Prison Architect Articles RSS Feed | Prison Architect RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Prison Architect IP Sold to Paradox Interactive Tue, 08 Jan 2019 13:06:47 -0500 Ashley Shankle

Prison Architect's gotten a handful of updates since its full release, but even more updates may be in store if Paradox Interactive's track record is any indication. After all, they did just buy all of the rights and assets for Prison Architect from developer Introversion.

Since its release on Steam Early Access, Prison Architect has stood both as one of the most prolific indie games on Steam and as one of the most played management simulation games on the platform. It has also been released on PlayStation 4, Switch, Xbox One, and mobile. It's stretched far past its initial aspirations as a PC game.

Paradox is best known as a strategy publisher and Prison Architect fits right within the rest of their IPs. This acquisition will allow Paradox to continue development of the game and develop other titles based off the Architect IP.

If you're a fan of Prison Architect, this news may be a little worrying as Paradox is very well known for releasing long lists of DLC for individual titles. The game thus far has been free of DLC, with its big updates simply being released as free patches. On the other hand, even more content for Prison Architect is more than welcome as its patches have been releasing in a slow roll over the years.

I, for one, welcome our Paradox overlords to take the reigns and give me more ways to manage and torture my prisoners. Don't you? Let us know in the comments below!

Ten of the Best Mods for Prison Architect 2.0 Tue, 23 May 2017 11:28:37 -0400 Mark Austin


Bonus: 3-D Mode


This is not really a mod -- it's actually an Easter Egg added by the developers, and a lot of fun to play around with. It was added in one of the early Alpha releases, but it went undiscovered for months.


It replaces the normal overhead view with a three-dimensional version of your prison. You can't build anything in 3-D mode, but you can hold down the right mouse button to move around and view different areas of your prison.



To activate it, go to the Extras menu and click on the small button in the lower left. It's easy to miss, and it looks like TT (or the Greek letter for Pi).




That wraps up our list of the best mods for Prison Architect 2.0. Which mods are your favorites to use for prison building and management? Let us know in the comments!


Hotline Miami


Tired of staring at gray metal doors and soiled concrete floors all day? The Hotline Miami mod invigorates your prison with a vibrant new color palate. Now your cons can do their time with some real South Beach style!


South Park Overhaul


Respect my authoritah! This mod replaces many of the game's sprites with popular characters from the long-running animated series. Grab South Park Overhaul and welcome Cartman, Chef, and many more to your prison.




Now that you've got solar power, it's time to set up your own Recycling center. Dig through the trash and export some for money, or use it as fertilizer for your garden. The garden lets your prisoners make flowers for export and food for the kitchen. Contraband often ends up in the garbage too, so be sure you have some metal detectors and guard dogs nearby.


Solar Power


Make your prison green with renewable energy! The Solar Power mod replaces your regular power station with an array of solar panels. Each one can support up to 40 capacitors with as many as eight panels, so you'll never need to worry about blackouts again.


Consuela the Janitor


This mod doesn't do much, but it's pretty hilarious nonetheless. The Consuela mod replaces all your regular janitors with the dour and sardonic housekeeper from Family Guy.


Computers and More


Your jailbirds will need some marketable skills if they ever get parole, and the Computers and More mod helps ensure they're ready to become valuable members of society. Build a computer room and schedule a reform program to help satisfy your prisoners' needs for family with internet chats and recreation with video games.




Welcome to jail, comrade! If the Soviets knew how to do one thing, it was build prisons. The Cold War may be over, but the Gulag mod puts you in charge of a labor camp in the barren wasteland of Siberia.


Snitch Sorter


Snitches and ex-cops don't last long in the joint. Sure, you can recruit confidential informants and pump them for information, but in the meantime the poor guy is getting shivved in the shower. The Snitch Sorter mod automatically detects these prisoners and changes their status to protective custody, so you can keep them out of the general population and out of danger.


Star Wars - Imperial Architect


One of the most popular mods for the game sends you to a prison in a galaxy far, far away. Star Wars - Imperial Architect doesn't change the basic gameplay, but the characters and textures are all re-skinned for the futuristic setting.


This mod is great to use with some of the Star Wars prison designs, such as the Millennium Falcon or the Star Destroyer. For a more immersive experience, grab the Imperial Architect Audio Mod and add authentic sounds and music from the Star Wars universe.


Real-Time Basketball


Doing time is no fun at all, and most prisoners need exercise from time to time. When a few weight benches in the yard won't cut it, let your cons hit the court with the innovative Real-Time Basketball mod.


It's almost a mini-game of its own -- you can zone a half-court for relaxed training, or the full court for a league game. What's more, the action plays out in real time so you can follow along and cheer for your favorites.


Prison Architect is an engaging building and management sim from Introversion Software that puts you in the shoes of a warden overseeing an unruly mob of convicts. 


The game spent four years in open development, with regular monthly updates. To say the game is friendly to modders is an understatement. The developers added full mod support with the Alpha 15 release back in 2013. The "final" Version 2.0 was released in 2016, and there are thousands of user-created mods available on Steam Workshop. We've compiled some of the best to keep you entertained during your time behind bars.


Mods can often be hit-or-miss, so make sure you always download the latest version. Some mods don't play well with each other, and using several at once may disrupt basic game mechanics. Many mods are incompatible with saved games, so it's probably best to try them out with a new jail.


Ready? Let's go to the big house and check out the best mods for Prison Architect 2.0!

Prison Architect or RimWorld? They May Look Alike but That's Where the Similarities End Wed, 09 Nov 2016 05:15:15 -0500 Damien Smith

Prison Architect and RimWorld are both played from the same perspective and while they do look very alike, they are two completely different games by dissimilar developers. Let's compare the two games and establish how they differ from each other.

RimWorld Is Survival, Prison Architect Is Management

In RimWorld the player takes on the role of a group of survivors who have landed on an unknown planet. Their goal is to build a shelter and begin anew while surviving the dangers of the harsh new world. Prison Architect, on the other hand, has the player build a maximum security prison and then manage it.

Players must ensure that the prison has all the facility requirements along with the right amount of security to ensure prisoners don't escape and to keep them from rioting. In RimWorld you start with almost nothing and must gather resources, research new technology and keep the survivors happy.

In Prison Architect, you need to build a prison from the ground up to cater bus load after bus load of prisoners as they arrive. Ensuring everything is ready for their arrival, bedding, toiletry and so on. The two games have very different gameplay. One is about building and surviving in a new world while the other is all about management and keeping ahead of time. 

