Monday, October 12, 2015

Playing Prison Architect

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Prison Architect by Introversion Games
If you enjoy SimCity or Cities: Skylines then you’ll find things to like in Introversion Software’s Prison Architect. Just as city builder games have you building your own metropolis from an empty plot of land, Prison Architect has you building a prison facility.

The tech tree also allows you to unlock additional features to play with and some even unlocks additional levels of control over your prison. Micromanage to your heart’s content or, let the game run with default policies. The choice is yours.

Installation

I didn’t mention this about Pillars of Eternity or Deponia, but Linux games generally don’t come in a nice installation package. There are games that come in .deb or .rpm packages, of course, but right now those look to be far and few between. Simply unpack the tarball and play seems to be the way to go for the moment.

If we’re going to get more users on Linux this is something the needs work. As awesome as Linux is, the software installation situation is… embarassing.

The Game

If you haven’t played the game, then be prepared. It’s addictive. Prepare to sink hours of your life into this once you start. Looking over your self-designed prison run day-to-day is… strangely mesmerising.

But the game certainly has it’s faults. Nothing deal breaking, but it can be a little frustrating sometimes. For example, the prison security grant tells you to research Patrols and assign Patrols but fails to mention you need to also research Deployment to setup those patrols. It’s not a big leap of logic to figure out but it’d be nice if the game mentions it rather than let you figure it out yourself. Building the prison is a big enough challenge already.

Then there’s the problem with more items than fits in the game’s control menus. The list of objects you can purchase for your prison, for example, only shows around 30 objects when there’s many more things available. You can use the search box to filter the list but that’s useful only if you know what you’re looking for. It’s not that hard to realise the ‘+’ button expands the menu neither is it immediately obvious that I can expand the menu.

Overall, the game plays well. There’s the occasional stutter which I’m not sure is caused by the game, or the GPU drivers. I’d lean towards blaming the game since it doesn’t look like something that pushes the GPU to it’s limits.