I worked on Boba Bliss with Isabelle Lee and Grace Zhang. I had a great experience working on this project, as it combined interesting challenges with something I’m passionate about (~boba~). I was also inspired by a similar game I played a lot as a kid: Lemonade Stand.
At its core, our game was about running a restaurant. In the real world, this involves dozens of different interacting components. Our challenge was modeling these components in a way that represented the complexity of owning a business, while making a fun and comprehensive experience for the player.
The ecosystem was modeled to simulate the real-world challenges of running a business. Our game required players to manage finances, inventory, and customer satisfaction, which are all crucial aspects of running a successful business. We had also planned to have players manage employees, but we ran out of time to implement that.
The mechanics of the game, such as managing inventory and marketing promotions, were designed to be interdependent on each other. This meant that every decision made by the player would affect other aspects of the game. For example, if the player chose to offer a promotion to attract more customers, they would need to make sure that they had enough inventory to meet the demand. Our goal was to create a complex system that required the player to think strategically and really step into the shoes of a business owner.
We also spent a lot of time thinking about how to make our game different from our restaurant simulation game. We settled on having a unique context (cats in heaven) and also having different narrative endings depending on how you ran your boba shop. For example, if you ended the game with a very high reputation, your player cat earned a permanent spot in cat heaven.
Watching others play the game was a super interesting experience. We saw how different players approached the game completely differently, with some people immediately trying to figure out how to generate the maximum possible revenue and others just wanting to find their favorite flavor combinations to put on the menu. This reinforced the idea that people might play our game and get completely different things out of it.