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.
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.