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Posts from the ‘Entertainment’ Category

Home Storage & Network Topology (2013)

In 2011, I wrote a fairly popular blog post outlining my home solution for storage & backup:

Since it has been almost two years, I thought I’d update the information with some improvements.

Updated Network Topology

In 2012, I had a chance to update our network infrastructure, and as a result we have a slightly different home network topology than the one I diagrammed in 2011.  The following image shows the current, high level structure (note: I haven’t documented all devices or switches on the network)

home_storage_topology_20132013 Home Network Topology

Enhancement: Comcast 105Mbps Service

In March 2013, Comcast announced doubling it’s internet connectivity speeds in the San Francisco Bay Area for no additional cost.  This proved to be enough of an improvement to get me to face the reality that AT&T Uverse was never, ever going to get any faster than 24Mbps.

As a result, my order is in to convert to Comcast.  I’ll post here if the experience is anything but what’s expected – a massive increase in download speeds.  With multiple people in our household now hitting Netflix streaming up to four at once, I think the upgrade is perfectly timed.

Enhancement: WD 6TB Thunderbolt Duo for iTunes

Last month, tragedy struck.  The 4TB USB 3.0 hard drive I had been using for the main iTunes library crashed.  Fortunately, thanks to the backup solution in place, all files were recovered.

The only problem was recovery time.  It was slow.  It turns out, restoring about 3.5 TB from the Synology box to a USB hard drive took over 38 hours.  Now, granted, Time Machine isn’t the fastest recovery software, but it’s what I’ve been using reliably.

At 3.5TB, I realized I was going to max out the Seagate 4TB drives soon anyway.  After some research, I decided to get the 6TB Western Digital Thunderbolt Duo.  With two 3TB drives striped with RAID 0, combined with the 10Gbps Thunderbolt bus, I was hoping for significant speed improvements.

Restoring 3.5TB via Time Machine from my Synology box to the Thunderbolt Duo took less than 16 hours, a huge improvement over the previous experience with the Seagate USB drive.  Most of this benefit is likely due to Thunderbolt bus (I gave the drive a dedicated port on the iMac.)  Regardless, I’m thrilled to have a solution that will continue to scale through the year until larger single disk drives are available. (As a caveat, I’m now at double the risk of failure on the main iTunes drive, since if either drive fails, the whole drive will fail.)

Last Note: Stagnation in Hard Drives

It’s worth noting that it has been over 18 months since we’ve seen a larger single 3.5″ hard drive size.  We’ve been promised 6TB drives later this year, with headroom to 60TB for a 3.5″ drive on the upcoming technology, but it’s clear that single disk storage isn’t really keeping up with the increasingly large file sizes of HD video storage.  Imagine the strain when files go to 3D and Ultra HD formats.

For those of you who are interested in these type of technical details, I hope you find the above useful.

Home Media / AV Configuration (2013)

From time to time, friends and family will ask me how I configure the devices in my house for media.  Since I just got this question again last week, I thought I’d take a moment to document it here.  In the past, I’ve documented my storage & backup solution, my time machine setup, as well the configuration of my old wireless network.

Basic Assumptions

Since there are an incredible number of technology and service choices that can affect a home media solution, it’s best I put some of the basic decisions that my household currently has made around media technology:

    Comcast HD is our HD television service

  • iTunes HD is our standard movie purchase format
  • Netflix is used for movie rental
  • Tivo is our DVR of choice

Of all of these choices, the ones that are most material are the choice of Comcast HD / Tivo, as Comcast is the best HD service for modern Tivo DVRs, and the standardization on iTunes HD, not Blu-Ray, for HD movie purchases.

Office Configuration

Our home media solution is grounded in the home office, but really has become fairly distributed between the cloud and local devices. In fact, at this point, the home office solution is really used more for backup and legacy purposes.

Home Office Media

The key elements of the configuration are as follows:

  • The iMac is really the “source of truth” for the media library in the house
  • The media library is large (each HD movie is about 4GB), so it sits on its own 4TB USB HD
  • The iMac backups up to the Synology box via Time Machine
  • Wireless devices (laptops, iPads, iPhones) connect via 802.11N
  • The Gigabit Ethernet switch is connected to the central home network

Living Room Configuration

The consumption solution in any room with a television is largely the same.  Here is a diagram of it’s fundamental components:

Living Room Media

The key elements of the configuration are as follows:

  • The Gigabit Ethernet switch connects all the devices to the central home network
  • The AppleTV is used to watch purchased HD movies from iTunes, Netflix for streaming, and access the home media library on the iMac
  • The Tivo is used to watch live / recorded television (from Comcast)
  • The Blu-Ray is there theoretically if we wanted to watch a Blu Ray, which almost never happens

A Few Caveats

This solution currently has the notable sub-optimal elements:

    • I didn’t include an A/V receiver or surround sound solution in the above description, because that actually varies room to room.  In some rooms we have an AV receiver, in others we utilize a surround sound bar or just use TV audio.

Input switching.  We almost never use the Blu-Ray, but this solution does require switching inputs between AppleTV & Tivo, which is a bit annoying since the Tivo remote can’t control the AppleTV and vice-versa.

While I’m sure this solution will not impress any cinephile out there, hopefully it will be useful to a few of you thinking through how to setup or reconfigure your home media solution.

I’ll try to do a follow up post with what I’m hoping to see in 2013 to make this even better.

How to Make Great Green Beer for St. Patrick’s Day

You learn a lot of things at a hypergrowth startup, mostly by doing.  For some reason, I love St. Patrick’s Day. St. Patrick’s Day wasnt always a big event at LinkedIn, at least until we figured out how to make green beer.

It may sound trivial, but making a great green beer is surprisingly delightful.  Throw in a leprechaun hat, some Irish whiskey, and a warm afternoon, and you’ve got yourself a party.

Step 1: The Beer

We tried quite a few varieties, but what you are really looking for is a bright, vibrant yellow color to start with.   Most people were happiest with Corona, although Beck’s was also popular.  Wheat beers tend to be too cloudy, and anything darker tends to look swampy.

(Listen, I know Corona doesn’t scream Irish, but we’re going for effect here.)

Step 2: Supplies

Before you can have your event, you need to assemble the following:

  • Case(s) of beer.  Theoretically could get a keg, but our parties were never that big.
  • Bottle openers.
  • Clear, 16 ounce plastic cups.
  • Green food coloring, liquid.

Step 3: The Process

The workflow is simple, but this detail is important.

  1. Put two (not one, not three) drops of food coloring in the bottom of a cup
  2. Open the beer
  3. Pour liberally, to get good mixing and a bit of a head

That’s it.  The magic is that you get almost perfect color distribution pouring the beyou over the food coloring.  Adding the food coloring afterward, eve with stirring, is a giant fail.

The Results

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

How to Extract Short Films from iTunes Extras

This is a quick tip, but somewhat delightful, so I’m sharing it here on this blog.  Credit to DJ Patil for goading me to write this up.

iTunes Extras

Recently, Apple debuted a new feature at the iTunes Store.  When you buy certain movies, typically the more expensive HD versions, you also get the “iTunes Extras”.  The iTunes Extras are basically “everything else” that comes packaged on Blu-Ray and DVD discs: deleted scenes, trailers, exposés on the making of the film, and for certain films (like Pixar movies), short films.

Free the Short Films!

There is a small problem with this system, however.  When you sync your iPod, iPhone or iPad with the library, you don’t get the iTunes Extras.  When you connect with the AppleTV, you don’t see the iTunes Extras.

More importantly, you don’t really want to carry around gigabytes of the extras.  I just don’t need to see “Making Of” clips that often.

Fortunately, it turns out to be an easy problem to solve.

