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Prison Architect

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Community Announcements - sPray
Alpha 10 has been released! Steam users will be automatically updated.

Here is our alpha10 video demonstrating the new features. This video is a bit longer than usual because we had quite a lot of new content to show, and the prison riot at the end took quite a while to sort out. We think it’s totally worth it though!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AvyvTYhB-E

We’d like to start by welcoming all you lovely new Linux users to our game. We are now supplying builds for Linux via steam and as a standalone download from our website. (Free to all users of course). The game should be widely compatible across the various Linux distributions, but please let us know if you have problems by logging bugs in our bug tracker. We have targeted Ubuntu 12.04 (32 bit and 64 bit) as a starting point, and we anticipate wider compatibility in later alphas. Please note that we do require glibc 2.15 or later, which unfortunately means Prison Architect does not currently work on Debian Stable.

We are continuously blown away by some of the prisons our community build. Layouts that we’d never considered, or packing an entire jail into 12x12 squares, or nightmarish concrete hellholes. Now you can share your best prisons with the rest of the world via the Steam Workshop. From the main menu in game you can access our workshop integration, and from there you can publish your prison, or play other peoples prisons at the click of a button. To browse the full list of published prisons click on “Open Steam Workshop”, and you’ll see the Steam Overlay popup with thumbnails of each jail. Click on the green plus to subscribe to a prison, and from then on it will show up in your game list as a playable prison. If the original author updates his prison you will get those updates automatically via steam workshop. We’d like to encourage you all to publish your best prisons - we really want to see what you’ve built with our game.



Click here to take a look at the Prison Architect steam workshop, and all of the prisons currently published:
http://steamcommunity.com/workshop/browse/?appid=233450

In the UK milk has to be labelled with “Allergy warning: contains milk”, and in a similar vein we think we are stating the obvious when we say that Steam Workshop integration is only available in the Steam build.

Our most significant change to the game itself comes in the form of an entirely new anger model. We have fundamentally changed the way prisoners get angry and express their anger through violence. Conceptually there is now a prison-wide “Thermometer”, which represents the overall danger level of your prison. It increases over time when you have a lot of angry prisoners (ie their needs are not met). Conversely, when prisoners feel they are well treated they will decrease the overall danger level of the prison. Over time as the anger level rises, more and more prisoners will start to kick off. Other factors affect this danger level as well - punishing a lot of prisoners acts as a deterrent, decreasing the danger level. Riot police on site act as an antagoniser, increasing the danger level. You can see all of this in the status bar at the top of the screen. (Note: Requires the Chief)



Read the rest of the blog on the Introversion website:
http://forums.introversion.co.uk/introversion/viewtopic.php?t=4375
Product Update - Valve
We’d like to start by welcoming all you lovely new Linux users to our game. We are now supplying builds for Linux via steam and as a standalone download from our website. (Free to all users of course). The game should be widely compatible across the various Linux distributions, but please let us know if you have problems by logging bugs in our bug tracker. We have targeted Ubuntu 12.04 (32 bit and 64 bit) as a starting point, and we anticipate wider compatibility in later alphas. Please note that we do require glibc 2.15 or later, which unfortunately means Prison Architect does not currently work on Debian Stable.

We are continuously blown away by some of the prisons our community build. Layouts that we’d never considered, or packing an entire jail into 12x12 squares, or nightmarish concrete hellholes. Now you can share your best prisons with the rest of the world via the Steam Workshop. From the main menu in game you can access our workshop integration, and from there you can publish your prison, or play other peoples prisons at the click of a button. To browse the full list of published prisons click on “Open Steam Workshop”, and you’ll see the Steam Overlay popup with thumbnails of each jail. Click on the green plus to subscribe to a prison, and from then on it will show up in your game list as a playable prison. If the original author updates his prison you will get those updates automatically via steam workshop. We’d like to encourage you all to publish your best prisons - we really want to see what you’ve built with our game.

Click here to take a look at the Prison Architect Steam Workshop, and all of the prisons currently published:
Prison Architect Steam Workshop

In the UK milk has to be labelled with “Allergy warning: contains milk”, and in a similar vein we think we are stating the obvious when we say that Steam Workshop integration is only available in the Steam build.

