Prisonscape is an adventure/RPG game that is taking place in prison. The player needs to survive in this harsh and violent environment. Inside you have to deal with such things as constant assaults, creating and using weapons, interacting with other prisoners and learning the trade inside the jail. The player can develop his character to be, for example, a strong, tough fighter or an intelligent, charismatic manipulator.
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It's been a little over two years since we started making Prisonscape. Even though some of the main elements have remained, a lot has changed, too. Let's go through some of those changes! First of all, in our early blog posts we wanted to make a game very similar to Chrono Trigger in gameplay. A lot of people argued that the open world mechanics of CT wouldn't go very well with closed prison space and they were right. Me and Tuomas are both big fans of Chris Avellone's games and especially the Fallout series.

Eventually we started getting a lot of inspiration from them, including the tactical combat (more about it here, here, and here). Second thing we did pretty early in the development was simplifying the gaming mechanics - we reduced the amount of basic statistics to Strength, Agility and Intelligence (Fitness, Mental Health and Charisma were removed) because including all of these would've been too much work.

In the beginning, we also hadn't hired an artist. That's right, I was doing the art, and it really shows in this screenshot:

After that we hired David and the game looked immediately much better (and got tons of more attention from people, too!). With graphics, we learned the hard way when we used mismatching pixels for the UI - David drew these AMAZING UI's but we ended up scrapping them because they just looked... wrong because of the mismatching pixel size.

Previous UI with mismatching pixel size. It looks fantastic.

New UI. It looks fantastic, too.

Initially we also shunned the idea of experience and levels. But after thorough playtesting of the first area we noticed one very important thing about Prisonscape - it was boring as fuck. It had no sense of progression and it was basically a walk'n'talk simulation. Reputation and items didn't give enough sense of accomplishment while playing, so we decided to add the leveling system. There's a reason why it's used in almost all RPG's. I also changed the storyline a LOT. The first idea was that the game would consist of episodes or levels, so you would start in a minimum security, escape from there (easy) and eventually end up in max and try to do the same thing there. There was a LOT of branching, which would've been way too much work in the end.

Oh, and in the first design document we planned so that the player wouldn't see any of their stats, but just an indication of it ("you are in good shape"). We also reduced the number of gangs from 9 to 6. We also planned several minigames (rewiring the alarm system, playing domino's, etc.).

What have I learned during these short two years:
- Don't use mismatching pixel sizes!
- Even smaller tasks can take a lot of your time
- Working fulltime drains a lot from you and hinders the game development
- Don't be afraid to show your game to people, even the spoiler-y parts
- Start building your audience early on
- Also write some technical blog posts/reports, people are really interested in them
- You can't force writing dialogue. Sometimes you can't get shit done, even if you have all the time in the world

Happy new year, hopefully it is the year when you can finally play Prisonscape! ;-)

The Working Man - getting (and keeping) a job in Prisonscape

The Working Man - getting (and keeping) a job in Prisonscape

11 months ago News 1 comment

In this blog post we go into more detail about how to get and keep a job in Prisonscape.

Progress, achievement and experience in Prisonscape

Progress, achievement and experience in Prisonscape

1 year ago News 3 comments

This blog post tells all you need to know about the NEW experience system in Prisonscape.

Rendering in Prisonscape

Rendering in Prisonscape

1 year ago News 3 comments

In this blog post we tell about the rendering engine of Prisonscape. We also tell about state of the alpha and other things.

Writing for Prisonscape

Writing for Prisonscape

1 year ago News 2 comments

In this post we go through the writing process and story of Prisonscape.

Post comment Comments  (0 - 10 of 70)
TheRenegadist May 25 2015 says:

Will the steam release include workshop support for custom maps, items, and quests? Also any chance of a full ingame editor for making jails, characters, and custom quests? Would be fun to make entire scenarios ingame!

+1 vote     reply to comment
KPL Jan 30 2015 says:

This is going to be a great game. Keep up the good work! :)

+1 vote     reply to comment
Tharky Jun 24 2014 says:

I've been watching this game since the reddit post you guys have made. It was amazing and mind blowing. I always liked these kind of pixel art in games. I hope to see this game being a hit in the future and buy it when possible. You guys did an amazing job!

+3 votes     reply to comment
Prisonscape Creator
Prisonscape Jun 24 2014 replied:

Thank you for the nice words! Stay tuned for future updates.

+1 vote   reply to comment
CanofSodaGames Jun 24 2014 says:

Any chance of a release soon?

+1 vote     reply to comment
Prisonscape Creator
Prisonscape Jun 24 2014 replied:

Q1 of 2015 is our current release goal.

+2 votes   reply to comment
kai229 Jun 19 2014 says:

Hey friends! how are you guys doing? i hope you're still continuing with this, pretty great i gotta say :D

+1 vote     reply to comment
kai229 Apr 11 2014 says:

Proud of your work guys, very great, hopefully i'll make a donation for you, good luck guys!

+2 votes     reply to comment
Guest Apr 11 2014 says:

This comment is currently awaiting admin approval, join now to view.

mackchelsea Apr 9 2014 says:

this just looks amazing!!!

+3 votes     reply to comment
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Latest tweets from @prisonscape

Oct 14 2015

RT @RileyReidx3: How ironic is it that an anti-bully profile is shaming me for doing porn. #goodjob

Oct 2 2015

@drakedalfa I like the themes: gentrification, immigration, political correctness. Good stuff.

Oct 2 2015

Could this be the best South Park season so far?

Sep 23 2015

So happy to see @kollatt back in action!

Aug 7 2015

@jmore_or_less Thanks man! This helps a lot with the development schedule.

Aug 1 2015

Interested in alpha testing Prisonscape? We are still looking for few enthusiastic testers to give us quality feedback.

Jul 29 2015

Some info on the first alpha wave of Prisonscape:

Jul 27 2015

@rynde Currently we have a full list but I contact you later if we need extra manpower!

Jul 27 2015

@LordNed You're the most encouraging person I have ever known. And yes, yes we have!

Jul 27 2015

@Van_Kaiji Thanks and thanks!

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11 months ago
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