Open the Package

Cracking open the iTunes Extras turns out to be trivial.  In fact, it’s not even cracking – it’s like finding the little red string on a wheel of cheese that makes it trivial to remove the wax covering.  Here are the steps:

  1. Go to the iTunes Extras file in iTunes, and “right click” or “control-click” the file.
  2. Select “Show in Finder” from the menu
  3. You will now see the folder for the movie in your iTunes Library.  There will be a file selected with an “ITE” extension.
  4. “Right click” or “control click” the file.
  5. Select “Show Package Contents” from the menu
  6. You will see a folder inside called “videos”.  In that folder, you will see all the “M4V” files that are the video extras, including the short films
  7. Just copy these files to your desktop.  I use the “Option Drag”, where I hold the option key down, and drag the file to my desktop.  This makes a copy of it on the desktop.
  8. Add the movie to your iTunes, just like any other video.  You’ll have to add the artwork and fix the title, but then you have your short film, separate and synchable, just like any other movie.

You see, the Mac OS Finder has a trick that it inherited from NeXTStep: you can take any folder, mark it a “package”, and the Finder displays it as if it were a single file.  In fact, all the applications on the Mac are delivered this way.  *.app files are really packages (directories) of content, wrapped so that you can click on them as if they are a single file.

The iTunes Extra file is a just a package, and the video files are inside.  More importantly, they are all just “M4V” files, which are MPEG 4 video files that are copy protected with the iTunes DRM.  So they largely work like the main video that you bought off iTunes.

It’s a little extra work to get the correct title, year and cover art on the file, but a quick cut & paste from Google can solve that.

Hope this delights at least one other person out there.  It certainly delighted me this weekend as I was able to free the “Toy Story: Hawaiian Vacation” short film from the new distribution of Cars 2 in HD on iTunes.

Build a Resilient Modern Home Storage & Backup Solution

I’ll admit it, but my home network tends to push the edges of what consumer technology wants to support.  Two months ago, I had one of those terrible technology events that forces you to rethink your entire network: my Netgear ReadyNAS NV+ failed in a disasterous way, causing me to lose my entire iTunes Library.

As a result, I embarked on a process to rethink my storage and backup solutions for my household, which in this modern age of iPhones, iPads, AppleTVs, and countless media devices has become fairly complex.  Since the solution that I settled on required quite a bit of research, experimenting and simplification, I’m hoping some readers will find it interesting.

Call it: “Adam’s Home Storage Solution, Fall 2011 Edition”.

Overview: Network Design Diagram

You can see above the relevant elements of my home network topology.  It’s anchored to the internet via AT&T UVerse, which provides a 24Mbps down, 5Mbps up service over VDSL.  The router for my home network is plugged into an 8-port Gigabit switch, which is effectively the backbone for the entire house.  As part of the process of revisiting my network, I discovered that historically I had used a mish-mash of old Ethernet cables, some Cat 5, some Cat 5e, and it was affecting some connections.  A quick trip to Fry’s ensured that, for just a few dollars, I had Cat 6 cables for all Gigabit devices.  (This turned out to be important, particularly for connections to my iMac, wireless base station, and NAS box).

Basic Storage Topology

While my network supports a wide variety of clients, the backbone of my solutions is very Apple-centric.  As a result, my solution is optimized for the following decisions:

  • My media store is based on iTunes
  • My primary server is an iMac running Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion)
  • My on premise backup solution is Time Machine

I was able to simplify my storage needs for the network as follows:

  • The iMac uses the built-in 256 GB Solid State drive for the system & applications
  • The iMac uses the built-in 2 TB standard drive for local storage of most media (downloads, documents, pictures)
  • The iMac uses a 4 TB Seagate GoFlex External USB 3.0 drive for the iTunes library
  • The iMac and all other Macs in the house use Time Machine to backup to the Synology DS1511+, which has 8.3 TB usable space.

The Synology DS1511+ has dual Gigabit Ethernet ports, which allows for particularly good performance when multiple machines are trying to read / write to it at the same time.  Configuring the box to support Time Machine for multiple clients is not obvious, but I’ll write up a separate blog post on that issue.

Overall, the performance of this solution is excellent.  iTunes performance from the Seagate is excellent, both for the primary machine as well as for remote devices utilizing Home Sharing to access media (like the AppleTVs).  We are able to run video off this solution to all 3 AppleTV devices simultaneously with no issues.  Copying a 250MB file to the Synology box takes approximately 2 seconds, and it offers no measurable delay in terms of Time Machine incremental backups, viewing, and restoration.  The entire initial backup of 4.05 TB via Time Machine to the Synology box took approximately 26 hours.

Backup Solutions

Let’s not forget that the impetus for this entire redesign was the tragic and unnecessary demise of the Netgear ReadyNAS NV+, causing massive data loss.  Without belaboring the point, I hope that no one who reads this will ever make the mistake of buying a Netgear ReadyNAS.

That being said, it did lead me to significantly reconsider a multi-tier solution for document protection.

I would have loved to go purely with a cloud-based solution, but the performance is just not there yet for multi-terabyte systems.  Not only does it take an inordinate amount of time to upload terabytes to the cloud, but in the case of data loss, recovering the data would be equally slow.  Uploading 400+ GB to the cloud took me approximately 40 days… 4 TB would have taken over a year!

As a result, I factored my content into what I absolutely could not live without.  I settled on my 450 GB of photos and home movies that would be devastating if lost.  For $90, I subscribed to Crashplan Pro, which offers unlimited storage and came highly recommended by everyone.

As a result, for this crucial data, I have 3 levels of protection:

  • Primary storage
  • Secondary backup via Time Machine to Synology RAID can tolerate up to 2 disk failures simultaneously
  • Tertiary off site backup to CrashPlan

For the rest of my data, I have a fairly robust solution, but I’m considering storing 4 TB drive offsite somewhere periodically to add that “tertiary” level of security / safety.

Final Thoughts

The above solution may seem like overkill to some.  OK, probably to most.  However, you can simplify the solution above based on your needs.  For example, if you have only 200 GB of data to protect, maybe CrashPlan is the right “set and forget” solution for your network.  Maybe the 4 TB Seagate drive is sufficient for your Time Machine needs.

For those of you interested in the Synology box, I plan to write up a follow-on post on how to configure the Synology DS1511+ for Time Machine on Mac OS X 10.7 Lion.

The Big Problem with Transformers 3

I’m writing this blog post as a favor to Alex Gyr, who apparently likes it when I rant about movies.  And after all the fun commentary on my post on the Problems with the Star Trek Movie Reboot, it has been too long since I flamed a hot summer movie.

The Transformers Brand Promise

Look, I’m not going to complain about the acting, the actors, the plot, the length or the production value.  Truth be told, I don’t expect a lot from a big budget remake of a popular 1980s cartoon.  I’m in the core demographic and I’m super forgiving.

However, I do expect just two things from the Transformers.  Just two.  And they didn’t give it to me.

I want to see robots, and I want to see those robots transform

Seriously.  It’s not more complicated than that

Enough with the Humans

OK, so given the premise, let’s look at what we actually got from the movie.

First, at least one full hour of the movie, if not more, is dedicated to the drama and suspense around the humans in the story.  Will they understand?  Will they make it?  Can they fix it?  Can they save the day?

Please.  There are hundreds of movies I can go to this year to see plots about humans.  Believe me, most of them will be better.

Enough with the humans.  When I go to a Transformers movie, I want to see robots.

What Happened To Transform?

That’s not the worst of it.  For the half of the movie that does include robots, there is the second problem. They don’t transform!

I know, it sounds ludicrous, but let me say it again.

Part of the plot includes about 200 deceptigons descending onto Earth for global domination.  They don’t transform.  They just fight as robots.

Why even call them Transformers?  They are supposed to be robots in disguise, not just robots.  Let’s just call the movie: “Humans and Robots 3: All the Same, All the Time”.

Message to Paramount

Every brand has a reason to exist, and Transformers definitely has a reason to exist.  It exists to provide people with a colorful futuristic world where there are robots that transform.

If you make a Transformers 4 (and let’s be clear, I hope you do) please make sure if possible to make the movie about robots that transform.  You will get the full ticket price (3D IMAX) from me.

Adam Nash is Metro Man

I got this sent to me in email today.  It seems to have become a running joke among a few of my fellow LinkedIn employees.

