PC Gamer




















Prison Architect



Prison Architect's latest alpha update adds a feature I'm a little surprised wasn't around in the beginning. New arrivals to your correctional facility of kindness and rehabilitation punishment and more punishment will now come with reputations that promise to shake up your prison in interesting ways. This is all part of an effort to stop jails from becoming things that can be run automatically, as noted in the accompanying patch notes. Introversion describe this update as "big shit" in the following video, and I'm inclined to agree.



Until now, Prison Architect has seemed fairly predictable in its systems, but Alpha 25 promises to add an element of, er, unpredictability to the prison sim. I'll let Introversion explain: "Alpha 25 was motivated by seeing prisons that just run themselves—and can even be left running overnight, without anything bad happening. This doesn't sit right with us, and running a prison shouldn't ever be something that can be done fully automatically".



To that end, prisoners now come with reps. Reps like Tough, Stoical, Ex Law and Fearless, and you can probably guess what effect these guys are going to have on your previously peaceful jail. Interestingly, only around half of these reputations will be known when prisoners arrive—to ascertain the behaviours of the other criminals, you'll need to rely on your informants. Here's the absolute best thing about reps, however: there's a chance you'll receive a "legendary" prisoner as one of your new inmates, someone with a "potent mix" of reputations that will make them especially dangerous and interesting.



There are a bunch of other, less exciting changes in the update notes—you can read the full list of changes here. You can also stick around for the following video, in which Introversion's Mark Morris and Chris Delay talk about the update for half-an-hour.









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

All strategy games strive to reach a certain balance; the point at which the player feels responsible for their successes and failures, but where the simulation is so complex and alive that a perfect, static system can never be built. That’s apparently what motivates Prison Architect‘s 25th alpha, “one of the biggest updates” Introversion say they’ve ever done. The main new addition is prisoner reputations, a system of personality types that will make creating a perfectly functioning, forever peaceful prison practically impossible.

As ever, there’s a video talkthrough and some more detail of the changes below.

… [visit site to read more]

Community Announcements - sPray
Alpha 25 has been released! Here is our video demonstrating the new features:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Z2W05vvIKU

Big changes this month! This is one of the biggest updates we've ever done. Alpha 25 was motivated by seeing prisons that just run themselves - and can even be left running overnight, without anything bad happening. This doesn't sit right with us, and running a prison shouldn't ever be something that can be done fully automatically. This month we've introduced a whole series of new systems and balance changes that bring unpredictability back to your prisoners.

= Reputation
New prisoners sometimes have a reputation, shown when highlighing them or in their rap sheet.
Nb. Existing prisoners (in alpha 24 save games) will not have any reputation - only new arrivals
The reputation specifies unusual abilities or traits they may possess, which affect their behaviour.

- 50% of reputations are known when the prisoner arrives. The other 50% can be revealed through your informants.
- All prisoners have a new "Character" tab in their rapsheet, which gives details on their reputation.


  • STRONG hits harder with each punch during fights
  • TOUGH can withstand a lot more punishment in a fight. He can also sometimes withstand being hit by a Tazer
  • VOLATILE liable to kick off without warning and for no reason
  • STOICAL will not become suppressed when locked in Solitary
  • SNITCH a known informant, and as such his life may be in danger. Don't leave him alone with other prisoners for too long
  • DEADLY a master in lethal combat moves, and can sometimes kill with a single hit
  • EX LAW was once a Police Officer, or some other law enforcement profession. His life may be in danger
  • COP KILLER guilty of murdering a Police Officer. Your prison guards may be unable to restrain themselves when subduing him
  • FEARLESS not intimidated by the sight of Armed Guards, and is less likely to surrender during a fight
  • QUICK an unusually fast runner
  • INSTIGATOR sows seeds of discontent in all those nearby. When he causes trouble, nearby prisoners will feel compelled to do the same


- In some cases, the prisoner will have a high degree of a reputation, eg "Extremely Strong" or "Extremely Volatile".

- In a very small number of cases, you will receive a LEGENDARY PRISONER.
These guys have a potent mix of the above list that makes them very dangerous.


= New Prisoner Categories
To help deal with the new troublesome prisoners, two new categories of prisoner have been created.
Prisoners must be manually assigned to these categories.
These new categories have a corrisponding new Zone in the Deployment screen, and a new Regime column.