Both Games Have Prisoners but in Different Ways

Both RimWorld and Prison Architect have imprisonment mechanics to them. Prison Architect revolves around housing dangerous inmates and keeping everything under control. RimWorld revolves around capturing refugees or prisoners.

When imprisoned, you can attempt to convince them to join you or sell them into slavery. They are two very unlike mechanics in two very different games. Imprisonment in Prison Architect is about conducting your duty -- it is your job.

In RimWorld it is about gaining an advantage in a harsh world that is set out to destroy you. Even your actions for that advantage are cruel. If you do not gain the advantage of turning them to your side, you at least gain something for selling them into slavery.

They Both Tell a Story, but Very Differently

Both games tell a story but how they do this is very disparate to each other. Prison Architect tell a story about an inmate called Edward who is facing the electric chair for committing a crime of passion. This is then followed by four additional chapters focusing on different characters and aspects of prison life.

RimWorld's story is told in a very non-identical way. The story is told through an A.I storyteller. There are three of them to choose from, each with their own methods of storytelling. One is more methodical, and tells the story at a slower pace, allowing for some time between disasters.

Another is much more erratic and unpredictable. You will never know when or what he is going to throw at you. The A.I storytellers control all the events that happen throughout the game, from natural disasters, bandit raids and trading caravans. It is all controlled by them. Each game tells a very different story and does so in very unlike ways.

They Look Alike but That's Where the Similarities End

Yes, the two games do look very alike, they use the same style of graphics and are played from the same perspective. That is all that the two games have in common. They each have a story but both are poles apart and the same can be said for how they are told.

Both do include an imprisonment mechanic but how they work is very mismatched. The gameplay within both of these games is also very different as one is about surviving in a strange and hostile world while the other is building and managing a maximum security prison.

Which one of the two should you choose? Well, that depends on your video game appeal. If building a prison and managing it to help ensure that everything is in order and on time, then Prison Architect may be for you. If being thrown into a world where you must gather resources, build, adapt and survive, then RimWorld may be the one to choose. Whichever one may interest you, both are exceptional games that are worth playing.

Changing of the Prison Guards, From 1.0 to 2.0 in Prison Architect Wed, 02 Nov 2016 10:00:01 -0400 SarahKel

Prison Architect is a prison construction simulation video game, developed by Introversion Software. With a BAFTA already sitting in the office display cabinet, this game has been highly anticipated and momentum has been fast paced with numerous changes made -- expanding what can be done in the game.

So, Prison Architect version 1.0 was the Campaign Story release, full of escape modes, collecting items and special wardens. The game then developed further, with the introduction of female prisons.

On January 20 2016, it was announced that as well as Steam, the game would be available for Xbox and PS4, thus increasing the number of people who can play the game.

Tightening the in-game prison security was the next step, where guard towers and snipers were introduced and also secure visitation booths. Staff tasks can also be prioritised too for convenience.

Concentration upon the ambient temperature of the prison came next, as well as a quick room build option, which gave players the templates for basic cells and offices. Controlling the weather conditions was also added. All these things affect the prisoners and staff and have a knock-on effect onto other aspects of the game.

Players can also check out other players prisons for inspiration, as there's now a top 10 list! There has been ongoing bug fixes, changes to mod API and language translation.

On 28 June 2016, Prison Architect was released for Xbox One and PS4 and after this point, more aesthetic amendments to menus and interfaces were developed to prepare for the launch of version 2.0.

On Friday 26 August, the version 2.0 was released, with a few more changes, including whether the player wants to 'cheat' and policy windows where the player decides what crimes should have what security.

This is a game, where the changes are generated through play to expand the parameters of the game, with the clear potential of what can be done and a clear commitment to game development.

Prison Architect is out on Xbox One and PS4 today! Tue, 28 Jun 2016 03:30:02 -0400 CalendarV

Prison Architect for Xbox One and PS4 will be released today. It is a private prison construction and management simulation game developed and published by Introversion Software.

According to the official game description:

In Prison Architect you will see the impact of your grand design on the lives of your inmates; be it a utopic centre for rehabilitation, a brutal Super Max Prison or anything in between.

The player has control over various features of prison. You can hire people such as warden, chief, armed guard, etc. to control the prisoners. You can also let the prisoners study, work, or participate in programs such as therapy or spiritual guidance. If prisoners aren't satisfied with their life, they won't be cooperative. The player's goal is to control the prisoners and improve the prison with the money from government!

 The game was initially available as an alpha version on September 25, 2012 with continuous updates. Then it was officially released on PC last year, October 6th. Its unique concept gained attention from many gamers, and garnered over 1.25 million sales. With its success, it is also getting released on other platforms for more players to enjoy this award-winning game!

Prison Architect will be released on PS4 and Xbox One today.

Prison Architect to release on Xbox One and PS4 next week Mon, 20 Jun 2016 10:26:57 -0400 CalendarV

Prison Architect for Xbox One and PS4 will be released on June 28th. It is a private prison construction and management simulation game developed and published by Introversion Software.

In Prison Architect you will see the impact of your grand design on the lives of your inmates; be it a utopic centre for rehabilitation, a brutal Super Max Prison or anything in between.

As the official description of the game says, the player have control over various features of prison. You can hire people such as warden, chief, armed guard, etc. to control the prisoners. You can also let the prisoners study, work, or participate in programs such as therapy or spiritual guidance. If prisoners aren't satisfied with their life, they won't be cooperative. -- The player's goal is to control the prisoners and improve the prison with the money from government!

It was initially available as an alpha version on September 25, 2012 with continuous updates. Then it was officially out on PC last year, October 6th. Its unique concept gained attention from many gamers, and over 1.25 million sales were made by September 26, 2015. With its success, it is also getting released on other platforms for more players to enjoy this award-winning game!

Prison Architect will be released on PS4 and Xbox One on next week, June 28th.

Political Animals: The video game for the 2016 election Mon, 30 May 2016 07:34:38 -0400 Janiece Sebris

A turn-based strategy game called Political Animals will release to the public before the 2016 US election in November.

The PC game is an election simulation game that uses cartoon animals to portray candidates. The game is a wash of moral choices for the players.

The PC game takes place on an island with the user acting as a potential presidential candidate.

