Diary: A Nice Prison In Prison Architect Will Always Go Wrong

By Brendan Caldwell on November 12th, 2013 at 5:00 pm.

Introversion’s deservedly popular Shawshank simulator is a lot of fun. It’s also incredibly difficult to manage. If a full-scale riot isn’t the problem (rarely), then a lack of funds is. And I don’t think building Cell Block B without any plumbing helps. I’ve run my fair share of ruinous hellholes but now that several updates have been added to give the player some more control over the disorder. In lieu of this, I wanted to see if it was possible to create a lovely, warm, sweet-smelling prison, just like ma used to make. CCTV, perimeter walls, sniffer dogs and guard patrols are sure to help make this a reality.

Welcome to Brendan’s Nice Prison For Agreeable People.

Day one – The plan

The first thing to do is to build all the basics. A holding cell for new arrivals and extraneous scoundrels, a canteen, a yard, a shower (including drains), a kitchen, a visitor centre, some power stations and an office block for the admin staff. All rounded off with a neat double-ring of fencing. Other buildings – the infirmary, the morgue, cleaning cupboards, etc – will have to be finished some time after the initial batch of medium security inmates. It is unlikely I’ll need those places straight away anyway.

The reality

I forgot to station a guard in the canteen during lunch hours and it turns out you can’t trust prisoners to finish their tea without incident. Now two prisoners have been murdered, three are knocked out cold and two others are bloody and injured. Presumably a brawl began over some garlic bread – the most coveted of breads. When my guards were finished whacking everybody round the bonce with cudgels I saw that only one prisoner had not attacked anyone or destroyed anything. Warren Scutt, a 41-year-old father of three who has served 10.5 of his 12 years for Death by Dangerous Driving. His prize for not being a violent sociopath is the fashionable grey uniform of minimum security.

Day two – The plan

A new cell block will be built to accommodate the six remaining prisoners, plus more new arrivals. The cells will be individual, for privacy’s sake (if Prison Architect can teach us anything about the justice system, it’s that man was not meant to poop side-by-side). A cleaning cupboard and a janitor will be instated, to clean up the filth left behind by everyone. An infirmary will be built with enough beds and doctors to treat multiple patients, in the unlikely event of another riot.

The reality

There has been another riot. Honestly, you try to treat these people right but they just SPIT. They just SPIT it back in your face. The new arrivals were all fairly minor criminals. I looked through their rap sheets. Car theft, vandalism, car theft, possession with intent to supply, car theft, car theft, videogame piracy (plus car theft). It didn’t seem possible that they’d be the kind to take part in the older prisoners’ shenanigans. But sure enough as soon as dinner rolled around a ruckus broke out and both cooks were attacked by two repeatedly rowdy prisoners, Batty and Lawrence, who between them have been responsible for more misconduct than all the other prisoners combined.

All this disruption resulted in two prisoners punching each other, almost dutifully, on the way to the showers and two of my (already overworked) engineers being pursued around the cleaning cupboard by a crazed maniac. Surprise, surprise – the maniac was Lawrence. Eventually, he was apprehended and given a sound bludgeoning after he chased the poor workmen out into the open. All unruly prisoners were escorted back to their cell block, which has incidentally been built with some useful solitary confinement units. Scutt continues to show exemplary behaviour. Why can’t they all be like Scutt?

Day three – the plan

The new features such as CCTV monitors, patrols, access to prison policy and other juicy upgrades all require some new bureaucrats. This means an extension to the office space and the hiring of a couple of new admin folk. At the end of the day we should have: a psychologist, a lawyer, a security chief, a warden, an accountant and a foreman. With a full roster of office-bound wage slaves I will be able to invest in all sorts of penal delights. Although I should perhaps, in future, avoid the phrase ‘penal delights’.

The reality

Another riot. God, it’s almost like these people don’t want to be here in my damp, confined, poorly lit paradise. Luckily there was not too much damage and a few extra guardsmen got things under control quickly. I believe only two people died. In other news, there’s been some kind of miscommunication with the builders and they’ve left the office block extension half-built. I’ve hired the staff and installed the rooms with all the necessary equipment, so the research on CCTV, guard deployment and sniffer dogs has begun. However, it looks like the admin building itself has been left unfinished. There are no lights and the scaffolding is still fixed around the offices of the accountant, lawyer and psychologist. I think this may cause a slight draught but I doubt it is a security issue. The research is underway and that’s what matters.

