Boba Bliss is a game that tries to balance challenging the player with thinking about business strategy and providing a casual, relaxing, and cute atmosphere to have fun. There were several mechanics in play. We had the player prep for the business day beforehand (buying supplies, editing the menu, choosing prices, choosing different marketing campaigns and discounts) and then had the business day play out in a cutscene-like simulation, where the cat customers would come in with their order and the player would be notified if their preferences were met or not. Ten cat customers would come during one business day, and a summary page would be shown after on what each cat’s order was, how much revenue was made, and how the reputation of the shop changed. From the summary page and watching how the customers’ preferences were met/unmet, the player would be able to make changes for the next day (prices, menu items, marketing campaigns, inventory supply).
The ecosystem was modeled off a very basic abstraction of running a small business boba shop. Obviously there are many other complicated factors included in the task of running a small business, but we took the business and reputation aspect and set the shop in a fantastical cat heaven (to make it a little detached from reality and therefore allow us to have some liberties with the mechanics, as well as have a cuteness aspect).
I learned that it is very difficult to code a digital systems game. I think we were a little ambitious given the short amount of time we had, but I learned a lot regardless. The learning curve for the GameMaker engine was steep, as it was my first time using it, but I learned a lot from struggling. I think there are more complex systems mechanics we could have incorporated if it had been an analog game, but having a digital game feels fulfilling in a different way.
One improvement we could do is to have a more generic algorithm to generate a non-random set of customers. We hardcoded customer preference data so we could give the notion of customers liking and preferring certain drinks and toppings over others in order to give the player an opportunity to think, discern a pattern, and strategize for the next day accordingly. If we had more time, I think it would have been great to come up with a separate function that generated different non-random data, so that the game would be different when replayed.