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Greetings, 👋

I am super excited to inform you that our first Open Alpha playtest is starting today! 🥳🎉

If you are interested in participating in the playtest, please respond to this email with your preferred playtest mode and we will send you a Steam key.

We have two playtest modes available, Gold and Regular.

Gold:

  • Your first playtest session is live and recorded with team members providing assistance and assessing your interaction with the UI.
  • You can schedule a playtest session at a time that suits you best.
  • You can playtest further on your own with no assistance or recording.
  • Discord Gold Membership access: All our gold members get instant access to Alpha and Beta builds, have their names included in the game’s credits, and will receive all future Visionaries games FREE.

Regular:

  • You will be able to playtest on your own with no assistance or recording.
  • Regular Discord Membership

Playtest keys will be sent out on a first come, first serve basis.

If you aren’t on our discord yet, you can join us by clicking here

I look forward to hearing your feedback after you’ve tried this alpha. 😉

Live Long and Prosper 👋,
Kunal & the team

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Greetings, 👋

As you might already know, Business Heroes has 15 countries you can choose from to start and run your business. You will play in the currency of whichever country you select.

These countries are not just a collection of different flags and currency symbols for aesthetics. They represent the actual historical economic and climatic conditions of those countries.

Our goal was to simulate the unique realities of growing an outdoor food business in each country as much as possible. This effort produced a difficulty hierarchy for the game that depends on your country of choice.

The degree of difficulty depends on each country’s prevailing weather, raw material prices, Central Bank Interest Rate, and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate.

In a previous episode, we discussed our economic simulation model. We showed the impact of economic cycles on your gameplay, including:

  • Changes in population spending patterns due to economic events.
  • Changes in outdoor population size due to the prevailing economic situation.

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

The city’s population has an economic happiness rating that depends on the economy’s current performance. More people are on the streets when the economy is good, resulting in higher potential profits. When the performance is poor, it gets more challenging for businesses.

We also wrote about the effects of pricing on customer behaviour in this episode. We showed that some customers would only visit your stand if they considered your burger affordable.

If the cost of buying all the ingredients plus the time and effort to make the burger themselves is significantly less than the burger price, they will likely consider it expensive.

Many economic (and even climatic) numbers used to run the simulations are close to prevailing figures.

We researched each country’s Ingredient prices (wholesale), Central Bank Interest Rates, GDP growth rate, etc., and used them as inputs for the simulation.

Here’s a screenshot of some of the data:

You can find a partial compilation of the dataset here.

We would love your help improving these numbers’ accuracy for 2022/2023. Depending on your country of residence, you can fill out/update any data that seems far from the ballpark figure.

Big thanks to Alley, Bo Chen, and everyone who already supplied figures to us!

With your help, I hope we can improve the game’s impressiveness by applying accurate data in the simulation.

And that’s a wrap for today, Cheers 🥂

Don’t forget to Wishlist the game if you haven’t: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1429080/Business_Heroes_Food_Truck_Simulation/

Live Long and Prosper 👋,
Kunal & the team

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Hello, 👋

We are excited to let you know that the original music album for Business Heroes: Food Truck Simulation is now available on Steam!

The album is composed by the talented David Hollandsworth, who has written hundreds of short, instrumental songs and melodies that have been used in countless TV shows, movies and commercials over the years.

His impressive track record includes working with CBS, Discovery, and The CW.

The album features 16 tracks that are perfect for whenever you need to stay inspired and motivated while also feeling calm and mellow. The music is a unique blend of uplifting and relaxing tunes that could also help you unwind after a long day.

David’s music is known for its versatility, and he didn’t fail to add his touch of brilliance to these tracks.

Tracks like “Rise from the ashes” and “Flow” will get you in productively groovy mood with their upbeat and inspiring melodies.

Meanwhile, “New Shoes” and “I Dream in Tangerine” will help you ease into a state of relaxation and tranquility. Here’s a section of some of the tracks:

You can find the full track listing on Steam. During the game’s design phase, we carefully chose music and sound effects to enhance your gameplay.