Day four – the plan

It is imperative that we invest in some extra powers. Researching patrol routes and the prison policy clipboard will allow me to station guards along any corridor or pathway I want, while also ramping up the punishment for prisoners for attacking staff or fellow inmates. The installation of cameras throughout the facility will allow one guard to monitor every unmanned room from one tiny boxed security closet. This way we can administer our unique ‘baton solution’ to uncooperative inmates far more efficiently. This firm yet caring attitude may help solve the murder problem I have having, not to mention the extremely disruptive Garlic Bread Riots. Scutt, that steadfast gem of minimum security, is due for release. Worryingly, so is Lawrence.

The reality

The ultimate goal of Brendan’s Nice Prison For Agreeable People is to make life incrementally better for our legally misdirected guests. Sadly, the ultimate goal of these guests appears to be to cluster at the entrance of the yard where they can shiv anyone who approaches. Once again, the cudgels are in order. Now that CCTV is everywhere there is no need to station guards as cautiously as before, which means more men are free to administer fierce but fair beatings.

While the culprits were being rounded up the bodies from the day before were dealt with. The last prison I ran did not have a morgue (some oversight by the foreman, definitely not my fault) and so bodies were often left out in the open, where they would fester as the inmates and prison staff went about their normal routines, lithely stepping over the cadavers of their fallen colleagues. That’s now fixed and eventually a medical van will arrive to collect the corpses, as it has today. But the van is fooling no one. It is essentially identical to the garbage truck that comes to take away rubbish, except it has been painted white and has a red cross on the bonnet. Its presence cannot be good for morale, so I make a note to install a morgue, no matter the cost.

It’s release day for Scutt. A man in a suit arrives and our golden boy appears to be leaving with him. It feels good to see a prisoner go on his way, a much corrected man. I will miss him and his silly sunglasses and his unerring silent obedience. Goodbye, Scutt. The system works!

Shortly afterwards, the murderer Lawrence is also released.

Day five – The plan

Enough is enough. New arrivals will all be minimum security until I can get some more orderly routines in place. I can’t risk anymore Lawrences or Battys. Which reminds me, I have to build that morgue I promised. It will be a sterling and professional facility, with enough room for the absolute worst case scenarios. I have also noticed that prisoners are happiest when they sleep, so from tomorrow their regime will include four or five extra hours of shuteye, as well as a redistribution of yard and free time. It might be prudent to build a laundry, a workshop and a recreation room, to keep the boys in orange busy… but as I say, the morgue obviously comes first.

The reality

A prisoner has murdered – straight-up MURDERED – one of the workwomen. Mike “The Mole” Master is the reprobate responsible. He has been confined to solitary. This came as a huge shock, as I had just finished overnight construction on the workshop, the laundry and the recreation room for the men. Surely, I thought, between their busy new work schedule and all the games of pool they’d be playing they wouldn’t even have time for disorder. I was so convinced by this (and why wouldn’t I be?) that I decided to postpone the building of a morgue until I had more money. But “The Mole” in his bloodlust has forced my hand. The consequence is a much diminished coroner’s space, squashed into the infirmary.

Now. My first instinct was to put a wall between them as a divide. But that would mean another expensive CCTV camera. So now the two spaces co-exist in the same room. If a sick patient were to lie prostrate in the hospital bed and peep over his feet, he would see a slab adorned with a hi-vis corpse. The poor woman. She didn’t deserve this. Still, here comes the next batch of scum. Frauds, insider traders, forgers, bribe artists, robbers, perjurers, pickpockets. The minimum security boys might be more money-minded than violent but if they think they’re getting an easy ride, THEY’RE WRONG.