Two thoughts immediately come to mind:

  1. Do I need to change my official superhero for 500 Startups? (currently: Optimus Prime)
  2. Am I missing something funny about this comparison?  This seems way too flattering…

I wills say one thing – I’m going to have to hit the gym a bit more to fit into that costume.

Solution: Denon A/V Receiver AVR 1410/790 With No Sound

As per my normal practice, when I spend more than 20 minutes on a technical problem, and I find the solution difficult to find on Google, I document it here.  I figure that at least I can save some time for “the next sucker” who runs into the issue.

Tonight, I came home to find my wife complaining that she could not get sound from the Living Room TV.  I was able to quickly ascertain that the issue was the Denon AVR-1410 – our A/V Receiver.

Symptoms:

  • No ability to select normal audio surround options – only stereo ones show up in the selector
  • No sound on any A/V input, whether HDMI or analog
  • When you go to configuration menus, the option to configure the audio is missing
  • A periodic clicking noise
  • The display periodically of “H/P Input On” on the receiver face

That last one was the real key to the puzzle.

After browsing countless pages, I found this one:

Fixya: H/P Input On

Solution:

  • H/P stands for “Headphones”
  • Some dust has likely gotten into the Headphone jack, creating a false auto-detection that you have headphones plugged in
  • The switching noise is the short/detection firing on/off
  • To fix it, you just blow hard in the headphone jack to clear the dust (or you can plug in headphones and remove them)

So, after messing with wires, configurations, and every button on the remote, a simple puff of air did the trick.

Hope this helps someone out there.  I thought my A/V Receiver was possessed for a little while.

Café World Economics: Spiceonomics

I really didn’t think I was going to write another blog post about the economics of Café World.  However, the rollout of the spice rack was just begging for some financial analysis, and so here we are.

gameBig_cafeworld

Since I’ve written three previous articles on the topic:

The Economics of the Spice Rack

The “Spice Rack” is a concept I have advocated previously for Farmville.   A mechanism to purchase items that would accelerate / change the equations for existing actions.  (My original request was for increased levels in Farmville to actually accelerate the length of time it would take you to harvest any crop, like a 10% cut in time, etc.)

Café World has rolled out 7 spices:

  • Mystery Spice – Random improvement (reduce time by 1,2,5 min, +5 or +20 CP, +5% or +10% servings)
  • Super Salt - Increase the number of servings by 5%
  • Power Pepper – Increase the number of servings by 10%
  • One hour Thyme – Speed a dish by one hour
  • Six Hour Thyme – Speed a dish by six hours
  • Instant Thyme – Make a dish ready immediately
  • Salvage Sage – Rescue a spoiled dish

For this analysis, I’ve started with the simplest spices: Super Salt and Power Pepper.

For each dish, I calculated the increase (or decrease) in profit for buying the spice and applying it to one dish for the cycle.  I assume that Café World rounds down when you apply the 5% or 10% increase in number of servings. I express the number as an “Return on Investment” percentage (ROI) on the cost of the spice.

So, for example, if spending 600 coins on Power Pepper yield an extra 150 coins of profit after subtracting the cost of the pepper, I describe that as a “25% ROI” for Pepper for that dish.

Results of Spiceonomics

There are a few very interesting takeaways from the table below:

  • Spices are rarely worth it. Salt & Pepper have negative ROIs for almost all dishes.  In fact, in the history of the game, only 9 dishes are profitable when using the spices.  Interestingly, Grand Tandoori Chicken is net neutral (ROI = 0%).
  • Spices help more advanced players. Almost all the dishes with positive ROI are at the higher levels.
  • Spices help infrequent players more. The way the numbers work out, all the dishes where spices help are longer cooking time dishes.  This is good for players that might only play the game once a day (say, in the evening).

The Spiceonomics Table

Here is the summary table.  As usual, you can find all the supporting data in my Café World Economics spreadsheet on Google Docs.

Dish Salt ROI Pepper ROI
Chinese Candy Box 200.00% 200.00%
Impossible Quiche 153.33% 153.33%
Gingerbread House 124.00% 133.33%
Chicken Pot Pie 84.00% 85.00%
Giant Dino Egg 80.00% 80.00%
V.I.P. Dinner 32.00% 48.50%
Martian Brain Bake 30.00% 30.00%
Ginger Plum Pork Chops 30.00% 30.00%
King Crab Bisque 9.67% 10.83%
Grand Tandoori Chicken 0.00% 0.00%
Steak Dinner -4.00% -2.50%
Homestyle Pot Roast -5.00% -4.17%
Seafood Paella -6.67% -6.67%
Mystical Pizza -8.33% -8.33%
Veggie Lasagne -10.00% -10.00%
Chicken Adobo -18.33% -18.33%
Delicious Chocolate Cake -21.67% -20.83%
Herbed Halibut -25.00% -25.00%
Overstuffed Peppers -28.33% -28.33%
Loco Moco -30.67% -30.00%
Savory Stuffed Turkey -40.00% -40.00%
Crackling Peking Duck -40.00% -40.00%
Lavish Lamb Curry -45.33% -45.33%
Spitfire Roasted Chicken -46.67% -46.67%
Dino Drumstick -50.00% -50.00%
Lemon Butter Lobster -55.00% -55.00%
Voodoo Chicken Salad -56.67% -55.83%
Rackasaurus Ribs -57.33% -56.67%
Stardust Stew -58.00% -58.00%
Bacon and Eggs -58.00% -58.00%
Smoked Salmon Latkes -60.00% -60.00%
Tostada de Carne Asada -60.00% -60.00%
Valentine Cake -60.00% -60.00%
Sweet Seasonal Ham -60.00% -60.00%
Shu Mai Dumplings -61.33% -61.33%
Corned Beef -63.33% -62.50%
Fish n Chips -67.00% -67.00%
White Raddish Cake -68.00% -67.00%
Vampire Staked Steak -68.00% -67.00%
Triple Berry Cheesecake -73.00% -72.50%
Kung Pao Stir Fry -73.33% -73.33%
Tony’s Classic Pizza -78.33% -78.33%
Spaghetti and Meatballs -78.33% -77.50%
Fiery Fish Tacos -80.00% -80.00%
Eggs Benedict -82.00% -81.00%
Pumpkin Pie -82.67% -82.67%
Atomic Buffalo Wings -84.00% -84.00%
Crème Fraiche Caviar -89.33% -89.33%
French Onion Soup -90.00% -90.00%
Belgian Waffles -90.67% -90.00%
Macaroni and Cheese -92.00% -91.50%
Buttermilk Pancakes -93.33% -93.33%
Tikka Masala Kabobs -94.67% -94.00%
Caramel Apples -95.00% -95.00%
Hotdog and Garlic Fries -98.00% -98.00%
Powdered French Toast -98.00% -97.00%
Jammin’ Jelly Donuts -98.00% -98.00%
Super Chunk Fruit Salad -98.33% -98.33%
Chicken Gyro and Fries -98.67% -98.67%
Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail -98.67% -98.00%
Bacon Cheeseburger -100.00% -99.33%
Chips and Guacamole -100.00% -99.50%

Updated Tables for Profits, Café Points, and Real Hourly Wages

Have trouble figuring out whether Mystical Pizza is a good dish?  Deciding on whether to make the Dino Egg or Rackasaurus Ribs?  My Google Doc is now updated with tables for all 62 Cafe World dishes for data, and color coded based the cooking time of each dish, to help make picking the right dish easy.  Rather than cut & paste everything here, I’m going to just link to the doc.

Click here to view the Google Doc

Avatar 2: My Proposal for a Sequel

The incredible (and somewhat predictable) success of Avatar at the box office (and the Golden Globes) has everyone talking about a sequel to Avatar.  In fact, this quote from James Cameron suggests a trilogy:

To some it’s a mashup of “Dancing With Wolves” and “Ferngully: The Last Rainforest.” But James Cameron’s “Avatar” has stormed the international box office with a global taking of more than $1.6 billion and may very well be on its way for a sequel … or two.

