Pathing is the most important mechanic in the game, you won’t find clear data about it from game’s tutorial or in game’s manual which gonna be hard for people trying to build their first school and have no idea why are they failing.
Usually, people start to learn about this mechanic after 6 hrs at least spent in the game up to 12 hrs, you just see your school that you’ve improved and remodeled, having facilities enough to cover all students needs but despite that, somehow you’re getting negative satisfaction which somehow doesn’t make sense.
So let’s explain what Pathing is,
Pathing is the distance required for a student or a teacher to reach from point A to point B to satisfy his needs “before” break period ends.
So the mistake that happens is, people remodel their school and include a Cafeteria near school entrance as an example while the student in question is in 3rd floor, that student is hungry so when his break period comes, he goes to Cafeteria but before he reaches it, queuing to purchase food, and actually eating it, the bell range and he had to go back to his classroom again.
As you see, despite owning the building required to satisfy the need for food, the students wasn’t able to get food in time to satisfy his needs which cause the negative satisfaction so the solution is always to have enough toilets, cafeterias, and entertainment near classrooms so that students and teachers are able to satisfy their needs.
Your first source of income in the game, you need to research and build them right away cause they’re what you gonna use to pay the school’s upkeep for the first schooling season, it’s to be replaced later with Cafeteria but till you research it, make sure to have it as close to the gate with enough tables and chairs so all students can buy food from it with ease.
Contribution Points are points earned for successfully teaching students about their subject of aspiration, they’re required in building wonder and in some other trades but their main usage in the first year of the game is to be a secondary source of income, you teach students, you collect contribution points which allow you to get money for meeting the requirements, combined with Food Tent or Cafeteria, you’d be able to build your school without the need to borrow any money.
Passing Exams is the 3rd way of earning income in this game, every year, if your students passed their exams, you’ll receive money from these students and they will stay with you for another year, it grants a huge sum of money but require to be fast in researching related courses and building required learning facilities in order for your students to pass their exams.
Cafeteria is your main source of income in this game, they replace Food Tent in the game, can be placed inside buildings, and also the main building to provide food for students, and they work similar to Food Tent but you need multiple of them near your students classrooms.
Later you can upgrade Cafeteria to earn more income from more expensive meals but the main factor is to sell healthy expensive food instead of junk food to make your students become thin and healthy to gain a speed boost while walking in your school, otherwise they become fat and slow which gonna harm your progress in the game due to being unable to meet their need in time causing law satisfaction.
School Store is another way of earning money in school, it’s not as effective as Cafeteria but it can sell items that improve students learning which helps in earning more contribution points and succeeding in exams to gain money, still it’s good to have at least one in your school near your main gate.
Desert Shop despite looking bad in early game is an amazing source of income due to selling items that can increase students hunger in addition that some high start aspiration students are sweets addicts that can buy ice cream that costs $500 which is expensive compared to most items that you can sell in the game, it’s definitely to worth at least one in your game near your main school gate as well and/or to classroom of students who are addict to sweets.
Campus Arcade despite being a small way to generate income, it’s main use is to provide entertainment for students who are further away from Playground allowing them to have their need satisfied till you unlock Elevators later in game but still, they generate some income.
Both Community Events and Map Explorations can generate some cash as well but they’re random and can’t be considered as a stable source of income unfortunately.
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