Prison Architect alpha update is all about doors, emergencies, graphics options


Prison Architect has broken free onto Early Access; here’s our Prison Architect review.

A new update for the Prison Architect alpha has just been released and it makes some quite important changes to the game. Most significantly, only guards are now able to open locked doors, meaning they now spend much more of their time as gatekeepers, granting or denying access to prisoners who previously “went through [these] doors as if they were supermarket doors,” Introversion say.

Two new emergency options have also been introduced. Lockdown immediately closes all doors everywhere in the prison, something you’ll want to activate if a breakout attempt is underway, while Bang Up orders all prisoners to return to their cells immediately. It’s exactly what you need when a fight is breaking out and if you see prisoners disobeying, then… well, you know what to do.

Click through for a complete rundown of the changes, including graphics updates. There’s also a video that, quite accidentally, shows off the shotgun(!).

“You will need to think carefully when securing a building with several heavy doors, because this will tie up your guards for a lot of their day,” says Chris Delay, posting on Introversion’s blog. “This is another massive change to the guts of the game, and makes the prisons feel quite different.”

Want to see what it all looks like in action? Here’s Introversion’s video breakdown, complete with unexpected Skype disconnection:

And, for completion’s sake, here’s the full list of changes that Introversion have posted:

Name-in-the-game / Face-in-the-game changes:
  • The community database of personalised Names and Faces has been imported into the game.
  • You can view the full database from the main menu option “Names in the game.”
  • Around 30% of all randomly generated prisoners will now include a custom name and bio taken from this database.
  • You can manually transfer any prisoner from this list into your jail – they will arrive in the 8am delivery.

Only Guards can open doors:

  • All locked doors must now be opened by Guards using their keys. Prisoners and staff must wait to be let in.
  • The exception is the doors on each jail Cell, which open automatically when the prisoner should be let out.
  • Office doors are never locked – anyone can pass through at any time.
  • You can right click on any door to open it manually.
  • Doors can be blocked open but will gradually push blocking objects aside until they close.

Alarm button:

  • Under ‘Emergencies’ there are two new “alarm” buttons.
  • LOCKDOWN immediately closes and locks all the doors in the prison.
  • Guards will not open doors for anyone. However they will unlock doors on their way if you move them somewhere.
  • BANGUP instructs all prisoners to return immediately to their cell (confusingly, this was called Lockdown in alpha6).
  • Prisoners will obviously ignore this alarm if they are misbehaving.

Game Options menu:

  • From the main menu you can now access an ‘Options’ menu to control the application settings.
  • Under GRAPHICS You can control the screen resolution, fullscreen/windowed setting and filtering mode.
  • Multisampling uses fullscreen anti-aliasing (4xMSAA) to improve the sprite render quality.
  • Supersampling renders everything at double resolution then downscales to your screen.
  • Both improve the game visuals at the cost of reduced performance.
  • There are also options for Sound, Game etc.
  • You can now press F11 at any time to toggle fullscreen.
  • You can press ctrl-p at any time to save a screenshot.
  • The game will no longer crash on launch if your previous save game was corrupted.
  • We have disabled autoload of previous saved games for now, until we can fix some loading issues (The game now launches with a new empty sandbox).
  • Prisoners can now be re-categorised (Max/normal/Min) from their rap sheet.
  • All research times have been halved.
  • Fixed: Building lots of fences whilst paused caused endless delivery of empty boxes.
  • Fixed: Prisoners were no longer bothering to run around the yard whilst exercising.
  • Fixed: The main build toolbar was sometimes scaled wrongly at certain resolutions, leading to an annoying scrollbar in the lists of objects/rooms etc.

Performance improvements:

  • Fixed a major performance bug in the renderer, causing occasional extreme frame lag.
  • Many parts of the render system have been optimised – some visual glitches may occur in entity animations.