Our most significant change to the game itself comes in the form of an entirely new anger model. We have fundamentally changed the way prisoners get angry and express their anger through violence. Conceptually there is now a prison-wide “Thermometer”, which represents the overall danger level of your prison. It increases over time when you have a lot of angry prisoners (ie their needs are not met). Conversely, when prisoners feel they are well treated they will decrease the overall danger level of the prison. Over time as the anger level rises, more and more prisoners will start to kick off. Other factors affect this danger level as well - punishing a lot of prisoners acts as a deterrent, decreasing the danger level. Riot police on site act as an antagoniser, increasing the danger level. You can see all of this in the status bar at the top of the screen. (Note: Requires the Chief)

All prisoners now have a “boiling point” on the danger level thermometer, which represents the point at which they will kick off and start fighting/smashing/escaping etc. Violent maximum security prisoners with many years to serve will have quite a low boiling point, and hence will kick off earlier in the process. (If they have decades to serve, what do they have to lose?) Your minimum security prisoners in for fraud etc (ie non violent) who will be released very soon have a much higher boiling point, and are therefore much less likely to kick off, even if they have complaints of their own. The boiling point of any particular prisoner can also be affected by their surroundings - lots of guards in the area will hugely increase the boiling point of prisoners in that area, because they know they will be caught and punished if they do anything. If they’ve been locked in solitary confinement for a long time their boiling point will also temporarily rise, meaning they will not cause any trouble for some time.

This new model has a lot of potential for the future as well. In future alpha versions, searching cells will increase the danger level of your prison, and searching everyones cell will result in a huge temporary spike in the danger level due to the anger and distress caused. So you’ll always be balancing the need for security versus the chance you stir up the hornets nest, and trigger a full-scale riot. If you want to create a hard line regime with strict punishments and daily searches, you’ll need a lot of guards to hold it together, but it will be possible to focus on security and effectively ignore the prisoners needs. We will finally have the possibility of right wing (high security / strict discipline / heavy punishments) prisons as well as left wing (welfare / reform / human rights) prisons.

Speaking of full-scale riots, these now occur when the danger level of your prison rises too high. Rioting prisoners will capture their cell block (it turns red currently), and will attack any guards or riot police in the area and steal their keys and weapons. They will then smash down all the internal doors and free all the prisoners locked up in the area, before extending the riot into neighbouring cell blocks. Your guards and staff will not go near captured cell blocks, and you will gradually lose control of your whole prison if you don’t put it down quickly.

In order to deal with this new threat, we have introduced two new emergency units into the game - riot police, and paramedics. Both are called from the emergencies menu, just like the existing fire department. Riot police are much tougher than normal guards and will happily march into captured sectors to recapture them. We’ve had these units in our internal version of the game for some time, but it’s taken us a long time to get them ready for public release.

Our audio guy Alistair Lindsay has added a ton of new audio elements to the game for alpha 10, to underscore the new anger model and rioting. You can now get lots of warning when trouble is brewing by listening to the sounds of your crowds of prisoners. If you can hear booing and hissing then the crowd is angry, but not yet violent. If you hear metal cups clanging against walls then this means trouble is imminent, and you should get some guards in there asap. If things do escalate into a full-scale riot, you’ll hear a whole new dynamic musical score - the music changes as the riot progresses. Alistair has really outdone himself here, and the prisons of alpha10 can sound like very dangerous places indeed when things are out of control.

Finally we’ve noticed from watching a lot of youtube videos of people playing Prison Architect that they often don’t notice when a fight breaks out slightly off screen. Many times we’ve seen commentators suddenly find some dead bodies and shackled prisoners, and exclaim that they have no idea what happened. So we’ve introduced some new incident markers - these blue circles will popup on the edge of your screen and direct you to trouble whenever a guard sees it happening. You can click on them to move immediately to the trouble. This should help players keep an eye on trouble when it does break out.

That’s all for alpha 10, we hope you enjoy the new features, and we will be back with alpha 11 in one months time.

Product Update - Valve
The ninth installment of the Prison Architect Alpha has today been released, and it’s a big one. We’ve tackled some of the big issues that have been on our list for a very long time - prisoner employment, laundry services, family visitation, workshops, and lots more.

