Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Graham Smith)

How many posts have I written about Prison Architect alphas since joining RPS last October? Checking the tag page for the game suggests seven thousand. It’s not my fault, it’s just that each one adds a feature or set of features I find irresistible. The latest, alpha 20, introduces a set of failure states to the game, including the ability to be convicted of criminal negligence. You will then “spend time within your own jail as a prisoner.”

The regular developer video showing the new features is below.

… [visit site to read more]

Announcement - Valve
To celebrate Alpha 20 update, save 66% on Prison Architect during this week's Midweek Madness*!

Build and Manage A Maximum Security Prison.

Prison Architect is the world's latest Prison Management Sim. Starting with an empty plot of land you must construct a holding cell with basic water and electricity to house your first batch of prisoners, to buy you enough time to create a proper cell block. You'll need to hire some guards, get some showers built and unless the kitchen is up and running with chefs working away you're going to end up with a riot on your hands. From there you take your prison in which-ever direction you like. A monsterous super-max or comfortable center for rehabilitation, the choice is up to you.

*Offer ends Friday at 10AM Pacific Time
Community Announcements - sPray
Alpha 20 has been released! Here is our video demonstrating the new features:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-Lsf-j0bUQ

Prisoner Grading
All prisoners have a new 'Grading' tab in their rap sheet, in which they are scored on four key metrics:

- PUNISHMENT To what extent has this prisoner been punished? Long jail terms and solitary increase this.
- REFORM How successful have your reform attempts been? Passing reform programs and working increases this
- SECURITY Was the prisoner kept safely locked away? Fights and escapes detract from this, armed lockdown counts towards it
- HEALTH A measure of the welfare of your prisoner. Keeping them well fed and exercised will increase this.

These factors are combined, together with their age, number of prior convictions etc, to produce an estimate of their Re-offending chance.



There is a new overall grading 'score' screen, available from the build toolbar
The gradings for all your released prisoners are combined together and shown
This screen shows what type of prison you have produced, and how successful you have been.



Failure conditions
It is now possible to fail when building your prison, in certain circumstances. This constitutes a game over event. All failure conditions come with a verbal warning from the CEO, giving you chance to avert the failure.

Note : Failure conditions are turned off for existing prisons. This is to avoid any nasty bugs in the new failure system destroying peoples prisons immediately on load. Failure conditions default to ON for all new prisons.

There are currently four failure conditions:

RIOT
If you let a riot run for too long, the government will be forced to step in and take over your prison. In this event you will be sacked, and the National Guard will be deployed to retake your prison by force.



BANKRUPTCY
If you have a negative bank balance and a negative cashflow, you are bankrupt. You will have 24 hours to put in place a financial rescue package before being sacked.

ESCAPES
Too many escapes in a single day is a PR disaster waiting to happen. If more escapes occur the next day you will be sacked.

DEATHS
Too many deaths in a single day will trigger a warning. If more deaths occur the next day you will be sacked. You will then be convicted of Criminal Negligence, and will spend time within your own jail as a prisoner.



Wandering around your own prison is a really interesting experience, and turns the game on its head. The fog-of-war changes to reflect the fact you can only see things directly within your line of sight.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Graham Smith)

Sexy.

After recent updates added bulletproof vests and shotguns, it was probably inevitable that Prison Architect would continue it’s escalation towards more and more exciting additions with each alpha. The trend continues in alpha 19 with a broad revision to the game’s finance systems, which introduces new rules for borrowing, the need to pay corporation tax, and the ability to sell shares in your prison to investors.

Video update below while I try to explain why I’m not being sarcastic.

… [visit site to read more]

Community Announcements - sPray
Alpha 19 has been released!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLueDnpnTI0

After a long playthrough of the game, we concluded that the Finance system was most in need of some development love this month. It has become common practice to cheat your way to $1,000,000 in the bank because there is simply no other way to raise that kind of capital, and the game becomes boring when you have to wait for it to roll in. There are many mods that filled the gap by adding more grants to the game. Furthermore, if you use all the official grants up (all four of them) and still have a negative cashflow, you have literally no way to recover other than cheating, because your bank balance will be decreasing every day and you won’t be able to afford to build new facilities. It was clear that Finance needed looking at. Urgently.