“I have a trilogy-scaled arc of story right now,” Cameron told MTV. “But I haven’t really put any serious work into writing a script.”

Avatar is highly derivative of other stories and science fiction, and as an avid reader of the genre, I thought I could take a crack at a potential, obvious premise for the backstory of Avatar 2.

Premise: It’s five years after the first movie.  There has been peace on Pandora, as Sully and Neytiri have ushered in a new age of cooperation and understanding between the tribes of the Na’vi.  The humans have been evacuated, with the exception of a small set of scientists who have been given permission to continue their efforts to bridge the learning and knowledge of the two cultures.

However, there have been unusual occurrences on the planet.  The behavior of the flora and fauna on Pandora has been unpredictable, confusing Neytiri who utters more than once that “this has never happened before”.   Modifications of some species begin to appear, as well as completely unknown species are discovered.  The scientists can’t explain it, and Sully tries more than once to communicate with Eywa, with no answers.

Silently, a massive human invasion fleet is on its way to Pandora.  The resources of Pandora are too valuable, and once the Na’vi attacked the corporation, it justified a larger military involvement at 100x the scale of the original movie.

It turns out, however, that the biology of Pandora was too idealistic to have naturally evolved.  After all, every creature sharing a common communication link is incredibly unlikely.  10 foot humanoids with carbon fiber skeletal structures also seems a little far fetched.  It turns out that Pandora is a very special planet, because it’s entire eco-system of creatures was engineered by an advanced race.  That race left Eywa, a massively parallel organic computer, in place, dormant, to monitor the situation and ensure that Pandora progressed as planned.

When Eywa awoke, it began taking emergency measures to modify and enhance existing species against the potential threat.  And it sent an interstellar signal to its creators, to let them know that all was not well with Pandora.  That’s right.  The creators are coming…

… there.  That’s enough for Avatar 2.  Avatar 3 can then focus on what the master plan of the creator race was after all, when the Pandora experiment goes awry.

Given the evolution of the Aliens story (also by James Cameron), I actually think this is a plausible direction.  There is a parallel between the plot surrounding a single ship facing one alien in the first movie, and a massive military engagement with a massive alien force (and new creatures) in the second movie.

Please note: I have absolutely no data whatsoever about the actual direction of Avatar 2.  This is just speculation on my part, as a science fiction lover.  Any reflection of the real plot or premise for Avatar 2 is purely coincidental.

Café World Economics: Alien Invasion & Google Docs

So I take the time to create a whole new post for Café World in 2010, and what does Zynga do?  They roll out some new crazy dishes based on an alien invasion, and now I’m 1.6M Café coins poorer.  Oh well.

gameBig_cafeworld

Since I’ve written three previous articles on the topic:

I find it fairly interesting that Zynga is clearly mapping the same thematic variants from Farmville to their other games.  I remember when they did the space theme for Farmville (I still have 5 alien cows that produce Milktonium as proof…)

I won’t repeat the previous analysis. As a reminder, all of these numbers assume:

  • The numbers are per dish, per stove
  • The numbers assume the cost (15 coins) and experience (+1) of cleaning the stove each cycle
  • Profit & Cafe Points tables assume “instant” cleaning time.
  • Real World Hourly Wages assumes a cleaning time of 1 minute per stove.

You can read my previous posts for the rational behind these assumptions.

Profit per Dish

Here are the dishes, sorted by profitability as measured by profit per dish per day.


Dish Profit / Cycle Cycle Time Profit / Day
V.I.P. Dinner 9,786.00 1,080.00 13,048.00
Bacon Cheeseburger 22.00 5.00 6,336.00
Overstuffed Peppers 2,985.00 720.00 5,970.00
Kung Pao Stir Fry 985.00 240.00 5,910.00
Delicious Chocolate Cake 3,435.00 840.00 5,888.57
Fiery Fish Tacos 490.00 120.00 5,880.00
Lemon Butter Lobster 485.00 120.00 5,820.00
Martian Brain Bake 5,585.00 1,440.00 5,585.00
Shu Mai Dumplings 1,355.00 360.00 5,420.00
King Crab Bisque 5,370.00 1,440.00 5,370.00
Lavish Lamb Curry 1,785.00 480.00 5,355.00
Chips and Guacamole 11.00 3.00 5,280.00
Impossible Quiche 10,185.00 2,880.00 5,092.50
Powdered French Toast 67.00 20.00 4,824.00
Super Chunk Fruit Salad 50.00 15.00 4,800.00
Atomic Buffalo Wings 595.00 180.00 4,760.00
Jammin’ Jelly Donuts 65.00 20.00 4,680.00
Smoked Salmon Latkes 385.00 120.00 4,620.00
Tostada de Carne Asada 1,485.00 480.00 4,455.00
Buttermilk Pancakes 135.00 45.00 4,320.00
Tony’s Classic Pizza 885.00 300.00 4,248.00
Stardust Stew 1,535.00 540.00 4,093.33
Chicken Gyro and Fries 28.00 10.00 4,032.00
Grand Tandoori Chicken 3,985.00 1,440.00 3,985.00
Voodoo Chicken Salad 1,960.00 720.00 3,920.00
Chicken Pot Pie 7,585.00 2,880.00 3,792.50
Herbed Halibut 3,785.00 1,440.00 3,785.00
Sweet Seasonal Ham 1,885.00 720.00 3,770.00
Crackling Peking Duck 2,685.00 1,080.00 3,580.00
Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail 68.00 30.00 3,264.00
Savory Stuffed Turkey 2,885.00 1,320.00 3,147.27
Tikka Masala Kabobs 130.00 60.00 3,120.00
Macaroni and Cheese 245.00 120.00 2,940.00
Crème Fraiche Caviar 57.00 30.00 2,736.00
Spaghetti and Meatballs 910.00 480.00 2,730.00
Gingerbread House 13,485.00 7,200.00 2,697.00
Spitfire Roasted Chicken 2,585.00 1,440.00 2,585.00
French Onion Soup 425.00 240.00 2,550.00
Triple Berry Cheesecake 1,235.00 720.00 2,470.00
Caramel Apples 195.00 120.00 2,340.00
Homestyle Pot Roast 3,935.00 2,880.00 1,967.50
Vampire Staked Steak 1,695.00 1,440.00 1,695.00
Pumpkin Pie 845.00 720.00 1,690.00

Café Points per Dish

Here are the dishes, sorted by café points per dish per day.


Dish Café Points / Cycle Cycle Time Café Points / Day
Bacon Cheeseburger 7.00 5.00 2,016.00
Chicken Gyro and Fries 14.00 10.00 2,016.00
Chips and Guacamole 4.00 3.00 1,920.00
Powdered French Toast 21.00 20.00 1,512.00
Super Chunk Fruit Salad 14.00 15.00 1,344.00
Jammin’ Jelly Donuts 15.00 20.00 1,080.00
Crème Fraiche Caviar 22.00 30.00 1,056.00
Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail 21.00 30.00 1,008.00
Buttermilk Pancakes 31.00 45.00 992.00
Lemon Butter Lobster 68.00 120.00 816.00
Smoked Salmon Latkes 63.00 120.00 756.00
Shu Mai Dumplings 156.00 360.00 624.00
Lavish Lamb Curry 200.00 480.00 600.00
Fiery Fish Tacos 49.00 120.00 588.00
Atomic Buffalo Wings 68.00 180.00 544.00
Tikka Masala Kabobs 22.00 60.00 528.00
Macaroni and Cheese 41.00 120.00 492.00
Delicious Chocolate Cake 273.00 840.00 468.00
Kung Pao Stir Fry 75.00 240.00 450.00
Savory Stuffed Turkey 403.00 1,320.00 439.64
Caramel Apples 35.00 120.00 420.00
Overstuffed Peppers 206.00 720.00 412.00
Grand Tandoori Chicken 403.00 1,440.00 403.00
Stardust Stew 139.00 540.00 370.67
Tostada de Carne Asada 123.00 480.00 369.00
French Onion Soup 61.00 240.00 366.00
Voodoo Chicken Salad 168.00 720.00 336.00
Tony’s Classic Pizza 68.00 300.00 326.40
Martian Brain Bake 314.00 1,440.00 314.00
Spaghetti and Meatballs 100.00 480.00 300.00
Triple Berry Cheesecake 140.00 720.00 280.00
King Crab Bisque 252.00 1,440.00 252.00
V.I.P. Dinner 175.00 1,080.00 233.33
Herbed Halibut 225.00 1,440.00 225.00
Crackling Peking Duck 166.00 1,080.00 221.33
Gingerbread House 1,063.00 7,200.00 212.60
Spitfire Roasted Chicken 210.00 1,440.00 210.00
Sweet Seasonal Ham 102.00 720.00 204.00
Impossible Quiche 351.00 2,880.00 175.50
Chicken Pot Pie 307.00 2,880.00 153.50
Pumpkin Pie 76.00 720.00 152.00
Homestyle Pot Roast 279.00 2,880.00 139.50
Vampire Staked Steak 113.00 1,440.00 113.00

Real World Hourly Wage per Dish

Here are the dishes, sorted by the real world hourly wage for each dish per day, in US dollars.


