Prison Architect Alpha 15

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Prison Architect Alpha 15

Postby Chris » Fri Nov 29, 2013 2:55 pm

Alpha 15 has been released! Steam users will be automatically updated. Non-steam users can download the latest version from the builds page here:

You need an active forum account to access the builds from our website. If you are having trouble please click here for more information, or email us at

Here is our alpha15 video demonstrating the new features:

It’s been two months since alpha 14, with Chris taking time out to have a baby. Whilst he’s been away the rest of the Introversion team have stepped up to provide a series of awesome updates to the game.

Johnny has continued his focus on performance, delivering a series of optimisations which virtually double the speed of the game in certain conditions. These optimisations are particularly effective on very large maps, and when running the Windows builds. We have now seen several (community made) prisons with 300+ prisoners and 100+ staff, running at a solid frame rate - this was pretty unthinkable even a couple of alphas ago.

Here’s a performance graph from our test map - an extremely large prison with 200 inmates, which used to bring Prison Architect to its knees. You can see how much difference Johnny’s work has made.


Gary has extended the staff simulation so that all staff now become tired as they work. After a while you’ll see their nameplate showing “tired” or “exhausted”, and they’ll be forced to stop work and rest. He’s added a Staff Room to the game, along with some sofas and drinks machines, which you should add to your prisons somewhere appropriate. Staff will recover faster and will feel more rested for longer if they have a staff room to go to.


And then there’s a bit of a wildcard in this version : Leander has added a Mod system, to better support community made mods. We don’t really know where this will go, but we’ll be watching the community closely to see what people do with it. Without any official support our community has already translated the game into Swedish, German, French, Spanish, Dutch, Norwegian, Italian, Polish and Turkish (Visit our wiki to download these translations), and they’ve produced mods which add tons of new Grants to the game. With this new official mod system it is now much easier to activate and deactivate those mods in game - and you can run any number of mods simultaneously. You’ll no longer need to hack the game files directly to make a mod work.


If you’re the creator of one of the existing mods, please take some time to update your mod so it works with the new official system. All this entails is creating a manifest.txt (which documents your mod title, version, your name, website etc) and a thumbnail.png, and instructing users to unzip your mod into their appsavefolder/PrisonArchitect/mods/ folder.

If you are interested in creating a mod, we have released some sample mods on the Wiki which you can download and try. They don’t do very much, but they show you how the folder structure works and how you can use lua scripts to drive a story chapter just like our Death Row introduction.

For a list of all existing mods:

For technical details on how to create a mod :

We’ve also added a bunch of small but much requested features to this build - screen edge scrolling, a faster time acceleration button, larger federal grants for max security inmates etc. See the full change list below for details.

That’s all for alpha 15 - we hope you enjoy the new features! We’ll be back with alpha 16 before the end of the year.

Full change list

Code: Select all

= Mod system
    We have started work on much better mod support within the game
    All mods should be installed in your AppSaveFolder/PrisonArchitect/mods/
    They will then show up in a new Mods interface (Main menu -> Extras -> Mods)
    You can activate and deactivate as many mods at once as you wish
    There are several types of mod:
        Graphical / Presentation : Updates the graphics and sounds in the game
        Translations : Translates the game into languages other than English
        Scenarios : Full story driven chapters, similar to our Death Row introduction
        Content : Adds items to the sandbox or changes the behaviour of items, eg Grants mods which add grants
    All mods must have a manifest.txt which details the title, author, version etc
    And mods should come with a thumbnail.png image which will act as a graphical preview

    For a list of all existing mods:          
    For technical details on how to create a mod :
    You must register your purchase to gain access to the wiki.
    If you haven't registered yet, go here:   

= Performance optimisations continued
    The game now runs much faster, especially on Windows/PC
    Lots of unneccesary memory copying has been optimised out. Makes a big difference on Windows particularly.
    Long running prisons (100+ days) sometimes experienced extreme slowdown due to the list of all contraband
    Fixed a bug that caused the building of foundations to become very slow and laggy on large maps
    The lighting system has been multithreaded, freeing up much CPU time
        Nb. The lighting system now updates at 20hz (previously 4hz), so changes in light happen quicker as well

= Staff exhaustion
    All staff now become tired as they work
    Their energy level is rendered as a green bar in their nameplate (only shown when less than 33%)
    When they become exhausted they will stop work for a while to recover
    You can now build a Staff Room, and exhausted staff will go there in preference
    Staff resting in a Staff Room will recover energy much faster, and feel more rested
        NOTE: Guard dogs still rest in the Kennels

- You will now receive a different federal grant for each category of prisoner:
    Minimum security prisoner : $50 per day
    Normal security prisoner : $100 per day
    Maximum security prisoner : $150 per day
        Note: Previously you received $100 per prisoner regardless of category

- New clock speed option : very fast. Runs the game at 5x speed. (Previous fastest speed was 2x)

- The Deployment view is now unlocked by the Chief.
    You can then research Deployment to attach guards to stations, or Patrols to attach guards to patrols
    This fixes the issue that you could unlock Patrols before you had access to the Deployment screen.