I’ll put them in the brand new cell block I built earlier. It cost thousands of dollars! Absolutely state of the art. Some say that the misjudged foundations make it hugely wasteful on space and much more expensive than it should have been, wasting money that may have been spent on other facilities, for example, the mortuary. But I don’t listen to naysayers. It was worth every penny.

Day six – The plan

Security, security, security. That is what a prison is all about, no? I have applied for some grants (I forget what for) and now have a little money. This will be used to increase the guard detail and to hire a sniffer dog to patrol the cell blocks’ perimeter. He’ll need a kennel to sleep in too. Metal detectors at the entrances to both min and max security cell blocks are also on the agenda. I may need some more money for these, so I will look into other grants.

The reality

There were no more grants available, which I found astounding. Cutbacks and restraints from the budgeting classes are ruining the prison system of this whole country. Why can’t these people see that they are destroying lives and ruining things for normal people? It’s people like me who are affected by this savagery. Can’t they see how hard it is on me?

Anyway, I fired five people today – one doctor, one cook and three workmen. It’s unlikely I will need such a large workforce, so whatever, no big loss. I went over to the office block to see if there was any more resource deimplementation to be carried out. What I discovered was horrifying. Through the same miscommunication that led to the block being semi-constructed in the first place, the accountant, lawyer and psychologist seemed to have been trapped all this time in their filthy, desolate chambers, without light and seemingly unaware of the simple staff doors that could easily have led to an escape. Every day they pace around their scaffolded hovel, checking their files – papers that must have nothing written on them – and waiting for the janitor to come. But the office block is a dark place. The janitor never comes.

I bulldozed the walls and removed the offices. This disastrous extension should never be mentioned again. The psychologist, accountant and lawyer slowly hobbled into the open and began to wander aimlessly around the area their pen used to be, like confused cage chickens that have just been upgraded to free range (I imagine this is like when you are upgraded from economy to business class). I will look for a place to build more offices to house this trio of wretches soon enough. But right now, I have other concerns. Mike “The Mole” Master is, somehow, due for release.

Day seven – the plan

I will gain access to the contraband report, which will show me where prisoners are likely to get any weapons and other illicit materials from. Considering they sleep most of the time and I have increased the security precautions by a large measure I do not anticipate many prisoners engaging in such dishonest behaviour. Call me an eternal optimist, but I believe in the goodness of humanity, even after all the murder, destruction, abuse and filth.

The reality

Beasts! Fiends! Untrustworthy, filthy, lying brutes! The metal detectors went off in the maximum security cell block, leading one of the guards to search a shifty looking inmate by the name of Page (Manslaughter). They found a trowel and a six metre tunnel coming out of his cell. He was burrowing. Burrowing! Like a termite. The sickening thing is: he was not the worst. After the subsequent block-wide search we found Bailey (Aggravated Vehicle Theft) hiding power tools, weapons and drugs. He went straight to naughty solitary, where he’ll think about what he’s done. In the meantime, a prison wide shakedown is in order.

Luckily the men in the other wing are much better behaved. We only found a few spoons and a very small tunnel. They are veritable saints compared to the slime in ‘max sec.’ But who knows what seed of devilry may have been planted by their fellow inmates? Perhaps I am too suspicious but my faith in humanity has been deeply affected by this episode.

The good news is that there have been no Garlic Bread Riots for a while now. My main worry is not the prisoners but the trio of filthy suits, the office block wanderers. They pitter-patter around the grounds behind the kitchen, possibly foraging for remains. I have no money, honestly, and nowhere to put them. It’s the psychologist who unsettles me the most – his dead eyes. Or perhaps he is just… looking for peace? The accountant, meanwhile, has wandered into the prisoner’s yard and is dragging her heels against the newly installed lawn. Is it possible the trio prefer life as nomads?

The most important news, of course, is fiscal. Thanks to the frugal releasing of another cook and a new batch of ‘min sec’ inmates, we are making a profit of $536 a day. A majestic sum!
Day eight – the plan

The prisoners sleep, the guards patrol and the trio of executives grope ponderously at the sky like zombies. Everything is ticking over smoothly. It would not be presumptuous of me to consider my work almost done and my prison a model of self-sustaining beauty. A dynamo! The only thing I must remember is that a prisoner called Mooch “Looloo” (Drunk and Disorderly) is to be released soon. Apart from that I do not believe it would invite much calamity if I left the prison running for a few days without interference. In fact, the most likely outcome is that we accrue an enormous quantity of cash. But – haha – I am not so naive as to leave without some added precautions. So I am electronically locking all the doors just in case.

