Posts In: Indie Game
A Food Truck Business Game Trailer on World Food Day
Every year since October 16, 1945, Individuals and Corporates come together globally to celebrate an event. It’s the founders’ day of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, also called World Food Day.
The interesting thing about World Food Day is that it is not really about the FAO. It’s about food and our actions to produce, transport, and consume it sustainably. World Food Day celebrates the promotion of food security across the globe. In difficult times like a pandemic, we must remind ourselves of its importance.
According to the FAO, Agri-food systems employ 1 billion people worldwide, more than any other economic sector. Agri-food systems are like ecosystems. Everything is connected, and we need to make choices and actions that help them develop a better synergy. People from all walks of life, their livelihoods, our health, and our planet need nurturing to thrive.
Young or old, individual or corporate, we all have a role in building our sustainable future. Indeed, our actions DO matter.
Gameplay Trailer Reveal
The theme for this year is Our actions are our future: better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and better life. Our action for the day at Visionaries is captured by revealing the first gameplay trailer for Business Heroes: Food Truck Simulation, our upcoming food truck business game.
At Visionaries, we firmly believe that everyone can become a food hero. We can either join the food value chain on the production side or cut down on food waste on the consumption side. Revealing the gameplay trailer on this special day is our way of raising awareness of the need for action, and inviting more people to contribute to a sustainable future.
Business Heroes: Food Truck Simulation inspires players young and old to think about the powerful impact of successful food businesses on society. The game promotes the concept of business heroes – food entrepreneurs concerned about their business’s social and environmental impact alongside profits. The game also includes an ecological (plant-based) gameplay mode that addresses important nutrition and environmental concerns.
Good food should be accessible and easy to find. The food truck has proven to be very successful in this regard. During the pandemic, food trucks increased accessibility to good food when restaurants were shut down or didn’t allow sit-ins. We chose to use the food truck business in the game for two reasons. Firstly, it has minimal start-up costs, and secondly, it is very flexible to operate. Accordingly, food entrepreneurs will face lower barriers to entry in the business.
We hope that the game inspires more food heroes around the globe, and that it helps promote collaboration along our food value chain from farm to table.
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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 👋,
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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28 January 2021
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 release forward. 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.
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How customer preferences, needs, and unique recipes impact your performance in Business Heroes: Food Truck Simulation
Hey there! Welcome to this edition of our development log. This edition will reveal a little about your customers in business heroes and how they behave.
Business Heroes: Food Truck Simulation is a single & multiplayer, turn-based, food truck business simulation game. The goal is for players to fulfill their entrepreneurial dreams by growing a successful food truck company that sells burgers and drinks. You begin by choosing a capital city to play in. Then, armed with a single food cart, you start growing your business
When we started developing the customers for business heroes, we kept one goal in mind: to give you a sales experience that was as close to real-life as we could. Business owners in the outdoor food industry frequently interact with a broad range of people with different tastes and preferences. We wanted you to have the same business simulation experience in business heroes, so we designed the customer segments to reflect this.
Because catering to all tastes and preferences would be impossible, we decided to focus on customer segments that could easily be differentiated. As you grow your burger truck business, you will be selling to Students, Parents, Tourists, Staff, Fit Ones, Managers, Influencers, Foodies, and Environmentalists.
These are not just meaningless labels. We designed them to reflect different tastes and preferences. Each group is particular about what matters most to them, and how your business can provide products and services that match their lifestyle and eating times.
For example, students may be more concerned with the product’s price than how healthy or nutritious it is. On the other hand, the Fit Ones may be more concerned about the burger’s quality than with it being relatively low cost. Parents may prefer a burger package with more sauces because they want more value and would love to have leftovers for future use in their recipe.
Environmentalists generally would be wary about too much cheese and meat. They may prefer to pay more for a burger with more salad that tastes great, even though technically, it costs you less to make.
Because they are on vacation, tourists would generally indulge more. They may prefer more cheese, sauces, patty, and less salad in their burgers. They might also be predisposed to paying more for it.
Location & Customer Segments
An essential part of your success would be your ability to understand your customers’ needs and create custom burger recipes that meet their needs. The game has 7 locations where you will be trading. To make things slightly more manageable, we distributed, quite fairly, the various customer segments among these locations in the game.
For instance, a location like the Financial District has more managers, staff members, and environmentalists. In contrast, you will generally find more tourists and Trendsetters at the National landmark.
When you set up your stand in a location, some customers get attracted to you. Depending on the customer segment, they will look at your waiting line and decide to leave or stay.
Students who usually have more time than money may choose to wait longer than Managers, who typically have more money and less time.
Unique Recipes & Customer Feedback
You can customize your meat patty’s weight depending on the market segment you intend to target. You can also determine the amount of lettuce, tomatoes, sauces for each recipe. At the beginning of the game, we implemented an ecological option to enable players to run a vegan burger business if they wanted. We hope this gameplay option will make the game more inclusive for our vegan players.