We’ve added a ton of new official grants, and added new requirements to them as well. You can now only have two grants running at once, although your accountant to expand that to three - so be careful which ones you choose. Grants can have “Pre-requisites” before they become available to you - eg you must have completed a previous grant, or have a certain number of prisoners on site. Some grants are hidden and will only reveal themselves when the conditions are right. There is a new special “Government Bailout” grant that acts as a second life - if you run out of money and have a negative cashflow, the government will put together a rescue package and bail you out of trouble. But only once.



You can now borrow money from the bank, and repay interest every hour. Every successful repayment increases your credit rating, and allows you to borrow more.

Once you have a high value prison, you can sell shares in the facility - effectively selling a share of your prison to investors in exchange for money. They will pay you 10% of the total prison value, in exchange for 10% ownership of the prison. This can be an excellent way to raise money, but those investors are not acting out of the goodness of their hearts - they expect a profitable return, and will take their share of the prison sale price when you do come to sell up.

All prison establishments are now expected to pay Corporation Taxes, at 30% of all profit. We advise you keep declared profits as low as possible in the early stages - by re-investing your profits into wages and expanding your prison. Once you start making big profits you can ask your accountant to work on reducing your tax burden.

We have updated the industry system so that your produced goods are exported properly now. (Previously they were magically sold at midnight, vanishing out of existence). There is now a new Exports zone which should be placed near the road, and all your trade goods will be hauled there to be loaded up onto delivery trucks and taken away for sale. This is far more realistic, but also has the added benefit that you will receive income throughout the day as your goods are sold, rather than in a lump sum at midnight. We’ve extended this hourly model to all areas of the cashflow as well - your daily income is now paid in 24 hourly payments, spreading out the income over the day. It was felt that waiting for midnight every day was deeply unsatisfying.



On top of that there are tons of balance changes and bug fixes, many related to finance. The whole game should be significantly more playable now without resorting to grants mods or cheats. We hope you have fun playing alpha 19, and we will see you again for alpha 20 in one month.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Graham Smith)

But when will an update add Blues Brothers concerts?

Prison Architect is forever trapped between two political poles: the side that says that prisoners should be locked up, punished, and left to rot; and the side that thinks they should be reformed, educated, and made better able to return to society and not re-offend. Introversion want both methods to have value within their management game, and alpha 18 takes the first steps towards enabling the liberal half by adding therapists.

Also tazers. New update video below.

… [visit site to read more]

Community Announcements - sPray
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pSoteVB_lE

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!

http://forums.introversion.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=47478
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Graham Smith)

Truncheons during luncheon no more. Guns now.

It’s been a little while since I’ve seriously played Introversion’s incarceration sim Prison Architect, but I’ve come to enjoy reading and watching their monthly updates just as much as playing it myself. Alpha 17 is now live and the video below details the various additions. The big one: you can now build an armoury in your prison and deck it out like one of those rooms that used to come before a boss fight in first-person shooters. The kind of room full of shotguns, ammo and bulletproof vests.

The kind of room prisoners might want to break into in case of a riot.

The armoury introduces a new set of tools with which to deal with riots: mainly, guns. If your prisoners are misbehaving, fighting one another or the guards, you can send a group in with weapons to intimidate them into surrendering. You can tell your people not to fire or to fire on sight, but guards will make on-the-spot decisions themselves if they feel their life is in danger and depending on the types of prisoners they’re facing. This ends badly for lots of people – guards and prisoners – in the video above.

Of course, a few of your most violent prisoners, if they happen to be close by, will try to get inside the armoury themselves in the event of a riot. You’ll need to make sure it’s behind a lot of big doors to stop that from happening.

