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Prison Architect Alpha 5

Posted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 12:05 pm
by Chris
Today we have released Alpha5 of Prison Architect for Pc and Mac, and Alpha customers can download and play it immediately. Go to our brand new Alpha Download page to get the latest version now!

Download Alpha5 :

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We’ve made a video demonstrating the key new features of Alpha - take a look here:

This new build has a number of new features ranging from totally new cool stuff to some pretty massive improvements to existing tools. We have new “Staff Only” zones, which Prisoners are not permitted to enter. We have the first emergency service callout - the Fireman - which means you no longer need to watch your prison burn to the ground without being able to do anything about it. And we’ve massively improved the Foundations tool so it’s much more intuitive and intelligent to use.

From the Deployment screen you can now set “Staff Only” zones, which turn red to indicate this status. Prisoners will never go into those zones, allowing you control the flow of your prisoners (eg by having a central prisoner zone with Staff Only service corridors around it), and to secure dangerous rooms (eg the Kitchen). Prisoners can be escorted through these zones by guards (eg on their way to the Infirmary), and of course they will ignore this designation when they are escaping or fighting or generally misbehaving. Prisoners will not currently try to sneak through or tailgate through these zones, so they are much more reliable than Staff Only doors. However I will be changing that in future - Prisoners should always be trying to defeat your security, and just because you painted the floor red doesn’t mean everyone will obey.


Firemen are the first Emergency Services unit that we are happy with, and probably the most important/useful right now. You can now call the Fire Brigade from the new 911 Emergencies button on the toolbar. Fires are rare, but they can happen and you previously had no defenses against them once they’d started (unless you’ve already installed sprinklers literally everywhere in advance). Firemen are directly controllable and have their own “Squad” icon on the right of the screen that lets you quickly select them and see their status. Firemen will generally do their best to put out any nearby fires, but you can aim their hoses manually by pressing H. I didn’t want them to be totally automatic - you have to think about where to best place your firemen to tackle the blaze, and as they flood the area with water you’ll see the fire is often “pushed” away from them towards other buildings unless you tackle it properly. Once the fire is controlled you can send them home by moving them back to their fire engine.


Finally we’ve made some big improvements to the Foundations tool. The previous version was awkward to use, required you to place doors in every section, and was particularly bad at expanding existing buildings. We’ve tried to fix all those issues, and the new version should be much more intuitive to use. You can expand existing rooms by dragging the foundations over the outer wall - that was will be demolished, leaving a larger room. Or you can add new rooms onto existing buildings by dragging out the foundation so it doesn’t overlap the outer wall. You can also right click on any foundations in progress to cancel them, if you make a mistake.

There’s also a bunch of bug fixes and small changes - the full list is down below. As always let us know what you think in the forums and on Twitter - we love hearing from you.

We’ve had some website reliability problems with previous alpha launches - 18,000 people all descend on the download page at once and our web server just can’t handle it. We were using Media Wiki to host the files themselves but this is quite cpu intensive. We could install various caching packages to sort that but we decided to switch to a standard (apache) web page which should scale a lot better under the high load. We shall see!

This is our last alpha update before the holidays. Merry Christmas everyone!

Join the Prison Architect alpha now at

Full change list

Code: Select all

= Staff Only sectors
    You can now create Staff Only Sectors from the Deployment screen. They will show up Red.
    Inmates will avoid these completely (unless misbehaving)
= You can now call in Firemen to put out your prison fires. Use the new 911 Emergencies menu.
    Firemen are a special controllable unit with its own icons on the right of the screen.
    Firemen will automatically spray nearby fire, or you can press H to aim their hoses manually.
    To dismiss firemen, send them all back to their fire engine.
= The Foundations tool has been much improved. It is now much easier to expand existing buildings,
    and the door/entrance detection is much better at spotting valid entrances to new buildings.
    - You can now cancel foundations by right clicking on them, or right-click-dragging a box around them.

- All construction tools now continue to work correctly even when the game is paused

- There is a new tool in the Materials menu for demolishing walls (indoor and outdoor)
- Localisation improvements:
    All object/material/room/equipment/research names are now included in the language file (english.txt)
    Lots of other hardcoded english has been moved into the language file for easy translation
- You will no longer lose visibility of your indoor areas until your first Prisoners arrive

- Main build toolbar tweeked to scale/layout better on higher resolutions

- The Medical Ward has been renamed to the Infirmary

- Fixed: You sometimes had to wait a very long time for prisoners to arrive when Continuous Intake was disabled

- Fixed: Firing someone who occupies an office now vacates the office

- Fixed: If an Administrator dies his office will now be released

- Fixed: When a prisoner dies or escapes, his cell will now be released for re-use

- Fixed a massive performance bug affecting the Intel HD graphics 4000 chipset

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Posted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 12:26 pm
by Nicotin
Really nice! I where looking forward to the "staff only" zoning.

But if you zone the kitchen as staff-only, will the prisoners still try to steal a knife (and guards take them out) or won't they try anymore?

Posted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 12:42 pm
by Chris
Currently prisoners will never disobey a staff only zone, unless they are already misbehaving. So no tailgating and stealing knifes. Which means its way to powerful currently. So enjoy it while it lasts ;)

Posted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 12:43 pm
by scottystreet
NICE! I'm extremely excited about playing it! The game is taking great shape.

Posted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 12:50 pm
by Andersen
I noticed a prisoner walking through a "staff only" zone while there was a fire raging... Is this because fear/panic overrides the zoning, or because the zone disappears when the room is incomplete (partially ruined by fire)?

Posted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 12:58 pm
by ronanc
This is looking awesome - great work Chris!

Posted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 1:40 pm
by Ishango
This is my first time posting on the forum. I've played all beta versions until now and really enjoy what you're doing here (money well spent). It is nice to be involved in an Alpha like this and there is definitely some good progress and good ideas. Thank you for doing this!

Also as a Intel HD graphics 4000 owner I'm quite happy to see that some performance issues might have been solved too. I'll try it out when I've got the time.

Posted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 1:57 pm
by hotmachina
Very good, you know what I like most? The system you have used to model the fire hose looks so cool!

Posted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 2:08 pm
by ssmmdd
This game is really turning out well!

The changes to the Foundation tool were well needed!

Keep it up guys, this is looking to be the best game you've ever made. :)

Posted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 3:11 pm
by gameaddictwn
Fantastic, best addition is the foundation. Merry Christmas!

Posted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 5:11 pm
by furrot
Thanks for the update Chris. Have a good holiday.

Seems like a great set of fixes and changes. Looking forward to playing with the firefighters and see if I can tangle up the hoses :)

Staff zones are a nice change and I think what a lot of people were looking for. Seems like enough to move forward with the door locking system you sketched out and do away with the current door management system.

Posted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 5:16 pm
by gmyx
I'll have to wait till tonight or even tomorow to find out for sure (on break at Work), but are staff only zones exempt from 'fog of war'?

Posted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 5:36 pm
by Dachannien
just because you painted the floor red doesn’t mean everyone will obey.

That's why you should implement Intestinators.

(The yellow line means pain. The red line means death.)

Posted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 5:43 pm
by 111none
great! is it possible to introduce paramedic by alpha 6??

Posted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 7:18 pm
by Gyrfalcon
Amazing update - thank you. The fixes to the Foundation tool are much appreciated.

Oh, and that fire thing. That's a nice bonus.