Introversion have released a new Alpha Build for their game Prison Architect, bringing us up to Alpha 17.
Imagine The Sims. Now, cross it with the idea of managing your own prison and you basically have Prison Architect. It has been available on Steam as a playable preorder since September 2012. Every month or so since then the developers have been adding to the game, build by build until it is ready for full release at some point in the future. Today saw the release of Alpha 17, and it comes with guns.
“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 are the big new addition to this build and using them comes with a number of consequences. Firstly, they “have so much authority that all prisoners nearby will begin to feel suppressed”, meaning that they will think a lot harder about starting any fights or trying to escape. The downside to this is that by the time the final version of the game is released, the game will simulate a real working prison, and “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.”
As with almost everyone you can hire in the game so far, you are in control of how they act. Armed guards will not use lethal force unless you give them your express permission, unless they are being attacked and fear for their life.
To hire armed guards you must build yourself an armory and use it to house weapons racks and guard lockers. Once again, there is a downside to having weapons lockers in your prison as “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.”
That’s not all though: Other changes to the game include a new Forestry Zone, building on the wood cutting industry introduced in Alpha 16. This serves as a great way to make money from the empty space in your prison by cutting down and selling the trees you grow. This industry will be revisited in a later build when your prisoners eventually gain the ability to work alongside your gardeners – just as they work in the kitchen, shop or laundry.
The final improvement is the Objects Toolbar. Items shown are now filtered based on the room you are looking at. No longer will you be building an admin room and have shower heads getting in the way. You can still put one there if you want, you just have to click on the ‘+’ icon.
The full change list can be found on the Introversion forums here.
“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.”