Other additions for alpha 17 include a forestry, in which trees will grow for you chop down and turn into money, and a new context-sensitive object menu designed to cope with the broadening scope (which is totally dope?) of the game. A full list of changes is over on the update’s forum thread.

Now that there’s more ways to deal with madness – and more importantly, many more ways for things to go wrong – perhaps we should send Brendan back in to try and build another nice prison.

Community Announcements - sPray
Alpha 17 has been released!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAcnIMWL4zA

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.
Dec 27, 2013
Community Announcements - sPray
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3cKEBYIjdMs

Happy new year everyone, and welcome to alpha 16. It’s a big one.

For starters, all ‘Name in the Game’ customers can now customize the size, face type and colour of their prisoners by using our new Name in the game system which you can find here. For two weeks only, we're offering all alpha customers the chance to upgrade to our Name in the Game tier for only $10. This will enable you to name a prisoner, write a short bio about why he's inside and customize his look. This is your opportunity to permanently stamp your personality on the game and prove that you were one of the generous few that helped Prison Architect to become a reality.

We’ve made extensive improvements to the AI across the entire range of the game. For the first time ever it is now possible to fully segregate your prison based on prisoner category. You can (for example) create an entirely self contained ‘wing’ within your prison for maximum security prisoners, with its own cells, its own canteen, its own yard, even its own laundry service (staffed by maximum security prisoners of course). These AI improvements also cover the ‘industry’ side of the game, meaning kitchens/canteens/workshops/laundries are all much more efficient, and prisoners staffing them work much more intelligently. Fundamentally the game previously supported only one of these room types. This change is difficult to see in the video, and perhaps hard to fully appreciate, but it touches every area of the game.

With such an extensive change, we’d expect to have introduced quite a few bugs as well as fixing many more.

A side benefit of this change is that prisoners are now able to tell when their route to freedom has not been locked. We see a lot of prisons on Steam Workshop that keep the front doors permanently unlocked, and even sometimes unlock entire sectors (For efficiency - it means you don’t need to wait for guards to unlock doors all the time). What kind of prisoner wouldn’t want to take advantage of this if they could? So prisoners who are near the front of your prison and notice the doors unlocked *might* decide to make a run for it. The more dangerous the prisoner, and the closer he is to the exit, the more likely it is to happen.

We’ve added new options to procedurally generate your starting landscape so it looks a bit less empty. Lakes, forests, sand and even derelict buildings can now be found within your zone. Lakes block all construction and movement, forcing you to be creative in your layouts. The forests have to be cleared but the lumber is itself a resource that can now be harvested - order your workmen to cut the trees down and then sell the logs for a quick cash injection.

Later on when you have a functioning Workshop you can process logs into planks of wood on a bench Saw, and sell the resulting stacks for greater profit. If you find you have some spare space within your land you could even consider planting your own forests, to be harvested entirely for profit later. Trees are now planted by gardeners, begin life as saplings, and take a long time to grow to full size, so this is a long term but highly profitable industry if you have the space. We will be expanding this new wood industry in future alphas, letting you use your prisoners to do the tree planting and felling, and training your prisoners in carpentry to produce high quality furniture from the refined planks of wood.



We’ve extended the mod system so you can now use Steam Workshop to share your mods, or download existing mods. This works in a similar way to prison sharing - just ‘subscribe’ to a mod from within Steam, and it will show up within your mods window auto-magically.

Anybody who has tried to build a prison that spans the road will have found it pretty much impossible, because you cannot build on the road and therefore cannot create a secure zone between the east and west sides of your prison. We’ve introduced a new Road Gate which can be built to span the road, allowing you to run a secure deliveries zone. These road gates act just as all other door types, requiring a guard to unlock them when vehicles want to pass through.



All of that plus a vast collection of bug fixes detailed below - alpha 16 has been a huge update to the core of the game, and has brought us a lot closer to our final vision of how the AI should function. We hope you have fun playing the new version and hope you have a great Christmas, and a happy new year.

http://forums.introversion.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=46615
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