of not showing up for work increases.

The screenshot below shows Sophie being absent due to employee unhappiness.

Here’s the formula for calculating the effect on employee happiness due to the difference between their salary and the market rate:

And the result of the formula in a graph:

You can see that at 5% above the market rate, there is no effect on the employee’s happiness. Their happiness improves or worsens as the difference increases or decreases.

Happiness affects speed 🏃💨 and customer service 👍

The table below shows how employee happiness affects service speed and customer service.

Happier employees gain one extra point in speed and service quality across all training levels. They are faster and treat the customers better than their colleagues in the same training level.

Food Truck Upgrades 🛠️

Upgrades are extra facilities that help to improve a Stand’s performance, offering, or value. Various upgrades are available. From cash registers, sound systems, and Umbrellas ⛱️ to cooling fans, nitro boosters, and organic veggies 🫑🍅.

Some upgrades improve employee efficiency, the Stand’s appeal, or food quality, while others comfort or entertain customers.

Some Stands have certain upgrades built in (like in the above image), while they need to be bought for others. Such purchases are based on compatibility, as not all upgrades are compatible with each Stand. All upgrades with a padlock in the above image are not compatible with Isabella’s Stand.

Food Quality

Food quality is based on the taste and freshness of the Stand’s burgers. Every Stand starts with average food quality. As you change your burger recipe for your target customer segment, your food quality will increase or decrease depending on their feedback. Random events can also affect food quality positively or negatively.

The most satisfactory feedback customers can give is called the Perfect Recipe. Customers give this feedback when the ingredients in a burger recipe match their taste in size and composition. However, because customers have different tastes, the Perfect Recipe for each segment will differ.

Customer Experience and Feedback

Service Speed Feedback

Customers measure a Stand’s service speed by the amount of time ⌚ they are willing to wait to buy a burger 🍔. This time is called Customer Patience, and it’s different for each segment.

For instance, Students 🧑‍🎓, with limited cash and time to burn, can wait for 15000 milliseconds (about 90 minutes in real life) to be served. But Managers 🧑‍💼 will only wait for 6667 milliseconds (40 minutes in real life) before leaving.

Service speed 🏃💨 is one factor that determines how fast your burger queue moves. If the time to reach the front of the queue exceeds a customer’s patience, they will say that the wait is too long 😡 and leave. The image below shows a manager stomping off because the wait is too long for him.

But if the customer is first in line, they will buy the burger and say that the service is too slow 🐌.

Customers become more patient when the Stand has certain upgrades. Things like sound systems, TV screens, and cooling fans all help to improve patience.

Customer Service Feedback

It works the same way for customer service. Each customer segment has a minimum customer service need. Service below this threshold will attract bad customer service feedback 👎.

The customer service threshold for Parents is 25, and 50 for Tourists. If your employee’s customer service is below 50, Tourists will keep complaining about it. But as long as it is not below 25, Parents will be okay with it.

The gif below shows a Tourist leaving bad customer service feedback while buying a burger. Judging by the previous customer’s reaction, the burger is terrible, and they will complain about that too. 🤣

Food Quality Feedback

Recall that the Perfect Recipe for each customer segment is unique. The perfect recipe for one customer might be a burger with too many or too few ingredients for another. Customers judge your recipe by the quality and amount of ingredients in it.

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.

Excess ingredient feedback

Insufficient ingredient feedback

For quality-conscious customers, their perfect recipe requires special ingredients like the softest buns. You will need a fresh bun maker installed on your Stand to produce these buns.

Conclusion

Delivering excellent quality in your food Stand begins with paying genuine attention to your recipe, employees, and customers 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦. When you prepare tasty recipes, train your employees, keep them happy, and make your customers comfortable, there will be no end to the positive feedback and recommendations your company receives from customers.

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.

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Welcome to our behind-the-scenes look at the customer’s decision-making process for food purchases. Let’s dive right in. 😉

Design Goal & First Steps

Our goal was to create a fun customer simulation for you to experience what it is like to be a business owner in the outdoor food industry😁. Food vendors interact daily with a broad range of people with different tastes and preferences, and they design offerings to meet those needs.

Engineering customer behaviour in the game was a challenge.