For each turn the player assigns tasks to their animal-candidate and election staff. These tasks can range from moving districts, raising money, holding a rally or committing different acts of bribery or corruption.

However, users don’t have to succumb to the gritty aspect of election life. Those players can choose to take the take the moral, but ultimately less exciting, high road.

Positech, the UK company publishing Political Animals, renamed the game from a game called Party Animals that has been in part-time development. The company is working with a new studio to develop the game called Squeaky Wheel based out of the Philippines.

The use of the cartoon animals by artist Ryan Sumo, from Squeaky Wheel and the game Prison Architect, gives the election season the whimsy it so desperately needs.

Cliff Harris, the man behind Positech, wrote in a blog post, “Politics and cute animals obviously mix brilliantly.”

Fallout 4 gets Best Game award at the BAFTA Game Awards 2016 Thu, 07 Apr 2016 13:04:46 -0400 ESpalding

Bethesda has done it! Fallout 4 was just announced as Best Game at the British Academy Game Awards in London. Tonight's event saw game professionals gather at Tobacco Dock in London for the ceremony, which was held during the first day of this year's EGX Rezzed event. It was hosted by the Irish comedian Dara Ó Briain, a man known to many in the UK for his love of video games.

There were 3 other games who also stood out, all winning 3 awards on the evening: Her Story - an interactive movie video game developed, written and directed by Sam Barlow, Everybody's Gone to the Rapture - an adventure game set in an English village which comes from developers The Chinese Room, and Rocket League - a physics-based soccer game played using futuristic vehicles from Psyonix.

As well as the Academy Awards won tonight, there was also an award for "One to Watch" which is awarded for new talent and innovation within the industry. This year's nominated games were all selected from games which were showcased in August last year at the Dare Protoplay festival in Dundee. The winner of this year's award was SUNDOWN. Developed by Mild Beast Games, SUNDOWN is a top-down stealth shooter which sees players plunged into darkness in a "last man standing" shootout.

Full list of winners from the 2016 British Academy Game Awards

Artistic Achievement

Ori and the Blind Forest

Moon Studios

Audio Achievement

Everybody's Gone to the Rapture

The Chinese Room

Best Game

Fallout 4

Bethesda Softworks

British Game

Batman: Arkham Knight

Rocksteady Studios

Debut Game

Her Story

Sam Barlow


Rocket League


Game Design



Game Innovation

Her Story

Sam Barlow

Mobile & Handheld

Her Story

Sam Barlow


Rocket League



Everybody's Gone to the Rapture

The Chinese Room

Original Property

Until Dawn

Supermassive Games


Merle Dandridge (Everybody's Gone to the Rapture)

The Chinese Room

Persistent Game

Prison Architect

Introversion Software


Rocket League



Life is Strange

Dontnod Entertainment

Prison Architect - How to complete the Inmate Nutrition Research grant Mon, 26 Oct 2015 05:59:31 -0400 Ashley Shankle

Grants are the lifeblood of a brand new prison. Some are far more cryptic or difficult to complete than others for new Prison Architect players, but in time they all get to be a piece of cake. The Inmate Nutrition Research grant is no different, but it's one of the more confusing grants your first time around.

The Inmate Nutrition Research grant requests that you do two things:

  1. Serve a single low quantity, low variety meal for two days
  2. Serve three high variety, high quantity meals for two days

This grant is asking you to alter your inmates' meals to see how they react -- and they do not react well to only having one bad meal a day.

To alter your inmates' meal quantities and varieties, you need to head to the Policy section of your Reports.

You can find and alter your prison's Nutritional Policy at the bottom, which is the first thing you need to tinker with for this grant.

The second thing you need to tinker with is your Regime, which is where you alter your inmates' schedules. The Regime menu can be found in your Reports as well.

Let's focus on the low-quality meal requirement first.

A single low quantity, low variety meal for two days

Head into Policy and set your Nutritional Policy like so:

And go into Regime and ensure each security level only has one meal in a day. The duration of the meal does not matter as long as there is only one. (Regime below is simply an example and probably shouldn't be followed.)

Keep your prisoners on this regime for two days and you will fulfill the requirement.

Don't worry about whether you'll be able to keep track of the time or not: Once you've completed the two days, the portion of the grant requirement you've finished will be crossed off on your To Do List.

Three high variety, high quantity meals for two days

This is just as simple as the above, and your inmates won't be rioting over it.

Set your Nutritional Policy like so:

And make sure all of your security tiers are having three meals for the next two days.

After the two-day duration is over, you'll have completed the grant requirements and gotten the $15,000. Make sure you set your inmate Regimes back to something feasible and move on with your prison-building.

Prison Architect: How-to guide to satisfying your inmates' needs Mon, 19 Oct 2015 03:41:58 -0400 Ashley Shankle

You don't have to keep your inmates happy in Prison Architect, but you do have to keep them sated enough that they don't decide to riot. This is where needs come in, and it's exactly why keeping on top of them is so important.

You can see the intensity of your prison's overall needs at the top of the UI at all times. You can see individual prisoner needs on mouseover.

This gives you an idea of how your prisoners are feeling, but you need to go into the Needs tab under Reports to get the details.

These 18 needs you see under the Needs tab are the key to a functional and riot-free prison. Let's take a look at what they are, how you can satisfy them, and the regime periods they are most easily and often satisfied during.


What it means: Your inmates need to use the restroom.

How to satisfy bladder: If your inmates' bladder need is mostly orange or worse regularly, you need to add more toilets to your prison. Ensure you have a few toilets in each holding cell, that your plumbing is connected to your toilets, and add a few to your showers. Toilets do not need to be inside cells to be used.

Regime periods: Bladder can be satisfied most easily during shower periods if you have toilets in your showers, free time, and sleep periods.


What it means: Your inmates need to use the restroom.

How to satisfy bowels: Dealing with bowels is just the same as dealing with bladder. Increase the amount of toilets in your prison and pay special attention to the number of toilets in your showers and holding cells.

Regime periods: Bowels can be satisfied during free time, shower periods if there are toilets in your showers, and sleep times.


What it means: Your inmates are tired.

How to satisfy sleep: There are two instances where sleep becomes an issue. The first is when you don't have enough beds for all your inmates, which means you need to build more cells or a holding cell. The second is when they do not have enough scheduled sleep time, in which case add another sleep hour in their regimes.

Regime periods: The sleep need is satisfied, most fittingly, during the sleep period.


What it means: Your inmates are either hungry or are not getting enough to eat.

