The ninth installment of the Prison Architect Alpha has today been released, and it’s a big one. We’ve tackled some of the big issues that have been on our list for a very long time - prisoner employment, laundry services, family visitation, workshops, and lots more.
Here is our Alpha9 video. Apologies for my distorted voice, I had the levels on my mic set completely wrongly this time around.
Central to the new version is the concept of Prisoner Employment, and we’ve been planning this feature for a long time. Prisoners can now perform a variety of jobs around the prison, saving you money on staff and raising money for you by selling goods manufactured by your work force. Prisoners can work in the kitchen, they can clean the prison, and they can work in the laundry and the workshop, both of which are new in Alpha9.
We have a brand new laundry system, which is entirely prisoner run. Clean uniforms will be distributed around your prison in laundry baskets, and prisoners will change into these after they’ve had their shower. Dirty uniforms will be collected up in laundry baskets and brought back to the laundrette where they are washed. It can take quite a long time to cycle all the laundry in your prison - expect it to take several days to cycle everyone in large prisons.
We also have workshops. These rooms are used to produce trinkets which you can sell for profit - currently car license plates, which the prisoners make out of sheet metal with a couple of new bench tools. It’s up to you if you wish to exploit your prisoners for cheap labour - it will certainly help with the cashflow, and your prisoners will be learning new skills at the same time. (Actually nobody learns anything in alpha9, but they will in a future update)
Prison labour is free right now, but eventually (in a future alpha) you will pay your prisoners a small wage, which they will be able to use to buy essential supplies from a prison shop. And all of these rooms - the kitchen, the cleaning cupboard, the laundrette and the workshop, will bring their own particular dangers to the prison if you chose to use them.
If that wasn’t enough, visitation has also been added in alpha9. Most prisoners now have family, and those family will want to come and visit from time to time. (Note: All bios will be re-generated because of this). Click on any prisoner to see his known family members listed in his rap sheet. Build a visitation room and those family members will come to see their loved one in jail, which makes everyone a little bit happier. However you should enjoy the universal goodness of visitation while it lasts, because in a future alpha it will become a major source of smuggled contraband.
There’s also a number of visual changes: Most noticeably, the main toolbar icons have all been replaced with cleaner, higher resolution versions. You should also notice the grime and dirt and overgrown grass and pathways around your prison look much better (so to speak) - we used to rely on a single crack graphic for everything! It’s now much more obvious when your prison needs cleaning and gardening, and much more satisfying to watch your janitors and gardeners doing that. And of course you can get your prisoners to do most of the cleaning now anyway, which gets the job done much quicker.
This was a major update, adding a load of new “mid game” content to the game. We’ve got big plans for alpha10 as well, which should be another big one. In the mean time, enjoy the latest version.