Prison Architect -- Tips, Tricks, Hints, Cheats, Help Thread

#1 Edited by Nightriff (5335 posts) -

Creating this so we all can share what we learn or ask questions if we are in a pickle.

TIP/CHEAT: You can edit your amount of money by opening the save file in Notebook and changing the balance to whatever you would like, just don't go to high. Useful to just screw around and get the feel of the game. Guide to do this from the wiki.

Anyone get the Utilities down? Can the pipes (electrical and water) be stacked or must they stay separate from each other?

EDIT:

TIP: You have to use the Foundation option to build buildings, You can't build just 4 walls and a roof will be automatically added unfortunately, took me a bit to learn this

#2 Edited by MattyFTM (14432 posts) -

1. Fences are free. Start out by building fences around your perimeter, not walls.

2. You can turn off prisoner intake in the prisoner tab on the report.

3. You can right click on jail doors to open them without a guard around.

I'll post more tomorrow. I'm on my phone at the moment.

Moderator
#3 Posted by Nightriff (5335 posts) -

@mattyftm: I didn't realize fences are free, I was just using them to contain my yard for the prisoners, nice tip to know

#4 Posted by ZeForgotten (10397 posts) -

@nightriff: I have never actually used walls to build around the perimeter of the prison always be fencing! .. (not with rapiers)
It blew my mind when I saw Patrick do it in the Quick Look... all that money.. gone!

Pipes and Wires can be on top of each other.
I think of it as pipes are in the ground, wires are running across the ceiling

#5 Edited by Nightriff (5335 posts) -

@zeforgotten: Do you also have to put the generator and such in buildings? Or is that a Patrick-ism? I had problems with them outside so I put them in buildings on my second try now to see if I will have better luck

#6 Posted by ZeForgotten (10397 posts) -

@nightriff: Just put them outside, that way you don't have to waste more money on wasted walls like Patrick did :P

#7 Posted by Ravenlight (8011 posts) -
Hey this game is pretty good.

#8 Posted by BBAlpert (1583 posts) -

Hey this game is pretty good.

Well, you've sold me!

#9 Posted by WalkerD (460 posts) -

I hope the full game has a bit more direction. Grants seem like a nice way to keep you focused, but they quickly stop appearing. Also my cooks can never seem to cook enough for all of my prisoners. The amount of money I'm getting for each prisoner is disproportional to the amount of money I need for cooks to support them.

#10 Edited by Dagbiker (6978 posts) -

@walkerd said:

I hope the full game has a bit more direction. Grants seem like a nice way to keep you focused, but they quickly stop appearing. Also my cooks can never seem to cook enough for all of my prisoners. The amount of money I'm getting for each prisoner is disproportional to the amount of money I need for cooks to support them.

Every time I heard something Ilke this in the quicklook about how expensive a prisoner is, my first thought was, perhaps it is a commentary on peoples dissociation of the worth human life.

#11 Posted by Sweep (8976 posts) -

Hey this game is pretty good.

I don't even know what I'm looking at right here. Did that whole building burn down?!? Ho... how did this happen!?

Moderator
#12 Edited by Winternet (8053 posts) -

I don't see this anywhere. Oh shit, nevermind, found it.

@mattyftm said:

2. You can turn off prisoner intake in the prisoner tab on the report.

#13 Edited by Ravenlight (8011 posts) -

@sweep said:

@ravenlight said:
Hey this game is pretty good.

I don't even know what I'm looking at right here. Did that whole building burn down?!? Ho... how did this happen!?

Apparently having the kitchen right in the open next to the shower makes it catch fire? And I guess the firefighters bugged because they only put out the flames they could reach from the road. The guards kept dragging on-fire prisoners back to their burning cells and I decided it was time to start again.

The new prison was constructed to the north before the fires had stopped. The state seemed to think I was doing such a good job, they kept sending prisoners even though I didn't have anything more than a few benches and a leaky pipe for a shower. Prisoner escapes are few even though the front gate isn't even locked. Probably because they're all too scared to set foot outside, what with spooky charred remains of their predecessors out there.

