Prison Architect [official site] is being released. Get it? Released. That’s a thing that also happens to prisoners. Prisoners like the sort the game is about managing. Get it? Yeah. Prison Architect will join society on October 6th.
The seemingly endless expanse of alpha updates that make up our coverage of Prison Architect [official site] – we’re up to Update 36 now, friends! – is coming to an end. It’s true, these collective hands of rock and paper will no longer know the gentle touch of Introversion Software’s regular patches. As we draw closer to its eventual October launch, the final Alpha update reads as follows:
Introversion Software previously made a game called DEFCON [official site], a strategy game in which you launch often unprovoked nuclear attacks upon other countries. Global thermonuclear war is the core of the game, and necessary if you’re going to defeat your opponents, but it never revels in the wanton destruction you’re carrying out. As the death toll rises into the millions, the grim reality of what’s happening is gently communicated through the stark white alerts of how many millions have been killed and through the addition of quiet coughing to the game’s soundtrack.
I’ve killed million and millions in DEFCON. I’m not sure I could bring myself to kill just one person in Prison Architect [official site] using update 31’s newly introduced execution chambers. There’s a video below showing how the process works.
Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
Uplink was the game that made me realise how effective an immersive user interface can be. You play a hacker and the screen is your screen. Your keystrokes and clicks are the actions, 1:1, of your alterego in the game. From that simple setup, Introversion create nailbiting tension as you evade, infiltrate and see the stakes getting higher and higher.
In a recent talk about maintaining motivation and marketing for his game Spy Party, Chris Hecker mentions that “every damned update Prison Architect does” gets a post on RPS because someone who works there just happens to like the game.
Alpha 27 of the prison management sim is out as of late last week and adds a new supply and demand system for food, along with the ability to tap phones and more. The traditional update video is embedded below.
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.
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.
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.
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.
How many posts have I written about Prison Architect alphas since joining RPS last October? Checking the tag page for the game suggests seven thousand. It’s not my fault, it’s just that each one adds a feature or set of features I find irresistible. The latest, alpha 20, introduces a set of failure states to the game, including the ability to be convicted of criminal negligence. You will then “spend time within your own jail as a prisoner.”
The regular developer video showing the new features is below.
After recent updates added bulletproof vests and shotguns, it was probably inevitable that Prison Architect would continue it’s escalation towards more and more exciting additions with each alpha. The trend continues in alpha 19 with a broad revision to the game’s finance systems, which introduces new rules for borrowing, the need to pay corporation tax, and the ability to sell shares in your prison to investors.
Video update below while I try to explain why I’m not being sarcastic.
Prison Architect is forever trapped between two political poles: the side that says that prisoners should be locked up, punished, and left to rot; and the side that thinks they should be reformed, educated, and made better able to return to society and not re-offend. Introversion want both methods to have value within their management game, and alpha 18 takes the first steps towards enabling the liberal half by adding therapists.
Also tazers. New update video below.
It’s been a little while since I’ve seriously played Introversion’s incarceration sim Prison Architect, but I’ve come to enjoy reading and watching their monthly updates just as much as playing it myself. Alpha 17 is now live and the video below details the various additions. The big one: you can now build an armoury in your prison and deck it out like one of those rooms that used to come before a boss fight in first-person shooters. The kind of room full of shotguns, ammo and bulletproof vests.
The kind of room prisoners might want to break into in case of a riot.
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Prison Architect is an ever expanding incarceration management game, currently in alpha and on a monthly update schedule. If it’s not growing fast enough for you, the most recent update adds something that will help: proper modding support.
Also, staff rooms, for when your little guards get sleepy. Come watch the update video.
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Oh, this is so good. This is so very, very good.
If you’ve been playing Introversion’s Prison Architect, you might have noticed that it was a tough game. Like, unfairly tough. And being overall nice peeps, you’d have shrugged and thought “Hey, I’m sure it’ll all work out”. You’re nice. I like you. PA is tough because it’s still in development, and a lot of the mechanics that have been dropped into the prison sketching sim have been a bit skewed towards prisoner activities. That’s been somewhat fixed in the latest update: to give the player more power to detect criminals being criminals, Introversion has added dogs to aid the detection of contraband and escape tunnels. They are SUPER CUTE!
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Weeeee-ooooooo, weeeee-oooooo, weeeeee-ooooooo! It’s the news alarm! Prison Architect’s latest update has escaped the seemingly impenetrable holding cell of Introversion HQ and come running to us for somewhere to stash the goods. Ha! Little bastard’s going straight back to the hole once he’s told us everything he knows. Like about the new tunneling system that’s forcing prison redesigns the world over or customisable punishment regimes that finally let you create the fascist nightmare of your dreams. You can take a glance at everything we got out of that scum bucket before we sent him off here or video evidence once you’ve been searched.
RPS Feature Panopticanned
*Gavel thumps* “Silence! Bring the prisoner forward. Craig ‘Thomas’ Pearson, you have been found guilty of being a rubbish Prison Architect. A most serious offense that resulted in a record number of convicted felons escape your shoddily designed hole. As punishment, you are to spend the morning looking at the Steam Workshop, finding lovely prisons that you can compare your weedy efforts to. Then we’ll shoot you or drown you or something. Be off with you, and may Gabe have mercy on your soul.”
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RPS Feature Indie Megachat Ultrotranscript, Pt 3
All good things must come to an end. Weekends, guitar solos, and – yes – even seemingly unending conversations with a panel of thoughtful game developers. It is nature’s way. And so we reach the third and final part of my chat with Obsidian’s Chris Avellone, Dreamfall’s Ragnar Tornquist, Vlambeer’s Rami Ismail, Introversion’s Chris Delay, and Redshirt’s Mitu Khandaker. This time we discuss clones, competition, diversity, and the future of PC gaming. Also, Ragnar dies horribly. Or maybe he leaves in the middle. I forget. Either way, READ ON OR REGRET FOREVER.
RPS Feature Indie Megachat Ultrotranscript, Pt 2
The megachat continues! At the behest of many, I’m carving it into the Internet’s unforgetting crystalline walls – one hefty chunk at a time – because mere ears could not withstand its relentless auditory onslaught. Last time, I gathered Obsidian’s Chris Avellone, Dreamfall’s Ragnar Tornquist, Vlambeer’s Rami Ismail, Introversion’s Chris Delay, and Redshirt’s Mitu Khandaker to discuss what exactly makes each of them “indie” despite their exceedingly different backgrounds, so you should probably read that and stuff. Done? Then you may now proceed onward to a spirited debate about the increasing uselessness of the term “indie,” Steam Greenlight’s many shortcomings, and the role of Kickstarter for smaller devs vs juggernauts like Obsidian. It’s all after the break.