- Protective Custody
Useful for hiding your snitches, ex law enforcement etc in a safe zone where they cannot be attacked
Nb. Informants sent to protective custody lose coverage quickly (out of the loop)
Nb. During riot conditions, some of your most dangerous prisoners may attempt to attack the protective custody wing

- SuperMax
If you simply cannot control a particular prisoner, move him to supermax.
Allows you to segregate them away and instigate strong lockdown and security measures


= Escape Tunnels Overhall
Escape Tunnels have been rebalanced, and are now viable once again
Prisoners in neighbouring cells will team up to try to dig a combined escape tunnel.
They can share any tools they have during the operation
Many weapons can now also be used as digging tools, eg Knifes, Forks etc
Guard dogs are now more reliable at discovering tunnels, and will mark the suspected spot with a small flag.
Searching a cell now has only a low chance to discover an escape tunnel, UNLESS the prisoner is digging it when the guard enters!
To discover a tunnel for certain, dismantle the toilets in the cells you suspect.


= Confidential Informants (continued)
- Any single informant now has a maximum coverage of 50% at the time he is hired
- An informants coverage will slowly increase over time (beyond 50%), so long as his suspicion is low and he is not 'active'
- The Informants overlay now shows the highest level of suspicion ever reached by an informant, as a black line.
- You can now highlight and select prisoners and staff etc in the Informants window

- Informants now reveal Assassination Targets - ie prisoners who will be attacked if left alone for too long
This is shown as a red crosshair over the prisoner.
(Known informants / Snitches, ex law enforcement etc)


= Game Balance changes
- Prisoners responsible for a serious injury will have their category automatically increased (min-sec to medium, medium to max-sec)

- Prisoners responsible for a murder will be charged and given an additional 25 year sentence,
and will automatically reclassify as Maximum Security (if they weren't already)

- The 'temperature' of your prison must now be at least 33% before a riot can start

- 10 Prisoners must be rioting before a prison-wide RIOT status can occur.
To stop the riot, you must reduce the number of rioting prisoners to 3 or less.

- Tazer Training Program
All regular guards must now pass the Tazer Certification Program before they are permitted to use a tazer.
This takes place in the classroom and is led by the Chief.
The staff window now shows which guards have body armour and tazers.
Nb. When loading an alpha 24 save, all Tazers owned by regular Guards and Dog Handlers will be confiscated, and a refund given.
Nb. Dog Handlers can no longer carry Tazers.

- Prisoners can now pick up weapons from their current room during fights, escapes, riots etc. (Based on what is available as contraband)
- The Morgue is now a source of Knifes and Scissors
- Prisoners can now improvise a Shank in the Workshop
- Prisoners can now improvise a Baton in the Cleaning Cupboard (by snapping mops)
- Prisoners can now improvise a wooden pickaxe in the Workshop (for digging tunnels)


= Mod System Continued
- Now supports multiple active mods at once, even if those mods all add their own new graphics
- New property to set material auto-consumed on job
- Can now auto-order raw materials

- NEW SCRIPT COMMANDS:
GetNearbyObjects - Get a list of all nearby objects of a certain type
NavigateTo - Instruct an entity to go somewhere
ClearRouting - Clear an entity's destination

- Panic Button mod
A new 'official' test mod that adds a Panic Button to the game, using the new script commands.
Injured staff members will run to it and press it, and guards will be summoned to the area.


- Fixed : You can no longer place Foundations that you cannot afford

- 'Unlimited Funds' option in 'New Prison' screen.
Spend as much money as you like while building your prison - a more pure sandbox mode.

- Prisoners will now be assigned to Rehab programs more reliably, when addicted/alcoholic/withdrawn
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Ben Barrett)

Sort of hoping someone makes school architect, which is basically the same with smaller sprites.

Prison Architect developers Introversion Software joke in their latest update that the dev team is now “more like half a million.” As well as an amusing way to introduce the changes to their mod system, which is now much more robust and capable of adding almost anything to the game, it’s also sort of true. Their massive, ever-growing userbase will now add anything they can imagine, for better or worse, and folks will balance out what they want themselves. Others will improve the systems already there or build collections of mods that interact particularly well. Sit back, Introversion, you’re basically surplus to requirements now.

… [visit site to read more]

Community Announcements - sPray
Alpha 24 has been released! Here is our video demonstrating the new features:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSmPl80bSPA

Mod System V2
The modding system has been substantially upgraded.