But now, you can go beyond gameplay to introduce a soft bounce of gaminess into your daily life with this butter smooth music album.

We certainly hope you enjoy listening to it. You can purchase the album on Steam now and add it to your music collection.

And that’s a wrap for today, Cheers 🥂

Don’t forget to Wishlist the game if you haven’t: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1429080/Business_Heroes_Food_Truck_Simulation/

Live Long and Prosper 👋,
Kunal & the team

 

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Greetings, 👋

In the last episode, we looked at how to use upgrades to improve customer patience and reduce missed sales. Today you’ll discover how service speed upgrades can help improve employee speed, resulting in even more reductions in missed sales.

Let’s dive right in.

Service Speed Overview

Employee service speed measures how long it takes a Stand’s employee to serve customers. For Stands with two employees, the Stand’s service speed is the sum of both employees.

Service speed is inversely proportional to the time ⌚ taken to serve customers (service time). As service speed increases ⏫, the service time reduces ⏬.

Here is how it looks on a graph:

Business Impact

Customers face either of two scenarios when they visit your food stand. It’s either there is a queue, or there isn’t.

If there is no queue, but the service time exceeds their patience, they will give a ‘slow service’ feedback after buying.

Reducing negative feedback with service speed upgrades in business heroes

When there is a queue, but they are getting served when their patience is exceeded, customers will only give a ‘slow service’ feedback if the wait time plus service time is more than their patience.

Slow service feedback negatively affects a food stand’s overall quality.

You can improve service speed through training, increased employee happiness, and stand upgrades.

For a deeper dive into the impact of training and employee happiness on service speed, you can read this episode on  service quality and this one on employee happiness.

Service Speed Upgrades

There are three food stand upgrades that help to improve employee efficiency, and thus service speed.

Here’s how they impact service speed:

Just like customer patience upgrades, service speed upgrades are stand-specific. You can see the full compatibility chart for the service speed upgrades below:

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions.

Because the burger bike is incompatible with any of the service speed upgrades, owners will need to invest more in employee training and happiness to improve speed.

Achieving faster service speeds can maximize sales and reduce negative feedback by minimizing customer wait times. How you allocate resources to achieve this will depend on the truck you own, the empty upgrade slots available, and how much cash you have.

Still, you might need more than upgrades and training when targeting more affluent customers. You just might need to invest in a brand new truck.

And that’s a wrap for today, Cheers 🥂

Don’t forget to Wishlist the game if you haven’t: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1429080/Business_Heroes_Food_Truck_Simulation/

Live Long and Prosper 👋,
Kunal & the team

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Hello, 👋

You may have heard the phrase “time is money” more times than you can count.

As a food truck entrepreneur, while increasing your efficiency is a great way to boost your profits, there’s another factor that can have an equally significant impact on your bottom line: getting customers to wait longer to buy food from your food truck.

Today’s episode is about how this plays out in the game.

Customers have a default time range for waiting to get their food. This duration is called Customer Patience. Each customer segment’s patience is unique. Depending on their lifestyle and daily activities, their default time is more or less.

You can see the default time for each customer segment below. Everything is measured in Milliseconds in-game time, so you can quickly notice the differences.

When customers decide to buy burgers from your stand, and there is a queue, they wait until their default patience time is exceeded.

When that happens, and they still haven’t gotten to the front of the queue, they will leave and give a ‘wait is too long feedback’.

Customers lost due to a long wait time counts as a missed sale in the Key Performance Indicator section.

Temperature and Weather are the two significant factors that impact customer patience. Customers become impatient when the weather or temperature is unfavourable.

The effect of temperature and weather on the default patience of all customer segments can be seen in the following table:

You can invest in food stand upgrades and employee training to avoid losing customers due to a long wait time and/or bad weather.

Seven food stand upgrades help to increase customer patience. Some entertain customers, while others reduce the weather effect on customers.