Dish $ / Hour (Low) $ / Hour (High)
Gingerbread House 121.35 264.23
Impossible Quiche 91.66 199.57
V.I.P. Dinner 88.07 191.75
Chicken Pot Pie 68.26 148.62
Martian Brain Bake 50.26 109.43
King Crab Bisque 48.33 105.22
Grand Tandoori Chicken 35.86 78.08
Homestyle Pot Roast 35.41 77.10
Herbed Halibut 34.06 74.16
Delicious Chocolate Cake 30.91 67.31
Overstuffed Peppers 26.86 58.49
Savory Stuffed Turkey 25.96 56.53
Crackling Peking Duck 24.16 52.61
Spitfire Roasted Chicken 23.26 50.65
Voodoo Chicken Salad 17.64 38.40
Sweet Seasonal Ham 16.96 36.94
Lavish Lamb Curry 16.06 34.98
Vampire Staked Steak 15.25 33.21
Stardust Stew 13.81 30.08
Tostada de Carne Asada 13.36 29.10
Shu Mai Dumplings 12.19 26.55
Triple Berry Cheesecake 11.11 24.20
Kung Pao Stir Fry 8.86 19.30
Spaghetti and Meatballs 8.19 17.83
Tony’s Classic Pizza 7.96 17.34
Pumpkin Pie 7.60 16.56
Atomic Buffalo Wings 5.35 11.66
Fiery Fish Tacos 4.41 9.60
Lemon Butter Lobster 4.36 9.50
French Onion Soup 3.82 8.33
Smoked Salmon Latkes 3.46 7.54
Macaroni and Cheese 2.20 4.80
Caramel Apples 1.75 3.82
Buttermilk Pancakes 1.21 2.65
Tikka Masala Kabobs 1.17 2.55
Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail 0.61 1.33
Powdered French Toast 0.60 1.31
Jammin’ Jelly Donuts 0.58 1.27
Crème Fraiche Caviar 0.51 1.12
Super Chunk Fruit Salad 0.45 0.98
Chicken Gyro and Fries 0.25 0.55
Bacon Cheeseburger 0.20 0.43
Chips and Guacamole 0.10 0.22

Special Bonus: I’ve now moved my spreadsheet over to this Google Spreadsheet.  Now you can see all the rows of calculation for some insight into Café World Economics.  As usual, let me know if you find mistakes or have questions…

Updates:

I’ve added the following posts on Café World Economics since this one.

Café World Economics: Profit & Cafe Points (2010 Edition)

What better way to spend the waning hours of the first day of the new decade than to update all of the tables for the new dishes on Café World?  Zynga has added a number of new dishes over the past few weeks, so it’s about time for updated data on all the dishes.

gameBig_cafeworld

Since I’ve written three previous articles on the topic:

I won’t repeat the previous analysis.  As a reminder, all of these numbers assume:

  • The numbers are per dish, per stove
  • The numbers assume the cost (15 coins) and experience (+1) of cleaning the stove each cycle
  • Profit & Cafe Points tables assume “instant” cleaning time.
  • Real World Hourly Wages assumes a cleaning time of 1 minute per stove.

You can read my previous posts for the rational behind these assumptions.

How to use these tables. For me, I use the tables as follows:  If I know I won’t be able to check on my Café for the next 24 hours, I go down the table I’m trying to optimize for (money or experience) and I look for the first dish in the list that is 1440 minutes AND that I have enough experience to cook.  For example, I’m currently at level 42, so if I’m looking for a “1 day” dish, the first one for experience is Grand Tandoori Chicken.  But since I can’t buy that yet, I have to keep going down until I hit King Crab Bisque.

Table #1:  Profit per dish

Dish Profit / Day Profit / Hour Min Per Cycle
Bacon Cheeseburger 6336.0 264.0 5.0
Overstuffed Peppers 5970.0 248.8 720.0
Kung Pao Stir Fry 5910.0 246.3 240.0
Delicious Chocolate Cake 5888.6 245.4 840.0
Fiery Fish Tacos 5880.0 245.0 120.0
Lemon Butter Lobster 5820.0 242.5 120.0
Shu Mai Dumplings 5420.0 225.8 360.0
King Crab Bisque 5370.0 223.8 1440.0
Lavish Lamb Curry 5355.0 223.1 480.0
Chips and Guacamole 5280.0 220.0 3.0
Impossible Quiche 5092.5 212.2 2880.0
Powdered French Toast 4824.0 201.0 20.0
Super Chunk Fruit Salad 4800.0 200.0 15.0
Atomic Buffalo Wings 4760.0 198.3 180.0
Jammin’ Jelly Donuts 4680.0 195.0 20.0
Smoked Salmon Latkes 4620.0 192.5 120.0
Tostada de Carne Asada 4455.0 185.6 480.0
Buttermilk Pancakes 4320.0 180.0 45.0
Tony’s Classic Pizza 4248.0 177.0 300.0
Chicken Gyro and Fries 4032.0 168.0 10.0
Grand Tandoori Chicken 3985.0 166.0 1440.0
Voodoo Chicken Salad 3920.0 163.3 720.0
Chicken Pot Pie 3792.5 158.0 2880.0
Herbed Halibut 3785.0 157.7 1440.0
Sweet Seasonal Ham 3770.0 157.1 720.0
Crackling Peking Duck 3580.0 149.2 1080.0
Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail 3264.0 136.0 30.0
Savory Stuffed Turkey 3147.3 131.1 1320.0
Tikka Masala Kabobs 3120.0 130.0 60.0
Macaroni and Cheese 2940.0 122.5 120.0
Crème Fraiche Caviar 2736.0 114.0 30.0
Spaghetti and Meatballs 2730.0 113.8 480.0
Gingerbread House 2697.0 112.4 7200.0
Spitfire Roasted Chicken 2585.0 107.7 1440.0
French Onion Soup 2550.0 106.3 240.0
Triple Berry Cheesecake 2470.0 102.9 720.0
Caramel Apples 2340.0 97.5 120.0
Homestyle Pot Roast 1967.5 82.0 2880.0
Vampire Staked Steak 1695.0 70.6 1440.0
Pumpkin Pie 1690.0 70.4 720.0