Because we could not cater to all customer tastes and preferences, we started by creating nine customer segments based on food-related lifestyles. 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦

Their purchase decision is influenced by one or a combination of the following factors:

  • How appealing the Stand looks
  • The price of burgers
  • The food and service quality of the stand
  • Brand popularity of the business

Implementation

We divided the customer purchase journey into three steps:

  • Purchase Awareness
  • Purchase Activation
  • Purchase Decision

Step 1: Purchase Awareness

Before customers can decide whether to buy from your Stand, they must first become aware of it. If they do not, they will keep going on their way. 🚶

They become aware by colliding with your Stand’s Range of Influence. The Range of Influence is like an invisible force field around your Stand. It alerts customers of its presence.

The size of a Stand’s Range of Influence size is determined by its Brand 🧑‍💼, Quality ⭐, and Appeal 😍. The stronger these are, the larger the range of influence and the higher the likelihood that customers will collide with the range of influence.

The Range of Influence formula is:

Colliding with a Stand’s Range of Influence activates the second step of the customer purchase journey.

Step 2: Purchase Activation

Now, the customer goes through various factors to determine whether they will buy. Their probability of purchasing from your Stand depends on how well your business satisfies these factors.

The following are the factors they consider.

Is the Stand classy enough?

Some customer segments, like Managers, have a minimum Stand requirement. There are six types of Stands available; if a customer segment does not consider the Stand you own classy enough, most will not buy from it. 👎

But this only applies to the more affluent customer segments 🏧. Other customers are not too bothered with what type of Stand your business owns. They just move on to the other factors.

Am I Hungry?

Each customer segment has a time-of-day 🕒 when they are likely to be hungrier than at others. During the hungry periods, the customer’s activation probability gradually rises ⬆️ to a peak of 100%. It then dips ⬇️ to a low of 25% after that.

When customers collide with your Stand’s range, the system generates a random number between 0 – 100. If the number falls below the customer’s activation probability at that time, the customer will proceed to the next deciding factor. If it falls above it, the customer will continue on its way.

How much does the burger cost?

Some customers are more sensitive to your burger price 💲 than others. These customers will pass if your burger seems expensive. They use the difference between your selling price and the cost of an average burger patty to decide its affordability.

Side note: We chose to use the burger patty as the basis for price sensitivity because it is the most valuable part of all the burger recipes in the game.

The lower the difference, the more affordable, price-sensitive customers perceive the burger. This increases ⬆️ their purchase probability based on price.

Below is how the purchase probability for Students 🧑‍🎓 is calculated.

Y = Probability of purchase based on burger price
X = % of selling price based on the cost of patty

The formula results in this graph showing customer purchase probabilities at different selling-price-to-patty-cost ratios:

As the ratio increases, the purchase probability of each customer segment decreases. The process is similar for drinks 🥤. However, the basis for price sensitivity is the base cost of drinks.

The formula for parents 🧑‍🤝‍🧑:

Y = Probability of drink purchase
X = % of selling price based on base cost of drink

The graph below displays the result of the formula for customers at different sales-to-cost-price ratios:

You can see customers are less sensitive to drink pricing than burger pricing. This is because drinks 🥤 are a complimentary product in the game.

Customers with a high purchase probability at your burger price will proceed to their final deciding factor.

Does the Stand have a good reputation?

Every Stand has a reputation which influences the number of customers it attracts. Reputable Stands attract more customers across all segments than those with a low reputation.

The two factors that form a Stand’s reputation are its Quality ⭐ and Appeal 😍. Quality has food and service aspects. Food and service quality depends on employee performance. Appeal depends on the type of stand and upgrades installed in it.

Some customers may decide not to buy from a Stand if its reputation is too low 👎. The purchase probability formula for the influencer segment based on a Stand’s reputation is:

Y = Probability of purchase based on reputation
X = Appeal Value or Quality Value

Below is the graphical representation of the formula across all customer segments at different quality or appeal values:

The purchase probability for each segment clearly increases with quality or appeal.

The customer’s purchase activation process culminates in an overall purchase probability figure. This figure is a combination of their time 🕒, price 💲, quality ⭐, and appeal 😍 purchase probabilities.

It is now time to decide.

Step 3: Purchase Decision

We all know that customers can be unpredictable sometimes. Your product could tick all the right boxes ✅, but they still decide to postpone their purchase for other reasons.

We factored in this slight deviation from predictability by adding an extra step at the purchase decision point.

