Prison Architect Update 2 adds female prisoners with special family cells and play rooms

The guys behind Prison Architect are just awesome. Not only did they create a great game but they've done so while being almost fully transparent and constantly in touch with their community. Its also one of the very few games that did Steam Early Access right by adding frequent updates and changes based on community feedback.

Prison Architect has since then left Early Access but the updates have kept on rolling. With the recently released Update 2 Prison Architect now has female inmates, babies, an improved moding API and a whole bunch of new stuff.

Here's a video from the developers Mark Morris and Chris Delay where they showcase how a standard female prison will work in Prison Architect.

 

Let's address the elephant in the room head on. The folks behind Prison Architect could've just made a pallet swap in order to "add" female prisoners and called it a day. But that would've a very boring way of doing things so they went with a more detailed approach by having female prisoners with slightly different properties and needs than their male counterparts.

You would think that such a simple concept wouldn't be much of an issue but the developers were highly worried a lot of people would just take it the wrong way so they spent far too long explaining themselves. With that out of the way let's get down to what exactly you can expect if you start running a female-only prison.

First of all, the female prisoners will have a slightly different tree of needs with the biggest outliers being the higher focus on family relations and personal hygiene. That last one seems a bit silly to me because if I've learned anything by going to concerts or conventions its that personal hygiene sadly tends to rank very lowly for most people. That small oddity aside, this slight change in stats shouldn't greatly impact the way you run your prison but it will need to be something you pay attention to.

The big thing you will need to make accommodations for is female prisoners that come in with babies, something you never had to deal in the male version of Prison Architect. In order to provide them and their children with a safe environment you will need to have a special area in your prison dedicated as the nursery with easy access to family cells where the babies can always be near their mothers.

Since you'll be hard pressed to find anyone willing to leave their child unattended for long in a prison you'll have to outfit the nursery as a miniature version of the prison itself: with tables, a canteen, plenty of room and play-mats for the children, etc. This is going to be a tricky logistical challenge for you because you'll need to provide a lot of services and facilities for a rather small number of inmates.

Prison Architect update adds female inmates that might come with babies who you will need to take special care off by building nurseries and other facilities

You can't simply house inmates with children in the same areas as the rest

Besides the slightly different needs tree and the requirement to take care of babies you will still have to run your prison just as well as you would with an all male population. This means ensuring you break up fights and gangs, stop contraband from getting in and making sure your prisoners aren't digging a 100m long tunnel from the shared dormitory.

I'm glad they decided to it like this because instead of it simply being just a change in sprites the choice of building for a male or female inmate population now comes with its own set of challenges and rules. And that is the sort of thing that will help Prison Architect stay fresh for a long time to come.

Besides the addition of female prisoners there are also a few major updates to the modding API, I'll list them below:

"- Added world and world cell data variables to the scripting API.
This includes getting the size of the world, time index, etc.
Setting these variables, however, is currently unsupported.

- A new interface scripting API has been included as well.
Mods can now add, remove, and change buttons in the BiographyWindow (shown when you select a non-prisoner object in the world), with callbacks to it's script.

- Modding in escape mode has also been improved by allowing player interaction on scripted objects.
A callback to the script is given when the player is close to an object and interacts with it."

The last line in the mod changes is the one you should focus on because the ability for players to interact with scripted objects in the escape mode (where you play as a prisoner and try to... well, escape) is going to push the complexity of the mode quite far, something it was in definite need of because as it stands its a tad bare-bones.

That's all of the major changes and if you are interested in the full patch notes you can find them here

So is Prison Architect worth getting? It is a well done game and I would say you should definitely go for it if you're a fan of strategy or management games. Although I would suggest waiting a couple of days because the Steam Christmas sale is about to begin and Prison Architect is almost guaranteed to be on a decent discount, so keep an eye out for that. 

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