The game kept nagging me about visitors, so I build a visitor center and trapped a few families in there. Stopped nagging after that.

Now it's a prison for immortals or something because there's been no food for weeks and everybody seems alive. Except for the directors I keep sending in. They all seem to develop a fatal cast of stabitis on the first day. Luckily, there are plenty of morgue slabs scattered about so nobody's tripping over any corpses.

Fun game. Scratches the same itch the Sims and Dwarf Fortress do. Except it's hella easier to get the chaos started.

#14 Posted by Nightriff (5335 posts) -

Is the CCTV broken? I can't seem to get the cameras to link with a station so I don't have to have guards in every building

#15 Posted by FinalDasa (2046 posts) -

@nightriff: They don't work right now I believe.

Moderator
#16 Edited by Wraithtek (76 posts) -

Questions:

  • Is there a way to keep water from the shower from flowing outside into the halls? I have drains in the floor; not sure if there's any particular way to arrange them.
  • Is there any actual effect to giving prisoners larger cells or windows, or is it just cosmetic? Different flooring types (I see some have different movement speeds)?

Tips:

  • The best way to prevent violence/vandalism is by having enough guard force present. For example, during Yard time, have most of your guards deployed to the Yard. Set up a patrol path if needed. During sleep or unscheduled time, when prisoners are in their cells, distribute guards among your cell blocks. When a prisoner makes a racket, send 2 or 3 guards to his cell and he should calm down for a bit. Rearrange your patrols to cover the hall outside his cell, or deploy more guards to that block, if needed.
  • Always have one guard deployed by your front gate (if you have one) to let staff and visitors in and out of the building.
  • You can right-click on locked doors to do a single open. This can be useful when a guard isn't nearby, but staff are waiting to get in/out.
  • During free time/lunch time, you will sometimes see a prisoner over by the serving table in the cafeteria, looking back and forth. Hovering over him, you'll see he's "Acting Suspicious". Have a guard search him to confiscate his contraband.
  • Like an RTS, you can click and drag to select multiple guards at once. Though there are a lot of other items that can interfere with your click (doors, lights, prisoners, etc.), so try to click in an empty area, then drag over the guards.
  • In order to have prisoners work in the kitchen, workshop, laundry, or on cleaning duty, you need to assign jobs to the related rooms in the Deployment screen.
  • For a while I had a problem with prisoners not bringing carts back to the laundry room. Locking the laundry room doors open seemed to fix this. (They won't bring them back at the end of every shift, but they should at least get them back sometime during each shift.)
#17 Edited by sqrabbit (117 posts) -

@wraithtek You have to place drains in hallways and exits. I had to extend the prison doors out a square to make them work in the cell setup here, but if you have long hallways that could work also. If you have any outdoor showers this shows how to contain the water out there as well.

As far as windows go, they help calm the prisoners down. They can be in a 2x3 cell and not complain. I still haven't made enough money to get them all TVs, but they are doing fine without them right now.

The outdoor tiles help out more once you're dealing with laundry. The carts are soooo slow going over dirt. It also speeds up the pace of everyone that walks across them.

Laundry's still bugged a bit right now. Hope they fix it in the next build.

#18 Edited by Blargonaut (153 posts) -

Trying to play this, but it's a little confusing! I really don't even have any clue where to start.

#19 Posted by Rowr (5824 posts) -

Holy freaking jesus this game is awesome.

I've already spent more time playing this than i do most full retail titles and it's still alpha!

The most important thing i have probably learned is to keep a group of guards around congregating prisoners to prevent them rioting, i don't know why it took me this long to figure it out, being in alpha the game doesn't give a good sense of it's boundaries and you have to clue everything out. It could be what makes it so damn fun. Also build the workshop as early as possible so you can secure some sort of revenue stream, i don't know if it's just me but i'm finding it near impossible to keep a decent income just off the prisoners.

