Posts In: Simulation

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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Food truck owners expect to face a variety of challenges daily. But perhaps one of the biggest challenges they face is terrible weather. Keeping the truck open and customers satisfied can be extra demanding when it’s freezing or pouring outside.

This episode is about how we designed the game’s weather system to simulate city-specific weather conditions.

The Challenge

As you know, there are several major cities in the game. To improve the player experience and game difficulty, we had to ensure that each city’s in-game weather mirrors the historical weather conditions of their real-life counterpart.

Getting this right was quite the challenge. 😅


We first tried to implement a replica of historical weather conditions in each city. But we quickly realized this would pose a problem with replayability as players would eventually find our data source 😨 and have an unfair advantage on the leaderboards.

So we decided to discard this method. 🚮

Our second and final approach was to use the normal distribution and the average temperature and precipitation values in a city to generate the weather condition. For example, let’s take Washington, DC, as a case study.

Below is the actual data for Washington, DC:

By taking the average temperature as a mean and using a standard deviation of one, we randomly generated the temperature to fit within the high and low ranges. The Box–Muller transform was particularly useful here.

This method helped us account for the rare occurrence of a very high 🥵 or very low 🥶 temperature, which happens in reality. Similarly, for the precipitation, we used the average as a mean and a standard deviation of two to generate the amount of rain 🌧️, which directs the cloud volume. ☁️



You can observe a clear jump ⬆️ in averages as we move from month to month, which shouldn’t be so. To resolve this, we employed weekly peak averages instead of monthly, which made it work as intended.

Below is a yearly temperature simulation for Washington DC for the morning 🌅, afternoon 🕑, and evening 🌆.

The simulation for the rain/cloud below is for the mornings alone in Washington, DC. As you can see, most mornings, there is a light shower or an overcast, followed by sunny conditions and light rain.

We think this method strikes the right balance between fun 🕺💃 and computing requirements. 💻

In-game impact

The presence of rain ☔ and snow 🌨️ reduces the outdoor population in the game, thus reducing the number of sales possible during the period, just like in real life. You can always invest in upgrades to reduce the impact of weather on your business.

However, it might not be a profitable investment if your chosen customer segment is not big enough. It will take strategic thinking 🤔 and astute decision-making to discern the best time for such an investment.

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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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


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.


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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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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Customer segments in our Food Truck Game.

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.  

Customer Segments

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.

Customer segments in our Food Truck Game.
Customer Segments

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.  

Location: Glamour and Hip street

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. 

Choose to play in Eco Friendly mode

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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Business Heroes Calling

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.

For the latest news about Business Heroes, please subscribe to our newsletter here.

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