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Before we talk about the new features, we wanted to draw attention to this months PC Gamer (UK) magazine. This just makes our hearts fill with pride - the cover of PC Gamer! For our little prison game. If you’re in the UK we recommend you pick up a copy right away.
So without further ado, here is our alpha12 video demonstrating the new features:
This month we took a huge step fowards in one of the biggest remaining areas of the game - contraband. Almost every room in the game is now a source of dangerous contraband which prisoners can (and will) steal whilst your back is turned. Workshops used to be a source of near unlimited funds - now they are also a source of hammers, screwdrivers, and electric drills. Medicines from the medical wards, knifes from the kitchen, even booze and cigs from the administrators office. Everything is up for grabs for your light fingered inmates, and those nice visiting relatives can now smuggle in virtually anything for their loved ones. Inmates will smuggle their stolen gear back to their cell, taking care to avoid metal detectors where appropriate, and will stash their shit anywhere they can. You might search an inmate at Yard time and find nothing, but he could have a whole armoury waiting for him back in his cell.
The are four categories of contraband, but many different variants within each category:
- Weapons are a commonly stolen item, especially in dangerous prisons where fights are common. You won’t see it until it’s too late and there are bodies on the floor.
- Tools typically come from the workshop or storage rooms, and will be used to dig escape tunnels in a future alpha
- Narcotics are a commonly desired item for many bored prisoners and will eventually lead to addictions and erratic behaviour
- Luxuries includes anything that makes prison life a little more bearable: a bottle of booze to pass the time, or a mobile phone to call loved ones
There is a new “Contraband” button in the main toolbar which shows an overlay of all possible sources of contraband within your prison. It also handily tells you which categories each item falls into. Some particularly useful items fall into multiple categories: A screwdriver is a tool but can also double as a weapon.
Any contraband found by your guards in the past 12 hours will also show up in this screen as a green circle. You will often want to know how that item of contraband made it into the prison, and your guards are now trained to interrogate prisoners and find out this valuable information. Click on any green circle in the contraband screen and you’ll see a trail revealing the origin and history of that particular item of contraband.
Prisoners will steal things if they personally want that item, but sometimes they won’t be able to find what they want. However every prisoner has his ear to the ground, and he knows what items are in demand. If he wants something he can’t get hold of easily, he’ll steal something else with a high market value and plan to trade it later for the item he really wants. For the player, there is a new reports screen showing the Supply and Demand of all types of contraband within your prison. A high demand indicates problems with your prisoners. A high supply indicates an immediate danger.
To keep up with these new threats, new searching powers have been granted to you the player. You can click on any prisoner and order that he be searched, but in addition you can request to search his entire cell. Every item of furniture is a potential hiding place for contraband. If things are getting out of hand there is a new emergency “Shakedown” button which triggers an immediate search of every prisoner and their cell across the entire jail. This will find a lot of hidden contraband, but you will also search a lot of prisoners unnecessarily. There is nothing your prisoners hate more than being searched unnecessarily.
We also worked on a new set of Status Effects on prisoners, which are temporary conditions that affect their behaviour. Spending time in solitary confinement will now leave the “Suppressed” status effect on your prisoners, meaning they are more compliant and less likely to cause trouble. Your punishments have beaten the will out of them - at least temporarily. In a future alpha we plan to let the player abuse this feature as he sees fit.
In addition to that, prisoners who eat a very good meal will get the status effect “Well fed” and will contribute to the positive feeling within your prison for the rest of the day.
That’s all for this month. Alpha 13 is going to be a direct continuation of alpha 12, and we’ll see lots of cool new features that build on the new contraband system and status effects system we’ve just added. Until then, have fun!
Full change list
Code: Select all
= Theft and Contraband
Many rooms around a prison are now a source of dangerous contraband
Prisoners will sometimes steal contraband and try to smuggle it back to their cell for safe keeping
Prisoners are less likely to steal metal items if they know they have to pass through a metal detector on their way back
Prisoners carrying metal items will avoid Metal Detectors as best they can
There are four categories of contraband:
- Weapons: Used during fights. A high "Danger Level" within your prison will drive a high demand for weapons
- Tools: (Eventually) Used by prisoners to assist escaping
- Narcotics: (Eventually) Used by prisoners who are bored or uncomfortable, or dealing with addiction
- Luxuries: Items that make prison life a bit more bearable, such as mobile phones, alchohol etc
Note: Prisoners currently only make use of Weapons, but they will still steal the other types of contraband
= Contraband overlay
There is a new Contraband overlay in the main toolbar, unlocked by the Chief in Bureaucracy
Shows all potential sources of contraband within your prison, and also all recently found contraband
You can select any recently found item to see a trail of where it was stolen from, where it was hidden etc
= Contraband Supply and Demand
You can see the market demand for any item in the new Contraband Report. High demand means many prisoners want this item
This screen also shows the supply of these items, representing how many of those items are owned by the prisoners
Prisoners who want something they can't get will steal an item with high market value instead, so they can trade for it later
= Searching powers
You can now order a search of a prisoner or his entire cell, from his Rap Sheet
There is a new emergency button on the toolbar: Shakedown, which searches every cell and prisoner in your jail
Note: Searching prisoners really pisses them off, raising the danger level of your prison
Metal Detectors automatically trigger a search of a prisoner when they detect something
Metal Detectors now fall out of action for 3 seconds after detecting something
They also incorrectly detect something a small percentage of the time, resulting in unnecesary searches
= Status Effects
All prisoners can now be affected by Status Effects, which change their behavior for a fixed period of time
You can see status effects on a prisoner by highlighting him.
Current status effects:
- Suppressed: Prisoners locked in Solitary Confinement will become suppressed and compliant due to their harsh treatment.
These suppressed prisoners are much less likely to cause trouble.
- Well Fed: Prisoners who eat well will become "well fed", contributing to the good feeling in the prison.
Well fed prisoners are much less likely to cause trouble.
= Needs System
- Extensive performance improvements
- The needs system was one of the slowest and most laggy parts of the game
- Fixed: Prisoners sometimes can't find any need providers if the framerate is too low, and just stand around instead
- Prisoners due for release within the next six hours are now listed on your todo list
- New audio work for the Bureaucracy screen and the Reports windows, and new searching powers
- Changed the way Guards follow patrols, so they should no longer clump together
- Contraband found by guards is still dropped on the floor, but will now auto-vanish after 10 seconds
- Fixed: Released prisoners are now permitted to route through Staff-Only zones on their way out
- Fixed: Sometimes garbage would never be collected
- Fixed: Callout units will now show their assigned route even when off screen
- Fixed: Drains will no longer block doors from closing
- Fixed: The time buttons on the clock will now highlight the currently selected speed correctly
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