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Prison Architect

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Jun 27, 2014
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
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.
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.

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.
Feb 28, 2014
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
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
Nov 29, 2013
Community Announcements - sPray
Alpha 15 has been released! Here is our alpha15 video demonstrating the new features:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIx92W6Q3dk

It’s been two months since alpha 14, with Chris taking time out to have a baby. Whilst he’s been away the rest of the Introversion team have stepped up to provide a series of awesome updates to the game.

Johnny has continued his focus on performance, delivering a series of optimisations which virtually double the speed of the game in certain conditions. These optimisations are particularly effective on very large maps, and when running the Windows builds. We have now seen several (community made) prisons with 300+ prisoners and 100+ staff, running at a solid frame rate - this was pretty unthinkable even a couple of alphas ago.

Here’s a performance graph from our test map - an extremely large prison with 200 inmates, which used to bring Prison Architect to its knees. You can see how much difference Johnny’s work has made.



Gary has extended the staff simulation so that all staff now become tired as they work. After a while you’ll see their nameplate showing “tired” or “exhausted”, and they’ll be forced to stop work and rest. He’s added a Staff Room to the game, along with some sofas and drinks machines, which you should add to your prisons somewhere appropriate. Staff will recover faster and will feel more rested for longer if they have a staff room to go to.



And then there’s a bit of a wildcard in this version : Leander has added a Mod system, to better support community made mods. We don’t really know where this will go, but we’ll be watching the community closely to see what people do with it. Without any official support our community has already translated the game into Swedish, German, French, Spanish, Dutch, Norwegian, Italian, Polish and Turkish (Visit our wiki to download these translations), and they’ve produced mods which add tons of new Grants to the game. With this new official mod system it is now much easier to activate and deactivate those mods in game - and you can run any number of mods simultaneously. You’ll no longer need to hack the game files directly to make a mod work.



If you’re the creator of one of the existing mods, please take some time to update your mod so it works with the new official system. All this entails is creating a manifest.txt (which documents your mod title, version, your name, website etc) and a thumbnail.png, and instructing users to unzip your mod into their appsavefolder/PrisonArchitect/mods/ folder.

If you are interested in creating a mod, we have released some sample mods on the Wiki which you can download and try. They don’t do very much, but they show you how the folder structure works and how you can use lua scripts to drive a story chapter just like our Death Row introduction.

For a list of all existing mods:
http://devwiki.introversion.co.uk/pa/index.php/Mods

For technical details on how to create a mod : http://devwiki.introversion.co.uk/pa/index.php/Modding

NOTE: You need to register with Introversion Software to gain access to the PA wiki:
http://www.introversion.co.uk/prisonarchitect/register/

We’ve also added a bunch of small but much requested features to this build - screen edge scrolling, a faster time acceleration button, larger federal grants for max security inmates etc. See the full change list below for details.

That’s all for alpha 15 - we hope you enjoy the new features! We’ll be back with alpha 16 before the end of the year.
Community Announcements - sPray
Chris is taking time off now to welcome a new baby into his family, but in the mean time we decided to release an interim update to alpha 14 that fixes a small number of nasty bugs.

The next planned updated will be Alpha 15, currently scheduled for the end of November.

Change list:

- Optimisations continued
Sun shadow rendering is now much more efficient

- Fixed: Shackled prisoners will no longer try to walk towards the guard who plans to search them

- Fixed: Dogs will no longer be taken to the medical ward when injured. They heal when resting in the Kennel.

- Fixed: The planning tool was not saving properly

- Fixed: A crash bug that occurred in extremely large prisons (more than 10,000 individual objects)
Oct 2, 2013
Community Announcements - sPray
Alpha 14 has been released! Here is our alpha14 video demonstrating the new features:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSrUCIEFAuc

Guard dogs have arrived! You can now hire dogs from the staff menu, and they come as a team with a dog handler. Dogs will sniff any nearby prisoners and hiding spots, and can smell drugs and other forms of smelly contraband from several squares away. Assign your dogs to patrols within busy parts of your prison to have them sniff everyone during the day.



Dogs can also sense escape tunnels, although it isn’t quite as easy as that. They will scratch at the floor and bark a bit, but you need to keep an eye on them to notice this and perform appropriate searches within your jail. If they happen to be scratching the floor when there is an actual prisoner digging directly under them, the prisoner is rumbled and the whole tunnel is revealed. We suggest you create long patrol routes around the perimeter of your jail and assign dogs to these, to keep a handle on your escape tunnels.

And if some prisoners do manage to get out of their cells and make a run for it, dogs are excellent at chasing them down. Much faster than the guards, for example.

Dogs do get tired after working for a few hours, and need a Kennel (we suggest an outdoor fenced off area for your dogs) with some dog crates to sleep in. The dog and handler will be out of action when they sleep, so you’ll need shifts of dogs and handlers to keep continuous coverage.

We have also started work on one of the end game features - you can now sell your prison from the Valuation screen. Any profits you have made in this prison will be automatically transferred to a brand new starting location, meaning you can plan much bigger layouts right from the start. You can only sell your prisons once, but nothing stops you going back and continuing to manage a prison you have already sold.

One of the most consistent requests from players is to deal with performance. The game has always lagged quite badly in large prisons or with large prisoner populations. Our resident technical expert John Knottenbelt has spent all month optimising the hell out of the game, and it’s running a great deal faster. The entire pathfinding system is now running on a separate processor, taking advantage of dual core and better setups that most gamers now have. This has lowered the cpu burden of the game, but also means there is much less “backlog” in the pathfinding system - often entities would be waiting around to have their route generated before they could move. Now it all happens virtually instantly. We hope this work will help you plan and build even more epic prisons.

Chris is expecting a baby (his second Son) in about a months time (well, his wife Jo is), so unfortunately our regular monthly alpha process will be disrupted while Real Life takes over for a bit. We are planning to skip the alpha that would have come at the end of October, and aim for alpha 15 at the end of November, ie two months from now. We hope you understand.

In the mean time, enjoy the new features (there’s a ton of additional stuff in the full change list below) and we will see you all soon:
http://forums.introversion.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=44984
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