Prison Architect Update 5 brings massive performance increase

A mere three weeks after Update 4, the Prison Architect developers are back again with a brand new patch, this one quite possibly being the most important update to date as it brings significant performance improvements to a game that could chug like a choo-choo train when you start building big.

Aside from performance increases, Update 5 also expands upon the recently implemented heating system through the addition of hot-water pipes and boilers, as well as the super-secret 3D mode. Here's the developer video, and if you're not up for some banter feel free to just skip to around 8 minutes:


As far as performance and FPS in Prison Architect are concerned, the developers have stated what should be fairly obvious to all, its not an easy thing to improve when you're working with a complex simulation that can quickly sprawl out of control. However, improve it they did and if the update video is any judge there should be a significant boost to performance across the board. If you're interested in all of the nitty-gritty details skip over to 10 minutes in the video.

The big addition in this patch is the need for hot water in order for radiators and showers to work. Previously, radiators were powered by pixie dust and just kind of worked no matter where you placed them. After Update 5, things are no longer so simple. You will need to have a boiler, which requires connections to both the power grid and water supply in order to actually produce the invaluable hot water on a cold day, and then you will need to transport that water all over the prison using big ol' fat pipes.

Temperature and heating systems in Prison Architect still aren't fully complete, but as you can see in the video from 16 min onward, they are a rather interesting addition as they allow you to maintain better control over your prisoners, while still offering an interesting new logistical challenge to overcome.

Prison Architect temperature and hot water are important

As it turns out, having hot showers in every single prison cell is a hard thing to manage

The final portion of the video, from 23 minutes and onward, is dedicated to the recently discovered "super-secret" 3D mode. There have been a couple of improvements to it since the last update, and it has benefited greatly from the performance increase, but its still worth reminding everyone that the 3D mode is not the developer's main focus, its a simple bonus feature for everyone to toy around with.

Still, being able to see your well managed mega-prison in 3D is a rather nifty feature as it allows you to get a good sense of scale on the monstrosity you've created. It might not be the best way of playing Prison Architect, but it sure is the most fancy.

If you're interested in getting overrun by rabid prisoners after your entire complex system rolls over and dies, give Prison Architect a look.