It needs to be easier to make money, the system needs tuning

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cozmium
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It needs to be easier to make money, the system needs tuning

Postby cozmium » Wed Jul 24, 2013 12:17 am

Okay, so i've played for around 12~ hours and have pretty much done everything there is to do so far, and have had time to get a good feel for how the game works in it's current state.

I think the biggest issue I see currently is money. When starting out obviously there are the grants to help you along and get a basic layout set up and running, but it is very quickly and easily used up. The problem here though, is they are little more than a boost to an underlying problem that there just isn't enough coming in quick enough to be able to expand in a timely manner. That is, unless it is intentional that you literally have to either sit and wait for several game days doing nothing but watch your nice growing prison not grow, or basically cram a holding cell full of inmates you have no private cells for.

The largest prison I made was running well with a small workshop of 8~ machines or so and around 40 inmates give or take. With 9 gaurds (i like to have them neatly patrolling the cell corridoors and perimeter gates etc.) and most of the office staff, a couple of cleaners, a few cooks, i was only making around 1700~ per day. This is an extremely small amount for a medium ish sized prison, when upgrading it for more room - say 10-12 cells plus showering - would easily cost 10-15k.

I didn't get to a point where i could begin thinking about 'beautifying' the prison with fancy tiles.

I'm a long time construction/management game player all the way back to things like Utopia, Theme Park, TT etc. etc. and one thing that generally holds true to them is a player never has to wait 'too' long until there is money to be able to do something more - OR to be able to generate a quick bit of cash by for example selling something up. The latter of which utterly doesn't exist (yet) in PA.

In terms of ideas I could think of offhand, perhaps the freedom to make cells not require a toilet or bed - it could have a less than ideal effect on the inmate by all means, but at least it means there could be an influx of prisoners in a basic room that isn't a holding cell with them all crammed inside. I think also prisoners need to flatly give you more income - or perhaps for example based on the severity of their crimes or more simply whether they are high/med/low risk. Another approach could be rebalancing the costs of the items. Take construction: if it was far cheaper it would mean you don't have to break the bank every time you want to make another cell block, the prisoner income could stay the same but rather than having to wait half a dozen days to generate the funds maybe it could be done with a few k.

I think fundamentally, a large portion of the satisfaction of playing 'management sims' if I may coin them so for the sake of convenience, is quite simply the persuit of monetary gain. It's just not quite there yet in PA I think.
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Postby xander » Wed Jul 24, 2013 12:21 am

Please, before posting, search the forums. This topic has come up at least half a dozen times in the past. The current economy is unlikely to change until the game enters the beta phase, at which point we can expect to see the devs consider balancing things better. Since the game is incomplete, it would not make sense to balance the economy now, as there is the potential to add new features that either earn or cost the player money. In the meantime, build a larger workshop or edit the save file.

xander
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Postby Bamwich » Wed Jul 24, 2013 12:29 am

The ~$100k you get from grants is easily enough to make a prison that generates some revenue.
By Day 4, I can get a fully unlocked 48 man prison with a workshop going. Build up some money over the next few days, tweaking things but not building, then expand.
I've gotten a small prison to 144 capacity generating $20k/day from the workshop in 20 game days.
I've gotten a medium prison to 240 capacity generating $50k/day in 30 days.

In short, plan better, do more, win.
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Postby cozmium » Wed Jul 24, 2013 12:42 am

@xander

None of what you said particulary negates the points I engaged, or proved to be particularly useful beyond your otherwise noble desire to keep the forum clean. I'm sorry if you must groan in dissatisfaction as you see yet another similar thread to all those - what I can only assume are identical threads - that have been brought up in the past (none of which seemed to be on the couple of pages I glanced at) but as you so aptly stated the game is incomplete. Incomplete games that start to garner popularity have a tendency to also gain community traction with more people wanting to give their input - you will never erase 'similar' posts as much as you will never erase people who tell said people to use a search function. Moral of the story, sometimes you have to grin and bear it.
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Postby xander » Wed Jul 24, 2013 5:28 am

Moral of the story: if you want your stay here to be pleasant, try to fit in. You are not a unique little snowflake, these fora have a tendency to self-moderate, and people who actively refuse to acculturate tend to get very frustrated, write a lot of really inflammatory posts, then disappear (generally of their own free will, though a few have been banned). I've seen people like you over and over and over again. I'm still here. They aren't. I'm guessing that you won't be, either.

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Postby happymeal2 » Wed Jul 24, 2013 6:06 am

Not to mention, if you need money, its stupidly easy to edit the save file... its just one line with one number value, and even i (a complete idiot in many things) didnt need help doing it..