How to satisfy food: Dealing with food issues can be really simple, but it can also be a big pain. If you want all the nitty gritty on it, which I recommend you do, check out my article where I go into detail on meeting inmate food needs and playing with your food distribution.

Usually, the cause of a spike in food needs is simply that your inmates have woken up, but if it's a persistent problem, you will have to add more kitchen and canteen equipment and maybe even another kitchen and canteen. You can also adjust which canteens service which cells under the Logistics tab.

Your inmates also may not be able to get into your canteens in time to eat, if your canteens are continually overcrowded at the doors. In these instances, add another large jail door to your canteen.

Lastly, you could also add more mealtimes in the regime or make your current ones an hour longer.

Regime periods: The food need is satisfied during eating periods.


What it means: Safety indicates how safe your inmates feel in your prison. Their safety is affected by other prisoners and your guard staff.

How to satisfy safety: This is easily fixed by dispatching more guards. Regular guard staff lower your inmates' safety need, while armored guards increase the need. This makes sense, considering your regular guards aren't carrying around guns, while your armored guards are.

Hire more guards and increase their patrols. If you have a large number of armored guards and your inmates' overall safety need is high, fire some armored guards as well.

Regime periods: The safety need will adjust during any regime period based on the guards you have nearby.


What it means: Your inmates are dirty and need a good shower.

How to satisfy hygiene: Your inmates need to take at least one shower a day, and that might be hard even with enough shower facilities around your prison.

The easiest method to decrease your inmates' shower need is to add simply more shower heads in your shower rooms, but you can also take it a step further and add shower heads (and drains) in medium to large-size cells and holding cells. This way inmates will be able to shower during sleep periods, on top of free and shower times.

Shower doorways can also get crowded to the point inmates will be blocked from the room. In these cases, add a new doorway to the room.

Regime periods: If you only have shower heads in your shower rooms, then your inmates will be able to satisfy their hygiene need during shower and free time periods. If you have shower heads in cells and holding cells, they will also be able to shower during sleep periods.


What it means: Your inmates need to get some exercise.

How to satisfy exercise: Even the fattest inmate needs to exercise, which is why you should have at least one yard designated in your prison. Each yard needs to have at least a few workout machines to regularly keep inmates' exercise need low. If your need is high, build more exercise machines.

Interestingly, if you have a yard that is large enough and is not densely packed during yard periods, your inmates will also jog around the yard for exercise.

Regime periods: The exercise need is most easily satisfied during yard periods, but can be satisfied any period inmates have access to a weights bench.


What it means: Your inmates want to talk to or see their family.

How to satisfy family: You'd probably want to talk to your loved ones while in prison too -- you need more phone booths and visitor tables in visitation areas.

Phone booths can be placed in common rooms for ease of access during free time, and in yards for yard periods. Build more in either area to satisfy the need.

Regime periods: The family need can be satisfied most easily during free time and when an inmate gets a visitor. If an inmate can talk on the phone, their family need will go down.


What it means: Your inmates need some time to relax and enjoy themselves somewhat.

How to satisfy recreation: Recreation is satisfied by giving your inmates more televisions, radios, and pool tables to interact with during free time. Often this need gets too high if you simply haven't built enough of them in your common rooms. You could add some TVs and radios to some inmates' cells or holding cells to improve their recreation need as well.

Regime periods: Recreation is most easily satisfied during free time, but can be satisfied during sleeping periods if inmates have TVs or radios in their rooms.


What it means: Your inmates want to sit or lie down.

How to satisfy comfort: You can lower your inmates comfort need by adding more benches to holding cells, canteens, and yards. It's most easily done in yards if you're low on space. Uncomfortable inmates will automatically sit. Comfort will also be satisfied when your inmates sleep.

Regime periods: Any period where your inmates have access to a bench can relieve their comfort need. This is most easily done during yard, free time, and eating periods.


What it means: Your inmates are disgusted with the area they're in because it's dirty.

How to satisfy environment: If you don't have enough janitors, your prison is going to get pretty disgusting fast. You can hire more janitors to clean up after your inmates or build a new cleaning cupboard and hire inmates to clean the prison.

Regime periods: The environment need can be satisfied during any period, as long as their surroundings are cleaned.


What it means: There are too many inmates in the same holding cell together, or they are in a holding cell with other inmates for too long.

How to satisfy privacy: This is a big issue in prisons that use several holding cells, especially those that use holding cells as regular housing. All you can do to lower the privacy need is give your inmates some time to themselves. This means less time in their holding cells with other inmates doing other tasks, or finally building a host of individual cells instead of keeping multiple sets of inmates in large holding cells.

Regime periods: Any period but sleeping can relieve your inmates' privacy needs. Free periods can make the need worse if there are not enough recreational items like televisions in common rooms for inmates to use during their time off.


What it means: Your inmates have been holed up in their cells for too long, or they have been punished or under lockdown.

How to satisfy freedom: Simply give your inmates for free time to wander the prison.

Regime periods: Free time is the only period where the freedom need will subside.


What it means: Your inmates need clean uniforms.

How to satisfy clothing: If your clothing need is getting high, you need to figure out how to get more laundry done. You can hire more inmates in your current laundry rooms if they're not full or even hire more janitors, but the most effective way to curb this need is to build a new laundry room and allow inmates to work there.

Make sure you look at laundry distribution under Logistics and adjust as needed if the majority of your laundry is being handled by a single laundry room.

Regime periods: The clothing need can be satisfied during any period as long as dirty clothes are washed and new uniforms are taken to their cells.


What it means: Your inmates are struggling with drug addiction.

How to satisfy drugs: The drugs need and the alcohol need both function similarly: neither can be directly lowered.

Your inmates' drug need can only be lowered via the Pharmacological Treatment of Drug Addiction program in your Reports. Activate the program and make sure your clinic is ready to slowly lower this need. The drugs need will always be persistent, but it can be curbed.

Regime periods: Inmates can go through the Pharmacological Treatment of Drug Addiction program during work periods. Make sure are least one of your inmate security levels is working during the scheduled class period.


What it means: Your inmates are struggling with alcohol addiction.

How to satisfy alcohol: Much like the drugs need, the alcohol need requires a program to curb it. As with drugs, the alcohol need can never be completely satisfied.

You need to enable the Alcoholics Group Therapy program in your Reports, which requires a psychologist, a common room with chairs, and two scheduled work hours to participate in.