After a customer’s overall purchase probability is determined, the system generates a random number between 0 – 100. If the number is less or equal to the overall purchase probability, the customer decides to buy from the Stand. But if the number is higher than the purchase probability, the customer postpones the purchase.

Conclusion

Understanding your customer’s decision-making process is essential to the growth and success of any real-life business 💹. We tried to replicate this in the game without spoiling the fun.

We hope the customer simulation provides an equally enjoyable and valuable experience for you as you build a successful food truck business. Don’t forget to join our community to get these behind-the-scenes specials delivered directly to your inbox. We’ve got other exclusive perks waiting for you.

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Inventory section details in our economic simulation game

Welcome to your latest update on our progress developing Business heroes, our business and economic simulation game for PC. While we’ve been spending a tremendous amount of time just debugging the food truck financial reports section 😭, we still managed to get work done on the Inventory section. Have a look.

Burger Inventory 🍔

The Burger Inventory section is where you manage all the stock you need for your burgers – Buns, Patties, Tomatoes, Lettuce, Cheese, and Sauces.

Inventory management in an economic simulation game

A quick run down of the sections:

Stock (Total) – Helps you track how much of each ingredient you have left in stock and your new total (in brackets) after you make an order.

Next Day’s Purchase Order – Where you order how much of each ingredient you need for the next business day.

Burger Counter – Shows the number of burgers you can make with your current ingredient inventory size.

Inventory section details in our economic simulation game

Side note: Whenever an ingredient is not enough for the number of buns you are ordering, the stock total stays red. It turns green when it’s enough.


Daily Cost and Excess Loss
– Daily cost is the amount your next day’s order costs. Excess loss is the cost of all wasted ingredients. Ingredients get wasted when you order after your storage is full.

Storage Capacity – The brown bar represents how much storage your total stock has used up and how much is left.

Drinks 🥤

The drinks on offer in the game are a combination of water, soda, and juice. They serve as a complementary product that your business may sell to customers to increase revenue. The inventory management for drinks works nearly the same way as that for burgers.

drinks inventory without a fridge

Unlike burgers, however, drinks are not your business’s primary product. They require your food truck to be equipped with a cooler box or fridge before you can sell them.

Depending on the type you own, you can equip your food truck with a cooler box or fridge by going to the add-ons section (where all the equipment upgrades are for your food truck are).

How to purchase a fridge in our economic simulation game

Side note: Upgrades that have the padlock symbol on them indicate that they are not compatible with your food truck.

After equipping your food truck with a means of cold storage, you can begin to sell drinks to your customers. Notice in the image above that some fridges also increase the shelf life of burgers and ingredients.

Be sure to keep an eye on your storage consumption, though. Drinks ordered after your cold storage is at full capacity will go to waste. And we certainly do not want that. 😉

Auto-stock 🤖

Inventory management is one of the activities you will be carrying out daily to ensure you have enough stock for the next day. You will frequently have to increase or decrease your stock to avoid buying more or less than what you need. For Burger Inventory, this means managing quantities for all your ingredients individually.

As you expand, it’s only normal that you will want to automate your inventory process. We implemented a pay-per-use solution called Auto-stock to provide this automation.

Inventory automation in Business Heroes

With one click, auto-stock helps you calculate the quantity of ingredients you require for the number of buns you have in stock. This way, you can quickly balance your order quantity across multiple stands, save time, and avoid overspending on inventory.
Automated stocking in business heroes.
You will pay a fee every time you use the auto-stock function, so keep an eye on your account balance when you use it. If you are running low on cash, you can always manage your stock manually. 😊

After implementing this function in our economic simulation game, we were impressed with its impact on the gameplay experience. We are sure you’d appreciate the convenience it introduces to your management activities when you can afford to use it.

That’s it for this update, folks! To get these updates delivered to you first, directly to your inbox, please join our community. We’ve got other exclusive perks waiting for you.

Live Long and Prosper 👋,
Team Visionaries.

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Food Truck Financial Reports in Multiplayer

Welcome to our very first progress update of the year! We are glad to be back at it and excited to show you what we’ve been doing. We started implementing the food truck financial reports section. Have a look.