It is now possible to create new versions of just about everything in a mod:
Objects / Entities
Rooms / Zones
Equipment / tools / weapons
Materials
Research / Bureaucracy
Emergency Callouts (eg Riot Police)
Reform Programs
Grants (The only area you could add new content previously)
Jobs (eg tend these vegetables)
Needs, and Need Providers (eg "Bladder" is a need, "Toilet" is a need provider)
Production/Work rules (eg Move sheet metal to the workshop, load it into the Saw, cut it into license plates)

Custom graphics can be provided by data/sprites.png. (Please keep your sprites.png as small/compact as possible - so we can load more mods at once). We currently only support a single graphics patch at a time, however we will upgrade this for next alpha

All objects can use an optional LUA script to drive their behaviour

We have created a sample Mod called "The amazing vegetable garden mod", which demonstrates many of the new features. It adds a new Vegetable Patch, in which seeds can be planted. These seeds are tended by prisoners, and eventually grow and can be harvested as vegetables. Those veg are then taken to a (new) Vegetable Preparation Table in the kitchen, where they are chopped into ingredients. Those ingredients are then used for cooking meals within your prison.

Nb more information can be found here:
- Prison Architect Wiki : http://devwiki.introversion.co.uk/pa/index.php/Main_Page
- Official Modding Forums : http://forums.introversion.co.uk/viewforum.php?f=88


Confidential Informants
Prisoners can sometimes be hired as Confidential Informants, and will provide insight into illicit activity within your prison. Prisoners *might* be willing to become CIs in exchange for being released from a long stint in Solitary. In addition, suffering Withdrawal symtoms from drug abuse, or suppressed from heavy handed treatment will help convince them. Once recruited, CIs must be "activated" and will be escorted in cuffs to the nearest security office.

They will then reveal their information in the new "Informants" view under "Contraband". They will reveal:
- All contraband owned by prisoners
- All contraband being smuggled in (eg by delivery trucks)
- All arranged throw-ins, ie near the outer walls
- All escape tunnels

Prisoners who have been in your prison for longer will have more information for you.
Each time you activate a CI, or act on their information, suspicion in that CI will increase.
If their suspicion rises too high, their life may be in danger.


Remote Access systems continued
- Servos can now be set to 'Close on trigger', which means they will close their door when triggered instead of opening it.
- Power Switches can now be turned on and off by an incoming wire connection
- New object : Pressure pad. Activates when stepped on
- New object : Status light. Lights up when activated
- Rendering speed of all wires increased
- Performance of logic gates much increased (helps with large circuits)
- Wires are now rendered only when an object is selected, or "All Wires" is selected in the Utilities menu.

- Contraband thrown over walls is now less likely (minimum distance between throws now 15, previously 10)

- Historical Contraband now pruned to 7 days maximum.
This hugely reduces memory requirements and save game file size, and will also help performance in very long running maps.

- Theft of spoons and forks from the Canteen was becoming excessive. The canteen is no longer a source of spoons or forks.

- When multiple objects are in a single square, you can now cycle between them by pressing TAB

- Fixed : Broken materials will now be dumped, so they can no longer block things from working.
Eg 'Broken' uniforms are never used, but also never replaced

- Cleaning Cupboard rooms now require the Cleaning research to be completed

- Trees now arrive in packs of 10 (saplings in plant pots), ready for planting (instead of one tree in a single crate)
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

Logical.

Logic can be dangerous. Minecraft players have built everything from room-sized games of Pong to autocannons with its redstone logic circuits, and that’s a relatively peaceful game. If you combined logic circuits with, say, the prison-industrial complex, I dread to imagine what dehumanising mechanisms might be built around inmates. So let’s see what happens now Prison Architect has done just that.

It’s fine, though. Prison Architect isn’t quite so freeform, and Introversion imagine the new automation and logic tools will be used for things like remote door control systems and sharing clock signals. Which does almost sound like a challenge.

… [visit site to read more]

Community Announcements - sPray
Alpha 23 has been released!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rcwr91LOI3g

Remote Access systems
You can now build a number of interconnected systems and servos in your prison, to automate access through locked doors.
These new objects are unlocked via 'Remote Access' in the beauracracy screen, and available in the Utilities menu.
All of these systems can be connected together using the 'Connect' tool in the Utilities menu.

- Door Servo : Attaches to an existing door. Can be triggered electrically to open the door.



- Door Control System : Operated by a guard in a security room. Allows guards to open doors remotely.
The system is connected to servos via the new 'Connect' tool in the utilities menu.
Note: The operator can open a maximum of two doors per second, so don't overload a single system with too many servos.
Note: If a Door Control System becomes broken, ALL connected doors will spring open.

- Door Timer : Another way to control doors automatically, based on time of day. Click on the door timer to access its schedule.
All connected doors will be opened when the schedule says they should be.

- Remote Door : A strong metal door that cannot be opened with Jail Keys. You must connect this door up with a Door Servo
and control it remotely somehow.