Regime periods: Inmates can go through the Alcoholics Group Therapy program during work periods.


What it means: Your inmates want the comfort of religion.

How to satisfy spirituality: You must have a chapel built, with enough pews and praying mats, to keep inmates' spirituality need relatively low. It's a good idea to have a large enough of a chapel to fit several pews and praying mats for inmates to use.

You can further lower your inmates' spirituality need by enabling and scheduling the Spiritual Guidance program in Reports.

Regime periods: Inmates can visit the chapel and pray during free time. If you are running the Spiritual Guidance program, inmates will partake during work hours.


What it means: Your inmates want to read some books.

How to satisfy literacy: A library is exactly what you need -- but first you need someone to work in the library. No inmates will use the library until you have someone complete the Foundation Education Program. You must assign inmates to the job in Logistics.

Once you have a functional library, inmates will visit during their free time to read a book to satisfy this need. Add more bookshelves or build a new library if your current one is not meeting your inmates' needs.

Regime periods: Literacy is lowered during free time, as it is the only time inmates can visit the library.

Prison Architect guide - How to cure your inmates during a pandemic Mon, 19 Oct 2015 03:15:51 -0400 Ashley Shankle

Pandemics are just one of the handful of events you'll run into during your time with Prison Architect. Like most others, dealing with a pandemic is fairly easy, but it can be less straight forward than the others.

There are a few ways you can deal with an outbreak in your prison, such as quarantining the ill to a single cell block, but here we're going to focus on the easiest method: making good use of paramedics. Placing a few paramedics in key areas takes far less time than trying to hunt down every sick inmate.

Your paramedic UI component.

Paramedics, which can be found in the Emergencies tab of the menu, can be strategically placed around your prison to cure your sick inmates as they pass by. While your doctors will also cure sick inmates, paramedics are easier to keep track of and control thanks to their special portion of the UI.

You can left click on an individual paramedic and then right click and send it to where you want it to go, which is going to be where your prisoners are clustered together.

Where to place your paramedics during a pandemic

There are four primary spots I like to place my paramedics:

  • Canteens
  • Yards
  • Showers
  • Walkways my prisoners use most frequently

While your inmates are infected, you're going to have to keep on top of where most of the population is. Don't worry if you can't tell which of your inmates are sick -- it can be difficult to tell what a sick inmate looks like (their faces are a little green), but luckily your paramedics can find them in a jiffy as long as they're nearby.

The image below shows a section of one of my prisons, with the areas I tend to place paramedics in during a pandemic marked in red. Notice I place them in the locations listed above, including wide and thin walkways.

You will have to pay attention to your inmates' movements to keep your paramedics on the move until the pandemic is dealt with. This could take only a few hours in-game, or even a few days. Stick it out and keep those pandemics packed like sardines with your inmates until the infection is snuffed out.

Prison Architect beginner's tip: Dealing with kitchens and food needs Sun, 18 Oct 2015 08:35:41 -0400 Ashley Shankle

Dealing with food supply and demand is something I initially struggled with in Prison Architect, but eventually I got the swing of making sure everyone got fed. A hungry prisoner is a very unhappy prisoner. No one wants to deal with riots.

There are a few ways you can increase the amount of food you have available to your inmates. Below are some options for even the simplest prison:

  • Make a separate kitchen and canteen with their own equipment and staff
  • Increase the amount of equipment in your kitchen
  • Hire more cooks
  • Add another serving table in the canteen
  • Set inmates of different security levels to differing meal times
  • Fiddle with food distribution in logistics

Making another kitchen and canteen is usually something you don't have to do until you're pretty well expanded, unless your initial ones were far too small. If you are simply having problems feeding all your inmates and know you have enough space, you need to first add some new equipment to your kitchen.

Hiring cooks is something you should just gradually do as your prison progresses. The beginning recommended amount is two, but you want to hire up to 5 once your canteen is bustling during mealtimes.

Note: If you've just started a new prison and are getting the "There are no canteens accessible by this cell." notification on your holding cell or cells, you need to secure the parameter with a fence so your guards will let your inmates leave buildings.

Getting geared up

Cookers, fridges, and sinks

The three primary kitchen appliances are the cooker, the fridge, and the sink. You need all three, but adding additional cookers and fridges helps far more than adding sinks.

I would go so far as to say the fridge is perhaps the most important appliance in the kitchen, and is what you should have the most of. The more fridges you have, the more food your cooks will have on hand to work with. I've had more success improving my food supply by adding fridges than cookers and sinks.

Sinks are the least used kitchen equipment, and hence are what you need the least of. Smaller kitchens can get by with one for the most part, though a second sink may be in order if you are really struggling with demand.

Below is an image of one of my kitchens in a smaller prison.

An example kitchen and canteen.

This kitchen and canteen feeds over 100 inmates with 3 cookers, 3 fridges, 4 cooks, and 1 sink, with plenty of food to spare. Maximum security prisoners have different mealtimes than other security levels in this prison.

Cookers, where your cooks make your inmates' meals, should be increased as more inmates use a kitchen; but fridges should be prioritized. It never hurts to have more fridges than cookers. The space they provide makes your cooks that much more efficient. If your cooks aren't using every cooker, it's time to invest in another fridge or two.

Trash cans and serving tables

Trash cans might seem unnecessary, but you have to think: where are your cooks going to throw out leftover food? If your canteen is littered with trays, you need at least one more trash bin in the area. Cooks will take the trash to the trash bin and workmen will take the trash bags to the garbage area.

Serving tables function as a place for your cooks to put food and for inmates to pick it up. You need at least one serving table per canteen. The busier a canteen is, the more serving tables you should have laid out. The image above in the "Cookers, fridges, and sinks" uses only one serving table due to space restrictions, but would be more efficient with a second one.

Playing with food distribution

Once you unlock Micromanagement via Bureaucracy, you have access to the Logistics tab. From here, you can set food and laundry distribution, as well as see inmate cell quality. We're focusing on food distribution here.

When looking at the food distribution view, you can see which cell blocks are using which canteens to eat, and which kitchens are sending food to which canteens. You can adjust where inmates eat and which canteen food is taken to by clicking on the room you want to change distribution to and dragging the line to its destination.

If you have multiple canteens, you can fine-tune where your inmates will go during mealtime. If you have multiple kitchens, you can have your cooks deliver food to other canteens. The two rooms do not necessarily need to be connected, though it does save time to have them close together.