The reality

Out of Office Reply: Brendan is away right now. It is possible he is currently cooking dinner, watching Adventure Time, or drunk. Please direct all queries to: the Warden NPC.

Day 20 – the result

Oh NO. Who would have thought! My little simulated prison of miscreants and ill-equipped guardsmen has become a cesspit of riotous feral creatures. The whole place is filled with blood and excrement. Oh NO. I have arrived back to see that only a handful of prisoners are not due for release. At the time of my return the man who has been caught longest in this anti-judicial nightmare was 42-year-old Mark Nowell (Vandalism), who was due to go home approximately 256 hours ago.

Now, what appears to be a little ‘protest group’ of prisoner families are crowding the front gates, where poor Mooch Looloo had been just two steps away from freedom before the lockdown slammed the gate in his face. Now he stretches out to families on the other side, probably passing on all his tales of horror.

One thing all the inmates have in common, as they prowl the cells and corridors or crush up against security doors, is that they are all shouting very loudly. But not for food or for their freedom, or even about the filth that they’ve been living in for the past 12 days. Every one of them is crying out for sleep. This discovery could revolutionise the way we think about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

But I suppose it’s time to end this. The families protesting at the door do not look at all impressed. It’s a pity, considering this new static model of prisoner-door relations is somehow earning the prison a hefty $1428 a day. Never mind. The good news is that as soon as the locks disengage all the angriest and most violent prisoners instantly leg it out the gates in a state of sleepless terror, since they were all due to be released anyway. The bad news is that our income immediately plummets to $108 a day. A sad final act now begins whereby the prisoners who arrived moments before the lockdown (and who spent the whole 12 days handcuffed in a holding cell with an overflowing toilet) are now being ‘processed’ in some kind of Kafkaesque hiccup of bureaucracy. So Henderson (Bribery, 278 hours overdue for release) is spending another eight hours in solitary. As is prisoner Hill (Vandalism, 272 hours overdue for release).

You might have noticed that I’m not very good at prison-keeping. Okay, I have been going a little out of my way to be an awful warden here – but trust me, even if I was being more earnest I would not fare that much better. The thing I like about Prison Architect is that it doesn’t matter. Even if you’re dreadful and clumsy and make so many oversights that you begin to question your own mental age the game still creates brilliant (hilarious, idiotic) scenarios. Screwing up and watching everything fall apart is the whole point. It may not (yet) have the complexity and story-making powers of its obvious influence, Dwarf Fortress. But it is immediately more inviting and better presented (and, obviously, it is one thousand times simpler to learn).

Meanwhile, far away in the dark corner of my prison, the trio wander the grounds dumbly. At least these NPCs cannot possibly, in their catatonic homelessness, conceive of the horror that has happened here.

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62 Comments »

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  1. Longtime Listener says:

    Personally I like to imagine the cast of Porridge in the prison. There’s just something inherently funny to me about Fletcher violently shanking officer Barrowclough.
    “Oh now Fletch, is that kind of behaviour really necessar…………… urghhhhh”

  2. brkl says:

    Huh… I didn’t think I had any problems with this game, but this write-up sounds like it operates under some right-wing fever dream idea of what happens in prisons. It’s propaganda for why we need the prison system to be like it is.

    • brkl says:

      http://bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/pjdc0009st.pdf
      “ƒƒƒƒHeart disease (26%) and cancer (23%) were the leading
      single causes of illness-related deaths in prisons, together
      accounting for nearly half (49%) of all prison deaths
      between 2001 and 2009.
      ƒƒLiver disease was the third leading single cause of death in
      prisons, accounting for 7% of all deaths.
      ƒƒDeaths due to intoxication, homicide, or accident were
      the least common causes of deaths, with none accounting
      for more than 2% of deaths in prisons.”

