February 28th, 2014
It’s been another massive month, with several major successes. This month we tackled one of our big end game features : prisoner reform. You can now run prisoner reform programs which aim to train, educate and reform your inmates. Reform programs are expensive to run, take a long time to complete, and the success rates are often very low unless your prisoners are very well taken care of. Some bring substantial benefits to your prison and the inmates that take part, others are a longer term investment in your prisoners that may provide little short term benefit.
All prisoners must now complete a workshop safety induction, or a kitchen hygiene program, before they are permitted to work in the workshop and kitchen. We felt it was unrealistic that you could just dump 20 brand new prisoners into a dangerous workshop with heavy machinery and have them start stamping out number plates. Violent prisoners can be sent to the prison psychologist for some anger management. And the more academically minded of your inmates (maybe those convicted of fraud or computer crime ;) can work towards new education qualifications in the new classroom. The teachers are a new type of staff member that you do not hire directly - instead they come in from the outside every day to teach their course, then go home in the evenings.
Once prisoners are trained and working in the workshop, you can put the most skilled of them through a carpentry apprenticeship. Once completed these prisoners will be able to make high quality wooden furniture on the new carpenters table. This furniture can be sold for increased profits on the raw materials. In future alphas we’ll be making use of this furniture.
We have continued to expand the armoury originally introduced in alpha 17. You can now unlock tazers for your armed guards, and eventually issue them to all the guards and dog handlers in your prison. These are non lethal weapons that instantly incapacitate a prisoner without causing any damage, however they can only be fired once before needing a full hour to recharge. Perfect when a prisoner is smashing up his cell, not so great when outnumbered in a riot. We have also added new stab vests to the armoury, which give your guards extra protection in a fight, but slow down their movement as well.
There’s lots more in the full change list below. We hope you enjoy the new features, and we will see you all in a month with alpha 19. Thanks!
January 31st, 2014
Alpha 17 has been released!
The ultimate deterrent is here. Having trouble with your prisoners? Constant fights and destruction of property? Deploy armed guards and bring your prison under control with force.
Armed guards have so much authority that all prisoners nearby will begin to feel suppressed. This is a status effect previously accumulated during a stay in solitary confinement. It means the prisoner is so beaten down by the system that he no longer has the will to resist. He will be compliant to your regime, far less likely to cause trouble. Armed guards can project this effect all around your prison, however there is a downside - prisoners who are suppressed for most of their time in jail will eventually be far less amenable to any attempts at reform, skill teaching etc.
Armed guards will not use lethal force unless you give them permission. If they see trouble nearby they will shoulder their weapons and fight with their fists. You must give the ultimate order by clicking the “Weapons Free” emergency button in the bottom right of the screen. (You can’t 100% rely on this though - they are human after all. If they fear they are about to die, they will use their weapons to defend themselves if you’ve given them permission or not.)
Armed guards will always shout a warning to prisoners unless the prisoner is attacking them or another member of staff, and prisoners will often surrender immediately when faced with the prospect of being shot dead. But things can escalate very quickly if you don’t control the situation. Armed guards are perfectly capable of killing everyone in the area, so you must use this power with discretion unless having an empty jail is your thing.
To hire armed guards you must research the Armoury and then construct a room to hold the weapons racks and lockers. Each armed guard needs a locker of his own. The armoury is however a massive security hazard, and prisoners will deliberately target it during a riot or a mass escape. Your most dangerous prisoners will try to break in and arm themselves, which can be very difficult to deal with.
Other changes include a new Forestry zone, which continues our work with the wood cutting industry from alpha 16. Gardeners will automatically plant saplings in the forestry where there is space, and once those saplings have grown into full size trees they will be cut down automatically. Logs will be stacked and hauled back to your workshop. This is a great way to use the empty space of your prison for the purposes of industry and profit, and eventually prisoners will be able to work alongside the gardeners).
Finally we have a much needed improvement to the Objects toolbar. The list of objects had become so large that it no longer fitted on a single screen without a scrollbar, so something had to be done. We now filter the objects list based on what you are looking at, hiding any objects that simply aren’t relevant. For example, we will only show the cooker, fridge, and sink if you are currently constructing a Kitchen. This brings the size of the objects menu right down, and you can still click on the + icon to see the full list if something is missing.
That’s all from alpha 17. We hope you enjoy messing with your new found powers, and we can comfortably predict many violent youtube videos as a result of this month. We will see you again next month when the sound of gunfire and the smell of cordite has left the air.