If you have more than one set of kitchen and canteen, have them fully equipped, and are still having trouble getting all your inmates fed, you should probably make some adjustments to distribution to see if one canteen is being more heavily used than the other. And of course, adding another kitchen and canteen is an option -- though it's pricier in the long run.

Adjusting mealtimes by security level

You should already have played with your inmates' regimes, but have you considered giving different security levels varying mealtimes?

Below is an example regime used in one of my smaller prisons, with maximum security inmates being separate from minimum and normal security inmates all day.

An example regime separating inmates.

Not only does this lower the chances of more dangerous inmates causing trouble, but it allows your kitchens handle the workloads more effectively. This has been a huge factor in my food supply and demand, and I guarantee you'll see some positive effects in your prisons as well.

Getting your prisoners their food should be one of your highest priorities unless you like riots. Hopefully the advice above will help you get your canteens and kitchens in order so your inmates aren't out looking for blood.

Guide: Prison Architect - Building Your First Prison Tue, 19 Nov 2013 17:51:16 -0500 Destrolyn.Bechgeddig

After previewing Introversion's brilliant playable alpha of Prison ArchitectI thought that I should make a nice little guide for those who are a bit flummoxed in starting out, given how I had mentioned the learning curve after the introductory story chapter/tutorial is more like a cliff. Even if you've built many prisons, hopefully this will still be an enlightening look at general strategy, too.

The blueprints for the first phase are available on the Steam Workshop. Please fell free to download and use it, or just have a gander for reference.

NB: This guide is based on version 14 of the alpha.

Part 1 of 2 of my video walkthrough to supplement this guide. Both parts (as a playlist) can be viewed here

Phase 1 Strategy Overview

Build a basic, secure, and functioning prison to sell off in order to have more money to build a new larger prison. Why? This is because once your money runs out it's an incredibly slow process to build funds up enough to expand. It's much quicker (and satisfying) to sell your prison and start over with more than double the initial amount of building money.

Building Your Prison


The first thing you'll need to do is accept all grants, as $10,000 is nowhere near enough to build the basics. So go into your reports and select all available grants. This will give you a total of $90,000 to build with. It might seem like enough, but believe me, it'll just about cover this phase alone, so don’t go mad!

Although not a tutorial like in the introduction scenario, these do give new players a good outline of how to set-up their first prison. Bear in mind is that there is no restriction to the order in which to do them, so you don’t have follow them through methodically, as completing one grant won’t allow or disallow you to start another.

Staff Entrance/Security Office

I always like to build a little entrance next to the deliveries and by the kitchen to maximise the effectiveness of staff AI routing. The trick to this is using the “Staff Doors” on either side. Whereas “Jail Doors” are very secure, they require a guard to open them for any staff or prisoner to pass through. Therefore, unless you have loads of available guards, it can take a long time for cooks and workers to simply get in and out of the prison to go about their usual business.

“Staff Doors” automatically don’t let prisoners through. If prisoners have no other option but to be routed through these, then they’ll require a guard to open them. Therefore, by creating this little entrance, you’ve got a nice easy route for your staff to get in and out of the delivery set-down without letting prisoners through.

However, these do not last as long as jail doors during prisoner destruction sprees or riots, so it is a weak point in the perimeter. Therefore, it’s advised to research a security chief through beaurocracy and "Deployment" as soon as you can. Then, you can deploy a guard in this staff entrance area and designate it as a “Staff Only” zone, making it a bit more secure.

It’s also worth making this entrance 4x4 as you can later, upon researching CCTV, turn this into a Security Office, meaning the stationed guard can also look at up to 3 CCTV cameras.

Visual of my plan for your first prison (phase 1).

Holding Cell Capacity

As you’re expecting eight prisoners to arrive, there’s the temptation to build a separate holding cell to accommodate eight. However, I like to build it to accommodate 16. Prisoners usually arrive in groups of eight, which means, if I don’t have enough cells to accommodate them, I can still take two days’ worth of intakes, which is plenty of time to expand whilst still cashing in on the federal grant per accepted prisoner.

Furthermore, I’ve seen intakes go up to 21 for one day, therefore a larger holding cell would certainly help. Of course, don’t forget, you can always close your prison to new prisoners if you think you won’t be able to handle the influx.

Don’t overload it though, as it’ll detriment the “Privacy” stat and risk causing a riot, or, if there aren’t enough beds, deprive prisoners of sleep, which is just as dangerous.

Holding Cell Location

What I’ve noticed with the AI routing rules, is that during a specified activity in the regime, all prisoners will flock to the nearest designated area for the activity. Because of this, instead of building a separate holding cell and showers away from the main cell block, I’ve actually incorporated the holding cell into the main cell block itself.

This is because I was noticing that either; a) prisoners in the holding cell will not use the separate shower block I set aside for them, but go to the main one instead, or b) all my prisoners would just go and use the holding cell’s shower block.

This can be solved with some tweaking of the regime, but it just seems cheaper and more effective to put the holding cell inside the cell block. It also means that transferring prisoners from the holding cell to new/available cells is also quite quick.

Common Room/Recreation Stat

On the game’s wiki, the bookshelf is described as being a cheap alternative to the television. However, having made a common room with nothing but bookshelves, I find that prisoners seem very unwilling to use them, and if they are and I just haven’t noticed, it hardly makes a dent on the recreation stat. Therefore just fill it with TVs and pool tables. They might be more expensive but they’re certainly more effective.


There is no reason for needing to incorporate these as part of your main complex. As any office staff (warden, accountant, psychiatrist, security chief, foreman) will just stay in there doing very little. You could just place offices anywhere you wish without causing any problems.

Managing Your Prison


In order to sell you prison, you must be in the black for your prison valuation. This is a calculation (unlocked by hiring an accountant) of how much you can sell your prison for. This is done partly through the cost of materials you’ve put into building the prison, and also the amount of functioning cells you have. You also get a bonus based on the number of in-game hours you go without an incident (serious injury, death, or escape).

You will absolutely want to avoid deaths/unsolved murders and escapes. Each death will wipe $30,000 off your valuation, and each escape will wipe $60,000! A few of these and your prison will be worthless.

Prisoner Type

I would highly recommend starting off with only low risk prisoners. As it currently stands, the tier of prisoners you accept at your prison makes no difference to the amount of federal grant your receive per prisoner, ie you get the same amount for all types.

