Note: Visuals and gameplay footage are not a representation of the final game.
The Devs have some additional words to accompany this tutorial - read more about what the devs can tell us about the inmates' needs below!
Hello fellow architects. The devs of Prison Architect 2 here, back again with some insider details on this week’s video subject: Prisoner Needs!
At the heart of every prison is your inmates, and at the heart of every inmate is their needs! Whether it’s the basics like Food and Sleep, or more complex desires like Reform and Safety, providing for your inmates is essential to a smooth-running lockup.
The Hierarchy of Needs
At the top of the Needs list, is our ‘essentials’. These are the core Needs that govern the immediate requirements of prison life. Inmates need to eat, sleep, bathe, and use the bathroom in order to maintain a baseline of happiness. It’s important to make sure you’re meeting these basic needs first and foremost, from your first intake of minimum security inmates, all the way up to a supermax prison with 200 inmates. When inmates’ core Needs begin to fail, the outcomes can be disastrous.
But once inmates feel their ‘Essential’ needs are being catered to, they’ll start to care more about ‘Well-being’, and then ‘Reform’ Needs. This Needs hierarchy is influenced by real life Psychology, and in gameplay terms also serves to help avoid overwhelming new players in the early stages of their prison.
Make sure each inmate has access to a bed and toilet, and time in their regime to eat, sleep, and shower. To ensure your inmates can eat, you’ll need a working Kitchen, Canteen, and Cooks.
Everyone is Different
Inmates are individuals, and that also impacts their Needs. Take some time to get to know your inmates by checking their Bios, where you’ll find plenty of helpful information including individual’s Traits. These Traits dictate the personality of the Inmate, but they can also give a clue about which of their Needs matter most to them; Loners don’t need as many Social interactions as an Extrovert, while a Coward will need more Safety than someone who is Fearless.
Once you’ve got the basic Needs met and your prison population begins to grow, it's time to deal with their more complex, long-term needs. Inmates who are staying for more than a few days may become bored, lonely, and long for Reform services.
Yards and Common Rooms are perfect to fill with Recreation, Exercise equipment and Phone Booths. Visitation Rooms provide a great opportunity for Inmates to have strong Social experiences without letting them mix freely and cause trouble. Classrooms with scheduled Programs will help those inmates who are craving Reform opportunities, and can even entertain them if you have the right upgrades!
It can be a fine line between meeting one Need and negatively impacting another, so be careful to keep checking in on how your Inmates are doing. It might be tempting to install hundreds of CCTV Cameras when your inmates are screaming out for more Safety, but it can be easy to cross the line and destroy their feeling of Privacy as a result. Sure, the guards might be able to spot that a cellmate is wielding a blade, but who truly feels comfortable when they’re being watched 24/7?
Consequences of your Actions
When Needs fail, things can get sticky fast since failed Needs often lead to a variety of negative consequences. Failing needs will contribute to growing Frustration, which may directly trigger inmates to misbehave. Since mass Frustration is the thing that causes Riots, make sure you meet as many as possible, otherwise you’re going to have a bad time.
You could counteract the spread of Riots by building an extremely Secure prison full of Enforcers, but heading these issues off at the source (ie actually looking after the human inhabitants of your lockup) can prevent them from happening altogether. Remember: every action (or inaction) has a consequence, and only you can dictate the direction of your Prison.
Make sure to keep your Laundry clean, your inmates fed, and your Arcade Machines in good working order. You never know what could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back!
Much care was taken to maintain the heart of what makes the classic Needs system so good while making it as straightforward to understand as possible for new players. We can’t wait to see the scrapes your inmates get into if you forget to build showers!
We love Prison Architect (1), which was developed (in part by us) and molded over a span of 12+ years. Similarly, we also see Prison Architect 2 as the start of a journey; taking fans, feedback, and feature requests along the way to grow the game for YOU, the passionate player base, and the modding community.
As such, if you have any queries about the aspects covered here, cool expectations or ideas for the future in this area, we, the devs, would love to hear and collate them.
If you haven’t already, please check out Charlie’s previous video here, and some of our accompanying insights.
See you soon for the next video
Prison Architect 2 Dev Team
Next up on Prison Architect Academy: Security
Next week we’ll be telling you all about how you can keep your prison secure in Prison Architect 2 - Click the bell on the YouTube premiere below to get notified when the video is live
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