Here is our Alpha9 video. Apologies for my distorted voice, I had the levels on my mic set completely wrongly this time around.



Central to the new version is the concept of Prisoner Employment, and we’ve been planning this feature for a long time. Prisoners can now perform a variety of jobs around the prison, saving you money on staff and raising money for you by selling goods manufactured by your work force. Prisoners can work in the kitchen, they can clean the prison, and they can work in the laundry and the workshop, both of which are new in Alpha9.

We have a brand new laundry system, which is entirely prisoner run. Clean uniforms will be distributed around your prison in laundry baskets, and prisoners will change into these after they’ve had their shower. Dirty uniforms will be collected up in laundry baskets and brought back to the laundrette where they are washed. It can take quite a long time to cycle all the laundry in your prison - expect it to take several days to cycle everyone in large prisons.

We also have workshops. These rooms are used to produce trinkets which you can sell for profit - currently car license plates, which the prisoners make out of sheet metal with a couple of new bench tools. It’s up to you if you wish to exploit your prisoners for cheap labour - it will certainly help with the cashflow, and your prisoners will be learning new skills at the same time. (Actually nobody learns anything in alpha9, but they will in a future update)

Prison labour is free right now, but eventually (in a future alpha) you will pay your prisoners a small wage, which they will be able to use to buy essential supplies from a prison shop. And all of these rooms - the kitchen, the cleaning cupboard, the laundrette and the workshop, will bring their own particular dangers to the prison if you chose to use them.

If that wasn’t enough, visitation has also been added in alpha9. Most prisoners now have family, and those family will want to come and visit from time to time. (Note: All bios will be re-generated because of this). Click on any prisoner to see his known family members listed in his rap sheet. Build a visitation room and those family members will come to see their loved one in jail, which makes everyone a little bit happier. However you should enjoy the universal goodness of visitation while it lasts, because in a future alpha it will become a major source of smuggled contraband.

There’s also a number of visual changes: Most noticeably, the main toolbar icons have all been replaced with cleaner, higher resolution versions. You should also notice the grime and dirt and overgrown grass and pathways around your prison look much better (so to speak) - we used to rely on a single crack graphic for everything! It’s now much more obvious when your prison needs cleaning and gardening, and much more satisfying to watch your janitors and gardeners doing that. And of course you can get your prisoners to do most of the cleaning now anyway, which gets the job done much quicker.

This was a major update, adding a load of new “mid game” content to the game. We’ve got big plans for alpha10 as well, which should be another big one. In the mean time, enjoy the latest version.

Community Announcements - sPray
The ninth installment of the Prison Architect Alpha has today been released, and it’s a big one. We’ve tackled some of the big issues that have been on our list for a very long time - prisoner employment, laundry services, family visitation, workshops, and lots more.

Here is our Alpha9 video. Apologies for my distorted voice, I had the levels on my mic set completely wrongly this time around.
Video

Central to the new version is the concept of Prisoner Employment, and we’ve been planning this feature for a long time. Prisoners can now perform a variety of jobs around the prison, saving you money on staff and raising money for you by selling goods manufactured by your work force. Prisoners can work in the kitchen, they can clean the prison, and they can work in the laundry and the workshop, both of which are new in Alpha9.

We have a brand new laundry system, which is entirely prisoner run. Clean uniforms will be distributed around your prison in laundry baskets, and prisoners will change into these after they’ve had their shower. Dirty uniforms will be collected up in laundry baskets and brought back to the laundrette where they are washed. It can take quite a long time to cycle all the laundry in your prison - expect it to take several days to cycle everyone in large prisons.

We also have workshops. These rooms are used to produce trinkets which you can sell for profit - currently car license plates, which the prisoners make out of sheet metal with a couple of new bench tools. It’s up to you if you wish to exploit your prisoners for cheap labour - it will certainly help with the cashflow, and your prisoners will be learning new skills at the same time. (Actually nobody learns anything in alpha9, but they will in a future update)

Prison labour is free right now, but eventually (in a future alpha) you will pay your prisoners a small wage, which they will be able to use to buy essential supplies from a prison shop. And all of these rooms - the kitchen, the cleaning cupboard, the laundrette and the workshop, will bring their own particular dangers to the prison if you chose to use them.