      • Longtime Listener says:

        It’s almost like it’s being exagerated for… some kind of effect…

        • Synesthesia says:

          hhm… to the supercomputer!

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            P7uen says:

            Well the acronym of Brendan’s prison is “BNP FAP”, so it makes sense.

        • Kitsunin says:

          I wanna see it exaggerated in the other way.

          “Running a prison is so hard, everyone just keeps having random cancer and dropping dead!”

          Although when I hear that heart disease is the leading cause of death I have to wonder…Kira?

          • Longtime Listener says:

            I won’t be happy until it exagerates it to the point of Ricky Oh.

        • Viroso says:

          That doesn’t counter the criticism raised though.

          • Longtime Listener says:

            What criticism? The game is not meant to be an accurate depiction on the running of a prison. It’s Theme Prison.
            Criticising it for exagerating violence is like criticising Theme Hospital for having patients dropping dead queing to see the GP instead of modelling fast tracked treatment and palliative care.

          • Viroso says:

            It doesn’t matter if it’s meant to be accurate or not, they inevitably carry a message people may not agree with. Say, by focusing on the most interesting aspects, which are inevitably things like riots, hits, escapes, the game has a message. Intentional or not, it doesn’t matter.

            And regarding the other reply, despite the fact that you’re taking what I said to a silly extreme, one argument about games based on real war that I think is very valid is how these games depict only the gun in the conflict, ignoring almost everything else about war.

            So the message here is that when you’re tackling something that’s about real people, real problems, “it’s just an exaggeration” doesn’t really cut it. People should think about what they’re doing, and what they’re saying, whether they intend to or not. And when they say something, somebody else is going to reply.

            From the write up it sounded like Prison Architect is saying something, somebody replied to it. Then you came and said “oh you quit this it’s just an exaggeration”. Like the possibility that the game has a message, and discussing that message, is absurd.

            I think that’s just the sort of thing that has kept war games, mostly, about guns shooting people, to the point of gun makers actually making money from them, instead of evolving to something much more interesting, worthwhile.

          • Kitsunin says:

            Well, I do and did actually agree with you, mostly. I just can’t think of anything serious that’s actually good enough to say. It’s true that something a game like this modeling prisons in the way it does is likely to have some effect on people’s perception of prisons. That said, I just can’t think of how to make the game work without doing that. Even speaking for myself, dealing with riots and spoon-driven escapees sounds like fun. Only dealing with making everyone happy would mean you might as well just be making a theme park. I wonder if you aren’t pretty much in the moral wrong from the instant you decide to make a game about running a prison; unless you handle it in a pretty specific way.

          • soldant says:

            @Viroso:
            Democracy 3 portrays the left wing voters as being environmentalist saints out to save everybody, and anybody right of left as being evil money-hungry monsters. If it was okay for Positech Games to do that in Democracy 3, then it’s fine for Introversion to make a game enabling you to make a fascist’s prison paradise should you so choose. Strangely enough most prisons aren’t pleasant places to be.

          • Viroso says:

            @soldant, I don’t think it works like that. It’s like you perceive Democracy 3 to be kinda the opposite of Prison Architect, politically, and they both somehow cancel each other out because your perception is that Democracy 3 got a free pass or something.

            I still say that games carry a message and if Democracy 3 carried a message then it’s up for discussion too. Just like this game should be, instead of us going “oh, let this one go, doesn’t count”.

            @Kitsunin I haven’t played Prison Architect so I can’t say much about it, I only know a bit and it’s from stuff like this article. But one thing that I believe is important, and I don’t know if that was done or not, is in depth research in the subject, instead of going off on movies or TV series. I can’t know if the game does that, haven’t played it, but the reason I’m mentioning this is that I believe someone can still make a good game while having in mind how real world prisons are. That’d actually make the game better.

            The other thing I think could make the game interesting/fun would be if prisoners weren’t necessarily willing to riot and or murder at the drop of a hat, if they had varied behavior. Once again maybe they do. Also, just the “make profit from prison” premise is already good enough to create an interesting game, even with realistic behaviors.