- You can now scroll by pushing the mouse to the edge of the screen

- The Contraband view now has a sub-toolbar with display options:
    Dangers         Shows all the locations around your prison that contraband could be stolen from
    24 hours        Shows all contraband confiscated in the last 24 hours
    7 days          Shows all contraband confiscated in the last 7 days
    All time        Shows all contraband confiscated in the history of your jail
        In addition, all recovered contraband icons are colour coded:
        Red = Weapon, Blue = tools, Green = narcotics

- Several main menu items have been moved into a new Extras sub menu:
    Names in the game
    Steam workshop
- Fixed: Many types of irrelevent equipment will no longer be smuggled into your prison
    eg Mop, Rake, Hose, Leash etc

- Fixed: Power lines were rendered without colour once you'd built more than four power stations

- Fixed: Not all of the Complaints thought bubbles were displaying correctly

- Fixed: Some invalid jobs would appear at the top left of the map as a price

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Re: Prison Architect Alpha 15

Postby knoest26 » Fri Nov 29, 2013 3:00 pm

ALPHA 15!!!!!!!!

Urgent: Jobs can't be cancelled anymore
Last edited by knoest26 on Fri Nov 29, 2013 4:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Prison Architect Alpha 15

Postby TheEisbaer » Fri Nov 29, 2013 3:09 pm

still wont run at fullscreen :/ i have this prob. since alpha 11 or so :/
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Re: Prison Architect Alpha 15

Postby BlessPL » Fri Nov 29, 2013 3:34 pm

Wow great job guys! Thanks for optimalization!
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Re: Prison Architect Alpha 15

Postby OPTLawyer » Fri Nov 29, 2013 3:39 pm

The update is awesome :) However, I can no longer cancel any construction.
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Re: Prison Architect Alpha 15

Postby thekillergreece » Fri Nov 29, 2013 4:14 pm

Finally an update ;), cant wait for real huge feature in alpha 16.
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Re: Prison Architect Alpha 15

Postby Frannyan » Fri Nov 29, 2013 4:54 pm

Looks like the cancel jobs function was broken on this update, and I haven't seen any sight of contraband either, which is a little odd. Not sure if that's broken or just suddenly a lot less frequent.

Good update otherwise!
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Re: Prison Architect Alpha 15

Postby ronanc » Fri Nov 29, 2013 5:03 pm

Awesome work, as per usual.
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Re: Prison Architect Alpha 15

Postby nikolai64 » Fri Nov 29, 2013 6:32 pm

I can confirm that the cancel construction is broken as well as the contraband system. Please fix this in a alpha 15 b :)
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Re: Prison Architect Alpha 15

Postby Farden » Fri Nov 29, 2013 6:38 pm

Woot! I know what I'm going to do this weekend!
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Re: Prison Architect Alpha 15

Postby Bens284 » Sat Nov 30, 2013 12:03 am

Nice job on the Optimization feature it is much more smoother to run now... Finally I can create a large prison :P (The Super speed up is also really helpful :D)
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Re: Prison Architect Alpha 15

Postby DavidPolak » Sat Nov 30, 2013 2:05 am

Agree, can't cancel a job. And contraband (tought my prison was so scary nobody wants to contraband!). And, some of my workers are more often stucks between junctions of doors ( like in this cell, the worker was stuck in the door for five minutes (game minutes)). Also, workers seems to be less reactive to jobs, if a job is queued, they don't doing it (even if the queue is empty and they're doing nothing). And, nobody seems to care about the rest room I have like 25 staff tired, but 5 only are going (in one time) to rest. Done 2 rooms to be sure, and yeah, not more than 5-6.

(Sorry for bad english)
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Re: Prison Architect Alpha 15

Postby StrudelNinja » Sat Nov 30, 2013 4:45 am

Another for the "can't cancel jobs" bug. A shame too, I just finished watching several alpha 14 let's plays and felt I finally had a chance to start a prison, was understanding what was going on. Tried to today and the game wouldn't read the jail door I put in my holding cell, and I couldn't cancel it and try another door, they just kept stacking with my workers doing nothing. Alpha game is alpha, though. Hopefully there will be a hotfix for this soon?
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Re: Prison Architect Alpha 15

Postby ascdren » Sat Nov 30, 2013 4:52 am

no cancelling bug as well, I think it's due to the optimization, they probably used some short cuts for those bits of code that abused the code copying.
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Re: Prison Architect Alpha 15

Postby UpandAtom » Sat Nov 30, 2013 7:03 am

I have a problem with corpses sliding off the hearse as it drives away. I searched the forum and wiki and only found 1 subtle mention of this like 5 months ago.

If someone dies it creates an infinite loop of guards loading bodies on to the hearse, bodies sliding off, guards put bodies back in morgue, repeat.

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