Cat Café Simulator

Development started: August 2020 (Currently on hold)

Team size: Solo

Engine: Unity

What is Cat Café Simulator?

Cat Café Simulator is a solo game project I started developing in 2020. The idea for the game came from a Ludum Dare game jam that I participated in with my friend. The goal was to create a game in 72 hours for the theme “Keep it alive”, so we made a game about managing a cat shelter and providing cats with utilities to survive. Though it wasn't perfect, I really enjoyed the concept of the game and I had a vision that it could become much more. I wanted to see it as a fully finished game, so I kept working on it, and also evolved the idea from managing a shelter to managing a cat café, since café/restaurant management games were some of my favorites when I was a child.

Cat Café Simulator has come a long way, with many of the main mechanics already in place, however there is still a lot left to do before I can release a demo version. The game has been on a hiatus since I started at The Game Assembly as studying has taken up all of my time, but I am very excited to resume work on the game soon!

Cat Café Simulator has a steam page!

Randomized cats

One of my favorite parts about the game so far is the fully randomized cat appearances. When I made the cat model in Blender, I also made a couple shape keys for different facial features, such as body weight, head shape, eye shape, ear & eye size. Mixing together these shape keys with random values gives each cat a distinct physical appearance instead of all of them looking the exact same. I also hand-painted a couple of different fur textures and white markings that can be overlaid on top of the base fur pattern through a custom shader. With all the different shape keys and fur patterns, each cat is truly unique!

Cat AI

The cat AI is inspired by The Sims Pets. It has a list of needs (hunger, thirst, sleep, bladder, fun and social). These needs are decreased by some amount every 2 seconds, and it will check if any of the needs are below a certain threshold which will make it seek out an item that can replenish that need, such as a food bowl or toy. If multiple needs are below the acting threshold, it prioritizes whichever need is lowest first, however if it cannot find an available item to replenish that need it will instead prioritize the second lowest, and so on.

Build mode

A big part of the enjoyment with café management games is the ability to customize your café. Not only are you able to buy and color different kinds of furniture, you can also expand the café further by chopping down trees and building new rooms, which adds to the feeling of making progress in the game. The build mode uses a grid which also conveniently functions as the A* navigation grid for the player, customers and cats.

Cooking & Recipe unlocking

The recipes are made with ScriptableObjects which hold data such as the recipe name, cost, cooking time, level required to unlock, and a prefab. Using ScriptableObjects makes it incredibly easy to add new recipes. There are different types of appliances which can hold different recipes.

When an appliance is interacted with, a list of all its available recipes pop up, and clicking on one makes the appliance cook that recipe, which can then be picked up once it’s finished cooking. The player also has a level associated with each appliance, and when the player levels up an appliance skill, more recipes are unlocked. Individual recipes also get leveled up from 1-5 which increases profit for that recipe.


The cats' adoption chance depends on several factors. The cat’s tameness plays the biggest role, its overall happiness and health also plays a part, but one way for the player to actively increase the cat’s chance of adoption is through the Snapcat photo app. Once per day, the player can take pictures of the cats around the café and select the best one to upload to Snapcat.

When the photo is taken, rays are cast from the camera within the rect of the photo borders. The rays are spaced apart by 10 pixels, and if they hit a cat (that sounds wrong, no cats were harmed in the photographing process), the counter for that cat gets increased. This counter is what determines the size of the cat in the image; the more rays that hit the cat, the closer the cat is to the camera. The cat’s closeness to the camera has to be just right, if the cat is too small or too big in the frame, the photo won’t get as high of a score. Along with the cat’s size in the frame, there are other influences to the photo’s total score, such as what action the cat is currently doing (nobody wants to see a photo of a cat pooping, for instance), as well as how much the cat is facing the camera. Bonus likes are then added onto the final score depending on your current Snapcat follower count.

Future plans

One feature I am very excited to add at some point is an immersive 3D petting simulator, similar to the one in Nintendogs. Of course I can’t make a cat game and *not* add a 3D petting feature. The petting will be used both for taming feral cats and replenishing the cats’ social needs. There will also be a couple of tricks that you can teach the cat through swipe gestures. Teaching a trick to a cat will allow you to take a photo of the trick which will boost the photo’s likes and help the cat get adopted much faster.