Low risk prisoners are the boring ones; they’re less likely to attack other prisoners and staff and try to escape. This will minimise the likelihood of getting penalised on your valuation.

Once you’ve sold off larger prisons and are starting off with more and more cash, you could then try mucking about with accepting normal and high risk prisoners. As they’re far more volatile, it certainly makes for a more interesting game and ramps up the sense of challenge.

Metal Detectors Are Your Friends

Yes, they’re expensive ($1,000) and drain you electricity meaning you’ll have to add more than a couple of capacitors (another $1,000 each) to your power station But they’re extremely useful in ensuring fewer attacks resulting in a serious injury or death from smuggled-in weapons, or attempted escapes from prisoners smuggling back spoons from the canteen. The best place to put them is at the entrance to the cell blocks, as they’ll therefore scan every prisoner as they go the bed.


This is another safeguard against successful escape attempts. DO NOT use the "Perimeter Wall", as this is incredibly expensive and takes ages to build. Instead use the "Fence" which is FREE!

Prisoners only seem to want to tunnel beyond the outside wall, and not past the fence. Therefore when prisoners break free from their tunnel, you've got them running a gauntlet straight to you waiting guards.

Avoid Building Workshops

Once you’ve run out of money to build, sell your prison and then start again. Even if you’ve researched prison labour, and therefore can build yourself a workshop, these are very expensive to set up. You'll need a minimum of $2,000 to spend on the required machines, which drain electricity meaning you’ll probably have to buy at least another capacitor. This is all on top of the actual building costs. This therefore makes workshops more suited for long-term sustainability and cash flow rather than a quick cash fix. For this very first prison, I don’t recommend building them at all.

The finished product, following the plan.

Build, Go Broke, Sell

Rinse and repeat, ensuring your next prison starts off with significantly more funds to build than the last. You'll get the starter of $90,000 again in addition to what you sell your prison for.

  • Prison windows are expensive ($200 each) and seem to have little to no impact on environment stat.
  • Meal variety doesn’t seem to do anything at the moment, instead of significantly increasing the cost of feeding prisoners . When there’s been more balancing done in game, I’d wager that this will affect the environment stat. But right now, prisoners are just as happy with cabbage ad infinitum. Who needs bacon!

Next week, we’ll build a larger prison and start to go through some more of the advanced mechanics such as deployments, patrols, and prison labour!

Prison Architect playable alpha is available to buy from Steam. For more information about the game, visit

Preview: Prison Architect Thu, 14 Nov 2013 19:54:10 -0500 Destrolyn.Bechgeddig

Introversion's prison management simulator has been in alpha for some time now; more than a year, to be exact. Although this seems like being forever in development, the developers are making sure patience doesn't run low by involving its backers and fans by releasing a pay-to-play/early access alpha.

Having first come across the game and those behind it at Eurogamer Expo 2013, Introversion have kindly allowed me to play the game to preview it. Now in alpha version 14, there's a whole load of new features, including sniffer dogs and prisoners escaping via tunnels. Whilst it's still not a complete game, there's still plenty for players to get stuck into.

My video supplement to this preview.

Tutorials Are For Wimps

Whilst there is a short and very basic tutorial that automatically runs when you first start the game, there's not much else that comes with it that will show you the ropes. It's suggested on the forums that this will form the first part of a wider story campaign, so there may well be a gameplay direction that's a bit more comprehensive and will smoothly introduce the various gameplay elements.

However, it's actually quite refreshing to be left in the lurch to try and figure things out. After the tutorial, we're plopped straight into sandbox mode without so much as a talking paperclip for help; it makes us realise how much the gaming community has been spoonfed by games in the past ten years or so. But it does make things less of a learning curve and more of a learning cliff! You won't be completely alone, as there's a huge community that has built up around the alpha alone--guides, tips, and discussions can readily be found on the official Prison Architect forums or even on Steam.

But, getting to grips with the game is by no means impossible, and you'll quickly end up dedicating yourself to the game without a second's thought, either out of enjoyment or sheer determination to master it. You're kept involved because, even with all the bugs that still need to be sorted out and the placeholder features like electric chairs and lawyers, it's a simulation that works really well, making it a joy to play.

Keeping You on Your Toes

The game keeps you interested by really being intelligently involving. As you first build your prison with little rhyme, reason, or understanding, you'll very quickly start to constantly evaluate how you could do things better, and what improvements in positioning, size, and order you research things, for your next prison after spending considerable time studying the AI behaviour.

Throw in things like prisoners smuggling in weapons and contraband, attacking guards and/or other prisoners at will, and even trying to escape, all make for an incredibly dynamic, challenging, and addictive game. The fact that you can have so much fun in this unstructured, unguided, and incomplete sandbox shows a heck of a lot of promise and potential for the full game to be absolutely stellar.

Adult Cartoons

Whilst the game looks basic and the prisoners and prison staff are a little cartoony, it's not distracting at all. This is down to the fact that the simulation itself is the most involving and important aspect of the game. So although things might look a little silly on first impressions, trying to animate anything more detailed and serious is unnecessary as it will really add nothing to the gameplay.

But even so, these simple geometric convicts also complement what humour there is in the game, especially with some of the more "creative" descriptions the game's backers have given them. There's a nice balance of severity, dark humour, and the ridiculous, and is never too maudlin or juvenile.

Furthermore, with the indication of further story quests, we really hope we see some more of the exquisitely drawn 1950s comic book-esque illustrations that appear on Polaroids in game, which are worth a mention in themselves.

Extras! Extras!

Even in its current unfinished state, it's well worth buying and playing the alpha. You'll, of course, automatically get the full game upon its release regardless. But if you're going to invest early in the game and support Introversion, you might want to consider forking out that little extra money for some neat little bonuses. These include the ability to get your name in the game as one of the prisoners, being able to write a biography for your avatar, right up to even having your likeness etched upon one of the prisoner's circular faces.


As it's a bit of a long-haul to understand the mechanics at first, and the fact that there are still bugs and missing features, it can be a little frustrating. Also, after a while, you may find you've hit a rock by having done everything you possibly could have because end-game features haven't been added yet. But with new versions and updates being released every two to four weeks, there'll always be something new to play around with.

"This is one of the best simulation games of recent years, corrective facility-based or otherwise, and it hasn't even finished being made yet!"

Anyone wishing to get involved should be fully be aware that this is an alpha, and therefore only approach with a willingness to experience rough edges, and also be forthcoming in assisting the developers in improving the game.