Cctv overhall
The old cctv system has been replaced, using the new Connection mechanics developed for Remote Access Systems.
Cctv Monitors must now be connected to cameras using the 'Connect' tool.
A single Cctv Monitor must now be operated by one Guard, and a Guard can only operate one monitor at a time.
A Monitor can be connected to as many cameras as you wish, but has only eight screens.
If you connect it to more than eight cameras, the monitor will cycle through them, giving only partial coverage.




[ADVANCED FEATURE] Logic Circuits
Two new objects have been added purely as an experiment, and are not required for any normal prison.
These objects can be used to build advanced electrical circuits.

- Logic Circuit : A boolean logic gate with X inputs and 1 output.
Available operations : And / Or / Not / Nand / Nor / Xor
Right click on the circuit to cycle the operation.

- Logic Bridge : Can be used to send a signal via Electrical Cable (normally used to power your prison)
Place the Logic Bridge over a cell containing Electrical cable, and that entire cable will have the same signal value.
Any Logic Circuit sitting on the same Electrical Cable will receive the signal as one of its inputs.
This is specifically useful for transmitting a common signal around your circuit - eg a Clock signal,
without requiring thousands of seperate wires.



Contraband Smuggling continued

- Contraband can now be smuggled in via materials in a Delivery Truck. Anything brought in via Delivery Trucks can be used.
Eg Food ingredients, metal sheets for the workshop, prisoner uniforms, construction materials etc.
Dogs will detect narcotics in these items, and metal detectors will spot metal items.
Guards can now search these items on request.
Once brought into the prison, the contraband will remain in its material until a nearby prisoner picks it up.
Note: The types of contraband smuggled in this way will be determined by the Supply and Demand within the prison.

- Contraband can now be thrown in over the external walls.
Prisoners 'arrange' this when phoning home, or when talking to their visitors in Visitation.
They will arrange to go to a pre-determined place at a certain time, and collect a specific item.
The item chosen will be based on the needs of that prisoner.
If there are guards near the collection point, the contraband will not be thrown in.
The maximum throw range is 10 squares, and cannot happen in sectors marked as 'Staff Only' as prisoners cannot get there.

- Intoxication is now a type of Misconduct, and is 'detected' when a Guard searches a prisoner. He will notice they are high/drunk.
You can now set the punishment for Intoxication in the Policy table.
Being caught Intoxicated automatically refers the prisoner to the relevent 'Rehab' program, if it exists.

- Utilities mode now filters the display based on what you are building, to give a clearer view.
Only relevent objects and connections will be shown depending on the mode - Electrical, Pipes, Circuit wiring.

- Fences are no longer free (YOU try getting hundreds of metres of fences for free)

- You can now expand and contract the Todo list to free up screen space

- More info has been added to the tooltips in the Build Toolbar

- Kitchen Sinks now require a water pipe connection

- The 'Day X' timer in the top toolbar now shows the total 'Real Time' played on this prison

- Fixed a subtle bug in the audio system that caused audio corruption sometimes - buzzing, popping, clicking
Community Announcements - sPray
Alpha 22 has been released!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xer0X1zYbag

No more shall all your laundry baskets gradually migrate to a single laundry room, leaving all the others empty!

No more will you be able to install Garbage!

No more will your dead prisoners slide off morgue slabs and hearses, and lay there in the road forever!

No more will your entities get stuck (FOREVER) on walls, corners, doors, and just about everything else in their way!

We decided to do things differently this month. This month was a Bug Bash.

Generally speaking the monthly release schedule is an incredibly healthy process for us - it motivates us to work hard and finish things to deadline, and gives us a monthly routine to work to. However the process is not without its faults. We’ve become increasingly aware of the number of bugs that have been creeping into the game with each new release, and with just four weeks between alpha launches there is almost no time to address them. The result is a bug tracker filled up with literally thousands of bug reports. We had to do something about this.

So for the month of June, all the programmers on the team worked exclusively on fixing bugs. (That’s Chris, Johnny, Leander, Gary and Andrew, for those who keep track). Five programmers working for an entire month, just clearing bugs. For those who didn’t notice our messages in the main menu, we also released regular test builds via steam so that the community could test out our fixes and report back to us. Many thousands of PA fans got new builds every few days rather than once a month.

It’s been a fantastic experience, and many serious bugs have been tackled. We could have ticked off hundreds of trivial fixes, but we instead attacked the list starting with the biggest and most terrifying AI fixes. In total, 73 major bugs were fixed. This may not sound like many - it represents about one bug resolved per man-day, which in the Software Engineering world is a fairly respectable rate. But it puts it into perspective just how long bug fixing can take, and makes it clear to us that we shouldn’t be ‘saving up’ the bug fixing for some mythical end date just before the v1.0 launch.