Financial Reports 📃

The financials section serves as your automated accounting system. It comes fitted with the main financial components of a real-world business to help you stay on top of your business. 🧐

The design for the date navigation system is still in progress, so keep your eyes on every other thing and pretend the odd looking, dark blue buttons don’t exist for now. 😁

Single-player 🎲

Tracking income, expenses, profit, and other line items over specified periods in single player is a breeze with the system.
Single Player Financial Reports

Multiplayer 🎲🎲

After successfully deploying it for single-player in December, we resumed the year by integrating the financial system into multiplayer and fixing all the inevitable accounting bugs.

Financial Reports in Multiplayer

During the integration, amongst other things, we ensured that:

  • All the correct financial models are updated during the business day so that accounting always tallies whenever you check it.
  • All data values relating to your business’s financial history (Today, Year-to-date, Lifetime, etc.) get updated with each sale.
  • The system updates the Day, Month, and Year financial views with each sale.

Performance Testing 🥊🌟

With that done, we proceeded to test data performance across many days to ensure optimum speed for generating financial reports under different conditions.

1,000 days: 6 stands test.
Food Truck Financial Reports Testing

Result: The speed is great. 😎 There are no noticeable delays in report generation after interaction with the date navigation system.

10,000 days: 10 stands test.

We wanted to push the system to the limits and see if everything still works with days of more than 27 years and a data history of 10 stands.

Result: We could make the speed a little better. 🤔The interaction with the date navigation system felt a little bit slower but generally, it’s not bad for data of such size (80 Mb).

That’s it for this update, folks! To get these updates delivered to you first, directly to your inbox, please join our community. We’ve got other exclusive perks waiting for you.

The entire team and I wish you an extremely productive 2022. We certainly look forward to a fantastic time together this year.

Live Long and Prosper 👋,
Team Visionaries.

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Business Heroes: Food Truck Simulation add-ons

It’s been a minute! We’ve been neck deep into developing Business Heroes: Food truck Simulation and so much has happened over the last few weeks. We can’t wait to share it all with you. Without further ado, let’s dive right into it. 👯‍♂️

Add-ons Management

Add-ons are equipment upgrades or enhancements that improve your service offering to customers when added to your burger stand. There are 21 available, ranging from Bluetooth speakers and freezers to stronger grills, super blowing fans, and even a nitro vehicle booster.

Not all add-ons are compatible with every stand though, and you can tell them apart by the blue padlock on some of them.

Different food truck addons in our food truck simulation game
Want to make those impatient customers wait in line longer? Get a LED TV screen 📺 to entertain them. Need to cater to more diet-conscious customers? Get organic veggies and start using organic tomatoes 🍅, lettuce, and cheese 🧀 in your burgers.

Add-ons are a great way to deal with bad weather conditions and improve your customer satisfaction. Both of which ultimately improve your business profits. Knowing when to invest in purchasing them would play a big role in your success in this food truck simulation game.

Multiple Save/Load File System 💾

We worked on a multiple save/load files system and integrated it into the game’s User Interface. Multiple save/load file systems are a MUST today, and a game without it shouldn’t be released. 👀

save game system in our food truck simulation game

How it works is, new games in Career mode are automatically saved after each business day. Currently, saved games display your company name, the number of stands you have, your cash balance at the time of your last save, and the date and time of the save.

Is there anything else you’d like to see shown? You can let us know in the comments.

Bug Alert 🐛

We also caught a bug that gets customers stuck in front of a stand and simultaneously removes the employee responsible for that stand. It’s a chase condition error that removes a dealing employee when trying to serve customers.
food truck simulation game bughe bug probably likes seeing customers get frustrated 🤣. Fixing it has been a little bit tricky, but we’d get that bug annihilated soon enough. We certainly can’t have frustrated customers walking around the city.

New Team Member 🎉✨

Finally, we got to welcome a new member to the team! His name is Motawea and he is a talented developer based in Egypt. We are excited to have him join us as we bring Business Heroes to life. Please extend a warm welcome to him in the comments. 😉

To get these updates delivered to you first, directly to your inbox, please join our community. We’ve got other exclusive perks waiting for you.

That’s it for this update Heroes, catch you in two weeks…

Live Long and Prosper 👋,
Team Visionaries

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This week, we sat down with the host of Indie Pod: An Indie Games Podcast in an exclusive interview. We talked about our journey making business simulation games for PC and the lessons we’ve learned developing Business Heroes.

Indie pod is a weekly podcast about Indie Games and their creators.

In this episode, we discussed the evolution of business management and strategy simulation games over the years and the experience we wanted you to have while playing Business Heroes.