            It’s just that the impression that I got from this is that prisoners seem paper thin. Like they’re primary directive is violence and not much else. If the prisoners in the game indeed are not just that, if they have more personality to them, if there’s a broader range of behavior, then it’s a lot more interesting.

      • tormos says:

        That doesn’t mesh well with the high level of knowledge about prison life I gained from watching Oz and therefore must be wrong.

        • Discopanda says:

          I have to agree, there aren’t nearly enough flying monkeys in the game.

          • tormos says:

            man, all my comments today are getting good responses. I appreciate this a lot.

    • Captain Joyless says:

      I had that thought too.

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        Graves says:

        I think it’s worth noting here that I haven’t found that to be the case. My prison has been very well behaved thus far. I’ve only had a couple isolated incidents of violence, and while contraband has been a problem I’ve never had an issue with assaulting prison staff. Thus far, anyway. Maybe I’ve been lucky, or Brendan unlucky.

        Also, I should say, as someone who has worked on legal issues in connection with prisons, violence does happen. Perhaps not as much as TV would have us believe, but it does, and sometimes by the people you’d least expect. One of the nicest sounding guys I’ve had contact with in the prison system allegedly stabbed a guy 70-some times in his cell over a matter that began with a riot over an Xbox.

    • Viroso says:

      Yeah, you know reading the article I wondered, what happens when a prisoner dies? They just die and that’s it? And in real life, who has to answer for it? What responsibilities over the safety of inmates does management have? What happens when they fail at it? Did this game do research about prisons or did it watch a bunch of movies and tv series?

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        Graves says:

        If I were to answer this question in one word, it would be lawsuits. Prisons get sued all the time, sometimes for wrongful death, and contrary to what you might guess proceedings are, usually anyway, fair.

      • Longtime Listener says:

        In Rollercoaster Tycoon my theme park would be shut down the instant a visitor died.
        In Call of Duty your character would be hospitalised for weeks after every bullet injury
        In Sim City it should take months to build a single street and years to build a sky scraper
        And so on.

      • Lanfranc says:

        Guys, the game is still in development. It’s not feature complete yet. Give them a break, won’t you?

    • C0llic says:

      I know you’re joking, but It’s not really. Once you learn the mechanics of the game and make a sensible layout it’s very easy to have a peaceful prison, unless you intentionally mess a few things up to watch the mayhem. I’m sure there will be some meat to the midgame soon, but at present once you have it built, it pretty much runs itself.

      As far as it having all stick and no carrot that’s perfectly true. You can punish but you can’t rehabilitate. It isn’t a coherent game yet; lots of stuff is simply missing. Allowing the player to create a holiday camp or a Gulag is a stated end goal for IV.

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      beekay says:

      The best way to run a prison is to treat all the prisoners well and allow them to do what they like, most of the time. It’s pretty simple to get an absolutely peaceful prison if you know what you’re doing. It’s clearly left-wing propaganda.

  3. Discopanda says:

    What about the doggies? I wanted to hear about the prison doggies. :(

    http://images.morris.com/images/lubbock/mdControlled/cms/2007/12/30/230148117.jpg

    • Jerppa says:

      Maybe he didn’t use them. Which is a shame because they’re SUPER-CUTE!

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      melnificent says:

      You can’t use the doggies without 6gb of ram

  4. Potem says:

    Fun story, unfortunately Prison Architect is pretty shallow, fun on you first few runs, balancing things out, but ultimately there is no incentive to try new things, because there is no deviating from the fairly narrow path the developers intended. There are no core concepts on which to graft mechanically sound alternate approaches, and update after update just sees little features that don”t change much. The problem of these Dwarf fortress knockoffs is that they can’t alleviate weak mechanics by drowning them in overwhelming amounts of content, infinitely branching random events and stats, which is what DF does. But prison architect doesn’t do that, it’s a very simple game, sure it’s only alpha, but it’s quite worrisome that they don’t address it at all, guard dogs, contraband, quirky details, these little things slightly affect layout imperatives, what of core mechanics that would allow for varied play? I’m not seeing development dynamics that could expand towards real depth, right now PA’s appeal amounts to “look how goofy I can make my prison look”, because once you get it, there’s nothing much to it.

