Prison Architect alpha update gives prisoners rap-sheets, but they’re still healthily unpredictable


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

Introversion have updated their prisons in a manner the state could only dream of: by reaching inside their inmates, jiggling around a bit and changing their nature. The changes go deep – “in fact we’ve probably totally broken the game”, note devs Chris and Mark – but also provide a bit more clarity as to who’s likely to shank who.

All prisoners now have a security level, which reveals their relative risk. Maximum security cons present the highest danger to others, while minimum security prisoners are most prone to being their victims.

“Game sorted!”, you might think. “I’ll house my orange boiler-suited bods according to risk and go and have a bath”. But you’d be wrong, and would be inadvertently running a bloodbath. Every prisoner now has a personal rap-sheet of previous convictions and pleas, but they aren’t foolproof guides; some inmates may be innocent of their crimes, while others will be far more dangerous than their histories suggest. Because a con’s security category is merely an estimate based on their rap-sheet, the appropriate stance would seem to be a cocktail of micromanagement and constant paranoia.

“This is such a sweeping change that I suspect the whole game will be deeply unbalanced for a while,” writes designer Chris Delay in a new blog. In future updates, he plans to allow players to recategorise cons according to their behaviour.

See the whole changelog, which includes a host of bug fixes, below:

= Prisoner Categories
All prisoners are now classified based on their risk level – Min, Normal, or Max.
Prisoner uniforms are coloured to reflect this: Grey, Orange and Red respectively.
Note: The Category of a prisoner is an ESTIMATE of their risk level,
based on their convictions. However their true risk is determined by their TRAITS

= Prisoner Traits, ‘Rap Sheet’ & Criminal History
All prisoners now have Bios that detail their criminal history, length of time in jail etc
Click on any prisoner to review his Rap Sheet.
Prisoners have (internal) traits which determine if they are violent, destructive etc
These traits determine the Prisoner’s likely response to their needs not being met

= New Sector Categories
You can now set sectors to be used for MinSec or MaxSec prisoners in the deployment screen.
Note: This only affects prisoners cell assignment. They currently share all other rooms.
MaxSec or MinSec prisoners without cell space will overflow into the shared (White) sectors.
A Holding Cell is required as temporary housing to facilitate cell changes

= Intake Control
You can now control the intake of new inmates from the ‘Prisoners Report’ screen.
You can choose which categories you are open to, or stop receiving any new prisoners.
Note: Unavailable if ‘Continuous Intake’ is enabled; You will receive a random mixture

= The hunt for Stuck Prisoners
Several subtle bugs have been fixed which resulted in prisoners becoming stuck, shackled,
pushed into the wall, forgotten, or trapped in hospital beds. (Guards sometimes as well)
Prisoners who are trapped will now be escorted back to their cells by a guard.
Note: All entities need to be healed before they will be let out the medical ward, and
Prisoners need to have a cell to be taken back to.

– There is now some variation in the physical size of prisoners. Higher Risk prisoners tend to be larger

– Doctors will now heal injured people around them more reliably (within range 10 sq)

– The tape measure dragging sounds will no longer play unless you are laying out construction orders

– Building frameworks now look more 3d and cast shadows when under construction

– Links have been added to the Main Menu to access the latest version, legal terms & conditions and buy page

– Fixed a bug which allowed prisoners to glitch through doors when they were trying to escape, making it quite a bit easier for them to succeed

– Fixed: The game would crash on loading or selecting a saved prison, if that prison had a thumbnail image of width or height > 2048 pixels. (Happens if you are running at higher res, eg Retina)

– Fixed: You can no longer callout unlimited numbers of firemen

– Fixed: A dead or unconscious firemen will no longer drop/spawn his firehose continuously