Here’s how each of the seven upgrades impact customer patience:

Customer patience upgrades are stand-specific, as some are incompatible with other food stands.

More expensive food stands have wider upgrade compatibility than the less expensive ones. Also, the number of upgrade slots available for each food stand is limited.

For example, here is the compatibility chart for the Burger Bike, Mini Trailer, and Burger Master food stands, respectively, each with three upgrade slots.

The Burger Bike clearly has fewer compatibility options for customer patience upgrades than the Mini Trailer and Burger Master.

So, when running your business with the Burger Bike, investing in improving service speed might be a good idea to avoid losing customers to long wait time.

In summary, increasing customer patience through upgrades or reducing their wait time through faster service speeds is one secret to maximizing sales.

But knowing when to invest in the right combination of upgrades and employee training to produce the best customer outcome makes all the difference in the world.

In the next edition, we’ll take a closer look at how upgrades and employee training can help reduce missed sales.

And that’s a wrap for today, Cheers 🥂

Don’t forget to Wishlist the game if you haven’thttps://store.steampowered.com/app/1429080/Business_Heroes_Food_Truck_Simulation/

Live Long and Prosper 👋,
Kunal & the team

 

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Hello, 👋

It is no secret that the foundation of a food truck business’s success lies in the quality of its food. In a previous episode, we discussed the impact of food quality on your business’s success.

But the question remains, how do you develop a recipe that delights your customers and keeps them returning for more?

In this edition, we delve into the inner workings of the product development process and how you can discover the perfect combination of ingredients for every customer segment in the city.

Discovering Customer Needs 🍔

There are nine customer segments in the city. Each group has unique preferences for its burger. Your food quality goal is discovering the perfect recipe for your target customer segment.

During our second playtest, we discovered that giving players a preferred range for the perfect recipe of each customer segment drastically improved their playthrough.

We added this range in the tooltip of each customer segment:

The perfect recipe for all customer segments changes with each game, but the preference range stays the same.

The recipe has five ingredients with a minimum and maximum amount you can include per burger:

Patty: 100g – 300g per burger.

Tomato slices: 0 – 5 slices per burger.

Lettuce leaves: 0 – 5 leaves per burger.

Cheese slices: 0 – 5 slices per burger.

Sauce: 0 – 3 sachets per burger.

Depending on your target customer segment, you can use the preference range to decide your initial ingredient combo and modify it based on customer feedback.

Feedback Interpretation 👩‍🏫

We implemented a recipe feedback interpretation system to help you know exactly how much more or fewer ingredients your burger needs.

Customers give one of four types of food quality feedback whenever they buy a burger:

  • Terrible burger – Yuck!
  • Excess ingredient – The burger is overloaded.
  • Insufficient ingredient – The burger is empty.
  • Perfect recipe

Their feedback depends on the margin of difference between their perfect recipe and the number of ingredients in the burger they just bought.

Let’s take tomato slices, for example:

In the above example, 2 tomato slices are perfect for the customer segment. When no tomatoes are added to the recipe, the customer will give an ‘Insufficient’ ingredient feedback, meaning the slices should be increased by 2.

If 4 slices are added, the customer will give an ‘Excessive’ ingredient feedback, meaning the tomato slices should be reduced by 2.

When 5 slices are added, the customer will give a ‘Terrible Burger’ feedback, meaning the tomato slices should be reduced by 3.

Whenever the customer does not give a food quality feedback, the ingredients are close to the perfect recipe and only require one increment or reduction.

Feedback Prioritization ⬆⬇

Because the recipe feedback applies to all ingredients and we only wanted to show one per customer purchase, we had to prioritize them.

Terrible burger has the highest priority. Hence if any ingredient in the recipe meets that condition, the customer will give a terrible burger feedback, even if all other ingredients are excessive or insufficient.

Excess ingredient is next in priority, but only when there is an equal number of Insufficient ingredient feedback in the recipe. If either feedback is more in the recipe, it will show as the recipe feedback.