After customers buy your product, they give you feedback immediately. If your burger meets their requirement as a segment, then they give you great feedback. If not, their feedback is negative. You can instantly adjust your recipe based on this feedback. Recipe adjustment is one of the decisions you can make during the day. You have to make most of your other choices at night.
Customer feedback will reflect on your overall stand reputation. The higher your reputation, the easier it is to attract more customers. As you grow your reputation and brand, your stands will attract more customers/passersby from farther away. These customers will decide to try out your burger, and depending on how strong your brand/reputation is, they may choose to wait a bit longer if there is a line. You can invest in advertising to boost your brand in the locality.
Successful players will discover how to balance the perfect recipe for their customers with timely investments in advertisement and staff training to reduce customer queues.
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5 November 2020
Why We Are Making a Food Truck Business Game
A Game Studio’s Approach to Tackling World Problems
Most games are birthed by an idea. We, however, started making our food truck business game to solve three global problems. They are income inequality, unemployment, and access to education. How do you attempt to tackle these global issues when all you have is a team of average joes? Where do you even begin?
For us, we began with what we loved, video games. That’s how Visionaries was born. But first, let’s discuss the problems of income inequality, unemployment, and access to education.
The link between income inequality, unemployment, and access to education is complex. Research reveals mixed results on which type of education is most suitable for improving gainful employment and reducing inequality. But one thing stands out though. To reduce income inequality and unemployment, we, unquestionably, need to democratize access to quality education. A 2019 Oxfam paper written by Jo Walker and co. makes a compelling case for this. The paper is titled The power of education to fight inequality.
Armed with this observation, we broke our goal into three parts:
- Core Idea: What sort of education is required to create jobs and reduce income inequality?
- Delivery Method: How could we help deliver it?
- Channel: If we could, how could we package it so that people would consume it?
The answer to the first question was straightforward: practical business education and specialized skills training. We decided to focus on delivering business education.
For the answer to the other two questions, we turned to video games. Why? There are now more than 2.5 billion gamers worldwide, consequently taking care of the method of delivery. If we embedded business concepts in an entertaining video game, we could distribute it to millions of people globally.
Now, how to do that successfully?
In his 2003 publication, James Gee explained how game environments enable players to learn. What games have to teach us about learning and literacy shows that well-designed games allow players to advance on different paths, and at different rates. This happens in response to each player’s interests and abilities while fostering just-in-time learning.
Another 2007 study by Nick Yee and Jeremy Bailenson went further to demonstrate how people’s behavior in virtual gaming environments influence their behavior in real life. Known as The Proteus Effect, this phenomenon undoubtedly has therapeutic applications in behavioral change, phobia desensitization, and personal empowerment.
For our plan to work, we certainly needed to utilize the Proteus Effect. We needed to create games that will entertain and inspire future players to start successful real-life businesses. The best game genre for this, in our opinion, would be Simulation Games.
Consequently, we decided to create a business simulation game series called Business Heroes. Designed to stir up entrepreneurship, the series will entertain and expose players to practical business management principles. Subsequently, we hope that this will ultimately empower them to become “business heroes.”
The first Business Heroes simulation game we are releasing is a food truck business. Now on Steam, Business Heroes: Food Truck Simulation is a single & multiplayer, food truck strategy game. It is designed to provide players with the knowledge and confidence required to manage a small business.
The game’s goal is for players to start and grow a successful food truck business. Not only must players make business decisions based on weather, economic conditions, and customer preference, the will also have to handle unexpected occurrences, and stock cost/availability. All the while, players receive valuable business lessons delivered by Master Lee, the in-game business mentor.
To increase realism for players, we are simulating a few things. The game simulates weather patterns, currency, and pricing based on the capital city in which the player chooses to start.
We have a Kick-starter campaign planned before the early access release. We are working feverishly to make it a success, although we know there are no guarantees.
You can sign up for our mailing list to get the latest development updates.
At Visionaries, our goal is to empower, entertain, and educate the world, starting with a food truck business game. Hopefully, we will simultaneously reduce global income inequality, unemployment, and access to education.
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Business Heroes, a business management tycoon game, is a project of passion and right timing. I have always been a fan of strategy, management, and tycoon games. From the beloved SimCity to Capitalism, I have spent hours and hours of my life immersed in these games. Every so often, after playing one of these tycoon games, I felt inspired to start my own business. But the most important thing was missing, “capital, funds, cash.” In real life, there is no magic button to give you starting capital. Therefore, I end up going back to my virtual world to satisfy my business “fantasies.”
After completing an MBA from HKUST, I realized that I could describe many of these business principles to gamers. These principles are easily implementable in a business tycoon, simulation, game genre. You do not need a fancy university degree to start and run a successful business empire. My parents own a small business. While I was growing up I saw them start and expand it successfully for 20 years. If they knew what I know now, we could have avoided many problems and seized more opportunities. With a growing audience for videogames, I felt that it was the right time to start the Business Heroes series.
Finally, in this series, I am trying to target simulations that require little to no capital. Hopefully, I will be able to inspire others to start a business with minimal capital, as I believe that we need more successful small businesses to solve the growing unemployment and inequality of income worldwide.
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