Table #2: Café Points per dish

Dish CP / Day CP / Hour Min Per Cycle
Chicken Gyro and Fries 2016.0 84.0 10.0
Bacon Cheeseburger 2016.0 84.0 5.0
Chips and Guacamole 1920.0 80.0 3.0
Powdered French Toast 1512.0 63.0 20.0
Super Chunk Fruit Salad 1344.0 56.0 15.0
Jammin’ Jelly Donuts 1080.0 45.0 20.0
Crème Fraiche Caviar 1056.0 44.0 30.0
Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail 1008.0 42.0 30.0
Buttermilk Pancakes 992.0 41.3 45.0
Lemon Butter Lobster 816.0 34.0 120.0
Smoked Salmon Latkes 756.0 31.5 120.0
Shu Mai Dumplings 624.0 26.0 360.0
Lavish Lamb Curry 600.0 25.0 480.0
Fiery Fish Tacos 588.0 24.5 120.0
Atomic Buffalo Wings 544.0 22.7 180.0
Tikka Masala Kabobs 528.0 22.0 60.0
Macaroni and Cheese 492.0 20.5 120.0
Delicious Chocolate Cake 468.0 19.5 840.0
Kung Pao Stir Fry 450.0 18.8 240.0
Caramel Apples 420.0 17.5 120.0
Overstuffed Peppers 412.0 17.2 720.0
Grand Tandoori Chicken 403.0 16.8 1440.0
Tostada de Carne Asada 369.0 15.4 480.0
French Onion Soup 366.0 15.3 240.0
Voodoo Chicken Salad 336.0 14.0 720.0
Tony’s Classic Pizza 326.4 13.6 300.0
Spaghetti and Meatballs 300.0 12.5 480.0
Triple Berry Cheesecake 280.0 11.7 720.0
King Crab Bisque 252.0 10.5 1440.0
Savory Stuffed Turkey 235.6 9.8 1320.0
Herbed Halibut 225.0 9.4 1440.0
Crackling Peking Duck 221.3 9.2 1080.0
Gingerbread House 212.6 8.9 7200.0
Spitfire Roasted Chicken 210.0 8.8 1440.0
Sweet Seasonal Ham 204.0 8.5 720.0
Impossible Quiche 175.5 7.3 2880.0
Chicken Pot Pie 153.5 6.4 2880.0
Pumpkin Pie 152.0 6.3 720.0
Homestyle Pot Roast 139.5 5.8 2880.0
Vampire Staked Steak 113.0 4.7 1440.0

Table #3: Real World Hourly Wages per dish

Dish Hourly Wage (high) Hourly Wage (low)
Gingerbread House $264.23 $121.36
Impossible Quiche $199.57 $91.66
Chicken Pot Pie $148.62 $68.26
King Crab Bisque $105.22 $48.33
Grand Tandoori Chicken $78.08 $35.86
Homestyle Pot Roast $77.10 $35.41
Herbed Halibut $74.16 $34.06
Delicious Chocolate Cake $67.31 $30.91
Overstuffed Peppers $58.49 $26.86
Savory Stuffed Turkey $56.53 $25.96
Crackling Peking Duck $52.61 $24.16
Spitfire Roasted Chicken $50.65 $23.26
Voodoo Chicken Salad $38.40 $17.64
Sweet Seasonal Ham $36.94 $16.96
Lavish Lamb Curry $34.98 $16.06
Vampire Staked Steak $33.21 $15.25
Tostada de Carne Asada $29.10 $13.36
Shu Mai Dumplings $26.55 $12.19
Triple Berry Cheesecake $24.20 $11.11
Kung Pao Stir Fry $19.30 $8.86
Spaghetti and Meatballs $17.83 $8.19
Tony’s Classic Pizza $17.34 $7.96
Pumpkin Pie $16.56 $7.60
Atomic Buffalo Wings $11.66 $5.35
Fiery Fish Tacos $9.60 $4.41
Lemon Butter Lobster $9.50 $4.36
French Onion Soup $8.33 $3.82
Smoked Salmon Latkes $7.54 $3.46
Macaroni and Cheese $4.80 $2.20
Caramel Apples $3.82 $1.75
Buttermilk Pancakes $2.65 $1.21
Tikka Masala Kabobs $2.55 $1.17
Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail $1.33 $0.61
Powdered French Toast $1.31 $0.60
Jammin’ Jelly Donuts $1.27 $0.58
Crème Fraiche Caviar $1.12 $0.51
Super Chunk Fruit Salad $0.98 $0.45
Chicken Gyro and Fries $0.55 $0.25
Bacon Cheeseburger $0.43 $0.20
Chips and Guacamole $0.22 $0.10

Once again, a thank you to Simple Think, which continues to have the most up-to-date raw data on Café World dishes at all levels…

Update: I’ve now posted additional articles on Café World Economics:

Fishville Economics: Points, Experience & Levels Part 3

The traffic to my blog from my first two Fishville blog posts has been staggering. How can I resist? That’s right, it’s time for Yet Another Fishville Post (YAFP). Come on, you know you want to read more…

Screen shot 2009-11-12 at 12.57.13 AM

I’ve been a little surprised to see how few accurate blog posts exist out on the web that break down the profit & experience for Fishville.  For reference you can still find my first two blogs posts here:

Fortunately, I have found at least one new useful resource:

I’m at Level 42 in Fishville, so I can get almost all of the data myself.  However, I’m still missing the data for the last two fish:

  • Blueline Trigger
  • Longhorn Clownfish

If you have the data on either of these two fish, please post here in the comments.

In the past few weeks, Zynga has rolled out a number of new fish.  I’ve updated my Google Doc with all the updated numbers.

The most interesting addition has been a series of fish that you can only purchase with Sand Dollars, which is the Fishville denomination for game money that you have to buy with real money.

This poses a dilemma for my calculations, since I base profitability on coins spent to coins earned.  As a result, I needed a conversion ratio from Sand Dollars to Coins.  Although you can’t buy Sand Dollars with Coins, you can buy both with real US dollars ($) from Zynga with a scaling price table:

Dollars Coins Sand Dollars Coins / $ SD / $ Coins / SD
5 7500 25 1500 5 300.00
10 15800 55 1580 5.5 287.27
20 33300 115 1665 5.75 289.57
40 70600 240 1765 6 294.17

Notice anything strange?

According to this table, the ratio of coins to sand dollars varies between 300 and 287, and in a non-linear fashion.  It’s as if Zynga didn’t compare the volume discount on coins to the volume discount to sand dollars when they generated these prices.

Since it’s non-linear, I decided to take the “average” ratio as my conversion.  So, for the purposes of this blog post, one sand dollar = 292.75 coins.

Using that ratio, I was able to regenerate my graphs.  Here is the graph showing profitability of each fish, per level.  All the assumptions from my second blog post still hold:

What you’ll notice is that some of the “sand dollar” fish are actually money losers for the first two levels.  That’s right, assuming my conversion ratio, you’d be better off just buying coins with your money, rather than buying sand dollars and then growing these fish!

Now, the updated experience points chart tells a different tale:

In this case, you can clearly see that the best fish for experience, excluding the “fast fish”, are the sand dollar fish.  As a result, it’s pretty clear that what you are buying with your sand dollars is a fast path to rise up levels.  If you’re willing to spend the money on Batfish, you’ll be able to climb those levels quickly, and with much less work than minding 5 minute fish…

You can reference the full data in my Google Doc.  Let me know if you see any issues with the calculations.

For reference, I’ll include the Level 1 tables here, just in case there are issues reading the now huge Google Doc.