For instance, if a recipe has an excess of 2 ingredients and an insufficiency of 2 ingredients, the feedback shown is for ‘Excess’ ingredients.

But if a recipe has an insufficiency of 2 ingredients and an excess of 1, then the feedback shown is for ‘Insufficient’ ingredient.

We hope this prioritization will eliminate confusion, allow you to quickly resolve your recipe’s most severe problems, and get you closer to the perfect recipe faster.

And that’s a wrap for today, Cheers 🥂

Don’t forget to Wishlist the game if you haven’t: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1429080/Business_Heroes_Food_Truck_Simulation/

Live Long and Prosper 👋,
Kunal & the team

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Greetings, 👋

It’s great to catch up with you again. Today’s episode is all about how the outdoor population size works. Let’s take a look. 😉

The City has an outdoor population size and a base population size.

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 City’s base population size is the sum of the base population sizes across all localities.

The base population size for each locality is shown below:

Because many prices in the game are similar to their real-life counterparts, and given the limited number of customers we could include in each locality, we implemented a customer effect scale of 1:10 to ensure businesses could become profitable.

In effect, each customer has an in-game impact of 10 customers. For example, the 60 customers in Street Corner have an effect equivalent to 600 customers.

The outdoor population size in each locality depends on the influence of three main factors, which are:

  • General happiness of the population (Population Happiness)
  • Economic well-being of the people (Economic Happiness)
  • Random Events

The influence of any of these factors determines the outdoor population size in each locality and the City at large.

For example, the image below shows the difference between the outdoor and base population size in Glamour and Hip Street.

This difference results from the current Economic Happiness in the City being lower than expected.

Economic happiness affects all localities and effectively produces a current population for the City, 968, lower than the base, 1260.

We looked at the impact of economic happiness and random events in this episode and this episode, respectively, so let’s look at Population Happiness.

The population starts with an average Happiness level of 50. Their current happiness (Population Happiness) per time will fluctuate upwards ↗️ or downwards ↘️ depending on the outcome of the following formula:

From the above, you can see that weather plays a substantial role in the overall happiness of the population.

We explained how weather works in detail here.

Depending on the prevailing weather for the time of day, the following is the impact on Population Happiness:

When it’s sunny, the population happiness due to weather is maximum and therefore a higher outdoor population size is expected.

But as the weather worsens, population happiness due to weather reduces till the outdoor population drops to zero when there is a storm.

Whenever there is a lower outdoor population size, you will need to adjust your business strategy to operate sustainably.

And that’s a wrap for today, Cheers 🥂

Don’t forget to Wishlist the game if you haven’t: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1429080/Business_Heroes_Food_Truck_Simulation/

Live Long and Prosper 👋,
Kunal & the team

 

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Hello, 👋

As I sit to write this episode about the game’s Events system, the words of Dale Carnegie come to mind. 🤔

“People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.”

From the beginning, we knew that because of the nature of Business Heroes, the game ran the risk of being an overly serious management game.

And we certainly didn’t want that. 😒

So, we introduced the Events system to enhance your excitement and entertainment while playing the game.

You can think of it like the news media in real life. Except that the news it delivers is improbable to happen in real life.

As you grow your food truck business, you will have to adapt and make quick decisions in response to these very unrealistic events. 😆

Design & Implementation

We divided the events into two categories, Good and Bad. Each day, the system generates a random number 🔢 that determines the chances of an event occurring the following day. 🌄

Depending on the number, the outcome can be a good event, no event, or a bad event.

In general, the system leans towards good events. We did that because the goal of the system is enjoyment, not frustration.

The news section pops up whenever there’s a new event, and you can select your preferred news channel from three choices.

Your selection determines the category of event you get.

Each event spans from a minimum of 1 day to a maximum of 10 days. For example, the event below is a 50% sale on all Upgrades that will last for 1 day.