Also, you might want to show some level of respect. This isnt yet a huge community and its not hard to remember names.
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Postby cartmen180 » Wed Jul 24, 2013 10:44 am

besides, it is very easy to make a lot of money. You have to know what you are doing though. Guess 12 hours doesn't cut it ;)
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Postby cozmium » Wed Jul 24, 2013 11:54 am

I realise I can edit the save, and I realise 12 hours isn't a particularly long period of time to have played I know. Also, I realise it's easy to make a lot of money because people are. The premise I was trying to put forward however, is that it isn't easy 'enough'. Where Bamwich was saying he could get 50k/day in 30 game days - that's great, but if one was to play for a 12 hour period (I played various layouts, it wasn't all the same file) in <insert other manegement sim> you'd be making a vast amount more. I'm not trying to say it isn't possible in PA, i'm also not saying "hey, it should be like this" (maybe I am a bit) and if the game is meant to be like this (i'm guessing not, because of xander's comment) then fair enough. I'm just saying, 'here's what I have noticed in the time i've played'.

One consistency with Management/construction games - even as an absolute beginner - is the ability to generate enough income with no real knowledge of the game to 'keep going' and not have to sit around overly long waiting for cash. Then when you become proficient, you'd be able to rake it in straight away - therein is the reward for the players who can/do so.

xander wrote:Moral of the story: if you want your stay here to be pleasant, try to fit in. You are not a unique little snowflake, these fora have a tendency to self-moderate, and people who actively refuse to acculturate tend to get very frustrated, write a lot of really inflammatory posts, then disappear (generally of their own free will, though a few have been banned). I've seen people like you over and over and over again. I'm still here. They aren't. I'm guessing that you won't be, either.

xander


Nothing I said was intended to be unpleasant so i'm sorry you took it so. I've seen people 'like you' over and over again who insist on berating new users for not using a search function whether or not their feedback/issue was relevant to whatever previous thread they might have been able to find. I've no doubt in my mind there were previous threads, I can see similar ones indeed. However, maybe I have a different notion of 'hijacking' compared to you. Maybe if I would have gone through them I may have felt that none of them pertained to the particular thoughts I had. Maybe I don't actually have the time to conduct a thorough search and just wanted to give some feedback to what already is a good game and could easily blossom in to a fantastic game. I was perhaps a bit blunt with you for which I apologise, but I wouldn't have enough fingers to count scenarios such as when i've looked through a community to find problems for a game only to find locked threads because people have made what moderators find to be too similar. It doesn't help people looking, it doesn't help the person, it only helps the people who spend a large portion of time in the community and get sick of seeing the same thing.

Personally on forums i've ran in the past it is usually remedied by either addressing issues in a known 'list' (something I haven't seen around here?) or having subforums to segregate things a bit more. Currently with everything developer related crammed in to this one place, rather than raging that I made something woefully similar, you might forgive me for not having seen it and the trepedation for searching through 43 pages just so i might not make mess in an already chaotic place.
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Re: It needs to be easier to make money, the system needs tu

Postby Ric666 » Wed Jul 24, 2013 12:06 pm

cozmium wrote:Utopia


I loved that game so much!!! I do not dare play it these days for fear of being disappointed.

Think I'll just leave the memories as they are. Strong & happy :)
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Postby fat_wilf » Wed Jul 24, 2013 12:54 pm

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Postby Ric666 » Wed Jul 24, 2013 1:09 pm



Wow....no one cares. :P
Or i'd hope not anyway.
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Postby xander » Wed Jul 24, 2013 3:53 pm

cozmium wrote:Nothing I said was intended to be unpleasant so i'm sorry you took it so.

Your original post was fine. I was trying to help you get used to the culture of these boards. You turned around and told me to "grin and bear it". I don't know how to take that in a way that is not unpleasant. Someone with experience offers you advice, and you blithely tell them that "No, its okay, I know what I'm doing." It comes across as exceedingly selfish.

If I may offer some further advice, prefacing a new topic with something as simple as "I tried to find a similar thread, but after reading over the first few pages of topics and searching for [terms], I didn't find anything. Here's my idea:"

cozmium wrote:Personally on forums i've ran in the past it is usually remedied by either addressing issues in a known 'list' (something I haven't seen around here?) or having subforums to segregate things a bit more. Currently with everything developer related crammed in to this one place, rather than raging that I made something woefully similar, you might forgive me for not having seen it and the trepedation for searching through 43 pages just so i might not make mess in an already chaotic place.

Such threads have existed for previous IV betas, but they have always been community organized. If you want such a list, make one, and someone will probably sticky it. Personally, while I would love to see such a thing, I don't have time to maintain it.

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Postby Pogo » Wed Jul 24, 2013 5:18 pm

I think the problem is, there's really only one way to be making a lot of money: workshops.

It's not particularly interesting.


Yes, you do get $100 per prisoner every night at midnight. Although... I'm curious whether you get more or less money for the different security level prisoners. Do you? Anyway, out of this money, you also pay your staff, and you pay for meals, and you pay for other expenses like prisoner uniforms or something.

And whatever's leftover after all of that, you have to slowly save up for expansions.