If that wasn’t enough, visitation has also been added in alpha9. Most prisoners now have family, and those family will want to come and visit from time to time. (Note: All bios will be re-generated because of this). Click on any prisoner to see his known family members listed in his rap sheet. Build a visitation room and those family members will come to see their loved one in jail, which makes everyone a little bit happier. However you should enjoy the universal goodness of visitation while it lasts, because in a future alpha it will become a major source of smuggled contraband.

There’s also a number of visual changes: Most noticeably, the main toolbar icons have all been replaced with cleaner, higher resolution versions. You should also notice the grime and dirt and overgrown grass and pathways around your prison look much better (so to speak) - we used to rely on a single crack graphic for everything! It’s now much more obvious when your prison needs cleaning and gardening, and much more satisfying to watch your janitors and gardeners doing that. And of course you can get your prisoners to do most of the cleaning now anyway, which gets the job done much quicker.

This was a major update, adding a load of new “mid game” content to the game. We’ve got big plans for alpha10 as well, which should be another big one. In the mean time, enjoy the latest version.
Kotaku

Another Serious Game Falls to Apple's Anger-Inducing Approval ProcessProven countless times over the past several years alone, video games are a form of entertainment uniquely suited to communicating serious subjects in an interactive fashion — far more effectively than reading a book or watching a documentary. Unfortunately Apple wants nothing to do with that sort of communication, so UK developer Littleloud's Sweatshop HD had to be removed from the app store.



Anyone with any level of understanding that's had the opportunity to play Sweatshop HD (you can still play the free Flash version here) knows the defense-style game isn't about glorifying the practice of hiring underage workers to toil away in unsafe conditions to create designer clothes for wealthy foreigners. Instead it's an exploration of the pressure put on people in all aspects of the sweatshop business model. It's about raising awareness, and communicating the sick feeling one gets when seemingly the only way to win is to subject workers to dangerous conditions.



The game showed up on iOS in late November of 2012. It was pulled last month. Speaking to Pocket Gamer, Littleloud's head of games Simon Parkin said that "Apple removed Sweatshop from the App Store last month stating that it was uncomfortable selling a game based around the theme of running a sweatshop."



Littleloud attempted to clarify the game's intent with a disclaimer, calling it "a sympathetic examination of the pressures that all participants in the sweatshop system endure." Unfortunately the changes were not enough to see the game returned to the App Store.



While Apple's guidelines have led to many games being rejected for downright silly reasons (Japanese enemies in a World War II game? No way.) Others, like Owlchemy Labs' Smuggle Truck, sought to take on serious subjects from a perspective that advocacy groups found irreverent and Apple ultimately found too controversial, much like it has with Sweatshop HD. It's highly unlikely we'll see Littleloud replace its characters with stuffed animals, as Owlchemy did to transform its banned game into Snuggle Truck.



Given the size of its market, it's quite unfortunate that Apple has decided to take this sort of hardline stance on game approvals. The platform's reach could prove invaluable in advancing awareness and understanding of serious topics, but with each banned game, Apple's position becomes clearer — iOS is not a place for serious games, and other developers are beginning to get the message.




Introversion Software's Prison Architect is currently available for play through Steam's new Early Access program for PC — a platform that remains a bastion for serious indie games.



At least for now.



Sweatshop HD is the latest victim in Apple's war on serious games [Pocket Gamer]


Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Nathan Grayson)

“Oh boy! I can finally get into prison early!” Oh videogames, don’t ever stop allowing me to create phrases of such ear-perking outlandishness that people could mistake me as ringleader of a merry band of elves. Other gems now possible thanks to Steam’s paid-alpha-centric Early Access program include “Hooray! Frighteningly authentic war’s happening even sooner than I thought” and “I wasn’t planning on being shipwrecked with no hope of escape today, but I certainly can’t complain.” But Prison Architect, Arma 3, and Under The Ocean are only three of the 12 inaugural games on offer. The rest – and perhaps even some freshly baked wordthinks – are after the break.

(more…)

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