It seems like you need to build a shit ton of phones and a visitation center to keep them remotely ok with the homesick meter.

Also it seems like if you have them doing anything for longer than they need, they take to complaining which leads to fighting pretty quickly, so adjust your regime accordingly.

I find things stay a lot less hectic at night if you set a patrol with as many guards as you need surrounding your cells to keep the whining down.

#20 Posted by ZeForgotten (10397 posts) -

@blargonaut: Check the "Reports" section in the lower right corner then click the "Grants" tab.
They're like your objectives and also earns you money when you do them

#21 Edited by sqrabbit (117 posts) -

@blargonaut - Best advice - Once you start a new game - Click on Reports, then click the prisoner tab. Then Click on any open option to close. This prevents any prisoners from coming in to give you time to chill out and plan a prison without worrying about more prisoners coming in.

Next, click on the grants tab and click on all of them to give you money to build everything.

Next, you need to unlock all of the staff. Build two offices. Once they are built, hire the warden, then unlock the Security, Maintenance, Mental Health and Health.

Once the Foreman is unlocked, wait until midnight and hire him and start the unlocks for Cleaning, Grounds Keeping, Prison Labour (and Clone if you really want it). The minute they are unlocked, fire his ass.

Wait until midnight again, then hire the security chief, and start the unlocks for Deployment and CCTV. Again, after they are unlocked, fire his ass too.

Firing them saves you paying an extra 200$ a day for their salaries.

Now you can build anything and hire anyone that works in Alpha 9.

Once you're ready for prisoners to come in, make sure that you have scheduled their workday out so they have enough time to eat, play, sleep and stay clean. Here's what I'm currently using:

I changed the meal quantity to High because the cooks weren't making enough food during each mealtime.

That button next to Reports called "Bangup" randomly clicks on when you're messing with reports. Make sure it's not flashing red or else the prisoners won't follow your regime and get super pissed.

Finally, use the Deployment tab that you unlocked to assign guards and set patrols, and assign rooms for just staff, gen pop, and assign the number of prisoners for work in the designated rooms.

To assign the prisoners work duty, click the jobs button, then click each room to add prisoners to work in that room. The max number is determined by the size of the room. Keep that in mind when you are making the cleaning closet, since that sets the max number of prisoners assigned to help clean the whole prison.

Right-click on the rooms to decrease the number.

Guard assignments work the same way, but they are kinda weird when you assign them on patrols outside of a building or a designated area (yard).

Hopefully some of this info helps out. Have Fun!

(edit) sorry for the formatting problem in the post. It looks fine when It's in edit mode. =(

#22 Edited by Mansku (1 posts) -
@sqrabbit said:

I changed the meal quantity to High because the cooks weren't making enough food during each mealtime.

Actually if you set it high, you get more food but you also need to cook more. The meal quantity means how much food each prisoner gets per meal. At low they each get one unit of food and high gives them three (look at their food trays when they are eating).

#23 Posted by Iosif (1 posts) -

Dunno if people still look at this but whatevs. Here's something I've found useful and hilarious.

Put a metal detector between your cell areas and somewhere every prisoner needs to go to (In my case, I fenced the yard and placed the metal detector on the only entrance). Assign a guard to it. That's it. Every single prisoner will have to go through the metal detector twice, and if they're carrying any kind of contraband, the guards will automatically search them and bag the contraband. It's fool proof so far, none of my prisoners can retain any contraband for more than half a day. I saw the stuff they were smuggling, and it went from glass shanks, to liquor, knifes, forks, hammers, guard keys (yes, guard keys for the cell doors) to the latest finding I saw, a shotgun. Safest. Prison. Ever.

#24 Posted by CEhopeR (4 posts) -

You could use Cheat Engine to change your Money Value:
How it works

Its a great cheating method, that can be applied to almost any game.

#25 Posted by markjohn (1 posts) -

Guys, you can always build more cookers for your cooks to use. I get enough food even when I have only a few cooks.

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