Otherwise, this is one of the best simulation games of recent years, corrective facility-based or otherwise, and it hasn't even finished being made yet!

The playable alpha is currently available to purchase on Steam. For more information about the game, visit

Humble Bundle Store Debut - Sale! Mon, 11 Nov 2013 16:25:20 -0500 Courtney Gamache

Today marks the début for the Humble Bundle Store that involves many sales. The way the Humble Bundle Store is going to work is that 10% of the proceeds go to Charities, 75% goes to the Creator, and 15% goes as a Humble tip. As the store's contents will change daily, you can expect some great games to pass through that will catch your eye.

Games Currently in the Store

All of the games within the store are currently available on Steam, but they're at great prices you won't find until the holiday Steam sales:

  • Don't Starve - $7.49 (normally $14.99)
  • Rogue Legacy - $7.49 (normally $14.99)
  • Euro Truck Simulator 2 - $6.25 (normally $24.99)
  • Chivalry: Medieval Warfare - $6.25 (normally $24.99)
  • Natural Selection 2 - $6.25 (normally $24.99)
  • Orcs Must Die 2: Complete - $6.25 (normally $24.99)
  • The Swapper - $4.99 (normally $14.99)
  • Gunpoint - $4.99 (normally $9.99)
  • Prison Architect Alpha - $14.99 (normally $29.99)

I'll be keeping a close eye on the Humble Bundle Store daily in hopes of finding some great games. Humble Bundle has done a great job adding this Store to their website. They'll be able to take in more money for charities and their funding, while providing gamers with games at great affordable prices. I can't wait to see what else they'll do in the future.

Excited about the Humble Bundle Store? Comment below with what games you plan on getting today!

Moral Quandaries in the Prison Architect Alpha Fri, 17 May 2013 12:34:01 -0400 Alan Bradley

While writing a recent article on some of gaming’s strangest simulations, we stumbled across Prison Architect, a management sim from British developer Introversion Software.  While it didn’t make our list, the premise intrigued us.  Most sims of this nature charge players with constructing entertainment venues, like theme parks, arcades, or nightclubs, and even those games with a slightly more sinister take on the genre (like the Tropico series) mask their darker side under a sunny, playful veneer. 


 Management Sim or Thought Experiment?

Prison Architect puts its darkness on front street.  The most insidious thing about Prison Architect is how easy it is to get lost in the management aspects of the simulation (constructing buildings, running utilities like power and water, managing prisoner moods) and lose sight of the broader context of what you’re doing.  Then, suddenly, the game will give you a stark reminder of exactly what you’re building, like tasking you with constructing an execution chamber.  

 Oh, that’s right.  This isn’t a luxury resort.  I’m not catering to fat-cat tourists and pleasure seekers.  These are convicted criminals, some of whom the state has marked for death.


 The Game

It’s because the game is so engrossing that it’s easy to lose track of that troubling fact.  It’s good that the game gives you the option to pause or speed up time, because there are times both when everything is happening too fast and you need to catch your breath, and other times when things are under construction and your direct intervention isn’t required.  As the game proceeds, and prisoners continue to be delivered by the busload, you’ll find yourself more often in the former situation than the latter. 

You’ll be marking out spaces for offices, holding cells, storage space, cell blocks, and a large number of other buildings essential to operating a penitentiary.  You’ll also need to hire workers to construct all of these buildings, staff to operate them, and guards to keep a wary eye on your inmates.  To ensure you continue operating in the black, you’ll fulfill government contracts and move through a (for now) fairly rudimentary tech tree


 The Dilemma

We spent a lot of our time with Prison Architect contemplating why constructing a prison and executing prisoners disturbed us more than, say, gunning down waves of enemies in any of the dozens of shooters we’ve played.  While we didn’t come to any definitive conclusions, we did formulate some theories.

 For one, the prisoners we’re charged with holding or executing are (ideally at least) helpless.  They’re not armed enemies actively trying to kill you, destroy your home, or enslave humanity.  Each prisoner has some biographical information and a unique appearance, which contributes to the sense that they’re not just faceless cogs.  Getting acclimated to the idea of satisfying their basic needs and keeping them happy makes the idea that you’d be asked to execute one of them very jarring.  It’s a bizarre shift going from thinking of them as “clientele” to thinking of them as enemies of the social order that need to be eliminated.  There’s something reminiscent of cattle in a slaughterhouse about striving to keep your charges docile while you’re preparing to put some of them to death. 

 Another element of our discomfort is that Prison Architect casts you in the role of The Man.  Your goal is to subjugate and oppress the men who are your wards.  Your entire task is the elimination of their freedom, to make absolutely certain they can’t reclaim that freedom, to the point that you may even be required to take their lives.  And all of your work is in service of the all-mighty dollar, the cold hard cash you need to make your facility larger and more efficient.  It’s not a recipe that leads to a lot of heroic sentiment.

 Under Construction 

Don’t get us wrong, Prison Architect is a remarkably fun game, especially given that it’s still in an alpha state.  A lot of the moral heaviness and atmosphere is relieved by the art style, which, as you can see in these screenshots, is fairly cutesy.  But the thing about it that’s most interesting, the thing that feels almost subversive, is how that art style contrasts with the central theme of oppression and imprisonment. 

 If you haven’t checked it out, $30 on Steam gets you access to the alpha and the full game when it’s released.  If you like the idea of a game that provokes some interesting thoughts and discussions, we highly recommend it.

Steam Begins Early Access Service - Funding Games in Development Thu, 21 Mar 2013 10:46:29 -0400 Ashley Shankle

Yesterday marked Steam's first day of its new Early Access program, which gives select titles a chance to receive additional funding during development. Games in their alpha or beta phases can be found among the Early Access listings, including Arma 3, Prison Architect, and Kerbal Space Program.

Steam makes it very clear that the titles being offered aren't necessarily finished, but purchasing them while in the development phase will give access through the alpha and beta phases as well as release. Some titles have multiple purchase options with benefits, while others are a single price with no tiers.

Do keep in mind that the products found in the Early Access program are going to have bugs and they are going to crash. Having played Gnomoria, which is on the list of games being funded, I can tell you that some of the issues can be a huge hindrance to actually playing the titles you pick up mid-development. Reporting bugs and aiding in the improvement of these games is part of the fun, even if it makes you want to punch something.