Prison Architect is now in Alpha

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Chris
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Prison Architect is now in Alpha

Postby Chris » Wed Sep 26, 2012 4:01 pm

Two years in the making and inspired by Dungeon Keeper, Theme Hospital, and Dwarf Fortress, our latest game tasks you with building and managing a maximum security prison.

Today we invite you to join the Alpha of our latest game: Prison Architect.



Go to www.prison-architect.com and pre-order the game now to get immediate access to the alpha. You’ll get to play the alpha straight away for Pc and Mac, and you’ll get access to the private Prison Architect wiki and forums where you can discuss the game directly with us. Every alpha customer will get the full game when it’s finished, for Pc, Mac and Linux, and if we are lucky enough to get a Steam distribution deal then we’ll give you a Steam key too. All our alpha builds are DRM free so you can install them on as many computers as you like.

This is the just the beginning of our Prison Architect Alpha process. We have some big plans for the game and we are planning regular content updates for all alpha customers - blogs about the game design and technical challenges, videos showing you the latest stuff under development, and of course regular new builds for you to download and play. We’ll be busy on the forums and twitter and we welcome your input and ideas about the game. The subject of Prisons is rich with possibility and controversy, and we want to hear your views. This game is completely unfinished and we still have a long way to go before we are done, so you’ll get to see and be part of that process as it happens.

But the game itself is not all we wish to offer. Since we started the company in 2001, Introversion has remained resolutely independent. We are not funded by publishers or platform holders, and we never will be. It is the most important thing for us to retain total creative control over what we do, which means the proceeds from each one of our games goes directly into funding the next. This is how we have always operated, and while it does enable us to work on some often highly experimental concepts, it does sometimes cause us problems. We wish to humbly offer you the opportunity to support Introversion above and beyond your basic alpha purchase. By pledging more than the base asking price you will help us to retain that independence, to keep working on Prison Architect until it’s the best game we’ve ever made, and to continue making original video games for you to enjoy for years to come.

Of course, we aren’t asking for charity. There’s a whole host of awesome things we are going to produce for this game, and the more you pledge to us, the more of it you can get your hands on. Take a look at the www.prison-architect.com website for a full list. For example, we are delighted to be able to offer one of the most frequently requested Prison Architect features - personalised prisoners! You send us your photo and our artist Ryan Sumo will produce a prisoner sprite based on your likeness who will drop right into the game, complete with his own mugshot. Your name and bio details will be attached to him, and everyone who ever plays Prison Architect and sees him will know you supported Introversion during it’s development, and will high-five you in the street*. This is just one of the many tiers we are offering as a way for you to support our development and also get something awesome in return for your philanthropy.

*So long as you are already famous



Once you’ve visited our Prison Architect website you’ll recognise what we’ve done as a Kickstarter style funding campaign for our paid alpha. The past few years have seen a revolution in indie game funding - who could have predicted the Double Fine Adventure, or the Indie Fund, or the Humble Bundle? We always knew from the very start of Prison Architect that we wanted to develop this game under Paid Alpha conditions because of the numerous advantages. It solves the funding gap that often opens up towards the end of a project, forcing you to rush out an incomplete project, often when you just needed a few more months to make it right. It enables you to engage directly with your most hardcore fans, and solicit their opinions and ideas as you develop the game. And It gives you a chance to launch the game gradually and build interest in the project over time, rather than risking it all in a big launch weekend and accidentally going up against Guild Wars. And crucially, players have shown time and again that they actually LIKE and appreciate paid alphas, they love the chance to get their hands on a game early, and shape it’s development in direct contact with the creators.

This is a big day for Introversion - our first original game launch for many years*, and a game which has been an absolute joy to work on from the very start. I’m really happy people are finally going to be able to play it. Much of the game has yet to be written or even fully designed and we specifically want people who find that exciting to sign up to our alpha now!

*Our last original game launch was technically DEFCON in 2006. Fascinatingly, Prison Architect is also the first Introversion game not to be directly predicted by Uplink.
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Postby Feud » Wed Sep 26, 2012 4:02 pm

Great trailer.

I'm in the middle of first year law and trying to plan an out of state wedding, but I'll likely be getting this around the new year.
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Postby jelco » Wed Sep 26, 2012 4:05 pm

First look, honest opinion: 1000 dollar packages, what the hell? 100 dollars is justifiable as you get bonus stuff, but paying to have your own creative input thrown into the game...not sure I'm a fan of the idea. Personally I'm hoping at least some very dedicated testers will also get such an opportunity. You don't have a community for nothing.

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Upgrade?

Postby HeartbreakRidge » Wed Sep 26, 2012 4:08 pm

I was wondering if there are any possibilities to upgrade? i.e. buy the base package now, and upgrade to a better one later by paying the dfference?

also: text in 1st paragraph for Base Pack should have its instead of it's :D
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Postby KameZero » Wed Sep 26, 2012 4:58 pm

As far as the Linux version goes: Are we going to get an alpha at all or will there not be a Linux version until release?
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Postby RabidZombie » Wed Sep 26, 2012 5:14 pm

Any promocodes for us dedicated community members? Can't justify a £20 purchase right now. :(
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Postby Xocrates » Wed Sep 26, 2012 6:26 pm

Hum... care to explain that 30$ price point?

I saw the interview where Mark explains that you don't want a lot of people on it right now, with the implication that the final price for the game might actually be lower than that.

In other words, are you actually asking people to pay for testing? What the hell?

