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The Next Level In Gaming

The Eurogamer Expo 2012 has been one of the best shows yet, both in terms of the organisation and games on offer. One of the more unusual but intriguing was Prison Architect by Introversion software, the company that brought us Darwinia and Def Con.

That’s right, prison Architect, the world’s first lock erm up!

I had the honour and privilege of interviewing Mark Morris and Chris Delay. We laughed, we cried and we discussed pie. The humour and belief in prison architect was flowing out of these guys and had I the time (and money) I would have gladly bought them a pint down the local.

However, disaster struck! As I was lying in bed, enjoying a post EG lie in I received a text, a horrifying text. The interview data had been corrupted!


That is what’s known in life…as a bit of a shitter. So, now I will do my best to build a picture of those precious few minutes with Mark and Chris and hope that through my vivid storytelling you, dear reader, will feel as privilege and enlightened as I did.
I journeyed through the sweaty mass of gamers and booth babes to the Prison Architect stand. Standing to one side wearing helpfully descriptive T-shirts was the giant that was Mark Morris and the great sage known to the world as Chris Delay. I was humbled by their presence…and by their kick ass T-shirts.

Then after seven trials and a sufficient amount of grovelling we decided to start the interview proper. I first asked them about how prison architect came about. Chris happily re-told the tail of how after a trip to Alcatraz and a subsequent taxi ride with a former prison guard (he was behind the wheel not ah…well, not doing anything dodgy). After that the dream for Prison Architect was born.

However, like all things in life this was not a straight forward process. Building a new game with such a unique concept I no mean feat. Not to mention there has to be enough interest in the concept to make it marketable, especially as a small group that has no major backing. Luckily when this was put out there as a fundraising project to get people in on the alpha there was a great response which allowed them to make prison architect a reality, check out their alpha video here.

I was keen to ask how much of the characters of the staff and prisoners would feed into the gaming experience. Mark chuckled and replied that in all prison movies the story of the prisoners was always the most interesting part and so the main campaign would be looking at the psychology and background of the various ‘guests’ you would have to cater for.

So with the paid alpha out there and coding still going on, what was the most amusing bug they had found?
Chris pointed out that they weren’t bugs as such it was simply the way the code was being interpreted by the game. It was just responding in manners that they weren’t expecting. But the most amusing thing he had seen was a SWAT team entering the prison to take on a prison riot, only to stop and suddenly tidy up all of the trash that was left outside the prison with a certain brutal efficiency.

And the final question…… or pie?
Mark: After 3 days of games I would probably chose pie actually.
Chris: That’s a good question; you see pi is a useful variable when it comes to coding games-
Mark: Oh no here he goes again…
Chris: Its true it really is!
Mark: We’ll be here for hours at this rate!
Chris: Ok then, I’d have to choose games then.

Well there we go my attempt to piece together an interview so epic that it very nearly blew my mind. Prison architect is shaping up to be a fun little strategy title and I can’t wait to see more of it!

-That Bloke In The Beanie

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That Bloke In The Beanie On October - 12 - 2012

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