You also get to hear more about how gaming influenced our journey (including how someone crashed their dad’s car after playing Need for Speed: Underground 😂) and how our Studio, Visionaries, operates.

Finally, we talk about our plans for other business simulation games for PC and how we intend to contribute to gaming by providing rich entertainment embedded with several real-world entrepreneurial practices.

You can listen to the full episode here.

After listening, the whole team would love to hear your thoughts, so please drop your comments in the discussions. We’d be looking out for it. 😉

P.S: Did you know we have a bi-weekly progress report we send out to special members of our community? In it we present a slightly closer look at our activities every 2 weeks. You can start receiving your updates on our progress by clicking here.

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List of countries available in our Business Strategy Game.

We’ve been spending some time finishing up the economic mechanics of our food trucka strategy game for PC, Business Heroes: Food Truck Simulation. We wanted you to have a sneak peek of how the game’s country selection system 🌎 works and the economic mechanics behind it.

I can already hear you thinking, ‘I hope this is more than just an addition of different flags and currency symbols for aesthetics’.

It is 😁.

The system contains the core economic mechanic of the game. In single player, you can start your business in any capital city of your choice. To change cities, you need to start a new game because each city has a different difficulty level. The difficulty level is based on, amongst other things, the price of raw materials🍅🥬🍞, the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and economic situation.

Food Truck Strategy Game Mechanics

Economies around the world have business cycles consisting of periods of economic growth and downturn. Although a real-life cycle lasts an average of ten years, we limited it to a 1-year cycle in our food truck strategy game.

Some of the effects of the system on gameplay are:

– A difference in the price of raw materials from city to city.
– Changes in population spending pattern due to economic events.
– Changes in outdoor population size due to the current economic situation.

For example, your city’s population might reduce their spending because of a stock market crash 📉. Or they may increase their spending when the government implements fiscal stimulus 💵.

Also, the population has a base happiness level 🥳. Depending on the current economic situation, their happiness will either go up or down. When it goes up 🕺💃, more people are on the street, and you can make more profits during this period. When it goes down 😰, it gets more challenging for businesses.

As an astute entrepreneur, you should strategize your capital investment or loans to match current economic conditions. Sometimes, the only remedy is to have enough savings 💰 to go through hard cycles.

That’s it for today. Catch you later…

Live Long and Prosper 👋,
Team Visionaries

P.S: Did you know we have a bi-weekly progress report we send out to special members of our community? In it we present a slightly closer look at our activities every 2 weeks. You can start receiving your updates on our progress by clicking here.

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It feels really great to catch up with you again. Thanks for following us on this journey of making our entertaining food truck entrepreneur game called Business Heroes: Food Truck Simulation. Here are some of the improvements we’ve made on the game over the last few weeks:

Game Weather Conditions 🌨⛈

We continued integrating the weather system and all its associated special effects. Here are the main implementations:

– Population dresses for bad weather (rain/snow)
– Bad weather condition reflects in population size and mood.

It’s still very much work in progress as we are trying to balance the moody look of the environment when it rains/snows with the overall upbeat experience of the game.

 

Customer Interactions 🤼

Your customer base consists of nine groups of people in the City. They are all particular about how your business can provide a food service 🍔🥂 that matches their lifestyle.

For example, Tourists want more cheese, sauces, patty, and less salad in their burgers. Staff and Managers are impatient with queues.😠 To keep them satisfied, you have to do something about long lines at your burger stand.

Customer segments in our Food Truck Game.
We’ve implemented their distinct characteristics and we hope you’d have fun trying to discover and meet their needs.

Marketing 💹

Marketing is an effective way of attracting more customers to your business and the only way to compete with AI or other players in the game for market share.

There are five marketing options available, and you can decide how much you want to invest in any of them. Or choose not to invest in marketing at all…😨

Marketing in our Food Truck Game can be by location or city.

Pamphlet 📰 and Social Media 📲 advertising are local marketing options. Use them to attract customers to your business within a single location.

Online 🌐, Radio 📻, and TV 📺 advertising are city-wide marketing options. They help you attract more customers to your business across the City. Of course, they are more expensive as you’d imagine.

We made sure to balance the impact of marketing activities with your food quality and customer service rating. This way, investing in marketing when your food and customer service quality is excellent will yield a higher return on investment. As in real life, marketing, food quality, and customer service should all contribute to growing your brand in our food truck entrepreneur game. 😎

That’s it for this update Heroes, catch you in two weeks…

Live Long and Prosper 👋,
Team Visionaries.

