Prison Architect Cheats, Tips And Advice: What I’ve Learned After 230 Hours As …

December 3, 2013 by  
Filed under Solar Energy Tips

This is my second Prison Architect cheats, tips and advice column. The last time I wrote one was three  months ago and, in that time we’ve received two more Alphas. I’ve also added another 90 hours of playtime to the game. If you’ve platyed it you know that commitment isn’t as crazy as it sounds. If you’re new to Prison Architect all I can say is: be careful. This is a game that will DEVOUR your free time.

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First, there are a number of Prison Architect cheats and tips online. Many are contained on the Prison Architect wiki, and others can found in the Steam community forums. But I’m the type of person that doesn’t like to learn every single way to become a god in a game. I won’t list all the cheats here, or all the strategies, but I wanted to share some of the things that have helped me build a successful prison. But lots of cheats are out there so game how you want.

The number one best thing that helped me find success in Prison Architect is a cheat that changes the number of inmates for your daily intake. This becomes important when you start to creep towards a triple digit capacity because getting randomized daily deliveries of 8-24 prisons is terribly frustrating. So, in order to change the intake number do the following:

1.      Save the game.

2.     Select ‘Open Save Folder’

3.     Open the saved game’s text file

4.     Locate the word intake, next to it is a number

5.     Change the number to your desired prisoner intake amount

6.     Reload the save file

This is a HUGE help when you get into the triple-digit inmate range because the rate at which your prisoners leave is always higher than the rate they replenish. So you’ll have a prison built for 200 have 180 inmates, then 160 then before you know it it’s hemorrhaging money because you have no inmates. Stay on top of your inmate count to maximize your profits.

Because, after 230 hours in the game, I’ve learned that cash is king. Build workshops EARLY and keep them together.  Keep them near the delivery zone, too, so your workers can deliver the raw materials in a timely fashion. If you put too much distance between workshops or between your workshops and the delivery zone you’ll eat into your potential profits because your inmates and workers will be schlepping stuff all over the place. Time is money.

Workshops also require a lot of electricity so build another power generator for them as soon as you can. You don’t want to invest thousands in a shop only to realize you don’t have the juice to run it (or the funds to install a generator after the fact). I’d personally like to see some green energy introduced into the game because using solar panels to power my lights and generators for my industrials would lighten my utility load (and costs) substantially. C’est la vie.

Another tip I’ll give you in addition to smart workshop placement is to strategically create yards near your work buildings (workshops, Laundromats and cleaning rooms). The reason for doing this is so you can set an hour of yard time before each work shift on your prison regime. All your inmates will be gathered near their jobs so when it’s time to get to work they get started immediately. Having inmates on free time before work means they’ll be scattered all over your prison. Plus, if you put payphones and a few toilets in your yards your inmates will be able to meet a lot of their needs before work, reducing the chance of riots and damage to expensive equipment.

If you’re looking to go big you need to plan ahead. The number one thing I’ve learned after managing several triple-digit prisons (my latest is 460 inmates with a $1.7 million valuation) is to leave room for your kitchen and canteen to expand. Like, a LOT of  room. The reason you need to do this is because PA does a pretty shitty job of managing multiple kitchens. Like workshops, anytime I’ve put a kitchen and canteen on the other side of my prison it gets very little use. The inmates won’t go there and half the time the cooks end up migrating into the original kitchen. The best workaround for this problem as your prison expands is to simply keep adding to your original kitchen and canteen set-up until you have a mammaoth food area. Like I did here:

In Alpha 13 inmates gained the ability to dig escape tunnels. To counter this, players can build expensive perimeter walls that take a long time to dig through. Perimeter walls are a waste of money. My current prison has only had 3 escapes and I have no perimeter walls and build my cells near the fenceline. What’s the key? For starters, build your toilets on the interior wall of every cell. Inmates start their tunnels under the toilets and follow water pipes so placing it in the interior of the cell means the inmate needs to do a several hours worth of digging before he can get outside.

Next, install a ton of metal detectors. You should have a metal detector on every entrance into a cell block and every workshop and canteen entrance too. These are the places your inmates will smuggle tools to/from and metal detectors help keep the implements out of the cells. Metal detectors aren’t flawless, though, which is why you should set up several throughout the prison so every inmate has multiple scans performed on him when he goes through his day. Station guard dog patrols outside your canteens so that all the inmates pass by them at least twice a day which will cut down on non-metallic contraband like drugs and poison.

The final escape prevention tip I can give you is to use the policy feature to set harsh penalties for carrying tools and escape attempts. This will help keep a lot of the prisoners who would be thinking of escape suppressed, which in turn makes them behave. Solitary should be used for tools and escape attempts with a timeline of at least 4-6 hours. Anything beyond six is a waste because the inmates’ “suppression” effect will max out after this time. Instead their other needs will go way up and you’ll have an angry prisoner on your hands.

With Alpha 15 a new change came in that made your staff get fatigued. This means you need to construct a staff room. Fortunately, it doesn’t require many resources and you can either go with one large room or several smaller rooms in key areas (such as the storage building where your workers gather, near the kitchen for your cooks, etc.)

That’s all I have for now, but if you have any Prison Architect questions feel free to ask them in the comments section or follow me on Twitter

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