Our community really rose to the challenge this month and gave us invaluable assistance. Our bug database is full of duplicate bug reports (most people don’t search first when reporting their bugs), and we’ve just never tackled that. Several community members organised into a group and closed well over 1,000 bugs during June, all duplicates. They also helped us to confirm our fixes worked and to test against regressions. Thanks guys! We wanted to give special shout outs to these community members who went above and beyond:

Reef : Thanks so much! You were a huge help to us this month. We are gifting you a free ‘Face in the Game’ upgrade as a token of our thanks.

mazetar, RGeezy911, _alphaBeta_, koshensky, Phydaux, Guvnor, Mhoram : You guys were incredibly helpful, thank you. We are gifting each of you a free ‘Name in the Game’ upgrade.

Normal service will resume next month, and we’ll have a set of lovely new features for alpha 23. But in the mean time, enjoy the new version.

Here's a full list of bug fixes:
http://forums.introversion.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=49215
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Graham Smith)

I hope someone adds a mod where you can control a single character in a top-down shmup.

It’s possible that some of you have overdosed on Prison Architect update videos by now, but if you’re like me and still in the throes of a monthly addiction to the incarceration management sim’s new features, then this month’s hit is a good one. As explained on the official forum, the major new addition: your prison’s inhabitants can now smuggle in drugs, get hooked on them, and go into withdrawal or overdose. Inject the trailer below directly into your eyeballs to beat the blood-brain barrier.

… [visit site to read more]

Community Announcements - sPray
Alpha 21 has been released! Here is our video demonstrating the new features:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7nQODdpby4

Narcotics
Prisoners can now take drugs (typically smuggled in through visitation), and develop addictions. Addiction gets stronger with each use of a drug, and prisoners go into withdrawal if they do not get their drugs fix quick enough. Some prisoners arrive with existing addictions, other prisoners try drugs when bored or dissatisfied. All drugs have a chance to cause an overdose, which is lethal unless immediately treated by a Doctor.

Currently included:
- Heroin
- Cocain
- Alchohol

Two new Reform programs have been added to help combat drug addiction:
- Methodone program, a chemical suppliment that helps remove the craving of addicted prisoners
- Alchoholics anonymous meeting, a group therapy session aimed at reducing the psychological dependence on booze

Prisoners who refrain (or are prevented) from taking drugs for long enough to make it through withdrawal have a chance to cure their addiction, Cold Turkey style.

Advanced regime control
You can now control the regime for each security group independantly - Min sec / Normal sec / Max sec prisoners
Use this to rotate the actions of your different prisoner categories throughout the day
Regime 'Nothing' has been renamed 'Lockup', to better reflect its meaning. Prisoners must return to their cells during Lockup.



Language selector
There is now a Union Jack flag in the Main Menu (top left) which can be clicked on to change the game language. This opens the language selector screen, which shows all currently installed language packs (MODS). In the STEAM version this screen also lists ALL language packs currently available via the Steam Workshop. Selecting any language pack will automatically download it and apply it, and the Union Jack icon will change appropriately.



Surrender
Prisoners now have a chance to surrender when faced with lethal force
Armed guards shout warnings before opening fire. Weaker prisoners will surrender immediately, raising their hands in the air.
More aggressive prisoners may surrender after being shot at or wounded by gunfire.
Surrendered prisoners are immediately 100% suppressed, and will return to their cells after the armed guards have passed.
NOTE : Soldiers still do not shout warnings, and will not accept surrender once they have engaged a target.



Alpha 22 - Bug Bash
Next month for alpha 22 we will be doing things differently. The entire team will be focussing exclusively on bug fixes for one entire month. This does mean that there will be no new features in alpha 22, however the game should improve immeasurably as we tackle some of the biggest long standing issues in the game. And we need your help!

We have a massive database of over 4000 bugs recorded. We can’t possibly fix them all. We need your help to prioritise the bug database so we know what to fix - we will be focussing on the top 100 rated bugs, so your ratings are very important. Take a look at this video for information on how to help us with prioritising the bug database:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9pzYbFEI-Q

We plan to launch new versions more frequently during June, perhaps once or twice a week, so you can get the latest bug fixes quickly and give us feedback as we work. If everything goes according to plan the game will be much more solid within a month, and we’ll all get back to adding some lovely new features for alpha 23.
...

Search news
Archive
2014
Sep   Aug   Jul   Jun   May   Apr  
Mar   Feb   Jan  
Archives By Year
2014   2013   2012   2011   2010  
2009   2008   2007   2006   2005  
2004   2003   2002