    • Jerppa says:

      ” sure it’s only alpha,”

      Someone correct me if I’m wrong but hasn’t PA been in alpha for ages, like 137 years or something?

      • Potem says:

        Indeed, I was just mentioning it to address automatic responses regarding that fact.

    • C0llic says:

      None of that is particularly fair, or even accurate. You’re judging a game you know isn’t finished against a game that’s been in constant development for eons. You’re right. Once the prison is built, your job is done. The game needs more systems; things that require you to do something to keep your inmates in order as a part of the facilities day to day running.

      It also needs a campaign mode, guard towers, (hopefully) gangs, options for rehabilitation, and lots more room types. It doesn’t have all of these things yet because it isn’t finished, which makes your comment seem a bit silly to anyone who realises the game is likely at least a year away from completion (if I had to hazard a guess). The alpha trailer even goes so far as to say it is likely to be in alpha for a long time, as well as giving numerous warnings about what an alpha product actually is.

      As far as progress goes, a lot has been made. I grabbed it when the first build had been released and it’s a much more polished, fleshed out experience. If you don’t like the game currently, don’t play it. Wait until it’s completed then form an opinion. I certainly don’t play every build, and I don’t think anyone (least of all the developers) would expect me to burn myself out on a game that’s not even all there yet.

      • Potem says:

        But it doesn’t show any tangible prospects right now. The latest features have been unimpactful. I won’t pretend I know much about the process of development, but I’d posit that expanding on a solid base is a good one in the context of an alpha, and that’s not what’s happening here, there are systems, but they are rigid, while the few that could be promising haven’t been touched at all or communicated upon. I’m not saying the game is doomed, that would be retarded, I’m saying that I have no reason to expect the game to acquire depth if the current trend goes on, I hope it does though, I still love the idea of a prison sim, this is just a very shallow prison sim right now.

        • C0llic says:

          With respect, I think you’re looking at it the wrong way. The deeper systems you’re talking about I’m sure are either being actively developed, or puzzled over. I know for instance that a gang system is something they really want in the game, but they simply haven’t figured out to implement it yet.

          People expect to see features every update. The complex stuff you’re talking about takes a long time to put in motion, and I would imagine even longer to be in a state ready for public consumption. I would also assume it’s going to be easier to work on these things when the building blocks are in place, and not all of them are yet.

          They way I see it is IV are tackling the low hanging fruit. The room types, equipment, the basic mechanisms of what’s going to amount to an endgame, building blocks of a fully realised prison. They are putting out tangible things they can let people play with and provide feedback on.

          The other way I look at it is, when hopefully prisoner to prisoner realtionships and guard prisoner relationships are fleshed out ( i’m sure they will be – and small things can leads to lots of cool emergent behaviour), the game needs to be in a stable place as a base to build on. I think right now it is, and that makes me very hopeful for the future.

          If you’re curious why I think this way have a look at some of the expo talks IV have done (rezzed i think if memory serves). They’ve talked about how the alpha funded model has effected the content they are releasing in updates, and how they’re approaching the development of the game. Specifically, that people need to see actual things in each update rather than chris spending six months modelling complex invisible systems.

          I’m confident all of this stuff will come, it’s just going to take a long, long time and we will see lots of other stuff before it does. It doesnt mean it isn’t happening or that it won’t.

          • Potem says:

            Well, as you said, it’s a matter of confidence, and I’m just not seeing it, they have not shown or hinted at that true depth yet, I have no reason to assume it’s going anywhere. Benefit of the doubt I know, this isn’t a rant, just a thought.

  5. Fumarole says:

    Death by Dangerous Driving? Manslaughter has a nicer ring to it.

    • Longtime Listener says:

      You can’t say manslaughter without laughter.

      • Kitsunin says:

        Ohh dammit, now I’m going to put that space in there every time I see the word.

  6. Premium User Badge

    DrScuttles says:

    Scutt continues to show exemplary behaviour. Why can’t they all be like Scutt?

    Hey, I like the sound of that Scutt guy. Seems pretty cool.