And what's more, you don't even start with basic things like the ability to station guards or use prison labor. These require paying for a staff member, then paying for that staff member to unlock these things. I made a post yesterday (titled Grants, Loans, and Important Staff or something like that) in which I suggest a new method of handling the grants as well as the staff.


And I do realize... the game is in alpha, and right now we're talking about a Balance issue... which is something more likely to be handled in beta, not alpha. I understand... but there are mechanics things that can/should be addressed in alpha that will impact this.




First of all, I do think that the player should get more money for housing higher security prisoners. If low risk prisoners are $100 per day, then medium should be $150 or $200 a day, and high risk should be $200 or $300 a day. This in particular is a beta tuning issue... but the extra money you get for higher risk prisoners can easily be balanced by the higher risk they present. Higher risk prisoners will need more guard presence... and the max security prisoners should be extreme security risks working any of the jobs... where as the low risk prisoners may need fewer guards, and they're more easily trusted to do jobs around the prison. The specific numbers and risk level would need lots of testing to achieve a perfect balance, but I think this helps increase the different ways we can make money with our prisons.

We can either make bonus grant money for housing the high risk prisoners, but trade off by having to employ more guards, more doctors, and have higher risk letting the prisoners work... may need more metal detectors too... or...

We can make less grant money based on our population because they're lower risk, but we can still run a profitable prison because we have to employee fewer guards, cooks, janitors, buy fewer metal detectors, and can make a profit by putting lots of low risk prisoners to work in the workshop without fear of every single one of them crafting weapons out of would-be license plates.





But here's a money issue that could be added in Alpha. More forms of prisoner labor. The first and most obvious thing I can think of would be farming. It's not completely uncommon for prisons to have farms/gardens that are worked by the prisoners. The food they grow is then served to the general population. While a prison farm wouldn't make money in the same way that workshops currently make money, it would generate profit for the prison by taking out the cost of food deliveries.




But not all prisons in the world are for-profit prisons. In fact, most, at least in the United States, are run by the government. And so while you still need to manage your funds... building a new wing isn't realistically a matter of producing X number of license plates in order to afford that new cell block. Realistically, the county, state, or federal government that sends prisoners to your prison decides that despite you being over-capacity already, they need to send you more prisoners, so it's time to issue you another grant in order to expand your prison. This is another idea I address in the aforementioned thread I created (Grants, Loans, and Important Staff). There's a grant for "Cell Block A" which gives us $10k, and then another $20k once we've expanded our capacity to 15... but that's it. Realistically, this grant, or something similar to it should be repeated over and over and available throughout the game.
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Postby Provic » Thu Jul 25, 2013 8:47 am

xander wrote:
cozmium wrote:Nothing I said was intended to be unpleasant so i'm sorry you took it so.

Your original post was fine. I was trying to help you get used to the culture of these boards. You turned around and told me to "grin and bear it". I don't know how to take that in a way that is not unpleasant. Someone with experience offers you advice, and you blithely tell them that "No, its okay, I know what I'm doing." It comes across as exceedingly selfish.

If I may offer some further advice, prefacing a new topic with something as simple as "I tried to find a similar thread, but after reading over the first few pages of topics and searching for [terms], I didn't find anything. Here's my idea:"

cozmium wrote:Personally on forums i've ran in the past it is usually remedied by either addressing issues in a known 'list' (something I haven't seen around here?) or having subforums to segregate things a bit more. Currently with everything developer related crammed in to this one place, rather than raging that I made something woefully similar, you might forgive me for not having seen it and the trepedation for searching through 43 pages just so i might not make mess in an already chaotic place.

Such threads have existed for previous IV betas, but they have always been community organized. If you want such a list, make one, and someone will probably sticky it. Personally, while I would love to see such a thing, I don't have time to maintain it.

xander


I understand what you're trying to do with OP here, but as the community for any video game grows past a certain point (which hopefully it will for PA!), "vigilante" self-moderation on the game's forums becomes increasingly ineffective and hits severe diminishing returns. Despite being well-intentioned, once the ratio of new to experienced users reaches a certain level, abrupt or aggressive recommendations about searching, duplication, etiquette, etc. just come across as irate "get off my lawn" grumbling to everyone but the crustiest of veterans unless it's actually backed up by strict and consistent intervention from moderators. It's also a self-reinforcing problem since searching becomes increasingly impractical as the number of posts increases, and users see that the infractions rarely have any actual consequences. I don't think there's any real solution to the problem other than trying to be as constructive and polite about it as possible (in order to minimize perceptions that the community is toxic to new entrants), ensuring good moderation, and making sure to manage both on-forum and off-forum documentation such that common issues and their solution/status are heavily emphasized and hard to miss.

I don't think we're really at that point yet, but looking at Mantis after the Steam sale, it does seem to be heading in that direction. It's not really a bad thing, just a consequence overall community size and shifting demographics.
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Postby xander » Thu Jul 25, 2013 3:25 pm

Provic wrote:--==<snip>=--

The fact that a battle is a losing one is no reason not to fight it.

xander

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