P.S: Did you know we have a bi-weekly progress report we send out to special members of our community? In it we present a slightly closer look at our activities every 2 weeks. You can start receiving your updates on our progress by clicking here.

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Hi there, thanks for stopping by. This post is about some of the improvements we made to Business Heroes to make it more accessible to players with visual disabilities. Statistics show that about 8% of all men (1 in 12 men) and about 0.5% of all women (1 in 200 women) suffer from color vision deficiency. To put that in perspective, that’s about 300 million people living with colour blindness.

Adding the number of people living with other types of vision impairments to that number made us realize something critical. We had to take accessibility concerns very seriously in developing ‘Business Heroes: Food Truck Simulation.’ We spoke a little about this here, but we thought to provide more details in this post.

We wish we could tell you that we designed Business Heroes to be more accessible from the start. But we didn’t. If not for the contributions and feedback we received from Redditors and other community members, we probably would have missed the accessibility issues in the UI until it was too late.

Business Heroes Inventory Purchase
Old Inventory Management Window

Anyone with low vision or even someone just trying to play complex strategy games on a smaller pc screen will attest to the difficulty of seeing some game elements. Like in the first version of our UI shown above, these games are particularly notorious for having smaller buttons and text because of the sheer amount of information usually presented to the player. Although Business Heroes is a business strategy game with many embedded data, we still wanted players with vision-related challenges to have an enjoyable experience playing the game.

So, when the community alerted us to the problems with the initial colours, sizes, and contrasts we had used in the UI, we knew we had to make Business Heroes more accessible. Fixing the accessibility issues eventually led to redesigning the entire UI. While this added an additional year to our development, we are pleased with our decision. We are optimistic that choosing to implement the following design decisions would enable far more players enjoy the game better.

Larger Buttons and Text Sizes:

We started off by redesigning the button and text size to also work for players with impaired vision. We redesigned the UI layout to create more space for larger buttons, and we moved several components to a new window entirely.

Improved inventory management UI in business heroes
New Inventory Management Window

Making the text size work for everyone was a particularly tough nut to crack. We had to consider the impact language translation would have on the interface text and spacing. That’s because we will be releasing the game in several languages. While we could not implement a solution that worked for all the text, we were able to allow players enlarge 90% of the game text to 24 points.

We also stuck with a font choice and text contrast design scheme that made all the information in the UI and environment easy to read.

Font size controls to make business heroes more accessible
Font Size Change

UI Colour Switcher and Icon Contrast:

For players with colour vision deficiency, we implemented a design option that accommodates their unique needs and works for everyone else. Players can switch the UI colour from yellow to dark blue depending on their visibility requirements.

UI Colour Switching

We also needed to reduce the potential effect of the UI looking crowded due to too many colours. To do this, we kept inactive icons at 50% opacity by default. You can see their full colour when you place your mouse on them. We also included a function that allows you increase or decrease icon opacity as much as you like. This also has the added advantage of improving the contrast scheme of the UI.

Improving accessibility with icon opacity and contrast
Icon Opacity

Plus, we also applied shapes to the different player colours to distinguish players and their competition. This way, players would not have to rely solely on colour to differentiate between other players.

Using colours and shapes to make business heroes more accessible
Player Colours with Shapes

Game Music Controls

One way we tried to cater to players with hearing symptoms is to give players control of the music volume in the game. We separated the music sound from the gameplay sound. Players can turn it down or turn it off completely.

Music and sound control in business heroes
Music and Graphic Controls

Detailed Tooltips:

Finally, we also implemented a detailed tooltip and business guide feature. This is to make the game easier for non-gamers, new gamers, and teenagers in general. To prevent players from feeling overwhelmed with the UI, we included clear and concise explanations. All the player has to do is mouse over it and viola!

Tooltips in making business heroes more accessible
Tooltip 1

Many young people might be seeing the business terms and concepts in the game for the first time. We included a business guide that provides deeper insights into the meaning of the concepts and business terms used. This way, players will never have to wonder about any aspect of the game while implementing their business strategy.

Tooltips
Tooltip 2

We sincerely hope you enjoyed reading this as much as we enjoyed sharing it. We’d love to read your thoughts, so don’t hesitate to share. Thanks!

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