01/01/2015

☆ A New Prison For A New Year! ☆ @PrisonArchitect @IVSoftware @AverageManvsPi #GameDev

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I've spent the last 10 days playing the marvellous indie game Prison Architect and I just had to write a piece on it from my point of view 

(Immediately, special mention must go to @AverageManvsPi for introducing me to the delights of P.A)

It's currently available on Steam through Early Access and is currently in its Alpha stage.
So, yes there are bugs and yes there are some frustrating moments but in the main this is a great game.

The thing with the game is that it's evolving constantly as the dudes who created this masterpiece are constantly fixing the bugs and adding new features whilst acting on the feedback from the community.

Some people might see this as a cheeky way of releasing a game and charging for something that's not yet fully polished. 

I Myself think it's a great way to get the community involved in the evolution of this cool Prison Management Sim.

On steam the game is really well priced and I got the full game for less than £5 which is an absolute bargain for a game as great as this one.

The regular alpha update YouTube videos from Mark Morris (Producer) and Chris Delay (Designer) are brilliant and keep the community involved every step of the way providing a glimpse into the world of the Game Dev.

In the last ten days of play how have I been getting on?

Well, to put it bluntly.....i'm crap at managing a prison! BUT I love this game.

Just imagine Theme Hospital taken to a level of detail that you could never imagine was possible and then convert the game into a Prison Management sim......then you need to take a step back and you realise that this is actually a design challenge rather than a management sim. 

Maybe that's why i'm crap at it? You really need to put some pre thought into what your prison is going to look like and how it will actually function otherwise from day one you'll have flooded rooms and escapees by the dozen!

I think that's why I love this game. It doesn't hold your hand, it basically gives you a field and some resources and tells you to "go build a prison" and "oh the clock's ticking!"

There is a tutorial when you first fire up the game and it places you in a fully realised prison with the task of building an execution chamber for a prisoner on death row.

The subject matter is really tastefully dealt with and the tutorial basically introduces you to the concept of building foundations for a new construction whilst giving you an insight into how a fully functioning prisoner shapes up. Once the tutorial is dealt with you are then given the opportunity to start dreaming up your very own construction from the ground up.

Riiiiiiiiiiiiot!

In order to get to a point where you can start "hosting" prisoners you need to complete a whole host of different tasks. You'll need to contend with foundation building, meeting room regulations, producing a wiring and water system and in my case trying to work out how doors function! 

The key is understanding and planning your dimensions in advance and then using the handy planning tool to mark out your prison before embarking on the actual building of the prison.

It's quite a tough conundrum to try and juggle finances, regulations and the necessity to hire staff etc whilst trying not to get sidetracked by the minutiae of running the prison.

When I had finally figured out the basics (without much too much help from the brilliant Wiki) and i'd built my first fully functional prison it was then that the fun began! When I say fun I actually mean the riot began! 

I'd built a small prison with a holding cell and some standard rooms. Then after the second lot of inmates arrived it was riot time! The holding cell seemed like a breeding ground for trouble as my poor staff got overrun by the endless stream of violence and there were 12 escapes and 5 deaths in one day! Not a great start as a Prison Architect to say the least......

Try, Try and Try Again
So, what have I learnt from my first foray into the prison trade?

Well, i've learned that it's lots of fun learning how to build your prison and seeing what works and what doesn't and i've also learnt how to schedule my tasks to makes sure i'm ready for the first inmates influx and i've also learnt that prisoners are not very nice people, give them them a common room and a TV and they'll still smash your brand new prison up and beat your guards to a pulp!!

Anyway, i'm off to start a new game and build the "FreezerVille State Prison"

I'll let you know how i'm getting on over the next few months...

Have YOU Played Prison Architect?

Let Me Know Your Top Tips.....