Both event categories have 5 levels each. These levels determine the effect and frequency of the event. A level 2 good event has less positive effects on your business compared to a level 5 event, and is likely to happen more frequently than a level 5 event.

The same is true for bad events.

We also designed the system in such a way that the probability of getting a Level 1 or 2 event is higher than that of levels 3, 4, and 5.

The image below shows that the probability of occurrence of a Level 1 good event is 26/40 as against 2/40 for a Level 4 good event.

The events cause a percentage increase or decrease in a wide range of statistics, all of which are listed below:

For displayed stats, you can always see the event effect and duration in their tooltips.

Events can range from a massive discount on upgrades to the Nation discovering a cure for cancer.

Here are a few examples:

If you have crazy ideas about other events we can add to the Events system, we’d love to read about them. 🕺

You can send in your ideas by responding to this email with them.

The events system is an exaggerated, gamified version of business reality designed to boost fun and enjoyment. We hope it adds to your overall experience of the game.

And that’s a wrap for today, Cheers 🥂

Don’t forget to Wishlist the game if you haven’t: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1429080/Business_Heroes_Food_Truck_Simulation/

Live Long and Prosper 👋,
Kunal & the team

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Hello, 👋

I am strolling back home, lost in game-balancing calculations, when the delicious aroma of fresh doughnuts draws me out of my daydream.

Well, there’s no harm in checking out the source of the scent, I think to myself as I begin to look around. I see the aroma’s source, a solitary kiosk tucked away at the street’s corner, and walk up to it.

But the displayed price instantly stops me in my tracks.

I am familiar with the cost of doughnuts, but this seemed much higher. I wondered if the vendor, being the only doughnut seller in the area, was trying to exploit the limited supply.

And my thoughts immediately jump to how pricing works in Business Heroes.

Some customers are more sensitive to the price of burgers than others. Students, Parents, and Staffs, for instance, have lower disposable incomes compared to the other segments. For them, affordability/price is a big part of the buying decision.

Other factors that influence buying decisions in the game are:

– Time of day
– How appealing the Stand looks
– The food and service quality of the Stand
– Brand popularity of the business

These customers will shy away from your stand if they consider your burger to be too expensive.

How do they decide what’s expensive and what’s not?

They compare the cost of your burger to the cost of alternatives, such as a homemade burger, and decide based on which option offers the best value for their money.

If the cost of buying all the ingredients plus the time and effort to make the burger themselves is significantly less than the burger price, they will likely consider it expensive.

But as the difference between the burger’s price and the cost of the homemade option reduces, it will seem more affordable to them, and their likelihood of buying the burger will be higher.

To show you how it works, let’s take a closer look at how pricing affects the buying behaviour of the Students segment.

The formula we used:

This results in a graph that shows how the probability of Students buying a burger drops as the percentage difference between the burger price and homemade cost increases:

You can see that Students are very price sensitive as their purchase probability begins to drop at a very low percentage price difference between buying the burger or making it at home.

The graph is different for each customer segment. Some customers like Fit-ones and Managers have a high purchase probability even at a price difference above 200%!

This is because their buying decision is based more on stand appeal, food and service quality, brand name recognition, etc., than on price.

It’s essential to consider your target market’s price sensitivity when setting your menu price to ensure you are maximizing sales.

As I turn away from the Kiosk, it occurs to me that people who do not consider themselves price-sensitive (such as myself) could exhibit price-sensitive behaviour when they suspect monopolistic behaviour.

Hmm. That could be an excellent mechanic to add to the game.

Then again, it might make the game WAY too complex.

But we’d only be able to tell once we try it.

And that’s a wrap for today, Cheers 🥂

Don’t forget to Wishlist the game if you haven’t: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1429080/Business_Heroes_Food_Truck_Simulation/

Live Long and Prosper 👋,
Kunal & the team

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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: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1429080/Business_Heroes_Food_Truck_Simulation/

Live Long and Prosper 👋,
Kunal & the team

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