At the very least throw in something that might justify the price. Heck, move the rewards up one level or so. You still get the culling effect of the high price point, but at the very least people can justify the purchase as something other than the "privilege" of supporting you.
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Thirty bucks?!

Postby factoid » Wed Sep 26, 2012 7:07 pm

I'm not gonna lie, the game looks like a lot of fun, but I don't see myself spending $30 on it. You'll be fighting an uphill battle at that price point. I'm sure you feel the game is worth it, and you might be right, but don't overlook the fact that every Indie developer on the block is undercutting you big time.

Games that look like yours (2D graphics, slightly cartoonish) are selling for $10-15 dollars right now pretty much everywhere. Even minecraft costs less.

If this is a tactic to limit the number of takers in the Alpha build, I guess I can understand and just wait until the price is to my liking. I just wanted to leave some feedback. If the price had been $15 today I would not have hesitated to buy.
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Postby Greeba » Wed Sep 26, 2012 7:52 pm

Guessing Jelco isn't an Amanda Palmer fan.

Is there a time limit on the tier buy-in other than the best bits getting snapped up? Or is it possible to upgrade in stages? I want to see how expensive my car MOT is next week before I decide how much to splash :)
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Postby RabidZombie » Wed Sep 26, 2012 7:58 pm

Greeba wrote:Guessing Jelco isn't an Amanda Palmer fan.

Is there a time limit on the tier buy-in other than the best bits getting snapped up? Or is it possible to upgrade in stages? I want to see how expensive my car MOT is next week before I decide how much to splash :)


On Twitter, they made a comment about being able to upgrade coming soon if enough people want it.
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Postby Hessen » Wed Sep 26, 2012 8:00 pm

Have bought the $50 version. Was sooooo tempted to buy the $1000 one, but wife shot me down :(

Worth every penny.
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Postby foxxtrot » Wed Sep 26, 2012 8:01 pm

jelco wrote:First look, honest opinion: 1000 dollar packages, what the hell? 100 dollars is justifiable as you get bonus stuff, but paying to have your own creative input thrown into the game...not sure I'm a fan of the idea. Personally I'm hoping at least some very dedicated testers will also get such an opportunity. You don't have a community for nothing.


This has become pretty huge on Kickstarter.

If you don't want to do it, don't. Others will.
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Postby Greeba » Wed Sep 26, 2012 8:08 pm

RabidZombie wrote:On Twitter, they made a comment about being able to upgrade coming soon if enough people want it.


Sweet. I don't tweet, but someone tell them I want it.
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Postby Cooper42 » Wed Sep 26, 2012 8:19 pm

Although I plumped for the physical stuff, because, well, stuff, I'm with Xocrates & Jelco in that I'm not sure "high price point" is in anyway a sensible selection process for a small, dedicated testing community. If, going by the comment in Quinns' interview on PCGamer, that's what the intention is...

Though it's not as if IV are alone in this model. It's no different from the many pay-to-test alpha releases and kickstarters that are increasingly common the past few years.

Thing is, such pay-to-test projects are often from unproven developers. It is a model that seems like two fingers up to an existing community (which IV does have) when it the model can be summarised as "all that matters is how much spare cash you have".

Do not conflate fandom with how much money people are able to give you. That leads to pissed off fans.

Edit:
Chris wrote:It [the paid alpha funding model] enables you to engage directly with your most hardcore fans, and solicit their opinions and ideas as you develop the game.

Code: Select all

where n = "those in the PA alpha (those who may solicit opinions & ideas)"
and x = "hardcore fans" and y = "those with £20"
n = y
and
x + y > n
therefore
x ≠ y


Edit: I understand the need to bridge the funding gap. Beyond that, I understand the other reasons behind going for this model. I have nothing against paid-for-alphas per se.

I disgree that it will provide the kind of testing community you may be hoping it'll provide (at least not directly, it may well provide it by proxy). I also think that the implication that dedicated fans = those able to give you money is, well...

It may have been true in the past that dedicated fans are financially generous. I'm not alone in having purchased multiple copies of IV's games on multiple platforms as well as various bits of 'stuff'. And as a final year PhD student out of the funding cycle, that $100 purchase was not an easy call.

But the logic is back-to-front:

Some fans will take the opportunity to purchase IV's output in various forms and give money to IV beyond the 'base cost' of a game because they are fans.
They are not fans because they have bought more.
Last edited by Cooper42 on Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:16 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby jelco » Wed Sep 26, 2012 8:54 pm

foxxtrot wrote:This has become pretty huge on Kickstarter.

If you don't want to do it, don't. Others will.

That's some selective reading you're doing. I don't have anything against asking people to pay increasingly more for increasing bonuses, but there is a limit. This is a ridiculous max price point. Plus, where Kickstarter bonuses generally involve receiving extra, in this case you're only gaining the option to give extra. That's very different. And I still believe it's wrong to not give community members (that is, proven testers) an option to enter the alpha without payment, considering the past testing sessions.

If someone feels generous enough to do a 1000 dollar donation, I'm not going to stop them. But I'm not going to consider that person sane either.

---

Look, I'm still an IV fan. I still believe there's some awesome ideas there, I still feel like testing the game, and still support them. I went for the 100 dollar version because I don't mind donating money to them and I like the physical swag. And if PA proves to have a concept that enables me to create another Ladder-like community project, I'm still going to sink massive amounts of spare time into that because I feel it's the right community to contribute to.

However, I don't agree with the direction this seems to be going in (especially not the metaphorical middle finger towards dedicated community members that says "we don't value you if you don't pay money"). I'm explained this point of view plenty over here, and still stand by it.

Jelco

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