Profit per Fish when you harvest at Level 1:


Fish Profit / L1 Minutes / L1 Profit / Minute
Sardine 7.00 3 2.33
Mini Dart Goby 11.00 5 2.20
Red Spot Cardinal 23.00 15 1.53
Klunzinger Wrasse 26.00 30 0.87
Bluedot Jawfish 115.00 180 0.64
Bartlett Anthias 21.00 45 0.47
Swissguard Basslet 20.00 60 0.33
Pajama Cardinal 34.00 120 0.28
Blue Green Chromis 46.00 180 0.26
Shy Hamlet 54.00 240 0.23
Longnose Hawkfish 78.00 360 0.22
Purple Firefish 580.75 2880 0.20
Percula Clownfish 81.00 480 0.17
Flame Angelfish 89.00 600 0.15
Blue Hippo Tang 124.00 1080 0.11
Longnose Butterfly 165.00 1440 0.11
Blue Mandarin 125.00 1200 0.10
Royal Dottyback 99.00 960 0.10
Hawaiian Hogfish 72.00 720 0.10
Golden Puffer 423.00 4320 0.10
Scooter Blenny 133.00 1440 0.09
Blue Damsel 195.00 2160 0.09
Blue Spot Grouper 253.00 2880 0.09
Parrotfish 76.50 1440 0.05
Moorish Idol 53.25 1080 0.05
Blackfoot Lionfish -67.50 1080 -0.06
Orbiculate Batfish -238.50 360 -0.66
Clown Triggerfish -149.75 180 -0.83

Experience per Fish when you harvest at Level 1:


Fish XP / Egg XP / L1 Minutes / L1 XP / Minute
Mini Dart Goby 2 8 5 1.60
Sardine 1 4 3 1.33
Red Spot Cardinal 4 16 15 1.07
Orbiculate Batfish 66 330 360 0.92
Blackfoot Lionfish 79 790 1080 0.73
Klunzinger Wrasse 5 20 30 0.67
Clown Triggerfish 23 115 180 0.64
Purple Firefish 181 1810 2880 0.63
Parrotfish 88 880 1440 0.61
Bartlett Anthias 4 20 45 0.44
Moorish Idol 47 470 1080 0.44
Bluedot Jawfish 13 65 180 0.36
Swissguard Basslet 4 20 60 0.33
Pajama Cardinal 8 40 120 0.33
Blue Green Chromis 12 60 180 0.33
Shy Hamlet 15 75 240 0.31
Longnose Hawkfish 22 110 360 0.31
Percula Clownfish 26 134 480 0.28
Flame Angelfish 16 160 600 0.27
Longnose Butterfly 35 350 1440 0.24
Blue Hippo Tang 26 260 1080 0.24
Hawaiian Hogfish 17 170 720 0.24
Royal Dottyback 22 220 960 0.23
Scooter Blenny 29 290 1440 0.20
Blue Damsel 39 390 2160 0.18
Blue Spot Grouper 45 450 2880 0.16
Blue Mandarin 30 130 1200 0.11
Golden Puffer 42 420 4320 0.10

Enjoy.  Happy Holidays.

Café World Economics: Real World Hourly Wages

I’ve been distracted by Fishville lately, but the Zynga team has been busy rolling out new dishes for Café World, so I thought it was time for a new post on Café World Economics.

gameBig_cafeworld

This post is the third in the Café World Economics series:

But before I get to the new tables, I did some additional analysis based on my popular Farmville post, “The Personal Economics of Farmville“.  I’ve produced a table that ranks all the Café World dishes based on the equivalent US $ / hour wage you are valuing your real world time when you play the game.

In order to do this, I needed to find some additional data.  The first was an effective value of Café World coins.  To do this, I used the payment schedule that Zynga has in the game (as of 11/30/2009):


Café Coins Price ($) Coins / $
15280 $4.99 3062.12
45240 $9.99 4528.53
125280 $19.99 6267.13
333300 $49.99 6667.33
1000000 $149.99 6667.11

Note the wide disparity in values!  If you pay the bare minimum ($4.99), you are valuing Café World coins at 3062.12 per dollar.  But if you pay at the high end ($49.99), you get 6667.33 coins per dollar.

Since there is such a wide disparity of values, I decided to calculate both a high and a low estimate for my table.

The second new piece of data needed was the “time spent per dish“.  This is something that I left out of my initial calculations, but makes sense in this context.

Since all of my tables are “per dish per stove per day”, I estimated that you need to spend one (1) minute per cycle to clean the stove, buy the dish, and click through the 3 ingredients, and then get the finished dish.  This might be a tad high, but it’s in the right ballpark.

What this means is that a dish that takes 5 minutes to cook is now estimated to have a cycle time of 6 minutes, with 1 minute of “real world time” spent.  So, 1440 / 6 = 240, which means to cook a 5 minute dish all day you’d need to cook 240 cycles, which implies a sign up for 240 minutes of “real world time”.

This allowed me to do the simple algebra to weigh the profit per dish per day, in Café World coins, and then subtract the real world time, and figure out the effective “hourly wage” of each dish.

As it turns out, whether you use the high value or low value for coins, the sort order is the same.  Here are all Café World dishes, sorted by “hourly wage”:


Dish Hourly Wage (high) Hourly Wage (low)
Impossible Quiche $199.57 $91.66
Chicken Pot Pie $148.62 $68.26
King Crab Bisque $105.22 $48.33
Grand Tandoori Chicken $78.08 $35.86
Homestyle Pot Roast $77.10 $35.41
Herbed Halibut $74.16 $34.06
Delicious Chocolate Cake $67.31 $30.91
Overstuffed Peppers $58.49 $26.86
Savory Stuffed Turkey $56.53 $25.96
Crackling Peking Duck $52.61 $24.16
Spitfire Roasted Chicken $50.65 $23.26
Voodoo Chicken Salad $38.40 $17.64
Lavish Lamb Curry $34.98 $16.06
Vampire Staked Steak $33.21 $15.25
Tostada de Carne Asada $29.10 $13.36
Shu Mai Dumplings $26.55 $12.19
Triple Berry Cheesecake $24.20 $11.11
Kung Pao Stir Fry $19.30 $8.86
Spaghetti and Meatballs $17.83 $8.19
Tony’s Classic Pizza $17.34 $7.96
Pumpkin Pie $16.56 $7.60
Atomic Buffalo Wings $11.66 $5.35
Fiery Fish Tacos $9.60 $4.41
French Onion Soup $8.33 $3.82
Caramel Apples $3.82 $1.75
Buttermilk Pancakes $2.65 $1.21
Tikka Masala Kabobs $2.55 $1.17
Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail $1.33 $0.61
Powdered French Toast $1.31 $0.60
Super Chunk Fruit Salad $0.98 $0.45
Chicken Gyro and Fries $0.55 $0.25
Bacon Cheeseburger $0.43 $0.20
Chips and Guacamole $0.22 $0.10

Now, these figures are a little misleading, because the dishes that result in high profit (like the Impossible Quiche) and that have long cycle times result in very low amounts of real world time. As a result, if you can make $2 in a minute, you effectively get $120/hour. Still, it makes a point. If you are trying to minimize time spent in Café World for maximum profit, this is a pretty good list to go by.

First thing you’ll notice, is that Chips & Guacamole may build your Café World coin stash, but they are not valuing your time very highly.  In fact, you have to get to Kung Pao Stir Fry to break above the living wage in California, at the low valuation for coins.

However, it also shows that the economics of these coin values are unsustainable. If Zynga allowed people to convert coins to US $ at these rates, then the value of opening up 50 Facebook accounts and cooking Impossible Quiche all day would beat most jobs.  ($200/hour = approx $400K per year!)

Just one of the interesting things you find when you crunch the numbers.

For those of you looking for updated tables with the new dishes, see below.

Café World dishes, sorted by profit per dish per day:

Dish Profit / Day Profit / Hour Min Per Cycle
Bacon Cheeseburger 6336.0 264.0 5.0
Overstuffed Peppers 5970.0 248.8 720.0
Kung Pao Stir Fry 5910.0 246.3 240.0
Delicious Chocolate Cake 5888.6 245.4 840.0
Fiery Fish Tacos 5880.0 245.0 120.0
Shu Mai Dumplings 5420.0 225.8 360.0
King Crab Bisque 5370.0 223.8 1440.0
Lavish Lamb Curry 5355.0 223.1 480.0
Chips and Guacamole 5280.0 220.0 3.0
Impossible Quiche 5092.5 212.2 2880.0
Powdered French Toast 4824.0 201.0 20.0
Super Chunk Fruit Salad 4800.0 200.0 15.0
Atomic Buffalo Wings 4760.0 198.3 180.0
Tostada de Carne Asada 4455.0 185.6 480.0
Buttermilk Pancakes 4320.0 180.0 45.0
Tony’s Classic Pizza 4248.0 177.0 300.0
Chicken Gyro and Fries 4032.0 168.0 10.0
Grand Tandoori Chicken 3985.0 166.0 1440.0
Voodoo Chicken Salad 3920.0 163.3 720.0
Chicken Pot Pie 3792.5 158.0 2880.0
Herbed Halibut 3785.0 157.7 1440.0
Crackling Peking Duck 3580.0 149.2 1080.0
Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail 3264.0 136.0 30.0
Savory Stuffed Turkey 3147.3 131.1 1320.0
Tikka Masala Kabobs 3120.0 130.0 60.0
Spaghetti and Meatballs 2730.0 113.8 480.0
Spitfire Roasted Chicken 2585.0 107.7 1440.0
French Onion Soup 2550.0 106.3 240.0
Triple Berry Cheesecake 2470.0 102.9 720.0
Caramel Apples 2340.0 97.5 120.0
Homestyle Pot Roast 1967.5 82.0 2880.0
Vampire Staked Steak 1695.0 70.6 1440.0
Pumpkin Pie 1690.0 70.4 720.0

