After a long playthrough of the game, we concluded that the Finance system was most in need of some development love this month. It has become common practice to cheat your way to $1,000,000 in the bank because there is simply no other way to raise that kind of capital, and the game becomes boring when you have to wait for it to roll in. There are many mods that filled the gap by adding more grants to the game. Furthermore, if you use all the official grants up (all four of them) and still have a negative cashflow, you have literally no way to recover other than cheating, because your bank balance will be decreasing every day and you won’t be able to afford to build new facilities. It was clear that Finance needed looking at. Urgently.
We’ve added a ton of new official grants, and added new requirements to them as well. You can now only have two grants running at once, although your accountant to expand that to three - so be careful which ones you choose. Grants can have “Pre-requisites” before they become available to you - eg you must have completed a previous grant, or have a certain number of prisoners on site. Some grants are hidden and will only reveal themselves when the conditions are right. There is a new special “Government Bailout” grant that acts as a second life - if you run out of money and have a negative cashflow, the government will put together a rescue package and bail you out of trouble. But only once.
You can now borrow money from the bank, and repay interest every hour. Every successful repayment increases your credit rating, and allows you to borrow more.
Once you have a high value prison, you can sell shares in the facility - effectively selling a share of your prison to investors in exchange for money. They will pay you 10% of the total prison value, in exchange for 10% ownership of the prison. This can be an excellent way to raise money, but those investors are not acting out of the goodness of their hearts - they expect a profitable return, and will take their share of the prison sale price when you do come to sell up.
All prison establishments are now expected to pay Corporation Taxes, at 30% of all profit. We advise you keep declared profits as low as possible in the early stages - by re-investing your profits into wages and expanding your prison. Once you start making big profits you can ask your accountant to work on reducing your tax burden.
We have updated the industry system so that your produced goods are exported properly now. (Previously they were magically sold at midnight, vanishing out of existence). There is now a new Exports zone which should be placed near the road, and all your trade goods will be hauled there to be loaded up onto delivery trucks and taken away for sale. This is far more realistic, but also has the added benefit that you will receive income throughout the day as your goods are sold, rather than in a lump sum at midnight. We’ve extended this hourly model to all areas of the cashflow as well - your daily income is now paid in 24 hourly payments, spreading out the income over the day. It was felt that waiting for midnight every day was deeply unsatisfying.
On top of that there are tons of balance changes and bug fixes, many related to finance. The whole game should be significantly more playable now without resorting to grants mods or cheats. We hope you have fun playing alpha 19, and we will see you again for alpha 20 in one month.