    When I finally get round to buying this game, one day, there will be no more wanton violence; no further suffering, inflicted without reason or explanation. I will hurt them. And I am not sorry. But I do it not to punish them. I do it to redeem them. Because afterwards, they’ll be better people. And because I love them. One day, they’ll thank me for it.

  7. lautalocos says:

    i must say, your prision looks way better than anything i ever made. i always make a big, BIG corridor, and everything branches out of there.

    edit: oh, and hopefully, we will get our prison arquitect “boatmurdered”

    • tormos says:

      I applaud this comment not only for its ideas but for its innovative spelling of architect. Why can’t you all be more like lautalocos?

      • Kitsunin says:

        Whel bekaus whee doe knot no hao two a void taeking thee joek to fer.

  8. cpy says:

    Well, too much freedom i say, i named my prison Gulag, prisoners work 24 hours in a row sometimes, bastards are so tired they can’t even protest. Found spoon? 12 hour solitary! Looked wrongly at guard? 18 hours solitary! 20 solitary cells almost always full. 120 prisoners 30 guards, no sleep, manual free time switching so some prisoners can go back to sleep and next wave of workers take over. You can make 30-50k a day like this :D

    • Premium User Badge

      Cinek says:

      I’m quite sure that this is exactly what they did here, away from the public eye, not to be limited by money.

      Somehow I never got such an uber-high tech prison after 4 days. Heck – my prisons usually take a day to build an initial stage!

      • cpy says:

        I’m doing my 4-5th reset now, it’s day 7 and still 11 workers havent finished building.
        I love the new feature that allows you to sell your old prison and make new one with ton more money you earned in previous game.

    • JimboDeany says:

      In Mother Russia prisoners rehabilitate you!

  9. Solidstate89 says:

    Awww…why did you have to mention Shawshank? Now I’m reminded of the sweet old man who had to let his only friend/bird go free and then hung himself because he couldn’t make it on the outside.
    :(

  10. clive dunn says:

    All I want to know is this…
    Is it possible to build a thriving prison with maybe 40-50 prisoners whilst at the same time building a secret facility next door where at a certain point all the prisoners are shepherded into an arena (with guards watching, but unable to intervene) and trapped there fighting and brawling until only one remains?
    Thanking you in advance.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Illegal blood sports sound like DLC content, along with the “Feed the Poor” protein reclamation and recycling project.

      • Press X to Gary Busey says:

        Prison Architect: Escape from Old York Expandalone.
        Set in 1997 after World Vietnam War 3. Combining prison building with the Introversion City Generator.
        Build a proto-cyberpunk prison city hellhole. Also has a procedurally generated Isaac Hayes simulation riding a Cadillac with chandeliers on the hood.

        • cfcannon says:

          I want this game. Snake Plissken as dlc content for just about any game would be a plus. Instead we’ll probably get “Prison Zombie Riot” mode.

    • Dominus_Anulorum says:

      So basically you want dwarf fortress. Oh the fun times you can have with an arena…

      • Premium User Badge

        Cinek says:

        lol. Why every game that involves managing small population needs to be compared to the “dwarf fortress”?
        Feels like this teenager generation never played any good games before 2006.

  11. Poklamez says:

    I’m really sad I know how to play now. The funny screw-ups just don’t happen anymore.
    Maybe I also should start building intentionally bad prisons.

  12. Mr. Bottomhat says:

    videogame piracy (plus car theft)

    You Wouldn’t Download A Car

  13. frightlever says:

    Gonna have to skip this until MUCH later. In general I like these game diaries but either I’ve already played the game or I’m never going to play the game, but Prison Architect looks like something I’ll pick up once it’s finished and possibly expanded to death – I’ve handed over too much money to Introversion for games I just plain didn’t enjoy.

  14. MichaelGC says:

    [W]ithout light and seemingly unaware of the simple staff doors that could easily have led to an escape. Every day they pace around their scaffolded hovel, checking their files – papers that must have nothing written on them – and waiting for the janitor to come. But the office block is a dark place. The janitor never comes.”

    How long has Samuel Beckett been writing for RPS? And whyfore the pseudonym?