Café World dishes, sorted by Café World points per dish per day:

Dish CP / Day CP / Hour Min Per Cycle
Bacon Cheeseburger 2016.0 84.0 5.0
Chicken Gyro and Fries 2016.0 84.0 10.0
Chips and Guacamole 1920.0 80.0 3.0
Powdered French Toast 1512.0 63.0 20.0
Super Chunk Fruit Salad 1344.0 56.0 15.0
Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail 1008.0 42.0 30.0
Buttermilk Pancakes 992.0 41.3 45.0
Shu Mai Dumplings 624.0 26.0 360.0
Lavish Lamb Curry 600.0 25.0 480.0
Fiery Fish Tacos 588.0 24.5 120.0
Atomic Buffalo Wings 544.0 22.7 180.0
Tikka Masala Kabobs 528.0 22.0 60.0
Delicious Chocolate Cake 468.0 19.5 840.0
Kung Pao Stir Fry 450.0 18.8 240.0
Savory Stuffed Turkey 439.6 18.3 1320.0
Caramel Apples 420.0 17.5 120.0
Overstuffed Peppers 412.0 17.2 720.0
Grand Tandoori Chicken 403.0 16.8 1440.0
Tostada de Carne Asada 369.0 15.4 480.0
French Onion Soup 366.0 15.3 240.0
Voodoo Chicken Salad 336.0 14.0 720.0
Tony’s Classic Pizza 326.4 13.6 300.0
Spaghetti and Meatballs 300.0 12.5 480.0
Triple Berry Cheesecake 280.0 11.7 720.0
King Crab Bisque 252.0 10.5 1440.0
Herbed Halibut 225.0 9.4 1440.0
Crackling Peking Duck 221.3 9.2 1080.0
Spitfire Roasted Chicken 210.0 8.8 1440.0
Impossible Quiche 175.5 7.3 2880.0
Chicken Pot Pie 153.5 6.4 2880.0
Pumpkin Pie 152.0 6.3 720.0
Homestyle Pot Roast 139.5 5.8 2880.0
Vampire Staked Steak 113.0 4.7 1440.0

Enjoy.

Update: I’ve now published updated information on Cafe World Economics.

Fishville Economics: Points, Experience & Levels Part 2

The traffic to my blog from my first Fishville post has been staggering.  How can I resist?  That’s right, it’s time for Yet Another Fishville Post (YAFP).  Come on, you know you want to read more…

Screen shot 2009-11-12 at 12.57.13 AM

I’ve been a little surprised to see how few accurate blog posts exist out on the web that break down the profit & experience for Fishville.  Based on comments to my original post, I made some mistakes.  As a result, I’m posting this follow up to help address the most common concerns:

  • What about Level 5 (and 6 and 7…). I classify my charts based on the completion of levels, which is a little confusing because in Fishville, your fish is “Level 1″ until it completes the level, and then it is Level 2, etc.  As a result, you don’t get the “Level 1″ experience until your fish reaches Level 2.  Confusing.  Even more confusing, after completing Level 4, your fish can continue to go up levels… it just won’t be worth anything more.  As a result, I ignore all levels above 4.
  • Why doesn’t my experience number match yours? It’s because I’m including the experience you get from dropping the egg in the tank, not just the experience you get from harvesting.
  • Level 4 doesn’t take the same time as the other levels. Oops.  This is correct.  I still don’t have accurate info on whether the “Level 4″ time is the same for all fish (2 days) or different.  For this post, I use the 2 day number, which changes the economics considerably.  (Hint: It’s not worth your time to ever let this happen)
  • Can you post a Google Doc of all your tables & charts? See the end of this post.  First time for everything.

To recap, here are the assumptions for my tables & charts:

  1. I assume harvesting & buying fish is instantaneous. Yes, I know its not.  Fodder for a future post.
  2. All profits are calculated per fish. Same with experience
  3. Total Experience = Experience from dropping egg + Experience from the level(s) of growth
  4. Total Profit = Revenue from harvesting the fist – Cost of the egg

In my last post, I described how your “profit per minute” increases with levels, but your “experience per minute” falls with levels.  A lot of people didn’t understand this, so I decided to try some charts to illustrate.

Here is a chart I made in Google Docs showing the effect of increasing levels on Profit / Minute.  Because there is a fixed cost to buying a new fish, the linear increase in profit per level helps your profit / minute.  Of course, it falls off a cliff once you hit Level 4, and it takes up to 2 days to complete.

Fishville Profit Per Minute Per Level

This means that, from a profit per minute perspective, it’s better to let your fish grow to complete Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 before harvesting.

But there is a catch.  Because you get XP every time to buy an egg, the effect on experience points per minute is the opposite.  Every level you go, your experience points per minute drops!  See this chart to visualize:

Fishville XP Per Minute Per Level

Based on the comments to my original blog post, it’s very obvious that most players continue to ignore the experience points you get for dropping an egg in your tank – choosing instead to focus only on the experience points you get when you harvest the fish.  Big mistake, because this leads you to keep fish around too long.

Since my last post, I’ve also been able to complete my tables for all current fish.

Here is the profit table for Level 1 profits:


Fish Profit / L1 Minutes / L1 Profit / Minute
Sardine 7 3 2.33
Mini Dart Goby 11 5 2.2
Red Spot Cardinal 23 15 1.53
Inland Silverside 16 30 0.53
Bartlett Anthias 21 45 0.47
Swissguard Basslet 17 60 0.28
Pajama Cardinal 34 120 0.28
Blue Green Chromis 46 180 0.26
Shy Hamlet 54 240 0.23
Longnose Hawkfish 78 360 0.22
Percula Clownfish 81 480 0.17
Annularis Angelfish 89 600 0.15
Blue Hippo Tang 124 1080 0.11
Royal Dottyback 99 960 0.1
Hawaiian Hogfish 72 720 0.1
Scooter Blenny 133 1440 0.09
Blue Damsel 195 2160 0.09

Here is the experience table for Level 1 experience.  Note that I included the experience you get for dropping the egg, as well as the total experience you get for completing level 1.  Remember, Total = Dropping Egg + Level XP:


Fish XP / Egg XP / L1 Minutes / L1 XP / Minute
Mini Dart Goby 2 8 5 1.6
Sardine 1 4 3 1.33
Red Spot Cardinal 4 16 15 1.07
Inland Silverside 4 16 30 0.53
Bartlett Anthias 4 20 45 0.44
Swissguard Basslet 4 20 60 0.33
Pajama Cardinal 8 40 120 0.33
Blue Green Chromis 12 60 180 0.33
Shy Hamlet 15 75 240 0.31
Longnose Hawkfish 22 110 360 0.31
Percula Clownfish 27 135 480 0.28
Annularis Angelfish 16 160 600 0.27
Hawaiian Hogfish 17 170 720 0.24
Royal Dottyback 22 220 960 0.23
Scooter Blenny 29 290 1440 0.2
Blue Damsel 39 390 2160 0.18
Blue Hippo Tang 26 52 1080 0.05

As promised, here is a link to the Google Doc with all my tables and charts.  Please post additional info, corrections, or data in the comments below.

Updates:  I’ve now posted additional columns on Fishville:

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